This post idea came to me from Ghana. I got an email from a wonderful chump there who wrote to say she reads the blog. In telling me her story, she related that her D-Day happened just as she was taking her bar exams to be a lawyer. She said it in passing, as she was telling me the rest of her story, and her D-Day had been a few years back.
Her signature line however said “attorney” — so guys, she MADE IT. She suffered that kind of shock and betrayal and STILL managed to pass her exams and found employment as a lawyer.
Chumps are mighty.
I know many of us react to D-Day with collapse. We cannot eat or sleep — and yet we function. We go to work. We care for children. We walk the dogs. We get up with our hearts broken and we still get shit done.
Today I want to know what your success is, however modest you think it is. Tell me how you got back up into the land of the living.
Speaking for myself, I was working as a newspaper editor during my year of reconciliation hell (otherwise known as four D-Days). The first two, close together, were before I found a job. But I suffered two on the job, and I left him — scheduled the time off and had to tell my boss what was going on, because I was afraid he’d show up at my workplace.
Word got around in my small office. I was sitting at a meeting with four guys, my co-workers and the staff writer — a macho Puerto Rican guy — said to me, tearing up, “I don’t know how you did it. You had THAT going on in your life and you came to work every day and put out a newspaper? I would’ve cried in bed for a month.” He looked at me with respect, and I didn’t realize until he said it — hell, that was some kind of accomplishment. Somehow I did my job. And I did it pretty damn well.
Frankly, having a job with a major deadline each week gave my days structure. I could forget or at least distract myself. I could throw myself at work. And the camaraderie helped too. I felt like people appreciated me at work, I was surrounded by good folks. It put my cheater’s crazy in perspective.
When my D-Day hit, I’d just moved to a new state. I’d been married 6 months. I was isolated from my entire support system. So my first mighty accomplishment was finding a job. My next mighty accomplishment was keeping myself together at work while my home life fell apart. And my third mighty accomplishment was leaving him. I bought a house on the sly (took months), and executed an elaborately detailed escape plan.
I also did the single mom thing throughout as well. I feel awful my son had to live through all that, but I did my best to shield him from it. Organizing play dates, chaperoning school functions, ferrying him to school, friends, and activities.
I know I’m not alone here, chumps. You did these things too. You took that sucker punch and you got back up. You’re still up. Today tell me how you’re mighty.