Stepping Outside

Life as I know it. Today. Everyday. 

Hey all. I’m coming out of the closet. The comfort of this little place has been my refuge, resolve and now, resurgence. 

When I began here 4 years ago, I was unknowingly in the midst of some pretty heavy life transitions. No one can ever quite prepare for such events. One simply must go..through…it. 

As I write here today on this lovely Sunday morning, I am reminded a few things:

  • Divorce didn’t kill me, my spirit or mental state. 
  • It takes years to heal from divorce and I’m still on that path. Don’t rush. 
  • Maturity and deep insight happen when one understands, confronts and accepts ones mistakes. 
  • Friendship has new meaning, as does family. 
  • Estrangement from my girls hasn’t killed me either. It is part of my life I cope with each day. It’s the most painful loss imaginable and many days I thought I would die. The pain, so crushing, the only time the word ‘suicide’ struck my head and heart like a mighty diesel  truck. I am surviving. 
  • Love has captured my heart in unexpected ways. 
  • Compassion, empathy and tolerance ground my world. 
  • Giving of myself, what I’ve learned thus far, provides the passion needed to help others. 
  • Gratitude solidifies my soul. 
  • Fear, no longer the enemy, I deal with it head on. 

Time to move on kids. I’m not an artist nor songwriter. I suck at poetry and use stick figures in an old game called Pictionary. Blogging is my outlet. It frees my mind, creates new thoughts, heals and penetrates my personhood. While I will always keep this little place around, I’m stepping out. No more anonymity. Just me, as I am. There’s a lot in these posts I am ashamed of; my behavior, inability to recognize my weaknesses, my weakness in general. Yet all honest, all words the real deal. It’s like re-reading your high school journals: cringe at the words, yet that’s who you were at the time. And it’s OK. Acceptance takes time. 

My writing reconvenes in a new place, a refreshed blog, where I am today. Everyday. Moving forward. You are more than welcome to hop on the bus with me at http://www.wellfindeachothersoon.wordpress.com. Thanks for riding along. Keep on your own road.  

Ciao. 

Truthfulness Prevails

Be sure you want to know the truth. Truth can hurt. Yet, truth can also raise reality, causing one to face their greatest fears. 

Today I found out my youngest saw me at her graduation from community college last June. My ex and I were talking about our kids’ feeling abandoned by me. I shared that though she didn’t know I was at her graduation, I wanted to be there because I love her.  He corrected me and said she knew, that she had spotted me in the big crowd of proud parents, siblings and supportive family and friends. When I asked my ex what she said when she told him she saw I was there, he hesitated. I asked to please tell me. “What is she doing here?”, she remarked. Her dad said it was a public ceremony, no invites necessary and said her mom had every right to be there.

As stated, truth can hurt. 

A year ago that statement would’ve devastated me. Though a tear or two appeared, I remembered her truth differs from mine and the tears subsided as quickly as they came. My self-worth is not determined by the love and acceptance of my girls. It’s been a slow yet purposeful cycle getting to this point. How they feel towards me doesn’t affect my love for them. It simply hurts. And I’m facing my hurt head on.

I saw my therapist early this week. Been over a year since my last visit. Was compelled to reach out after reading my youngest girl’s blog post. Tough and meaningful session. Still absorbing and will share soon. Important lessons revealed. 

 

 

One Year and Two Days Later

Wow. I see it’s been a year and two days since I last posted here. Soooo many words to share, so few blogs in which to say. After the process of putting myself in an angst mode for too long, asking questions such as, should I start a new blog on divorce, should I add posts to my public blog (Though I do take a more philosophic view on real estate, I think not) I finally came to the conclusion – begin here, again. This is where my story began, here’s where it shall continue. The angst is not so much what to write, it’s where to share.

When I began this writing journey, going public was never on the horizon. No way. Like I would be THAT brave, honest or stupid? Yet, here I am, years later post-divorce, healing quite well and it comes to this: I want to share myself, as I may help others. One goes through the pain, feels is like nothing else, finally allowing its dissipation, leaving space for joy to reenter, allowing a healthy spirit willing and able to touch others and let others touch them. The shame of divorce and estrangement is lifting and I’m ready to carry forth what I’ve learned.

About going public? I’m closer. I may save several of my earlier posts for later. They are raw, honest and an important part of my journey. They are also extremely intimate and personal. I care about my children and do not wish to harm them further. Estrangement is a huge part of the story and still is. It is a complex and complicated subject. Though it is also one of the least talked about issues in our culture, if not others.

Thanks for re-joining me. I’m glad to be back. 

Gotta Love Insight

There’s a warmth in the air around me, as if transition is happening once again. It feels radiant and clear. 

Celebrating my mom’s birthday this week has somehow released more fear, sadness and anxiety; replaced with renewed hope, peace and an extra dose of gratitude. I seriously believe I would not be where I am today if mom hadn’t died over 2 years ago. And it wasn’t until this week I feel her with me. Sincerely feel her embrace me. People kept telling me “she’s right there with you” but there was nothing. I talked to her yet couldn’t feel her presence. This new awakening has made me pause, reflect and become lighter.

Let’s face it, most of this journal is dismal at best. I write as I feel and at the beginning of my journey here, there was a women in such pain with herself, she decided to express some of her disconnect in words. Unfortunately, that pain was also directed in completely unhealthy ways as well. Once I was so determined to accept my unhealthy behavior of looking to other guys for validation when all along, it’s always been about me. Only me. Not my father, mother, ex-husband, children, long-term friends, family or any one man can make me feel I’m worthy and a good person. I was willing to accept that I could not change, that this part of me was truly broken. I believed I was broken. In many ways I was. I accept that. Though I was not broken, I was sick. I was depressed. I didn’t know how much deeper that depression would get, had no idea the extent of pain of what was to come.

Today, if I start sounding a little more like a Hallmark card, perhaps I’ll understand why. Pain is as real as breathing, yet so is joy. I have lived both in tandem and separately. Let there be more beauty to express, the yin to my yang, the joy to my sorrow, the sometimes cheesy platitudes to my over analytical mind and blubbering heart. I’m still here, in my journal. This is my story. I am alive.

 

Name Change: The Last Acquiescence

What’s in a name? Plenty. It was stipulated in the settlement. At the time I agreed to change my name, didn’t give it much thought, being I was merely gasping for breath while staying afloat during those mediation sessions months prior.

He asked for 3 specific things in our divorce:

  1. That spousal support have a specific end date with no modifications.
  2. That spousal support end if I cohabit with another. (non-marriage)
  3. That I change my name.

Thing is, he didn’t really ask, he insisted, never inquired how I felt or made an attempt to actually discuss his reasons why this was so important to him. And to be fair, I was not in a place where I questioned very much at that time. I accepted his requests, albeit with quiet resentment. 

Why did I agree to change my name back to my maiden name?

Quickest answer: acquiescence. Changing my name was my homage – my last acquiescence of my marriage. And there were a LOT of them. 

That’s my responsibility. We all have a voice. Some use them more effectively than others. Being how I was raised, combined with genetic make-up, throw in deeply rooted self-esteem issues and you’ve got yourself a loving if not fearful woman, hesitant to speak her mind and raise conflict herself and others. 

My grieving would come much later post-divorce. There is no statute of limitations for changing one’s name in divorce. I found this out last year when I was so overwrought I wrote our mediator and copied in my ex. Our mediator assured me that though my name was legally changed, I would still need a notarized copy of our judgement for social security, DMV and all other government documentation. Thus it wasn’t until early this year, 13 months post-divorce I walked into a social security office one day and began the process. 

I believe the name change was important to my former husband because of his own hurt and pain. Perhaps he wanted to literally cut me out of his life, name and all. I was hyphenated during my marriage, as I never wanted to give up my maiden name completely. To him, all that was needed was to drop his name and go back to who I was. Yeah, not so much.  

For me, the grief continues, in parallel to grieving the loss of my daughters. Maybe I would’ve eventually changed my name, I don’t know. Maybe if not estranged from my girls, I would feel differently. Either way, I would’ve chosen to make the change during my own process, in my own time. Or not at all. 

Today I am proud of my given name, though grieve my married name, the symbolic moniker of my former life. I have worked hard to get here, to this place of serenity. I have had to let go of my girls and my married name. It is not due to any heroic triumph nor do I fall victim to letting go. I allow the pain when it comes and am finding my own methodology to all this, still, each and every moment.

 

 

Acceptance

The evolution continues, changes move within; slowly, at times with caution, that fine line between safety and protection, the other, new courage I feel to speak the truth about my current life.

Several short months from now it will be two years since I’ve been in the same room with either one of my adult daughters. Texting here and there on occasion, emails sporadic, the reaching out to connect… an email from my oldest last fall- her deeply anguished angry plea that I stay away, no more contact – to this past January, my younger daughter, her own separate anguished plea to please let her go, no more gifts, offerings or any sort of contact.

I am clueless. Both have told me so. I am a psychopath. Both have told me so. I am not well, I am a sick individual. I am a mom by blood only. They no longer know me or wish to know me as I am today. They have said their respective goodbyes.

Time for Acceptance

It is important to remember – to acknowledge their feelings. It is important to accept those feelings and move on. Closer now to acceptance, grieving feels different from before though its outcome very much still unknown. I can not change how my daughters feel. They see and feel what they see and feel. I have set them free to feel safe.

I am no longer clueless. Perhaps I say this a lot more than I realize but it’s important I continue recognizing this.  I am well on my way – a strong woman who has come to full-on grips of who she was, is now and who she is becoming. As I learn I share. No two experiences are exactly alike though there are similar threads of humanity. Falling into the dark hole, once as prevalent as each breath taken, now subside as I better understand the triggers I must watch out for.  A trigger can be as simple as a popular song on the radio or more complex like observing my friends’ beautiful relationship with their adult children. What I hope to do more than ever is to never see anyone go through the pain and anguish I have endured, as has my entire family.  Sacrificing my children due to the way my divorce played out is the last thing I would’ve ever expected. There are consequences to actions. Each decision breeds an outcome, some desired, some not so much. No longer do I feel the need to explain my actions for I’m at the point of forgiving myself and have learned the true nature of what self-compassion contains. Only for my girls do I need to express my remorse. If and when that day comes, I will be ready.

I will say this: unhappy marriages begin with unhappy selves. Contemplate deep within yourself before looking at the imperfections of your life-partner. Gaze into your own first. It will hurt like hell, pain you probably never quite felt before. Yet by doing so, you will have saved yourself  – your personhood – before completely drowning.  There is so much goodness in you. Look to that as well. You will begin to embrace and celebrate new-found insight and self-growth. You will begin to give back more openly, without shame or trepidation. Fear is real. You will combat it. It’s not easy but you can face it. Please don’t look to others first for validation. It’s useless energy and easily distracts from knowing the core of who you are. 

Wishing you peace as life’s journey moves onward….thanks for your continued reading, dear viewer.

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Letting Go

Like a nightmare, I awaken, reminded my life is in fact, quit real, indeed.

Last week I received an email from my youngest daughter; her goodbye, her request to please let her go. Holding on, even the slightest shred, gave me hope. And though it may be a long time until I see my girls again, I am finally willing to do so – no more small, random texts, short notes, birthday gifts. I wanted to show them I would never give up on them. I wanted to make certain they wouldn’t come back someday and say I never reached out, that I made no effort. The real effort is in letting go.

Feelings of self-pity, once so prevalent and unshakable, are now eroded. Replaced is self-compassion which helps in the journey of healing. The pain of which I’ve felt for so long has now shifted: practicing self-compassion, the pain transfers to my girls, the hurt that is so deep, I am able to finally feel theirs. Like a new-awakening, this brings new hope. I’m dealing with my loss. It is a death of sorts. A death of my former life. But they too, are letting go of their former life. Letting go of a mother they were once so close to, their family unit, their refuge, their stability, their certainty.

In Their Shoes

October 12, 2012, I wrote a blog post about what my girls must be feeling. It’s weird to read it now for it sounds as if I could’ve written it today. Yet there’s no way I was able to be in their shoes at that time. I’ve just begun now. After the last correspondence from my older daughter a few months ago and now the email from my youngest – denial is no longer an option. Time to awaken, look at life differently. Letting go, the loss, it is grand, devastating, leaves me breathless. But it is necessary. It is the greatest kind of love I can give my girls right now.

More to come….

Impassioned By Divorce

Please be kind to yourself: don’t wish away your divorce. Don’t wish away the ugliness, uncertainty or pretend it’s a dream. Once the process begins, so does the time-clock of you: the person you are today is unlikely the person you’ll see tomorrow.

I remember the beginning of my divorce like it was an hour ago. Shortly after making the decision, my girlfriend sat down with me, her very first question posed: “Are you absolutely, assuredly positive you want to divorce? Is there a shred of hope for reconciliation? If there’s even a minute shred of possibility, concentrate on that one shred. Make sure this is what you truly want.”

Unless one abruptly leaves a marriage with no warning for the left spouse, it usually take two to decide. And sometimes, one wants the divorce while the other does not. Sometimes both are equal in their decision. Most all of the time, no one can be 100% certain they’re making the right decision no matter how certain it feels at that moment. You will waiver. You will question yourself and the decision a zillion times.

A year since my divorce, my friend’s question holds new clarity. The questions did not seem particularly meaningful at the time. How meaningful could they resonate when I had barely begun this incredible life-changing phenomenon called “dissolution”? I now understand exactly why she asked as she did: once the journey into uncharted territory of divorce begins, life will never be the same as one’s known before.

Impassioned by divorce, so many lessons learned, more to come. Helps to write. Makes it more tangible, real. Allow yourself the time necessary to let go of what you thought your life would be. Embrace the fear and use its motivational pull as a guide to take you to the next step.

Eventually the fear will dissipate. Anger will rise and so shall you. Anger breeds inner strength, the beginning of self-forgiveness. All encompasses the desire to come out the other side a better person than today. You are on your way. Keep going. Breathe. Love. Live.

The Stranger: Part Two – Familiarity of Self, of Love

Towards the end of the marriage, husband and wife became strangers to each other. How can this be when for so long we were the best of friends? As I dismantle the numerous knots, new insights emerge – at times, repeating myself, only because I am beginning to cope and live through the aftermath post-divorce. I like this feeling. It feels liberating, at the cusp of more empowerment I desire and need moving forward. All of these feelings, fairly new, learning to sit with them, allowing myself to simply feel.

At the same time, it is Christmas Day. Many sweet memories of our Christmases together, husband and wife as well as la familia. Time moves on, those memories etched in sync within balance of my new-found joy today. I am grateful for those memories.

The ability to change fascinates me as I learn to connect with myself.

I’ve changed, yet not into a new person – I’m now emerging into the person I’ve always been. Did it take something as monumental as a divorce to do complete this? Why now? Why, post-divorce do I feel more familiar with myself and not during my marriage?

The mind is magnificent.

I believe we are all capable of change. I believe we are all capable of acting upon choices. I believe we must learn to trust ourselves long before we love another. I believe in committed relationships. I believe in self-care, self-responsibility and self-compassion, self-forgiveness.

The more tolerant of others, the less judgmental I become. I do not ask or expect others in my life to uphold my beliefs nor look for their validation as I once did.

How my children will know their mother now, I don’t know. I miss them more than can adequately express. What I do know: I am the most complete I’ve ever felt, yet so much more to come. All the years loving, supporting, caring for my girls – immensely real, genuine, truly who I was – am. The other part which now emerges is simply the discovery to allow myself to be. This part was squelched the last years of my marriage. Not his doing, just mis-matched. I tried so hard to fit…into him. Yet I’ve let go of my gatekeeper to my girls – their dad. Letting go of their dad, healing continues as I don’t need him to reach the girls. This will happen in its own time, its own way. I’m learning I love my girls in ways like no other. A mother’s love is like no other. As I nourish self-love, my love for them feels healthier, more grounded.

On this day, the second Christmas spent without my girls, while they may see me a stranger, my love for them flourishes. I’m learning there is more to life than simply loving. It is in giving, actual LIVING one prevails. It is what I can do – the only thing I can do for my girls right now. As I live more authentically, the person I am, so too – eventually, will they begin to understand my reasons for leaving their dad and not them – no longer a stranger, rather, the loving mother they always knew, only now in her entirety.

The Stranger: Part One

A tidal wave of huge proportions today. Back in therapy after a 3 month hiatus, new ground to cover. Sometimes the depth seems never ending. I find I’m at a good place, only to sink deeper than desired. Yet I feel closer. This is how growth and insight are gained, is it not? I keep wondering what that place of resolution feels like. I have further to go until I know for certain.

I am a complete stranger to my kids. More horrific than that, at one point some time ago, they saw me as a loving mother, wife to their dad. This stranger, me, they are fearful of. I must begin to understand their fear. It won’t take long. There are particular benchmarks that clearly define new insights. Today was one of those.

They have heard things about me, stories, I don’t know. They have images of me, bi-polar, pathological, very sick and distorted views. Perhaps they see me as person who is sexually addicted. They know of my affairs. They know of them, only because I was threatened. And I have accepted my part in all of the bad decisions I made. In order to reach my girls, I must accept the brutal reality that they no longer see me as their mother. I have not accepted that I am a stranger to my kids. Until today.

As I work through therapy this time, the yearning to understand myself heightens as does my resolute. I am not solely responsible for the demise of my marriage. This is not why my girls are angry with me. They understand all marriages have their challenges. I believe they accept that. They are (rightly so) angry that I chose to have affairs. In their minds, their mother, one whom they loved, looked up to, trusted and believed in, ripped apart their lives, irreperably damaged their being. They know very little about the intimate relationship between their parents (nor should they). The see their father as the victim, mom, sick and demented.

Where to go from here?

Therapy continues. I will work on pressing through the shame which I am healing from. There is a great void, a disconnect I feel about my past. Cognitively, I understand my behavior. Emotionally, I am detached. Is this because I can no longer look at the kind of person I was? Have I not endured enough of my own pain in order to feel what the kids feel? How much longer does the estrangement continue without my having a voice, the opportunity to share myself? I now fully recognize where all of their anger stems from – that I betrayed my husband and my family, without a care about the consequences. In essence, there is some truth to this. Making the decision to seek solace and acceptance from another outside of my marriage, I did not think about consequences, period. How could I have been so detached from the two people I love so in this world?

I know my past behavior is just that – past. No longer that same person, each and every decision I make, consequences are considered above anything else. Try as I might, this includes my decisions to reach my children. Now I stand back, further than before. With the help and support from my own therapist as well as my kids’ therapist, I remain steadfast, working through all the pain necessary towards reunification.