Silver Linings of Divorce

I feel like one of my best traits is the ability to see the positive in any situation.  I don’t let things keep me down for long.  There’s always a way to make lemonade.  It may be terribly sour, but hey…some people like it that way.

Ending a marriage is a big deal.  It is a huge life change.  And a lot of it really freaking sucks.  You have to get over the fact that your entire life has changed.  Your thoughts about the future are now all wrong.  You’re not going to grow old with that person.  You’re not going to save up and buy that bigger house together.  You’re not going to embarrass your kids together on their first date.  It’s a lot to wrap your head around.

But just because it’s a big deal doesn’t mean it’s a bad deal.  Make some lemonade, my friends.  You can still grow old, just maybe with someone who doesn’t hog the covers.  You can still buy a bigger house, just maybe with someone who actually enjoys gardening.  You can still embarrass your kids, just maybe with a new duet partner.  Or hey, maybe you’ll do all that stuff on your own.  AND THAT’S OKAY TOO.

It’s time to stop thinking about the negatives of divorce.  We all know there’s a lot.  Let’s focus on the positive.  Here are ten awesome things that you may not have thought about before.  Ten awesome things about divorce.

  1. You can set the thermostat to whatever you want.  Were you married to a furnace? Was your house always scarf and parka weather? Turn that AC off and open the windows, darling!
  2. You get to choose what’s for dinner.  Did your partner hate asparagus with every fibre of his or her being? Did you go years without freshly grown summer asparagus? Does reading that sentence make your mouth just water? Well, buck up, my love! It’s asparagus time.
  3. You don’t have to choose a side of the bed.  I spent over a decade sleeping on the right side of the bed.  When we split up I started sleeping on the left, out of defiance.  Then I went back to the right side, out of habit.  Then I slept in the middle for awhile.  Wanna know where I sleep now? Wherever the fuck I want.
  4. You can be as late as you want.  Don’t have the kids? Out for a drink with friends? Another friend shows up just as you’re about to leave? Stay! Catch up! Don’t worry about your spouse being upset that you’re late.  You have no one to text, nothing to explain.
  5. You can spend twelve straight hours watching Netflix.  Okay so you may not WANT to spend that much time watching Netflix, but you know what I mean.  You know what show I just watched in its entirety? Pretty Little Liars.  Why? I don’t know.  It popped up in my recommended shows.  I’d never seen it before.  I’d never had an ounce of interest in it before.  But I had nothing else to do.  So I watched it.  (I should say that I didn’t watch it in its entirety ALL AT ONCE.  It took awhile.)  But you don’t have to worry about someone saying, “The new episode of Game of Thrones is on!”, or “Give me the remote, the Superbowl is starting!” Nah, bro.  You watch what you want, judgment free.  Trust me.  It would need to be judgment free for me to watch seven hours of entitled rich white girls running from one party to the next.  Really though, how did they have that many parties to go to?
  6. Pick your own pet.  Are you a cat person? Was your spouse allergic to cats? That’s a good reason to be a dog family.  But now you’re on your own! Get a cat! Get five!
  7. Take up the entire closet.  Really.  It is such an amazing feeling.  I have his and hers closets in my bedroom.  They are now mine and mine closets.  Everything is sectioned so nicely.  It’s so well organized and planned out and beautiful.  Just thinking about my closet gives me warm fuzzies.
  8. Be your own interior designer.  I have a rug in my living room.  My ex-husband would have HATED it.  He’s seen it – I’m sure he does hate it.  I haven’t asked, because I don’t care.  When I was shopping for it, I sent a picture to a group of my friends.  Most of them were super polite and said, “Well it’s not my taste but…” But you know what? It’s my taste.  I bought it.  I love it.  I picked out my couch.  I picked out my coffee table.  The art on my walls? I picked it.  The fireplace in my living room? My decision.  Everything in my house is there because I want it there.  It is an amazing feeling.
  9. Splurge a little.  I’m not saying live beyond your means, because that’s something you shouldn’t do whether you’re in a relationship or not.  But once in awhile, treat yourself.  Buy a new dress.  Get your haircut at a fancy salon.  Go to a baseball game.  Buy a freaking chocolate bar.  Whatever.  Don’t ask permission, don’t ask forgiveness.  Recognize that you’re worth it.
  10. This is a lot of things in one, but mainly it’s just this: be autonomous.  Pee with the door open if you want.  Sing at the top of your lungs in the shower.  Drive with the windows down.  Eat ice cream out of the carton on the couch in your underwear.  Make your own decisions.  Live your own life.  You don’t have to answer to anyone.  Yes, sometimes it’s lonely.  But at the end of the day, it’s worth it.  Maybe you won’t grow old with the person you thought you would.  But the only person that you need to make yourself happy is YOU.
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I am covered in skin / No one gets to come in

I had decided to stop dating.

I got to a point where I was happy to just be alone.  I was enjoying my own company and was perfectly content to stop looking for someone to “complete” me.  I felt pretty completed on my own, and that I didn’t need someone else to make me happy.  I finally felt comfortable spending a weekend alone when my kids were at their dad’s.  I didn’t need to fill that time with anything, whether it was having friends over or going on dates.  It felt nice to sit at home and read a book or watch a movie and knit.

So I made myself a very ambitious goal: to watch/re-watch all of the Marvel movies in order.  In true Bri fashion, I did my research.  I researched the order of release, and also the order the Internet deemed correct for watching.  I made myself a list, and I searched Netflix to find which ones were available there.  The first three were not available on Netflix, so I tried to find them elsewhere.

I posted on a Facebook group asking fellow mommies if they had any of the three movies that I could borrow for a weekend.  I said, “I’m looking for things to fill my nights now that I’ve completely given up on the idea of ever dating ever again ever.  EVER.”  One mom replied, “If you change your mind I have a really really great ex-brother-in-law.”  We started talking and she made this guy sound pretty fantastic, so I thought what the hell.  I wasn’t expecting anything but I figured it would make a good story if nothing else.

So I sent the guy a message saying, “So I posted on a mommies group looking for a couple movies to borrow, and instead I got offered you.”  And yeah.  Somehow it clicked.

Now I find myself in a relationship with the most amazing person.  Someone who treats me the way that I want my daughters to be treated by their future partners.  Someone who will laugh with me, and cry with me, and sit in silence with me.  Someone I can’t help but open up to.  I have these walls but I’m finding that I don’t want them anymore; not around him.  I want to let him all the way in.

After our first date, I sent him the link to my blog.  He said he was curious and I figured, I have nothing to hide.  This is who I am, and this will tell you way more about myself than I will ever vocalize.  Here’s the link.  Read it, and then let me know if you still want to talk to me.  Maybe this was another form of self-sabotage, because I fully expected him to never speak to me again.

But instead, he would ask me questions about the blog posts.  He would tell me how they made him feel, or that he wanted to give me a hug.  He read the entire thing and he wanted to give me a hug.  I’m not ashamed of who I am.  I’m not ashamed of what I’ve done, or the choices I’ve made.  I know some of my choices have not been fabulous, but they’ve shaped me in some way or another.  But I still wrote him off completely as soon as I sent him the link.  In my mind, that was it.  Fucked it up again.  Classic Bri.

It didn’t work like that.  I am with someone who knows more about me than most people, in such a short period of time.  He likes me for who I am.  It feels incredible to feel confident in my own skin around him; like I don’t have to hide or pretend to be someone that I’m not.

At this point in my life, I feel that who I am isn’t going to change much.  I’ve come this far in life.  My views and opinions may change as I learn more about a subject or through the experiences I have, but overall I feel like I’m pretty done.  I am who I am.  I feel the same about a partner: there’s no such thing as a “fixer upper.”  It’s not my place to change someone else or fix them.  I want a relationship where I can feel perfectly happy being who I am in the company of someone who feels perfectly happy being who they are.

And right now, that’s what I’m feeling.  I am blissfully happy.  I have people I barely know commenting on how happy I seem.  I feel lighter.  I feel calmer.  I feel like me.  Like the real me.  Like the me that was lost for so long, buried under the labels of “Jeff’s daughter,” “Ashley’s sister,” “Ryan’s wife,” “Isabel/Abby’s mom.”

I wasn’t ready before.  I needed to let go of everything else, of the me I felt I had to be.  I’m so happy that I found you when I did, because I wasn’t ready before.  I’m ready now.  I’m ready and I am so wonderfully happy.

 

I am ready – I am ready – I am ready – I am fine

I’m just too damn funny.

I got fired from therapy again today.

Let’s deconstruct that a little bit.  My therapist decided that we have reached our goals and that it’s time I take a break from therapy.  He created a discharge plan for me, which includes the following: I will know I need to seek help again when I sleep with more than two people in a week that I know I won’t see again.

What?!

Alright, I know I’ve been making some poor choices in life.  But did he really just put that on the plan? So what, two random hookups in a week is fine and dandy? But three? Whoaaaa…hold the phone.  That’s too much strange, missy.  Zip it up and back to therapy you go.

He wrote on my paper that he enjoyed working with me because I am able to find the joy in life and laugh at the little things.  Ummmm.  I’m no therapist, okay? I dropped out of university after I went broke and compensated with college.  As a result, I only took first year psych.  But even I know that my humour (while amazing) is a thinly veiled attempt at protection.

I suck at emotions.  They’re hard and they hurt, so I hide them and crack a joke instead.  Nothing like a little self-deprecating comedy to lighten the mood, right? If I’m on the spot maybe I’ll add a little “jig d’Ashlee Simpson” and make my exit stage right.  But I definitely wouldn’t say that means I’m fixed.

I was in therapy less than two months.  It takes me the better part of a year before I’m even comfortable using someone’s name in conversation.  For real.  If you know me, think about that.  How many times have I actually used your name in daily conversation? Probably not many.  How many times have you seen me cry? How many times have I shared something intensely personal with you? You could be one of my best friends and it’s entirely possible that you’ve only seen the funny Bri.  Definitely more than biweekly sessions over the span of two months.

Oh — and we were deconstructing, weren’t we? So I suppose we should get to the end of that thought.  I was fired from therapy…again.

That’s right, folks! This is not the first time that a therapist has broken up with me.  Again I sit in the chair and I tell my life story and I shove down all the unhappy and I smile big and I laugh loud.  And I get the same story of how well I’m coping with what life has thrown at me, and I get sent on my merry way.

Would you like to know how I reacted when my therapist broke up with me today? I laughed.  I got to my car and I cracked up.  All I could think of is what a great story this will make.  Yes, friend, I have tried therapy.  Multiple times.  It’s not my fault my therapists keep breaking up with me!

Ah, well.  At least it’s a good story.