According to the Kubler-Ross model and a recent article I found on Huffington Post, there are five stages of grief that you endure after a traumatic event. They are: Stage 1: Denial; Stage 2: Anger; Stage 3: Bargaining; Stage 4: Depression; and Stage 5: Acceptance. I call bullshit on it all ending with five steps and acceptance. I mean, really. It takes 12 steps to get through Alcoholics Anonymous and those steps are repeated over and over again, anonymously. You can’t convince me that unwinding “until death do you part” and all the associated paperwork only has a fallout of five steps, especially when divorce requires no admission of fault. At least AA requires some acknowledgment of responsibility in the fuck-up. In divorce, it’s fault free. So I think we should get at least get six stages to get through the fault free bullshit.
So, allow me to introduce Stage 6 to the stages of grief after a divorce. Stage 6: The Divorcesary. The divorcesary is what I decided to celebrate on the day my divorce was final, year after year. Because you should end the intervention of the legal system in your personal life with a celebration.
In Judaism, we observe a yartzheit. It is the observance of the death of a beloved parent, spouse, or other significant loved one. For me, I wanted to observe the death of my marriage. I did not want to be divorced. I wanted to be married forever and ever. But in the end, that wasn’t possible. So I chose to celebrate the end of my marriage with a divorcesary. And for the divorcesary, which is in June, every year, I now buy myself a pair of red shoes. We all choose our form of observance and remembrance. This is mine.
Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, wore red shoes. She had the power all along to take herself home. I finally bought myself a pair of Louboutins this year. Louboutins have red soles. They are my power shoes. When I see other women wearing them, I get it. They are our power ties. We have the power to take ourselves home, to bust down the glass ceiling, to kick ass.
The divorcesary marks the anniversary of the day I stepped out into my own life, in bad ass high heels. When I got married, I had to get a marriage license. And that was pretty much it. Hell, even my dogs can get licenses. Divorce takes a lot more paperwork. Even though I’m an attorney, I felt like the amount of paperwork and agony required to end what only took a license to begin was breathtaking. Red shoes helped.
However you choose to celebrate those moments of your life when you realize that you have momentum and choice, whether it’s red shoes, champagne, a trip, or a donation to a deserving charity, cheers to you and our anniversaries and our divorcesaries. May we always celebrate the endings as well as the beginnings, because each of them brings us to the place where we are today. Life is good. Keep going.