I Didn't Realize What I Was Capable Of Until I Got Divorced

by Kristen Mae
Originally Published: 
Scary Mommy and kali9/Getty Images

“It’s heavy,” the woman from Facebook Marketplace texted me. “You’re gonna need to bring somebody with you.”

“You’d be surprised at the size of furniture I’m capable of moving,” I responded.

After creeping her Facebook profile to make sure she was a regular human being just selling an easy chair and not a sociopath who had created an account only last week for the express purpose of luring me into her torture dungeon with reasonably priced second-hand furniture, I showed up to her house so I could have a look at the easy chair and matching ottoman she was selling.

Pro-tip about furniture on Facebook Marketplace: It’s never the size you think it is based on the photo. This chair and ottoman were huge. I tested the weight of the chair by lifting up one corner. No way in hell was I picking up that chair and carrying it out of this woman’s house.

“Um…” The woman rested a hand on the cast on her arm, as if to make clear she couldn’t be of any help. “Are you sure you’ll be able to get this out of here?”

“I’m sure.”

This was not my first rodeo. Not my first big-ass piece of furniture I’d wizarded into my SUV through creative leverage, sweat, cursing, and sheer force of will.

First, I backed my SUV as close as possible to her front walk. Then, as she looked on, I rolled the chair out her front door. Carefully, of course, because I didn’t want to rip the fabric, which was in brand-new condition. I could feel her eyes on my back (“This lady is freaking bonkers!”) as I rolled the giant chair down her front walk, and, after angling it with one foot on my hitch, into the back of my car. The ottoman was light enough to carry.

I paid the woman, drove home, and repeated the process in reverse. The chair and ottoman — together only $35 — look great in my new house.

The funny thing is, moving that chair was a breeze compared to some of the other stuff I’ve moved. The week before, I rescued a pair of wooden display cabinets from the side of the road. The cabinets were 6 feet tall, and I’m 5’4”, medium-build. So, picture me with my arms hugged around a 6-foot-tall wooden cabinet, grunting and sweating and giggling my ass off as I waddled it across a stranger’s lawn, tipped it sideways into my car, and then slowly shoved it all the way in. It was a ridiculous scene, I’m sure. But honestly, who trashes perfectly good solid wood furniture? And with working lights inside of the glass part of the cabinet — come on!

I have moved desks that weigh several hundred pounds into my house by myself. Couches, tables, beds… all manner of furniture, by myself because I am by myself. I could ask my ex-husband to help me, and he probably would (he did help me put up my hurricane shutters when Dorian hit), but then I would have to wait for him. And I just want to have things in place when I want to have them in place. I want to get shit done, now. I don’t want to depend on someone else.

In this phase of my life, I am done depending on anyone. I depend on me, and that’s it.


Since I’ve been on my own, I’ve amazed myself again and again with what I’m capable of. And not just when it comes to moving heavy stuff. I’ve been taking charge and getting shit done on multiple levels. On the third day in my new house, I discovered a rather large dead frog crammed into the track of my sliding glass door. It wasn’t one of those situations where you could just slide a dust pan underneath its tiny carcass and toss it in the garbage. It would need to be dug out. Pried. Scraped. It took me a week to work up the courage, but dammit, I scraped that frog out of there all by myself (using a butter knife, if you must know). I had imagined it would be kind of squishy and corpse-y feeling, but thank goodness it was basically mummified and popped right out like a dried-up piece of toast. I did almost puke, but dammit, I did it. I did the gross thing!

And, about two weeks after we moved in, someone hit our mailbox. I bought a new one and installed it myself, a job that, when I was married, I most likely would have left to my husband.

This was one of the big things I worried about when my ex and I were separating: Was I going to be able to handle managing a house by myself? What about all the “manly” jobs? What about spider killing or gutter cleaning? What about lawn care? What about car maintenance?

There’s an assumption that women are less equipped to handle certain jobs because we are physically weaker or because we’re unable to handle gross stuff (diaper blowouts and kid-puke aside). Even I assumed this of myself. I really wasn’t sure I could manage this living-on-my-own thing. But it seems that when a woman is on her own, she just finds a way — because, unless we’re willing to wait around for someone to “rescue” us, there isn’t any other choice.

It took being on my own to discover that I’m far more capable than I ever thought I was.

When you’re on your own, you find ways to be creative. I can’t lift a 200-pound desk by myself, but I can use leverage and lift one end at a time and “roll” it into place. And dead animals and half-rotted leaves and slimy, wriggling critters in a gutter are gross as hell, but I am all about closing my eyes, holding my breath, and digging in with a gloved hand.

Give me any tough job, and I’ll roll up my sleeves and get that shit done. I may not be graceful in how I go about it, but dammit, it’ll get done. And for the stuff I simply cannot do — usually due to time constraints — I outsource it. My lawn guy does a fantastic job on my lawn, accomplishing in 45 minutes what would cost me an entire day not to mention thousands of dollars in equipment. I gleefully pay him his $30 fee.

It took being on my own to discover that I’m far more capable than I ever thought I was. And if you’re like I used to be, not sure you have the strength to be independent, I’m telling you, you are so much stronger than you think. You are independent, creative, and tenacious as fuck. And my wish for you is that you don’t have to be on your own before you figure this out about yourself.

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