Monthly Archives: June 2011

I Would Totally Flunk Monk School

I have been mute for a couple of weeks now. No writer’s block—there are plenty of thoughts and ideas inside my head. They bang into each other and against my skull, seeking an exit and expression. Part of the problem is time; too much spent with counselors, mediators, and car salesmen; not enough leftover for my laptop and me. The other part of the problem is self-imposed censorship.

I want to talk about my marriage and my divorce. I need to talk about my marriage and divorce. I talk about it with my friends, counselor and, occasionally, people at parties I’ve only recently met (dignity is highly overrated). I talk about it. Yet, I need more.

I need to reflect and analyze in a space that is free of the emotional aspects of talking with real live humans. Writing here gives me that space. Like a in a journal, putting down words feels like whispering my thoughts to trees and air and then watching as they float out into the wind. Unlike a journal, I often exaggerate for comedic effect.

The self-censorship comes from my respect for the other actors’ (my costars in this sad little made-for-tv movie that has become my life) desire for privacy. I struggle with how to balance my desire for reflection, analysis and creative expression, with their desire for privacy. So far I’ve tried to err on the side of privacy or, more accurately, on the side of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Thus, for the past two weeks, I have been mute. Nuff said.

I do not like the mute thing. The mute thing makes me yell at my kids way more than I want to. The mute thing gives me stomach-aches, headaches and messes with my poo schedule. The mute thing makes me eat cookies and ice cream sandwiches for 2 solid weeks. I am not a fan of mute. Mute and I don’t work well together.

On a side note….You know what else I’m not a fan of? Abstinence. I’m not a fan of the pledge groups for teens (often, the “instead” options they choose are so sad) and I’m not a fan of it in my life right now. I find it annoying….but that story will have to be continued….on the other blog….at some point.

For now, I’m working on finding a little more time for me and my laptop.

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Survival Mode

This is the year my marriage ends. This is the year I say goodbye to the life I was building and start construction on a whole new one. This is the year my kids will watch more TV and eat more Amy’s frozen dinners than the entire rest of their lives. This is the year I finally learn to cry in front of other people. This is the year I stop living for everyone else and start living for me.

Here are my current strategies for surviving separation:

1. Lowered expectations
I no longer care how much television my kids watch, whether they get to school on time, how often they bathe, or what the neighbors think of my unmowed lawn. The dishes get washed when the house starts to smell weird and clean laundry never makes it out of the baskets.

2. Live in the moment
I don’t know what I’m doing from one day to the next, and that’s okay. Today is Friday and I let both the kids stay home from school because, for the first time in weeks, I actually felt like being a good mom. Hanging out and having fun with my two little dudes is more important than one day of kindergarten and preschool—for all of us.

3. Admit defeat
I’ve heard and read a lot about people feeling they’ve failed when their marriage ends. I don’t feel that; not for me or my ex. We tried—really hard. What I do feel is, defeated. Defeated by problems and differences that are bigger than our ability to mend them; defeated by the fact that no matter how strong I am, how amicably we handle this, how much support I have, divorce sucks the big fat one. It hurts. Fighting that is a losing battle.

4. Ask for help
This is a tough one for me. When I do ask for help I’m usually so freaked-out that whoever I’m asking can barely understand what the heck I’m saying. The only way to get better at this is to keep trying. So far so good.

5. Know who your friends are
Around the time my marriage fell apart, a few of my friendships did too. Some of this was to be expected: married folks with struggles of their own often react to divorce as if it’s a communicable disease. Some was not: one friend who I supported through countless relationship dramas (including her own divorce) bailed on me in such a ridiculous way that I already have sympathy for her future remorseful moment. We humans are weird creatures and highly emotional events make us even weirder. Giving ourselves and others the slack to drift away or run and hide is the best thing we can do sometimes. The good news is, most of my old friends are still around and the new ones I’ve made know what they’re getting into and are better equipped to weather this storm with me.

6. Therapy
The whole family needs it and I’m so thankful we can (sort of) afford it. Writing is my free therapy and you all have joined my text-heavy support group. I’ll admit that I hog the floor a lot—but it’s my blog, so ha!

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