My last blog post was fourteen months ago. It’s been a hell of a year. As implied by the title, I have been going through some changes in my life, and it’s not lost on me that while the time away for a personal reboot was necessary, I’m painfully aware that I’ve remained silent for too long.
You know that feeling you get when you need to cry while talking, and you choke it down until your throat burns? It’s called the Globus sensation, resulting from two opposing muscular forces fighting for control. First is the fear of profound sadness. That fear engages the sympathetic nervous system. As a result, your throat and vocal muscles widen to allow more oxygen to fill your lungs. This response is preparing the body for a sudden escape. However, while you are busy trying not to cry, continued attempts to talk pull the vocal folds back together. The increased effort to expand the throat and the tension created by speech contractions trigger that blasted pain in the throat. Consequently, it feels as though you are literally choking back the tears.
That physiological contradiction is not the only gymnastics I performed while processing a separation and divorce. The emotional gymnastics I attempted to land were the most insightful. I’m not going to fill this article with salacious private details. Still, I’ll step into my truth by saying that numerous attempts to be okay with failed reparative measures made me realize the mind is a powerful protectant. If the Globus sensation is two opposing actions fighting for muscle control, then cognitive dissonance is its emotional counterpart. Let me give you an example. Imagine repeating this phrase multiple times to yourself, “Well, that effort didn’t work. But I think I’m okay.” All the while knowing in your gut that you are, in fact, NOT okay. Cognitive dissonance allows two opposing beliefs to coexist. I became a pro at this.
It took nearly three years to wrestle with myself and each other before the final decree arrived in the mail. Divorce is no small decision, whether you’ve been together for five or thirty-five years. But we’ve come out the other side still standing and still friends, committed to a cooperative and supportive future for our family—no more conflicting forces fighting for control. We now move forward with authentic expression and holistic steps toward peace. I am more than okay and ready to write again.
All that to say, my voice has returned.