I can still remember the first time I went to a bar alone after I asked for a divorce. I wasn’t going there to pick up men – though I guess as a newly single young lady I had some type of expectations about the goings on in a bar. Even though I was the one that asked for the divorce, I still felt some level of rejection and depression.
I arrived earlier than our meeting time and sat waiting in my car. I was there to meet a girl that I had befriended in one of the classes I was taking for nuclear medicine. We were meeting at this beautiful Greek bar and restaurant that I had never been to. I sat waiting in my car with sweaty palms and a thundering heart. I took a deep breath and forced myself inside the bar.
My friend told me to request the section of some guy she knew. When I did, the hostesses told me he was working the bar. I stood there frozen. The girls looked at me like I was stupid and told me I could go sit down. I can remember feeling as though my feet were glued to the floor. I looked back at the door then at the empty bar. I thought about running out the door, and making up and excuse as to why I couldn’t meet my friend. But, I decided to stay even though I really wanted to bolt.
As I sat there sipping my wine, I felt just sure that everyone was staring at the poor girl all alone at the bar. Even now when I close my eyes, I can still hear the faint music that cued the dancing girls. I can still feel the napkins brushing my skin as they were being thrown around in lieu of plates, and I can still feel that nervous energy as I was surrounded by a cacophony of beautiful sights and smells.
It’s funny what I remember from that night four years ago. I know that I had a great time and we met there many more times before I moved away. I don’t remember who else I met that first night, how many drinks I had or what we talked about that night. But I remember being terrified to go there alone. Somewhere along the way in my marriage, I had lost my sense of independence. I think maybe we all do. Or perhaps I was terrified because sitting there at that bar without my husband meant that was truly the beginning of my single life.
To this day I don’t know that my friend knew how important those first few steps were in my life. Nor do I think she needs to know. I guess the moral of the story is that life goes on. Divorce sucks and I’m not advocating it. If you find yourself alone after any breakup, no matter whose fault, starting over can be tough. Be brave and don’t be afraid to say yes to new things. Staying in every night in your sweatpants and feeling sorry for yourself will never allow you to move on. If you are going through something like this in your life just know that it will get easier. And if some kind angel comes along and asks you to meet for drinks put on something cute and get your ass out there. You’ll be glad you did!