by Sara Haslem
About a year ago, I separated from my Husband.
After months of going to work, coming home and immediately drowning myself into vodka because of how miserable I was. And then waking up to do it again the next day – I knew something had to give. My ex is a great man. He’s an excellent father, he’s charming and charismatic, and a hell of lot of fun.
However, here’s the problem: We were toxic for each other, and we both deserved more. We weren’t good for each other, and we were never at our best together. And that’s okay. We made the best decision when we decided to split.
And, my experience of being a “single mother” has been unique. Since I am a seasoned professional, I have been blessed to not have to be strapped financially because of my circumstances. And while divorce is highly traumatic, I’ve had an easier time than most.
But the stigmas are still there. And they’re very real.
- The mere fact that I am divorced must mean something is wrong with me.
- The divorce must be my fault because I’m a working woman.
- I must have cared more about my career than my family.
- I should have tried harder to make things work out for my sons sake.
- I must have had an affair or be married to an abuser.
But the worst stigma?
The pity. The look I’ve seen so many times in family members, friends, and strangers when they hear that I’m a mother, but don’t see a ring. When I tell someone I’m divorced, and their reaction is instantly this blasphemous awkward moment.
People feel bad for me for leaving a toxic marriage. People feel bad for me for knowing I’m worthy of more, and fighting for the love I deserve.
I didn’t have an abusive husband, a messy divorce, or financial battles – it was all civil. I can’t even imagine the messages of shame we are sending to women in worse situations than mine.
Why aren’t we celebrating the single mother’s who made the difficult decision to stand up for themselves and fight for more?
The fact that we judge people based on factors like divorce, gender, choices, successes or failures, is truly one of the saddest behaviours of this generation. When we can stop seeing people as compilations of their actions or characteristic traits – and we can start seeing individuals as an extension of ourselves – that is when humanity will improve.
And while we have social movements pushing to fight for justice, peace, and acceptance – I think we might be missing the point.
All of these movements are well intentioned, but they oft become diluted. And sometimes they actually create more hatred. Radical movements are extreme – and oftentimes the very thing the movements are trying to stop – is intensified. Radical movements cause radical action. More death, more hatred, more stigmas, more judgement.
What if instead of focusing on movements instead we focus on people and the unity of humanity as whole?
As a very smart man once said “We must learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or we will perish together as fools.”
And “When evil men (and women) plot, good men (and women) must plan. When evil men (and women) burn and bomb, good men (and women) must build and bind. When evil men (and women) shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men (and women) would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men (and women) must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”
And that man, Mr. Martin Luther King, I believe was ahead of his time. We need to build up an ally of individuals that believe in the good in humanity, and believe in each other – that is the only way to improve our personal lives, our Country, and humanity as a whole.
Sara Davis is the President of Foxtail Marketing, the fastest growing digital marketing firm in Utah. When she isn’t working, she enjoys studying finance, advocating for human rights, and most importantly spending time with her son