Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Club None of Us Wanted to Join

“When you get divorced you become a spokesperson for the club none of us wanted to join.”

That’s what one of my friends told me when I got divorced.  He predicted that people would start coming to me talking about what it’s like to be divorced, asking questions about the process, asking for recommendations for divorce lawyers, asking if it’s worth it to put your children and your family through all of that. 

And I thought to myself that the club would be better off electing me the club treasurer than the club spokesperson.
Because I have no clue what to say, club.  Really, no clue. 

Can I tell you something?  And let's pretend it's relevant, but really I just want to tell you.  My sister?  She goes straight to the source.  No spokesperson required. 

Let's see, back to our topic.  Over time I found there was truth to my friend’s assertion.  Some people did come to me with questions like that. 
But if you keep your radio tuned to only one frequency you’re only going to pick up one channel. 
I turned the dial around and I realized that people were not only opening up to me about marital issues, they were coming to me about all kinds of things. 
Caring for their parents, grieving their dog’s death, trying to conceive a baby, worrying about their kids’ college fund, stressing over their children’s grades, waiting for the results of a biopsy, staying overnight in the hospital with a loved one, burying a brother…

I’m not sure what triggered this exactly.  It might have been my divorce.  It might have been the fact that I was tuning my dial into them and listening.  Maybe people can tell that because I’ve been through the fire of a divorce I won’t judge them for whatever they’re going through.  Maybe they sense that a chord in me will sound along with theirs. 

Whatever the reason, I found that my friend was right, I did become a spokesperson.  But it was for a different club, one I’ve always wanted to join. 

It is the Club of Being Real With Each Other. 

I’m Melanie Gao, and I’m here to take your questions. 



Nancy Kleinert said...

I really do like being real with you!!

Melanie Gao said...

Same here, Nancy! In fact I clearly remember that I cried the first time we ever talked in the fall of 2011. Thank you for being real.

KNelson said...

I think it's a great asset as a person to have a friendly & caring perspective which you obviously emanate to others who feel "safe" talking to you about all types of concerns. Maybe you should look into being a counselor-you'd be good at it! :) You should listen to Mandisa's album that has "real" in the title-it definitely resonates with the message your wrote above..


Melanie Gao said...

Thanks Karin! How lucky we are that Jeff brought such awesome people with him into the family. I'll check out that Mandisa album, and will ponder whether the family could handle another counselor. :). XO

T said...

Goodness, you're divorced?! I've followed your blog on-and-off for a while and I'm surprised and saddened that your marriage has ended. I hope everything has worked out for the best for everyone involved.

Melanie Gao said...

Hi T, I was surprised and sad too but my divorce taught me that there are a lot of things in life we can't control. Sometimes we have to look at the options in front of us, choose the least bad one, and get on with it. The kids and I are doing really well so yes, I'd say things are working out for the best.

Thank you for being here. Off and on visitors are sometimes the best because they recognize differences from one visit to the next. :)