Divorce is rarely easy, but it is often necessary. When I announced The Ex and I were splitting it was like the shot heard round the world. Everyone in our respective circles lost their collective minds. We had put up a good front for a long time, a really long time. And in one moment it became clear that not all that glitters is gold. But when you’ve spent your formative years with someone, while simultaneously coming from a religious family and living in a society that puts marriage on a pedestal, there is a tremendous amount of push back. You go from being “figured out” to having an asterisk next to your relationship status. You are now outside the realm of what’s expected and while you’re working through the pain, rage, and lingering love, everyone wants you to go back to the what they understand. You’re inundated with excuses made on your previous spouse's behalf and reminded that marriage is work. And of course, there come the pleas for you to pray on it and trust god. These fall as acid upon your broken godless heart; burning any hopes that your chosen path will be walked with an entourage of loved ones by your side.
I found myself standing on the path to my future but for the first time, there were no light posts. No more destination points. I was fully in charge of how life proceeded and often felt wholly alone. So why continue on the road of darkness and uncertainty? Why not take the easy way out and go back to what everyone expected?
Well, for starters, I’ve never been a fan of doing what others wanted me to do simply so they can be comfortable; especially if it was at the determent of my mental and physical well-being. More importantly, I had to consider my children. Godless parenting is more than raising kids who question religion. It’s about raising children that question the world, the institutions in place, the traditions, and how they wish to interact with the arbitrary societal expectations. The heart of godless parenting is teaching our children how to be designers of their own lives while simultaneously teaching them how to be decent loving human beings.
When it came to my first marriage I realized that The Ex and I had reached a point where the only healthy way forward was separately and the only way to ensure I taught my children how to love and respect themselves was to first and foremost love and respect myself enough to end my toxic marriage.
When I broke away from religion a little more than a decade ago I did so in order to live an authentic life where my children saw that it was OK to not have the answers and that we owe ourselves and others more than “because god did it" or "that's what the bible says" responses. We owe ourselves a doctrine of love and respect and not for a blind authority, but for ourselves and humanity.
Since I reset the narrative of my life I’ve been fortunate to be the person other friends turn to as they love themselves enough to show their children what bravery looks like.
Is divorce easy in a society that still overwhelming expects us to fall to our knees and maintain the status quo? No. Does it mean it’s the worst thing in the world? Absolutely not. Sometimes the most compassionate thing we can do is let people go so that they, as well as we, can find happiness and live our collective truths.
It is imperative to me ,while raising godless heathens, that they see an example of someone living an their authentic truth founded in free thought. This means showing them that sometimes being brave means breaking toxic traditions and setting out in the world on a road where they are the navigator and nothing is written until it’s finished.
Copyright(c)2019 Rayven Holmes
“You have three kids?!” The question falls out of the mouth of an acquaintance and rings out across the table of a crowded bar. “How do you have time to hang out?!” It’s a question I’m not unfamiliar with. Even when I was “happily” married, people often inquired about how I managed to do anything with three kids. Since my divorce came with sole custody of my children, the question comes more frequently.
I respond now, as I did pre-divorce, with a simple shrug and a joke or two about never sleeping. The reality is that I don’t do it all. My life happens, just as it always had, because I prioritize what’s important to me versus what I or my family wants or needs. How do I have time to run? How do I have time to see friends? Teach my kids? Work? Brush my teeth? Sleep? Get laid? I prioritize what I can do, accept that which I can’t do, and buy stock in Energizer.
Truth be told, we can’t do it all. None of us. “Doing it all” is a lie sold to us to keep us too busy to enjoy this one little life we have. We’re inundated with planners, Pinterest organization ideas, and books about creating a 25th hour in our day. While some of it can be useful, and I utilize a number of tips and tricks to make the most of my time, at the end of my day I still only had 24 hours to use. Those 24 hours are precious. They are little lives inside our minuscule existence. So, what do I do with my 24 hours to give the illusion of “doing it all”?
I trade doing the dishes for a pizza and beer with friends. Sure, I could put having an immaculate house over my friends but, when I’m on my deathbed those dishes won’t mean shit to me. The relationships I have and maintain will, though. Why should I put dishes before connecting with friends in person?
I swap teaching time for meetings and arrange meetings around appointments. School can happen at any time of the day, it’s one of the perks of homeschooling, most businesses operate during traditional business hours. I acknowledge that and adjust our schedule accordingly when needed.
My grass hasn’t been cut in two weeks. It’s not a priority and eventually the autumn leaves will overtake my yard and after the boys and I have shared a fun day of rolling in the piles I’ll care because who the hell wants to bag all that shit up?
I plan weekly runs and refuse to do anything else during that time that isn’t crucial to the health and well-being of my family because my health and well-being are important too.
I delegate chores to my children. I can’t afford to have someone come in and clean my home, cut my grass, or run my errands. But I have three healthy kids who can pick up after themselves, make meals, scrub a toilet, and put the groceries away when I get home from the store. It builds character, plus my pee goes in the toilet bowl so why should I scrub that crude on the bottom?
I’m constantly negotiating with Me, Myself, and I. We’re always having discussions about what’s important and why. There are plenty of people who would, and do, tell me I don’t prioritize properly. In their opinion, the clothes should be folded, my car should be clean, and every single deadline I have should be met ahead of schedule before I plop my ass on the couch and binge watch Netflix while plowing through my kids’ Halloween candy. I wager there are plenty of people in your life who will have something to say about the way you prioritize your 24 hours.
To those people, I say Fuck You!
Yes, a big giant fuck you. Why? Because our 24 hours belong to us and we are free to make of them what we wish. Ask yourself, are my kids fed and cared for to the best of my ability? Are my bills paid? Do I still have a job? If the answer is yes, who the hell cares if you put the dishes off one more night? No, your house won’t be picture perfect, you won’t always get to say yes to that night out with friends, or that second bedtime story but, you’ll be sane and connected to yourself and those who matter most which is far more fucking important than a spotless kitchen.
As someone who has danced with the depression devil her whole life, I’m far more interested in doing what I need to feel human over “doing it all” to appear superhuman to people whose opinions don’t matter in the long run. “All” is an unrealistic goal that no one human can reach on their own. And who of us has the funds for the team of people needed to do it all and do it well? No damn body I know. So say fuck it, prioritize your life based on what you and your family need and in the immortal words of Elsa when it comes to everything else “Let it go”.
Let that shit go.
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