Divorce Transitions or The Dragon is Finally Dead

castle This post is third in a series of posts on the transitions that accompany divorce. You can read the first post in the series here and the second one here.  I originally wrote these last year, as I was contemplating my first year post divorce.  I also had a friend who was dealing with separation and divorce at that time and I thought some of these things would be helpful for others facing the specter of divorce. 

Phase 4—Picking Up the Pieces and Moving On

After the judge’s gavel drops for the final time dismissing all in the courtroom to go on about their lives within the new parameters issued by The Court, the process of picking up the pieces and moving on begins.   I call this a time of rebuilding the kingdom.  Your kingdom might be ravaged by war in many ways: physically, emotionally, financially to name a few.  It takes time to sort through the remains and build a new life out of the ruin. 

During this time, if you have children, your family will adjust to living in two households.  You may experience a holiday or two where you do not spend the time with your children as before because they will be at the other parent’s home.  You may experience grief, loss, pain and deep sadness.  You might be ecstatic that your nightmare has finally ended.  Your children will likely experience a wide range of emotions also and may need some help dealing with them.  You will be adjusting to new schedules, new responsibilities, possibly a new living arrangement in a new location.  This period is all about learning how to do your new life and getting used to the way things will be.  It’s time to slow down, take some time for yourself, reflect, experience the emotions, don’t deny them, learn and grow and hang in there.

3 Certainties Besides Change

Earlier, I stated that the only constant is change. One simply can’t predict a dragon’s behavior or the fallout of a dragon’s fury and damage.  But, as with most things in life…even if it is very bad…it’s not all bad.

Last year, after completing my first year post-divorce,  I made the following observations about what I’d learned during the year.

1.  Things (whatever disaster may come) are never as bad as they appear to be at first.  I will get through it somehow.

2.  I will survive and will learn something in the process if I pay attention.

3.  Things will turn out okay, though it might be a bit messy or difficult getting there or, to put it differently, slaying dragons is never easy.

As I come up on the second year post divorce (two and a half since leaving the ex for the last time) those words are even more relevant than they are today.  It’s been a long exhausting haul financially and emotionally but things are much better now than they were.  The romance department, while incredibly disappointing this year, taught me many things I would not otherwise have learned. The divorce dragon has been buried.  Our castle, bit by bit, is being repaired and improved. We’ve cleaned up, replaced the tattered gowns, polished up our tarnished crowns and there is more order and prosperity in our little kingdom than we had last year.  In spite of the new challenges and heartbreaks we faced this year, we continue to thrive. My children and I are going to be just fine.  I hope this encourages others who might be wondering if the battle will ever end, if the dragon can be slayed, if peace and prosperity will ever be theirs again.  I am here to say, the battle does end, the dragon will die and there are better days ahead.  Those days begin now. Believe it!

I would like to close with words I penned after my first rebuilding year. These words, now more than ever, express my feelings as I conclude another post-divorce year:

As I near the end this year, I have one overriding emotion.  It is the same feeling one might have after winning the Olympic gold medal in a come-from-behind-to-win-against-all-odds victory.  It is the same feeling players on the underdog football team feel when they win with insurmountable odds against the chosen favorite.  It is better than joy.  It is deeper than exhilaration.  It is more powerful than elation and less fleeting.  It is deep, deep conviction and confidence that comes from facing the demons, slaying the dragons, and emerging from the dragon’s lair, with princess gowns a bit torn and slightly charred, crown askew, maybe a bit tarnished, hair mussed and ratted, soot smudges on my face, but with my life and health intact and the dragon’s head in my hand.  My kingdom is safe and those in my castle can breathe without fear.  We are at peace with ourselves and our world. The rebuilding projects are progressing steadily throughout the land.  We can view the future from atop the mountain of hope and joy together.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Post Breakup Part ‘Em Depression and Booty Calls

886706_88791559 “Have you experienced The Insane Weekend yet?”  he asked.  He was a person I’d brushed digital shoulders with some time back, nearly two years now, on a social networking (not dating) site.  While he lives locally, sort of, we’ve never met. We chat online every now and then. this was one of those now-and-then times.  Over the last two years, I’d become his outlet to rant about his latest relationship that didn’t pan out.  Since he’s also an FB friend, he knew something of the demise of the romance between Oz and I. He was trying to be helpful and commiserate.  Seems he’d just broken up with someone he’d intended to marry.  His situation, like my own, began in a gradual downward spiral and ended up plummeting to a disastrous end.

“The Insane Weekend?”  I typed back.  We’ve also never talked on the phone, only IM’d sporadically. 

“Yeah, the weekend where you cry your eyes out, want to die, don’t want the end of the relationship to be reality but it is.  I wept for two days and even prayed on my knees to a God I don’t believe in that He would take this reality from me. You act insane and you feel you’re going out of your mind with pain. You know, the insane weekend.”

I sighed.  Yeah, I thought.  Since 20 of October I’ve had plenty of those. 

“Yeah, I’ve had a few of those, I think,” I messaged.

We went on to talk about the breakup and healing process.  The pain when you finally realize conclusively that the someone you’d painted into your present and your future is erasing themselves out.  Decisively.  Finally. 

The pain that comes in spite of the fact that you also had very real concerns about the other person and their “stick-ability”, especially after the recent events.

The sense of rejection you feel.  The sense of loss.  The very real experiences associated with the death of anything, anyone significant, important, cherished. 

The fear that comes with envisioning a future by yourself, when it only days ago appeared to be filled with incredibly fulfilling companionship, love and hope.

The realization and the sickening dread that your current loneliness may well be your lot in life.

All these feelings we IM’d about and shared. 

He related the pain and confusion of breakup sex and the back and forth situation he was still dealing with. 

I was grateful that option is not possible for me, especially not now, since, as suspected The Wizard magically disappeared in a way that is convenient to do when you are 12,000 miles away and can simply unfriend a person, delete a contact and refuse to answer any email.  At least I am not in the place where the breakup sex and the subsequent delay of the inevitable is possible. I’m realizing, as I usually do in situations like this, that things are working out, or they eventually will, for the better.  In the meantime I’ve learned a lot about myself.  Good to know. The Insane Weekends are over.  Moving on.

Eventually, the IMing evolved to texting, since I had to get off the computer.  Still battling a cold/flu and feeling very weak after my first week back to work I really could only take so much sitting up and squinting at the small computer print.

By this time our conversation had turned from dealing with what we regretted and had lost, to thinking about the present and the future.  We both recognize that though our pain now seems to overwhelm us at points, it is not a permanent thing.  We began bantering about his upcoming plans to spend some time eating sushi on his brother’s dime the next weekend.  The conversation was gradually tapering to an end.

125199_4068 In the midst of this, I received a booty call. Well, it really was a booty text.

“You still up?”  the text said.

“Yeah, just heading to bed.”  It was almost nine o’clock.

“I’m not one to beat around the bush,” the Booty Texter replied.  “Want company?”

I almost laughed out loud. 

“I think I just got a booty text”, I texted to my other friend.

“I am in my pj’s, look like bat guano and can’t breathe.  I won’t be great company,” I texted Booty Texter.  “Wait!”  I went on, “Was that a booty call and I just missed it?”

Booty Texter didn’t deny it and he wasn’t giving up that easily.  He went on to mention that he was was also in his p.j.’s and could just slip on his slippers and come over.  He then mentioned his CPR skills. 

Really?!  Are you kidding me?!  What part of any of this is supposed to make me feel special, desirable and like he’s really into me? (None of it, that’s my point!) This also from a guy in earlier exchanges who said “he really liked me, but didn’t know about getting involved with someone with kids”.  Yeah, he should have just said, “Let’s be f*** buddies”, after all, he wasn’t “one to beat around the bush”.   As far as Booty Texter is concerned all I can say is, “Good to know his real intentions now rather than later”.  He’s clearly into no one but himself.  Good to know.

This booty call strategy must work for guys because they try it.  Apparently they’re getting rewarded for it enough to make it worth the effort.  Seems like a completely degrading place to go for a few seconds of gratification…if you could call it that.

The guy had to be totally desperate to want to get it on with an ill, snot oozing, barely breathing babe like me.  Add to this that I’d already470334_41429338 refused to go out with him once that evening when he invited me “over to his place for dinner”.  Right.  He was hard up enough to take rejection twice from the same person?  And don’t even tell me any of that is because “maybe he really likes you”.  Excuse me while the tears from my recent breakup turn into gales of hilarious laughter. 

This is my future?  I wondered. Wasting time with freaks like this to find out what?  They hope to get something for nothing? 

“Yep” I texted to my first friend.  “It’s a booty call and he’s not giving up easily.”

I texted a firm no to Booty Texter and he, like all the others before him, who’ve tried the same futile tact, ended the conversation in a huff but not before he’d put in his last “you’re really missing out” digs.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never hear from him again. 

I’m pretty sure I don’t care.

I let my friend know that the booty text episode had ended and shortly after that we concluded our own lighthearted and delightfully non-sexual banter and said our own good-byes, encouraging each other to keep our proverbial relational chins up.

It is times like these, that I am grateful, for the humor of life.  It is these times tlolhat make me wonder what I was so worried about a future alone for?  It is times like these that sitting at home alone by the fire with my one guard dog and two cats is really all I want or need.  No demands.  No pressure.  No pain.  Just lots of good old fashioned contentment mixed in with a bit of joy because I know I’m going to be okay, come what may. It is also at these times, interestingly enough, that my own internal focus and vision for my future become much clearer and more defined.

I’m done with The Insane Weekends. I’m done with online dating. I’m actually even feeling like I might be done with being sick. That’s the best part. 

I might even be done with “dating” per se for a while.  I just am really tired of the games, the dance, the eventual disappointment.  Not that there would always be a disappointment, but quite honestly, more and more I’m becoming convinced that if I just go about my life…if there even is someone out there for me…then he’ll appear when the time is right.  It will be more authentic and less artificial and staged.  I’m not saying I won’t ever date, but I’m not going to worry about filling my weekend social calendar either.  It somehow seems to do that anyway without much effort on my part. 

In the meantime, I have better things to do with my emotional energy than waste my sorrows on those who clearly are uninterested and unworthy.  I have far better things to with my time than sort through Booty Call Boys and Disappearing Acts in the hopes of finding Prince Charming. 

After all, in every scenario, Prince Charming went seeking Cinderella, not the other way around. 

Cinderella mourned the loss of her shoe but went on dusting in her rags till the dude showed up. And if he hadn’t shown up, something else interesting and magnificent would have happened to Cinderella. I’m certain of it. 

I have far more interesting things to do than read fake profiles, go out for coffee only to find it’s a no, go back to the drawing board again, and so on. 

Besides, it is far more likely I’m probably going to  bump into him at one of those classes I’ll be taking at The Home Depot on how to install sprinkler systems, lay tile, concrete walkways, or prune my trees because that is where I’m going to be spending my time anyway. 

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Tickled…Tickled Pink…Actually!

Not sure quite why I chose that particular title for this post…. 

I haven’t done a Google Ad Words search on it to see if it is SEO or anything.

In fact, over the last several weeks, what with the exit of the Oz and all, I’ve kind of done some thinking.  Amazing what you can get accomplished when you aren’t spending your time texting or talking to  or IMing someone on the other side of the world.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished with all the extra freed up time:

I’ve done some thinking, as I mentioned.  More about this later.

I have cleaned my house (not that it was dirty to begin with, but I actually can see the bottom of the laundry pile now…in fact…there is no laundry pile).

I’ve cleaned out my refrigerators.  Oh, and they really needed it!

I’ve gotten myself sick. Yeah, that’s what happens when you try to be the single mom of four kids and hold down not one, not two but three jobs to make ends meet.

I’ve read two whole books in the last week.  Amazing what you can do when you are sick…and can’t really read but you can’t sleep either so…what else do you do other than just stare at the ceiling and let your thoughts make you crazy.

I’ve actually folded and hung all my clothes from the laundry (j/k…I do that anyway).

I’ve gotten caught up on some work projects, na, scratch that.  I haven’t.

I’ve done some thinking. (Here it comes…really…it’s nothing really monumental or anything!)

I’ve made some decisions.

I decided, I’m not going to write unless I want to…meaning…writing under pressure (unless it is fun pressure) is so not for me. Well, at least not until I get a book deal (hahahahahahaha!) and then I will write, I will sign autographs and books, I will talk under pressure no problem…but until then…it’s going to be all about what catches my writing fancy.  So there! 😉

This also means, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus less here on how many search terms might be in my blog posts and just write what I love and do the best at that, that I can do.  Hopefully the masses, or a few of them, will like it enough to tell someone else to come visit.  I know this is probably the death knell to the blogger who wants a book deal and a movie deal out of it, but face it…I’m just not Julia and Julia right now.  Even so, I hope some of you will decide to comment, because that’s where I get my best ideas for further writing.

I’ve also decided that while I am really super sad that things with the Oz and I didn’t work out and I am super sad for my part in the demise of the whole thing, I am not going to let this make me even more bitter and untrusting…and for me…that wouldn’t be a hard thing to accomplish because I could go there.  But I won’t.  Instead of shutting myself down (which I might do at times to just sort stuff out but not forever) I’m going to work on really taking this opportunity to refocus. 

Some quotes that have helped me lately:

To the Oz….

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.  I miss you like hell.  ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

To The Wild Mind…

[A] final comfort that is small, but not cold:  The heart is the only broken instrument that works.  ~T.E. Kalem

To Everyone Out There…

Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.  ~Lamartine

And again To Everyone Out There…

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

To The Wild Mind and To Everyone Else Out There With A Broken Heart….

Love is like a puzzle.  When you’re in love, all the pieces fit but when your heart gets broken, it takes a while to get everything back together.  ~Author Unknown

And this…

Don’t worry about losing.  If it is right, it happens – The Main thing is not to hurry.  Nothing good gets away.  ~John Steinbeck, 10 November 1958

And for all who would, like The Wild Mind, attempt love, fail and dare to try again…these words…

“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.” — Robert H. Schuller

I’m not a Robert Schuller fan per se, but if the shoe fits….

Anyway, I’m tickled pink that I’m not sick, tickled pink to be returning to work tomorrow although it will not be easy after being out sick for a week, and I’m tickled pink that, well, it just isn’t worse than it is.  Seriously.  As a friend recently told me, “Chin up, girl.  You own your own home, your bills are paid, you have food on the table, transportation to work and a job to go to…in fact…more than one of them!  And…you’re an intelligent woman…you can actually learn to cook!  How bad can life be?”

Okay, yeah, that from a guy who is happily married and gets it whenever he wants but, okay, we’ll go with the intent there.

Anyway…can’t really put a finger on it, but I’m just feeling a little tickled pink and I kinda don’t really have any reason to be except that I’m alive and healthy and, well, I guess I’m grateful for all that and considering that Thanksgiving is just around the corner I guess that’s a good thing.

So, given that every ending is the opportunity for a new beginning….that when a relationship ends it can be a great opportunity for reinventing oneself, I have these questions for peeps out there…

What have  you done that helped you overcome a breakup?

Breakups aside, have you ever gotten to the place where you felt you wanted to reinvent yourself?  Did you?  How is it going?

Where Is The Wild Mind Tonight?

There are two times when I find it most difficult to really write.  The first is when I look at the blank white space on the computer screen and my normally overactive mind and imagination go abnormally awol on me.  I hate that.  White space on the computer screen.  Dead space in my head.  Inactive fingers on the keyboard.  It sucks.  Those times make me feel stupid and unimaginative.

The other time is when I have so much I am thinking of that I can’t sort any of it out in any coherent form that a reader could identify with, let alone read and understand.

Tonight, I am dealing with the “too many ideas” scenario instead of the “nothing at all” scenario.  This week was full of amazingly humorous and poignant events all of which merit some serious fabrication in the retelling…just to make a point.  Yet here I sit, stymied by the plethora of possibilities!  It also sucks.

So, tonight, I share in bullet points, as a way of sorting for myself but also as a way of communicating what a really rich “life filled” week I experienced.  My intent is that this post will serve more as a jumping off point for me for future posts than as a real valid post tonight. (Whatever a “real valid post” is.)

This week…things to remember and ponder include…

  • I’ve really revised my perspective on men “going silent”.  Since I yelped about it so much in previous posts here and at my other blog “Welcome to CABsPlace”, I suppose it bears some discussion, but not much. 
  • Death, two friends experienced the death of relatives this week.  Death is a reality that began facing me straight up with the death of a very dear college friend just three months after we graduated, followed shortly by the death of my adoptive dad, my biological dad, my grandparents, and my mother. I’ve also been “privileged” to be the teacher of a student who died…the year they were in my class.  I think it might be God’s way of dealing with my own personal fear of a reality we all must face, sooner or later. Whatever it is, I’m now more able to comfort those who are dealing with loss than I’ve ever been.  This, I think, is a good thing.
  • Dating, wow!  My attitudes, perspectives and goals have changed tremendously in the last year.
  • Life, my future, my present, personal goals and dreams.  I’m changing and growing so much and the pain of this last year and a half seems to be finally bearing some fruit.  I guess the analogy is, I have been through winter, now things are thawing…and Spring is around the corner.  Some stuff in my life is really beginning to blossom on a professional level as well as a personal level. 
  • Tawdry fun…yes…there were plenty of every day occurences this week (namely the firefighters that visited with their BIG fire truck) that made me think fondly of all my slightly naughty friends here…there were just so many analogies that I was able to devise from that one event.  Just know I was thinking of you all!  Look for the post about Fire Trucks!  LOL! 
  • Music, goals, life, dreams, fairy tales, the whole ball of wax…there’s just so much to enjoy and angst about it life and a lesson everywhere you turn. It must be written!

And that is where I am tonight.  I hope to write it all, because that is what I am about…but I must also balance the writing with the living…and right now…there is so much to live!