Quoth the Raven, "My Divorce"


I just turned 30 and I’m in the process of getting a divorce. My second divorce, actually. I spent all of my childhood planning on exactly zero divorces, so coming to grips with my unexpected reality of severing my second marriage when I’ve been an adult for all of twelve years is painful. Completely separating your life from the life of someone who you had hoped you’d live with in synchronicity till death is arduous and messy. But as I navigate this maze I hoped I’d never find myself in again, I’m facing up to the thing I dread the most: loneliness.

I’m not even sure if loneliness is the proper word because this loneliness is sort of next level. It feels more like deprivation. It’s a death of something that is incredibly difficult for me to achieve, because it's something I deeply fear: intimacy.

As an extrovert, and as someone who is known to be very effusive and outgoing, one of my most vulnerable confessions is that I'm very afraid of intimacy. I protect myself from having to get too close, or too reliant on anyone. If I never have to rely on anyone truly, then they can't hurt me truly. Right? I know this is how I operate. As open as I am, I almost never let myself melt into a relationship like I see others doing with friends, their parents, or their siblings.

But with this husband? I did it. He chipped away at me until he finally reached the ley line to my heart. I let go in a way I never let go. I opened up in a way I have never opened up. I trusted him like I've never trusted anyone. I discovered what I thought was the deepest, most honest connection I had ever had with someone. Only last summer, I pulled a string that unraveled the entire sweater of lies he had knit and I found myself naked, vulnerable, and alone.

I’m coping with the grief of the loss of the idea I had for what intimacy might be like for me. The connection that I hoped that I would someday have with a spouse. I hoped to finally experience what real honesty was like, and to experience what life could be like with a shared dream. Now I feel resentful, and I feel angry. He will go through his life easily generating connections that appease him, and I’m not sure if I can really ever let someone in like that again.

While this is in no way like the narrative in The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe pretty aptly describes a bleak, lonely night, and some of those descriptors really resonate in the deep pit of loneliness I am feeling right now.

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—

           Nameless here for evermore.

In my case, Lenore- that rare, radiant maiden- is pure, unfettered connection. Lenore is intimacy. My Lenore is partnership, or the partnership that I thought I was going to have. It’s this echoing sense of loneliness, and fear that I’ll never find anyone to open up to again. More than that, it’s a fear that I might never experience mutual honesty, intimacy, and trust. I’m not sure who the raven is in this allegory, and, sure, there’s a lot of it that doesn’t align at all.

Don’t tell me that I will find someone someday, because I might not. Because when it comes to divorce? This grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous heart of mine croaks, “Nevermore.”

Bethany Roachnew, babelComment