From one strong woman to another

Dear J,

I know that life is hurting right now. Every waking breath you take hurts. You hurt for what you have lost, for what you will never have. For the dreams that you held and then watched slip away from you because of someone else’s decision.

You feel out of control, like you can’t put the pieces back together. That maybe you were meant to be stuck where you are right now, because that’s where he put you with his choice.

That you can’t go back and you aren’t strong enough to move forward.

But you are and you will.

He left, true. But he left because of a deficit in him. Whether it was a restless soul, a lack of being able to commit, a want for something that he didn’t think that he had where he was.

But, the bottom line here is that he left because of a fault of his. Because he couldn’t hack it where he was and he decided to leave.

I know that you loved him and that your future seems so dull without him. I know that it hurts you when you wake up in that bed and realize that he is not lying there beside you. I know that it feels weird to do things around your house with no expectations thrust upon you by another person.

All of those things make you feel lost. All of those things, maybe, make you feel weak because you wonder what he would think about the new curtains that you hung, or the dust catcher that you bought.

I understand. I understand all of what you are feeling and what you are going through. I know how hard it is to stand on your own without that idea, that feeling, of someone being there at your back. I get it. It makes you think that you aren’t strong enough to stand on your own.

But you are.

You are strong enough. You can stand on your own.

Look at you! You’re already doing it. You’re doing it and didn’t even realize that you are.

He left and you didn’t fall down in a ball on the ground and die. You lived! You chose to live without him. You chose to have a life that didn’t include him. You are strong.

You are strong enough to get up every day. You are strong enough to do the things that need to be done: go to work, shop for groceries, do the laundry, take a shower, shave your legs (never underestimate the power of a smoothly shaven leg. They do wonders!).

You are strong enough that you make plans with your friends for the future. You are strong enough that you plan a menu for the month, to start shopping for Christmas gifts in June, what you want to do for your summer vacation.

You are strong enough that you are looking to YOUR future. Where you want to go, what road you want to take, things that you want to experience.

And here’s the cool thing about that: THE SKY’S THE LIMIT! You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything to do these things with you. You can do them on your own.

You can take those cooking classes you’ve always wanted to take, the dance classes you thought would be cool, the water aerobics class that you’ve been eyeing for months.

You can do all of these things. Why?

Because you are strong.

Strength is not about being bold and flashy. That kind of strength is fleeting, forgotten as quickly as it came.

Your kind of strength is the strength that moves mountains. It is quiet, fluid. Like water, it may not work quickly, but it is powerful, carving valleys out of solid rock. Your strength is the kind of strength that everyone wishes they had because it will carry you through all of your days. It will flag, sometimes, this is true. But it will come back, stronger than ever.

Nothing can hold you back. You are a force to be reckoned with.

Keep getting up, going to work, doing laundry, shaving your legs. Keep doing these small things. They are the foundation upon which your strength will stand and assert itself. Sometimes when you least expect it to.

That quiet strength will take you through the rest of your life, with no room to look backwards because your future is taking all of your energy and concentration.

You are strong. You inspire me, and everyone around you, with your strength.

Don’t ever doubt it.

Sincerely,

Miss Independent (formerly The Forgotten Wife)

PS: Demi Lovato has a great song called “Skyscraper” that I think pretty much sums it up. And with a much prettier singing voice than I could ever have. I’ve included it here for you. I hope you like it and that it helps strengthen your resolve. Listen to the words. You are a skyscraper. Don’t forget it!

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Ok, lady, I love you. Bye bye.

About a week ago, I decided it was time to do a Facebook cleanse.

Don't squeeze the Charmin!

Don’t squeeze the Charmin!


This is much like a juice cleanse, but without the need for all of the toilet paper.

Seriously, though, I had over 350 people on my Facebook page. Who needs that many people all up in their life? I decided it was time to remove some people and to slim down my Facebook interactions.

I took a close look at who I had on there. Some were holdovers from when I was actively gaming on

Does anyone Farmville anymore?

Does anyone Farmville anymore?

Facebook. They were the first to go. I mean, I truly lost my taste for Farmville a couple of years ago.

The next ones to go were those adult friends that I had just outgrown or didn’t really care about anymore. You know the ones. The people that you meet and feel an immediate connection with and you just HAVE to be Facebook friends so that you can talk to each other whenever you want! And I don’t want to miss a single picture that you post! And you’re so witty, I love reading your status updates!!

You know who I mean.

You know who I mean.

Then they move away, or your kids don’t play sports together anymore, or you’ve decided not to do the PTA this year and you drift apart. And suddenly their pictures aren’t so mesmerizing and their posts are not that witty.

Yup, it was time for some of them to go, too.

Then come the high school friends that you have wondered about all these years since graduation. Whathigh school graduation are they doing? Are they married? Do they have kids? Are their kids ugly? (Oh, come on! You know you’ve wondered!!) It was especially meaningful for me, as I joined FB having moved away from where I had gone to high school and hadn’t really had a chance to connect with anyone from high school since graduation. So, when I joined FB, I went on a friending spree looking for everyone I could find that I went to high school with.

But something happened in the last few years. There were a lot of folks from high school that I had absolutely zero in common with. Except that we graduated from the same little high school. Our likes, politics, religion, humor – none of it meshed. But I hung onto them because they were from my past.

Well, it was time for them to go back there.

By the time I was done, I had purged over 150 people from my page. Each and every person on my page, with the exception of less than 10, I have met in person. I have spent time with them. Some of them are from high school, yes. But these are people that I reconnected with and have enjoyed having in my life. Many of them had words of encouragement for me when I was going through my divorce. All of them have are beautiful people, inside and out. These are all people that I wanted to keep in my life, even if only on Facebook.

I took the time to clean out my Facebook page because it, like clutter in your house, can weigh you down. You can be putting information out there that you maybe don’t want everyone to see. Maybe you are getting bombarded with some political stuff that you don’t agree with that is getting you down. Maybe it’s religious. Maybe you are just sick of seeing them post all the fabulous meals that they have or the sick new swag that they bring home constantly and just have to post on FB. Or maybe their humble brags get you down.

Why did I actually initiate the purge? For the simple reason that Facebook was depressing the hell out of me. I would look at the pictures of these people and realize that I had none of that in my life. I had no one that I could call my own, I had no money to buy any swag, and what the hell was I going to humble brag about?

Bottom line: I was jealous.

I was jealous of their lives, jealous of the things that they had. Just plain jealous. No, it’s not a pretty emotion, but it’s real, (to be fair to myself, it had been a pretty crappy couple of weeks for me, which made it a lot harder to look at those folks and not feel jealous).

But then I realized something more. They were not a whole lot more than fluff, the ones that had inspired my jealousy. Not all, to be fair. But a lot of them. It was always about their new things or the new places they were going. There was no substance. No true value. Not to me, anyway.

So I purged them. I cleaned up my news feed and, in doing so, also swept some less than desirable things from my soul, as well. I took control of my happiness and didn’t wait for anyone to do it for me. I spent so much of my adult life tying my happiness to someone else’s happiness that I forget that I can just make me happy now. It’s another step, a small one true, towards making sure that I never go back to that place I was with the ex again.

Without remorse or regret I was able to pull the trigger and say:

The Rough Road

I started graduate school in February with my alma mater UMUC. All the classes are online, which is how I did most of my Bachelor’s Degree, so I knew that it wouldn’t be an issue.

The way that the graduate program for education at this university is set up you take one class at a time. The classes are 6 credits and run for three months. I’m currently in week 8.

When I started the class, I was thinking to myself that this was going to be a piece of cake! I was taking 4, FOUR, English classes at the end of my undergrad, going through a divorce and finding a place to live and I still passed all of them. One class will be a breeze!

Instead:

See how the room looked around him? That’s my house.

Between class, hunting for a job, dealing with my youngest son’s horrible behavior and a myriad of house problems (like leaky pipes), I’m that guy that just went nuts.

On the upside, I’m pulling an A.

On the downside, it’s 10:22 pm and I’m writing this as I take a short break from working on my next project which is due in a week and for which I have no idea what I’m doing.

Yes, just like them - fabulous, but Clueless

Yes, just like them – fabulous, but Clueless

Yeah, it’s going to be a long week!

But even with all of the challenges and hurdles I have to jump, I’m in graduate school. That’s nuts to me. I never, truly, thought I would get here. I never thought that I would be on the road to earning my Masters in Education. I never thought that I would be able, for various reasons, to take the first step of achieving the dream that I have held since I was 12.

Yet, here I am.

Despite the divorce, three layoffs in the past two years, the fact that my trailer seems intent on falling apart around my ears, my son’s lackluster performance in school and his attitude issues, I am still on the road to my dreams.

reaching for dreamsI could have thrown in the towel, walked away from the kids and gone my own way in life because it was the easy thing to do. People do that all the time (i.e., my ex). But I didn’t. Sure I have had days where I just have curled up in a ball and bawled until my eyes felt like they were going to fall out.

I have had days where I just wanted to walk out the door and never come back. Who doesn’t?

But that’s the cowards way.

I’m a lot of things, many of them not favorable, but I’m not a coward. I’m not afraid of hard work and hard times to reach my goals. I’m not afraid of rolling up my sleeves and doing what needs to be done to make things work out the way I want them to.

socks Except for laundry. That’s why God created laundry baskets, so you wouldn’t have to fold the socks and they could still be considered clean and out of the way.

Where was I? Oh, that’s right. The rough road.

The easy road will seem so perfect. It will be filled with sunshine and light, and unicorns pooping rainbows overunicorn pooping your head. Angels will sing and all will be good.

Until you hit the bump in the road.

Because, it’s a fact, folks. You will always hit the bump in the road, no matter which road you take: easy or rough.

The difference between the easy road and the rough? On the rough road, you will learn to overcome and even greet your fears and your problems. You will develop coping skills that will allow you to not curl up in a ball and cry every single time something goes wrong.

rough roadThe rough road teaches you how to put on your big person britches and move on. It teaches you that a hurdle is just a hurdle and not the end of the road. It teaches you that you have the strength to move forward, even when all seems hopeless.

The easy road may get you to where you THINK you want to be with minimum challenges and everything coming up roses.

The rough road will allow you to prove to yourself, and everyone else, that you are worthy of the goal that you have reached.

And after a trip down a rough road, nothing in the world is sweeter than reaching the star that you had the audacity and courage to reach for.

The Weirdest Dream EVER

For those of you that have been reading my new and improved blog, you’ll know that my pipes have frozen up for most of the past two weeks.

They thawed for approximately 20 hours the other day and we threw a party, complete with showers, laundry and dishwasher running.

Yeah!  I have a mop and I'm ready to party *said no woman ever*

Yeah! I have a mop and I’m ready to party *said no woman ever*

I mean, really, when I get excited about cleaning the house, you know it’s been a ridiculous time for us. I mean, I hate housework. No, that’s not right. I LOATHE it, with a passion usually reserved for Stalin and idiot racists.

But, that’s not the point of this post.

Because the pipes froze, we have been unable to shower at the house. Yes, the shower was out of commission, the toilet was not refilling, the washing machine, the kitchen sink and dishwasher were all out of commission. Pots and pans are stacking up, we’re eating with plastic silverware and off of paper plates to keep the dishes to a minimum.

But it was the showers that were killing me. Or, lack thereof.

Not to say that I wasn’t keeping clean, shaving all that needed to be shaved. Applying soap in all the necessary places.

Needless to say, it wasn’t anything like Julia Roberts in Beverly Hills.

No, it was more like Laura Ingalls in her Little House.

I would boil a tea pot of water on the stove. I had to fill said tea pot in the bathroom sink because it was the only one with running water. I then had to wait for it to boil. Then, take it back to the bathroom and pour it into a bowl, a little at a time, and use it to wash my hair (mixed with cold water, obviously) and shave, and PTA bathe so that I could be seen in public.

It was a ridiculous amount of work and got old very quickly.

Obviously, the idea of the shower not working was taking up a lot of space in my mind, consciously and subconsciously, as evidenced by the dream I had last night.

I dreamt I went to a whorehouse. No, I didn’t work there. I was a customer.

Yes, women can frequent whorehouses, too

Yes, women can frequent whorehouses, too

I talked to the lady at the desk and paid my money. I then stuck my hand in a big jar, a la Hunger Games the reaping

I came up with a doozy. It was the perfect man. Beautiful blue eyes, hair that you want to run your fingers through, amazingly straight teeth. And, he spoke fluent French.

Yes, I drew out the name Bradley Cooper.

Who wouldn't volunteer to be with him???

Who wouldn’t volunteer to be with him???

Bradley Cooper, who is an orgasm on a stick, was to entertain and please me all night long.

It was my personal wet dream come true.

So, I took the name that I had drawn out, picked up my bag (cause you never know what you’ll need for a night of sexual fun and pleasure) and stepped through the curtain into the whorehouse proper.

And immediately stopped.

I never got to have my night with Bradley Cooper. I never knew his sweet, sensual touch on my skin.

Because the whorehouse had the most spectacular showers on the face of the earth.

Do you understand? I gave up a night of sexual healing with Bradley Cooper to TAKE A SHOWER.

I chose a SHOWER over BRADLEY COOPER.

There is something so wrong with that.

Now, excuse me while I boil some water. I need to clean up the remnants of my dream….

Do you want some cheese with that whine?

If you’ve read any of my posts prior to this new me blog, then you know that this is not where I expected to be. I never expected to be a divorcee. I never thought that I would be restarting my life at age 40. This is not what I planned.

But I’ve learned something in the past couple of years:

Life doesn’t give a shit what you planned. At all.

I think John Lennon said it best:

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

Smart and talented.  Only the good die young, right?

Smart and talented. Only the good die young, right?

I had a plan. I knew that I was going to be married to the same man (not happily, but still), and we were going to see it through to his retirement. We were going to buy a house and settle into a neighborhood and make friends and be happy. Life was going to take us to where we were planning on going. I was going to teach and he was going to do something with his degree (that was vague because he didn’t even know what he wanted to do) and we were going to see our kids off to college and live there the rest of our lives.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, life got in the way.

Life is rarely, if ever, smooth or nice or predictable. Things happen. People happen. People change and make your life different because of it.

helping get up with textIt does no good to whine about it, or throw a pity party or to be unwilling to make the best of the hand you were dealt.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He is a perfect example of being somewhere he never expected to be, ever. A good man, he is, one of the best. He made a mistake and now he’s sitting in jail because of it. He made a mistake and he’s paying the piper for what he did.

Some time before he got into trouble, his marriage fell apart. He likes to take most of the blame, but I told him that it takes two to work at a marriage and neither of them were willing to work hard enough. As his marriage was falling apart, he was sent to Afghanistan for a tour of duty there. While he was there, he met a woman.

Love at first sight is wonderful!

Love at first sight is wonderful!

I asked him if it was love at first sight. He said, completely without irony, that it was. He stated that they tried to ignore it, that he was going to try to fix what was going wrong at home. But then his ex-wife left, taking the kids and most of their possessions, and there was nothing left to save.

He decided to give it a go with this “once-in-a-lifetime” woman that he had chanced to meet while at war.

Fast forward and he’s in jail and she’s retired from the military. She moved to a town to be closer to where he is incarcerated and has been having a hard time of it for the past year or so. Things haven’t worked out the way that she expected and it’s harder on her to have him where he can’t physically support her while she’s out there.

He told me that he spoke to her the other day and she said, “If things don’t change soon, we’re going to be homeless!”

Now, this upset me on a couple of levels. First, your love is in jail. This is a shitty place to be. He doesn’t need thelove behind bars extra stress that your whining creates. Also, delivering that last line with a good dose of, “It’s your fault that I’m here!” really sucks. I mean, seriously? Secondly, I asked if she was working. He stated, “No, she’s not. She expected to be with me at my next duty station and be a stay-at-home-mom.”

Um, WHAT?

Seriously? I didn’t expect to be a 40-year-old divorcee living in a damn trailer in the northeast with frozen pipes and no money in my bank account.

But what you expect and what you get are very often two different things.

I’m not ragging on stay-at-home mom’s at all. Don’t get me wrong. But what the hell is wrong with this woman that she has decided that she would rather lament what should have been rather than rolling with the punches and standing up on her own two feet? This woman retired as a senior enlisted from the military. She’s obviously a capable person, who commanded troops. Get off your damn ass and get a job!

And, honestly, making the man that you proclaim to love feel even more guilty about where he is is not fair to him in the least. Stop whining and be a capable woman and take care of yourself.

I just don’t understand that at all. I mean, my situation right now is pretty crappy. Hell, it’s been a pretty cruddy couple of years.

But I don’t have the luxury to sit around and lament my situation. I have to get up and change it. I have to keep soldiering on. If for no other reason than my kids.

pooSometimes, life is big, steaming pile of poo poo. You can either sit there in the fumes and complain about the smell or you can move upwind.

The choice is always up to you. Always.

Sometimes, moving upwind is a lot harder than sitting there in the stench. But if life were easy, it wouldn’t really be

I'll take that mulligan now, thanks!

I’ll take that mulligan now, thanks!

life, would it? It would be some kind of game where you could call “Mulligan!” whenever you screwed up.

But life isn’t a golf game. You can’t sit there and play, “What if?” with you life. Correction: you could. But what would it gain you? How is that moving your life forward?

How is that making you a better, stronger person than the one you are today?

You have a choice. You can sit there in the stench or you can pick yourself up and chose to move forward. Away from that which is toxic, away from things and people that do nothing to help you become a better person.

Remember, the choice is always yours.

Personally, I don’t know of anyone’s poo that actually smells like roses.

Would you like to join me in moving upwind?

It’s All New….A New Life, A New Me, A New Blog

When I started this blog in August of 2011 (really? that long ago?), I had no idea what the future held for me. My marriage of 16 years had fallen apart and I was so scared of what I was facing.

Here it is, almost 3 years later (damn!), and almost 2 years since my divorce was final, and I feel like I’m getting to know me better.

I feel like I spent the 16 years that I was married to him defining myself by what he wanted me to be. I was to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect partner.

Except, I was never good enough for him.

But, here’s what I came to realize.

No one is perfect.

And that’s not what love is about, anyway.

I have a friend that is in a situation that is not great on any level. And the woman that he loves is giving him grief over it, blaming him for the results that have come about because of her choices. What I told him is what everyone should realize about love:

Love is about accepting a person for who they are at the moment. You don’t make them feel bad about choices that they madelove in the past. You don’t hold them accountable for your choices. When you say you love someone, you accept all of them: past mistakes, faults, failings.

So, what I’ve come to realize is that he never loved me. Not in the way that he should have. And, honestly, I probably didn’t love him in the way that I should have.

And for awhile after I moved into my new place, I felt guilty about the fact that I had failed at my marriage. I felt like it was all my fault that things hadn’t worked out.

But then I realized that it takes two to make a relationship work. It definitely takes two to make a marriage work.

So, I decided to forgive myself for the fact that my marriage collapsed. Sure, I could have done things differently. But he could have, too. We both could have been more supportive of the other, could have given each other more understanding and room to grow, have grown with each other.

But we didn’t.

And here I am, single and happy.

And there he is, engaged and (by all accounts) happy.

When I moved out, one of the things that I promised myself is that I wouldn’t go jumping into a relationship. I didn’t want

"You had me at hello."  *Barf*

“You had me at hello.” *Barf*

to be that woman that had to have a man to complete her. My life is not Jerry Maguire. I’m not Renee Zellweiger and some Tom Cruise wanna be is not going to come along and make my life amazing.

And I didn’t need that. I didn’t need a man telling me how to define myself. What I needed was time to figure out how I like my eggs.

I needed a chance to figure out who I was, what I wanted.

I needed to figure out how to be comfortable with myself before I allowed someone else into my life. I needed to learn tohappiness be happy with myself before I could open the door to someone else.

And, although I’m happy, I’m not in a place where I want to open the door to someone else. Not yet.

Maybe not ever.

I like being single. I like the fun it affords me. I like not being tied to any one person. I like not having to answer for my actions or decisions. I like all of that.

Because my marriage was not a partnership. It was me being held accountable every day for every word, every move, every decision. It was him holding me up as some kind of failure in his eyes because I didn’t behave in the way that he felt I should. It wasn’t marriage. It was prison.

free birdAnd now I’m free.

I get to spread my wings and do things that he wouldn’t have approved of. Things that will give me joy and experience. Things that make my heart happy and smiles come to my face.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all a bed of roses. Sometimes it’s hard being the only one around to make decisions. To not have anyone that you can fall back on to hold you up when you need it. Sometimes it truly sucks.

But those moments are so outweighed by the joy that being single brings me.

Before he left me, the ex told me that his greatest fear was being alone.

How sad is that?

I am my own best friend. Maybe that sounds weird or sad, but it honestly isn’t. I love me. I love who I am.

Granted, I have areas I could work on. We all do.

But, for the most part, I’m really happy to enjoy my own company. I’m comfortable taking myself out to dinner with a good book. I’m happy to stay at home and enjoy the wonders of internet movie streaming.

And, let’s be honest, no one laughs as hard at my jokes as I do. I mean, really, I’m hilarious!

So, the woman that started this blog is no longer here. I left her behind, like I did all of my undesirable baggage. I have moved on without her (and him).

never forgetBut I will never forget. I will never forget who I was when I was married, right after the separation, the divorce. I will never forget that I was that woman: scared, unsure, not ready to face the real world.

I will never forget that I was that woman and that I never want to be that woman again.

So, here we are. Starting a new journey together. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. I know I’m excited to be here, too!

The challenges of being single in today’s weird world of dating is going to be a fun road to travel together. The harrowing adventures of truly being a single mom are another path that we’ll travel down. And let’s not forget the fun that we’ll have together talking about all sorts of things from books to movies to life.

I’m so happy to have you along. The journey would have been taken even if you hadn’t been here, but road trips are just that much more awesome with a friend.

So, we’ll start with a song. Something that embodies the strength that I’ve found within myself. A girl “anthem” if you will. Because, I think, sometimes women forget that they are strong. Our strength comes from the inside and often doesn’t show itself until you really, truly need it.

Let’s start this journey with a little BeyoncĂ©. Just because she’s fun. And strong. And because I like the song 🙂

See y’all in a bit…..

Changes coming……

I have been thinking (something I am assured is dangerous when done frequently) that I want to come back to my blog and start talking with all of you great people again.

But, I don’t want to keep the title of my blog, nor the theme that I have now.

It has taken me a little over a year to realize that I am so much more than the woman that started this blog.

I am so much more than a woman that was discarded by a man that didn’t deserve me in the first place.

I am a woman who has found her strength. And, in finding that, I have found my voice.

I am no longer the person that keeps her opinions to herself and doesn’t have anything to say because it might upset someone.

I am no longer someone who is worried about rocking the boat.

I am no longer The Forgotten Wife.

That woman is gone.

I’m not sorry to see her go. She was here for me when I needed her. She was here for me to get through the shock of what I was going through at the time.

But, we all change.

For those of you that know me, or are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I am a huge Doctor Who fan. Just this Christmas, for the special, Doctor Who said something that I think applies here:

“But times change, and so must I….we all change. When you think about it, we are all different people, all throughout lives, and that’s OK, that’s good! You’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”

So, I’ve decided that it’s time to move on. Time to be someone other than The Forgotten Wife.

But I will never forget her. I will never forget who I was. Because those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

And I will never be her again.

Ever.

So, faithful readers (both of you), be on the look out for new changes and new things from this little blog of mine. Be ready to disagree and to have intelligent conversations. Be ready to read about my hijinks and foibles and (fair warning) my sex life.

Be ready.

Because a new woman is coming.

I’ll even give Stormageddon a run for his money.

New posts and theme coming soon……