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Why Divorce is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

11 Mar

I never wanted to be divorced. I meant my vows. I wanted my marriage to be for life. I pulled from every ounce of strength I had to try to make it work. But there is a point of no return where none of that matters anymore, even if you want it to. Instead of being “until death,” my marriage barely lasted two years.

How does that happen? Unfortunately, there are many ways. This isn’t the story of my failed marriage. That is laid out in the rest of this blog, which serves as a journal that chronicles the unraveling of an unhealthy relationship. This is a post about making the decision that I never thought I would make, and how it changed everything.

I’m not proud of being divorced. Even though it was the best decision I could have made, the only healthy choice, and the reason I am now happy, it still weighs on me. I never wanted to be that person. The one who gives up. I have come to accept that admitting defeat isn’t a bad thing when it means acknowledging your failings and learning from them. Still, I wish I hadn’t gotten myself into that situation.

I am writing this from the couch of the beautiful home where I live with my fiancé.  The perfect ring on my left hand keeps catching the light.

I wish that the marriage I’m about to enter into was my first.

It isn’t, though. To get to where I am, I had to come from where I was. That sounds silly when I write it out, but it’s true. Going through those things taught me a lot about myself, about relationships, about what I do and don’t want, and about what’s really important.

I have moments where I wish that everything was different, though. I wish that this relationship with this man was the one I’d waited for. That I had never married my ex. Never put on a big show for hundreds of people where I declared that he was my mate for life. Never tried to force myself to believe he was as good as it was going to get. I wish I hadn’t cheated myself out of the experience I should have had.

People have emailed me to ask, “How do you get past the stigma of divorce?” I want to say, “Easily.” I handle it matter-of-factly.  I was straight-forward about my divorce in my dating profile, mentioning it right in the first paragraph.  When the new IT guy asked about my previous name, I casually answered with the facts.  Instances like that have come up over and over again since my divorce.  I can be flippant about it, even make jokes.

It’s not actually that easy, though.

It’s not so much society that holds onto the stigma. It’s me.  The end of my bad marriage manages to occupy the spot as both the best and the worst thing.

I want to be able to say it’s just the best thing. Because that is partially true. Getting away from him is the best decision I could’ve made for my future happiness. Leaving an emotionally abusive relationship was as necessary as air to my well-being. I had to get out of a marriage where I felt unloved and unwanted by the person who was supposed to love me more than anyone else. I couldn’t handle the lack of intimacy, trust, sex, respect, and all of the other things that are vital to a healthy partnership. So yes, leaving was the best choice I could have made in a shitty situation.

But that shitty situation was the worst. It was really awful. And the worst part of it all is that I put myself there. The stigma for me isn’t so much the end of the marriage, but the fact that I entered into it to begin with. That’s the decision that haunts me sometimes. That I’m not married to him anymore is great. That I ever was is one of my biggest regrets.

The truly terrifying part is that I didn’t have any doubts on my wedding day.

None.  At all.  Which is ridiculous because there were so many red flags and major issues with our relationship, including the fact that he had cheated on me at least once that I knew of at the time.  We weren’t compatible sexually, we had completely different work ethics, values, and views on things like drug use.  I could never envision having children with him (which I justified by saying I wasn’t interested in children rather than face that I couldn’t have children with him because I couldn’t count on him).

Despite all of those glaring issues, I was able to bury my head in the sand, pretend like everything was perfect, and have the big church wedding I let him pressure me into (I was never interested in any of that since I’m an introverted atheist).

I won’t say that my fiancé is perfect because he’s not.  No one is, and certainly no relationship can be.  That’s something I wish I had accepted before.  Trying to be the perfect, happy, vision of what I thought an engaged couple should be is one of the things that enabled me to push aside all of the things that I would have recognized as deal-breakers if I had looked at my relationship honestly.  Admitting imperfections in myself and my partner has allowed me to examine them, address them, and determine how they can be worked out (if at all).

This time around I am being honest with myself. Neither of us is perfect, but he is amazing for me and I’m amazing for him. We have fights and issues, but we work them out together. I trust him completely.  I don’t doubt for one second that we can and will have a lasting marriage that will be the cornerstone of our future family.  I know that because we’re both committed to it, we love each other through all of our imperfections, and we can laugh at each other and ourselves when we make mistakes, then apologize as necessary.

I don’t think I will ever stop wishing that I hadn’t married the wrong person first.  But I am glad that I found the strength to divorce.  I’m also grateful that I used that experience to learn.  It prepared me for the marriage that I will be in for the rest of my life.  All things considered, that mistake got me to where I am today, and for that I’m incredibly thankful.

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The Wait is Over

7 Oct

There are at least 10 other things I should be doing right now, but I wanted to post a quick update.  I have heard from my lawyer and confirmed with the court that my divorce has officially been granted.  Yay!  I still haven’t gotten my decree in the mail, but just knowing it’s done is fantastic!  I even took a screen shot of the website in the meantime:

Divorced

As you can see, I’ve actually been totally free since September 25th!  It took almost a year, which I still find ridiculous given that it was supposed to be only 6 months.  The separation/ divorce process was actually 1/3 of our total time being married.  It was also the best part of the whole thing.  I take that back – having it completely over and being able to move on is the best part.

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Time, Time, Time

10 Sep

This last week has reminded me that I’m only human.  My days are packed with a demanding full-time job, a demanding full-time masters program, a new boyfriend, and playing and singing with a new band.  My workload has been steadily increasing because I’m out on the road more often, which crams more tasks into my office days.  My new class  requires a weekly mentorship meeting on top of two papers (one individual and one team), a test, daily posting, and 5-6 chapters of reading every week.  The band should be fun and exciting, which it is, but I feel a bit in over my head because they have me playing the keyboard, which I don’t do very well.   I’ve been appallingly slow at writing blog entries and keeping up with everyone in here blogland.

All in all, I feel like I’m barely sleeping while simultaneously seeming to get nothing done.  Certainly, I am not performing up to my normal standards.  At that pace, something was bound to give soon.

It seems like that something has been my health and a little bit of sanity.  I managed to lock myself out of both my house and my car (while it was running, no less) in just a week’s time.  I have a sinus infection, and I woke up this morning  with my left eye literally swollen shut.  After a second visit to the doctor in as many days, I still don’t know exactly what the problem is.  She isn’t sure if it is an allergic reaction or if the sinus infection got into my eye.  I’m on two antihistamines, an oral antibiotic, an antibacterial eye drop every 3 hours, plus cold compresses on my eye regularly.   It’s annoying and slightly uncomfortable, but at least it isn’t exceedingly painful.

Lest you think this is some sort of bitch session (which it does seem to be getting dangerously close to), there are plenty of positives in my life.  Things seem to be going amazingly well on the boyfriend front.  I now owe you an account of the best second date ever, and the most fun and interesting date thereafter (I’ve stopped counting them).  I’m sure my happiness is seeping from every pore in a sickeningly sweet way.  I’m certainly smiling constantly, listening to sappy love songs, singing (more than usual), and spending what little down time I do have with him.  I’m enjoying the giddiness rather than trying to control it.

Another great piece of news that I got today is that my divorce papers are officially being processed.  I got confirmation from my lawyer and the courthouse that they received the new original signed copy last week.  It was filed with the court Friday afternoon.  It is now scanned electronically into their system, which is back to running the way it should.  That means there will be no “got lost in a pile” issues.  The REAL 2-4 week wait is all I should have to be concerned with at this point.  They may even push it through the system a little faster because of the previous issues.  *Fingers crossed!*

That’s about all that I have time for now!  🙂  However, I will leave you with a fun song about time, love, and life.  I apologize for the weird video that goes along with it, but for some reason this particular Sugarland song is difficult to find on YouTube.

One Woman’s Online Dating Experience

27 Aug

My friends, including fellow blogger Bennie, have inspired me to try online dating again.   My experiences likely are far different from his, as the two of us recently discussed.  While I have come across many excellent dating blogs, I think my experiences may make for some interesting posts.

I went out with friends on Saturday evening.  It was just a fun girl’s night at a beach bar with a live band.  We discussed many things, dating included.  All three of them are currently dabbling in online dating.  I tried it for a month or so back in February/March, and found it overwhelming.  I wasn’t quite ready to be dating, honestly, and it required more of a time commitment than I was expecting.

Over dinner we had shared pretty amusing stories from the online dating scene.  Some were horrendous, but they had a few positive things to say.  At some point in the night, when we were moving from the first establishment to another due to the strong wind off of the ocean, I reactivated my OkCupid account.  The conversations from the evening sparked something in me, and I realized that I’m in a much different place now than I was even a few months back.

OkCupid was my favorite dating website when I was experimenting with them earlier this year.  Why?  Well, I personally like it for the neat matching algorithm and the nearly endless supply of random questions available.  I can get a pretty good idea of someone’s personality, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses by simply comparing answers and gauging the content and consistency of the responses.  I will admit that answering those questions can become a bit addicting.  I have answered more than 700.  See?  That tells people who look at my profile a great deal about me already – some good and some bad.

OkCupid also allows me to rate people on the site, take personality tests (including the MBTI!), bookmark people, and of course send messages.  Here is where my experience as a woman diverges from a man’s experience.  I reactivated my account Saturday evening.  By Sunday evening I had received somewhere around 183 messages.  Four times that amount or more had viewed my profile.  I stopped even keeping track after that point.  Each time you login it shows you the number of people who have viewed your profile since the last time you were online.  My numbers are consistently in the 90 to 100+ range, even after just a few hours of being away.  I know part of that is the “new profile syndrome,” as people flood over to check out the fresh meat.

The first time around I felt compelled to answer most messages (minus the clearly douchey ones).  No wonder I was overwhelmed.  As my therapist said, it’s good for the ego.  But boy can it be time consuming.  This time around, I’m being much more selective in who I choose to respond to.

I have felt guilty a time or two for not answering someone with a well-crafted or thought-out initial contact who I didn’t feel attraction toward.  However, I have rationalized that I am saving us time, effort, energy, and further hurt feelings by not leading anyone on.  The initial messages often include lists of questions, which I don’t want to spend time answering when I know that it’s not going to work for me.  Initially, I thought that was shallow.  After several unsuccessful dates with men I had already figured out I wasn’t compatible with (the first time around), I realized it’s just a sound policy not to try to force things.  This has given me a chance to face my people-pleaser nature head-on and practice saying “No,” even just to myself.

I intended to write more, and maybe share a particularly good experience that I just had, but I’m far too tired to at the moment.  Work has been especially hectic, brutal, and time consuming lately.  Too many meetings and all-day ride alongs and customer meet and greets leave this introvert spent.  Although I enjoy being busy, the level of social interaction and stress has left me wanting to just crawl in bed and do nothing as soon as I get home.  I haven’t been doing that, but I may as well be for as much use as I am when and as much as I get accomplished.  Especially after last week, which was the last week of my business law class and included a final exam and writing two papers.

I also have one other piece of news that probably deserves it’s own post.  I’m feeling entirely too lazy to do that, though.  So here it is:  The courthouse lost my divorce papers.  You heard that correctly.  Lost them.  So now we have to start again from the point where Chris signs the divorce decree because they need an original copy.  Lovely, isn’t it?  I just had to laugh because that is my life…

10 Excuses People Use to Stay with a Cheater

15 Aug

I wanted to post a follow-up to my last opinion piece.  I talked about reasons to leave a cheater (or, rather, reasons to kick them out).  This one will address what I believe are common excuses that people tell themselves to stay.

1.  “I owe it to him/her to see if this can work.”  No, you don’t.  You don’t owe the cheater anything.  You’ve already given things a chance to work, and they didn’t.  Your spouse threw that away.  They chose not to work on things (themselves or the marriage, if there were marital issues before they strayed).  Instead, they caused further destruction.  Face it, your relationship wasn’t great before or during the cheating.  Communication and intimacy have to be screwed up for something like that to be possible, and your partner obviously had no concern for your feelings or, often times, health.  Now that something this huge and damaging and hurtful is added on top, what was shitty before is not going to become magically wonderful.

2.  “But he/she loves me.”  That is not love.  Someone who cheats on you does not love you enough to stay faithful.  See this post for an elaboration on this point.  It was written by a wayward spouse, with my commentary added, and it really takes a hard look at the kind of “love” a cheating partner is showing.

3.  “But I love him/her.”  I’m sure you do.  You’re not getting that love back (see above, and just look at their actions).  Love isn’t always enough, especially if it isn’t returned in equal measure.  A relationship with a cheater is incredibly unbalanced because the faithful partner obviously cares much more than the unfaithful one.  Loving someone can be a good thing, but it can also cause you to devalue yourself if it gets to the point where your love leads you to accept treatment and behavior that is completely unacceptable.  Try loving yourself first, just as much or more than you love them.
screenshot952013-08-04-18-38-17-114. “What will happen to him/her if I leave? I can’t abandon him in such a vulnerable time. What if he commits suicide? Him, him, him, him, him, ad nauseum…”   I see this so much, and I just want to grab the person, shake them, and tell them to stop making it about the cheater.  Stop expending your energy and emotions over their feelings when they didn’t care one iota about yours.  Do you need to be cruel and mean and hurt them the way that they did you?  No, absolutely not.  In fact, I discourage it because it won’t help you.

However, you do NOT need to fuss over them, or worry about the ramifications that their choices will have on their lives (it was THEIR job to do that, and they obviously decided the risk was worth it).  Believe me, they are playing that sympathy card and working you like a fiddle.  They know the more they can put the attention on their poor, pitiful me act, the more you will be distracted and the less you will focus on how you’re feeling.

Don’t fall into the trap of comforting the cheater more than you comfort yourself or looking out for their interests more than your own.  You can give them the phone number to the crisis/ suicide hotline and the yellow pages for a psychologist with emergency appointments if they really are considering that route, because they need professional help anyway.  Other than that, take care of yourself, and let them deal with the fallout from their actions, whatever they may be.  The bottom line is that you cannot live for someone else.

5.  “He/she is so sorry!” Sure they are… sorry that they got caught.  No matter sorry they claim to be or how guilty they say it made them feel, they were able to get past that long enough to cheat.  If they are one of the rare few who actually confessed what they did, it was most likely for selfish reasons.  Furthermore, being sorry does not change anything about what they chose to do.

6.  “He/she never loved the affair partner.”  Maybe.  Maybe not.  If they didn’t, that’s actually worse.  Someone who can throw away fidelity and their spouse’s trust over a person who they have no feelings or attachments to is the scariest kind of cheater.  It reeks of sociopathy.  And if they were in love?  Then there are a whole new set of problems to consider.
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7.  “I don’t have any other options.”  There are always other options.  Don’t stay because you feel trapped.  Use the law to your advantage, reach out to family or friends, find an organization that helps people in situations like that, look into pro bono attorneys, think about taking a class, even a low-cost community one, and give yourself a fighting chance at happiness.  Unless you’re kidnapped, enslaved, or chained down, there are always ways to get out.

8.  “He/she is the best I’ll ever find.”  This one makes me sad.  People who tell themselves this have had their self-esteem beaten down to the point where they feel like the poor treatment they are getting is the best they deserve.  I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.  There are millions of people in the world.  There is no “the one.”  Does that mean there aren’t some people out there who will stay single forever and not find another person to fall in love with?  No, I wouldn’t go that far.  However, I firmly believe that it is better to be happy on your own than be taken advantage of by someone just to have a “partner.”  I put that in quotes because anyone who behaves that way isn’t a real partner at all.  I’d rather be in a ship alone that in it with someone who keeps shooting holes in the bottom.  Plus, when you take care of yourself and learn to find fulfilment within yourself, you will start attracting people toward you without even meaning to.

Maybe this is your longest relationship or the best, healthiest one you’ve ever been in.  Even if it’s the best you’ve ever had, it’s still not good enough. If you can’t trust your partner, you can’t build a life together. Move on. It will be hard, it will hurt, and you will grieve. But it will allow you to find someone you can trust who will be all of those things you deserve

9.  “I’m ashamed.  What will we tell our friends/family/kids?”  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  You can’t make someone cheat.  That is a decision that they make all on their own, no matter how bad the marriage was to begin with.  There are always options – talking about it, therapy, marriage retreats, plainly stating that xyz needs aren’t being met and it’s making me think about xyz, asking for a divorce, going to a pastor or religious leader (if that’s your thing), and the list goes on.  They chose not to do that.  Instead, they cheated.  There is nothing shameful about walking away at that point.  Tell people whatever you want to tell them.  The truth, if you feel comfortable, or nothing if you don’t.  It’s not their business anyway.  Now for the kids part…

10. “I can’t leave because of the kids.” I don’t have children, so I’m obviously not a parent.  I’m not a child psychologist.  Surprisingly, I haven’t even dug up a lot of research on this subject to post here (although you know that sounds just like me to do, and I have read plenty of it in my journey through this mess because of my thirst for knowledge).  Instead, I’m going to tell you a story.

My family growing up looked perfect. From the outside. My parents didn’t really fight in front of us. They didn’t really have conflicts.  My Dad had some control issues and not very much patience, there wasn’t a lot of affection, and there was sometimes tension in my household, but no one from the outside knew anything was wrong.  As I child I couldn’t point to one thing and say – “that’s really messed up” or “because of THAT my parents aren’t a good match.”  However, I remember wishing, praying, and even once begging my Mom to get a divorce.  I think she was taken aback that time, because I truly believe she thought they hid things exceptionally well.

And they did, for the most part.  There was no cheating.  No abuse.  No horrible, terrible things happening in my house.  But there also wasn’t happiness, love, or open kisses and hugs between my parents.  I had a wonderful childhood in just about every sense – I had everything I needed and more.  I had support from both parents.  I was involved in sports and they both cheered me on, I had horses, went to shows, we ate dinner as a family together every single night, and more.  But I knew.  I just KNEW that they weren’t happy.

It was in the air.  I could sense it, even if I couldn’t put my finger on it.  The relationship I had modeled for me was not a healthy one.  The marriage I watched the entire time I was growing up is not what a real marriage should be.  It was like looking at something through the bottom of a thick glass.  Or looking at your reflection in a spoon.  It was warped.  Off.  The best word I can think of to use is unfulfilling.  It was unfulfilling.  Suffocating, even.  Except that everyone thought it was wonderful.  While I was envying my friends’ divorced parents, people were admiring how great it was that my parents were still together.  If only they knew what it was really like for us kids…  It’s horrible to know something isn’t right but to have everyone around you not acknowledge that fact.

My parents stayed married until I was 18 or 19.  It wasn’t long after I left the house.  My brother and sister lived there when they separated.  My brother went off to college a year or so after, but my sister was still there through the divorce.  I remember talking to my parents, really talking to them both, for the first time in years… maybe ever.  Especially my Dad.  The honesty was so refreshing it was like a revelation.  All of the pretend and make-believe, the façade that we put up as a family… I finally got confirmation that I wasn’t imagining it.

From my Mom, too.  We were always pretty close, and she recognized my intelligence and treated me accordingly from a fairly young age.  But from that point on it was different.  She told me stories and things about their early years together, about the conflicts and family struggles that brought them together.  She told me about things that I never, ever would have imagined happened.  She told me about the pain of losing her father and having my Dad’s father be in jail.  How she thought about leaving, even back then, but never could find the “right time.”  She told me how circumstances interceded, how she got swept up in it, how we children were the best things she got out of the marriage, and other things.

We all made it through just fine.  In fact, it was the best decision, by far, that they ever made.  Hell, I remember being as young as 7 or 8 when I would wish every night that my parents would split.   Ultimately, they did, and it was the best thing for both of them.  It was a little difficult for a year or two, more for them than for us children.  Honestly, we all got it.  My sister was the youngest… 13 I think.  Even she understood it was for the best.  I recall her saying something along the lines of how much it needed to happen, and how she was glad it did.

My parents are both remarried to spouses much better suited for them in every way.  Again, there was no great tragedy, no huge betrayal.  They were highschool sweethearts who came together during difficult times for both of them and fell into marriage.  It didn’t work.  They weren’t well matched.  They should have divorced well before they did.  I was the only one who spoke up and said it to their face, because that’s the kind of kid I was, but I wasn’t the only one who thought it.  We all did.

It didn’t irrevocably damage any of us.  In fact, the most damaging things of all were the years we lived with them pretending everything was fine when we could soooo tell it wasn’t.  I have a better relationship with my Dad now than I ever had.  My sister, who was maybe the most upset in the very beginning, now lives with my Dad.  We’re all close.  We love both of our parents completely.  We know that their failure to make a marriage work did not and does not reflect on us in the least.  We always knew that.  But living in the middle of the unhappiness was far, far, far more confusing than watching them let go.

The other thing?  Having parents who you can sense are unhappy, even as they pretend they aren’t, puts a lot of pressure on a kid.  I felt like I had to be perfect.  I couldn’t screw up because I couldn’t add any more stress to their lives.  I knew they already had plenty, even if they thought they were “protecting me” from that knowledge.  My brother was the super helper.  He would try extra hard to do all sorts of extra stuff.  That was his way of relieving the tension we could all feel.  My sister was the most sensitive of all.  She would try to be the peace-keeper, between my brother and I, between the animals, you name it.  We all knew something wasn’t right, and we all tried to be “better” to “fix it.”  We got to be great pretenders, too.

It took its toll.  I don’t think it’s by chance that my brother has never had a girlfriend, my sister has been involved in a string of relationships with losers, and I was married to someone who was never there for me emotionally or otherwise.  We learned from them.  We observed.  We were taught, whether we knew it or not, that relationships did not have emotional support.  Didn’t have affection.  My sister now craves that affection and grasps onto anyone who gives it.  My brother avoids connections, partly because he’s shy but I believe largely because he doesn’t know how to interact with a woman in a healthy way.  I’m a mess.

I can’t blame my parents completely.  I’ve made poor choices.  My issues are my own.  But I did learn from them.  I learned from watching.  They taught me excellent things separately.  My Dad taught me how to play softball, how to be financially responsible, what it means to be a hard worker, and so much more.  My Mom literally taught me logical thinking, empathy, how to show people respect, how to write a great paper, how to study, how to be a woman, and so many things I could never name.  But together… they weren’t a good couple.  They weren’t a good example of what a marriage or a relationship should be.  They’re all I had to model against, though… their relationship is the only one got to see, day in and day out.

I tell you that story to tell you this – I may not be a parent, but I was a kid of parents who should have divorced long before they did.  Children deserve an example of a healthy relationship.   I know some people with children think that holding onto something broken that makes them unhappy is somehow the best choice for their kids.  It’s not.  A situation that makes you miserable is not healthy for anyone, your kids especially.  It doesn’t set a good example.  Neither does sticking around after being betrayed and lied to, over and over.  Kids seek out the type of marriage that they see their parents display.  It’s a subconscious choice that takes a lot of hard work to fight against.  No matter what you SAY to them, it is what you DO that makes all of the difference.  When you have an unhealthy example, that’s what you gravitate towards, even if you think you know better.  How do I know?  I lived it.

What other excuses do you tell yourself to justify staying in a bad situation?  If you really looked at them, these excuses that you tell yourself, how valid would they be?  How many other people deal with the same circumstances and come out just fine?

Good, Bad, and Ugly

29 Jul

I know… what a cliché of a title, right?  I should do better!  It just seemed to fit, though.  There’s been a lot going on in my life.  Some of it is great, some of it is horrible, and some is funny and a little painful.  I was sick last weekend with a high fever, then last Monday I was out in the field doing a setup.  The week took off from there. Today I figured that I should give a little update.  I’ll just go in chronological order for now.


So first… the ugly.  Last Tuesday I got off work over an hour late due to some meetings.  I decided to treat myself to a little Mexican, and I got it to go because I really wanted to just sit on my couch and vegetate.  I got home to a mailbox full of junk mail.

I was in a pretty awesome mood, singing the tune off of the radio, loud and smiling.  I unlocked the door to find my wiggly Buddy there to greet me.  He was so cute hopping around, and he obviously wanted to go out to the front yard and pee on a few bushes.  I let him slip by me and kept the door propped open with my foot, thinking he would come right back in like normal.

Only he didn’t.  He decided to go running down to the neighbors house.  He’s usually pretty good about coming back when I call him.  But this time he just slowed down a little and kept wandering closer and closer to the edge of the road.  I kept calling, and he kept ignoring.

Since I’ve already had one animal (a cat) killed by a car in this neighborhood, Buddy is literally half blind, and it was so close to quitting and getting home time, I decided to go after him.  That’s when my heel slipped, my ankle went out from under me and I fell down the steps onto the concrete sidewalk.  I hit my ass on the stairs on my fall, scraped up my right knee, and managed to dump half of my dinner out on top of me.  Fun.  I’m actually laughing right now, but it was more of stunned silence that followed my spill.

I checked myself for major harm, and found none.  Of course Buddy trotted right over to help himself to my chips and salsa.  I sat there, legs splayed, grateful I was wearing a skort, not a skirt.  I pulled my heels off, managed to salvage the dinner, even though the aluminum container was smushed, and carried that into the kitchen.  I came back for my purse and keys in another trip, then picked up the mail that was now on the lawn.

Finally finished pigging out, Buddy came inside behind me.  I then stripped down and hopped in the shower to wash off the grass and dirt and blood and salsa that was covering me.  I poured peroxide on the scrapes and cuts on my knee, then bandaged it.  My knee is still all scraped up, I have scratches down my leg, up my thigh, and on my arm.  The pièce de résistance,  though is the massive hell of a bruise on my ass.  It’s the size of a fist and a deep purplish red color.  I’ll spare you the pictures.

Note to self: chasing after a dog while juggling take out, mail, my purse and keys, and wearing high heels… not a good idea.


Next was the good.  The following day, last Wednesday, my boss took all of us “executives” out on his boat.  Correction: his yacht. It’s something that he does once a year to show his appreciation.  It was so wonderful.  The weather was beautiful.  The ride took us past Mount Vernon and Fort Washington.  We walked around National Harbor.  Ate amazing seafood.  Had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  Then we stopped and went swimming.  I found a big shark tooth.  It was a nearly perfect day.  I didn’t get home until late again, but this time there was no fall down the steps.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, the week had more in store for me.  I woke up Thursday morning and felt like shit.  Beat up. Between repeatedly lifting 50+ pound rotors on Monday, falling down the stairs on Tuesday, and riding for hours in a boat on Wednesday, I was exhausted and sore.  I just wanted to crawl back under the covers and stay there. I should have.

Ever have a premonition that a day is just going to suck?  I had one of those, and I was right.

I got a call from my gynecologist office.  That’s never a good thing.  I had my annual last week.  If everything had been fine I would have gotten a letter in the mail.  Instead, I got a call.  Abnormal results.

The woman on the phone was very reassuring.  She explained that abnormal results happen for a variety of reasons and it does not mean that I have cancer.  However, I get to go back to the gyno next week.  My doctor is out on vacation until August 19th.  I said fuck that.  I’m not waiting over a month until they could get me in (August 27th).  So I asked for whoever they could get me in with as soon as possible.  Apparently some women are weird about male doctors, so two of them had openings.  It doesn’t bother me one bit.  It’s not like he’s gonna rape me or something, and I’m not really shy.  Plus, I just want some answers.

They will be doing a procedure called a colposcopy.  They will be looking at my cervix with a microscope after putting a solution on there to make the abnormal cells stand out.  They will do a scraping and take some biopsies.  It will probably be painful.  I’ve been advised to take Motrin before I go.  Yeah, like that’s gonna do a whole lot to help.  Whatever.  I’m tough.  Pain has never scared me.

It is what it is.  Hopefully it will be nothing and everything will turn out okay.


So there’s my (not so) mini update.  I had more good yesterday.  I got to go to a Kix Brooks, Dierks Bentley, and Miranda Lambert concert.  I had VIP parking and VIP seats and access to the VIP area.  My Mom and sister and grandma went with me.  We had a fantastic time.  Three generations of lovely ladies enjoying amazing music.  I’m just going to keep moving forward, keep living my life, and keep finding happiness as best as I can.  I’ll do all of that with a smile on my face.

From last night

Today Could Be The Day

20 Jul

Today could be the day.

The one where I walk to the mailbox

And find my parole ticket.

It could be the day when I open that little door

To the biggest gift I can imagine.

Today could be the day that begins the rest of my life.

The day that I breathe the first breath of freedom

Since the stale cigarette smell that you carried into my world.

It could be the day that you’re erased

Like the glaring error that you were,

The dirty smudge on the white paper of my future,

So crisp and clean before you darkened it.

Maybe today I’ll rip open the envelope

Containing something more precious than gold.

The envelope will be discarded in the trash,

Where you belong,

But its contents will be the most important

Document I’ve ever held in my hands.

Today could be the day

That you’re finally out of my life completely.

In every way.

I don’t have your name.

You are no longer leeching off of me,

Living in my house,

Driving my car,

Using my credit cards,

Or telling me lies.

But this invisible legal bond

Keeps you on the edges of my life.

I want you gone.

Today could be that day.

But it is not.

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The Beginning of the End of Us

2 Jul

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A year ago today I had a significant moment.  I blogged about it (of course) here.  It wasn’t incredibly dramatic, but it was the beginning of the end… The moment when my heart finally started moving on from my abusive relationship.  It was a turning point, a reclaiming of me.  That day was one of the first times I stopped reacting and engaging with Chris when he lied.  I started to, but then stopped myself.  Instead of yelling or carrying on or crying, I calmly told him that his continued lying was unacceptable and that we would not be sharing a room that evening or anytime in the foreseeable future, until I felt safe with him again.

Over the next few days, I took care of myself.  I had a massage.  I got a tattoo and a nose ring.  I stopped fighting against the truth that he is a liar.  That’s what he does, and it is what he is.  I wanted the lies to go away, but began to realize that they wouldn’t as long as he was still in my life.  So I started moving on by myself, emotionally.  I planned things just for me, I went to therapy, I went shopping with friends, and I started realizing that I’m worth it.  I contemplated my life and what I wanted, and I started making choices with those things in mind.

During that time he threw temper tantrums.  There’s no other word to describe it.  He whined about me to everyone he could, including his therapist.  He made me into “the bad guy.”  He didn’t like that I wasn’t engaging anymore, that I wasn’t rewarding his bad behavior with my attention.  He actually threw a fit that I’d gotten a tattoo and piercing, even though I had discussed both with him for weeks beforehand, because I didn’t get exactly what I originally was considering.  He couldn’t stand that I’d DARED to make a decision about myself and my body without his say, without him being there.  Which is hilarious considering all he did with his body without my knowledge while we were together.  Things that could and did affect me, unlike my choice to put something sparkly on my nose and some pretty ink on my shoulder.

Although the thing we called a marriage continued to drag on for a few months after that point, when I look back and try to pinpoint the moment where I started to really change, this day a year ago would be it.  That is when I finally accepted that I have no control over him or his decisions and started making healthy ones for myself instead.  One year ago I chose not to live the way I had been living.  He made the opposite decision – to remain in his negative behaviors and patterns, to continue lying, to keep making excuses for himself, and to keep blaming others.  I simply began to realize that those were his decisions to make, and that it would be his loss when I kept moving forward and walked right out of his life.  Or rather, no longer chose to have him in mine.

Today I still don’t have the piece of paper I’m craving that officially severs our legal bonds.  I was really, really hoping to by this point.  I tried to remain realistic about how long the process would take.  My lawyer said it should be 2-4 weeks from the date Chris signed the papers until the date a judge made the final decree.  I mentioned here that my county only has one judge and he only handles divorce cases on Friday.  So I always kept the one month figure in my head as the most likely scenario.

Unlike how long he took to sign everything for the deposition, when it came time to sign the divorce papers I kept texting him daily until he did it.  I got the letter from my lawyer at the very beginning of June (around the 4th or 5th) that it was done and in the hands of the courts.  I was ecstatic because I’ve been planning a vacation in early July for months.  I thought that because it was submitted to the court before the first Friday in June that my odds were good to be divorced before I left.  The 4 week mark (the longest estimate my lawyer gave me) would be the end of June, hopefully putting that decree in my hands at the beginning of July.

Last week I got a letter from my lawyer.  I nearly stopped breathing.  I thought it was THE letter.  I thought that the final dissolution of the marriage would come from the courts and the county, but I was hopeful nonetheless.  Instead it was a letter from my lawyer saying that their part in the process was finished, so they would be filing my case away shortly.  Hoping that meant they knew something I didn’t, I sat back and waited for the letter from the county.  Now, several days later (and the last one before I leave on vacation), I still don’t have it.

I have to admit that I’m pretty disappointed.  Not that it matters… not that it makes a big difference…  But I really, really wanted to be completely and totally done with him in every way before I left for my vacation.  I wanted this to be my first “official” vacation as a single woman once again (actually, my first vacation as a single woman, period, because I haven’t been single for more than a month or two since age 15).  Sadly, it doesn’t look like I’ll have that piece of paper in my hand.

That doesn’t mean that my divorce from him isn’t completely final in my heart, though.  If there’s anything this last year has taught me it’s how to accept the things that I can’t control.  I’ve had many, many opportunities to do that, and I’m starting to get good at it.  Or at least passable.  I certainly can’t control the pace of the court system.  I can, however, choose to be happy and satisfied despite my disappointment.  I can choose to still consider this vacation a milestone.  And I can look back with satisfaction at the journey that this last year of my life has taken me on because I’ve been true to myself.  I’m mastering change, not letting it master me.

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Moving On From a Bad Relationship

14 Jun

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On my recent post Future of this Blog? I got a request from a reader to address the topic of how to move on from the end of a relationship, especially one that ended badly.  I’ve been thinking on that topic, and considering how to address it.  Honestly, I’m not sure that I’m the best one to give advice on this topic.  I have moved on from Chris (a.k.a. Mr. Mess), and I did it pretty quickly once we were separated.  However, that is mostly because I let things drag on far beyond the point where they should have.  I was able to move on emotionally once we were officially “over” because I didn’t let go and kick him out until I was already there.

I don’t really recommend that approach.  It put me through a lot of unnecessary turmoil and angst and emotional pain.  Holding on that long when I was so obviously being mistreated, lied to, and taken for granted is a hallmark of an unhealthy person.  Some people may argue that it shows love and devotion and strength of character.  Maybe at first.  However, I endured a lot of things that a healthier person would not have accepted.  A lot of things that I would never, ever advise anyone else to put up with.  I did it out of fear and a need for a “safety blanket,” even if said “safety” was actually harming me far worse than moving on would have.

Besides being degrading, that approach is also not possible in cases where the other person leaves you.  You may want to hold on, be willing to accept terrible treatment, and desperately want to “work on” things with someone who isn’t putting forth any effort and has no desire to change (like I was), but have that person walk away.  Or reject you.  Or leave you for someone else.  Either way, you might be looking for the unhealthy “safety blanket,” too, and have it denied, ripped away.  How do you move on then?

If I could do things differently or if I could give anyone else advice who is in a bad relationship it would be to love yourself.  Take care of yourself.  Find yourself.  Put the focus where it belongs – on you, not on him or her.  I think the key to really moving on is to realize what you deserve, find the things that make you happy, and pursue them.  Do some sort of physical activity, whether it be biking or hiking or walking or dancing – something to get your mind and body working together.  Laugh as often as possible.  Watch funny movies, listen to good music, surround yourself with family and friends and people who love you.

I will share something else that has worked for me.  It may or may not work for you, depending on what type of role model you have.  I try to think about my Mom.  What would she do in this situation?  What would she accept?  Would she allow someone to treat her like this, behave this way, etc.?  If not, I ask myself why I accept it.  Then I try not to anymore.  That last part requires the answer to the question that precedes it.  A lot of the time the answer has been that I don’t think I deserve better, or that I’m afraid that I won’t get better if I don’t accept what I’m given.  In order to really move on, I need to combat that voice and find a way to know that I deserve more than what that person and that bad relationship gave me.  If your Mom won’t work, think about a friend or sister or some other person you love and ask yourself if you think they should accept that kind of treatment.  Most likely, the answer is no.

How does that help you move on?  Knowing what you were given in a bad relationship wasn’t good enough makes it easier to walk away emotionally.  When you realize how little there was to mourn and how much better is out there, it becomes easier to accept that it’s over.  Not only to accept it, but to rejoice over it.  I now feel elated that things are done with my ex, and so excited to get the divorce papers back from the judge signed that I can barely wait.  My friends want me to have a divorce party.  I still haven’t planned one, but it sure does sound like a good idea.  I’m not just moving on, I’m dancing on the grave of this terrible relationship.

That’s what you should do, too.  Dance.  Laugh.  Love.  Rejoice.  Take time to pamper yourself, lick your wounds, and realize that you deserve more, you deserve better, and you deserve real love.  The kind of love that you would hope for your Mom or sister or best friend.  The kind of love that treats you well, makes you feel like the most important person in the world, and complements your happiness.  Note that I said “complements your happiness” and not “makes you happy.”   Only you can do that.  Find your happiness inside of you, nurture it, and watch it attract the kind of people who will support it and not leach it out of you.  That’s my advice on how to move on from a bad relationship.

And just because, here’s some musical inspiration:

“I’m Moving On”

I’ve dealt with my ghosts and I’ve faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I’ve found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I’m at peace with myself
I’ve been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I’m movin’ on

I’ve lived in this place and I know all the faces
Each one is different but they’re always the same
They mean me no harm but it’s time that I face it
They’ll never allow me to change
But I never dreamed home would end up where I don’t belong
I’m movin’ on

I’m movin’ on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there’s no guarantees, but I’m not alone
There comes a time in everyone’s life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn’t
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I’ve loved like I should but lived like I shouldn’t
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I’m movin’ on

I’m movin’ on
I’m movin’ on

You call me up to tell me that you’re sorry
But sorry is as sorry does
You can call it what you want to
But damn it, don’t you dare call it love

You’ve got the nerve to ask me if I’m okay
Boy, give it a rest
‘Cause I’m good
And getting better at being my best

They say time can heal all wounds
Well, the sooner the better for me
‘Cause a heart at war damn sure
Will make you be all that you can be

You tore me down piece by piece
But believe me, there’s plenty of me left
Boy, I’m good
Getting better at being my best

I’ve been thrown a lot of curves in this ol’ world
But it’s only made me strong
I suggest you do what I’ve done
And make this call your last one and move on

No’s my final answer
Rest assured that I’m not after anything less
Boy, I’m good
Getting better at being my best

Oh, I’ve cried a river
But you don’t remember
Let me refresh your memory
One last time

Boy, I’m good
And getting better at being my best
Boy, I’m good
Getting better at being my best

Boy, I’m good
Oh, I’m getting better
I’m good
Getting better at being my best

Learning to be Selfish

5 Jun

Selfish

I’m trying to learn to be selfish.  I’m sure that sounds strange.  My entire life I have been a giver, someone who gives up my own wants and needs for others.  I was raised in a strict religious household.  I was taught that there is no higher purpose than to sacrifice yourself for another, as Christ did.  Just writing that now makes me want to go throw up, but it was beat into my head (almost literally).

In many ways my giving nature has made me a good person – compassionate, willing to listen, and nonjudgmental (as a side note, I’m not sure how I got that when my #1 biggest complaint about religion is all of the judging).  When I love someone I will do everything in my power and then some for them to have their needs and desires fulfilled.  I get a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from that.

The negatives of that trait are that my giving can get out of control easily with someone who is a taker.  My ex was definitely a taker.  He took everything I had and then demanded more, while simultaneously giving me very, very little in return.  Being someone who doesn’t know how to say “No” to the people I love has at times exhausted and drained me. I have found my own needs ignored, and I’ve been complicit in that.

I do NOT want that to be my pattern again.  So I’m practicing selfishness.  There are negative connotations to the word, but looking out for myself, thinking of my own interests, and putting my happiness first sounds like just the change of pace that I need.  In fact, I even have a plan for learning to be selfish, courtesy of http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Selfish.  Here’s the easy five step process:

  1. Discover what selfishness is. Selfishness is not using others, or making them serve you, or removing yourself from people. Selfishness is being primarily interested in your own goals. Selfishness has nothing to do with other people – a selfish person who hurts others is a contradiction in terms.  A selfish person is concerned with their self, and has no need to hurt others.
  2. Find out what makes you happy.  Having things that make you happy is the key to being selfish.  Do what you love, value things, be a happy person.  When you have discovered what it is that makes you happy, follow it.
  3. Succeed in a certain area.  Success is a primary component of being selfish.  Being successful means that you have dedicated yourself to something that makes you happy and have followed through on it.
  4. Stop sacrificing.  Don’t sacrifice unless its for something else that makes you happy.  If you sacrifice, then you lose something that you value, something that makes you happy.  You’ll never live a full life if you live this way.
  5. Understand the parts other people play in your lives.  Remember, they are people, just like you.  People are often an essential component to a selfish life.  Having someone that you value and whose company you find enjoyable, your self finds a value in them.  If you are in love with someone, that person is of value to you.  To quote Ayn Rand, “In order to say ‘I love you’, you must first be able to say the I”.

I’m not sure where exactly I am on this list.  I think probably way back at #1.  Thinking of myself still seems unnatural and odd.  I’ve got a toe into #2 as well.  I am trying to discover the things that make me happy.  So far I think I’m doing a pretty okay job.  I can already tell that #5 will probably be the hardest for me to conquer.  I guess that’s why it’s at the end, though.  I’m gonna take it one step at a time, one day at a time.  And I’m going to practice treating myself as well as I treat other people.

This weekend I made pretty good progress on doing things that make me happy.  Friday night I stayed home and watched The Hobbit.  I’ve been wanting to see the movie, but never seemed to be able to find the time or concentration.  I’m glad that I made time, though, because it was a fantastic movie!  Saturday I got tickets to a Tim McGraw concert from my boss, complete with VIP access and a private show.  It was phenomenal.  Then Sunday I got to go to my favorite event in the city, a food festival where the top restaurants offered $3 tasting portions. I stayed busy, and I stayed smiling.  Here are some shots from those events (I was rocking hats and fun style all weekend, and I was in a pink frame of mind):

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The best part of the weekend was waiting for me Saturday night (actually Sunday morning) when I got home:

IMG_20130602_241459_298Yay!!!!  One step closer.  No, they aren’t THE papers, but they are very, very close.  Now Chris has to actually sign the damn things.  Relying on an incredibly irresponsible person to take care of something even as simple as that isn’t as much of a given as it should be.  Whenever the hell he decides to do that the papers will be submitted to the court.  Then I will have to wait for yet ANOTHER man to sign them.  Hopefully within the next month that will be complete and I will officially be a single lady again.  Woot woot!!!  I can’t wait!

 

Look It Up

22 May

I ran into this song today through Spotify, and it is hilarious.  The video made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

Look It Up

The word is “faithful,” look it up
It don’t mean sneakin’ around behind my back
Like you ain’t gettin’ enough

How ’bout “forever”
Just look it up
It means through thick and thin and pitchin’ in
Even when the times get tough

The word is “easy”
Look it up
And you’ll see a picture of that piece of trash
Ridin’ ’round in your pickup truck

Let’s try “liar”
Just look it up
But you’ll need boots to wade through all the bull
You tell me when you come home drunk

It’s just like you to be so clueless
‘Cause you never thought I’d do this
I said go, goodbye, get lost, get out
Get gone, the word is “over”
Look it up

You said you’re “sober”
Look it up
It’s right next to hell is freezin’ over, flyin’ pigs
And all that stuff

And how ’bout “baby”
Look it up
It’s what you call me and it’s how you act
Every time I call your bluff

It’s just like you to keep denyin’
Save your whinin’ and your cryin’
I said go, goodbye, get lost, get out
Get gone, the word is “over”
Look it up

The word’s “forgiveness”
Look it up
It’s what Jesus has in store for you
But I don’t, no matter what

Quit your beggin’ and your cryin’
Can’t you hear what I been sayin’?
I said go, goodbye, get lost, get out
Get gone, the word is over
Look it up

Asshole
Just look it up, look it up

Got the Ball Rolling

10 May

Man's Hands Signing Document

Wow, it’s May!  I know it’s been a little while since I was on here.  I have been biding my time and filtering myself here since my STBX is now following my blog through Facebook.  I am hoping to make this divorce process as smooth as possible because I just want to be rid of him.  Today I found the “ban” feature on FB, so I have him banned from my page.  Not that he can’t still come here and read…  But oh well.

The exciting news that I have to share with you all is that the divorce process has started and is on it’s way to its final destination.  Unfortunately, there are still some additional steps along the way.  Yesterday my Mom and I did our depositions at the lawyer’s office.  That is Step 3 in this process.  Step 1 was filing papers with the court announcing my decision to sue Chris for divorce.  He got a copy of the papers mailed to him the middle of last month.  Step 2 was having him acknowledge receipt and waive his right to 120 days to have his lawyer (which we all know doesn’t exist) review and possible rebut.  Since this is a no fault divorce, there really is no need for him not to agree unless he wants to be an ass.

The day that I posted my last blog entry, April 29th, Chris has texted me that he was going to go by the lawyer’s office and sign the acknowledgment and waiver.  The papers were filed with the court on April 15th, so that was already two weeks from when he could have.  With that promise from him secured, I set up a deposition with my lawyer on the first available day that worked with my Mom’s school and work schedule (because I needed another witness who knew how long we were separated).  Yesterday was that deposition date.

Wednesday afternoon when I was blissfully enjoying my lunch, I got a call from my lawyer.  Chris had never come in to sign the papers.  Oh, and we couldn’t move forward to the next stage (depositions) until he did.  So, unless he got in there within the next 24 hours or so everything would be delayed that much longer…  Geesh!

asshat

I asked if they would call him, thinking that maybe if someone else was involved besides me he might actually comply.  So, they attempted to call him.  Several times.  He never answered, and his voicemail was apparently “full.”  What a jackass.  My lawyer said he just doesn’t understand why he is being so difficult about this because this whole process is “basically nothing,” especially compared to some of the other cases he deals with.  I told him that I know, believe me, and this is just one more reason I’m divorcing him.

After I got that lovely notification from my lawyer I realized it was up to me.  Guess I have to contact him after all.  Yuck.  I tried calling, too, and experienced the same bullshit as my lawyer.  So I sent him the following text: “I have a deposition scheduled for 4pm tomorrow so that this divorce can happen, but nothing can move forward until you sign the paperwork.  You said you were going to do that April 29th, but they just called and said that you haven’t.”

His response was, “I told you i would try and get by there.  I have arranged to have Friday off so i will get by there around noon and have everything signed.  I will even text you when its done.”  Oh, how magnanimous of him! (dripping sarcasm, of course)  For the record, his text to me about signing the papers was this: “Just so you know i will be going by your lawyers Monday afternoon to take care of what’s left.”  There was no “try to” in there.  It was an “I will be.”  Why was I idiotic enough to take him at his word after everything?  No idea.

Of course, his gracious offer of going by on Friday, after the time we had the deposition scheduled, requiring me to cancel and reschedule, didn’t make me jump for joy.  Oh, you can do me the huge favor of taking care of signing your fucking name on a waiver 11 days after you promised to do it and 25 days after the first time you could have?  I’m sure he was expecting me to praise him for his selflessness.  Gag!

I choked down my vitriol and urge to scream, and sent him this text:  “That throw everything off because it was planned for you to do it weeks ago so this deposition has been scheduled, I’ve taken off work, and my mom has rearranged her schedule as well since I need a witness to how long we were separated.  My lawyer even tried to call you and leave you messages but your mailbox is full and won’t accept them.”  I made sure to throw in information about my Mom and my lawyer so he’d know that his irresponsibility wasn’t just inconveniencing me (since that wouldn’t matter at all to him).

Two minutes later he responded by saying, “I will do everything I can to get there before four tomorrow.  Let me call and see what I can do.”  I just said, “Thank you,” and held my breath.  I wanted to say so much more, but I held my tongue and played the role of grateful, groveling wife that he wanted me to.  A few minutes late he said, “I will have them signed tomorrow by 1:30.  Call your lawyer and let him know.”

I let out a sign of relief, although I didn’t get my hopes up too much considering what happened before.  There was always the possibility that his narcissist self would decide something else was a higher priority or that he would say “something came up” or just not do it.  However, I was banking on the fact that he didn’t want to look like even more of an ass to my Mom.  I tried to play off of that imagine conscious thing (hahaha, such a joke) that narcissistic sociopaths have.

It worked!

He actually went by and signed (and was sure to send me a text).  I called the lawyer’s office to confirm.  I’m sure he felt high and mighty.  In his version of this story I bet he would extol his virtues as a wonderful person for dropping everything to do this “for me.”  He would most likely say he texted me out of the goodness of his heart to ease my mind.  Ha!  Others may believe that, but I’m certain it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with stroking his twisted ego.   I believe that he intentionally waited to the last second to fuck with me.  Maybe not.  Maybe he’s just an irresponsible, self-centered piece of shit who doesn’t really care how quickly this divorce is over, even though he’s married to a “nut job.”  He’s certainly not suddenly so busy and so important that he hasn’t had the ability in almost a month to take care of this.

one-fingerThe thing that kills me is that he literally has only ONE responsibility in this divorce.  Sign the required papers.  That’s it.  I have paid all of the fees.  I wrote up the separation agreement.  I do all of the depositions.  I line up the witnesses.  I have all of the meetings with the lawyer.  I am footing the entire cost of divorce.  Now I even have to make calls and texts to remind him to sign his name!?!  Holy shit!

But I digress…  My lawyer explained that the rest of the process will go like this:  They will type up the deposition that my Mom and I gave.  They will attach that and all of the required paperwork and exhibits along with an official request for divorce judgment.  These papers will be mailed to me and to Chris.  At that point he will have to sign that he agrees to a divorce.  Once he does that (however long it takes), the final paperwork will be submitted to the court.  They will also mail me a copy.  Once the paperwork is in the hands of the court it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for the judge to sign them.  My lawyer knows all of the clerks (and my Mom has one as a client), so hopefully my case will be presented as soon as possible.  However, my county only has one judge and he only deals with divorce matters on Fridays.

He said that IF Chris goes by and signs everything he needs to by the end of this month, the worst-case scenario is that I’ll be divorced by July 1st.  That’s just in time for my big trip down to Amelia Island, Florida for work, which is just a week or so later.  I was already planning to make it an extended vacation, and now it can be a celebration, too!  All in all, that’s great.  I can’t wait for this whole thing to be done, but I’ll be patient.

Yesterday I also made sure to take time for a mini-celebration.  I treated myself to a haircut and gel manicure.  I went out to dinner with my Mom and step-Dad to a really nice, trendy new restaurant.  I ate delicious food and spent time with two of the people I love most in the world.  It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and I drove around with happy songs blaring from my radio.  The car windows were down, and of course I was singing along.  I also wore my favorite pink flyaway cardigan that looks amazing with my skin and hair.  I’ll leave you with a few snapshots of me from yesterday.

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Progress

20 Apr

This last week has seen some significant progress in my world.  The papers were officially delivered to Chris (a.k.a. Mr. Mess).  I have an appointment for a deposition with my lawyer.  The ball is rolling, and things are going in the right direction.

School has been busy, but good.  I’m learning quite a bit and enjoying the ability to stretch myself.  There was a work trip that took me away for the weekend during a time when I had a lot of work to do for school (3 papers).  It also coincided with a surgery that my dog needed to excise a tumor and check it for cancer.  Needless to say, last week was incredibly stressful.  However, the papers got done impeccably, I generated new leads at work, and my precious Buddy is cancer-free and recovering well.

All of that has given me the ability to breathe again, and a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that the divorce is proceeding.  I even had the opportunity to have a little fun!  Last night I did a duet with a friend of mine who was opening a sold-out show.  We sang Jason Aldean’s song “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” featuring Kelly Clarkson.  We did an acoustic version with him, me, two stools and a guitar.  It was amazing.  We rocked the house.  If you aren’t familiar with the song, here it is:

It was so amazing to go on stage and perform again.  People were cheering and loving it.  I had so, so many people come up to me afterwards and say that they were just blown away.  I’ve missed having music be a part of my life in that way.  I also got to pick out a cute outfit and break out my pink hair extensions again.  I thought I would share some self-portraits from last night.  Pink streaks are fabulous!

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Finally, for some levity, I would like to share a little ditty from today.  I decided to treat myself to my favorite Thai restaurant for dinner tonight.  When I went by to pick it up, the owner who is an older, small-statured gentleman from Thailand, started asking me about how things are going for me.  I’m a regular there, and used to go at least once a week when I worked close by.  He said that he has noticed the man I used to bring in with me is gone.  I laughed and said yes.  He said it’s easier that way.  I told him he was soooo right.  Then, in his broken English, he told me, “Next time, you get better looking one.”  I burst out laughing!  I’m still chuckling to myself.

Yes, next time around I will get a better looking one.  More than that, though, I’ll get a better all-around man.  🙂

Failure.

4 Apr

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Failure: What does it mean?  When asked about my #1 fear, failure is always my answer.  Not spiders or snakes or drowning.  Those things don’t worry me at all.  Just the word failure, however, strikes fear into my heart.  Appropriately enough, the very first reading assignment I was given in my Master’s class was on failure – and learning to embrace and even celebrate it.  The article was “Fail Faster, Succeed Sooner” by Dr. Cheryl Lenz.

The entire time that I was reading I could feel my internal struggle, the desire to proclaim that the author was wrong and to run in the other direction.  I have discovered that she is not incorrect, though.  Life has taught me that failure cannot be avoided, therefore it should be embraced.  I’m not quite there yet, however.  Failure is still something I struggle against.

The concept of learning through failures (actually seeking them out, even), is something I vehemently fought against.  My mind was screaming that I learned just fine without ever failing.  That’s not really true, though.  Although I have never, ever received an ‘F,’ I have certainly never achieved perfection, either.  In fact, I know that it isn’t even possible.  Still, as I was reading my perfectionist mind was finding typos and mentally correcting them (like the word “prefect” instead of “perfect” at the top of page 154 – I wonder if that was intentional to drive people like me crazy?).

When I stop, take a breath, and really think about failure and what we can learn from it, I can see the wisdom in embracing it.  It is undeniably true that no one does anything flawlessly the first time.  I have also found that sometimes we learn the most from discovering how NOT to approach a problem, task, or process.  I used to feel like my failures were something to be embarrassed about, and to hide from the world.  That was my perfectionism in full force, telling me that anything less than exactly what I set out to do wasn’t worth anything.  As I’ve grown and been faced with less than perfect outcomes, I have also discovered that not all failures can be private. And some that could be maybe shouldn’t be. When I make myself vulnerable and admit my humanity I have found that people relate to me more.  No one is perfect, but even though we all know that we still try to keep up the façade.

Walking away from my marriage, admitting that I made a poor choice in a partner, and pursuing divorce was terrifying – probably the scariest thing I’ve done so far.  I never thought I would be divorced.  I believe in love and marriage.  “Giving up” on my marriage was something I didn’t want to do.  Sometimes you don’t have control over things, though.  I didn’t have any control over my husband’s addiction, his lies, his narcissist personality, or his lack of desire to be honest and trustworthy in our marriage.  I am figuring out how to give up control and learning from disappointments in life the hard way (because I’m a stubborn person).  Every day I strive to accept that I can’t plan out my life.  I can have goals and work towards them, but I cannot predict where life might take me.

A failure is only truly a negative thing when we let it be the end of the road.  I have been guilty of seeing a failure coming, and trying to avoid it at all costs, even if it meant giving up and walking away.  That has made me miss out on experiences that I could have learned from and grown as a person.  It is important to know your limitations, but we shouldn’t allow fear of failure to hold us back from achieving our dreams.  Resiliency is a gift, and it should be encouraged and honed.  I suppose that is one thing that failure teaches us.  🙂

Failure

Possibly the Last Time I Have to See Him?

14 Mar

Tonight just might have been the last time I had to see Mr. Mess.  He came to pick up the small amount of the tax return that I kindly offered.  I gave him the last few odds and ends I found that belong to him.  He was here less than 5 minutes.  And that should be it!

Hopefully when I file for divorce next month I won’t even have to see him.  My lawyer will just take care of everything.  He can sign the papers when he gets them.  I won’t have to be there or see him.  I’m pretty sure that we won’t even have to go to court together – I think the judge will just sign the order.  Here’s hoping!

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