What do you do when you get raked over the coals?

I experienced what it’s like to be put on “the stand” in a courtroom this week. It was pretty excruciating, and it’s not something I ever want to do again. This was not my choice, and I am very sure that my ex-husband isn’t done with me, whatever the outcome.

I learned some very, very awful things; things that are so horrific I won’t even think about sharing them here. I’m sad and disappointed that he hates me so much that he went to the lengths he did to make me out to be the bad guy, and to blame me for the things he did. I want him to take responsibility for his own actions, rather than shoving it off on me.

What do you do when someone rakes you over the coals, mercilessly?

Well, having had a long, draining, emotional day…I did what a lot of girls might do. I came home and had a good cry and got it out of my system.

I spent the last day going over my own questioning and testimony, and have so much more I wish I had said. I really need time to think about everything before I make a reply…shooting from the hip is not my best mode of communication.  My attorney said I did well, but of course I am going to second guess everything. I don’t feel good about this. If I were to win this case that he has brought against me, I still won’t feel good about it.

After having been raked over the coals like that, what’s the thing I really need to do?

I need to forgive him.

Yeah..I know. You, my Faithful Readers, are probably wondering what I’ve been snorting. Forgiveness?! Why ever for?

Well, the first thing I learned, really learned, about forgiving is that is it something you do for yourself, and not necessarily for the individual you are forgiving. It’s a letting go of the poison I’ve been carrying around in my belly for years. To not forgive is to let it eat away at my soul. Life is too short for that, and I have better things to do.

Now, mind, I did say forgive… I didn’t say forget. I know better than that, and I’ll have to watch my back.

Here’s hoping that you all are able to forgive others who do terrible things to you, so you can move forward with your life and be happy regardless of the ugly things you might have had to endure. It’s very difficult to do, but it’s worth it.

Where does the madness end?

So, I get an email from my lawyer last night letting me know that my ex is up to shenanigans that put him in contempt of court. She would like to put into motion to prosecute him for this.

My question is, where does the madness end?

Don’t get me wrong…my lawyer has done a fabulous job for me, and I am in a better spot because of her diligent work and sharp mind. Not only is she wickedly smart, but she is a hunter, and she’s got my ex-husband’s scent in her nose. What she’d really like to do now is almost the equivalent of sinking him up to his ankles in cement and roll over him with any large vehicle. Repeatedly.

She looks at me a little funny when I tell her that I am not interested in being that “gold digging ex-wife”, that you hear so many men complain of. In this instance, I just want what was promised to me, but he has his lawyer come back with all of these different motions and paperwork that just keep the process going, and going and going. He just can’t leave well enough alone, even though I won in court originally. His persistence in pestering me is doing nothing more than costing us both money we don’t have, and making life harder for all of us, even the kids.

One of the things he took me to court over was that he doesn’t get enough time with the children. What I found out is that he quit his 2nd job, and has been free to call them or visit with them in the evenings all he wanted to since this summer…but he chose not to, and he says that it’s my fault they don’t spend more time with him. Hmm…for that alone, I should throw the book at him. But, if I choose to throw the book at him, how does that make me any better than him?

I am SO tired of this mess, I don’t even have the words to describe it.

Well, what to do about it? I suppose I’ll go through the documentation again and make a decision: more court or no more court?  At this point, I’m opting for no more court. I keep thinking about that fact that I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror. When I get up in the morning, I want to be able to live with the face I see…I want to know that I did everything I could to take the high road and not to let myself get dragged down in the muck.

All of this talk of court battles and my ex husband has really been a downer, and I apologize. In effort to lighten the mood a little I’d like to share a picture I found on Facebook today, because it’s FABULOUS. I want a paint job on my vehicle like this when I grow up:

I have a LOT of awesome things I want to do when I grow up, and when my life really gets to start again. I’ve got a bit of a head start on living for myself, but there is so much to see and do…so many things I want to learn. Lots of little things I want to discover and relish. Lots of big things I want to be amazed at. I am so looking forward to jumping back into my own life and this picture kind of got that notion revved up in my head this morning.

I want to experience more joy in life, and less of the day-to-day hum drum existence. I want to do “all the awesome shit I said I’d do”, when I was younger. I keep telling myself that once Younger Son has graduated, I will have accomplished having raised my kids, and I can really start living for myself. I know that parenting doesn’t end, but it does change. I think instead of waiting for that fixed point in time, I can really find small ways to get a head start. Spending time with The Flirt has been a bit of a beginning…we’ll see what I can do to build on that.

Here’s hoping you all have a little Animal in you that feeds your desire to live life to the fullest you can, no matter what your circumstances. I’m hoping to let mine out a little more every day!


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.

No tree this Christmas…sad, yet liberating.

Usually we put the Christmas tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year we held off due to our new window’s being installed the first week of December. After speaking individually with the boys, I discovered that neither one of them really cared to have the tree or any decorations up, and both spoke vehemently in favor of leaving it all in the boxes this year.

I think there are several reasons for this, the first of which is glaring: Christmas is my ex’s favorite holiday, and he was always the driver behind the decorating for that holiday. The boys are dreading Christmas for a lot of reasons, and I think they’d just like to have our home be a safe haven where they can just push things under the rug a little. So be it…no big deal.

Another reason they could care less about Christmas decorating is that none of us are Christians. We are strictly secular celebrators of the holiday, being that two of us have Pagan beliefs and another of us leans toward atheism, and it made sense to both of them that we dispense with putting up a tree and most of the stuff that goes with it.

Hm…I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I am almost ashamed to admit that the first thing I feel is a little relief. For years, dragging all the boxes upstairs and dealing with the mess that is Christmas decorating is nothing I ever look forward too, not to mention having to put it all away again. Yet, last year I pared down the decorations and got a smaller more manageable tree so this year there wouldn’t be such a mess. I might have been looking forward to decorating this year…just a little bit.

I have a walnut decoration just like this one, which my Mom made for us.

Our Christmas tree has always been decorated with many handmade decorations that we’ve been given over the years, many of which we received from loved ones who are no longer with us. It’s a real trip to look at them all and remember the people who made them. I’m going to miss that this year.

It’s sad that our family has crossed this threshold, and closed a chapter in our lives. The lack of desire to put up the tree is kind of the last nail in that coffin.

Here’s the good news, and the blessing in disguise: We now have room to grow and build new traditions. Sometimes you have to cut away what no longer serves and start fresh, which is where we’re at right now.

This year we have a clean slate to start from, and I’m going to let the boys drive what comes next. I have no idea what it looks like, but it will be uniquely ours and will be something we can build on for ourselves. Whatever it ends up being, I hope it’s something they remember fondly, and maybe carry it on with their own families. I’m thinking that perhaps the celebration will settle around the Winter Solstice, but we’ll see.

I never would have believed that this notion of starting fresh and creating something new would feel as liberating as it does. I hope they feel the same way. I can’t wait to see what we come up with!

What’s in a date?

Yesterday was a strange day. I looked up at the calendar and realized that it’s the first anniversary of my divorce. Hmm.

I kind of thought I should feel something about that, and strangely I didn’t. Hmmmm.

All day yesterday I was concerned more about having to be moved to a new job and all the stuff that needs to be done before then. I happened to see my ex walk by my office door yesterday (we work at the same place), and all I could think was what a sad and strange little man he actually is. I felt nothing except irritated at having had to see him.

So, what’s in a date? Nothing but what you assign it. I guess yesterday wasn’t so bad after all.

Rereading old posts

I got a comment yesterday on a posting I did way back in April. While April is only four months ago, it seems like an eternity. It happened so long ago that I had to go back and reread the post to fully understand the comment. Wow…lots of posts between here and there, and wouldn’t you know it…I actually passed my 100th posting a few posts back. When I began this blog, I never knew that I would have so much to say!

I think it’s a good idea to go back and read what you’ve written from time to time. I think I gained some perspective on things that have happened; certainly about my ex husband. I was pleased to find out that I’m generally less angry than I used to be. Is that healing? I don’t think so…I think being angry for too long just wears a person out and you have to let it go or let it suck you into the darkness. I’m glad I chose to try to focus on more positive things since that upset post in April.

Life isn’t always goodness and light, and I think that to leave out the dark stuff would be dishonest. However, there is probably always a better way to communicate something than just lashing out. Writing here has made me a little more thoughtful about how I communicate things, which has helped not only here, but in other areas of my life. I have read many posts from women who are angry with their ex husbands, and in most I see a lessening of the anger over time. I do know of one blogger who is still ranting and raving, and I wonder, when I’ve seen all those angry words, is that couldn’t there be somewhere or someone else that energy be better spent on? Who knows…I don’t have the answers, just the perspective from my little place on the High Plains.

What I do know is that blogging has been a fun exercise in thought – what I think about,  how I think about things, and how I communicate those thoughts with others. I hope that six months from now I’ll feel even more enlightened!

Blogging as communication therapy…who knew?

Cut away what no longer serves

Several times this week, I’ve heard this phrase: Cut away what no longer serves.

Now this is not something one hears every day, and I’ve heard it from at least three completely unrelated sources.  It’s a rather formal sounding way to communicate to someone to shed their useless baggage or habits. When I heard it the phrase was not directed to me, but said by each person about themselves and their own lives, yet it was a communication that rung my bell in a very significant way.

There is so much in my life that doesn’t serve me any more. In recent months I have thrown away, re-purposed or given away things that I don’t need, and I am in the middle of a home renovation. I don’t think this phrase I keep hearing has to do with material things, so…. that leaves the aforementioned baggage.

To cut away something you have to first find out where it is attached. How am I hooked up to it and what does it cost me to keep it or let it go? Anger is a big one for me. I’m one pissed off camper, for a lot of good reasons, but how long does one keep that before it becomes toxic to you and those around you? And how is it hooked up? In my case it seems to be spring-loaded so that it only pops out when the right trigger causes it to fire, and how do you disarm that trigger? Where is the Baggage Bomb Squad to help me find the right wire to cut?

So, once you make the decision to let that baggage go, where then do you put something so tangible it could sit on a shelf? I certainly don’t want to keep it around here. I have some ideas about where I’d like to put it, but I don’t think they are legal. What I’d like to do is find a way to re-purpose this next to useless emotion, along with the hurt and sadness, and so many other feelings that I’ve been dragging around with me for a year.

There comes a time when an emotion isn’t fresh anymore. Once it has been fired off, somehow there should be a resolution to it so it can dissipate after having served its purpose. Once there is no more purpose it just stagnates and feeds back on it self, and it grows and causes damage to anything around it. It reminds me a little bit of  food sitting in the back of the fridge that has gone bad…pretty soon stuff that’s touching it goes bad as well.

I hate cleaning out the fridge, but it has to be done. I guess I need to have a nice long look into my metaphysical fridge and do a good scrubbing.

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