Last week, final paperwork was signed, converting my legal separation to a divorce, and giving responsibility of an upside-down house to me. Each time I think I’m in the clear, I find myself circling one more ring of divorce hell. In several weeks, I’ll go to court for the last time, I hope, and hear a judge’s gavel fall… thumping out this sad failure. Not surprisingly, this past Friday night was a little blue.
Bailed out again by an angelic friend, my sadness was kept away until late that night by her endlessly patient listening. But when she left, I was stuck with myself, and a silent house. Ownership is sweet most of the time, but it can feel empty, too. I thought about how I worked with a real estate agent four years ago to make this house happen for my ex; because I wanted to make him happy. There were many things I did to try to achieve this aim.
Descending into thoughts of the miserably insulting events of the last six months, I was stuck in a loop in my mind. Not even resisting anymore, I gave in, and felt small and, well, kind of worthless.
Then something miraculous happened to me: a thought as clear as a noontime bell rang out four simple words, “I decide my worth.”
Climbing into bed, I repeated the thought, and mercifully fell asleep.
For the rest of the weekend, I worked on promoting my art to galleries at Cannon Beach; and got the word out about my new classes online. I visited another angelic friend, and then checked on my kids. I did what I have to do, all the while thinking about that statement: I decide my worth.
On the drive to Cannon Beach, I listened to playlists on my IPod, which include exclusively female artists. On my “Siren” playlist, I have Stevie Nicks, Heart, Tori Amos, Sarah McLaughlin, Imogen Heap, PJ Harvey, Fever Ray, well, you get the gist. I thought about what these ladies are trying to say, and trying to become. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be beautiful, and even acquiescent… it’s also okay to kick ass. It’s the mood and circumstance that moves us, and inspires us to act. In short, it’s okay to be a complicated woman: there is value in it.
During a much needed beach walk by Haystack Rock, I imagined I was that rock, set deeply into the earth; standing firmly, regardless of the crashing surf. I am home to little creatures, and my presence is not only appreciated but valuable…even life giving.
On the drive home, I worked through some anger about the futility of putting so much love and effort into a marriage that was both utterly unfulfilling to me and eventually pointless. I let go of some stuff. The struggle now is to not pick it back up.
Sunday morning, I was busy again, having coffee with another kind friend. But at some point, I had to face the unresolved question lurking in my mind: I decide my worth…so, what is my worth? While I did a lot of yoga and took another walk, I confronted the question head on, and found it wasn’t easy to answer.
At first, I asked with genuine curiosity, and then with the defiance of a fourteen year old. “I deserve better than I’ve gotten” was a good place to start. Then I worked closer to the answer by describing to myself what I want and deserve. Closer… but still it’s easy to side step the question.
Finally, I remembered what my mother told me when I was five: She said I was worth more than all the money in the world, all the stuff in the world, all the whatever in the world. She said I was priceless.
Surprised me she did….and perhaps now I can feel her meaning. My worth, everyone’s worth, is beyond measure. All of us are infinitely precious. If we’re brave, we can act on this, and treat ourselves and everyone else with respect.
I think anyone who’s been used needs to sit quietly and ask and answer this question, “What is my worth?” The revelation is deeply healing, and could even be lifesaving, as we gentle people endeavor forward in this often challenging world.
Perhaps our wisdom can inoculate us against those damned vampires, who enjoy taking our loving energy without replacing it, yet know not what they do. It’s time for the meek to inherit the earth, so to speak, or at least claim their worth in it.
So, what am I worth? I am worth a sweet life shared with loving people and good work. What’s your worth?