When Are You Truly Free?

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It’s been many months since I last posted.  A lot has gone on in my life and yet, not enough has changed.

By that I mean I am still legally married.  Ugh.  Sad but true.  Not through any procrastination on my part but rather Number Two – – who couldn’t wait to move on from me less than twenty-four hours after telling me he was done with our relationship – – suddenly seemed to find finalizing our divorce not exactly a priority.  Why?  No idea and I guess it doesn’t really matter.  It’s just incredibly frustrating.

So I’m still working with that, still working on getting myself legally free of him and what do you know?  Valentine’s Day hits.

I hate Valentine’s Day.  I always have had a hate-hate relationship with it, even when I have been part of a couple.  It’s a bullshit “holiday” that exists only to make single people feel bad about themselves.  What is that about?  Let’s pick a day to celebrate love and lovers and exclude a great part of the population!  Awesome!

I chose to go to an event that was supposed to be a social thing, to meet people and not necessarily in the male-female pair off sense.  And yet it felt just like that.  I felt uncomfortable and realized that while I have moved on in my life, I’m just not free yet.  I’m perfectly happy going out with my friends to just have fun and hang out but I’m not in a place (yet) where I am ready to become a duo again.

My question to you, lovelies, is are you truly free?  How long did it take for you to become free?  Care to share any war stories?

Miracle Monday #4

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What am I grateful for today?  (Well, yesterday too since today IS Tuesday.  I’m a day late, sue me)

I am grateful for my therapist.  I know that so many people consider therapy and/or counseling like that crazy relative you never want to admit having or that weird obsession with The Brady Bunch.  Okay, just me?  Whatever.  Regardless, many Americans look at therapy as something to be embarrassed by, something that indicates weakness.  Horsefeathers, people!  (Hey, it sounds better than bullshit!)   If your teeth are bothering you, you go to a dentist.  If your stomach hurts, you go to your physician.  Why not treat your mental and emotional health the same?

Let’s be honest.  The world can really suck.  The pressures can be immense.  Sometimes you just can’t deal with everything on your own . . . or sometimes you need to talk to an impartial person who is sympathetic but firm.  He or she won’t tell you what you want to hear but maybe what you need to hear.

I have a fantastic therapist.  He is kind and understanding and he keeps me on the straight and narrow right now.  I can tell him anything without fear of reprisal or rationalizing my behavior.  I can cuss up a storm, I can cry.  It’s all good because his job is to listen.  And sometimes that’s really all we need divorce survivors need, no?

Don’t fear the stigma of therapy.  Let’s talk about it.  Do you see a therapist or counselor?  Has it helped you?  Been a positive experience overall or one you’d prefer not to repeat?

 

And what are you grateful for today?

Game Show Hostesses Need Not Apply

imagesCAHPMEHBThis may sound like a crazy question but stick with me, okay?

Can you be subjected to too much positivity at times?  Don’t you have those moments where you just need a “woe is me” minute?  Or hour?  Or day?  And if you do, isn’t that okay?

I am not a depressive person generally.  My instances with depression have always been connected to men (go figure).   But there are occasions when I am feeling blue and I just don’t want to hear “You are so much better off now!”, “Embrace this change!”, “Better now than later . . . “, “He obviously wasn’t right for you”, “Now you are free to find a better man!”, etc.  Honestly, with regard to statement 1, no shit.  Statement 2 (and remember this is when I’m feeling blue), fuck the change right now.  Statement 3, maybe but it all sucks and say that again and you will find yourself face planted on the pavement three flights down.  Statement 4, oh really?  Where were you when I asked your opinion on him before I committed?  Statement 5, contrary to popular opinion, when you are in the midst of a divorce the last thing you truly need is yet another man (or woman) to invest yourself in.  Please.

I have a friend who means well and has a great heart but last week I wanted to string her up and slime her.  I had a bad week.  A horrible week.  I didn’t need to hear any of the above statements.  I didn’t need to be reminded how much better my life was going to be and how I needed to stop thinking about all this (AS. IF.) and focus on how great I am.  Again, I know she means well but what I wanted to hear was “Your ex is a total asshole!” (heard from someone else, thank you).  Or “I’m sorry, it’ll get better” (heard from someone else, thank you).  Or “Look at that picture of Robert Downey, Jr. – – isn’t he HOT?” (heard from someone else, thank you).  Or just “I’m sorry” (heard from someone else, thank you).

You know, sometimes those of us going through the apocalypse of divorce just need to vent.  We don’t always need a cheerleader to remind us of how awesomely, wonderfully positive this major life change will be for us.  We don’t always want people to act like our mother and tell us to snap out of it.  We know we need to snap out of it (eventually) and we know our life will eventually get back on track and improve.   And while we’re blue, while we’re grieving, it’s always appreciated to know that what we’re feeling is okay. It’s normal.

tumblr_lnthsta9V01qc630fo1_400Said friend above who is dangerously close to a sliming has the unfortunate habit of asking me almost daily how I feel, if I’m better, what I’m doing, etc.  When I am feeling particularly bitchy I consider saying “I was just about to hang myself from my shower rod but I guess I can wait until after this call.” or “I’m so glad you called!  How long does it take lye to destroy a body?”  But that would probably increase her worry about my mental state and therefore increase the phone calls.   I don’t mind that she’s checking up on me; in fact, it’s nice to know that if you go off the grid for more than eight hours, someone notices.  However . . . being constantly asked how you’re doing and feeling makes me feel as though I’m on a specific timetable for overcoming grief and getting through this divorce.  I certainly don’t need that.

Talk to me.  Do you have friends or family that you feel have you on a grief timetable?  Are you currently blue over your loss?  Do you think there can be moments when sunshine and roses just isn’t acceptable?  Do you miss the original The Price is Right as much as I do?

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

1-forward-2-backOh regression, how I hate you.

Maybe I should have known.  Having been split for six months and seeming to deal with it incredibly well emotionally . . .  Sure, a few sad moments here and there, that’s to be expected – especially around certain landmarks like birthdays, anniversaries or even hearing a familiar song that may trigger a memory.  My sad moments became full-fledged days of depression last week.  Not the type of depression that led me to a freeway overpass (melodramatic, yes) or unable to get out of bed (more realistic) but the kind where I felt as though the split had just happened.

All I could think of was my ex.  Not pining for him, absolutely not.  But feeling hurt and betrayed all over again.  Feeling angry and wanting to punch his face in, even as I remembered all the things that had drawn me to him in the first place (and questioning my sanity, as well as my sobriety levels).   Feeling anxious and scared about my future.  Would I ever find anyone to love again?  Would anyone love me again?  Would I want them to?  What if I was alone forever?  What if Number Two went on with his life without me?  What if he was happier?   What if he was more successful?  What did this mean for Thanksgiving?  Who invented Cheez Whiz and why?  (Okay, that one I stole from one of the funniest movies of the 80s – – The Sure Thing.  Haven’t seen it?  Get to it, John Cusack fans.)

Maybe the worst is the sleep (or lack thereof) issue.  I have a brand new bed.  It’s fabulous.  I have brand new sheets on my brand new bed.  They are fabulous.  I can sleep with my window open because it’s what I want – – plus it’s quiet – – so that’s fabulous.  Yet I am still tossing and turning and every damn dream involves my ex is one way or another.  So not fabulous.

And yes, I know.  My subconscious is at work.  It’s working overtime and it’s driving me crazy.  And I know that eventually it will go crawl into a hole until I’m stressing about Christmas or (hope against hope) I meet someone else that sets my heart aflutter.  But for now it sucks ass – – I’m tired and I’m a grouchity grouch when I get tortured sleep.

The stressed out stomach could be good, if I was losing numbers on the scale the way I wished I would.  And if I was at home where stomach cramps aren’t nearly as annoying and embarrassing as at work.  It’s a fact that if you ever have stomach issues at work, it will be the day all your bosses are in or you are stuck on a conference call or in a meeting . . . or the most gorgeous man ever sets foot in your office.  Irony is a cruel bitch.

So what do YOU do when you find yourself regressing?  It’s easy to know that it’s a normal part of the grieving process but how to accept that and still go about your daily life without strangling the impatient and rude woman in the grocery store checkout line or burst into tears when someone makes eye contact with you or launch into your sob story when making idle conversation?   (Okay, so I haven’t strangled anyone . . . yet).

Just Get Over It

If you are divorced or going through a divorce, chances are that you’ve heard the above sentiment.

I have.  Both times.  “It’s been (insert length of time) .  Aren’t you over it yet?”  “Stop thinking about him/them/it and move on!”  “You’re never going to get over it unless you stop thinking about it.”  All well-meaning comments, surely, but all woefully inappropriate, incorrect and inconsiderate.

First, there is no timetable for grief.  And have no doubt, divorce is a grieving process.  It’s like a death, sure, only worse because there is no finality and closure as when someone dies.  Your ex continues to walk around, potentially populate the earth and make you miserable rather than being buried under six feet of earth.  Some people may work through their grief in half the time it takes others.  It’s okay.  There is no right or wrong timeframe for healing, despite what others may tell you – – including some of the books on the shelves today.  And most definitely don’t look to celebrities for guidance – – I have been separated from Number Two since March and am still hurting and grieving.  I’m sure some in the celebrity realm would think I was an oddity for not yet having my next engagement lined up.   I am still grieving because the life I thought I had, that I thought I would have, is gone.  It’s devastating to suffer such a loss . . . and that’s okay.

Secondly, of course you’re thinking about your ex, your relationship and what you’re going through.  No shit, Sherlock!  There is nothing wrong with that.  It’s how you move forward and get to the other side.  Maybe it’s all-consuming right now but it won’t always be.  Each day the thoughts may lessen.  The only time there should be concern is if you can’t get out of bed, you’re missing work and/or you are figuring out the distance from your window to the pavement below.  Again, people mean well but if they haven’t gone through it — and especially if your split was precipitated by lying, cheating and/or abuse – – they assume that you should just be grateful you are no longer with the asshole and have no more feelings or thoughts about it whatsoever.  If you didn’t have feelings or thoughts about it, even months later, you wouldn’t be human and your relationship wouldn’t have been genuine.

Third, you don’t just get over divorce. You can get through it, as you would any type of loss or setback, but you don’t “get over it”.  Those people who do are the ones that immediately move from person to person (like Numbers One and Two) to avoid dealing with any emotional fallout.  That is what is not healthy and not normal.   When someone has lost a job, do people say “Get over it!”  Generally not.  Most people have sympathy and offer to help in ways they can.  So why are we so critical of people who are separated and divorced and insistent upon them getting back out there and moving on?  The loss of a relationship, of a home, of a way of life is much more stressful and serious than the loss of a job (although losing a job sucks too).

So if you’re grieving, it’s okay.  You’re not doing it the wrong way (unless you’re bottling up your emotions, refusing to acknowledge them and/or jumping into a serious relationship immediately to avoid dealing with your feelings).  Just be gentle with yourself and surround yourself with those people who will encourage you, support you and uplift you, not criticize you or tell you what you should be doing.  Accept the loss at your pace and do what you can to embrace your new life, the new YOU.   Know there will be bumps along the way and even setbacks.  It doesn’t mean you’re failing, it means you’re human.

Let’s talk.  Has anyone told you to “get over it”?  Have you felt pressured by well-meaning friends and family to speed up your grieving process?  What’s the best advice anyone has given you on getting through your loss?

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Miracle Monday #3

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What am I grateful for today?

I am grateful for my girlfriends. It’s said that you never know who your real friends are until you’re in a crisis and that is so true. Real friends won’t just say they are sorry to hear about your split, they will go the extra mile by holding your hand when you need to cry, help you pack/unpack/move, force you into getting off your butt to go out and have that margarita! They will listen to you debate over the most irrelevant minutae of your relationship and assure you that everything will be fine and you won’t be all alone one day with twenty cats.

Do you have girlfriends like this?

What are you grateful for today?

Miracle Monday #2

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What am I grateful for today?

I am grateful that I have the entire bed to myself. I don’t have to deal with sheets/blankets being pulled off me (waking up to being freezing cold is no fun), my pillow being pulled out from under my head (waking up to your head smacking the headboard is no fun), being kicked or shoved (waking up to hanging off the bed is no fun) or being drowned in morning breath and/or excessive farting (no comment is probably necessary). I can sit up and read as long as I like, without the bedside lamp disturbing anyone and I can work on my laptop whenever I want without the clicking of the keys keeping anyone awake.

Tell me, what are you thankful for today?

Single Shaming

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Happy Friday, my fellow Divas! Fridays are always good and welcome but I know I have seen them differently since my split. No longer do I have standing plans or an automatic date for whatever is going on. The weekend can be good for going out with friends (I don’t have to check anyone’s schedule but mine) or relaxing at home (yes, I am going to wear my pajamas half the day . . . so?) but if you’re feeling particularly down or lonely, the weekends can bring that pain to the surface. You can feel isolated and alone at home; out with friends, you can be surrounded by couples, further highlighting your new singledom.

Before you split, you may have been thinking about all the wonderful things that being single would bring you. Your friends and family may have told you how awesome your life would be. You may have reminded yourself how great your life was pre-marriage and expected it to go right back to where it was. But the reality may be entirely different.

I have felt single shamed. It happened to me probably a month after I moved out. I had an appointment with my therapist and had time to kill. I did some window shopping and then decided I would grab brunch. I had a book to read while I ate so I thought I would be good to go. And I was . . . until I was seated at one of the mini-booths that hold two people and realized that I was the only solo person in the place. Everywhere I looked were couples and families. Worse, I was seated by the front door so every single family and couple that came through the door took a gander at me. I immediately felt self-conscious and shamed. Were they asking themselves “Doesn’t she have any friends?” “Why is she eating alone?” “Wow, it must suck to be her!” I felt naked and exposed. I had no wedding ring to say “Look! I’m part of a couple!” I had no Number 2 with me, or Kidlet. That was the first time it really sunk in for me that I was on my own.

Obviously I have no idea what those people may or may not have been saying about me. I speculate because I remember doing that myself, seeing a person eating all by their lonesome and wondering if they wanted to eat alone, if they enjoyed eating alone or . . . well, anything! I never meant anything rude or bad by it – – maybe it’s human nature – -but I was single shaming. Ouch.

So I have to wonder . . . does our society single shame?

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Why worry?

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I love this saying. Not that I necessarily follow it, of course.

I am a worrier. There, I said it. I worry about everything. I try not to. I try to keep a balanced, business-like approach but sometimes I guess I’m just too damn emotional or hormonal or something but I worry. Even when everyone tells me not to, I worry. I could definitely be a Class A worrier before the split but since — Worry City. I guess it’s natural, given the many changes my life has undergone this year. And most people are very happy to share their miserable, holy-cow-does-life-suck divorce stories with you.

What is crazy is that I work in a field where I have to be level headed and not emotional. I’m fine at work. I can separate myself from whatever is going on. I can analyze cooly and clearly with the best of them. And I know that worrying won’t change the outcome of anything. It truly won’t. But when it comes to my personal life and emotions . . .

Case in point: When Number 2 told me he was going to drag me into court, I worried. Even when family and friends told me that he was likely just blowing hot air because he’s impulsive and stupid enough to do that, I still worried. What if he’s not? Even when I was told by an attorney that he was shooting himself in the foot and such a thing would only benefit me, I worried. What if it doesn’t? I worried to the point that I had stomach cramps, I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep. I have moved on from Number 2, I’m ready to be done with him so why?

Are you a worrier? Were you a worrier prior to your separation or divorce? How do you deal with a worrying nature while going about your day to day life?

Do You Miss Him?

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“I don’t miss him. I miss the idea of him.”
Meg Ryan as Sally Albright, “When Harry Met Sally”

It’s funny how you can be with someone for more than ten years and then go cold turkey from them via a split and not even miss them at all. Do you miss your ex? I thought I did at the beginning. I thought I was still in love with him and it devastated me. How was I supposed to move forward if I still wanted to be with him, if I still had feelings for him? Fortunately I have a great therapist (who was supposed to provide marriage counseling but ended up only counseling me) that informed me that what I was feeling wasn’t real love, it was residual emotion. Kind of like the aftershock to an earthquake, which is a very fitting description I think.

Anyhow, I love When Harry Met Sally and I love all the fantastic quotes in the movie. It’s a great movie to watch post-split because you can relate to what the characters are going through, you can root for them and you can even feel good they get together at the end – – which is wonderful since I didn’t want to watch or think about anything remotely romantic when my split first happened. In my book, romance was equivalent to horror.

Back to the topic at hand – – I do miss the idea of Number 2. I miss having someone to share news with immediately, good or bad. I miss going to sleep next to someone and waking next to them. I miss having an automatic date for a movie I want to see or a restaurant I want to try. When I was watching World War Z, I kept thinking that if and when the zombie apocalypse went down, I am on my own. I had better make sure I am fully armed and ready and able to kick some ass because I won’t have a Brad Pitt to do it for me. I miss the idea of that partner for life.

But then I start thinking that I can share news, good or bad, with my friends and family. I may not be sleeping next to someone right now but at least I don’t have to wake up to morning breath, or the covers being pulled off me or being crowded out of bed. (I also don’t have to worry about being kicked, elbowed or smacked in my sleep, all of which happened with Number 2). By the end of our relationship, I didn’t have an automatic date for a movie I wanted to see because he always seemed to find a reason not to go, mainly because he was taking someone else out for movies. And obviously while Number 2 and I were legally married, he wasn’t a true partner for life.

So yes. I am very much a Sally. I miss the idea of him but not the person himself.

How about you? Do you miss him? If so, why? And what do you miss?