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Letting Go.

I have another friend who is also going through a divorce and I wanted to jot down some of the stuff we talked about today because I feel like people who have been through a similar thing could relate….or might need to hear it.

Your character, not your reputation is what needs to stay in tact.  Don’t confuse the two.  Your reputation is what other people think of you…what other people have put together about your story, of which they are privy to only part of.  Your character is what you have to stay true to.  Don’t become a bitter, mean, resentful person.  The high road always looks better in court and in the Big Book Upstairs (and in texts you have made screenshots of to show the divorce attorney).

Your circumstances do not define you.  Because the money part might be getting hairy…or the label of “divorced” is scary, rise above.  Do you know anyone who hasn’t been through some hard times?  Didn’t think so.

They aren’t getting away with being mean, terrible people if you back off, stay to the high road and stop engaging them.  Validate that what they are going through is their reality, and very real to them….and confirm that it has been in stone now that it is now a legal transaction and that the bed one sleeps in, the fleas one gets, will come out in the wash.  Period and paragraph.  Shut your phone off, put it away or plug it in in the other room.  there is no rationalizing with someone who you feel is crazy.

In order to make someone truly feel terrible about themselves (or at least attempt to), the aggressor has to hate themselves.  They have to hate their decisions, hate their station in life and be miserable.  Think of anyone you have ever known who is happy and put-together. They make other people feel good and put-together around them.  No one treats someone they SAY they love without respect, compassion or patience.  Don’t let anyone treat you that way.  Don’t sacrifice it all for someone else….give to yourself a little bit (or a lot for a while).

You have spent months, years or decades of energy on trying to help and fix and change this person.  We’re all broken and can be better people for sure. But trying to fight illogical arguments or semantically argue against someone who is so caught up in their own bad decisions and self-hatred doesn’t work.  It didn’t work for (months/years/decades).  Try another strategy.  They got your energy, time and patience for all that time.  Spend it on yourself…building other relationships, growing in your career or learning more about yourself.  They are thinking primarily about how to preserve themselves and come out “right” or looking like their on top or not as in much trouble as they are.  They aren’t thinking 1/10 of the time about your feelings or how this is affecting you. Quit giving them 100% of your time.

Last but not least, know in your heart you did all you could.  You tried the solutions you thought would help.  You cried, you yelled, you ignored and you fought.  Maybe you tried therapy and drugs and more.  Whatever that last straw is, don’t regret it.  You won’t understand for a long time why it couldn’t end differently.  You’ll be angry and sad and confused.  But it comes down to this: you know EXACTLY what that past would hold, and as scary as the unpredictable future might be, it’s a much better option than your motherf#$%in’ past.  Work on the forgiveness, work on the forgetting….but move on and try a new thought process for YOU.  Don’t let them live rent-free in your head and consume anymore time or energy that you could be spending on making yourself, and the RIGHT people, in your life happy and satisfied.

You aren’t alone. The fear and confusion and frustration is something we all feel and will go through for longer than we want.  But it’s a real grieving process.  A person with whom you spent a lot of time with, is gone. Erased.  They are no longer on the other end of the couch or on their side of the bed.  That’s it.  Let go.

Slowly, but surely, let go.

You are BLESSED to have the self-awareness that you were destined for something more meaningful and happy.  Now you just have the freedom to go out and FIND IT.

Proverbs 31:25.

c;othed

Valentine’s Day.

Today, I had to run downtown for a work errand. While I waited to get picked up, I sat on a nice stone bench near a fountain in Marion Square.  As I waited in the sunshine with my caramel non-fat latte, a “girl” (22 year old) sat down next to me on the bench, and asked if it was OK that she have a seat.  I said of course, of course, and moved my purse so she’d have space.  We waited momentarily and she asked, “Who are you waiting for?

Now this kind of question asked to anyone wouldn’t spark much of anything.  You exchange answers and move on to avoiding each other.  If you know me, you know that is never the case.  I always get everyone’s life stories.  It’s a blessing in a way……but it never fails.  On a bus, waiting at a store, flying on a plane, I always get the talkers.

“Just waiting for a coworker to pick me up.  I work for a radio station and we had to bring our station vans down for SEWE weekend.”

“That’s cool……” (Here we go…)

“Who are you waiting for?”

Well, she was meeting her boyfriend…well, ex-boyfriend, to talk about some things.  They were both Christians and he felt he wasn’t giving his faith the right amount of due diligence (noble reasoning enough).  He said he wasn’t getting her text messages, giving her the run around, etc.  As she was waiting.  Again.  At this fountain, for them to talk.  She had skipped class specifically to have this conversation with him.

I, of course, immediately went into defense mode.  Drove the bus right down to Cynicism Town….in my head.  She was so nervous, she was shaking, before he was even close or before she even KNEW he’d show up.

I asked a few questions….are you SURE he’s not getting your texts?  Did he know to meet HERE and at this time?

Every answer sounded like something I have told myself over the last 33 years.  Some excuse.  Some dilly-dallying.  Some vagueness.

A firetruck went by and we couldn’t hear each other for a moment.  It just hit me.  This was her bells and whistles.  I was her sign.  I had to say something.

Not just because I was her sign…but because she was mine.  I met myself 11 years before.  It was finally time to rectify the situation.

Maybe it was because it was on Valentine’s Day that their purported meeting was scheduled.  Maybe he isn’t interested but feels bad.  Maybe he’s a nice guy that really doesn’t have the words quite yet.  Long story short, he wasn’t there.  She frowned.  She asked me if she should call him.  I said, yes (because she would regardless)….but only once.  Don’t leave a message if he doesn’t answer.  He’ll know he missed the meeting.  Her hand shook as she dialed.  I stopped her.

“Sister…..what is the worst that can happen right now?  You’re already dumped.  It sounds coarse, but you have nothing to lose here.  You skipped class to get stuff straight…and he stood you up.”

She laughed and untightened her grip on her phone.  “You’re right.”  She took a breath and finished dialing.  I stared off into traffic to give her some “privacy”.

“Hey….where are you?”

“Well you SAID…..”

“No…it’s ok, I understand…no, that’s fine.”

*insert big sigh here*

I turned back her direction.  “What did he say?”

“He said he didn’t know when we were meeting because he didn’t get my text and he’s on another street, and….”

I stopped her right there.  “I hate to say it, but he’s giving you the run around.  Maybe it’s Valentine’s Day and he’s squeamish, maybe he’s a good guy without the right words right now, but he knew damn well where and when he was supposed to meet you and he isn’t here.  Guys don’t waste their time.  Girls shouldn’t either.  You seem very smart, you’re graduating college and you have your head on right.  I’m just speaking from 11 years in the future. Don’t let this ruin your Valentine’s Day.  Don’t let this dictate how you feel about yourself.  You said you were Christian?  Read Proverbs 31:25.  Its the wallpaper on my phone and having been with someone for 7 years, 2 of them married, more than half of one in divorce proceedings, it’s gotten me to wake up the next morning when I felt like I couldn’t.”

My ride pulled up.

“We have a Bitterness Bash starting at 8 tonight at Bay St. Biergarten. Right down on East Bay.  Get your girlfriends together…its a free cover.  We’re having great music, drinks, food, party games and more.  Don’t sit at home by your phone.  You’re going to be OK.  This guy can’t dictate that.”

We hugged and I left.

I realized how I had felt about Valentine’s Day and love in general at that age….and how in a lot of ways, I wish I knew how what I know how.  I saw the nervousness in her eyes, the twitch in her hand as she dialed.  I’ve been that girl who put her life aside for some guy’s affections. Time and time again.

Now I know better than to give those butterflies and my heart on my sleeve to anyone who doesn’t deserve it.

If you’re in a relationship and you’re happy and everything is grand on V-Day, good for you.  This post isn’t for you.

If you’re sad and alone and wondering what to do today and how to define yourself on days centered around “loooooove”, then listen up, ’cause I’m only going to say this once.

F@#$ING QUIT IT.

You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you.  There is no way they’ll ever live up to your “expectations” and you won’t convince them to like you.  I promise.  Think of a time in your life when a breakup was looming for you or one of your girlfriends and it was the other way around.  You and your friends both were like, “Ugh…just cut the dead weight already….”  That’s what he’s thinking.  That’s what his buddies are telling him when you call him drunk and horny at 2:15 am after the bars close.  STOP IT.

Alone doesn’t have to be lonely.

Single doesn’t have to be sad.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  You don’t have to; that’s not a frickin’ rule.  It’s human nature to mourn what has passed, but you need to have a good, cathartic cry and move on.  It doesn’t do any good.  You’re spending valuable seconds with friends or finding a guy that WILL treat you right…crying in your overly large glass of pinot you spent too much on and checking your phone…again.  Look at you, Bitchy Resting Face at the bar.  Congrats…you won at SAD tonight.  Want a cookie?

Being sad and pitiful isn’t working…why not try being open and positive…and being yourself for once? Have you really got anything to lose?  What’s the worst case…someone will see you loose and happy and free and find you attractive?

I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t just alone on Valentine’s Day.  You’re alone every day. Stop. IT.

I was committed to someone for a fourth (A FOURTH) of my life, who as soon as one thread was cut, went out and got someone pregnant who was not me. I went through some wine and I went through some Oreos and nachos.  But the last thing I’m looking for tonight, candy and roses, romance and chivalry Valentine’s Day, is a slump buster, a pity party or a man-bashing shitshow that ends with me face down in a toilet.  Tonight of all nights, I will be celebrating the fact that we aren’t bitching at each other as we wait for a table because he waited too long to make a reservation.

Long story short….Tonight, you’re doing whatever YOU WANT, whether it’s pouting….or having a good time with people who care about you, even if they aren’t of the opposite sex.  Let loose, have fun,  let your hair down and drink that expensive pinot because you’re independent and can afford it and LIKE IT and you don’t have to explain your bar tab or curfew to anyone else tonight.

HAPPY Valentine’s Day (the emphasis on HAPPY) to all the single people out there!

Manifest Destiny.

Love this movie and love this scene.  I can’t wait to move on to my manifest destiny.  Swingers for life baby.  I’m money and I don’t even know it.

The Jam Today.

himms

The Himms.  From The Beach House  in Columbia, Tennessee. If you know where that is, you know why I’m inclined to share this.  Click on the photo above.  Listen to “I Will Be Stronger Still” (I couldn’t get the embed widget to behave).  Enjoy.

Been kicked around
and I’ve been cheated
and I have been held against my will…

I’ve been been broken and defeated
but I will be stronger still…

79 days….4 hours and 3 minutes

…until that last thread is cut and I return home to myself.

Two quotes I found…

“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage…nobody ever died of divorce.” – Jennifer Weiner

I most certainly haven’t died.  In fact, I’ve become even stronger and know even more specifically what I need and want.

And the important part…

“What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else.” -  Stephanie Klein

 

I know it’s waiting.  It’s not a “I think so” or “maybe I’ll find”….nope.  I know.

 

Because I keep thinking about that look, the twirl, the drink that started it all…..

…and the road trip, the memories, my gut….and the fall.

 

The Notebook.

The movie.  Not the spiral-bound school supply.Not the best thing to watch when you’re stuck at home alone with ice glazing every inch of your city like a big, cold donut.  We were sent home early because of the impending winter storm so I thought it’d be a perfect afternoon to make some homemade chicken soup and watch a movie.

Angel on my shoulder: “Hey, Ashleigh, you’re sensitive at times – you’ve been through a good bit of stuff lately…why not watch some Scorcese or Tarantino so you aren’t a bumbling mess? Yeah!  Blood and guts!  Gore!  Insane dialogues! WORD!  *high five*”

Devil on my shoulder: “NOPE.  Just get out the Nicholas Sparks.  You know you want to.  Grab a pint of ice cream too, Chubs. No, the BIG spoon. *pats back condescendingly*”

Then the quotes started coming….

“He looked at her. She was pretty still, with thick hair and soft eyes, and she moved so gracefully that it almost seemed as though she were gliding. He’d seen beautiful women before, though, women who caught his eye, but to his mind, they usually lacked the traits he found most desirable. Traits like intelligence, confidence, strength of spirit, passion, traits that inspired others to greatness, traits he aspired to himself.”“In time, the hurt began to fade and it was easier to just let it go. At least I thought it was. But in every boy I met in the next few years, I found myself looking for you, and when the feelings got too strong, I’d write you another letter. But I never sent them for fear of what I might find. By then, you’d gone on with your life and I didn’t want to think about you loving someone else. I wanted to remember us like we were that summer. I didn’t ever want to lose that.”

“It was late afternoon and the last remnants of the day were fading. The sky was slowly changing color, and as I watched the sun go down I remember thinking about that brief, flickering moment when day suddenly turns into night. Dusk, I realized, is just an illusion, because the sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are; there cannot be one without the other, yet they cannot exist at the same time. How would it feel, I remember wondering, to always be together, yet forever apart? I know the answer now. I know what it’s like to be day and night now; always together, forever apart.”

…..And the piece de resistance….

“The scariest thing about distance is that you don’t know whether they’ll miss you or forget you.”

I have been struggling hard with this one for a while.  This struggle, my purpose in life, if I’m in the right career, in the right town, in the right shoes to be walking this journey.  The road is a long one and my feet are tired.

Most importantly, in my world right now, and the light under my bushel:  I will have my old name back again on April 18 at 9:30 am at Charleston County Family Court.  Got the final hearing summons and all paperwork turned in.  Just have to wait the 80 days from now that the state requires.  Just getting that letter in the mail released another thread from that life I’m leaving… and the final one will be cut that day.  The freedom and forgiveness I feel are all due to the incredible people who have been supportive and God.  The present is positive and the future looks good.  Progress is being made.  Its just very slow going…and can be a lonely walk.
I should have listened to the angel on my shoulder who is more into cussing.  I’ve had just about enough of this introspection bullcrap.
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