Thursday

I am divorced. Hear me roar.

I think most people would agree, being labeled as "divorced" sucks.
Filling out forms and having to mark that little checkbox, not the married or single one, but the one that screams "wow you really screwed that one up, didn't you?" - can make you feel like the black sheep of society. There are lots of examples I can give about how divorcees are given a bad rap. 

But divorce can also teach some pretty powerful, lifelong lessons that are worthy of making us feel proud. Here are a few things that being divorced has taught me…

• Basics of Survival - Putting a roof over my kids' head, making sure they're fed, have clean running water and heat. These are obvious, but if you've ever felt like they've been in jeopardy, or wondered how you were going to make them happen, then you know how it feels to have the weight of the world on your shoulders.

• Accountability - "Why isn't the heat coming on, what could be wrong with the furnace?" Um, how about that you forgot to get oil? Yeah, when it's the middle of the winter in New England and you realize you have no heat because the oil is out, then there's noone to blame but yourself. The oil company now asks me when I call "Are you completely out?" At least they're on my side.

Or how about this one - you take a look at your bank statement - "Who went to the shoe store last week?", "Who spent $40 on wine?", "Who bought 4 cable movies last month?" Yeah, that would be me, me, and me. Being accountable for every thing that happens financially and logistically is scary, but it certainly teaches you to put your ducks in a row.

• Guy/ girl stuff - Things you might not typically do if you were living with someone of the opposite sex. For me these are taking out the trash every week, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and my own personal favorite - starting the grill!! I've even been known to handle some light plumbing and household maintenance. Now, I know that lots of women can start a grill, but I couldn't, so that's another thing I can cross of my list, or add to my list of accomplishments. And my kids think it's pretty cool too.

• World of Responsibility - The huge stuff. Emergencies. The roof is leaking. The power is out (for 8 days). These are major disruptions in life that can almost be paralyzing, and having a support system is HUGE, but knowing that you've already handled all of the above prepares you to take control of the situation. You just do it, because you have to.

Wow, divorcees rock! That goes for single parents, too. There's something to be said for taking control of your life, in good times or bad, and knowing that you can handle anything that comes along. Nobody can be expected to be strong as steel all of the time. That's what the wine is for. And friends. And family. And neighbors.

What do you find challenging about being divorced? Or what have you overcome that you've been proud of? Do you know someone that's single that you admire for all that they are able to take on?