Thursday, April 24, 2014

360 : No Shame

I am very proud of my sense of humor.  (Duh, Obviously.)  I think I'm funny.  I mean, I'm not going to get all egotistical here but yes, I think I'm pretty darn funny.  I'm very good at the self deprecating jokes too because I can laugh at myself.  Perhaps, though,  I've used them a little too much this past year to mask true insecurities I feel.  The insecurities that come along with getting divorced.  For a very long time, I felt embarrassed and ashamed of the fact that I had gotten divorced.  Even worse, I had been abandoned and then divorced.  The fact that it wasn't a mutual choice made it more difficult to accept.  I admitted to people I was wounded by this, but I attempted to maintain my sense of humor during these difficult times.  And what better way to express my insecurities than to openly acknowledge them through humor?   I would often start off sentences jokingly saying,

I'm divorced so don't listen to any advice I have but…

I wanted to continue participating in conversations with friends, or be relevant when talking about a relationship, but each time, I felt it was necessary to put myself down before speaking.  I was ashamed of what had happened to me.  I felt like others viewed me as someone that had done something wrong or failed which is why I was in this situation to begin with.  I worried about anyone viewing me in such  way.  And I mean anyone.  I hated the fact that people might look at me and suggest I did something wrong to cause this horrific act.  They might think I was cruel or bitchy or not sexual enough.  And it took a long time of working through this topic for me to see that the only person that was judging me, was me.  I could still be funny.  I could still make jokes.  But to put myself down about the most sensitive thing in my life, only reinforced my insecurities.  I needed to stop being so hard on myself.  I needed to stop feeling embarrassed about what happened.  I needed to stop feeling ashamed.  My response to the most traumatic life change I had ever experienced, spoke more about me as a person that the divorce itself ever could.  That is what people saw.  They saw me.  Molly.  Accepting.  Adjusting.  Moving forward.  I had nothing to be ashamed of.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

359 : Acknowledge Your Part

Up until now,  I don't think I've really acknowledged my role in our divorce.  I feel strongly that it wasn't my fault (and as I say that I'm picturing Robin Williams repeatedly telling Matt Damen It's Not Your Fault in Good Will Hunting.)  The difference is that I don't need to be reminded of this, I know it wasn't my fault.  This doesn't mean, though, that I didn't play a role our divorce.  I mean, I was in the relationship, so clearly I must have played some role it in.  Could I have tried harder?  Could I have compromised more?  Could I have listened better?  Could I have loved more deeply?  I have accepted the fact that I will never know the answers to these questions.  And I am no longer asking them from a place of self doubt.  I am acknowledging that marriage is a lot of work.  I'm admitting I am not perfect.  I am suggesting that even if I was perfect in my first marriage, I will try even harder next time if the chance presents itself.  I stopped trying to understand many months ago (see post #36) but I would continue trying to learn, grow and be an even better version of my best self moving forward.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

358 : Goodbye Child

I'm getting rather emotional now that the final countdown is on for this blog.  I was trying to think of all the topics I had covered so far, what I had missed and what was still important to cover before I signed off.  And then I realized this was one of those topics.  The third child.  The third child that I never had and probably never would have.  Picture my ex (then husband) and I at our 20 week appointment for baby #2.  We held hands in anticipation about what the sex of this child was.  Girl. Girl. Girl.  I closed my eyes with hope and preparation.

It's a Boy.

I think the tears were in my eyes before the sentence was complete.  To this day I don't know where that sorrow had come from,  but it was there.  The technician awkwardly left the room (Oh yes the tears were in front of her) and my ex (then husband) and I were left alone.  It was silent for a minute as we just hugged and I cried.  He understood.  And he promised me we would have a girl.  I know you can't promise that, but he did.  And I believed him.  #3 would be a girl for sure.  It was one of the saddest and most beautiful moments of my life.  Obviously things did not play out that way.  My second baby boy arrived and I fell in love all over again.  He was perfect.  And then my ex (then husband) unexpectantly moved out just 6 months later.  Amongst all the other things that were going on in my head, I made a note that I would never have my girl now.  I know that probably sounds silly, it should not have been where my head was right then, but I did think about it. My friends told me I could meet someone else and have a another baby if I wanted.  I couldn't even imagine that.  And so I mourned this loss that was never really been mine to begin with.  The year of my divorce was one of the darkest periods of my life. But as a result, the boys and I grew closer.  My role as a mother became even more rewarding.  I reached a point where I realized my life was perfect with my boys and I no longer needed my girl.  In fact, I no longer wanted a 3rd child.  I looked at my boys and knew that the divorce had created a very special bond between the 3 of us and I couldn't imagine a third child now.  My hurting heart was being refueled with their love and that was enough.

Monday, April 21, 2014

357 : Personal Success

As I enter the final 9 posts (only 8 more after this one!) I have become aware of something.  Over the past year, I began feeling better emotionally for several reasons- one of which was the taste of personal success.  Let me explain.  Getting divorced made me feel many, many things.  One of which I have yet to discuss is the feeling of failure. We've all been there.  It's probably one of the worst feelings in the world.  Whether you've failed a test or failed in a contest or worst of all things failed your parents.  Divorce made me feel this in the worst way possible.  I had experienced failure in my life before, but more often it seemed as though I excelled at things.  And I don't mean that in an arrogant way either- I worked hard to be good at things. Growing up I wanted to dance, so I took lessons for almost 14 years and I grew into a good dancer.  I also liked singing and I excelled in this up until my senior year of high school where I was cut from the elite singing group Varsity Voices.  This was a failure that hurt and continued to bother me in some way for many years.  I think in this moment though, I can identify that it was the failure itself that hurt more than the lost experience.  I did not like this feeling of failure.  And divorce delivered it more than anything else I had ever experienced.  It was a tough hit to take.  So perhaps part of the reason I started writing was to create that feeling of personal success for myself.  I did not like the feeling of failure and I wanted to do whatever I could to make that go away.  And once I began feeling good from my writing, I excelled in other areas again.  I began to apply myself more at work.  I began viewing it more as a career than a job.  It felt as though people noticed.  I also continued to write; challenging myself to see if I could make the time and maintain interest.  And I did.  Not every day was great (see multiple obvious posts) but I still tried.  Until now I don't think I realized it, but this blog represented an opportunity for both commitment and success.  What had failed in my marriage could now be redeemed right here.  It felt wonderful to recognize this and cherish the personal success I was feeling.  I deserved it.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

356 : Change of Plans

Well I had spent the past week debating about how to approach Easter this year with my kiddos (see post # 352). I would not be with them on Easter morning, so I settled on doing the minimum.  This is not because I didn't always want to do everything for my kids, it was more because I wanted to be conscious of how much "celebrating" they did with each holiday.  I didn't want them to be spoiled with two of everything (any more than they would already be).  I promised myself no Easter baskets.  No candy.  Just a simple egg hunt in the apartment upon their return home.  And then the cutest thing happened.  My oldest asked me if the Easter bunny would be able to find him at daddy's?  He wanted to make sure the Easter bunny could locate him so he'd get his loot.  The innocence of his question made me smile and made my heart burst all at the same time.  I couldn't NOT do anything.  I had to do a little something.  So then I remembered a tradition my friend Megs had shared.  She told me about how every year her family got new swim suits in their Easter basket.  I needed to buy these for my boys anyway, so why not start now?  I was big on incorporating traditions into our family, because the divorce had felt so untraditional to me.  I know it is a common thing these days, but for me it still wasn't.  I did not grow up in a divorced family.  I didn't ever anticipate that my husband would walk out on me.  And because I was so sensitive to the fact that things had played out this way, I wanted to try extra hard to create traditions and memories for my children so that they wouldn't think of the divorce first when they thought of their family.  I knew I couldn't control this in total,  but ultimately that was still my hope.  So I got the boys new swim suits and rash guard tops.  Oh and what do you know- I had already purchased flip flops for both of them at the end of the summer last year.  So as it turned out, the Easter bunny would  be stopping by our place afterall.  I couldn't wait to share this all with them.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

355 : Celebrate Life!

You may think the title of this post is somehow related to Easter.  Well, sadly no.  It's just a total coincidence that this post happens to fall on the same weekend the world celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  What I am celebrating more is the fact that I actually have a life this weekend.  I have time to myself.  A weekend to myself!!  Woo Hoo!  This might seem a little silly.  When I got divorced, I was initially terrified of the weekends without my kids.  But soon enough I embraced them.  I looked forward to the freedom of sleeping in as late as I wanted, eating whatever I wanted, doing whatever I wanted!  It was the most amazing gift for a single working mom.  TIME.  So this weekend was the first time I had actually had a weekend to myself in 7 weeks.  It had been non stop for almost 2 months- plans that included both friends and family.  And don't get me wrong, I loved my friends and family but all that time with others only made me more excited for that time for myself.  It was worth celebrating!

Friday, April 18, 2014

354 : Wise Words

I was struggling a little bit earlier this week.  It wasn't one thing in particular, just overall stress that seemed to be building.  No matter where it started, it always seemed to expand into other areas of my life.  I was venting to a friend about a variety of topics, but most specifically an interaction at work that had left me feel bad.  And it was then that my very wise friend reminded me of something.

Only you can let that person make you feel bad.

Her words made me stop to think for a minute.  Yes, it was easier said than done.  But it was undeniably true.  I couldn't allow myself to accept this negative energy.  Not from anyone.  A boss.  A colleague.  Even my Ex.  Life was too short and I was working hard enough on myself, I didn't need to absorb anything extra.  I knew I would not always be able to manage these feelings, but being aware of it was half of the battle.  I promised myself I would stay grounded in this truth moving forward as much as I could.