Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Well, They Call Them Xs for a Reason

I friend of mine sits on a bench at the courthouse checking email trying to look nonchalant.  Toes tapping...brows furrowing....small sighs escape...tick....tick....tick....tick.....  waiting....waiting...waiting... waiting....  The man beside her leans over and whispers loudy, "getting a divorce??"  Surprised and completely off guard, my friend answers, "how could you tell??"  The man leans back, smiles and says, "no woman looks this pissed sitting at the courthouse unless she is getting a divorce."

What is it about our Xs that set us off--catapulting right back to the moment it ended--to the moment they broke our hearts--to the moments where we feel like we have to defend ourselves??  I was a good wife--you were just to self-absorbed to see it....I listened, cooked, cleaned, seduced, balanced the kids, the checkbook, the menu....I picked up your slack AND mine while making it seem effortless.....did I make it seem effortless??  Are you realizing my efforts now???  Do you see how much I did for you?? 

It's futile, really.  I mean....really.  If he was too self-absorbed to see it then, he will be too self-absorbed to see it now.  But...to be honest, after 3 1/2 years of the divorce being final, I have come to the place where I don't care if he realizes it.  Still....at times, I am held captive to the emotion of our undoing.  Sometimes little chickadee or junior will say something that comes straight out of his mouth....or use the same catch phrases...or have the same mannerisms...and the fingernails start grating down the chalkboard.  Breathe Becky....breathe....  Oh and Lord forbid The Man say something that reminds me of the X - I can go from zero to Betty B...B...B...B.... in 0.6 seconds.  But that is now....and my friend is where I was then....in that spot where you just want to fast forward past all the formalities and get on with your life....but you are forced to interact and work together...and it Just-Feels-Like kaka. 

So what to do when you are in the thick of it???  Just smile....and remember.....that there is a reason we call them Xs.....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Turning Tables

Close enough to start a war…..

I am enamored with Adele. She has been one of my favorite singers for well over a year now—she just has a soulful quality about her voice. I have been meditating on this song for weeks now. It started with that statement, “Close enough to start a war.” Those are the hardest kinds aren’t they? The emotional battles with those we love—the abandonment we feel when someone “checks out” during a fight—the shame we feel inside when we know we are pushing them away….but we don’t know what else to do….after all we are right…we are entitled to speak our truth…we feel unheard, unappreciated and (my personal favorite) ignored.

All that I have is on the floor….
God only knows what we’re fighting for…

In the midst of an all out cold war in the house…or maybe even in the heat of the battle, do I really know why I am angry/frustrated/ticked off?? Seriously?? Can I name it?? I have found myself a bit addicted to Grey’s Anatomy…it’s a new addiction actually…one fueled by the discovery that I can watch episodes through Netflix. In one episodes, the GI Joe doctor-man is seeing a therapist for his PTSD. The therapist says something profound—“you have to name it to examine it.” (or something along those lines). If I can’t name the feeling (rather than the action) then I am not really getting down to the bottom of things. If I can’t express why something is annoying me today when for the last six months it hasn’t been a problem, them I am not being honest with myself and with my loved ones.

All that I say, you always say more….

I have been guilty of expressing this feeling a lot lately. To keep the peace, I keep the peace…but sometimes peace comes with a price—emotional withdrawal—divesting myself in the outcome. Sometimes this can be beneficial…but most times, it is devastating. I feel unheard because I can be an emotional mute…afraid to act…afraid to speak…not because someone has made me afraid, but rather I am afraid of what I will say and the repercussions and stark vulnerability that sharing my heart brings.  I am unheard because I don't speak...so my feelings of being unheard are correct--just misdirected....

I won’t let you close enough to hurt me – no
I won’t ask you—
You would just desert me….

Bingo!! If I share the depths of my heart—my fears, my hopes, my struggles and you don’t “get me” or you judge me…I will be devastated. Desertion is not just physical…it can be emotional as well. There is nothing worse than getting up the courage and asking—only to be shot down. The stakes are high when I am asking for you to be there with me and for me—even when I don’t deserve it. So instead, in the heat of battle, I turn the tables—I point the eye towards you to take the penetrating glare off of me. I put you in the hot seat so I can breathe. Coming from a former marriage where emotional desertion was the mode operandi has taught me the skill of the emotional bob and weave—to position myself where the hurt has the least impact, butstill function (somewhat) in the relationship. It’s a hard habit to unlearn…..trust me…

It’s time to say goodbye—to turning tables…

Yay!!! No more turning tables!! But wait…there’s more!! Adele’s answer is to leave the relationship so she can breathe. She can’t ask…because she is afraid of desertion…she has no idea what they are really fighting for….so she goes…she walks away for relief. Sometimes I want to go there….I want to pack my bags and head for Tahiti…sand in my toes…mai tai in-hand and forget how to grow as a person. I am a runner by nature—it gets scary and I hide behind the big old oak tree…peeping around the trunk to see if it’s safe. I am the deer who freezes upon danger and then bounds out of the way----and into a mac truck. I vow to freeze my fleeing feet into place and wait and allow myself to be seen….and to be loved. I vow to ask even when my knees are knocking and I have mentally pre-determined the answer. I vow to love and to be loved—to be fully visible even when invisibility seems safer. I vow to get even closer and not stray to the perimeter. Fully present, fully seen, emotionally honest. Here I am.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mirror Mirror

It’s interesting, really. It’s interesting how living with someone creates a mirror reflecting back the state of your heart, your attitude and…well…..your messiness inside and out.

There have been times in the last three months where I have wished I had an anonymous blog -- one where I could share the grit of my life….the struggles I have…my points of self-doubt and indecision. I have done that in the past in this blog when I was picking up and rebuilding my life….but I have found that it’s a precarious place to share publicly and openly when other people are involved….future spouse, kids, future step-kids. I have struggled with what to share and when, so I have taken a bit of a break to reorganize my blogging thoughts, to look at the future and determine whether the Divorced Diva will still be in existence….and have come to the conclusion-----Heck Yeah!! Even on my journey to become remarried soon…..my divorce (and my 16-year marriage) still shapes my outlook, my relationships, my fears and my desire to have breakfast at 11am on Saturday mornings just because I can.

As I sit here typing on my couch, overlooking mismatched shoes on my living room floor, yesterday’s coffee cup on my coffee table and a stack of torn magazine pages containing recipes, ideas, and pretty pictures, I feel a sense of guilt. Guilt because I have been home for three hours and have done nothing but check email and watch Gray’s Anatomy. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a bon-bon eating, tv watching couch potato…..that is not where I live….but I do visit there from time to time. It’s easy to appear neat when your man comes to visit from time to time, but it’s quite another thing when they share an address……..suddenly, those shoes that I hide at a moment’s notice remain on my floor…..my makeup is all over the bathroom counter and my dishes are still in the sink. The Man has stepped up to the plate. He cleans up after himself, he does dishes, he helps out around the house….it’s every woman’s dream…..that is….until he asks “can you hang that up?” Whoa….what?? You mean you can see my stuff?? My Klingon cloaking device no longer works now that we are engaged?? You can actually see my stuff??? Defensiveness rises up….excuses stream out like a burst water pipe. Deflect--deflect……well…..what about the fact that you left your water glass on the coffee table??? Huh?? “You mean the one next to your coffee cup--s???” Mayday… mayday…..I’m shot…I’m going down…. Parachute comes out and I descend the stairs to the safety of my couch. But then….there he is……wanting to talk.

Talk?? In the olden days we had our own homes….our own space…..so if I felt a little….well…hormonal…..I could just make up some project to get done at my house, give him a kiss on the cheek and offer to bring over dinner. I can’t tell you how many loads of laundry The Man did at his house that were somewhat suspect----that is, I suspected them of being a smokescreen for space….and a nap….  Now, here we are together…..and all the mess of our lives are here to be seen…both inside and out. We are mirrors for each other---revealing the brokenness of our lives---but also revealing the beauty of those broken fragments….if we take a minute to discern carefully. That mirror has caused me a bit of distress in the last few months…..sometimes I get tired of having my crabby image ricocheted back to me….I get tired of talking about our disagreements….I get tired of having disagreements…… but then I take a minute and realize that he is growing roots - - oak tree roots--and he is not going anywhere. This is his home. He is no longer visiting….coming over for a play date…..he is home….with me. We are home together.

So I will try to keep my mess to a minimum---both inside and out and learn to give more grace when his mirror is reflecting back at him….and understand.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ode to My Computer - Grandpa G

Grandpa G

My Gateway MA3
wears slippers
and uses a walker.

Tick tock tick tock
goes the grandfather clock.
Tick…tick…tick tock

Soft foods only.
No large, difficult files.
His false teeth can’t chew bites
……..like they used to.

He is falling apart
with creaks and groans.
His battery pack needs frequent
naps to recharge.

Tick tock tick tock

What’s that you say, honey??
No, delete…
No, delete
…….Blue Screen
All my work is gone

My typing is too fast,
he can’t keep up.
He’s sitting in a chair
in the middle of the mall
and forgetting why…

Grandpa is six years old.
That’s 83 in computer years!
With all those new-fangled whipper-snappers
coming on the scene,
he seems as old as Methuselah
and twice as slow.

My Gateway MA3
Wears slippers
And uses a walker

…….I need a Mac

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 in Review

2010 was a great year but also a bit of a trying year. Little Junior (he’s almost 20, but I can still call him little) decided to join the Chickadee in Colorado and start his own life adventure. It was a year of adjustment for The Man and I - - we had come to the serious part of our relationship and there was a lot of uncertainty and tentative expectations. 2010 brought my Chickadee back home to live (not in my house, but nearby). This is also the year that I was finally able to bring my horses closer to me instead of living at the farm with the X. What a year of transition!!!

2011 is full of promise!! It will be dubbed the Year of the Party as The Man and I plan a wedding and all of the festivities that come with it. This year is my 21st anniversary of my 21st birthday and so deserves a milestone celebration (any reason for a party, right???)….. I am contemplating my goals for 2011, but first, I have to review the goals of 2010…….. drum roll please…..

Last year’s resolution post http://divorced-diva.blogspot.com/2010/01/resolvedthe-sequel.html

RESOLVED……..I will take more bubble baths-at least 2 per month
RESOLVED……..I will not use my credit cards
RESOLVED......I will blog every single week
RESOLVED……..I will promote my blog better
RESOLVED……..I will exercise at least 3 times each week
RESOLVED……..I will streamline my home-including filing and purging unwanted items
RESOLVED......I will travel to Spain in 2010
RESOLVED……By the end of the year, I will write a book

It seems that 2010 was a bust in terms of attaining my goals…….they weren’t over the top, unrealistic goals……it just seems that life got in the way. That happens sometimes…..life gets in the way of all of our good intentions. I would like to say that I am the most organized and self-disciplined person……but in actuality, I am more of a free spirit who likes to color within the lines. Instead of wallowing in guilt that I did not meet my goals…..I feel like I need to list my accomplishments of 2010.

See, I tend to be the type of person who feels guilty when she does not perform up to expectations----who the heck is setting these expectations anyway?? If I feel like I am disappointing someone, I cringe inside and run away….hide my face……and hope they give me a bit of mercy. The Man points out time and time again how I am doing so much but I can’t see it. Case in point……

The Man: What did you do today?
Obsessive Me: Not a thing….I didn’t accomplish anything, today--I feel so guilty!
The Man You don’t have to feel bad for not doing anything…..it’s okay.
OM: It’s just that all these other things got in my way today and kept me from doing anything - I wrote two papers, a blog post, read my reading assignment for school, planned half of a trip to Rome, answered some emails, followed up on feedback from a real estate showing and went to the grocery. However, my bathroom is messy, my filing needs to be done and I didn’t get my linguistics homework finished….

Seriously…..I think I need a 12 step program…….except I think I would obsess over getting all of the 12 steps done in record time……

In 2010, I….the Divorced Diva…..

Embarked on the journey to finish my degree in English.
Earned a 4.0 for 12 hours in the Spring Semester.
Anticipate getting 4 A’s for the Fall Semester (unless I get a dreaded A-).
Learned that there is a poet inside of me.
Blogged for two or three different websites.
Learned about Old World wines.
Started a new business with my daughter - Bella Event and Travel Planning.
Took a road trip from Colorado Springs to Indianapolis with 5 people and a dog, two cars and a U-Haul.
Planned my family’s first destination Christmas.
Began tennis lessons.
Learned basic Serbian.
Learned basic French.
Hosted a Kentucky Derby Party which was a raving success.
Used my neighborhood pool for the first time.
Learned to cook purple hull peas with my grandma.
Tended a garden with the hottest jalapeno peppers ever.
Created a flower bed in my back yard.
Gave horse back riding lessons after 5 years away from the sport.
Got a perfect score on my final paper on Dante’s Inferno.
Became engaged to an amazing man!!!
2010 was a good year…….but 2011 will be even better.

Stay tuned for my Resolutions………ones that allow me to color with pretty colors but within the lines.


Shiny Happy People

Oh how I love shiny, sparkly things---especially shiny, sparkly things that come in small packages. On Christmas Day, I awoke to the sun shining in beautiful Isla Morada. Christmas is my favorite day of the year……it’s just so full of promise, surprises and creativity. On Christmas, you are literally surrounded by wrapping paper, colorful bows, stockings full of candy and smiling faces. It’s the day of Champagne, Cinnamon Rolls and ham and cheese quiche. The day is simply buzzing with happy energy.

When I peeped my eyes open, I looked over at The Man and said, “Santa was here…..wake up!!!” He groaned a bit and said, “It’s earrrrrrrly.” I wiggled a little closer, scrunched up my shoulders, smiled and said ever so sweetly, “Santa was here!!!!” I was so excited to give him my present that I couldn’t sit still.

Since this was a destination Christmas, the family was simply filling each other’s stockings with no other presents given. The Man and I had decided to give each other simple presents with a dollar limit (although I did have my doubts as to whether either one of us would stay within the parameters). My gift was simple and practical……. something he needed but a little nicer than he would purchase for himself. I bought him a NICE pair of Nike winter running pants and a warm Under Armour-type shirt (he’s a soccer player). After he opened my gift, he said……”I need to get your present.” Suddenly……I am a bit nervous.

He tells me to close my eyes and cover them with my hands. I hear shuffling in the closet and wonder what exactly he is doing. His quiet footsteps stop in front of me and I feel him sit down beside me. Open your eyes. I held my breath…..and willed my eyes to open……and before me is a dark red box with silver lining…..housing the most beautiful ring in the history of rings. I look at it, not sure what to do next…..my heart is racing….unsure but yet completely sure. Now this ring comes with a question. Pause….. pause…pause…..pause……. I feel like a little pooch waiting for a treat……I just might jump up or bark or leave a little tiny excited puddle……I am so very, very excited!!! I look into his eyes and he smiles at me……Will You Marry Me??? Yes!!!! Yes!!! Yeeees!!

He puts the ring on my finger…..it fits so perfectly…..it is so beautiful!!! We hug for a very long time. I wanted to give you this ring today because I know it is your favorite day of the year and I wanted this day to be extra special. Sigh….. We spend the next hour telling each other the deep things in our hearts…..of how we feel lucky to have found each other……of the reasons we fell in love with each other. It was a moment to be savored and we savored every minute of it.