Tag Archive | divorce

Clarity

This photograph popped up on my Facebook memories the other day.  It was taken at the St. Elmo Ghost Town in Colorado, in August 2015.  It was one of the last trips my ex-husband and I took before we separated about 6 months later.

That was not a good trip.  I mean, the trip itself was good, as I love traveling and seeing new places, and that vacation had a lot of new places to see!  But that trip was the end of my marriage.  I suppose anyone whose marriage has ended can probably point to the month, the day, or even the moment when they were done.  It might not mean that they marched down to the courthouse that afternoon, or even a month later, but in looking back, they knew.

My moment happened on the first day of that trip – at lunch at a Boulder brewery shortly after we flew into Denver that morning.  It was a big thing, one that I could never let go of, even after the initial incident settled down.  I told myself that I would see how things went for a little while, and see if I was satisfied with the response.  See if he followed through on the promises he made.  I’m sure you can guess that the response wasn’t good enough.  The trust was gone and with that, the marriage.

I don’t think I’m different than anyone else.  I never thought I was someone who would get divorced.  I probably stayed too long.  I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt; wanted to believe that things would change.  I weighed the pros and cons of upsetting the balance of my life.  I went through the self-doubt and the wondering if I would ever find anyone who loved me or even cared.  Maybe my marriage was enough.  Maybe you never got the fairy tale, and something less was enough.

I am no different than anybody else in that I sometimes don’t feel confident about who I am, what I have achieved, and where I’m going.  I know in reality that it is nonsense, but it’s tough not to compare yourself to others, to not assume that everybody else somehow has it all together so much more than you do, and to not be your own worst critic.  I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve to be happy, I don’t deserve the good fortune I have had. I ruminate more when I’m tired and stressed, and I’m trying to break myself of this insidious habit.

I had a beloved boss and mentor who used to say, “you work someplace as long as it works for you.”  I have always remembered that, and I use it myself now too.  It applies to work and career, but it also applies to our personal lives.  Dr. Phil is known for asking guests, “how’s that working for you?”  It is kind of the same question.  If you are still doing the same thing, and it isn’t making you happy, don’t you owe it to yourself to try something different?

They say that sometimes you have to lose what you thought you wanted in order to make room for something better.  That one door has to close before another will open.  And that you have to sit with yourself, and learn that you are enough, before you can see that someone else is not.  I see a lot of people get stuck in life, and we all do, but you have a choice of how you will deal with it.  Will you maintain the status quo, and keep making the same choices that aren’t serving you, or will you make a change?

I have never been someone who just goes rushing into things.  It isn’t my nature.  I’m not particularly adventurous, even though some people might think otherwise.  After all, I did decide to pack up my car and head off on a several month road trip, with no real plan and only a very loose itinerary.  But I don’t see myself that way.  The irony of this is that my cautious nature used to annoy my ex-husband to no end.  But he would circle round a topic in an endless loop, unhappy with the status quo, complaining, and yet unwilling to ever do anything to change it.  I’m sure he’s still circling round his endless loop.  It might take me a while to make up my mind, evaluating all my choices and the consequences, but once I do, I set the plan in motion and go for it.

I have known that I am happier without him, but it is hard to define why.  Our marriage wasn’t awful on a day to day basis.  It was just… Stagnant.  Lifeless.  Unfulfilling.  I see this picture now and I can see exactly why, in a way that I didn’t understand then.  The body language of the man in that photo says it all.  He didn’t love me.  He didn’t want to be with me.  Posing for that photo with me was a chore.  I get that some people just don’t like being in photos, but the body language in that photo was the way it had become for him with me.  He looked this way with me, whether it was recorded or not.  He was already done, before I ever got to that point.

I have had a lot of ups and downs since this photo was taken.  My divorce was ugly and messy.  My former job was ugly and messy.  Closing those doors meant that I could let those things go and allow the light to come back in through another door.  I didn’t want to be a victim, but sometimes I have felt like one.  However, there is no future in that – being the victim.  All that holds is blame and more stagnation.  I was able to learn to shine again, and find that inner strength – the strength that had been there all along, but is sometimes hard to see when you are weighed down by other people’s shit.

Is my new life perfect?  Nope – not on your life.  But it is a lot more even-keeled.  I’m content.  Comfortable in my own skin.  And happy.

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” ― Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein

 

Celebrate!

It’s been a week. A couple of them actually. So it’s a good thing I have a weekend with friends starting now!

Food, wine, and the beach! A great way to spend the summer solstice and celebrate my 2nd divorcesaversary!

Have a great weekend everybody!

 

 

Circus Trip 2018: Glacier and my Marriage

One of the reasons for this trip was to shake off the painful end of my marriage and start fresh.  I don’t talk about it much, but perhaps I should.

Glacier National Park was one of the places that I had long talked about visiting with my ex-husband when we were married.  We never made it there.  At the end of our marriage, and during our divorce, I came to know another man in my husband, one so completely foreign to me that I wondered who I had actually been married to.  His behavior and his treatment of me was such a complete 180 from the early years, that I began to believe that it had all been a game to him.  I still don’t know who he really was, and I probably never will.

I would never have been able to afford this trip if I had remained married.  Getting divorced meant a level of financial (and emotional) freedom that I had not known in years.  My ex was an incredible drain on my finances, because he didn’t pull his weight financially and he was a huge spendthrift.  That was the one fight that we had over and over and over in our marriage, because his spending was bleeding us dry.  It was at the point that I was considering not allowing him to have his own credit card, and just giving him a cash allowance.  What is the point of being married to someone if you feel like you are treating them like a child?  I know he wasn’t happy with the situation either, but for whatever reason, he was just never willing to rein in the spending.

Long story short, getting divorced meant I was able to save a lot more money.  The drain on my life was gone.  Additionally, if I had still been married, he probably wouldn’t have been too keen on the idea of me taking several months away.  Let’s be honest, he probably would have wanted me to get a new job right away (or not leave the old one), so he could continue wasting all our money.

So, even though getting divorced was not what I had wanted for myself, and even though that year and a half was the most miserable time in my life so far, it was a blessing.  I am happier now that I don’t have his negativity and contempt weighing on my soul.  Someone else can have him be a drain on their finances and clean up his messes.  Someone else can listen to his lies.  I’m way better off.  I had a friend who told me that he looked at photos of my ex and me, and saw a woman trying to make it work, trying to be happy, and a man standing next to her who didn’t care about her at all.  He was right.  I don’t think my ex cared about me.  At least not at the end; I’ll never know if he ever did.

Before I went on this trip, I had never hiked alone.  Realistically though, I probably had.  My ex never actually hiked with me; instead he consistently walked between 20 and 50 feet in front of me when we went hiking.  There was rarely any interaction.  I have more pictures of his back, hiking in front of me, than I do of the two of us together.  So when I took this trip, I thought about that.  I had been hiking alone for most of my marriage.  This wouldn’t be any different – I got this.

 

I have told the story of the hat that he gave me. That hat that he had purchased for the girlfriend he was with at the end of our marriage, then decided to give to me instead.  The Avalanche Lake hike in Glacier National Park was the first hike I wore that hat for.  I thought I would hate it, but that hat grew on me.  It was a way to turn around the past and empower myself – to find my joy.  This was just the beginning of that new life, of feeling like I could travel by myself, hike by myself, and make my own way.

Me at Avalanche Lake

Glacier was just the start…

The Circus Trip: That Damned HAT

I hate trucker hats.  For those of you who aren’t aware of what these are, and the fact that they are “in” again, a trucker hat is a hat with a mesh back and a plastic adjustable back closure.  Anyway, there is a point to this – stay with me…

For the last birthday while I was married, my husband got me a trucker hat.  Mind you, he knew I hated trucker hats – we had at least a dozen conversations over the years about my contempt for them.  But, he didn’t actually get it for me.  You see, he bought the trucker hat for his girlfriend.  Yea – just let that sink in.  When he broke up with that girlfriend, he was left with this hat he hadn’t given to her and didn’t want, because it was women’s sized.  So, he apparently decided to give it to me instead.  What a guy!!!  Only he never knew that I knew all of this – I am sure he is still just toddling along thinking what a great guy he was for giving his wife a birthday gift in the middle of a painful, ugly divorce.

So I hated that effing hat.  I left it in the gift bag in my entryway for a long time (ironically, he gave it to me in a wedding gift bag – who does that?!?).  I asked many of my friends what I should do with it.  Ideas ranged from the simple throw it away or burn it, throw it off the mountain (I don’t like littering), give it to a homeless person (this idea has merit), to selfies with a new love interest (still waiting for that opportunity)…  My favorite perhaps, although I could never do it, is the the elaborate “poop in it, set it on fire, and leave it on his doorstep”.  WHA?!!!!  Remind me never to piss off that friend…

I have pondered this for a long time.  For some reason, it was important to turn this kick in the teeth into a positive.  Sort of a strange twist on the “the best revenge is a life well lived” sentiment.  So this damned trucker hat is going with me.  I am going to hike the National Parks, and see the National Historic Sites, and watch the sunsets, and roast the marshmallows.  All while healing, and growing, and showing him that he couldn’t break me, as much as he tried to.

So that’s me, on my first hike in the hat – Avalanche Lake at Glacier National Park.  Maybe at the end, I’ll drive over it with the car a few times and burn it.  If I do, I will certainly post the pics.

Onward…

Me-Mauna-Kea-VC

This is a photo of me in Hawaii this last May.  You may have noticed that neither of the men that I am with is my husband.

Unfortunately, my marriage ended this year, because sadly, you cannot make someone love you or treat you with respect, you cannot make someone keep the promises they made to you, and you cannot save someone who does not want to be saved.  All you can do is set your own boundaries, and prevent yourself from going down with the ship.

War stories? Yeah, I have a bunch. Some of you have heard them in all their ugly detail as I weathered the storm, but I have no interest in reliving those memories.

Neither of the men in the photo is my boyfriend, or my rebound.  They are dear, old friends with whom I have been blessed to do some traveling.  They are among the small group of dear friends and family who have helped me get through this.  Who have helped me to relearn that I am enough, just as I am.  For those of you in this group, I am eternally grateful to all of you.

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”  – Louisa May Alcott

Onward…