This is a photo of my ex-husband and me the last time we were together a couple of years ago when he came out to California from New York. We had been separated and divorced for about 5 years at this time.
Many people, it seems, have fraught relationships with their exes. While Mies and I have navigated some difficult times, somehow we have managed to remain friends and supporters of each other. I like to think this is because we always were friends, even when we were married. Honestly though, I think it’s more than that.
When Mies and I were separating in 2002, his friend Alex, a talented astrologer, read our joint chart and felt certain we should stay together. I knew in my heart that was not the best course. All of these years later I feel that Mies and I made the right decision to part as a married couple. I went on to devote myself completely to making art and he went on to have a family. I was able to move to a climate that soothed my soul in San Diego, he was able to stay in his family home and nourish his roots in New York.
But over the years we have remained a source of support for each other and a touchstone in difficult or uncertain times. We help each other out with various projects we are working on and generally know the other is out there routing for us even though we are not married anymore.
So what was Alex the astrologer tapping into when he thought we should stay together? What has sustained a friendship when so many divorces result in bitterness an acrimony? I believe that Mies and I share a soul connection that transcends the form of our relationship. Our married life had run its course. Because we managed to move beyond blame (which, believe me, we both indulged in off and on over the first several years of our breakup) we have been able to accept the change in our relationship and still value the love between us. We were no longer happy together as husband and wife and seemed to compete daily for time, money and attention. Now that we are apart and have fulfilled ourselves, we seem to be able to draw from the best in each other.
I think we are fortunate when we have a few key allies in this life, people who will “have our back”. I’m happy to count Mies among my allies. His place in my life is only strengthened by the fact that he is also one of the people who has know me the longest. Those who have seen us through many phases are in the unique position to give us perspective when we need it.
This is, as you know, primarily and art and poetry blog. So what has this got to do with art? I believe that true artists create life on their own terms. The art they produce is an expression of that.Without necessarily realizing it or planning it, Mies and I were able to create divorce on our own terms and retain the love, if not the form, of of the relationship. The root of the word divorce is divertere, which in Latin means to divert. Our paths did indeed diverge. But I am happy to say we still remain connected. We all live so long now and have so many lives, perhaps it’s time we start to look at divorce as a new beginning rather than a tragedy.