Sometimes the message is all about the perception of the receiver.


Well, it’s been awhile since I blogged, and the least I can say about it is that life kind of got derailed for a bit.

As you may remember, I had experienced a kitchen accident leaving me with a good sized chunk missing from my dominant index finger. That’s all healed up now, but typing was a real bummer for a few months. Sometimes you just have to stop, rest, and take stock of what’s important.  As such, I just needed to take a blog break for a bit.

As part of a break from blogging, which I’ve missed, I’ve been thinking about the types of things I write, and the sorts of things I post on other social media. 

What prompted me to do a deep think about these things is that I’ve been forced to check myself, to make sure I wasn’t posting things that may be generally offensive to others. You see, a friend said something to me that was kind of mean, said in spiteful, sarcastic kind of tone, about some things I post. These things were general posts about stuff that I do, or places I go, and I couldn’t figure out what was it that I did that was so offensive.

I began to stew on this quite a lot, to the point where I felt compelled to ask my mother, and several trusted friends, what it could be. Being familiar with my postings they had no answer for me, and were equally as puzzled. 

In thinking this through, I remember something from a college communications course I took. The instructor looked us all in the eye one day and stated emphatically that how information is received is a product of the receiver, of their life experiences, and many times you can’t do anything about that. Our perception will color everything we see and hear, and sometimes the intent of the speaker/poster is lost getting through all of that.  I see how that is true in my life sometimes, especially with political and social issues. 

Sometimes there is no intent other than sharing your joy in doing something that makes you happy, but it can get caught up and discolored in the filter of others’ unhappiness.  It’s painful to hear. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t fix that because it won’t make these people happier to see me unhappy… at least I hope not. I’ve made an effort to try not to post when I’m sad or super angry about something. It gives the effect that my life looks super rosy on Facebook, and that is an unintended result. I have a regular life with ups and downs, just like everyone else.

Blogging is quite different for me than regular social media. This is the space I use to help myself work through some things I struggle with sometimes. I like to keep it as positive as I can but once in awhile you will see things here that aren’t as happy, like today. Thanks for your patience while I work through this.  It was hard to write about, and I spent more time than normal editing this post.

Having said that, I always do my best to end my blog posts on a positive beat. I want you to know that it really is ok to be happy. It’s ok to share what you find joy in doing. Rock on, happy campers, and many blessings to you all!

Advertisements

Ok, I’ve arrived! Now what?!


Greetings to you, my Faithful Readers…

I know it’s been a while, and I have been away for a long time. To say that I have been busy would be a bit of an understatement. Not only did Younger Son graduate from high school and then join the military after a nice long summer, but I have also been occupied with my two jobs, as well as trying to have a semblance of a personal life. I have also been caught up in shenanigans from my ex husband. All in all, it’s been quite a wild ride this year, most especially this last half.

Recently, the thing that has struck me the most is my inability to “get it together”, as it were. I’ve kind of floated through life this last year half freaked out, and half numb, not quite understanding what my problem is. I’ve felt a general sense of being paralyzed in my thoughts and ability to function. It’s a little like walking through life where there’s no color, no passion, no real living…there’s been a whole lot of existing.

In the last couple of months I’ve had some epiphanies, and just now I’ve been able to piece together in my head what my heart has been hollering at me for quite a while: I’ve really had the terrible feeling of not having a purpose.

What?! How can one not have a purpose? Well, let’s define that a little better. I can’t find a meaningful purpose for my daily existence. I haven’t had a goal of what I want to do, or be, or where I want to go. My sole purpose for the last 5 years has been to get my children through school, and launched into the world as productive, self-sufficient human beings. Older Son is working, has successfully financed his first vehicle by himself, and really doesn’t need me so much any more. Younger Son, as I earlier mentioned, is off learning about the world via the military. He will learn a skill that is marketable in civilian life, and is pretty self-sufficient. I miss him terribly, but I don’t worry for him. At least not yet. In short, I’m here…now what?

What about my work? Do I not find a purpose, or a reason to get up in the morning for that alone? Yes. Just barely. In the last month, I have been able to get a new position at the Cube Farm. It did come with a little bit of a raise and the people I work with are nice, with the exception of my Ex. Yes, he also got promoted to this new department. It’s been more than a little stressful having him in close proximity, especially now that he is dragging me through court…again. Even though that makes it uncomfortable, the work is so boring and overwhelming at the same time… so much coming at me at once. It’s a little like trying to take a sip out of a wide open fire hydrant, and not terribly inspiring. At least my last position was something I believed in. I loved the people I worked for, and therefore worked harder.

Between some pretty awful changes at work locally, and at a Corporate level, and my lack on anyone to take care of, I feel cut loose and rudderless. I don’t feel like I have a stable platform to stand on every day where I know what I am about, and what I need to do, other than just to go through the motions of getting through the day.

Quite frankly, I feel a little as though I’m on a big highway to Nowhere.empty-highway-road

How about my love life? I’m ok with it. However, I know that it can be better. This brings me to my first epiphany. I think I might be ready to move in with my Flirt. It will take some sacrifice on both sides because we are both somewhat set in our ways, but I think we’ll do ok once we get there.

Younger Son said something to me this Summer, just before he left, that inspired me. He encouraged me to move away, and get a fresh start. My brother is busy trying to get me and my parents to move closer to his family. We’ve missed out on a lot of each other’s lives being so far away, and I’m ready to have more family around again. Second epiphany: I’m done with this place, and I would dearly love to have a clean break from it and go somewhere new and interesting.

How do I get those two ideas (moving in with my Flirt, and moving away) together and moving in the same direction? It helps that my Flirt was present for that conversation with Younger Son and promptly agreed, saying “yeah, let’s go“. No hesitation, no worry about what to do when we get to wherever it is that we are going. That’s one of the things I love about him. He brings a spontaneous sense of adventure to my life.

dancing-flamesJust this last few months, I’ve felt a fire growing in my belly that I’ve not had in a long time. I’ve spoken about having a fire in one’s belly before. This fire isn’t so much the comfy campfire kind. It’s more like a conflagration, raging out of control underneath everything else that is stressing me out. It’s not something I built consciously, but it just kind of sprang up out of left field. I can see in my head what I want, and where I want to be, and when I want to get there, but I don’t have a clear path yet and it’s frustrating. As such, I’ve almost avoided thinking about it, while still getting ate up by it.  This is the sense of purpose that I have been missing, and I need to get a choke hold on it and not fear it, or worry over it, or obsess on it. I need to prepare to be ready to jump on a good opportunity when it becomes available.

So, what’s the plan? Good question. There’s a lot to consider, and it’s more than a little overwhelming. I have a tendency to get lost in the weeds, so I have narrowed my goals down to a few items to try to keep it manageable:

1. Get my house ready for sale.

That’s right. I’m ready to dump my happy little fixer upper. First, I have a little fixing up to do. Hopefully most of it will just be cosmetic, and stuff I can do over the next year.

2. Get my finances under control.

During the last two years, my Ex decided that he didn’t want to pay what the court ordered him to pay me, and I have been robbing Peter to pay Paul. As a result, I’m trying to dig out, and get my suffering credit score out of the dumper.

3. Get healthy

I back-slid something fierce in the health department, having gained 25 lbs in the last year. I know most of it has to do with stress, because there’s nothing like the crunchy fabulousness of chips and dip, or the velvety goodness of ice cream, when the world is falling down around your ears. I’m pretty miserable carrying all of this extra weight, and I want to feel good again.

4. Get the situation with my Ex under control for good.

I’m tired of him thumbing his nose at me, and at the court system. They command him to do something, “or else”, and then he just does what he wants anyway without repercussion. I’m hopeful that this will be the last go-round with him in the court system, and that it will be done by the time March rolls around.

5. I need to get my spiritual life active again

What does this entail? All sorts of things that I just haven’t engaged in for a very long time. At this time in my life, though, I don’t feel bound by any one religion, or spiritual practice. I’ve come to realize, having been raised a Lutheran, you can take the girl out of the church, but you can’t quite take the Lutheran out of the girl. Much of who I am comes from that upbringing, even though I don’t agree with a bunch of what I was taught. I was also a practicing Wiccan for several years and, though there are some things about that mode of spirituality I don’t agree with anymore, there is much of value I can take comfort in. There’s a whole world of spiritual goodness out there, and I want to get back to being a seeker.

6. I need to learn how to live simply and decrapify (yes, that’s a word. At least in my world)

My house is full of crap I don’t need, and hardly use. My next dwelling will most likely be an apartment, or something I can rent, and I want to be able to pick up and go with as little drama and effort as possible. That means getting rid of things that don’t serve any immediate or lasting purpose.

7. Start writing again

I missed writing, and I missed interaction with you. I have had a habit of thinking in recent times that I didn’t have anything to write about that anyone would be interested in. The truth is, I have loved writing this blog for me. I found healing in it, and it’s something I need and want to get back to.

Well, I think I might have exhausted myself with all of this blather. I guess it’s been pent-up for a while and it feels good to write again. I missed it, and I’ve missed you guys.

I hope you all have that thing that lights a fire in your gut, and that makes you feel like you have a purpose. If you don’t, come walk with me and we’ll find it together. Blessings, all!

10 Basic Rules for New Bloggers


Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a young friend at work. He is thinking about taking up blogging and it got me to thinking about what I have learned from the blogging I have done through the years. I think most of it boils down to a lot of common sense – be nice, treat people how you would want to be treated, etc. However, there are some other things that are worth mentioning for those who are new to blogging:

1. It’s ok to blog under a made up name.

Blogging under your real name opens you up for a  lot of garbage you may not want to deal with. Number one thing I can think of is that employers data mine to find out more about potential employees. If you blog under your real name and have opinions that do not mesh with a potential employer, it could cost you that job. Some people may not worry about this, and that’s ok too. Personally, I would rather keep any potential employers guessing. My business is my business, not theirs.

Also, you have family or friends that may give you problems about your opinions/ideas/etc. Sometimes it’s easier just to keep the peace by not blogging under your real name. This brings me to my next point:

2. It’s ok to be yourself.

Your blog should not be encumbered  or hemmed in by what others think. You should feel completely free to talk about any subject you wish, and let your freak flag fly. You may have thoughts and feelings that nobody else knows about that will feel good to just get off of your chest, and blog can be a fabulous outlet for things you can’t tell others. One thing is guaranteed – after a time, you will meet others of like mind, and then your horizons will explode. You will meet some really great people, and run into some awful internet trolls.   See Rules #4 & #5 for more about trolls.

3. Fact check before you post. And then do it some more.

I can’t stress this highly enough. Make sure you know what you are talking about before you blog about it. It’s always easy enough to shoot from the hip and just blurt out what you think you know, but check yourself. Spend some time reading up on a topic and check a couple of different sources. You don’t ever want to be caught off guard by someone who posts on your blog because you got your facts wrong. Be ready to cite reliable sources, but also don’t take criticism to heart.

Also, check the temperature on the topic. What are other people writing about, and what are some of the prevailing notions and opinions? You will know right away if someone is talking out of their ass, or if they have done their homework, if you have already done yours.  It is also OK to ask for your reader’s input about a topic. It’s a good conversation starter and another interesting way to meet people of like mind. Sometimes your comments on a given blog post will get really full!

Not all posts will be totally about a factual issue. Sometimes you will write totally about your feelings and opinions. Be ready for people to push back. See Rule #6

4. Don’t sweat the trolls

Trolls are everywhere, lurking under whatever bridge you come across and are waiting to attack your blog. You can’t argue with these idiots because they live for hurting feelings and making people mad. Your best bet is to ignore them because they thrive on drama and love to stir pots. This doesn’t mean that anyone who posts contrary to what you think is a troll…most people are pretty decent. If worse comes to worse, you can always block them if you have to.

5. For the love of all that is green and holy, don’t BE a troll.

When it comes to other people’s blogs, the Golden Rule is the thing to keep in mind. I wrote a whole post about how to reply to posts that make you mad and you can find it here. If you go through and read all of the different associated blog posts and comments that are linked from that post, you can see the whole perfect troll storm that can take place. All it takes is one jackass to light a whole bunch of people’s hair on fire.

6. Use conflicting opinions to foster dialog and learn something about yourself.

When someone posts a differing opinion, do some research, ask questions, and get that dialog rolling. Visit their blogs and make thoughtful comments on their posts, unless they are trolls.  An example I have to share about fostering dialog on differing opinions can be found here, and probably in the blog post following that one. Go ahead and blog about difficult topics. These are things the probably need to have a light shined on them…drag those suckers out in the open and give them some fresh air. Just be mindful that your opinion isn’t the last word on a topic…you never know what someone will be passionate about.

7. Make sure you have permission to post pictures or content if it isn’t yours.

If you copy from other places, it’s a good way to get your blog complained about or shut down altogether, unless you have permission from the artist/author, or use common domain information/ images. It’s probably the best idea to use original pictures you take, and write your own content. Make sure to give credit to someone if they give you permission, or if it comes from a common source. You can always try googling public domain sources for images as well. Just be aware than Royalty Free and free of cost are two different things.

8. Don’t just blog about one topic.

You are a complex human being with thoughts, feelings, and an innate sense of curiosity. Blog about anything that makes you question or feel something. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about something you always wondered about, or expand upon something you know a little about. Write a confession, write a review, share recipes. Whatever interests you enough to think about, is good enough to blog about.

You can always be more specific later, or in a separate blog page. I know people who have separate blogs for separate topics. Me, I throw it all together in one giant pot. Everyone has their own style and you will have to blog a while before you find out what yours is.

9. Keep it positive.

Using your blog as a place to constantly whine/complain/rant is a HUGE turn off to a reader. If you have a rant, bring it, but make sure to do your homework and provide structure to your argument in such a way that people will want to engage you in conversation. This takes practice. Don’t be afraid to leave a post sit over night and read through it again the next day so you can see it with a fresh pair of eyes.

10. Above all, don’t give up.

It takes a quite a while of writing your own blog and reading/commenting on other blogs before you will get your own following. Blog for yourself, and no one else. Those of like mind will find you, so long as you make sure to use your tags effectively, and participate in other people’s blogs.

Well, there they are – Sparrow’s Top 10 Rules for Beginner Bloggers. Please note that these are my rules for blogging…not necessarily anyone else’s. While I feel like these are pretty much common sense rules for blogging, they are not the end all – be all.  Blogging is a good way to learn more about yourself and how you truly want to interact with the world around you. The blogosphere is a vast, amazing, fabulous place, and if you stick with it you will not only make some interesting friends, but learn a lot about yourself in the process.

Now go blog your heart out, and make up your own rules.

Happy Blogging!

Unpacking some stuff


Hi all…long time no blog!

I’m not sure where the last six months went, but they sure did go by in a blur, with nary a post from this little sparrow. My apologies to all for leaving you hanging. It seems that I have not only been tremendously busy, but have also struggled with some wicked writers block.

Sometimes it’s not just about feeling blocked up…I’ve been struggling with some emotions I just wasn’t quite sure what to do with, how to categorize, or how to think about them. When it came time to days when I did feel like writing, it wasn’t always the most positive things to talk about and I needed some time to try to figure out what was really going on in my head.

What’s gone on here at Sparrow’s nest during all of that time? A lot, and yet nothing. It’s been a quiet summer. I did just a little fishing, a little riding on the motorcycle with my Flirt, and spent some excellent quality time with my kids and my friends. I spent a whole lot of time trying to help Older Son get a real job, which was finally accomplished. I worked more than I should have at my two jobs, but it was a good Summer. The Fall season is proving a bit more hectic, and challenging though, which is a whole other post-full of stuff to talk about.

Something that’s come out of the woodwork lately is friends who are experiencing divorce. It started with one, and then another, and then another. The unraveling of someone’s life, especially a dear friend, is heartbreaking.  Having your life rearranged by divorce is such a traumatic injury to recover from, and it’s very hard to describe to someone how to go about trying to put it back together. In an overly simplistic analogy, it’s like unraveling a blanket you have been crocheting or knitting. When you’ve been working away a project like that for a long time, and then discover that there’s a defect, you have to unravel it and start again. Sometimes others unravel it for you. Either way, whoever is responsible for the unraveling,  your hard work has been pulled out, has become misshapen 006and now you have to begin again. There you sit with kinked up, unraveled yarn in piles around you, the warmth and comfort of a blanket you’ve been working on so diligently is now gone, and it takes effort to figure out where the next stitch goes…starting up again is slow going, but with careful consideration and thoughtfulness, it can be done. The end product won’t be the same as what you anticipated, but will be every bit as functional and lovely…maybe more so. Well, anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

You see, I think feeling like I’m becoming unraveled has been a large part of my problem these last few months. One of the big reasons I had such a hard time writing was that I am now having to unpack things from being divorced I didn’t want to deal with before. Four years later, I have people asking me for advice on how to survive the process, and I feel quite a bit like a fraud. As it happens, I am still on that road, and haven’t reached anything close to the end.

I discovered just last night that I am not done on this journey of recovery. What made me realize this was Parents Night at Younger Son’s last home football game. Ever. He’s a Senior this year, and the parents of Seniors get recognized for all of the time, effort, money and hardship that goes into supporting a child in the local football program (which my Ex really hasn’t had to experience. Ouch…did I just say that out loud?). As such, I was required to stand with my Ex on the field, and step forward when our names were called on Younger’s behalf.  Until that moment, I didn’t realize how much I haven’t progressed or evolved. I have a very difficult time speaking to my Ex, and don’t care much for looking him in the eye, even though I haven’t done him wrong at all. He will try to engage me in trite small talk for the sake of appearances, but I have a difficult time responding with more than a word or two. During the time I endured spending on the field with him,  I realized that I still carry around a giant open wound that hasn’t healed. I’m not sure how to reduce said injury, but I think that acknowledging it gets me going in the right direction. More on that later.

Something else that has plagued me a bit is the discovery that I have been experiencing early menopause. That’s right…this old lady has hit that time of life at the ripe old age of almost 45. The rough part about that is how I am feeling quite maudlin and weepy all the time. Hormone imbalance, coupled with anticipatory empty nest syndrome, is quite a ride, but I keep telling myself to not borrow trouble that hasn’t manifested. My worry-wort self has been pretty active, and it’s time to shut that down and just live for today the best I can.

light-beamOne of the best things I can do for myself is to get back on the blogging bandwagon. I do so much better when I write, as I make myself find something positive to write about. Time to get my Pollyanna on, and get back in the groove. I’m ready to get out of the rut I’ve been in, and exude some positivity and sunshine.

Here’s hoping that you can see to get out of the ruts you fall into, and that you can find the sunshine behind the clouds. Keep looking up…the clouds move out of the way sooner or later.

Blessings all!

Confessions of a Sunday morning slug


Another Sunday morning has arrived, and it seems like I was just here. The weeks have gone by so quickly, and I am finding myself trying to put on the breaks and make this lovely Sunday morning last a little while longer.

Enter cup of coffee #3. That’s right…I’m being a slug.  I do have quite a few things I need to do today, as they didn’t get done at any other time this week, but I just don’t feel like doing anything.

I’ve reached a sort of breaking point where I get stubborn about things that need to be done, which I don’t want to do.  Usually, I can get the lead out and get things going, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to breathe. The old bod is giving me the high sign that enough is enough, and I should just lay low.  I know I won’t for long, but it sure is tempting to just crawl into bed and close my eyes.

I think our culture has developed a bad habit of not having a season of rest. It’s probably not the same for all people and the jobs they have, but my job knows no quiet time. It’s busy all year round, and there is only busy and busier. Right now it’s the busiest I’ve known in a long time, at my happy little Cube Farm. I am lucky that it’s not been so busy at the Red Big Box store…I was gifted with getting a surprise day off yesterday as they are cutting hours.

Given that, you’d think that I would have had a chance to rest up and get some stuff done. Not so. There’s SO much going on that I just haven’t had as many nooks and crannies available to cram in things the way I normally would. Add on top of that the fact that September and October are always furiously busy times of the year anyway, plus trying to prepare for a trial this coming Friday, and life gets really interesting.

Yesterday morning I attended a deposition, which was an interesting experience. While I was not questioned, I got the opportunity to witness how my ex-husband’s lawyer operates, and I got to watch my lawyer in action. Even though I am in the middle of the situation, I have to say that this is an interesting process. Sometimes I try to stand outside myself a little just to really try to observe the process objectively…and mostly fail to be objective. Still, as much as this has been a terribly painful ordeal, I am morbidly fascinated by it. My attorney says I should go to law school. I think I’ll leave that to her and just keep my perch high up on the observer’s tree.

Speaking of perches, I saw three crows perched together the other day, which I took for a good omen. Yes, I do believe in omens, just like I believe in gut feelings. And, I like crows. Many people take them for being bad luck, but I like to have them around.

Last night I got to spend time with my Flirt, his sister and her husband. We went on a double date to the local casino and met their cousin. She was delightful. I played the penny slots, and we played several games of darts and pool.  We had a lovely time, and when we came home, I got to curl up with my sweetie and go to sleep. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you have when you go to sleep with your sweetheart’s arm wrapped around you. I slept well for the first time in two weeks.

Given that I watched my ex-husband’s deposed witness inadvertently poke holes in his case,  have had a good night’s sleep, and have consumed three cups of coffee, I have no good excuse not to get up and get something done. Time for a shower, some laundry, housework, and then go out to get my unruly hair cut. It promises to be a good day.

Sometimes just taking a few moments to think about the little blessings I come across makes all the difference. Having got those down on digital paper this morning, I feel better prepared to kick it down and get my day started. I keep telling myself I am only limited by what I am willing to imagine I can do, and today is no exception. In short, the sky is my limit, and there are no low hanging clouds today. Best get on with it!

Here’s hoping your sky is wide open with potential and possibility, and that your imagination runs wild with it. Brightest Autumn blessings to you all…

Oh what a lovely gift!


Greetings all!

Well, it’s been quite a summer, and apparently I’ve been so active that I haven’t had the time to blog for the last two months. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I will get into more about that in my next post.

For this initial post, getting back in the blog saddle, so to speak, I’d like to acknowledge that I was blessed to have been given not one, but four blogging awards by one of my favorite bloggers, Teresa Silverthorn of Beyond the Pear Tree. If you haven’t stopped by Teresa’s blog, please make sure that you do. She shares some amazing insights and is a wonderful storyteller.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Teresa for bestowing these lovely awards upon my little blog. They are as follows:

                   As part of having received these, I am supposed to tell you ten random things about me. Ok…here goes!

1. I love to blog, but don’t have a lot of time between two jobs, two kids, house, boyfriend, etc… It’s a horse I’m going to make more time to get back up on, though. I sure did miss blogging this summer.

2. I believe in reincarnation. I figure there is just too much to learn and get it all right in the space of one lifetime, so we must be able to come back and keep trying until we get it right. Goodness, I hope I’ve learned several particular lessons well enough that I can learn something else next time around.

3. I think I might be allergic to my cat…I’m hoping between the doctor for me, and the vet for him, we can figure something out so I don’t have to give him away.

4. I just picked the first tomato from my garden…a small golden pear-shaped fruit that will no doubt taste fabulous. I love fresh food from the garden!

5. Having  just got back from vacation to South Dakota, I still have one day off to do whatever I want with. Yay!

6. I’ve reached an age and time in my life where I feel like I have a chance at a new start.

7. My house is an 800 sq. ft. fixer-upper that is pretty crowded for three. It won’t be too long until the boys leave home to start their own lives, and then it will be just right for me and my stuff.

8. Every year I say,  “This is the year I will get a fence to go around my back yard!” Looks like I will be putting one around the front yard too, given that my neighbors have taken to brawling on my front lawn. No kidding…I couldn’t believe it either.

9.  It’s football time again, and I just dropped Younger Son off at practice. It always makes me so paranoid that he will get hurt, but I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that I love to watch him play.

10. This has been a Summer like I’ve not known in many years. I usually don’t make the effort to get out to see and do, but this year I did. I did so many fun things this summer that I feel like I’m starting to make up for lost time. Several items have been checked off my Bucket List, and now I have room for more!

Next I am supposed to nominate 20 people…Holy cow. I’m not sure I want to limit my list, so what I am going to do is reference  you to each and every one of the blogs I have listed in my links at the right. Honestly, I wouldn’t have them in my links if I didn’t find them a worthwhile place to go. I hope you have the time to stop by and visit each and every one…they are all fabulous places to spend time.

Thanks again to Teresa for thinking of me. I sure do appreciate it!

I have a cup of coffee in hand, a list of tasks that need to be accomplished….time to jump back into the real world and get some things done. Even though the list of things I need to do is kind of large, I still feel relaxed and refreshed. Here’s hoping that you are all feeling the same!

Hope really does float…grab it and hang on tight.


Yes…I’m alive! I’ve been away for several weeks, alternately running like a lunatic trying to keep up with life, and then having time and not being able to write. I just sit in front of my computer and wonder what happened to all of those interesting things that skittered across my brain during the day. It all just evaporated, right into thin air.

I had no intention of blogging today, but I read a blog post of a close friend who is going through divorce, and it inspired me to write about something that I hadn’t thought of in a long time. Her comments reminded me of something I felt, similarly to what she’s going through now, when I was  just beginning to go through the same process two years ago.  She described how she felt like she was in fast-rising, deep water…feeling overwhelmed. Here is the picture she posted as an illustration. I found it interesting for a couple of reasons, but I’ll get to that later:

I remember very well when I discovered my husband had cheated on me and then decided to leave me and the boys to be with her, rather than try to work things out, I felt like I was literally in over my head. I guess I really was…I had no idea what to do, how to deal with him, how to help the boys get through it, or what the future held. I remember very clearly waking up many mornings immediately after the initial blow and wondering what the point to breathing really was. It was probably the most demoralizing thing I’ve ever been through in my entire life.

Something I discovered after a month’s worth of flailing about was that life is a lot like swimming. I remember very well taking swimming lessons as a kid, and having a hard time with it. I really didn’t believe that I was going to just float in the water as effortlessly as the other kids did. My disbelief was the whole problem. I don’t exactly remember when I made the cross over from disbelief to swimming like a fish, but once I realized the water would hold me up if just let it, swimming got a lot easier.

Getting through divorce is so much harder than learning how to swim for a few reasons. For one, it’s not just you that you have to keep afloat when there are children involved. Secondly, a pool is a pretty well-defined area where you can see to the bottom. Getting divorced, especially at the beginning, feels a lot like having to tread water in the ocean, where you can barely see land.  And, if you’ve never done it before, the navigation of it is a bitch. How do you get to your destination when you have no map, and no idea what the landmarks you need to find look like? How do you know when it’s done, or does this hell go on forever?

Just like when I was learning how to swim, I can’t remember exactly when I let go and realized that I wouldn’t die if I just believed that everything would be OK. I do remember discovering that making small plans for every contingency gave me a measure of a feeling of security. Each and every single time I made a plan, or found a way to make things the tiniest little bit more stable, it gave me a little more hope that I would survive. I hung on to that hope, clung to it with everything I had. The alternative, hopelessness, was nothing I wanted to revisit.

Once my (then) husband moved out, after four months of having to endure him living in the house after I caught him with the other woman, the air suddenly cleared and I could breath again. The oppressive atmosphere evaporated and, while I was still left with a lot of uncertainty, I finally felt like I made it a long way closer to shore. I was no longer flailing about in the ocean looking to find purchase on a whatever sand bar or rock I could find. After that long, awful summer, I was finally standing up in the water, walking towards shore. I might still be  in neck-deep, but the end was in sight. I had a lot of hope that things would be OK after that.

Even though I felt better immediately after he finally left, it was a pretty horrible year for both of the kids and I. There were a lot of financial issues, and I was still reeling from having been dumped out of a 17-year marriage without so much as a heads up or an apology. Two years have gone by since the initial shock of discovery, and I’m still angry…but I feel more pity for him than anger a lot of days now. However, after all of that, I’m still standing, and so are the kids. We survived, and we’re doing well. I still have a lot of hope that things will get even better.

Another thing I learned while surviving divorce is how to spin something bad until I’m blowing sunshine out of my backside. No kidding…I am a full-fledged subscriber to the “Fake-It-‘Till-You-Make-It” theory of thinking. Even on days when I could barely hold my head up for feeling lost, when people asked me how I was, I would tell them “Good”, or “Fabulous” and do my best to mean it. I did my best to count up all the blessings I could find, even the smallest things count. There were many days were there weren’t enough blessings to tip the balance and allow me to feel half-way decent, but a lot of days I could dredge up enough good things to ponder on that would give me some hope to float up with. It takes some practice, but it works.

Back to the picture my friend posted on her blog. At first glance it appears that the woman is in deep water, all alone. But, if you take a closer look at it, you see that the water is crystal clear and well-lit, and you can see all the way to the bottom. Not only that, but her face has broken the water and she’s breathing without difficulty. She’s in a prone position suggesting that she’s relaxed and is moving as though taking a long relaxed swim in the morning sun…if she were struggling, the water would be frothy and broken with her movements. The woman in this picture is purposeful in her motions, has confidence in the water to hold her up, and is not alone… she’s just taking time for herself. The peace of this picture is really striking and inspiring to me. It’s my fondest hope that my friend sees the peacefulness in this picture, and can find peace for herself after long time of not having had any.

Have you ever seen the movie, Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr.? If you haven’t, give it a look-see.  For those of you who are struggling through bad times, hope really does float, so grab on tight, rise to the surface and take a deep breath. It might not seem like it now, but everything will be OK.