Dating After Divorce. A Horror Story, I Mean Memoir.

Dating after divorce has to be one of the most comical experiences I’ve encountered to date. I say this only because it makes me cry less. I’ve been divorced for under a year, yet I’ve witnessed more than most soldiers on the … Continue reading

Dating When You’re Almost Dead.

College. Sigh. When dating was simple, because we were wasted and didn’t care about stupid adult stuff. With all the time in the world, it wasn’t a big deal to spend a few months making out with a frat guy who collects beer … Continue reading

The Match.

The past several days have been really dark and heavy, leaving me to wonder if I’m ever going to find peace again.

Don’t try to hide it. I see your heads ping-ponging from side to side waiting to see who will win the match.

She’s sad! (boos)

She’s happy! (applause)

She’s weak! (BOOOOOOOO)

Wait…no…she’s strong! (loud cheering)

Hold on a minute, folks, she seems to have…wait one second while we get some confirmation on this….YES….she seems to have had her heart broken again! (UHHHHHH)

(Half the crowd heads to concessions.)

Apologies for the whiplash. A full refund will be honored upon request.

While it makes a fantastic bumper sticker, being happy is not, as so many claim, a choice. If it were, I would’ve filled in that bubble on day one, braided my hair, and skipped away into a meadow of dandelions with some grateful dead blasting through my headphones.

No, being happy is not a choice, but a process, and a complicated one at that. It’s made up of several things – some of which come from our insides and some which come from our outsides. And, it takes an incredibly delicate balance of both to achieve the amount that equals happiness.

Real life is not a movie where everything falls into place in two hours. It’s taken me a while to wrap my head around that.

* * *

I had a strange dream the other night.

I was watching a video of myself on the computer. I wasn’t doing anything other than standing, looking straight ahead, and fidgeting. The video would speed up for several seconds, then slow down and stop, before briefly moving into reverse and speeding up all over again. It was like a computer scan…but of me. In the dream, it turned out, I was dreaming, and I woke up to type it out on my phone because it felt so significant.

When I woke up and looked at my phone, however, I discovered that the final part actually had occurred.

Ferrying the system? Remind me not to publish stuff in my sleep.

Ferrying the system?
Remind me not to publish stuff in my sleep.

A powerful dream that I can’t put into words (like most I suppose), it offered a fresh perspective of my insane year. My emotions, brain, and life all need to be rebooted and reconfigured – much too large a task to be instantaneous and painless. I’ve wanted it to be both of these things so badly, the fact that it’s been neither has left me desperate and hopeless.

* * *

This morning I woke up feeling lighter and more peaceful than I have in many, many months. Nothing eventful occurred and there were no major breakthroughs (or even minor ones), so I have absolutely nothing to point to for this strange shift. It truly is like someone snuck in and flipped a switch overnight, leaving acceptance, peace, and forgiveness in exchange for fear, sadness, and anger.

I took a deep breath and exhaled a few times, before realizing I’d barely been breathing at all lately.

Will I wake up feeling this way tomorrow?

I don’t know.

But, I think I should stop wondering about tomorrow so much and focus on what’s in front of me now. And, today, that’s the sweet relief of feeling like me again. I figure if I’m able to do it once that means I’m still here somewhere underneath it all, and I’ll be able to do it again.

(I’m so excited about my bird-nerd adventure coming up on Thursday! I can’t wait to share pictures with you all!)

 

Sweetness in Silence // Solace in Solitude

My ex-husband moved out at the beginning of February and our divorce was final in July.

Rebound knocked on the door in April. Around a month ago, he scored his final touchdown, did a little end-zone dance, and kept running. 

(Let me grab my calculator.)

That equals around two months of being on my own. My point? I haven’t had much, if any, emotional healing.

Speaking of emotional healing…

People offer loads of advice on how to go about mending a broken heart. In fact, it’s the very same advice I myself have offered many a wounded-heart warrior. And, it’s great advice, which is why I’ve decided to do exactly the opposite.

Surprising.

Don’t listen to music that reminds you of your ex.

I tried this at the beginning, limiting myself to hard core gangster rap and death metal for seven days straight. But, since there’s a lengthy list of songs that remind me of our short but intense time together, all this resulted in was a big game of musical sniper. Can I really live my life ducking, dodging, and hitting the floor anytime someone turns on the radio? I think not.

So, I came up with a solution tailored especially for me: musical immersion therapy.

(oh, yes, she’s serious.)

For the past few days, I’ve purposely picked songs from my iTunes library that remind me of us.

The first time I listened to Rebound’s Soundtrack of Summer Loving I cried. And, not the “cute, single teardrop” kind of cry, but the “WHY GOD WHYYYYYYYY (followed by random hiccups for an hour) red-faced ugly” kind of cry.

However, I’m happy to report progress! Towards the end of my three hour journey yesterday, I decided it was time to conquer the song that scared me most.

Holding my breath, I hit play. My bottom lip began to quiver, the knot in my stomach tightened, and I began to cry all the feels out…but that only ended up being like seven, maybe eight, tears total. Had I been wearing mascara, it wouldn’t have smudged a bit. I made it to the end of the song feeling better than anticipated, and then promptly congratulated myself with some old school Snoop and a Happy Meal.

Show him how happy you are. That’s the ultimate revenge! Don’t give him your power by allowing him to see how much he hurt you. GIRL!

First of all, don’t give him my power? What the hell does that even mean? Like, does he carry it around with him in a little box that has “Allison’s Power” scribbled on top in purple Sharpie? Or, does he place it on his kitchen window sill – his very own Allison-Power Chia Pet?

Here’s the thing.

Orchestrating my feelings to prove something is giving my power away, and wrapped up pretty to boot.

Does he think I have naked ivy-league educated male models feeding me grapes, and making me laugh so hard they’re forced to administer the Heimlich Maneuver when I choke on these grapes? Or, does he know the truth? That, last night, I stabbed the roof of my mouth with one of the Doritos I had for dinner, before washing them down with a huge glass of wine, topped off with some (a bag of) gummy bears?

Answer: I DON’T CARE.

And, what about him? Is he sitting around like Mr. Burns, rubbing his hands together and feeling accomplished? Or, feeling bad about the way things went down? Or, maybe, just driving himself crazy trying to remember the name of the last girl he did it with because it’s…right…there….on the tip of his tongue.

Answer: I DON’T CARE.

This is about my feelings. My sometimes happy, other times sad, and occasionally numb feelings that I refuse to camouflage or run from in some pointless attempt to prove….what again?

Exactly.

That’s not my idea of moving on, either.

Go out! Visit new places, but definitely not anywhere you two made memories.

People tell me to go out, flirt, and have some drinks. You know, get my mind off things for a bit.

No.

No more. That’s how I’ve dealt with shitty situations my entire life – by slapping a band-aid on and not allowing them breath, then waking the next day only to find they’ve deteriorated even further.

I’ve always used noise to quiet the thoughts in my head and numb emotional pain. But, without fail, every time I’ve reached out for one of these quick fixes, the muted thoughts and emotions have always returned, twice as loud and with double the kick.

Lately, I’ve been test driving a new coping mechanism: jumping head first into all the things I want to run from.

spiderweb

I’m embarking on adventures, no matter how intimidating, inviting only my feelings to tag along. This has been incredibly healing.

path

I’m visiting new places and rediscovering old ones. With each journey, I feel stronger and more empowered.

field

Gradually, the hurt is being replaced with clarity, and the fear with excitement.

beach

Realizing I don’t need anyone to do the things I love, and that I can still be happy doing them, has been the greatest gift I’ve given myself. The best medicine!

yay

I refuse to alter my plans or give away places that bring me peace, because of a few bad memories.

So, instead, I’m just making new ones.

In a little under two weeks, I’ll reach the summit. I’m heading out west to witness hawks during their peak migration period (whatever, you’re a nerd). Back when my life was a bad Danielle Steele novel, I visited this place with the very person I’m slowly deleting from my hard drive. I felt such a peace up there, with the thermals, the view, the quiet, the…everything, and promptly Googled the best time to visit, before loudly demanding, “You have to take me here in October!”

I was this close to bagging the whole idea, until I realized how easy it is to replace a couple of words.

“I have to take me there in October!”

I have a feeling it’s going to be even more peaceful.

And, this time, I don’t have to share.

Three Days.

9-30-15

crazypants

I’m tired all day, yet, the moment it’s time for bed, my mind wakes up to play mind games. Here I am, sprawled across the foot of my bed, with two kids and two dogs.

This morning, when the sun peeked through the shutters, I begged it to go away and leave me in the dark.

So, it’s going to be one of those days, huh? 

But, because the sun was being a dick and I have two kids who need their mom, I forced and stumbled my way through the day, only stopping to give the sun the occasional side-eye.

Pretending to be okay is exhausting.

Finally, the sun gave in and joined my pity party. And, what a pity party it was!

Just an hour or so ago, I was in the exact same place, sprawled across the foot of this bed, waiting for my kids-who-will-only-sleep-with-me-since-the-divorce to actually sleep. No longer able to hold it in, I began silently sobbing. I thought about my beautiful boys and felt disgusted with myself for allowing someone external from the three of us to take a piece of me away. Have my kids noticed how broken I’ve been lately? Are they going to get face tattoos and go running into the arms of heroin before they turn ten?

Really, though, will a few weeks of weakness fuck them up for years? I don’t know the math on dysfunction.

Desperate to get out of my head, I opened my laptop and reached out to a group of fellow heartbroken, and emotionally displaced, friends.

Blowing my nose on my shirt like a goddamn boss, I frantically typed out an SOS.

“I’m lying in bed with my two kids silently bawling. I feel like I’m drowning. I feel like nobody understands how badly this situation has fucked me up. I want to be stronger. I should be over this. I’m so mad and I’m so sad. I’ve never felt this kind of hopelessness in my life. I’m a shell.”

Within minutes, they came running to catch me, complete with Kleenex, hugs, and jokes. Gradually, with the perfect combination of kid-gloves and straight talk, they walked me off the figurative ledge they knew I’d never literally jump off.

Finally, sleep.

* * *

10.1.15

Today, I woke up feeling more of the same. But, as luck would have it, I happened to open Instagram even before I peed. A random guy I follow had just posted a random picture that brought on the most random, unexpected, and biggest belly laugh – something that hasn’t happened in weeks. You know, the deliciously delirious deranged kind of laugh, normally brought on by too little sleep or too much indulgence.

Just like that, in one moment, my day changed. I mean, not in some dramatic, life-altering, permanently plastered shit-eating grin, kind of way, but still better. Not even better-ish. Just better. Maybe, it helped me to see that I’m not numb or forever changed, and that I still have it in me to laugh my loud, obnoxious, room-clearing, ear-drum bursting, laugh.

I went about my day focused on my kids rather than things external.

Yes, I still had some minor setbacks when I forgot to lock the door, allowing resentment and bitterness to let themselves in. This, of course, resulted in my standard tweet>oh fuck>delete behavior. Because, I may talk a mean game, but inside there still remains a large part that cares too much about the people seated in the bleachers watching my melt down in real-time, while shoving handfuls of greasy popcorn in their mouths.

It’s a daily struggle: being who I am, unedited, and thinking too much about my words and how others may perceive (or judge) them. I’m constantly reminding myself that some people won’t understand this need to bleed my rawest thoughts and emotions all over the keypad. That doesn’t make them any better or worse than me – it simply means they cope differently. I don’t bleed for page views, attention, or affirmation. I bleed for sanity, human connection, and because it helps me, and hopefully others, feel less alone.

But, my emotions are contradictory and constantly sparring. I don’t want to regret some of the things I share. I regret some of the things I share. Mostly, because, no matter how deeply someone has stuck the knife in my back, when I pull it out and stick it in their heart, it’s just as painful. No matter how justified my actions, it takes all I have not to run over, pull the knife out, and frantically try to stop their bleeding.

The line between standing up for myself when needed and allowing others to trample all over me is always blurred, and I’m guessing it always will be.

* * *

10-2-15

(For those bad at math, that’s today.)

I went back and forth and finally forth, giving the green light for this to go live. Of course, I am feeling the need to run over and pull the knife out of his heart, but I know that I can’t and shouldn’t. I feel guilt, but not regret.

Otherwise, today I am feeling fantastic. Ish. Better than I have in weeks. I’m social and loud and annoying – all positives. Time seems to be doing it’s job of healing, or maybe it’s just the cooler weather.

Whatever it is, I’m finally starting to recognize myself again, so I’ll take it.

writewithpride