Getting honest…

Sooo, I have turned a corner in my life. I am ready to blog about my former marriage and divorce and  its hard. Oh so hard to even think about.  I have procrastinated too long; and by too long, I simply mean since October. This is going to unfold slowly.  I want to share the experience of my marriage and divorce and what happened to land me back in the world of dating and single life.

Bear with me. I will work on posting about this relationship, not only the marriage and divorce and life post-divorce, but also the courtship in the beginning.  I will  still post about fitness, current relationships, etc in between. When you’re reading my posts, I invite you to comment or email me about what I have written. I won’t fall apart or get upset.. I got divorced in 2011; things are much better for me now.. I just want to be as raw and honest and in the moment as I possibly can to express the palpable fear and stress I lived with almost daily.  There was no physical abuse. The fear comes from emotional mistreatment and my ex-husband’s anger issues.  And I will be explicit in my story of getting through it all. And how that happened. I’ll give you a hint: family and friends. But I am getting way ahead of myself.  These posts will reveal personal information about those other than me, but I will be keeping their identity completely anonymous as I have on this blog thus far. My hope is that my story will not only help people realize they are not alone, but the telling of my experience will be liberating as well.

Also, please please please: If you have any advice on how to get this on a blog or how I should proceed, by all means, drop me a line  by email or comment below.

On that note, I will let all my readers know that I am going back east to visit family this weekend and won’t return till Wednesday; I haven’t decided if i am bringing my iPad, so you may hear from me.

Have a fantastic week and I will definitely be back next week!!

Those Jeans!

img_0516

So I am wearing the blue jeans again today.  The ones from my earlier post: Blue Jeans. I needed to get inspired and I was hoping thy would do the trick. I was almost out of inspiration and felt there was nothing to write about. Then I remembered: What was I doing when I got these jeans? I was leaving a not so great situation about 6.5 years ago. And that, my dear readers, is an understatement. What does that have to do with now?

I was on my Facebook feed this week. I was reading my friends’ posts and comments and updating myself on the day’s events as I do most evenings. Now what happened next shouldn’t come as a total surprise to me. After all, I had one last remaining mutual friend on Facebook with my ex-husband. The thing is, my ex had not been on Facebook in any way visible to me via this friend since about 2010. All of a sudden, his profile showed up with a comment on said friend’s post/feed. I was definitely surprised. And feeling immediately nauseated and felt my Facebook was invaded without my permission. And yes, I am well aware its a public space. I wasn’t thinking clearly, only emotionally…. Why did I feel so shocked and surprised, after all these two were good friends?  Maybe because he looked different. Maybe he looked happy. Hard to tell.  Perhaps I resented that he is so happy after putting me through so  much financial hardship and hell back then and now. Fortunately, I have refused to let him take my happiness, at least in the last 4-5 years.  But for all my efforts to overcome that whole incident that I will call a marriage, I was hoping he wouldn’t be looking so smug or happy. SO hard to tell with him.

And that’s why I am wearing the jeans today. To celebrate strength, the strength I have had all along to get through unexpected events that throat me for a loop. I didn’t get totally unravelled, but it was definitely disconnecting.  But now I know, he’s nearby with the death of distance that social media brings us closer to. Its okay. I know there is no way he would contact me.

I am okay. And I say that every  day. Because it is so true.

Have a fantastic end of your weekend. I’m glad I kept these jeans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What my marriage taught me: about myself and relationships

I know I made some people wait quite a bit for this last installment of my three-part series of “What my marriage taught me”. I apologize for the delay. This took a bit of time for obvious reasons. It was the hardest to compose. It is the hardest because being teachable alludes a bit of humility, does it not? Yes, money and fear are big topics and there is a lot to learn. Always. But when we are talking about ourselves in our 40’s, aren’t we supposed to be experts on ourselves? On our relationships?

In my  mid 20’s and I became single after a long six-year first-love kind of thing, I thought it would be “so exciting” and how I am going to find someone better than who I had left out of impatience and drifting apart. For the record, I never did find someone better right after leaving. That’s far and away a different story. Anyway, back then it was 1995 and I was hopelessly devoted to Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill was my anthem back then. Damn! I had a lot to learn.This was when I thought I knew something about something. I had a 20-something sized ego and my bumper sticker on my Honda CRX said “Whatever”. That should say someting.

Since then I had traipsed through flings, AOL chat room encounters, short relationships, being cheated on, and mostly just being single. So much, yet really not  SO much. I learned to trust less, have  too much fun and I  believed sincerely that I would sleep when I die. I was a bit of a party girl. With out the drugs. A little alcohol, but really just guys….and more of the same nightclub/bar type existence.

Advance to 2006: I had just broken up with my boyfriend (as you know, the one that would be my husband in 2009). I thought I had learned that his bit of expressed anger and rage was too much for me. I guess not. I guess his charm and his ….everything….got to me AGAIN. I just didn’t learn. Not then. Not yet.

Advance to 2010: I returned to Denver with my tail between my legs. This relationship was done. I failed. Again. This time with lessons. Oh, there were lessons. I realized what dignity was. I realized what it meant to feel I had none. I knew what rock bottom really meant. I had no idea; I was completely naive to how rock bottom would feel exactly. For me: my life reduced to boxes packed in three hours, a rented car filled with some clothes, my dog and me. I was a grown adult who only had a ring on my finger that I would need to pawn at some point, my precious puggle Max and my mom’s  American Express. I had what little cash I took out (originally $200 a week before leaving Florida) before our accounts were frozen by him.

I got home. I cried it out. Every fucking day. There were tears. Yes, tears for him. Tears when he swore me out with horrible names the night I told him I got my old job back back in Denver. Tears of loss. Tears of failure. You get the idea. I went into therapy and saw a wonderful lady who really got me through the pawning of the wedding ring (I had to eat and pay a little rent), the paperwork after being served  divorce papers at my door step by a process-server, the trauma of being such a failure. But she helped me realize that what I went through was unique, but not unique.  Not everyone gets divorced after rage, post throwing  dangerous objects, post verbal abuse and “silent treatment” episodes (to teach me lessons about talking too much). Not everyone suffers unpredictable rage that has absolutely nothing to do with what the non abuser may have actually done or not done.  But those who have been through that know what that looks like. And feels like.  Even if they didn’t know back then. The first time I had a clue that there is something beside physical abuse that counts as some type of abuse was when I called the police the second time at the encouragement of my  father. My ex hadn’t actually hurt me, but for the first and last time, he did put his hands on me in a forceful way (to extract car keys). My father said I need to report that in light of what had happened the previous nights (ex trying to kick me out of my own place). This is the first time I learned first hand of something other than physical/sexual abuse. The police officer who took my report that day gave me a list of numbers on a card that described all types of abuse. This card was given to me by a male police officer. I dont know why that’s relevant, but it was to me at that time. It was a comfort that another male would recongnize the treatment was not right. I was extremely grateful, but more grateful long after I had left Florida. I was still shell-shocked having to even make a report at the time.

So, the aftermath: 2010-2016: I survived an awful divorce and monetary losses, loss of dignity, trust, and developed a necessity for  hyper-analysis of every infraction against me that I had perceived . I think I resented what he had done  to me in the divorce and aftermath more than the crimes of the actual marital discord.  I had a few relationships in 2016 and some online adventures up to then which I posted about previously.

What I learned about everything, including 2016, the birth of my blog!

  1. Humility is being teachable and allows me to progress to better and more healthy relationships.
  2. Admitting regrets: I can regret something and recognize I made a mistake, I had a lapse of judgement. I would love to say I live with out regrets. I don’t think I can say that right now. I think that sounds a bit righteous and a little ignorant. Can’t we all admit we didn’t do something perfectly, something we would like to do a little differently?
  3. Honesty:  What do I want? What can I handle and what can’t I handle in my future relationships? What are my red flags? Can I hold up to my own side of the bargain-for the sake of my dignity, can I walk away from those red flags?
  4. Don’t write about people in current relationships with out their consent. I learned this in my last relationship after trying to get him to read my blog after every entry that mentioned him. After getting into a heated discussion, he read one and felt blindsided.  I recognize that I will preserve people’s privacy until they are comfortable with being mentioned in a most anonymous sense.
  5. I learned  that what I really have after all this is anxiety: Still. After all these years from the series of unpredictability and rage in my uber-brief marriage. I may have had it before I was even married; however, it spiraled  out of control in the years since, includng the first few  years of my recovery from the divorce. Now I can admit it is something I have to, and want to work on, something that I seek help for to make these relationships work.  So I don’t sabotage the really awesome opportunities and people who come into my life.

 

SO… some of you may be asking about #3: What are my red flags in the aftermath? What can I handle? What did I learn that I really need and got honest about it? Why don’t I write that as a part two of this third installment.

Please leave me a comment if you would like to hear more of this detail in #3 and I’d be happy to include a part two!

 

Music pairing: If I need to say it: Okay! I was inspired by Alanis, because when I am not in the old space, I need to be reminded of how it felt. Jagged Little Pill does that wonderfully.

What my marriage taught me: about fear

Fuck Everything And Run. Sure. That’s what comes to mind for many about fear. Unless in the whole flight or fight drama of it all, you can’t do either. You are stuck. You are paralyzed. The fear of the event makes you indefinitely immobile. Incapacitated. Despite your strength, you just can’t move. The idea of doing anything about it scares you to death because you have never been in this exact situation. Well, hardly ever anyway.  This one is different and you just can’t move. No.Matter.What. Until you do. Finally.  That’s what this post is about. Part of the nitty-gritty details will make its way into a longer story, but I am going to start small. Because I’m still a tiny bit in fear. How safe is it  to write about this? I am breaking through fear to just say: What the hell, I am going to take a risk.

When I was finally off on a fun impulsive  3-4 day vacation to the Bahamas, I had absolutely NO clue  the guy I was seeing at the time would propose marriage.  I am not sure he know. Was he even my “boyfriend”? Because I had told him I did want to get married (some day). Because he needed a woman to take care of him. Because he was bored? I will never know. I never got that closure. But that’s okay. That’s not what this is about. This is the second chapter of my relationship with this guy. I should have closed the book and put it on a high shelf after finishing the first chapter. Better yet, I should have donated the book to Goodwill or something for some other desperate 30-something woman to open up, ripe for seduction.  However, maybe I was that desperate woman. Waiting for marriage and someone to want me. I am pretty intelligent. I had a good job. I practically majored in psychology, so HOW DID I GET HERE?

I was pretty sure  a snowballing effect of fear started when I accepted his marriage proposal. In fact, I will go as far as to say the fear started  long before when I never thought I would get married at the late age of 39…. the fear of being unloveable. I guess as I write this, I realize my own fears set the ball rolling and his actions in the Bahamas and forward just compounded  the idea that fear would take on a different species: the fear of being alone again. So no matter what happened, the physical fear seemed real and relatable. But it was no match for the real fear that simply left me in my tracks.

It was easy enough to tell (some of my) friends the physical fear I felt because I knew would get sympathy about being stuck in a bad situation. There was plenty of fear based on my physical environment (never an assault upon me, ever) so that’s what I told my friends. The OTHER fear, that I couldn’t verbalize or put into words yet, I still felt in my core, but I was NOT ready to be honest about. Maybe  there is  that undeniable shame for me,  in the fear of being alone and unloveable. I was  surely not going to admit such things, even if I could verbalize those  feelings or identify those moments of   palpable loneliness. Better to say  he threatened me  in the Bahamas. Better to say he got into rages that ended up with broken items and refrigerators turned inside out. All true, all scary. Unfortunately, when I finally had to leave 1.5 years later, I realized my fear of physical safety was only part of the total fear I carried with me.

My lesson: I had no idea I had this internal fear that followed me everywhere, before AND after my marriage. I was justified in my fear for physical  safety and until I left him (he forced me out despite my weak attempts to seek counseling with him), I had absolutely no clue about the real fear.  My marriage was not in vain. Its been teaching me things all along. I had to hit rock bottom in an emotional abyss in 2010, crying daily, to even realize the fear had nothing to do with him at all. That really sucked. I will be completely honest. That sucked. It would have been so much easier to say his rage and unpredictable moods were enough to be fearful about. They were pretty bad and he would argue that I was never in actual danger, but I was pretty scared. Those stories will come later and the   detailed process of my story will become more evident. I had to move forward. I had to get UNstuck, UNparalyzed, UNhelpless. I moved back to Colorado in 2010 and started up a job. And I got right into therapy, which was really translation for a biweekly cry/drama/trauma session. Whatever.It.Takes. I am still working on becoming unstuck and out of the fear cycle. It’s a long process.

For now, suffice it to say, my fear is my own to deal with. That’s really what my marriage taught me: I think now it can be a matter of Face Everything And Recover. Recover from the lowest point that I have ever sunk, defended as the years of 2009-2010.

Depending on how honest you are with yourself, you may find yourself in the middle of your own long journey!
Readers: What did you learn from your marriage? Whether you are currently married, divorced or widowed, what did the actual process of living with the person you tied the knot with teach YOU?  Please leave your comments and I would love to read and respond!

 

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Music Pairing: Personally, I listened to the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Sarah McLachlan) and most songs spoke to me, particularly, Fear (surprise), Possession, and Hold On.

I could have probably listened to Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails for that matter (okay maybe NOT Nine Inch Nails this time!)… However, Yaz’s Upstairs at Eric’s could have really worked.

 

 

 

What my marriage taught me: about my relationship with money

When I met this guy, I had a good job. I owned (at least financed) a condo, and had a time share. I had one of my many VW’s and I was independent. I didn’t need anyone to help finance my survival.  I actually took a trip with him that he financed. That was fine with me, if he wanted to do that. He didn’t just kinda seduce me with his constant treats. Dinners, snacks,  a trip to Mexico. Whatever…. he did seduce me. I got swept away with all this free goodies when I dated this guy. We broke up a few months after the Mexico trip in the spring of 2006.

Advance to December, 2008: He contacted me. I fell for him all over again. I will skip a lot of these details of the marriage, but the beginning was the end. The alpha and the omega. And I didn’t even realize it. I thought this was the beginning of a long beautiful marriage; we eloped in the Bahamas. He suggested I would want rings, engagement and wedding bands. YES. I wanted it all. Of course I did. I have never been married and I didn’t care about a big wedding or even  a wedding dress that lasts a few hours. I wanted the jewelry that would last a life time. We talked in the Bahamas about money and our financial situation. Suffice it to say: I wouldn’t need to worry, he said. He’d handle it, he confirmed. I was elated. Everything looked good. Maybe it always looks good at T minus 4 days. So four or so days later we got married, in the Bahamas as planned. It was simple and the details are important, but not in this context. It was  not all that  perfect in those elopement days.  I will get to that in another post in my three-part series.

We returned home. We lived an interesting existence based his income alone. I loved not working, but what I dealt with in the mean time was definitely not what I had bargained for. Let’s just say  the meat of this marriage is what I am saving my memoir for. I want to share about the relationship I had with money and how its affected my relationship now as a result of this marriage. I lived in this marriage, free of gainful employment. But I worked for it. Believe me. I worked. Nothing is for free.

In 2010, I went packing. I took everything I owned in one evening. While my ex-husband claimed he was my meal ticket during those last days, I begged to differ. I lost everything that was mine and became dependent on his income because I had NO RESPECT FOR THE VALUE OF WHAT I HAD: My profession. My own income. My own belongings, in my own name.  Even my own measly retirement funds. I was seduced by what he had to offer and lost sight of what I had to offer because his purse was larger.  But his purse strings were tighter. I was given about 3-5 hours to frantically pack all my memories into cardboard boxes. I had already had my American Express frozen and a visa I had from the marriage rendered unusable as well. Mortifying, as this happened in a busy line at Walmart. Thankfully, I had thought to get as much money as I could out at an ATM while I still could.  I packed my things and left to return to Denver, Colorado, my long time home.

Within a year, I was divorced and regained my  maiden name. Within two years, my ex-husband had chosen to hold me responsible for the home we ‘bought’, even though the court agreed he had signed up to make payments. I was  bankrupt within the next year.

With 3 months to go, I am looking forward to the end of my bankruptcy. As I  regained footing in my chosen profession, I had a job and I filed according to my capability to repay. I have learned so many things. So much that seems cliché and obvious by theory. So much that people assume as transparent conclusions. Maybe I am slow and had to learn the hard way. Maybe I am greedy and I had to have it taken away from me back in 2009.  Maybe I am all those things. But I don’t think I am the only one. I can’t be the only one seduced by a financial situation that seemed so fantastic, it was worthy of erasing any self-worth.  SO yeah, I got away with living in alternative RV life style, seemingly semi- retired for  less than 24 months, but I  paid the price. I definitely paid the price. I sold my self worth and self-respect and pride to a higher bidder; i was seduced by shiny objects, starting with an over priced engagement ring and wedding ring, followed by an oversized SUV, etc.etc.etc.

What I learned in the last 6 years:

1.NOTHING IS FREE. EVER.

2. I can survive on way less than what I THINK I NEED.

3. I can choose to value what I have if I can learn to respect how hard I had to work to get it.

4. I can choose to be frugal, even when my pride is bruised.  I learned how to cook and buy what I need, not what I have coupons for. I have learned to buy  (more) whole food and avoid packaged food. This is really the cheaper way to go in the long run.

5. I can learn that one can survive in a CASH ONLY EXISTENCE; my debit visa card was a good thing to have:  my bank didn’t have to give an account to a bankrupt person, but they did. This visa debit card made it much easier to use cash.

6. I MUST value what I have, even if the price tag and asset summary seems like a joke. IT’s not a joke. Its mine. And I will NEVER lose my self-worth again. I just can’t afford to.

My relationship with money has changed dramatically. While I wish i did not need to go through a divorce and bankruptcy to teach me the real value of self-worth and monetary assets, it changed the way I see everything I consume and everything I choose not to consume. I consume less so that I can have more. I buy less food so that I can feel better about my health. The benefits of my new outlook go on and on. But it’s not all about the money.

My next two installments  in this series address the other perspectives changed as a result of my marriage. I know I will tend to skip big pockets of time, but those pockets are filled with other lessons, other turmoil that aren’t germane to the post at hand.

What is not covered n the three-part  post series I am going to complete will be addressed in another format, to come hopefully in the next year or two.

 

Please comment if you can share about your experience. I would love to hear how other people have learned from financial crises and changed the way they see themselves and the way they spend/use money.

 

 

Happy new years!

I want to wish you all a happy new years! Please, 2017, just get here!!

I realize that I have announced my three-part series on what my marriage taught me, but have not yet posted. I became a little distracted by two other issues that I will call real life issues; I want to occasionally have a real life series as well. I knew that I wouldn’t have  a shortage of topics. I am so  grateful the writer in me has a lot to say. I just don’t want to make promises about upcoming posts that don’t get written quite as quickly as I had anticipated. I just seem to simultaneously want to unleash as much as possible. That’s my conflict and writer’s struggle!

So far my real life issue topics:

Sexual assault and consent (at any age)

Bullying (old school, cyber….)

There’s more that will come up, I am sure, but those are the ones that speak to me now.

Please be patient and if you have a preference before this Tuesday, please let me know which of these topics should I write on first? Should I write on both then move on to a consecutive posting on my three-part series?

Please comment on any preferences on how /what order I present? Otherwise, I guess we will all be surprised!!

 

Paired music selection right now: I am listening to Tori Amos (Little Earthquakes). I saw her at Red Rocks and at DU. Powerful musician. This album says a lot for me about the real life issues I mentioned above. She’s what’s on my mind now.

If you are out and about please be careful.

If you are at home, be good to yourself and sleep well.

 

HAPPY 2017!

 

 

Good secrets, bad secrets…: My introduction to a three part series on what my marriage taught me

Are secrets okay? Are we only as sick as our secrets? Why do we keep secrets? I feel that sometimes we keep other people’s secrets and some of our own to preserve a bit of privacy and dignity, some self-respect and a dash of mystery.  We keep secrets about  arriving baby gender, relationships (of any type), opinions on work, money and politics.  We do this to keep the peace and keep our opinions and personal history to ourselves. Is there anything wrong with this?  Other times, our secrets aren’t based in any nobility.

Our other secrets are not based on dignity, respect or privacy.  These secrets  build upon each other, slowly growing till they get so big. Then   airing out  these well-kept skeletons is so daunting, it’s scary. Super scary. If we wait long enough, the secrets create a solid icon clad wall. The wall is fused with pride, fear, and  insecurity including financial and emotional. To get through this from the inside out we have to be strong. SO strong.  This is the part that can really suck. Like.Really.Suck.  We can’t expect others to get in if we can’t even get out. These are the secrets that make us sick and poisoned inside. Poisoned by the pride that makes us feel that we are better than you. The toxic insecurity that makes you NEVER as good as.  These secrets that destroy us. Unless…..

Unless we can talk or write or get out alive. This is why I want to write about what my marriage taught me. I can write about it.  I want to share it because if it gives you pause, if it makes you think about how you view  something sour and wretched and awful, then I say thank you. I have done my job writing this three part post series:

Part I: What my marriage taught me about my relationship with money

Part II: What my marriage taught me about fear

Part III: What my marriage taught me about me and future interpersonal/romantic relationships

 *****************************

I am going to ask for your input, your experience,  how your last relationship prepared you for the next one!
Stay tuned!!