Good Enough

As any of you that have read this blog since the beginning (THANK YOU!) know, my divorce was rough.

You know the marriage was rougher.

Ward and June Cleaver we weren’t, that’s for damn sure.

Who cleans house in high heels and pearls??

Who cleans house in high heels and pearls??

I wasn’t spectacular to him. I’ll take responsibility for my share of blame in the collapse of our marriage. To be sure, he wasn’t spectacular to me. The only honest thing he did before he left with that other woman (I’m working hard at reining in my Bitter Bitch) was to admit that he had spent 16 years emotionally and mentally abusing me.

Yes, he admitted it. Shocking, no?

And, here we are, over two years since the separation and almost two years from the divorce and I’m still dealing with that crap.

hand tiedHow frustrating is that? I know that I can’t expect to be over it immediately. I know that I will feel the effects for years. But I have made so much progress in coming back to life that it is so defeating sometimes to know that I am still trying to untie myself from his definition of who I was.

It is so very hard to recover your self-esteem, your sense of self, when you spent 16 years with the person that you pledged to love and who pledged to love you, trying to do the best you could and it was never enough.

You were never smart enough.

You were never skinny enough.

You were never pretty enough.not good enough

You were never sexy enough.

You were never a good enough mother.

You were never a good enough housekeeper.

You were never…..

Nothing I ever did was good enough for him.

When the man that you have married tells you that you are subpar at every level on a daily basis, you don’t just get over that in a snap.

So, here we are, two years later, and I’ve met this guy. He’s pretty terrific. OK, he’s more than pretty terrific, but we’re not going to go into massive details. Let’s just say that he’s very sexy, very smart, extremely witty, a talented storyteller and so much more *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*.

He’ll tell me that I’m beautiful and sexy and smart. He does so with regularity and ease. You can tell that he means it, that he’s not lying to just get into my pants. I can tell he means it. Truly means these things that he says.

And I want to believe him. I do. I want to see what he sees. I want to feel that I’m beautiful, sexy and smart.

Sometimes, when we talk or when I’m with him, I feel it. I feel like I’m all of those things and more. I feel like Superwoman having a man as great as him think those things about me.

But, when our conversation is done, or I go home, or even sometimes when we are chatting, I wonder what it is that he sees.

I know he can’t be seeing the same woman I see. That woman isn’t smart, nor sexy, nor beautiful. She doesn’t have anything to offer to a great man like him. Why does he still talk to me?

For 16 years I was told that I wasn’t beautiful, sexy or smart. For 16 years I was told that I wasn’t enough. So, how can I be enough for this man who has everything in the world to offer a woman?

And therein, my friends, lies the issue.

I have to stop wondering what I should do to “be enough” for a man in my life and just be me. Be myself in all things.

Good enoughI have to stop trying to be anything for anyone and just be the person that I am.

I have to just be me.

I have to be that woman whose eyebrows are never plucked quite right, whose roots constantly need touching up, whose house is never clean enough, who feeds too many stray cats because she’s a sucker for them. I have to be that dorky lady who laughs too loudly at lousy puns, who thinks science jokes, Doctor Who and Cosmos are pretty awesome. I have to embrace my almost bottomless pit of trivia about nothing that anyone in the world cares about. I have to appreciate my love of all things J.D. Robb, Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton, and J.K. Rowling. I have to be political and care about what is going on in the world. I have to be all of those things.

Because all of those things make up the person I want to be.

If somewhere along the way I happen to be lucky enough to find someone who is willing to accept me with all of my quirks and my dorkiness and my lame jokes and my obscure passions, and also finds me sexy and beautiful and smart, then that will make me a pretty lucky lady.

It doesn’t mean that I will not ever have periods of self-doubt. Bouncing back from a bad relationship isn’t easy and it takes time.

But I have to stop wondering what he sees in me, why he likes to spend time with me, what the attraction is. Instead of questioning it, I need to just accept it.

It doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter what.

All that matters is: He does.

That’s good enough for me.

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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 Beyoncé. Just because she’s fun. And strong. And because I like the song 🙂

See y’all in a bit…..

An ending and a beginning

Well, my muse went on a vacation and came back all tan and relaxed (bitch!), but she’s back now and so am I.

Wish I could have gone with her. Instead, I was stuck in Jersey.

 

I hope that all of you have had a great couple of weeks while I’ve been absent.  I actually had a lot of things to accomplish before the 11th, including many handmade gifts for my friend’s baby shower.

I firmly believe that every single baby should have something handmade when it comes into the world.  Let’s just say that her baby is covered on that account!

It was a little over a year ago when I started this blog.  The anniversary came and went at the beginning of August.  I’ve enjoyed writing here and I hated that my muse left for her own fun during that time.

Since I’ve been gone, things have moved forward, as they are wont to do in the real world.  Time doesn’t stop moving forward.  The sun doesn’t stop rising in the east and setting in the west.  Even when we think it should.

The boys came back to me on Sunday.  I missed them terribly and I’m glad to have them home.  They’ve grown so much just in the 7 weeks that they have been gone from me.  They were ready to come home and I was ready to have them home.  Now that they are home, the silence is gone from my house, I don’t have access (too often) to the television and the living room looks like a bomb exploded in it.  But that’s alright.  That’s my normal.

Monday, 13 August, I had to attend 3.5 hours of economic mediation with him.  We discussed many things, many numbers and many issues.  We managed to settle a bunch of them by ourselves (with the mediator) till the lawyers walked in and mucked it all up.  At the end of the 3.5 hours, we were all ushered outside and his lawyer went on his merry way (he had an appointment I guess) with the agreement that we would all meet at the courthouse on Tuesday morning at 0830.

He contacted me Monday evening and we discussed some more stuff.  We came to an amicable agreement and transmitted such to the lawyers the next morning.  By 0930 we were in a courtroom getting the settlement read into record.

By 1200, I was divorced. 

The official seal on my official divorce decree

 

Yup, that’s right.  The asshole is now just the “ex.” 

It was funny, as we were sitting there listening to his lawyer read the agreement into record, how the weight of the world seemed to lift off of my shoulders.  I realized I didn’t hate him (that might have had something to do with the wonderful settlement I got in the divorce).  I truly didn’t hate him.

I pitied him.

Not because of the mountain of debt that he has (at least $25,000 – none of which I’m responsible for), or the fact that he has to pay me for the next 11 years.  Not because of the horrible credit situation that he had gotten himself in.

I pitied him because he didn’t look happy.  He didn’t act happy.  He didn’t seem happy.  Not with getting the divorce – we were both thrilled to have that over.  He just didn’t look like he was enjoying life at all.

And that’s sad.

I was thrilled to have it over.  I’m done with the stomach clenching feeling that I have whenever I have to go to court or deal with him.  The settlement is done, I’ll get my maiden name back and I can start living my life as a single woman.

That’s thrilling for me.

I understand that it’s the thing to have a “divorce party” these days.  Well, I partied last night.  A private, intimate, sexy party 🙂

It was terrific!

In 14-28 days, I’ll have the addendum to the divorce decree that spells out the settlement.  At that time, I’ll set about getting my maiden name back.

I know that my new life started the day that he asked for a divorce. 

But now I feel like I can move forward into my new life free and unfettered.  I dumped the trash in my life and I feel like I can fly.

I know there will be hardships.  It won’t always be smooth sailing.

But I’ll be the captain of my ship.

And that’s more important than calm seas any day.

T-minus 4 days and counting

I have to go back to Court on Monday.

No, it’s not an actual hearing.  It’s a mediation session where we try to work out the issues of our divorce without going to court.

I’m not looking forward to it.

I dislike confrontation.  Truly.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t run from a fight (unless someone pulls a knife – then Flash will wonder what the hell just passed him), but I dislike walking into one.

And I don’t want to see the asshole.

I don’t like seeing him when he comes to pick up/drop off the kids.  I don’t like talking to him on the phone.  I don’t like interacting with him at all.

On Monday, I’ll have to sit in a waiting room with him and then go into chambers with him.

Yuck.

I spend most of my days pretending he doesn’t exist and just spending his money.  I wish I could just go on like that.

I’m not going to let the idea of Monday ruin my weekend, but it’s always there just waiting to pop up and remind me.

Kind of like my lawyer bill 🙂

I think that Tums and I will become great friends this weekend…..

Friday Fictioneers

Well, Madison has challenged us again.  This time with a beautiful picture:

Here is my contribution:

We met and the sun lit up my world

Eye to eye we met each challenge head on

Our love making us stronger

But the clouds came

Blocking the sun

Rain fell from the skies like tears down my face

The storms wiped away every happy memory

Every laugh, every piece of joy gone

Killed by the thunder and lightning

We went our separate ways

Never looking back

Suddenly the clouds were gone

The sun was shining

My world was washed clean

And a rainbow crossed my world

 Bringing a promise of better things to come

Please, Mr. Postman….

Well, I slacked this weekend on the posts, so there’ll be a few today and tomorrow.  I had a blast at the Air Show on Saturday and had a nice quiet Mother’s Day, but more about that later. 

Right now, it’s all about the mail.

Yes, the USPS still runs Monday through Saturday, despite the rumors.  They deliver through rain and sleet and all that jazz.  But they don’t deliver to my house.  So, I have a post office box.

I actually acquired the box last August so that I could get mail from my lawyer without the asshole knowing that I had a lawyer.  I knew that he didn’t have one yet and I didn’t want him knowing that I had one. 

Besides, I couldn’t be sure that he wouldn’t open my mail and he didn’t need to know what I was saying to my lawyer.

Hence, the PO Box.

But it’s darn hard to get over and check it.   They close at 4:15 M-F and at 11:30 am on Saturdays.  Now, I don’t get off work till 5 and I surely am not up and ready to get to the post office by 1130 on Saturdays.  In fact, on a good Saturday, I’m not awake at 1130!  So, I’ve made it a habit to go to the post office after I drop my oldest at school.

Last week, that didn’t happen any day but Monday.  So, today when I went, I had a lot of mail.  I had the requisite Geico junk mail (I’m happy with my car insurance, thank you), and 4 credit card offers (which is shocking considering my credit history…not good!).

Three pieces of mail caught my eye….two good and one that caused nervousness in my belly.

The two good ones were two checks from the probate court – YEA!

The one that caused the butterflies was a letter from my lawyer. 

We have been scheduled for a Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel.  This panel is staffed by two matrimonial attorneys and they will hear the suggestions from my lawyer, and his, and we are both required to attend.  I’m sure that he’ll attend by phone, but still.

If we agree to the suggestions, then we will be divorced in July.

If we don’t agree, we go to trial.

I’ll admit it.  I’m nervous.

Really nervous.

If my bottom lip makes it to July without a hole in it from me chewing on it, I’ll be surprised.

Who needs a piercing when you can just have a court date scheduled?

It’s not that I don’t want to be divorced from him or that I want to get back together.  I understand that we are in limbo here, neither married nor divorced. 

Just separated.

And I love my new life. I love not being with him in anything but a legal sense.  I love not talking to him.

But, on the other hand, I feel nervous.  Once I sever ties with him legally, that’s it.  My life as I knew it is forever gone.  I will no longer be a military spouse (which I’m not really, right now, but you get the idea), something that I have been for the last 16 years.

Yes, the big upheaval has happened already – I’ve moved out, moved on, and so has he.

But this will be so….final.

Part of this is fear for the unknown future.  Right now, I’m tethered to the military and to him, financially.  I’m worried about money issues and losing my privileges on base and the medical care that his being active duty affords me.

I’m worried that I won’t be able to make it work without that safety net.  Because that’s how I’ve always seen the military – as a safety net. 

Alright, I guess my fear, truly, is being a civilian.

Yes, all of my civilian readers, have a good laugh.  But just as you would be lost in the world of the military, I feel lost in the world of the civilian.

I tried it.  I didn’t like it.

I grew up in the military, I served in the military, I married the military.

Civilians don’t talk in acronyms, they don’t have any frame of reference for the things that I’ve seen and done.  And it baffles me how a person could grow up in one house, one town, one state and never leave to live anywhere else.

Yes, civilian life confuses me.

Maybe that’s not my true fear, but it’s surely a factor.  I’m not just jumping into the world single, but as a civilian.

Fear is not rational.  It’s not logical.  That’s why Spock doesn’t feel fear.

But I’m not Spock.  And, honestly, thank goodness cause I don’t think I’d look very hot in pointy ears.

Yes, I’m scared.  Yes, I’m worried.  Yes, I’m unsure.

Please, Mr. Postman, can you take that letter back?  Cause I’m not sure I want it.