I live in an apartment building, and my laundry room is on a different floor from my unit. Which means that I need to carry my laundry up a floor, in an overstuffed laundry basket (cuz you know a bitch is gonna get their money’s worth on a load of laundry!).
Because of the massive muffin-top on my laundry basket, I often drop things on the way to the laundry room. (And, yes, I could get a larger laundry basket, but these are the laundry baskets I have, and I’m not gonna buy something that I already have.) I keep looking back to see any socks or masks that I’ve dropped.
This backwards-looking laundry trip made me think of all the backwards-looking I’ve been doing in my life over the last few weeks. My ex and I’ve started the divorce process, and this morning, we had a stressful conversation with our kiddos. (Turned out okay, though.) With every life-transition, we lose things along the way, especially when the transition is a breaking-apart, as in a divorce.
I’ve lost my sense of self, my positionality in the world, my self-confidence, my wellbeing to some extent, and most of my previous married self. Those losses have been dear. It has taken me a long time to rebuild from those losses, and I am still far away from being rebuilt.
But I’ve also lost some other things. I lost the massive physical and emotional burden as a primary, full-time parent at home. I lost my identity as an unattractive, unfulfilled middle-aged wife. I lost my identity as a wife altogether, which is a net-positive for me (and probably for most women). I am losing my financial obligation to a partner.
I’ve lost some of my doubts and negative self-talk (although those things continue to swirl around me from time to time), and I’ve lost a lot of the diagnostic criteria for my previously-diagnosed mental illnesses. I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost fear.
To me, those losses seem small in comparison to the massive pile of pain and shit I’ve been sitting in. But I know that the pile of shit will shrink, and the pile of awesome losses will grow in comparison.
I finished my load of laundry, folded it, and put it away. Didn’t lose anything this time. For now, the pile of shitty losses and awesome losses remain where they are, and I will keep my eye out for lost socks.
Featured image was created by the author using elements from canva.com.