Kill the Dream.

Once upon a time there was a girl who would grow up to be a woman, a wife, a mother. She would live in a beautiful house on a lake. Flowers everywhere. Sunshiney days. She would stay at home to raise her sweet kids with their good manners in their perfectly cute outfits, their hair always in place.  She would probably run the PTA.  Her husband would come home from his successful job every night to a delightful house smelling of home cooked meals. The refrigerator would always be stocked with healthy and delicious foods.  She would create a family buzzing with love, energy, fun, smiles. There would be art projects and cuddling. Her kids would be well-behaved and adore her.  Her husband would cherish her because she was loving and kind and sexy. every day.  She would treasure her family in return because they made her happy and fulfilled….ever after.

Record scatch. LOUD GIGANTIC record scratch. Stop. Halt. Grow. Up.

I swear it’s true. I know…it’s embarrassing.  However, I am that girl who had the dream in her head…that hazy glowy cloudy vision that sits somewhere in the back of your brain as a guide to how your future will be.

Once in a while in the middle of a regular day, which, by the way, almost never includes a stocked fridge, I will be struck by the thought.  I’m divorced. WHAT!?  There must be some mistake. To be in that category is completely outside of my vision.   I try to place myself there and it feels humorous.  My mental picture of what “divorced” looked like was a group of men and women who smoked and went to bars and let their kids do whatever they wanted.  They were the people who could never really get it together.  They were not me. Definitely not me.  Please don’t judge me on my judgment.  I promise that I never consciously opined about divorcees.  It was just a stereotype unconsciously floating around in my brain that I now happen to be able to conjure up as I find myself puzzled at my position in the world.

When I disengage from my tortured mind and preconceived ideas, and step back into reality, I reflect on my situation in a different way.  Here I am. Kinda brazen. I am excited about my possibilities, grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, happy about my evolution. Proud. Sometimes i can even feel a bit over-proud.  Something like a Divorced Superiority Complex.  Feeling sorry for the ones that are lacking passion and connection in their marriages. The ones who are settling.  What I noticed is that the only time divorce really really really really hurts is when the dream of my life as it was supposed to be flashes through my body and spears my heart.

I was discussing how life was “supposed to be” with my sister one day as sisters do.  She told me how she had recently faced this head on.  She had written in her journal about everything that she ever thought she wanted, wished, and fancied her grown up life to be.  She then analyzed which were unrealistic expectations and decided to kill them off.  She had a mental funeral for every single vision of sugar plums.   She immediately felt happier and lighter to be free from the fairy tale trance. Brilliance!

The truth about my life right now is that it is completely different than I imagined.  I rent a tiny house and my backyard always seems to look trashy.  I don’t like to cook no matter how hard I wish I did. I can barely make it to the grocery store.  After being a stay-at-home mom, it’s now difficult to find a job to support myself.  I’m not in the PTA. In fact, I barely check homework. My kids aren’t always polite and their outfits aren’t what I had in mind.  Also, as it turns out, I’m not sexy every day.

However, as I sit and breathe in my now, I can see that I’m lucky and that the life that I have is amazing exactly as it is.  My daughters are imperfect and I love their pluckiness.  From time to time, they say things that make me know they admire me.   Their spirits are in place.  My house is adorable and easier to maintain in its tininess.  There are messy art projects on the table.  I am in love with a man who lives too far away…but he adores me and is right for me and is happy to challenge me and grow with me. I laugh every single day. even on the days that I cry. I am surrounded by friends who get me out of my house. They send me love texts and believe in me on days that I don’t believe in myself.

When I decided to kill “the dream”, I found that my life is pretty dreamy.

Journal PromptWhat dreams are you holding on to that may be holding you back?  How is your reality dreamy?

Beauty in the Shadows

Again, I’m so remiss with writing.   I have mountains of words and feelings inside my brain and heart…but I haven’t allowed myself to unleash them out into the world.  It seems kind of dangerous…and also tiring.

A few things you should know.

Going through a divorce is fucking hard. It’s interesting. It’s enlightening. It’s painful. Literally, your insides hurt.  They hurt like someone is using your innards as one of those balls that you squeeze in the palm of your hand to relieve stress.  My heart and stomach and chest and throat feel like that stress ball…..all squeezy and beat up.  It also feels like the world is using your soul as a bouncing ball….over and over hitting the pavement.  Each new hurdle..conundrum…judgment…just another smackdown against the cold hard cement…then bouncing up again. It’s the law of gravity.

You’ll never understand what it feels like to go through a divorce…until you do.  Period…….just like one never understands the intensity and heartache of being a parent or experiencing the death of a loved one…until they feel it entirely and completely through their own experience.

You won’t understand unless/until you are going through a divorce yourself…….   the strength you need to wake up every day and be there for your kids as only half of the team that used to be, protect them from the pain, wonder if your daily decisions are enough, feeling that you were the first person in the world to break their hearts…..all the while putting on a brave face, taking deep breaths, hiding your tears, swallowing the lump in your throat.  You think of your wonderful plans and intentions when you brought these babies into the world…and how you could never have predicted something like this.  However, things change. Being a grownup sometimes doesn’t make sense.   It’s tiring. all this.

You wouldn’t understand unless you’ve been through a divorce what it feels like to experience “support” which is really sugarcoated opinion, unwanted advice and judgment.  A. WHOLE. LOT. OF. JUDGMENT. People like to tell you what you should be doing and shouldn’t be doing and how long to wait to do this or that. or sometimes they like to NOT tell you…but what they are not saying combined with their body language and the not-so-subtle hinting, goes a long way to telling you everything. and it’s hurtful.

You might not understand how it feels to be moving onward and forward with different plans,  relationships and romance….and excited about your new beginnings….when your friends and family haven’t caught up to you yet. and some of them are too concerned with the rules written out by “experts” about these kinds of things rather than putting their arm around your shoulder and just accompanying you on the path that you’ve chosen….the one that makes you abundantly happy.

You’ll never grasp the magnitude of emotions involved in a divorce….. how one can feel the saddest they’ve ever felt in their whole entire life….. but also be verging on the happiest…..how one can be on the shakiest of grounds…scariest of places…..but feel rock solid in their core.….broken open to expose light and evolution within.

You won’t understand unless you have been through a divorce that you are learning about yourself in a way that wasn’t available to you before…when you were caught up in rote, roles, familiarity, and societal expectations.  You have reached a breaking point that allows you to challenge yourself, your history, your beliefs, and everyone else around you.  You might not understand that going through a divorce allows seeing others for who they really are and evaluating whether they are worth keeping in your life as well…… divorce begets wanting to divorce all the people in your life who aren’t raising you up.

You might not get it…… how excruciatingly lucky you are that your life plans have shattered like the broken glass of a large mirror…falling to the floor, sharp and hurtful.  As  you start to put the pieces back together…you see how clear and beautiful the damage is as the light reflects back your own beauty, sparkling in a way that wouldn’t be the same if it was kept intact, unremarkable.

As I spend time alone, as I start a new relationship, as I go out with my friends, as I spend time with my daughters, as I facilitate workshops for girls, as I travel and party and love and hate and act wild and crazy, as i pose for photos, as i laugh and smile, as I retreat, as I pull away from my friends, as I cry, as I struggle for financial stability, as I plan a new career path, as I do all of these things…. I am just me. Feeling my feelings. Being sad. Being happy.  Experiencing the process. Learning my lessons. Challenging my belief system. Changing. Growing. Knowing that the universe has brought me to this place in order to expand my heart and soul and watch me develop and offer my unique gifts to my daughters, my friends, my family, my lover, my world, myself.

I’m certainly not trying to pretend that divorce is wonderful..and I don’t want to give the impression that it’s the worst thing in the world.  Divorce is just everything. It is letting go and holding on… for dear life. It is Endings and Beginnings. All at one time. Magnified and electrified. It does not require a celebration, nor does it require a pity party.  It only requires strength, perseverance, hope, love, and true friendship.

You would have to have been through a divorce to truly and really understand.

You will find beauty in the shadows as you focus on the light.

YOU WILL FIND BEAUTY IN THE SHADOWS AS YOU FOCUS ON THE LIGHT.