Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Odds and Ends

1. This from a Huffington Post article on Happiness I read today:

Can your yearbook photo offer insight into your happiness? Possibly. According to aDePauw University study, adults who fashioned big grins in their school photos were actually less likely to be unhappily divorced decades later. “The explanation with the most support, is that people who smile in their photographs have a more positive disposition and more extensive social network. When life throws us inevitable curveballs, those with a positive emotional disposition and strong social support tend to thrive,” explained study researcher Matthew Hertenstein in his book The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths about Who We Are. If you can’t stop grinning from ear-to-ear whenever there’s a camera around, there’s a good chance you’re actually boasting a positive disposition.

Interesting.  It should have probably been a big red flag that my STBEX had a suicide pact with his friends in high school.  Of course, I didn't have a positive experience in high school either, but pictures of me during that time in life were actually happy.  I was happy despite pretty much hating high school.  I found joy in my life in spite of it, and photos of me would definitely show smiles.

2. This past weekend, STBEX took the boys to the beach.  It drives me crazy that he has to put up a ridiculous number of fB pictures of them doing FUN things every single time they are together.  Then I was fB messaging with an old friend today who didn't know about the events of the past year and she had this to say: "And not to be petty, but even (hubby) commented on the desperation in his constant "happy family" posts. Come on dude!" I feel somewhat vindicated with that comment.  It is desperation.  But what bugged me the most about this weekend's fB photo vomit was that he put up half a dozen pictures of our boys at the beach but not a single one of his girlfriend, who was there with them.  I know she was because the boys have said as much.  I find it sickening and completely disingenuous that he would act as if he took the boys to the beach on his own, when really he had another grownup with with him for the day. Not just any grown up, but the woman that helped tear our family apart.  Not that the boys know that.

BUT THEN… the thought occurred to me tonight, that it's fitting in a way and perhaps it spells long-term doom for them.  How unsatisfying to have a relationship that no one in your life celebrates (if they knew about it).  He certainly wouldn't get many likes for those photos if he had her pictured in them as well.  So he keeps her out of them, because that gets in the way of any pseudo feelings of support he might experience.  Which means that their relationship doesn't benefit from any kind of social support (or very little).  One of the very things that made me sad in retrospect was realizing that he never complimented me or said sweet things about me in any of his fB or twitter posts.  It's not like I was dwelling on it.  I never even noticed it until I looked back at everything, searching for clues of any kind after he finally gave up on us.  That's when I realized the absence of them and the contrast to other couples.  And now, ha ha (yes, I realize this is a little shamefully vindictive) I realize that given this scenario, she's set up to experience the exact same thing!

3. I think I want to ask my closest friends to unfriend him on fB.  There's no need for them to be friends with him.  I think I can ask that of them.  But then I wonder what's the point.  It doesn't prove anything.  Maybe they can sympathize with me more if they are still seeing his stupid posts.  And I just looked through his list of friends on fB.  So so many of those people are disgusted with him.  The majority of the list actually.  They wouldn't invite him to a party of 1,000 of their closest friends.  That's why so few of them "like" anything he posts.   I guess that's just what fB is.

4. The potential buyer who came to view my home two weeks ago is coming back to see it again next week.  This would be so so wonderful.  I'm ready for my new life to unfold.  I wonder when I'll be ready to date.  Certainly not yet.  Not until I'm divorced.  Ugh, that word still sounds so very awful and foreign.  Still.  But not until then at least.  But when, next fall?  Will I be ready by then?  Not sure.  I'd like to be, but then again the potential scene also seems thoroughly depressing.  WILL NOT WORRY ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW.  TOTALLY UNPRODUCTIVE.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Getting up and out

At one point will it stop being hard to get myself out of bed on mornings when I don't have the boys and don't have a certain time I NEED to be somewhere?? Will I always be so sluggish and unmotivated in the AM? It's beyond just being tired. I think I could stay in bed for a couple days. And then that feeling snowballs into feeling badly about myself because of it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Feelings jealous and then ashamed of feeling jealous of my acquaintance who had the same thing happen to her this past summer. She's in such a different place. Of course, she's relatively wealthy by comparison and men are asking to date her, so her experience is different in some ways and I'm jealous. Her kids (older) know the scoop and are giving their father all their anger and shit and she is feeling liberation and this great new life. And apparently they do regular family dinners and go on ski trips and spend all this time together in this new arrangement and she can just slip into this new relationship with him and I'm feeling like there's something less than about me compared to all of that. I KNOW that is not the right way to look at it, but I can't help it. I also KNOW I should not be so quick to judge my feelings and "choose" new ones based on what I want to be feeling, but it's hard. Feeling jealous feels wrong. But I am. I'm terribly jealous of her and her brand new BMW and trip to Turkey planned and ski trips and men asking her out. (And I don't even want a BMW!!) I know I need to have a positive attitude and visualize all that stuff manifesting in my life, but that just seems like one more responsibility to put on my plate. She's not having to work hard to make that happen. Why should I?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"But it's ok, right mom?"

This is such an emotional workout. With exercises like choosing not to have an inappropriate emotional response when while snuggling with my six-year-old he says, "I like Daddy better than you now. I mean I love you both, but you know how when I was little I liked you better, now it's kind of the opposite, but that's ok, right?"
Give me a f'ing medal for putting up with that and still snuggling him and kissing him goodnight. I did tell him that while it was good to be honest about one's feelings that one also might want to think about what would be hurtful to other people. He's something else. So hard to figure out his wiring. So complicated. Mostly he's just wanting to spend more time with his dad. He's noticing that the schedule isn't equal, and he wishes it were more so. I feel like a traitor because I don't let him know that I don't actually want the schedule to change to benefit his father. When he says that he knows the schedule is like it is because Daddy works more and indeed they saw Daddy less than they saw me even before "the divorce," I refrain from clarifying. That's true.  It's just not the entire truth.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Just emerged from my room to find him quiet but not asleep in a sleeping bag on his big brother's floor. At first he thought he was in more trouble. "I wasn't making any noise," he said plaintively. I kissed him, patted him, and told him that was a good solution and that I loved him. He seemed soothed by that. Good God he's a challenge.

No team players here today

All three of my boys were a totally uncooperative all day today from the time their father dropped them off until they fell asleep and that leaves the MC still being uncooperative as he is awake and being disobedient nearly two hours before being tucked in with a lecture, a kiss and hug, a prayer, and no story for doing pretty much nothing that I asked all day long. I've now locked myself in my room so I don't use regretful parenting tactics.
I get that the bottom line is that he wants/needs more one on one time with me, but I'm too frustrated with him to give it tonight.
And then I feel guilty because upon reflection he hasn't had much one on one time with me in the last few days. We had a great vacation, but it wasn't one on one time. In fact, there was probably less of it then usual. And then he was at his father's last night and run when they came back today he got none of it either. And he could have had some today, but we never got to any of that kind of thing because all day they were refusing to unload the car and do a few other simple and reasonable tasks.
So maybe the lesson here is to build in one in one time with each of them when they come back from their father's, even if it's just 10 minutes per boy, before trying to do anything else.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I took the boys to the beach for the three nights.  We had a fabulous time.  A single-mom friend and her son joined us for two of the nights, which was great because I got some quality one-on-one adult time with her and there was an extra hand with the boys.  Most significantly though, I was and am happy.  Unadulteratedly happy (pun not intended, but actually, it works quite well).  I feel like me again.  I don't know how long this will last, and I don't expect it to stay like this.  I expect steps back in this two step forward 1 and 11/12ths steps back journey that I've been on.  But I can honestly say that Thursday as I was driving the boys to the beach and then Saturday morning when I went for a run along the shoreline, that I felt pure happiness.  Not happiness with a side order of grief.  Not, stop and thing about all you're thankful for and get happy - happiness, but life is good and I feel it enough to run down the street not caring who sees me bouncing along, pumping my arms in the air singing as I go.
I haven't felt like this since before the bomb dropped nearly 14 months ago.  I feel like I got my old self back.  The grief is still there, but rather than holding it at bay, it just wasn't strong enough to even try to come out.  Instead I kept feeling (not thinking, but feeling), how blessed this life is.  How much I love my three boys.  How much I love going on a trip, even if it's just to the beach.  How gorgeous the weather was, how beautiful the scenery was, how… on and on and on.  I like my life.  And maybe, just maybe, it's even better than it was.  Maybe.  That's pushing it.  I don't want to get carried away or I feel like I will spiral into grief again.  But just for those moments, it was.
I am beginning to understand that the secret here is in the word AND.  I can acknowledge that maybe this life will be even better without having to give up how wrong this all is/was.  It's really hard to do that.  I feel like being happier (as opposed to just happy), means that he was right, and that I was wrong about splitting up being the wrong thing to do, that this really is better.  And as soon as I start thinking  about it, I focus on how I don't want to give that notion up.  I don't want to give up being right about that.  Why's that so hard?  But I don't want to digress in this direction.  I just want to put down evidence that I've been happy.
Somehow, something about the above question made me think of a teaching Rabbi Y. gave recently.  He was telling a story about the Baal Shem Tov.  It was a longer story about faith than I'm going to relay here, but the bottom line is that the Baal Shem Tov argued with a critic who was telling him that he couldn't accept something, and the Baal Shem Tov argued back that the man "could believe, he just didn't want to."  Somehow that fits in here.  I can, but I just don't want to.  Is there any value in exploring why I just don't want to?  Not sure.

:) But that's a tangent….
This weekend I was an iridescent grateful butterfly.
And there's a showing for my house on Wednesday, maybe this is the one!  I'm visualizing 2014 coming together with beautiful new beginnings.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Healing the broken bits and watching the oh-so-enlightening Tudors

Facebook messaging tonight with one of my dearest friends (who at 40 and childless, just broke up with a lame excuse for a man) and a friend of hers (who is also 40 and whose husband of just a year or two dumped her for another woman)…. I had this to say…
Regarding knowing that we need to move on… If I may sound so enlightened.. (ha ha… that's what comes from having a therapy appointment today)… you'll move on when you move on. The more you push it, the more likely you'll leave behind broken bits of yourself. The more you give yourself the space and time to grief and heal ON YOUR TIMELINE, the more likely your whole heart will move forward. Wow, don't I sound wise. Here's to 6 months of therapy. The metaphor's all my own, but my therapist has been urging me to NOT just try to push past this and make myself "get over it."
Dare I say it, but I like what I said there, about not leaving behind the broken parts in a hurry.
Also, sorry about your well intentioned friend. I've found it to be exhausting and a strange and bizarre shove backwards when people tell me I'm strong or I'm doing well or I'm looking happier. It's hard to explain, but it feels like it makes my ENORMOUS grief less visible or real or present and I want to shout out, "No, trust me, I'm really still hurting here." So, I'm sorry people haven't been patient with you. 
That being said, I can tell you that I am now beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel of grief. It isn't constant, but I catch flickers and glimpses. I'm headed towards it. May you both be headed there on your own timelines as well. Night. 

And then I cozied into the couch to watch another episode of the Tudors.  I feel juvenile, plebian, and even a bit grandiose for saying this, but I can't help but see parallels between the portrayal of King Henry VIII and my STBEX.  I'm not suggesting that my spouse had the same legendary, world-altering significance as that infamous king, but the emotional and mental acrobatics seem disturbingly familiar.  
The writers have done an amazing job showing how a narcissistic mind twists and turns to stay on top, in control, and free of blame, the last being the key parallel. Sometimes there are such amazing manipulations of thought-processes that I'm left stunned at how well the writers could capture what I thought was my own personal gymnastics match in trying to understand my husband's perspective on things. Obviously they weren't life and death issues as in the case of King Henry and folks like Sir Thomas Moore or Anne Boleyn; they were usually much more prosaic every day dealings, but the moves are the same.  Watching how that kind of mind can play the controller and the victim at the same time is disturbingly familiar. They distort reality like a fun-house mirror in order to demand sympathy, be blameless, and get what they want. It makes me realize that my relationship was part of a nameable pattern of behavior that wasn't unique to me and my experience. I thought I was just watching this show for a little escapism and smut factor. Who knew it had some ah-ha moments in store too?!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Last night the boys and I said goodbye to losses in 2013 as well as things we want to intentionally leave behind in the old year. We wrote things on paper and put them in the fire. What boy isn't going to like doing such thing? But not only did they get into the pyromania of it all, but I'm pretty sure they got into the idea as well. Losses included: Great-Papa, Violet (the cat), being a family in one house together, and for me, the STBEX and I as a couple. I didn't think I would share that with the boys, but I decided to do so. To talk about how it's not something that I'm looking for anymore, it's as gone as Great-Papa is gone. It's not coming back. I thought it might be helpful for them to hear that from me so they aren't holding onto empty hope as I know my NO might be.
We also put in things that we want to get rid of such as hitting, yelling, bad habits.  (That one was all NO's.  He came up with that idea, and when pressed to define, he said farting and picking his nose. Ok, then!  Sounds like a good thing to say goodbye to to me too!) I put in being so sedentary, putting other people's needs before my own, and thinking too much about my feelings instead of just feeling them.  We had good conversations about the papers.  My LO and I put "potty in diapers" into the fire, but I'm afraid we didn't have immediate 100% success on that one.
Not to focus solely on losses and things to give up, we also made trees with wishes for the new year. Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish New Year for the trees is coming up in just a couple weeks, so it seems fitting to think about promise and new growth in the form of trees and baby leaves.