I’ve been spending a lot of time lately perusing the posts of fellow bloggers from all walks of life and all corners of the world. It amazes me how so many of us struggle with the same questions each and every day in our relationships. ‘Does he still love me? Can I ever trust him again? Will our relationship survive? What did I do for him to be unfaithful to me?’ Reading through the pages, it’s like listening to a record skip and re-play the same chorus over and over again. These days, it’s a song to which we all seem to know the lyrics by heart. Fall in love, endure subsequent betrayal and rejection, glue ourselves back together, and ultimately spend the next few years trying to figure out what the hell happened and why. What I wonder though is do we really not know the answers to these questions or is it that we’re searching for understanding in a sea of others drowning in the same murky water? Personally, I think it’s a little bit of both.
I’m certainly no expert on matters of the heart. I’m 40, with two failed marriages and a closet full of battle scars. Sure, I’ve learned a lot from my experiences. But, most of the time, I find myself looking back at my relationships and wondering what in the world I must have been thinking in the first place. How did I fail to see the signs which are so obvious to me in retrospect? How did I believe this person was right for me? Was I really that deaf, dumb and blind?
In short, yes.
The truth of the matter is that we all are. Whoever can be credited with the proverb ‘Love is blind’ is undoubtedly the most intelligent and insightful person who ever existed. The tricky thing about love is that it’s a bit of a parasite. Bear with me on this as I attempt to explain myself. When you fall for someone, that inescapable and intoxicating feeling – that flow of love adrenaline – spreads and envelops you at lightning speed. The bliss of discovery and courtship takes you to what feels like an alternate reality. The sky is bluer, the air is crisper, the world is…good. Within weeks or even days, your mind and body is hooked on the constancy of these emotions. Try as you may, you couldn’t stop it even if you wanted.
And it’s wonderful. It’s just about this most amazing feeling any human being can experience. So, it’s no wonder we embrace it the way that we do. We’ve lived in the dark for most of our lives and now find ourselves frolicking in sun-kissed bewilderment. It’s ultimately that intoxication which makes us unable to see anything short of perfection in the other person. We embrace the dream because it’s essential to our very survival. And that’s okay…as long as we accept it for what it is. No one and no relationship is ever perfect.
It is typically years later, once the infatuation has subsided and the normalcy of life prevails, that we find ourselves wondering how things could have possibly gone wrong when they were once so right. What happened to us? How could this person be capable of betraying us when this isn’t who they are?
Well, because it IS who they are. We just failed to see it. This realization doesn’t make us a bad person. Foolish? Sure. Stupid? Often. Blind? Always.
There’s no escaping the reality that love is always seen through rose-colored glasses. That’s what makes it such a beautiful thing. Enjoy it. Embrace it, by all means. It’s what makes life worth living. But be mindful that no relationship is ever perfect. No person is infallible, despite how much we once believed them to be.
“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus.”
Several weeks ago, I stumbled across a question posted on a social media website which asked, “When you look back on your life, does it make you feel happy or sad?” At first, my initial reaction was to laugh at what seemed like such a childish and foolish question to ask a grown adult. I mean, of course, I feel happy about what I’ve overcome in my life. I’ve been through hell and have come out the other side. Why shouldn’t I feel happy about that? I really don’t know why this question lingered in the back of my mind the way it did, but it stuck. As much as my mind wanted to wholeheartedly shout a resounding ‘Yes!’ to this question, my subconscious inclination for self-analysis kicked into overdrive. No matter how much I tried to discount the way I really felt, I couldn’t escape it. The truth was that when I looked back on my life, I felt anything but happy. The most difficult part was trying to understand why.
Throughout all my trials and mistakes, I’ve suffered critics who’ve felt it was their duty to point out the path I should have taken, time and time again. I’ve worn the ‘You should’ve known better’ and ‘I told you so’ badge of dishonor like the scarlet letter most of my adult life. Even though time has taught me that I must forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made, I still endure the reprimand with regular certainty. For every positive step I take forwards, I’m reminded of the missteps I’ve taken and the havoc I’ve caused. I’m reminded of how much I screwed up, of the burden I placed on those close to me, and how I cannot make those mistakes again. Like a five-year old child who repeatedly places her hand to a hot stove only to be burned, the same message is recounted: “We’ve heard this before and been down this road with you so many times. We can’t go through this again with you. You must be certain this time.”
Message received, loud and clear. I get it — be certain this time. Sure, it seems simple enough, but the problem with this is that there are no certainties in life. What I’ve discovered in my journey is that at best, life is a random lottery of possible outcomes. As players in the game, we weigh the odds, place our bets, and pray for the most favorable outcome. When we’re the only player to be factored into our game, the odds are greater that we’ll achieve the desired outcome. But when a second player is factored into our life, we raise the stakes and increase the likelihood of failure. Even still, we roll the proverbial dice and pray we don’t get burned. Despite experience, despite the odds, the truth of the matter is that no matter how many times we’ve placed similar bets, there are still no guarantees. There are no absolute certainties.
Despite my trepidation and fear of wearing that scarlet letter of disappointment the rest of my days, I still have to take chances. If I stop placing my bets in the game of life, I’ve stopped being a participant in my own life. I’ve succumbed to my failures and given up. I’ve told myself and my critics that I do not deserve another chance at finding my happy ending.
To my critics, I leave you with this Morrissey quote, “Don’t rake up my mistakes. I know exactly what they are.” Stop tallying my scores and let me live my life. We are all worthy of the search and discovery of our happy ending.
Happily + ever after? Yes, I can have both.
I’m trying to explain to the voice inside I can have both, I can have both. There’s nobody around to say no who’ve brainwashed the small, shy girl inside. She doesn’t know she can have both.
Through the years of writing this blog, the most frequent question I am asked is “Mozzie, do you think you will ever marry again?” Naturally, I skillfully punt the ball back in the reader’s court by replying, “You’re a devoted reader of this blog. Would you?” As you can imagine, the response is about 70% to 30%, with the 30% consisting of the hopeless romantics who believe in the notion of true love and happy endings to the core of their being. Some of them comprise a lucky few who, despite enduring similar heartbreak and disappointment in their previous relationships, managed to emerge victorious in matters of the heart. They proudly wear this badge, and with vigor and determination, they feel compelled to share their triumph with the often bitter, jaded masses (myself included).
I have to admit that following the immediate aftermath of my divorce, this was the absolute last thing I wanted to hear from anyone. Countless ‘you’ll find the right one someday, so don’t give up’ emails from friends and readers, all convinced that I could, and would, love and eventually marry again. Being a kindhearted person, I always thanked them for their well wishes, but in private, I’d be busy digging my fingernails into the palms of my hands. So often I’d think to myself ‘You people have NO idea. You can’t begin to understand what I’ve been through and how I’ve been hurt. I will never marry again and subject myself to that pain and rejection. As long as I remain single, I am in control of my life. ’ And truthfully, that approach can work given one circumstance: You never fall in love again.
When it comes to relationships, whether you choose to face it or not, they all have an ultimate end in mind. Sure, you may decide like I did that dating in and of itself is the ultimate goal, but sooner or later, you’ll find yourself in a relationship where that paradigm simply doesn’t apply. You subconsciously make future plans that include that person and may even dream about your relationship ten years from now. One morning you will look yourself in the mirror completely perplexed and ask, ‘What is going on? Why am I thinking about marriage with this person? How could this happen?’ Truthfully, I couldn’t begin to answer that except to say that no one’s life is set in stone. With every day and each new experience, life is constantly evolving around us. People move in and out of our lives with seemingly little significance. But sometimes, when we’re least expecting it, someone drifts into our life who is worthy of our love, companionship and devotion.
It can happen. You can encounter a future that you never believed existed. I am discovering mine.
“Yes, life is hard. As you grow older, you’ll learn what true heart-wrenching pain feels like. You’ll realize that majority of the people you once believed in will let you down. You’ll fall in & out of things that you think are love, & it’ll hurt. There will be people out there that want to see you fall down, it might happen. But you’ll get up, fake a smile, & move on. You’ll go from being called a brat to a bitch. You’ll be pressured to do bad things. You’ll keep secrets. You will regret, but forget. You’ll be heartbroken, and break some hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend, & either keep or lose that friendship. Things will get unbearable, & you will spend a lot of time crying. You’ll miss the spirit of your innocence. You will survive though, I promise. You’ll fight on & you will live to see another day. You will find true love where you least expect it, you will be adored by many. Life will move on& you’ll realize that all the pain & confusion brought you closer to happiness.”
When I was young, I felt like I would never grow older. I was convinced that the good life was just a few years within reach. I spent hours daydreaming about reaching the magical twenty-one, when I’d be finally be independent and living life to its fullest. I’d be building a great career and most importantly, I’d be free of the shackles of adolescence. I’d finally be…happy.
And honestly, I was happy. I had a young husband, whom I loved immensely. We were building the future I’d always dreamed of and it all felt attainable. My luck had finally turned a corner and I was living the life that I felt I deserved. And then, after five years, that foundation crumbled beneath me. He left me for a new life and with his departure, he took the hope we’d built together, my faith in love and the happiness I’d spent my whole life yearning for. I was shattered, broken. I convinced myself that if the person I loved most in the world could betray me in such a monumental way with seemingly little regard, I really had no chance of finding happiness again. So there I was, staring down the barrel of my thirties like a deer in headlights, heartbroken and hopeless.
I was bothered by approaching thirty, not so much for its numeric significance, but because I felt like I’d just lost everything I’d been building in my twenties. Gone and obliterated in what felt like a massive overnight explosion. Therapists, family, and friends all had the same message: Put it behind you and move on with your life. Don’t dwell on what you cannot change. Acknowledge it, but move on. And eventually, after years of dealing with the loss, days and nights spent enduring the pain of abandonment and heartache of replacement, I emerged and shaped a new life for myself. I was happy…to a degree.
At thirty-six, I found myself again crossing the uncertain waters of another failed relationship. It was painful, heart-wrenching and deflating. Even though I felt the storm approaching, I still had to navigate the wreckage it ultimately left behind. I had to press the ‘reboot’ button on my life again and start over on my own. And the worst aspect of it was that I wasn’t in my twenties anymore, but now approaching the dreaded 4-0. How was this possible? How did the carefree days of my twenties slip between my fingers and how did I end up with what felt like nothing to show for it?
I spent the last few years of my thirties digging my heels in, refusing to accept the milestone I was approaching. I surmised that if I didn’t think about it, it would go away. But, it didn’t. In fact, the closer I approached it, the more dread and anxiety I endured. Hours spent in self-deprecation, recounting all I’d lost, all the mistakes I should’ve avoided, and how I’d failed to achieve my dreams. I was staring forty in its ugly face, overwhelmed with guilt and disappointment. My biological clock rang out so loudly I was convinced that others could hear it. I had no supportive husband, no children to call my own, and no happy utopia that I felt should’ve been in place by the age of forty. I was a failure.
That dreaded day finally arrived and with it, a surprising self-realization. What if I were still in either of those doomed relationships, feeling trapped, mistreated and unloved? And even worse, what if there were children subjected to that unhappiness? What if they had been treated with the same disregard that I was? Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. Despite my losses, I had managed to emerge a stronger person and ultimately, happier. If happiness is a journey, not simply a destination, I was on the right path…finally. And that, in itself, was an accomplishment to be proud of.
You see, we all ultimately reach a point in our lives when we finally learn to accept ourselves…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes, we’ve all made painful mistakes, but they’ve shaped us into the person we were meant to become. So, embrace it. Whether you’re 30, 40 or 60. Look at life as the ultimate game of experience and it is that experience that enriches us.
So yeah, I am 40. And I am okay with that.
“The future is around me. I’m not gonna cry for the things that never occurred. So do not remind me. I’m happy to be as I was in the first place.” – Morrissey
“You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.”
– Henry David Thoreau
“The age of a woman doesn’t mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.”
It has always amused me that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’ve climbed the proverbial corporate ladder for nearly twenty years now and the adventure in hysteria and ultimately, amusement, continues to unfold before me with each new professional adventure. I’ve discovered that there will always be ‘characters’ in each office with their inevitable stereotypes, quirkiness, and overall clueless existence, just sitting there…waiting and needing to be written about. And that, I’m certain, is my calling.
I recently visited Denver for the first time to attend a conference sponsored by my current company. Like most conferences and trade shows, all sorts of personalities attend and put on their best ‘game face’ to meet customers, prospects and network with partners. The networking and nurturing of those partner relationships is what facilitated my attendance at the conference in the first place. You see, I am often the invisible marketing ‘Wiz’ behind the corporate curtain, crafting the brand message, and spoon-feeding the blind B2B masses much like feeding broccoli to a seven year-old. And if the truth be told, I’ve discovered that if you cover anything with enough cheese, someone will ultimately eat it.
The majority of those in attendance were men in their 40s and 50s, sporting their receding hairlines and stuffing their beer-bellied midriffs into the required, company-branded golf shirt. To put it bluntly, these men are starved for female attention. The overwhelming majority are married with either teenage or college-bound children, and operate their personal lives with the same boring, predictable precision they present in the workplace. Unimaginative, robotic clones who somehow believe that the story of how they caught the prize-winning trout in their local fishing competition will bring women hopelessly to their knees. And it never fails that these men are utterly captivated by the bubbly and otherwise vacant blonde whose actual purpose is to flirt mindlessly with these men and somehow help assuage their own personal shortcomings. This conference was no exception to the rule and that blonde….and come on, we all know who she is at every company….was there in all her flighty magnificence.
Ironically, despite my ability to see these women for who they actually are rather than what they pretend to be, I am inherently a nice person and get along with nearly everyone. And at my company, this blonde to which I am referring, I will hereby call The Flight Attendant. Bless her sweet soul, she is dripping in Southern accolades as well as physical beauty, and her syrupy accent is all that’s required to lure men under her spell.
After the conference closes on the last afternoon, a handful of co-workers decide to let off some steam and meet up at a local Denver bar and club for some drinks. I receive a call around 5pm in my hotel room from The Flight Attendant: “Mozzie, are you up for it? Come on and go out with us, girl!” Despite my feet aching worse than an Irish clogger, I reluctantly agree to join them. I arrive at the bar around 9pm and the festivities are well underway. The strobe light is flashing, the hip hop is blasting, and The Flight Attendant is on the dance floor, surrounded by an overwhelming group of male admirers, most still dressed to the nines in their company golf shirt. Bless their hearts.
I make my way to the bar, order a double vodka tonic and scan the room for cohorts and partners in crime. I feel the overwhelming sense of relief when I spot a great buddy of mine who is nursing his third or fourth drink, and wave him over to my direction. We chit chat, share some laughs and begin what turns out to be one of the most hilariously funny nights I’ve experienced in quite some time. Before too long, we’re throwing back shots of Grey Goose and cackling at the quasi-American Bandstand maneuvers we’re witnessing on the dance floor. The Flight Attendant is in her element…shaking her money maker and batting her eyelashes in every direction. By the end of the night, I’m fairly certain she will need not only an interpreter from her advanced state of intoxication, but also an escort to find her way back to her hotel room. Naturally, I help her back safely to the hotel, politely say good night and that I will see her the next morning around 8am.
7am arrives and I can’t pretend that it doesn’t kick my nearly 40 year-old ass. But, I shower, get my act together and head over for the last morning of the conference. It’s 8:30am and there’s no sign of The Flight Attendant. I excuse myself, step outside, and call her mobile number and then her hotel room. No answer. Yikes.
I quickly make my way back to the hotel and begin knocking on her door. I hear groaning on the other side and then the door swings open with the naked Flight Attendant peeking around the corner. She’s hungover. She’s completely overslept and she’s limping. She wails in pain only to look down and discover bruised and bloody toes. “Mozzie, what the hell happened? OMG, my foot kills! I was dancing with some guy last night and he kept stomping on my toes. Help me…I can’t walk!” I do my best to contain the uncontrollable laughter swelling up inside me and tell her to get her act together, clean up and head over to the conference if she wants to keep her job. Tough love…sometimes, we all need it.
Later that afternoon, we all depart for the airport, most of us on separate flights, and I don’t see The Flight Attendant until the following day at the office. She arrives, late as usual, on crutches with apparently two broken toes from her late night Denver escapade. Upon seeing her, I race for the bathroom or anywhere private because I know I am going to lose it. I laugh for at least half an hour at the sheer comic gold that is unfolding before me. Like I’ve said many times before, often real life is funnier and more entertaining than fiction.
Several days pass and The Flight Attendant receives flowers in the office from the Toe Stomper. She is touched and agrees to a dinner date with him. I can’t help but chuckle at the irony of the entire situation. Later, she sends me a text on my mobile: “Mozzie, you won’t believe how nice of a guy he is! After my divorce, I was convinced there were no nice guys left out there for me. I really like him and think he might be the one.”
So there you have it, my friends. A possible answer to the age-old question: How do you mend a broken heart? Answer: Go dancing and have someone break your toes. You might just fall in love.
Nearly three years to the day have passed since I’ve written on this blog. At least once or twice a month, I’ve contemplated rekindling my love affair with it, reshaping my purpose, further defining my goals and dreams, yet something has stood in my way. Something intangible, something oppressive, and ultimately something stifling the creativity that has always been the most defining aspect of who I am. And even though I’ve spent much time attempting to discern what this ‘something’ is, I still haven’t exactly put my finger on it. So, here I am – rediscovering the familiar sense of surreal comfort that these pages once afforded me during one of the most difficult times of my life. It is that comfort, that unbridled creativity, that burning feeling of self-discovery that I find myself seeking again in my life. At nearly 40, there are still so many questions that remain unanswered.
I realize this entry after three years of absence is abrupt, vague and yet to be defined, but I’m okay with that. I know that like before, the journey I began within these pages took me places that I never dreamed existed within my own personality and understanding. It is that type of journey into self-discovery that has brought me here again. I am certain of that.
What is completely astounding to me is that this blog continues to receive substantial traffic to this day without a letter being added to its pages since the Fall of 2009. Why that is I cannot begin to fully comprehend, but it does evoke certain humility and gratitude on my part to those invisible souls who visit here, either by purposeful intent or simply chance, perhaps seeking to find answers or understanding for the challenges they face in their lives and personal relationships.
So readers, here I am….your ever-shining Mozzie Starlet. And as Morrissey says, “I just want to say I haven’t been away. I’m still right here, where I always was.”
“All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.” ~ James Thurber
Okay okay, I know the title of this entry is a cheesy, 1980’s music reference, but sometimes a lyric not only nails a situation, but can make you chuckle as well. And for those of you, sitting in front of your computer monitors and scratching your heads right about now, that reference was to a song by the band Air Supply. And yes, they do require crackers prior to listening.😉
Many of you have written and inquired as to the lapse in my blog entries, and up until now, I really haven’t had a suitable explanation for it. The truth of the matter is that I love writing these entries as much as you enjoy reading them. So, why the months of silence then? Well, for the past six months, things in my life have sucked…and I mean, royally and equivocally. Unemployment woes, dodging credit sharks, and dancing the ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ tango has become a full-time occupation for me. And to add insult to serious injury, I developed insomnia in the midst of it all. Talk about the proverbial ‘being kicked while you’re down’! Being sleep deprived when your stress level is growing by leaps and bounds is the cherry on top of the cake. Sleep is my haven and my refuge, or at least it was before everything in my life began accelerating downhill, so this really hit below the belt. During all this uncertainty and and sleep deprivation, I came to realize that I have allowed my dire circumstances to keep me from doing the things that I truly enjoy and make me happy, like writing this blog. It’s almost as if I internalized things so much that I felt I didn’t deserve to enjoy anything. Since everything sucks, why not just acquiesce and throw in the towel? Why bother…right?
I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit that I fight these thoughts about every other day. Some days, I really allow myself to wallow in the misery of it until I’m so exhausted that I can’t think about anything anymore. After months of behaving this way, I began to realize that the only person I’m harming is myself. Yes, I feel like crap over all the things in my life that I wish were different and better, but what is wallowing in it going to accomplish other than making me feel worse than I already do? Absolutely nothing.
I’m going through some difficult and heartbreaking changes in my life right now, but I will endure them. I will come out on the other side, perhaps bruised and battered, but as a survivor. One day, I hope to be able to look back on these times and say, ‘Wow. I can’t believe I went through what I did and lived to tell about it.’ A loved one recently said to me, “Mozzie, things are awful right now, but you will get through it and be a stronger person because of it. These difficult struggles build character.” At first, I grimaced at this person’s remarks and thought of Morrissey’s lyrics, “How can anyone possibly say they know how I feel?” But then I took a step back, gave it some thought, and realized what this person was saying to me was right on the money.
I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I have faith in the promise of tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow. So, I’m cashing in my one-way ticket to Wallowsville and banking my frequent flier points for a destination still unknown.
“When life gives you lemons, squeeze the juice into a squirt gun and squirt it into someone’s eye. It’ll make you feel better.”
As much as I’d love to be able to take credit for that statement, I hardly can. Henrik Ibsen, a remarkable 19th century Norwegian poet and playwright, penned that statement even before the turn of the 20th century. I can remember first reading that when I was about fifteen years-old, and feeling the complete brilliance and truth of it sitting squarely on my shoulders. You see…for a writer, there couldn’t possibly be any statement more at the heart of the matter. Not to sound exclusive, but it’s a difficult thing to explain to someone outside of this reality; to someone who hasn’t spent the majority of their life trying to make sense of their existence year after year, through each stroke of their pen. The funny thing about being a writer is that it’s very much a feast or famine talent. You may go through periods in your life where the words seem to leap from you faster than you are able to write or type them. And other times, you lull through months or even longer where you simply cannot find the words, no matter how desperately you need to.
Certainly, I cannot speak for every writer on this planet. But, in my thirty-six years on this earth, this is exactly how it has been and continues to be for me. I’ve often found myself wondering why this is…why are there times and periods in my life where I cannot stop writing and others when the pen sits frozen in my hand? Is it a type of possession that temporarily takes hold of you until you’ve said all you feel you can say on the subject? Or, is it a God-given gift that like any type of talent should be nurtured and fertilized each and every day in order for it to continue to grow and flourish?
I really couldn’t say one way or the other, and I hardly have a definitive answer on the subject. However, there is one thing that I know for certain; one thing that I hold dear and true. Henrik Ibsen was right. “To write is to sit in judgment on oneself.” And perhaps, it is this self-scrutiny, and this personal dissection, that makes our writing ebb and flow. At times, this self-reflection is a necessary evil for our own understanding and personal growth. And at other times, the cruelty of sitting beneath a microscope of self-analysis is simply more than a person can withstand.
I don’t think the admission of this duality makes me less of a writer, really. I think it’s what makes me a human being.
“If I’m trying to sleep, the ideas won’t stop. If I’m trying to write, there appears a barren nothingness.”
~ Carrie Latet
“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”
~ Franz Kafka
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
~ Ray Bradbury
Okay, okay. So, I’m not immune to peer pressure either. Given that it’s been nearly a month since my last entry and many of you have written inquiring as to my status as ‘alive or dead,’ I figured it is only the polite thing to do to post an updated entry. Truth be known, I haven’t felt terribly inspired or creative in the past few weeks, and keeping my head above water has been my prime directive. Yes, I am still looking for a job with little success, but, as you all know from reading my words, I always believe in holding on to hope. I’ve found that as grim as things may appear in your situation, things are always worse for others. Though I take no comfort in the suffering of others, this notion often keeps my toes warm at night.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ideal of ‘happiness’ and all that it entails. And yes, I refer to it as an ‘ideal’ because I honestly think this description encapsulates the esoteric nature of it. In my life, I’ve found that happiness isn’t really a state of being, but rather the moments by which we judge our lives. I mean, how often has someone asked you, “Are you happy?” and you think to yourself, ‘Well, I suppose I am…at least at this moment in time.’ Do you ever wonder why we often think this way and why it is so difficult to reply with a resounding, ‘YES?!’ After giving it considerable thought, I think it has something to do with difficult times and worries overshadowing the positive things in our lives. When we’re burdened, we often feel like the world is ultimately against us and nothing ever seems to work out as we hoped. I can say this because I am guilty of this mentality perhaps more than anyone else.
The point of my rambling here is that happiness is something we must pursue. It does not exist in a vacuum or by chance. It’s built through our relationships, our kindness shown to others, and our ability to love and give of ourselves. This is the seed of happiness. And if given enough care and sunlight, it can grow into a garden of possibilities.
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
– Frederick Koening
“Happiness is not a brilliant climax to years of grim struggle and anxiety. It is a long succession of little decisions simply to be happy in the moment.”
A week has elapsed since I lost my job. Truly, it took nearly three days just for the shock to dissipate and the full irony of the situation to settle into my subconscious. I mean, really…what are the odds of being laid off as many times as I have and now in the worst of economic times? Surely, they must rival the lottery by now. To be completely honest, yes, losing my job gutted me. But, it has happened to me so many times now I can hardly be shocked when I hear ‘the speech’ again and again. I placed first in the national ‘I’ve been laid off’ competition, reciting the speech verbatim in my sleep, standing on one toe, and washing my hair simultaneously.
I really have no idea what I will do now except keep trudging along as I always have in this situation. I’ll keep networking, sending out hundreds of emails in the hope that they don’t land in someone’s ‘spam’ folder, and maybe, hopefully, something will come my way before I starve to death. Isn’t it a sad commentary on the state of the world today when a college degree, fifteen years’ experience, and handfuls of personal testimonies to your abilities can’t even land you secure and steady employment? If this is happening to me and millions of other capable professionals, what hope do today’s graduates have when they walk off that stage, degree in hand, hoping to land the job they’ve been preparing for?
One of the most ironic things I’ve found about the corporate arena is that the crummier a person you actually are, the higher up the ladder you seem to climb. I know you may shake your head in disbelief at this, but I can assure you, it’s so entirely true. As I’ve progressed through the rungs, one painful step at a time, the more corrupt and dishonest people seem to be. Why is this? Does it take this type of person to be able to keep the wheels of capitalism spinning? Do you have to be a self-centered loser to do well professionally? Perhaps that is the root of my problem. You see, I am neither of these things and couldn’t be even if I gave it a hero’s effort. As sarcastic as I appear, I am a painfully nice girl and actually do care about others. I realize that into every life a little a-hole must fall, but wouldn’t it be grand if there were a place where people actually treated one another as they wished to be treated? What an absolute utopia that place would be.
And if I found that place some day, that place of genuine goodness and sincerity where being a good person meant that a good life would befall you, well…who knows.
Yesterday at 10am, I lost my rockstar job. The job I was so proud of, the job that was going to help me finally get my life in order, the job I felt would secure my future career, was gone in the blink of an eye, without warning, reason, or explanation. I spent the entire afternoon at home yesterday, in a state of utter shock and disbelief, fighting back not only tears but the feeling of complete rejection that enveloped me. Why did this happen? What did I possibly do to deserve this at a point in my life when I’m facing the future on my own? Am I the butt of some cruel joke that a power greater than myself has masterminded, and if so, why me? I wish I could understand, but I don’t. The Good Book says that difficult times and trials serve to build personal character, but haven’t I been through enough?
What wounds me most is the way that I was treated yesterday. I was baited into HR’s office by my supervisor to “sign a document,” and backed into a steel trap without any hope of escape. I was told they appreciated my work at the company thus far, but they’ve decided not to continue my employment. After I struggled to pick my jaw off the floor, I proceeded to ask why and got little to no valid explanation for my termination. The irony of it is that two days ago I received a positive appraisal on my 60-day evaluation with my supervisor. The whole situation makes no sense, and quite frankly, stinks of something dishonest. If budget cuts and the economy are such a strain that my job can be deemed ‘superfluous,’ then by all means, tell me that. Don’t shuffle me out the door, with my personal belongings in hand, and make me feel as if I did something to deserve being treated like a second class citizen, or even worse, a criminal. I suppose honesty and integrity are dead on the vine along with chivalry and fidelity. It does seem that the harder I work at my job, the kinder I am to accommodate the needs of others and go beyond the call of duty, the more consistently I get shafted. It breaks my spirit and makes it difficult to believe in the general decency of mankind. I live my life by the Golden Rule: Always treat others how you would want to be treated. The inherent problem here is that in the corporate arena, no one else subscribes to this antiquated ideal. It’s dog-eat-dog and every man for himself…climb the ladder and it doesn’t matter who you have to step on to get to the top. He who has all the gold wins, right? BARF.
So, what will I do now? I suppose I will do what I’ve become so good at doing. I’ll pick myself up by my weathered boot straps, dust myself off, and start again. The most honest and simple thing about me is that I just want to be somewhere that I will be treated with dignity, honor, respect and appreciation for my talent and work ethic. That’s it, in a nutshell. And for whatever reason, that is such a difficult nut to crack.
After months of anticipation on my part, the day finally arrived last Saturday for the bad husband’s departure. He packed his things (and his bruised ego) and made his trek back to his home town. I stopped by my home last Friday night to check on things while he was out, and for the first time in such a long time, I could see the semblance of my home beneath all the clutter and junk that I was forced to live with during our marriage. The shadow of my once beloved solace lingered beneath the piles of boxes, and I felt giddy by the thought of actually being able to return home again. And at 11am last Saturday morning, that’s exactly what I did. I gathered my things from the parental units’ home where I’ve been living these past months, and headed home.
When I arrived, there was an eerie silence in the house…a thickness that you could almost feel hanging in the air. I gazed around and was overcome with a range of emotions. At first, I felt such relief and excitement at the realization that I was actually going to be able to be home again; the home I worked so diligently to have and maintain all these years. As I assessed the surroundings, I felt a horrible sinking feeling creeping up from the pit of my stomach and felt tears well up in my eyes. Even though I had waited for this moment for months, the realization of finality swept over me like a tidal wave. I cried for about an hour, realizing later that this was and is simply part of the process of grief, acceptance, and ultimately, recovery. Despite how nonchalant my tone may appear at times throughout the blog, don’t let it fool you. Divorce is a horribly gutting experience and one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And if you’re like me, prone to wear your heart on your sleeve, the experience affects you even more so than the ‘Average Joe’ who may think of divorce as an ‘easy’ solution to a seemingly insurmountable problem. Solution? Sometimes. Easy? Not hardly.
So, for the past four days and with the unbelievable help and support of my family, I’ve moved back not just into my house, but my home. As the old proverb says, “Home is where the heart is.” I couldn’t agree more.
“Always be careful when you abuse the one you love
the hour or the day no one can tell
but one day ‘goodbye’ will be ‘farewell’…”
A classic email between me and my younger brother, who works in IT support. Enjoy and happy weekend to all!
From: Mozziestar Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 To: Her ‘Wondertwin’ younger brother Subject: Hey bro!
What up, shottie pimp?
From: Her ‘Wondertwin’ younger brother Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 To: Mozziestar Subject: RE: Hey bro!
So, this lady sent her laptop in and said it “stopped working on its own.” I turned it on and nearly puked it smelled so badly once it got hot and the fan cut on. Turns out, her little dog puked on it while she had it in her lap and she didn’t want to get in trouble.
From: Mozziestar Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 2:29 PM To: Her ‘Wondertwin’ younger brother Subject: RE: Hey bro!
HILARIOUS!!!! Did she actually admit to it or did you recognize the smell from memories of our family dog?
That is so funny!! *ROFL*
From: Her ‘Wondertwin’ younger brother Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 To: Mozziestar Subject: RE: Hey bro!
Oh no…I grilled her and told her that it smelled like DEATH. She started to get upset and told me what happened. I was like, “WHAT?!! THAT’S SO NASTY! You could’ve TOLD ME!”
Okay readers, here’s your chance to have your say in the future of the ‘Bad Husband’ Chronicles blog. So, please vote in the poll and let me know what you’re thinking. Should I stay or should I go now? Don’t fret, I’m fairly thick-skinned and can handle rejection. *boo hoo*
Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions or ideas on the direction you’d like (or not) to see the blog take in the future. Thank you for your feedback, and as always, your faithful readership.
Do you ever find yourself looking back at a situation or relationship and asking, “How did I ever fall for that?” Lord knows, if I had a dime for every time I’ve thought this way, I’d be living off my millions on a tropical oasis by now. The worst part about it is the realization that you’ve allowed yourself to be ‘snookered’ once again by someone close to you. You bought into the ideal that they would always be there for you, always be helpful and supportive, and most of all, that they would always love you. It seemed such an easy thing to hear and accept at the time, but later you realize that this is a much more difficult task for some and not others.
I’ve said it so many times before: ‘Love’ is a verb, not an adjective. Love is represented in our daily actions, however small and insignificant they may appear at the time. Loving someone is knowing how to be a partner in every aspect of the word, not just when it’s convenient or easy. It’s being the missing puzzle piece to another person’s soul and existence. Through truly loving another person, we are not only fulfilled but provide fulfillment as well. At its best, love is entirely a two-way street. Given this, why is this ideal such a diminishing notion in today’s world? Have people become so self-absorbed that they’ve lost that loving feeling?
Perhaps I’m the wrong person to consult on matters of the heart, given my poor track record. Yes, I’ve made two terrible mistakes in the span of my adult life where love and marriage were concerned, and quite frankly, I have become jaded by the ideal of ‘true love.’ Does it still exist? Can someone actually say what they mean and mean what they say…forever? I really don’t know anymore, but I’d certainly like to think so. Without that possibility, where is joy to be found?
I suppose I am not only seeking closure and answers to my questionable mistakes, but I’m also hoping that true love can and does still exist out there. I want to believe in it, but through the process of ‘raking up my mistakes,’ it is a terribly difficult dream to hold on to.
“Honestly” by Annie Lennox
“The beauty that you gave
Has turned upon itself
And all the things you said
Was I blind
Deaf and dumb
To the words slipped from your tongue?
Honestly … honestly … honestly
Alone in my bed
The things that you said
Go round in my head … still
It seems to be true
That nothin’ I do
Can influence you …
I tried and tried again
(Don’t you know I tried and tried again
to make you listen to me
But everything I said it always seemed to go right through you)
To make you notice me
(I turned myself into a person that I didn’t like
But please believe me when I say I know it wasn’t right)
But talking to myself
(I never thought that things would
get to be so complicated
I never thought that you and me would end up o frustrated)
Won’t catch you attention I see …
(You’d think that something had to come from all those good intentions
But in the end I needed something more than intervention)
Was I mad?
Was I mad?
To succumb so easily
Honestly… honestly… honestly…
(Alone in my bed
The things that you said
Go round in my head … still
It seems to be true
That nothin’ I do
Can influence you… still)
Fools like me get so easily taken
And fools like me can be so mistaken
Honestly… Honestly… Honestly
The promise that you gave
(Don’t you know the promise that you
gave just turned it’s back upon me
I stopped believing but you couldn’t take the whole thing from me)
Has turned it’s back
(I never thought I’d have to pay the price to set you free)
And all you represented
Was just my projection you see…
(You know I never thought I’d ever
live a day without you
And that’s the reason why
it makes me sad to think about you
and you know I never thought
I’d make it if you wasn’t there
And now I’m tryin’ to eject myself
from this despair)
Never say I “told you so”
Everything I know you said
Goin’ round inside my head
Never thought I’d see the day
Always got a price to pay
Like sands through the hourglass, so are the diminishing days remaining until the ex-husband is forced to move out of my house. Knowing this man and his predictable behavior all too well, I’ve been expecting last minute shenanigans on his part to make his final departure as much as an ordeal for me as possible. What you have to understand about the ex-husband is that he is the most incapable, or rather, unwilling individual when it comes to taking care of his own business. He lacks the common sense that most of us take for granted, and he fully capitalizes on it by insisting that he ‘can’t’ do this and ‘can’t’ do that. That’s been the case since the day we were married…. Mr. Can’t Never Could. So, I always ended up being the one to take care of everything from paying the bills to getting the groceries. He was even too lazy to learn how to access his checking account or get simple directions for a doctor’s appointment. It was always, “Babe, can you do this for me? You’re so smart and can do it so much faster than I can.” Blah, blah, blah. Dealing with his nonsense has been the most annoying and trying thing for me, but I remind myself that it will soon be over and any effort made on my part will ultimately result in his faster departure.
The simple act of his leaving has been a major hassle for me. I’ve been the one scheduling his moving arrangements, giving him money for the trip home, and reminding him of all the things I know he hasn’t bothered to think about. Now his latest predicament is that he “just can’t get everything loaded and ready to move until Saturday,” and given that he’s ordered to be out by Friday, he’ll “have to sleep in his car on Friday night.” Well, boo hoo. I must tell you that the ex-husband’s mastery of the art of playing ‘the patient’ should earn him an Academy Award. When I use the description ‘the patient,’ I mean to say that he always insists on being the one who requires constant help and support from the wiser and more knowledgeable, ‘doctor.’ He’s always the weaker party; the patient that must have his hand held through every trial he faces. Truly, it’s not only nauseating, but ridiculous. To think that this man has made it nearly 47 years playing this act astounds me. Will he ever face his responsibilities and handle things himself or will he simply find another ‘doctor’ to treat his unfortunate shortcomings?
Ugh. Who knows and frankly, who cares? I certainly don’t. The only dose I’m willing to give my ex-husband, the eternal patient, is a large shot of reality. So, ex-husband…suit up, stick your arm out, and get ready to be stuck. This doc is through making house calls.
As readers of the blog, you are all aware that I typically have the most bizarre and vivid dreams during the few hours of actual sleep I enjoy each night. Usually, I awake to a sheet storm of twisted blankets, misplaced pillows and the ever-creeping comforter at the foot of the bed. I’m often amused by the seemingly random nature of my dreams and their possible meanings, so I consult my Dream Dictonary Doctors at www.dreammoods.com for further clarification and interpretation. Last night, I had another doozie of a dream, where the now EX-husband was pushing and shoving me, mumbling and stumbling not-so-nice words in my general direction. Given that he is down to his final week of living in my home before he’s given the boot once and for all, I suppose I’m harboring a lot of feelings of uncertainty and general anxiety about it. Will he leave quietly and peacefully or will he pull his usual ‘I’m the victim’ dance and try and harass me as much as possible before his time runs out? Given my experience with him over the past seven years, I think the latter is most likely.
So, what does all this pushing and shoving signify, oh great and powerful dream wizards? Hmm, let’s see…
“Push” To dream that you are pushing something, symbolizes energy, effort, encouragement and a new drive to succeed in life. Consider also how you are someone in your life may be a ‘pushover.’
To dream that you are pushed or being pushed, signifies that you are being pressure or feel coerced into doing something. Alternatively, it implies your need for perfection. You may be finding that you do not have enough time to complete a task.
Naturally, after reading this, I reflect on what the Dream Dictionary Doctors might say in response to my latest doozie:
“Dear troubled, yet ever faithful, Mozzie,
Thank you once AGAIN for consulting The Dream Dictionary for further clarification of your latest slumber-ific experience. Upon first analysis, we were hoping that the person being shoved in your dream would be your ridiculuous excuse of an ex-husband and not yourself. When are you going to stand firm and realize that you have no reasonable excuse for feeling worthy of being mistreated? Until you come to this realization, there is little we can do to assist you further. We appreciate your CONTINUED visits to our website, but for heaven’s sake…get a clue, will ya? And as always, we keep an immediate refferral on file on your behalf to the nearest mental health facility. Best wishes for your new life’s adventure, The Dream Dictionary Doctors.”
I’ve always had a particular affinity for this quote by William Faulkner, often finding myself amazed by the truthful simplicity of it. Like many of you, I’ve spent a considerable portion of my adult life being a prisoner of the past, frequently feeling stuck between something and nothing. Have you ever wondered why the memories you yearn to recall seem distant, yet the ones that you struggle to forget always seem to be top of mind? Perhaps, it is the pain that is associated with these memories that makes them so difficult to forget? So often, I joke that if I could just have a lobotomy to remove all of the unpleasant memories and experiences I’ve endured in my life, I’d be ‘okay.’ What I’ve come to realize through my journey is that experiences, both good and bad, shape the person that we are. Without these, I wouldn’t have the clarity that I have now or the direction for my future happiness. I suppose that sometimes, we have to lose in order to gain insight, understanding, and ultimately, contentment.
So, what got me thinking along these lines today? Well, I was surfing Facebook this morning and stumbled upon ex-husband #1’s profile. Granted, it has been eight years since our divorce and we have both gone on to live our separate lives. I found myself browsing his photos, many of him and his new wife traveling the world’s finest cities, and I started to reflect on the life we once shared. He obviously is happy now and found whatever it was that he was searching for and felt he lacked during our marriage. I thought about how much I tried and how many sacrifices I made to be a wonderful wife to him through those years. Why wasn’t it enough to sustain his love and commitment? Is it possible for one person to seem right for you, but for you to be the wrong choice for them? It’s matters like these that make love and marriage such a three dimensional concept. You may love someone, and they may love you back, but there is always that third element of uncertainty looming above you. Will your love sustain the test of time or will it one day be deemed ‘disposable’ by one of the parties involved?
I haven’t begun to find the answers to questions like these, and quite honestly, probably never will to my own satisfaction. I suppose, in one regard, I am happy that he has found contentment in his life. But, being completely human and fallible, I do feel a twinge of resentment. I resent that he gave up on us. I resent that he not only discarded our memories, but went on to replace them with new ones. I realize this is part of life’s natural progression, and that in time, I too will do the same. But at present, past memories, both buried and those at the surface, seem to haunt me with endless regret. Even though I accept my life’s winding road with all its twisted diversions, I do get weary from the travel. Sometimes, I just wish that my path was straight and narrow, with a tangible destination in mind; an end goal to serve some greater purpose. That way, one day I can look back in retrospect and say, “Oh, now I understand why that happened to me.” Until then, I’ll continue on life’s journey and hope that a little understanding will come with each new day.
1. I’ve always been in love with new school supplies. Every Fall, I buy a new collection of glitter pens, smelly markers and notebooks. This year I bought a hot pink Trapper Keeper.
2. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a geneticist.
3. I first realized I was a writer when I was eight years-old. I wrote a novelette entitled “Savannah” when I was eleven years-old.
4. I have a habit of nicknaming those close to my heart and rarely call them by their ‘real’ names.
5. I was on a clogging team until I was thirteen years-old. Look out Michael Flatley! Inevitably, it was having to dance to country music routines that diminished my interest.
6. I have loved dogs all of my life, but didn’t actually own one until I was eighteen years-old. He was a mutt I named Sambo.
7. There was only one true thing I wanted from my life growing up: a family and children of my own. I’m nearly 36, have been married and divorced twice, and have no children. My older brother, who vowed a childless life of bachelorhood in high school, is happily married with five little ones.
8. My pantry is stocked with sugar-coated cereals. Captain Crunch with Crunchberries is my favorite.
9. There are no movies in my DVD collection which pre-date 1980.
10. I carry a Barbie lunch box to work every day.
11. On the Myers-Briggs personality inventory, I am an INTJ, with the highest percentage in the “I (Introvert)” category. Out of 100%, I scored 89% as an introvert. This baffles nearly everyone who knows me.
12. I have two true loves in my life: my 11 year-old Cockapoo and Morrissey. I first heard Morrissey in 1988 and have spent 21 years on his trail. Both inspire me on a daily basis.
13. I watch very little TV and usually only tune-in for Nip/Tuck every Tuesday night. I have no explanation as to why I love this program, given that it represents much of what I detest in life.
14. My hair has been nearly every color with the exception of black. I am a natural blonde.
15. My parents have been happily married for forty years. In all honesty, I have never been. My parents decided when we were born to call each other “Mama and Daddy” rather than refer to one another by their first names. Even though we are all grown adults now, they still call each other this despite whether we are around or not.
16. I know very little modern music and fluctuate between two channels on XM Radio: the 80s and classic alternative.
17. My favorite movie is “Somewhere in Time” (1980). I’ve watched it hundreds of times, but sob like a girl each and every time.
18. I detest baked beans, English peas and sweet potatoes. Even as a baby, Mom couldn’t get me to digest these.
19. I’m a bit of a clean freak. I take two showers every day.
20. I am the nicest person you will ever know with the most sarcastic sense of humor.
21. I have travelled throughout the United States, but the one place I long to visit the most is somewhere I’ve never been: England.
22. I am far from a ‘girly girl,’ but I adore gemstones. I have a large collection of stones in nearly every color.
23. I always keep my nails manicured. I’ve found that despite how lousy you may feel, having your nails done always makes you feel like a lady.
24. I fall into the less than 10% of people who actually work within their college major.
25. My favorite alcoholic drink is a Bass Pale Ale. I’d rather have a cold draft beer more than any other tody. My staple is milk. It does the body good.
It’s strange, but I was certain that when the ‘final judgment’ was made in my divorce case, both the husband and I would feel a sense of closure to the entire situation. I must say that I certainly felt a shift in my attitude when the judge uttered the words, “Well folks, that’s it. You’re all done.” It was as if an insurmountable albatross was lifted from around my neck, an incredible weight released from my heart and chest, and I was able to take my first breath in months, if not longer.I drove home from the courthouse reeling from the entire afternoon, recounting the rational nature by which the judge systematically divided and conquered each unsettled item of our marriage.I realize that our legal system must take this approach due to the overwhelming number of divorce cases they see every day, but the manner in which your personal matters are resolved is almost laughable.The judges and mediators trudge through your issues decidedly and quickly, almost as if they have a ‘Divorce checklist’ that they follow and check off as each item is satisfactorily handled.Even though this approach threw me for a loop at first, ultimately, I was grateful that the case was handled much like the dissolution of a business or partnership, rather than an enormous emotional battle of ‘He said, She said.’And, when all was said and done, all of that really didn’t matter anyways.
Four days have elapsed since our divorce settlement and the husband continues to call and text as if nothing much has changed.I’ve urged him to get his affairs in order, begin packing and making arrangements for his departure in a few weeks, but I sense that he is still living in an emotional cloud of denial, regret and sadly, reminiscence as well.He still tells me how much he misses me and my smiling face to greet him each morning and evening, the way I always took care of him, and how I made everything in his life beautiful.Most of the time, I respond either in silence or do my best to change the subject.Despite my feelings or lack thereof towards him now, I do not want to add to his pain or suffering as he is obviously coming to grips with his own demons now.And on occasion, he will tell me how sorry he is that things came to end how they did and that he wasn’t a better husband.Ironically, I do sense the sincerity in his apologies now, even though they don’t change an iota of how I feel about him.I suppose you can chalk it up to the old adage:‘It’s a little too late’ for regret now.
If there is one thing I can pass on to others from this whole catastrophic experience, it is this:
If there is an area of your life or relationship where you know you are falling short, DO something to change it.Don’t expect the situation to miraculously improve if you are unwilling to contribute your share to the betterment of the relationship.If things do not work out favorably or as you hoped, you will have the peace of mind in knowing that you put forth a truly valiant effort.You did all that you could.Once you accept this, you can acknowledge the loss, and ultimately, move on with your life.
And one more bit of unsolicited advice:Don’t say you’re ‘sorry’ once all is said and done.Sorry’s are a dime and dozen, and as Morrissey says…
“Sorry doesn’t help”
Sorry’s pour out of you
All wide-eyed simple smiles
certain to see you through
like a QC full of fake humility
“Oh, please forgive…”
“Oh, live and let live…”
but sorry doesn’t help us
and sorry will not save us
and sorry will not bring my teen years back to me (any time soon)
Forced back, it springs right out
seasoned, you have no doubts
you lied about the lies that you told
which is the full extent of what being you is all about
“Oh, please forgive…”
“Oh, live and let live…”
but sorry doesn’t help us
sorry will not save us
sorry will not bring my love into my arms (as far as I know…)
sorry doesn’t help us
sorry will not save us
sorry is just a word you find so easy to say… so you say it anyway
sorry doesn’t help us
sorry won’t protect us
sorry won’t undo all the good gone wrong
Despite the months leading up to my current marital precipice, I still feel fairly unprepared for all that is facing me.The funny thing about life is that oftentimes, despite how much thought or preparation you can take to plan for the future, there is still so much left in the hands of fate.For someone like me, a careful planner by nature, this element of uncertainty is such a grueling factor to take into account.Yes, I can make all the plans in the world for how I want my immediate future to unfold, but the truth of the matter is that so much of it isn’t up to me.Tomorrow, I will face a judge, present ‘my side’ of the story concerning why I am seeking a divorce from the husband, and hope that he/she will be fair and reasonable.The problem with family and divorce law is that these courts are sadly overflowing with cases.Day in and day out, these judges hear stories that would boggle the mind and most certainly make any judge swear off the vow of marriage for the rest of their lives.Isn’t it ironic how your wedding day, one of the most memorable days of your life, can be turned on its head and become something to be battled out in our legal system?When I think of how nonchalant society has become about marriage today, it does bring to mind Morrissey’s words, “Heavy words so lightly thrown”…a sad commentary, but painfully true.
You see, those who are close to me frequently remark that one of my biggest flaws is that I can be ‘too nice’ and don’t put my needs first.They say that I should ‘get tough,’ and if necessary, be mean to the husband to drive the point home that our marriage is over and that he needs to grow up, stop hassling me, and take care of himself for a change.At first, I thought this seemed like cruel and unusual punishment, so I’ve been nothing short of accommodating to the husband during our separation.Now, as months have elapsed with me living with my parents and the husband acting like a real jackass, I’ve come to realize that this tougher approach is the only way to handle him.At first, I did feel sympathy for the husband, knowing that I am the one filing for the divorce and leaving him behind.But yesterday, when I went home briefly to gather a few personal items, I completely changed my mind.
The husband was at work and had no idea that I would be stopping by my house, so I got to see firsthand exactly how the husband has been living in my home during our separation.I flung open the door and was nearly knocked down by the sweltering heat coming from the living room.I approached the thermometer only to find it set on 80 degrees with the heat blowing full blast throughout the house.Mind you, it was 65 degrees in Atlanta yesterday and hardly chilly or even cold.My beautiful home, my once perfect solace, was cluttered with dirty dishes on every table, laundry slung over the furniture and floor, and trash piled up high enough to perform an impressive Olympic high jump.Not to mention, the stench of dried food and sweaty socks permeated throughout my house, which once smelled of flowers and potpourri.I noticed new stains on the carpet, undoubtedly from the husband not letting the dog out to potty regularly, and instead allowing him to do his business on the den carpet.I surveyed the damage and thought to myself, “Is this MY house?How will I ever get it back the way it was once before?How could anyone be so thoughtless and utterly disgusting?”My appalled state of mind lasted for a few minutes before I felt rage boiling inside of me, imagining my slovenly husband sitting on his lazy ass, trashing my house and running up the gas and electric bills with no regard for the person who will actually be stuck paying for them.And then I thought about how he’s continually pleaded with me through these months not to be thrown out in the street ‘like an old dog’ with nowhere to go.Well, you know what?I simply don’t care anymore.My tenure of playing Mommy to him is finally over and it’s time to reclaim my life.
The way I see it is that the husband is single-handily responsible for sabotaging any remaining feeling I might have had for him.He’s made his bed and must now lie in it.Does that make me a ‘bad’ person for thinking this way…cold-hearted, callous?Well, I hold no degree in family or marital law, but I can hardly imagine any intelligent or rational person seeing the husband for anyone other than EXACTLY who and what he is.
As the old Southern saying goes, I am dreading this week “with a purple passion.” Thursday is the first court hearing scheduled for the husband and me in our divorce case. Mind you, this has been a long time coming and even though the husband has had months to prepare, you would think that I just sprung this on him in the last few days. As the hearing date approached, the husband’s phone calls, text messages and never-ending email tirades have increased ten-fold. It undoubtedly frustrates him a great deal not having me as his ‘beck and call girl’ to rant, vent and make culinary requests of me 24/7. Additionally, being relinquished of the power to wake me at 3am to “talk” when I have to rise for work at 5:30am is, by all accounts, really getting under his skin. Those of you who have been faithful readers since the blog’s launch in September of last year know that I always believe in trying to keep a positive attitude and a sense of humor amidst life’s trials and tribulations. However, even the brightest of stars can creep beneath a lackluster shadow after months of treading water on dark, turbulent seas. I have tried to keep my eye on the end goal, and continue to do so, but navigating a process like this is just about the most difficult thing in the world.
I’ve read many times that a divorce is very much like experiencing the death of a loved one, and having been through this before, I can definitely attest to that. When husband #1 decided to walk the wide road of infidelity and end our marriage, it was the most painfully heart-wrenching experience of my life. Even though it’s been nearly ten years now, the memory of that loss still haunts my dreams far too frequently than it should. And now, facing yet another loss in the marriage arena, I can only imagine how much Xanax and therapy it will take to put Mozziestar back together again.
When you are going through a divorce, despite whether you desire it or not, you feel almost as if you cannot breathe or think clearly at times. It’s very much like being a passenger on a volatile roller coaster ride, with the rises and falls representative of your personal ability to be strong and endure. Some days, you’re at the top of the coaster, feeling strong and certain in your path and what is facing you ahead. And then other days, you can actually feel the wind knocked out of you as the coaster plummets below, with you holding tightly and squarely to the railings. Occasionally, you’re able to catch your breath when the coaster is gliding between destinations, but you always know that the unexpected is right around the corner and that fear grips you every day until it’s finally over. So, those of you who are inclined to think, “Just kick ‘em out and divorce ‘em! You’ll be better off without that loser!” should think before you speak. It’s always easier to give advice and comment on someone else’s life when you’re watching from a safe distance.
Never assume that things for others are as easy as they appear and always be mindful of another person’s situation and circumstances before you open your mouth to speak or offer unsolicited advice. Chances are, the recipient already knows what you are going to say. They are already aware of what and how they should handle things without you giving them a blow-by-blow debriefing. The best thing you can do as a friend or loved one is to support them and give them time to think, grieve, and sort through all the mental clutter that is trapping them. When all is said and done, I (and countless others) will survive and will learn to stand on my own two feet again, even if it takes training wheels at first. Eventually, the roller coaster will stop and we will all finally be able to step off, catch our breath, acclimatize, and most importantly, take that first step forward.
“The Power of Good-bye” by Madonna
“Your heart is not open, so I must go
The spell has been broken, I loved you so
Freedom comes when you learn to let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no
You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress you had to burn
Pain is a warning that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long
There’s nothing left to try
There’s no place left to hide
There’s no greater power than the power of good-bye
Your heart is not open, so I must go
The spell has been broken, I loved you so
You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress…
There’s nothing left to try
There’s no place left to hide
There’s no greater power than the power of good-bye
There’s nothing left to lose
There’s no more heart to bruise
There’s no greater power than the power of good-bye
Learn to say good-bye
I yearn to say good-bye”