I’m delighted to present my latest ‘Moments That Made Me’ guest post, written for Love, Laughter & Truth by the very talented Roxie Cooper.
Roxie tells us how, during the turbulence of divorce, she discovered writing. Not only did writing prove to be a catharsis, it propelled Roxie to the status of published author (sounds familiar!). Since the publication of her first novel, ‘The Law Of Attraction’, she has shown no signs of slowing down and is already working on her third novel.
You can download ‘The Law Of Attraction’, rated a 5 star read by Heat magazine, on Kindle for the special discounted price of just 99p here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Law-Attraction-perfect-feel-good-ebook/dp/B06ZY1DF39
Please buy and enjoy, and enjoy her inspirational story below.Divorce – it’s a right bitch, isn’t it?
At the age of 39 with two kids (aged 8 and 5), a few of my friends had been through it and I’d heard all the horror stories. After a while they all sound the same. You pull the sympathetic faces, say how dreadful it sounds and delude yourself into thinking yours will be more straightforward because you’ll definitely be able to keep it amicable ‘for the sake of the children’.
I had been separated from my ex-husband for several years before I initiated divorce proceedings, for reasons far too complicated and boring to go into here. Those years were some of the most challenging of my life; an emotionally imbalanced legal limbo where I was constantly having to find ways of distracting myself from the reality of my domestic situation. Anyone who has had to live with their ex after splitting from them will understand the difficulty, anxiety and constant feelings of dread and hopelessness which arise as a result of it. At worst, it was beyond horrific. At best, I could barely cope. People thought I was fine. You can convince people of anything if you pop a brave face on. You can even convince yourself.
It’s only when you start going through it yourself do you fully appreciate how stressful divorce is. Thankfully for me, there was no emotion involved as we had both moved on and were with other people. But even new relationships are tainted to some extent. No matter how much you don’t care for* (* hate) your ex, at the end of the day, you are still married to them; tied to them, connected to them – and new partners can, justifiably, not be exactly thrilled with the situation. So, you end up spending your life trying to keep everyone happy; trying not to inflame the ex for fear of repercussions, ensuring your kids are not mentally damaged, promising your new partner you’ll get it sorted ASAP (Trust me, I KNOW it’s weird I am still married. And I hate it.), and the last person you look after is yourself. It can all get a bit ‘much’. You need something to focus your energy on.
My saviour throughout this period was my writing. I gave up my career as a criminal barrister because it wasn’t compatible with caring for my son, who has complex needs. I tried looking for employment which fit in between school hours, ideally, so started applying for local admin jobs. I was rejected from all of them because I was ‘overqualified’ (yeah, that’s actually a real thing). “So, when do you intend to return to the Bar?” they’d ask at every interview, rolling their eyes. “It’s a very impressive application, but you’d be more suited to a managerial role,” they’d tell me, no matter how much I’d enthuse about how I’d thrive in the job I’d applied for. It drove me mad. I craved, and needed, financial independence to move forward in the separation, but couldn’t get it anywhere. I was trapped.
I needed something to do so that I wasn’t just sitting around when I was waiting to hear back from jobs. So, I wrote a book. And the thing with writing a novel is that it consumes you. You can’t switch it off. The characters stay in your head, and before I knew it, I was writing on an evening and weekends. I created a world to escape into when I needed it. It stopped me spiralling into a dark place.
I eventually got a book deal and my debut novel was published by Harper Collins. Not only was it a huge boost to my self-esteem, it was amazing to know that a project which had sprung from such a difficult time in my life, and a cathartic one at that, had been recognised and validated. And, best of all – I was making money from it. My OWN money.
Writing has now become like therapy for me. I honestly don’t know how I ever coped without it. I feel guilty if I don’t write for a few days. It’s my outlet. I’m about to start Book 3 now, and there are very exciting things happening with Book 2.
Divorce is a really horrible process. It brings out the worst in you (but, eventually, the best in you), the most vulnerable part of you, the strongest part of you, you see people for what they really are. You feel every single emotion, often in quick succession. You need something to take you away from it. You need some escapism. Mine was my writing. Perhaps if I’d have been successful in any of those job applications I never would have finished that novel. Maybe I wouldn’t be where I am now, mentally and emotionally. I found my coping mechanism and it works for me.