I spent a good chunk of the past few years feeling like I’ve had a couple of giant letters stenciled to everything I owned. One was the letter “D” for divorce and the other letter was for “L” for loser. They were letters only visable to me.
The letter “d” was a hard one to get used to at first. Especially when you are starting out on this road. People in my family tend to stay together (better or worse, thick and thin, rich or poor). Whenever I go to a family function, I used to feel like I stood out. I had a wife, now I didn’t. I’d get a ride from my parents to a party or holiday gathering or whatever. Even though no one made me feel that way, I always felt like all eyes were on me. Even when I’d go to just hang out with my friends, everyone was either married or had a girlfriend. When July of 2009 came around and I moved back in with my parents. I like there was this giant letter on my back that stood for divorce. I couldn’t move forward as long as I wore this letter. I carried it around like this giant rock on my back. It was heavy and it hurt.
I’ve struggled financially these past 4 years. I’ve had troubles with keeping the personal aspects of my life out of the office. It has led me to be out of work for periods of time. It has caused me great financial difficulty, near ruin. I’d look at where I was pre divorce and then were I was, and it would be a reminder of just how far I’ve fallen. It was neither pretty nor fun. Losing everything will suck the life right out of you. I’d show up to parties with family or friends or whatever and people are talking about their great jobs and how they do this and that. And you are looking at the calander and trying to figure out the next time you can go to the food pantry. Or trying to come up with an excuse to tell your son that you can’t buy him all the legos in the world and why hiking in the woods is more exciting then going to see a movie in the movie theatre. I talked about the letter “d” being heavy. The letter “L” weighs twice as much, and hurts quite a bit.
Wearing both of those letters can make you bitter, resentful, angry, and any other host of words-if you let them. I let those letters rule my life for a really long time.
I woke up one day in January and let the letter “D” stop ruling my life. Then I took a look in the mirror one morning, realized that my divorce did not idenify who I was or what I was. There was more to me then just this guy going through a rough divorce.
It took me awhile longer to shed the letter “L”. One Sunday after a weekend of hiking, riding scooters, and watching James Bond with #5. He said to me, “this was a really fun weekend, dad. I had a great time”. I felt that letter “L” slide off my back. That, maybe for all of the struggles I am not a loser (no matter what the critics may say). And that any day you are above dirt is a day you are not a loser.
I am far from perfect and have a long way to go. Shedding my letters was a big step in the right direction.
I choose to not be bitter, I choose to be better.
My parents taught my sister and I to be citizens of the world. Between the years of 1987-1994, the Romanos’ could be found on vacation somewhere during the Summer. Our destinations started ranged from Hawaii to London (and all points in between). They were what you might call “vacations of a lifetime. Adventures that saw us exploring the world and learning about different people and places (as well as having an amazing time.
1990 found the Romano Family invading the North East coast of this country. I can remember us flying into Boston during the middle of August. The country was mobilizing for Operation Desert Shield, the Red Sox were in a pennant race, and here we were in the middle of Boston on a Saturday afternoon. I could not think of anywhere else I wanted to be that day.
I grew up a fan of the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox (I am a glutton for baseball punishment). So I really wanted to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park, but we were unable to get tickets. So my father and I stumbled upon a bar that served oysters and had beer on tap. Roger Clemons pitched that day. The Red Sox won. The oysters were incredible. The bartender actually told us that Bass Ale was better than Sam Adams with oysters. The thing I remember most were the people in the bar were all natives of Boston who made a couple of guys from the Midwest feel at home. “Bring yer oysters down and sit by us”. “Tommy, get these gentlemen anything they want-put it on our tab”. My dad and I wound up being incredibly late that night to our hotel to meet my mom and sister. We had fun. The Red Sox won, the Rocket struck out 10. It was quite a day
We spend the weekend in Boston before moving on to Nantucket on Monday. I found the people to be warm and wonderful (I still do).
When I got news of the bombs going off at the Marathon on Patriots Day. I was stunned, sad, and angry. Then I found myself smiling, when I heard the stories coming out about the first responders running into the smoke to help, read about the people who finished the race and kept running to the hospital to give blood. You get knocked down, you get up and help the other guy up. To me, that’s what Boston Strong is.
Boston will be back. Patriots Day 2014, I’d like to be there. It will be their best ever.
God Bless the people of Boston