Divorce Chronicles :: Two Years Later

Dustin and I had an amazing time yesterday. We have been talking about going to Six Flags Magic Mountain for over a year now and finally made the trip. Splurged on Flash Passes for the first time ever and got to ride every coaster we wanted, most two or three times. There were a couple good coasters I have never had a chance to ride before, and it has been years, but Goliath, at night, was still my favorite. Nothing beats that first drop. Nothing beats the anticipation and thrill, the energy in the air, that deep breath and long scream, and those moments that steal your breath away. It was perfect. Exactly what I needed and more. 

And then this afternoon, during a quiet moment of the Hurricane’s nap, Facebook kindly reminded me that I have been divorced for exactly two years. So fitting, really, given the mild emotional breakdown I had in the car this morning on the way home… We are flying down the interstate and start talking about our wedding, just 40 days and 40 nights away. So soon, but so far away given that I feel like I have known this man forever – and often have to remind myself that we just truly met a year and a half ago. I commented honestly, that I am mostly pretty sure I am ready to get remarried when a wave of shame and anger and regret washed over me. Those deep in the pit of your stomach ugly, ugly feelings. And my concern for still being able to feel that way, even two years later caused me to burst into tears.

I am certain it is not that I am not ready to marry him. It’s the wasted time, years and years and almost a decade of wasted time, the cracks in my heart, the betrayal of trust that were all for nothing. Because besides the Hurricane, and being free and having a hell of a lot more confidence in who I am and why I’m here on this earth, no good comes from what I went through. But that’s everything at the same time, isn’t it?

It is everything. So I cried for my divorce and for me, and for the messy and beautiful family my son will have. For everything I never really wanted, wasn’t expecting, didn’t sign up for. Dustin reached over and grabbed my hand, calmly told me that it may never fully go away and that it’s okay if it never does and we sat in silence for a couple miles. He is my zen and I am so thankful. I still have a big heart, and it just so happens to be a big day in the short history of my divorced life. The highlight of which was picking up the Hurricane and him running at us yelling, “Mommy! Daddy!” before throwing himself into my arms. The gentle reminder that I am immeasurably blessed among this chaos.

Love and light,

Michelle

catharsis |kəˈTHärsis|

I hope he is happy. I hope the divorce does not ruin his life.

I hope the same for myself.

My thoughts driving home from work are so random and odd at times.

And if my hope of these things does not speak of my progress in post-divorce healing, I do not know what will. I can understand now, why it is that my boyfriend’s mom can be friendly with her ex-husband. For the kids sake, sure, even though they are more than grown ups, but for her as well. In my experience and in most situations, it is easier to let yourself feel good things about people than it is to harbor hate and mistrust.

So I would rather he be happy. And as for remarriage and more kids, that is up to him. I would hope that things would be different in both of our “next time arounds”, but not dwell on the idea.

It is time again for letting go. For a catharsis of new what ifs and if thens I previously had no idea I was holding onto… Of walls meant to protect me from others, thoughts and other feelings that serve me no good any longer.

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Check. [Soul]mate.

Hello again, to anyone who thought my long leave of absensce meant the death of this little blog. I have been honestly busy this time. Moved two cities over, hit my one year mark at work just in time for the clinic to move to a bigger, better location and am adjusting to life just me and Elliott, although with lots of parenting help from the boyfriend. It has been hard but exhilarating.

So much activity but not much to say about it all. Very little I felt the need to write out loud until the past couple of days. Settling down, for a chronic over thinker like myself, was so much easier when I was sure I was meant to be with someone. I had that feeling with the ex, and even though that relationship blew up in my face in a most spectacular way, there was no denying the magnetism we had for each other. I am not sure I feel that way about the boyfriend, and I do not yet fully know how that makes me feel. With the ex it was all miscommunication and empty love tanks, but with the boyfriend I never think about a love tank, because it is honestly a non-issue. There are none of the dramatic highs and lows. We are steady and stable and it is (sometimes/definitely) weird to me. It is not at all what I am accustomed to experiencing in a relationship. He would marry me tomorrow, would have married me last week, if I let him. But there is just this feeling that I am not ready and I do not know why.

Having gone through a divorce, I would almost rather live with him first…test the waters, see what our relationship will really look like 24/7/365. But that won’t work for him; marriage first he says. And that is a huge commitment. That is quite literally signing my heart and love away to someone else, promising to be there, promising to stay no matter what. Marrying him would mean making myself vulnerable to being left in the most soul crushing way again. To be a little too honest, my scars from ending up on the wrong side of someone’s keep or toss list are still too raw, even more than a year later. I hate it. I hate myself for not entirely being able to leave those experiences buried in the past. I hate that while talking to my littlest sister last night tears formed in my eyes when I admitted another divorce will kill me, or at the very least kill my spirit. I still don’t quite understand how I survived the last one..

It’s all up in the air, and it all doesn’t really matter at the same time. Just that little tug on my heartstrings and the grieving of the idea of soulmates. Adult life is so limitless and immeasurable and hard and wonderful. I hope Elliott listens – but being my son, sincerely doubt he will – when I remind him to not hurry growing up.

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Gift Ninja

I got the chance to help out a random momma tonight and it feels awesome. Random acts of kindness always make me feel a bit like a gift ninja. I’m cool with that. I have been doing my best to not only keep my head above water lately, but to enjoy life. Focus on the positive, choose to see the good, it’s all one hundred happy days up in here. Literally.

It’s a game, almost. Focus on the happy, and note/ignore my subconscious ever so subtly reminding me of the events occurring around this time, exactly a year ago. Yesterday would have been our third anniversary.. right? I am just kidding, no surprise there. But it was not. It was just like any other Tuesday, except with a lot more lost and/or abandoned puppies and kittens showing up at work. (Sidebar: It’s kitten and puppy season. Adopt don’t shop. Spay and neuter your pets!) But I’m okay. I feel okay. And I am honest enough to type that without worrying that my nose will grow overnight.

I’ve been talking to someone who goes to my church and it’s fresh, and it’s new. A different perspective, an outside point of view to the whole experience of moving home and starting over. To feeling like you’re starting over well after you thought you would have your life figured out.

Anyway. Rambling because it is well past my bedtime. 5am comes far too early for this night owl.

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A Long Weekend

It is difficult coming to terms with the fact that I was openly lied to for years, and didn’t catch on. “Used and abused,” as bluntly phrased by my dad. A fact made even more difficult because I pride myself in being honest. I could blame myself for being too trusting, too open but even now, I don’t see those as faults. I was presented with this person, and only realized when I was being discarded, that it was a facade. I apologize in advance if you thought me going public with the divorce would mean the end of all divorce-type talk. I wish it were, and eventually I will run out of things to say, but I could write a whole chapter about this weekend in the chronicles of this divorce.

My ex-huband booked the flight weeks ago, letting me know his intentions to visit the weekend our divorce was final via a copy of his flight itinerary. Classy, right? I would have suggested just about any other weekend besides this past one…

I was nervous to see him, unsure how I would feel. And I felt nothing. I always, always used to smile when I saw him, and I didn’t. No happy or upset butterflies. Just the perfect amount of nothingness. We had lunch, Elliott and the ex bonded over Elliott’s favorite movie, Brave, and we concluded the day with some playtime at the park. It went better than I expected. Welcome to the land of co-parenting, population three.

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I could write a separate post for this, but I would rather not spend too much more time thinking about it. I’m not even going to bother making it a pretty story, or blending it into what I’ve said above, so I hope you can follow along.

I joined OKcupid a few weeks ago. Middle, younger sister said I needed to practice talking to guys after being off the market so long. I haven’t met anyone worth writing about. A lot of creepers, a mutual penpal type or two that I can write in the random empty moments in my day. It’s been interesting, to say the least. The ex must have recently joined, and searched me out, because I got a notification in my email that he was checking out my profile. Odd, I thought, so I took a look at his profile. We showed as a 27% match, and the answers to at least half the “get to know me” questions he had answered were appalling to me. To say why exactly, might border on slander, but it definitely showed he wasn’t kidding when he drunkenly said I never knew him. So I asked him in a message on the site, why lie about everything? 

“I lied to keep you in my life.”… [insert some other stuff about thinking it might have just been a “bad patch” here]

Probably a true answer, but bad enough to send me on a pity spiral about trusting a pathological liar. And so I text messaged my sister who got me on the site in the first place, and she brought me back down to Earth. Sisters are so good for that. If this divorce has taught me nothing else, and it has taught me a lot, it would be that I need good, honest people in my life… and that I could sit here and pity myself for the life I’ve been dealt, for the wool being pulled over my eyes, for being the unlucky “car” in a seriously messed up game of LIFE, or choose to move on.

I don’t get to write up a wild dating profile about the party life and all that entails, but it’s okay. I get to be someone better. Saturday night I held my baby boy as he fell asleep like I have most nights of his life. I kissed his head before laying him down in his crib and turned out the light on one more day moving forward.

I married a bad guy. I trusted him with my heart and he betrayed me…That doesn’t make me a bad person.

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Divorced.

Hi there, and welcome to the story of the end of my marriage.

I hesitated momentarily, months ago, when deciding whether or not this should be a public topic on my blog. It took a google search of  the question, “where do I go from here?” to make me realize that I needed to write about it, simply because no one else does. I have been advised to just say “it didn’t work out…the deployments…lack of communication” but I’ll save the sugar coated story for a later time. I’ve edited old posts with a new appreciation for where I am and hope to tell nothing more than the truth. Going through a divorce? Entrigued as to what I have to say about mine? Click through the links to previously private posts that I have written.

This story begins with this post written over a year ago. It was a venting post, about a fight we had had. The problems I talk about are ones we had all along. They were there when we lived in South Carolina and they were there the day we undid “I do.” Looking back at it now, it is a shockingly accurate foreshadow of what was to come, if only I had been able to see it then. A month later, things still weren’t looking up.

Then we got news that the December 2012 deployment was going to start in August. To add insult to that injury, they were told while already two weeks into a month long training stent in San Diego. Brutal news.

He came home from the month long underway two weeks later and we went to a few counseling sessions. At the time, I thought we left the sessions stronger, but looking back it was probably all lies on his end. The deployment began a short while later, I wrote about missing him all the time and a few months passed. November came, bringing with it a bad cold followed by a scary bout of bronchitis. Ended up in the ER and felt no sympathy from the sailor. Struck me as odd, but I brushed it off when he explained that its hard to show emotion when he can’t do anything about it being so far away. Spent a few weeks being avoided because I was so sick and contagious and fell into a bit of depression. Being eight months pregnant and alone is really lonely and sharing this post is hard, because reading it just now, I can still feel how sad I was when I wrote it. I didn’t want anyone to know I was struggling.

And then my mom came into town for the birth of her first grandchild and I felt even further away from the sailor than I had before. I wrote a post with the definition of the word “dissonance” as the original title, because it described our relationship perfectly. It wasn’t the last time I would write a post on that topic.

Our son was born, and my life changed in ways I never imagined possible. I stopped blogging for the most part, focused on surviving through months of little to no sleep. I emailed the sailor daily, sent pictures all the time, told him all about our son. It didn’t bring us closer together. And the dissonance creeped in once again.

That was the last post I wrote about our marriage before it was already over. The next post on the topic of our relationship was written after the divorce papers were signed. As part of the dividing of household assets, I got both of the laptops purchased as gifts during the marriage for us and found cookies on his web browser proving his porn problem had been back for a while. He had fessed up to that in a drunken phone call, but I had no tangible proof up until then.

We were in California  a week when it hit me that I was never going “home”  to that home again. And as we settled in, I began sorting through all my newly acquired “baggage”. I had so many questions I will never know the answers to, and I slowly worked on forgiving myself for getting so deep into a loveless marriage. It wasn’t easy. There were times I couldn’t get the memories of moments long gone out of my head. I met a mom friend who went through this same situation, ten years into her marriage and was thankful to have gotten out sooner than that.

Then I had an important breakthrough…that I didn’t regret getting married. Even so, the feeling of being a single, divorced, working mom weighed on me. By this point, I was doing okay for the most part. Looking for a job I would like, having play dates with the next door neighbor and her two little girls. There were days I would stumble across and old, happy photo of us and I would pause and wonder if it was a real moment, but for the most part was finding a new definition of happy.

I stalled out for a while, mostly accepting everything that had happened, until I met Texas. He sparked something in my heart I hadn’t felt for a long time, hope. I know it will sound stupid, but those who believe will understand that I know we crossed paths for a reason. A few non-date, hang outs later and here I am… A single, divorced mom.

Welcome to my beautifully random life.

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Shattered Glass

I’ve had a nagging question following me around like a little black raincloud for a few days now.

What makes two people want to really, fully commit to each other?

And if you have caught up with all my recently published, previously private posts, it should be painfully obvious why. I will be divorced this month. There’s a good chance in the history of this blog that I will already be divorced when you read this.  I thought I had that commitment, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. So what should I have been looking for? What were the signs that we weren’t right for each other? It took going on a non-date and a messy, over-tired, emotional break through to realize that I was asking the wrong questions. It’s not about what would make two people commit to each other, but who would ever want to commit to me?

*glass shattering*  (Oh yes, forgive me for how cheesy that is.)

And that question, wondering who will ever want me, is something I will have to live with until non-dates turn into real ones and I meet all of my personal requirements for being happy with my life as it is now. A job I like, a place of our own..etcetera. I feel I owe an apology to the person at the wrong end of this realization, and a gigantic virtual hug to all my mom friends who have listened to me vent and rant the past two and a half months.

To quote a dead guy – which is far worse than being divorced if you ask me – if you’re going through hell, keep going. Day to day doesn’t always feel like much, but it will all add up to a new life eventually.

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Stitch It Up

I can feel the need to write something but I don’t know what it will be just yet. I feel like I’ve made another break through in the journey of post-divorce healing, as silly as that might sound. As I’m preparing to go public, and knowing that will land me in the zone of surprise and pity from friends who do not yet know about the sham that was my marriage…

I feel like this is a story I need to tell. The words push themselves off my heart and out of my mind. I have collected little notes scribbled on the back of receipts, saved quotes I’ve stumbled across on the web. I have met a few people who have helped me through this, and heavily relied on the support of my family and my mom friends. I know I’ve said a lot of the same things over and over in my currently private posts here.

I probably sound crazy. I have yet to proofread this post, as I usually do when I get to a sticky spot, but I imagine I sound a bit like a fruit loop talking in circles about this all. I don’t care. I’m learning who I am again. Learning what I will stand for, after learning far too much about what I will fall for.

I met someone. How isn’t important, and neither is the matter of who he is, because he’s moving and I’m definitely not that kind of girl. And even though thinking I might be that kind of girl is why he said hi in the first place, we had a pretty lengthy conversation. It reminded me of conversations with other friends, and boyfriends long ago. He reminded me that people can connect, even if timing is bad and nothing fits in a practical way. And that opened my heart again, helped me to remember the magic that is falling for someone, falling in love.

I’m not saying I’m falling for anyone, don’t misinterpret my intentions of this post. I had just left a lot more than memories and my pizza stone when I drove away from my old home. I forgot why people got married in the first place. I forgot what was so magnetic, so enigmatic about falling for someone. I don’t know what was real in my marriage anymore. When the divorce was like a raw, open wound hearing that I would find someone, someday was like a thousand grains of salt being poured into it..

It’s true what they say, that sometimes the right path is not the easiest one. I am almost certain that I won’t be alone for the rest of my life, and if I am, it won’t be because of a broken heart. And I am so thankful for a chance to start over, for the butterflies and future first dates and for falling and hopefully staying in love.

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That is enough.

I had a dream this morning. It was some time after 4am, because the little man woke again, for what felt like the dozenth time. His father wouldn’t know what that feels like, and from what I’ve heard from my mom friends, many fathers wouldn’t..

This dream was set many years in the future. It’s a semi-classic story of the divorced couple realizing they belong together (again) and getting back together. It’s happened in my family before, so it can’t be all that rare of an occurrence. But it isn’t going to happen to me. Even though we have a child together. Even though the divorce mandates that we talk weekly (ugh.) because of the little man. Even though we had a history. Even though the dream spun it all around so that I almost wanted to be an “us” again…

It’s not going to happen.

And I’m not writing this because I think it ever would… I fully believe our marriage was a sham (not that I knew that until some critical information was released from the ex-husband) but our dreams sometimes say what our unconscious mind is working on.

I’ve come a long, long way from his drunken phone call, when everything crumbled before my eyes. I can’t take back anything in the past. I can’t not marry him in the first place. I can’t unfollow him across the country twice in one year. I would never take back Elliott. But…

I can move on. For today, for this week, maybe even this year, that is enough.

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The Whole Truth

I did a lot of blaming the first few weeks after signing the divorce papers and moving home. I blamed him for joining the Navy. I blamed him for being unable and unwilling to communicate. I blamed the underways, duty days and back to back deployments. I blamed myself for being stupid enough to marry someone “like that,” whatever that means. I was angry. I felt blindsided. I felt betrayed and free and terrified at the same time.

I stumbled across a photo of us this afternoon. Just the two of us, smiling up at the camera. We look happy, it was one of my favorites from that day. I studied the picture for a minute, and the questions came rushing back… was it even real? Was the smile on his face genuine? Did he love me then, or was it already over in his heart? It was over, I’m certain it was over… so why was my life being treated like nothing more than a game of house? It hurt looking at the date the photo was taken, and realizing that a month later, to the day, I would be meeting with a lawyer for the first time. I still can’t help but furrow my brow at those questions. I will never understand what he was feeling or thinking or if any of it was real. I wouldn’t believe him now, if he told me. I was texting an old friend tonight, when I had an epiphany. This friend helped me find the truth, and it is raw and it is going to hurt my heart to write it, just about as much as it hurt to see that photo this afternoon.

I was in denial when I married him. I felt certain we were in love. Or maybe I just thought we were in love, and that that was enough. I thought that even when we didn’t feel in love anymore, our friendship would hold us strong. I thought our history would help to prove we could overcome poor communication, his wandering eyes and our wandering hearts… I didn’t accept the importance of the addictions with which he would struggle. I didn’t know he would stop loving me, or that he would walk out emotionally long before he did physically. I didn’t expect any of this. And that’s not to say that my faults don’t also play a part in the failure of our marriage. I’m learning that one of the most important steps to moving on, is realizing the list of strikes against me.

Step number one, listen to your gut when it tells you to run. And run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.