October 26, 2016


Last week, it ended ... for the most part. There's still a hearing to come, which has unfortunately been delayed due to our recent hurricane, but should be done next week. But it's signed - by both parties. The hard part is done.

My marriage, long deceased, was finally laid to rest. It's both devastating and relieving, and the tears I shed walking out of my lawyer's office were certainly sourced from both sadness and optimism. Everything about this relationship, from its birth to its life to its end, has been complicated. As nice as it finally is to have financial help from my now officially ex-husband, the greatest relief is being able to have my simplicity back.

And, soon enough - my name.

I never wanted to change it, and felt pressured to, not unlike the marriage itself. After everything I had gone through in the previous years - the weight loss, the cross-country move, the pregnancy - I wanted to cling to any shred of anything in which I could recognize myself. I didn't realize just how critical my name was to my identity - with nearly a lifetime of crushes' last names doodled in the margins of diaries, it was always a fantasy life goal.

I never thought it would feel like that. I never thought it would feel like as much of a sacrifice as it did, as much of a loss.

Of course, in the fantasies, the boy from middle school homeroom and the guy down the hall in college all reciprocated my feelings, they wanted that future as much as I did. Maybe the disappointment wasn't in taking on someone's last name, but in taking on the last name of someone so deeply detached and unloving.

One of the biggest goals of my journey has been figuring out who I am. The answer to that is fluid and complex, which it always has been, but it's certainly not a bad thing. The answer to the question about my identity has shifted in every different iteration of myself, not just over the last few years. I was a depressed and obese kid in Chicago with a brand-new Masters degree and time on my hands, and I became a fit runner with a brand-new outlook on life. I became a Californian, and had my very first experience with organic romance. Just as soon as it began, it ended, and I returned to Chicago for rapid fire successive new chapters: becoming a mom, becoming a southerner, becoming a wife.

I don't know if the girl who started this blog would recognize the person I was a year later, three years later, or now. I do know, though, that even if I knew then what I know now, knew that I would lose 150+ pounds, that I would gain nearly all of it back, that I would run a half marathon, that I would get divorced ... I would still have started on that journey. Every heartbreak, every tear, every bit of anxiety and chaos would make me an incredible and multifaceted teacher, mother, sister, daughter, friend.

The name of the blog came from a dream I'd had, where I unzipped my skin and my bones went for a walk. The wind was whipping through my rib cage and making the most beautiful music, but I couldn't hear it, because my ears were left behind with the skin. "A small loss," Dream-Me thought to herself, in a moment of revelation that brought motion to plans I'd always talked about but never acted on in my waking life. I was willing to sacrifice my senses in order to feel what it felt like to be unburdened by the weight I struggled to carry around - that was how I knew, this was my time, I was ready for change.

I'm turning 30 in a few weeks. Six years on this blog, it's a fifth of my life. Certainly the busiest fraction, and not one I am likely soon to forget. As difficult as some goodbyes are, this one actually doesn't feel too bad. There's closure, and as sad as a divorce is, it's an interesting bookend to the story I started in 2010. A lot of blogs end abruptly, the writers disappearing without a trace, leaving us wondering. But this - this feels like sweeping up the floor, putting the chairs up on the tables, turning off the light, and locking the door behind me.

Today, it ends. Not my story, but this chapter of it. Thank you, endlessly and always, for sharing this part of my life with me.


If you would like to continue reading, I am now writing at a new site. It is open by invitation only, for privacy reasons. Please email me at asmallloss [at] gmail [dot] com with your preferred email address for accessing the new site. This site will remain open until November 5, 2016, then will be marked for deletion.

UPDATE: So, a good problem to have, but one I wasn't anticipating: apparently there's a limit to 100 readers on a private blog. I was expecting maybe 10 people to email me ... I stopped counting at 300. I'm working on figuring out how to get people in - sorry for the delay if you emailed me but can't get in yet!


CarolineCalcote said...

Mary, I have so enjoyed getting to "know" you through all of these years. I'm not sure when we "met", but I think I have been here through most of your blog journey if not from the very beginning. Life is not always easy for any of us, but I have always felt that you were so strong and smart and good. I have felt pain for you when you were going through rough patches and felt joy with you when wonderful things happened for you as well. I have always felt that you would persevere and come out on top...and you have proven me correct. You are an amazing person and an amazing mom. I can't wait to see what is in store for you!

Unknown said...

It's been really amazing and inspiring reading your story - I hope the next phase of your life is your best yet!

Janine said...

I've been quietly following your blog for a few years now and just wanted to wish you much luck with the future and the new you.