Monday, January 13, 2020

First we Break. Then, we Grow

I couldn't believe when I opened the Blogger browser my homepage popped right up. Like I'd posted yesterday, like I'm not a stranger to this place, as if I'm here regularly. But not so. It's been well over a year since I wrote (I don't even remember my password to get in here), with my writing tapering off considerably the year before that. And many of you wondered "why?" The simple answer is this: when you are going through hell, it is very, very hard to write about it. You must get through it, and write about it on the other side.

I'm back. I'm not on the other side yet, not even close I'm afraid, but I'm at a place of reflection where I finally feel ready to share. I knew this time would come, because the need to write - to share, connect - for me, is as integral to my life as food and drink. Not writing hurt me deep in my soul, and I was lost without it, but I didn't want to force it or rush it, because that wouldn't be fair. Sure, I could've ignored the elephant in the room and written happily about this day or that, but it didn't feel right. It didn't feel honest. How could I write about a lovely day at the beach with the kids, while something so momentous and life-changing was going on in the background? How could I not give credence to that? I simply couldn't. So, I sat. Stuck.

I haven't been completely gone, as most of you know. I have been posting little glimpses into my life on Instagram (and Facebook) which has mildly satiated my urge to share. But as we all know (or should know) by now, no life is accurately depicted in a series of prettily arranged boxes on your screen. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but no picture could (or really, should) sum up what has been happening behind the liquid crystal curtain we all sit behind. Some of you began reading between the lines, and noticed something was amiss. But I wasn't ready to explain, to tell. The time wasn't right and, frankly, putting it out there would make everything more real, tangible and painful. Also? Many of you are not going to like what I am going to say and I will, once again, be opened up for scrutiny, judgement and God knows what else for telling my story.

As I alluded to in my New Year Instagram post, Scott and I have separated. We have been separated for a year now. While I understand this will come as a tremendous shock to many of you, to almost everyone closer to us, it was not. The demise of our marriage wasn't an implosion, or sudden impulse (as some might wish to believe) driven by rash decisions or clouded judgement, it was, rather, a slow erosion that began many, many years ago. It's impossible to say exactly what went wrong, if we could've altered course to change the outcome, or if we were just ill-suited from the get go... Suffice it to say, I have learned a lot this last year, and one of the things I have learned is that everyone has a story. And, more often than not, their story will serve their views and opinions. They will grab on for dear life to that story, convince others their story is true, and believe wholeheartedly that their version is the "right" version. But - as with all stories - there are two sides. What is truth for one person, is not the truth for another.The real story often lies somewhere in the middle. But the bottom line is, Scott and I were not good together. We both made a lot of mistakes over the years, hurting each other terribly in the process, while consistently and systematically bringing out the very worst in each other. By the time we realized how bad it had gotten (after years of on and off therapy), it was too late. I had nothing left to give and had been worn down to a version of myself I no longer knew. I truly saw no way out of the devastating and terribly unhealthy cycle and put a final stake in our marriage by finding refuge elsewhere, thus kicking off the most painful and difficult year of my life while simultaneously shattering the image I had unwittingly created of "the perfect family".

You see, breaking up a marriage is one thing. Breaking up a family? That's another. There are no words that encompass the magnitude of this anguish. The only one I can think of and use regularly is: agony. It is agony. While many - if not most - aspects of our life as a couple were unhealthy and toxic, there were many beautiful parts as well - namely our three girls - and it would be wrong to recall a decade together without recognizing that there was some magic in our union as well. Make no mistake, the dissolution of  a marriage is a death. And just like any death, it is a devastating loss. The grief and sorrow come in waves and without warning. The memories trickle in and trigger tears without consideration of time and place. Then come the pain, guilt, and shame. They are so very heavy and always there, camped out in a spot in your heart where they will live forever. You don't forget and move on, these new roommates make space. You learn to live with this little hole in your being, and try as you might, it cannot be filled with anything, ever. You must acknowledge the presence, recognize you are a different person, and adjust. This is much easier said than done, I'm afraid.

Scott and I have been very good about putting the kids first and being as cordial and civil as possible, and the kids, for the most part, are doing amazingly well considering. We share custody, we live five minutes from one another (I am on the boat with the kids, he in a condo down the road), and we attend recitals, school events and the like together. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day together as a family at Scott's house with some friends, we laughed and hugged and had a great time. We are trying as best we can. It's hard, I cannot lie. And there are many days I think "Is this all a dream? Will this pain go away? Will all this be worth it? Will this ever get easier?" and my friends and family assure me, that no, this is not a dream, yes, this is for the best and for sure it will get easier. But friends, it's hard. It is so, so, so very hard.

This new year has brought me a sense of release and purpose that I have not had. I can now write again, share my feelings and pain as well as my triumphs and adventures. I'm inspired and free. This unfortunate development is yet another layer in my life, and something I cannot ignore or gloss over. It is there, and will be here. This has been, and will continue to be my safe space in which to share. And I truly believe that maybe by sharing as honestly as I can (without airing dirty laundry or being disrespectful) it will lead me to a better place and, if I'm lucky, maybe help someone like me feel less alone.

Because we are never alone.

I am ready to share again but I understand if some of you no longer want to stay here. That's okay too.

Thank you for being patient with me.


Marie said...

I divorced 13 years ago; after 32 years of marriage. It was awful; painful and a lot of crying happened. It will not be easy; but life goes on. Just keep telling yourself; "this too shall pass". And when it comes down to it; it's your life and you need to live it. As best as you can.

Genevieve the lovely said...

I feel you 💕 I've been there, I am there. The new is good. The new is scary. The new is now whether we want it or not. Thank you for sharing and reminding us that we can and will come out stronger xoxo

Lynn Doug Macfarlane said...

My heart goes out to you all.

Walt Neuman said...

I have been following your blog since you were aboard Rasmus in the Bahamas. I have always been a bit in awe of your willingness to share your joys and your journey. Thank you for that.
I love your photos and I love your view of the world.
And now you have shared a deep sorrow in your life as well. I wish there were words to say to ease this pain, but I know from my own divorce that there are not. But I also know that it does get better.
Each day the sun rises and we get stronger. Thank you for wanting to continue to write and share. I will continue to read and marvel at the photos and your view of the world.

Jacobs said...

❤️ been there, many have..very hard journey but you will heal. The pieces will always be there and tickle the memory of a moment-but sometime in the future it won’t trigger tears will stimulate reflection and knowledge and strength. Sending hugs. It’s so heart wrenching to break up a many of us can relate. Heal and get back to writing and finding your path - we are cheering for you!

Jules said...

Thank you for sharing. I have also been there. You will get through this, and you will be better than ever. ❤️

Sainted said...

I am sorry for your loss. If its any consolation, that's some pretty good writing up there, with the kind of insights that only strongly felt emotion can bring. I won't say "you'll be ok". As you've acknowledged, pain changes you. It is an effective teacher. Don't let it make you afraid to try again. All the best.

ibyte8bits said...

What I missed the most after our divorce was being married and the kids. I am sorry for you, but as the rest of the comments confirm: this is difficult, and it will pass. Thanks for sharing. Your sharing helps us all.

Chris on S/V Radio Waves said...

Brittany - I've not been through what you're going through, so won't pretend that I know how you're feeling, but as an empath, reading your words hurts deep down in my heart and I can feel your agony flying off the screen of the phone I'm reading on...the fixer in me wishes I knew what to say or do to help even the teensiest bit, but the realist in me knows that I can't. Big hugs to all of you as you work through this difficult time and figure out your new reality.


P.S. Anyone who chooses to "unfollow" you based on your honesty is certainly going to be the one losing out...your perspective and your photos are beautiful! ��

Ladyofthelakes said...

I’m sorry to hear about your marriage .... but it sounds like you are doing what you need to do for the girls to get through this... I hope you can find peace & happiness as time goes by.... keep writing...

MaryJo Boyle said...

Hey Brittany, anyone who who chooses to judge you and share their ignorant views can go take a flying leap off a short pier! Just continue to be the great mother that you've been and know that you have many of us fans who wish you all the best and who do not pretend to know what's best for you or your family.
Best wishes and warm regards to you and the girls,

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for the turmoil you all have been through, and are going through. You are so strong and brave for sharing this. You're going to help so many people grow by being real and honest about your journey. There are so many things I want to say, but you are a wise, old soul-- you already know. The Universe unfolds as it should. <3

Unknown said...

I've read your post and the other readers comments. Like many people, I too have been in a similar place in my marriage. We have two girls and they are the glue that helped keep us together. Them and our faith. From what I read you all are only separated and not divorced? I would like to share one thing, it takes a lot but you all can get through this and make it work. Don't give up.

Dawn said...

I am so sorry that you are all going through this. I asked my husband of 19 years for a divorce and it was one of the hardest periods of my life for sure. We did not have children so that made things easier for us to separate. Your story just sounds so similar to ours, and I am in tears writing this now. It was so very hard, but we can do hard things. It gets better and we are better as friends now. If you haven’t read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton, go do it now!! ❤️❤️

Denise said...

Wow honey, I'm so sorry for all that has happened. I applaud your honesty and bravery in posting this latest post. Time will heal everything, just look after your beautiful self and those gorgeous girls xx

dbram.sail said...

Live. Experience happiness wherever you can find it. Let your children see how you handle this, they learn more from what we do, than what we say. Don't hide the pain, be honest with them, in so doing, you are equiping them to better handle difficulty in their later years. If you hide the pain, they will think they are failures when it is time for them to learn their own life lessons.

Amanda Sutter said...

I just wanted you to know how I've missed your writing! I literally looked multiple times to see if somehow my email was eating your blogs. I think the rich and open way you share reflections of life is really beautiful, and so necessary in a world where "the perfect life" is all we can see on social media. I'm very sorry to hear of the hard year that you've had and happy you are ready to share your words with us again. All in due time and hopefully the sharing brings you solace. Know lots of us are sending you and your kiddos lots of love. Here's to a better 2020, one day at a time.

Anonymous said...

I've been in your place too (45 years ago)and, yes, it was heart-breaking. But when the divorce was final, I felt like I had been released from prison.

Anastasie Martin said...

When we let go & stop forcing everything can finally fall into place. I recall knowing it was time for my ex & myself to part ways & as we dove in different directions of the great vast sea I was terrified. Everything I knew & had created could fall apart. We had a son together, businesses, a bond built on 15 years. But I was finally ready to risk losing everything to find myself. I knew another’s love could never fill the void I had felt in my heart. It was time for me to do the work. My ex & I have been apart for 4 years now. It was not easy but it was necessary. I have learned & am learning to trust what I dont know. What I have seen so far is with openness & devine trust the pieces can fall where they best fit & like a universal magnet drawn to our energetic frequencies what is meant to support us will stay & the rest falls away. I had always wanted to have openness, honesty, support, respect, equality & acceptance with my ex. I thought if I stayed I could create an armor I could force him into being the person I thought he should be & I would keep him safe. But it didn’t work like that. He’s his own perfectly imperfect soul as I am - both here to experience, learn & grow. As life would have it after we separated we finally began to grow the relationship I had wished we could have for over 15 years. We both have partners that better compliment us however our relationship has blossomed. We have an open, supportive, accepting & open relationship where honesty & trust can live & thrive. We are closer than I could have ever imagined. Perhaps some think “how sad” or “unfortunate” we did not “make it” but I wouldn’t change a thing. I think it’s brilliant how the universe works her magic when we allow her to take control. May you find your bliss. With Love Anastasie (Nico & Scott from BVI)

Martha said...

Dear friend (I don't you in real life but I feel like I do because of this blog). I am so sorry to hear this, but am happy that you are successfully co-parenting and figuring out how to make yourself happy. That's really all we have in life. Sending love from Colorado.

Mike Tehensky said...

I have been following your blog for many many years and just assumed life got in the way of your beautiful words. I’m sorry to hear of this - but smile to know as another person said above - the sun will rise, the smiles will continue, and God does have a plan for you. Keep smiling!!!

Sarah Frank said...

Without shadow the light isn’t as beautiful.

Thinking about you.

Kevin said...

Brittany I have been enjoying your posts on Instagram for a couple of years. Your girls are adorable. It’s been a pleasure watching them grow. You have a knack for catching their expressions which are priceless. I was very sorry to read of the burden you’ve been carrying for the last number of years. You seem to be able to see the good even when your world is in turmoil. Certainly your daughters are the good. Our sister went through divorce a number of years ago and if was her focus on her kids that helped her through it.

Although we have not met, I suspect you know my twin as he works at Nanny Quay, Mike MacLean. I’ll be visiting the BVI with my wife in April. It would be great to meet you and your girls while there and share a cold beverage.

Stay strong for yourself and your girls as they will need you


WJtraveler said...

It's obvious your healing has begun. Life is a long road with many curves and bumps. It's our job to stay on the road . As for other peoples opinions we all see things from different angles, we can't frame the perfect picture unless we see all angles, which we never will. Keep writing we missed your blog.

Carol & Stuart
McAllen Texas

Dan Boney said...

Ugh, Brittany – Having followed your journey over the past decade (I first found you & Scott when you acquired “Rasmus” – I’m a two-time H-R owner…) this is really heartbreaking. But being on my second marriage, I also can “get it”…

You undoubtedly have marriage magnification overload – Living on a boat/small space (highs & lows x 10…), running your own business/unpredictable income, raising three children, and sharing it all online – which can be expansive fulfillment for some or an intrusive burden for others – there just doesn’t seem to be much time for the two of you and above everything else you married each other which is a lifelong priority. Affairs work because they’re skimming only the top 10% of a relationship – Nobody has an affair to do laundry, housekeeping, or finances. You need to have an affair with each other. Scott has a hot, smart, creative wife that many of us would envy. The fact that you’re willing to live on boat puts you in the top 1% for us sailors. His challenge and requirement is to manage the mundane and lessen the lows better. I don’t think that most men handle all those marriage moving parts as well as women – I also followed Taru & Alex’s sailing adventures and although I have no real knowledge of how that relationship went south, apparently it did once career and child needs took over… Guys can become corroded, difficult versions of themselves once it gets too complicated… A tough reality, but can happen if we don’t evolve. You are at least living in the perfect internal affair backdrop – I met my to-be second wife on charter trip in the Caribbean twenty years ago, we engaged on another one a year later, and married then honeymooned in the BVI the following year and have been back several times since – Without a doubt it has been the “best of days”, and I saw that even with my wife puking her guts out with food poisoning with us stuck at the dock in SpanishTown on one of those honeymoon nights… (roasted elephant garlic - bad...). STILL the best! You’re in the proper place to re-boot – on the flip side, those of us on the big land are over-stressed with polarizing politics, crushing healthcare expenses, 24x7 workaholism, mass gun violence, excessively large vehicles full of people trying to get somewhere else and apparently always late – We have complexified life to the point where we now wear smartwatches to count our steps, track our sleep, and remind us to stand up (?!) which would have seemed ludicrous twenty years ago… You’re at least in a place where a relationship re-boot is possible… But there's undoubtedly much about your own situation that I don't know so I won't pretend to have all the answers either, just have a bit of "perspective"...Either way, absolutely wishing you the best outcome for both of you! One life to live, and we best make the most of it...

Michael Robertson said...

Hey Brittany, sharing may feel like something you need, for you, but it's also a service to humanity. We are storytellers and shared experience is how we learn and grow. The value of good and willing storytellers like you cannot be overstated. It's the argument I always put forth to others who are critical of technology that has made our world so much smaller, those critical of the "over-sharing culture" and social media, etc. It's not all roses, there are drawbacks, but I think there is a net good to it all. All the best to you and thank you.

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Melissa Jelsema said...

So sorry to read your hurt. You are a beautiful person with amazing little girls. And a born reading your posts. Life is short and you deserve happiness where ever you may find it. One day at a time. Go slow to process things and learn and grow from the expirerance. Best to you, Melissa

Mike from Boston said...

I an a seasonal BVI sailor and have followed your blog for years.In addition to your writing skill, I have always been impressed with your openness, integrity and emotional honesty.I have read about both the joys of your girls and your heartaches post Irma. As I read your recent blog I thought of your fellow writer Faulkner who, somewhat paraphrased, said you will not merely endure but will prevail, because of your soul capable of compassion, sacrifice and endurance.
While it may take some time, you too will prevail over the hurricane you now find yourself in. Hope all the best for you and your girls.

Anonymous said...

Hi there Brittany,

I'm so glad your back to writing and sharing your journey. I'm 28 and haven't had many long term relationships. A partner and I just parted ways a month ago and I could so relate to the emotions you're going through. I'm living on my boat with my new puppy and although she can be challenging at times, she's been such a gift too.

I think that when we live out of alignment we have to fragment parts of ourselves, to put pieces in exile. I've discarded pieces of myself to live with another and now that the person is gone, I'm left without him and pieces of my sou that I pushed away. A lot of the pain seems to be in waiting for those pieces to be able to return. To grow into myself fully once again.

Wishing you and your family the best, as you grow into the healthiest, truest, versions of yourselves! Congratulations on this next chapter, I'm so excited to follow along.


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Carl Lambert said...

I hadn’t been around your blog in years, since making the jump myself in 2016 as a 54 year old single male. I sold everything and moved from Florida to the Philippines. And so it was, for me as for many, a bit of melancholy to read this post. But this is life, and we each live several lives, each with a new cast of characters, new sets, new plots. I’d long felt a desire to break free of the workaday life, to live a life of adventure, and so I saved and invested through a 26 year career and finally reached that point where anything is possible. And now it’s four years in to the adventure, stuck here in Cebu Philippines (officially the most locked down city in earth, weeks ago surpassing the 86 days of Wuhan’s period of lockdown. And I’m thinking, what’s next, what new adventure to chase, what new life will I embark upon next. As a still single male, with wealth, my options are wide open, and so I thought of sailing, and so I came back around to the old sailing blogs I used to follow. And so I landed here. And while I’m dismayed at your situation, for you and Scott and all involved, long life has conditioned me to not be shocked and not to dwell. This too shall pass, as will the lockdowns and the disruptions of the pandemic. You will emerge into a new life with new horizons. As the youngest of three raised by a single mother, I’m well aware of the responsibilities that weigh upon you. I saw my mother’s dreams pass to us kids, and she never quite got to experience the adventures she dreamed about. But you have, and you know that it’s possible, with kids in tow, and that it enriches rather than diminishes their own lives. So seek new adventures, dare to dream and find your way to get to the jump. I gave faith in you. And I’ll check back in here from time to time to see that you are keeping your course true and with the wind. Your friend, among many, Carl.

Youri said...

I followed your blog more than 5 years ago but eventually stopped. Now, I have 2 girls (3 years and 2 months old). In about 2 years, my wife and I are buying a boat and leaving for the Caribbean with our girls, maybe by the long road like you did. You have been an inspiration and because of you I know that this is possible. I just came back to the blog to see how it went with the twins since my wife and I were discussing having a 3rd baby while travelling. Thanks for being an inspiration for us despite what happened. I'm sorry for what you are going through and wish you the best.

Lauren said...

It's been a while since I've been on your blog, as I've fallen off my own writing and haven't been reading others either.

I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through right now. It has to be SO HARD, and I can't see how anyone can judge you after reading such an agonizing and heartfelt post.

Sending you and your family so much love. I look forward to your next posts, especially given the current situation in the world. I'd love to get an update from wherever you are.

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Google Ads Experts HCM said...

I have never been through like you but my mom does and I can feel how you feel. But stay strong is what we need to do right now

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