Life, Part 2 – After the marriage

Hello, old friends. Long time! I’ve missed you… while I’ve been busy finding me ; )

As I write this, I’m sitting in the most beautiful room that ever was, feeling the most peaceful I have ever felt, because it is mine – As Virginia Woolf famously called it, ‘A Room of One’s Own,’ – I have my own place, with my daughter. We’ve settled it, and it is absolutely amazing….

J and I separated 8 months ago. It’s strange to think there was a time when I couldn’t imagine life without him, when now all I remember is the abuse.

In June it will be official – and I am so very ok with June coming.

Sometimes I think I’ve found a nice memory – like the special tea he used to make me when I was sick, or the amazing vacations we took to Cuba, Paris, Mexico. But no sooner have I thought about the nice thing and the bad part comes rushing in with it. The way he yelled at me for not appreciating the tea, or the way he treated me during his fits on every one of those vacations….. Horribly. Even on the Honeymoon and ‘babymoon.’

I’ve thought about the many women (and men) who suffer verbal abuse for years and years with no escape and no name for it. I want to do something about it, but not sure what I could do. It’s such a slippery little topic. So hard to define. And the attitudes you face: Did he hit you though? No… So it’s not ‘actual’ abuse then….

Ok.

Patricia Evans’ definition set me free last summer, while I was recovering: Verbal abuse is a lie told to you about you.

Yep. You are not any of those horrible names/descriptors. And how liberating to be free of those lies.

Back then, and for many months before that, I was blogging pretty regularly. I was going through a huge change from not drinking alcohol and kind of rediscovering myself.  But for the past 8 months – barely a word huh?! I hope you are all doing well on your amazing journeys.

I’m quite happy to report that I am dating an old friend turned new flame… somebody who always liked me and I always liked but we were never single at the same time. It’s a total breath of fresh air… and while I am not moving fast I am enjoying it so incredibly much. This delicious new love.

I know that many of the bloggers I read are quite religious. I am not, but am spiritual… and I just have to say… I am so positively sure that God has been watching over me, and I am so grateful for the guiding light that has led me through all this insanity, into the beauty of a healthy new life.

XOX

 

Thou shalt not marry Don Draper (And how to avoid it)

Ladies, you know the type. Charming. Handsome. Intoxicating. Downright magical at times.

His favourite thing about you is less your values and more your assets.

I even called him ‘my perfect prince’ in our wedding vows.

Gahh.

Ohh…. yes. It’s so obvious. Any sensible woman could tell you why marrying Don Draper would be a bad idea. And yet, if you want it, you’re going to do it anyway. Like I did.

I knew it was a bad move, I knew there would be consequences. But I wanted to have fun. And I was flattered that a man like that, liked me……  (damn you, self esteem!)

Unfortunately, I married a Don Draper who’s zest for creative language included calling me every derogatory, demeaning name in the book (from Lazy to Psychopath… and everything in between).

We had a whirlwind tornado of a relationship. It got toxic. It ended. That’s now the past.

I’ve now been separated for about 5 months. And it’s true, as my friend Looking for Chris said, that after the 90 day mark, things move quickly from Phase 1 to Phase 2. I’m happy to report that my phase 1 thoughts of reconciliation (and the miserable feeling these thoughts came with) are now finished. I have no interest in being with him ever again. And I am so very excited about what the future holds!

I’ve come to see that having my whole world hinge on 1 asshole is so much less rewarding than trusting my soul to the great universe and all it has in store for those who are willing to be open to it.

And open to it I am.

So inevitably, my thoughts are beginning to turn to dating – in the future – but to tell you the truth, I would still like more kids…. so I can’t *really* wait that long, although I’m aiming for 1 year. And when it does happen, I don’t want to throw myself into it head first. I want to be cautious, and pay a good deal of attention to the real person I see before me. I don’t want to ignore red flags (again). Or love so much I blind myself (again). And get into situations that aren’t healthy (again). I think you’re getting the picture!

So here’s what I want to know from my next potential human! I’m going to answer them myself as well (I will post) and you are welcome to do the same. I would love to hear your answers to any or all!

These are questions that I think with help me separate true good-human qualities from… shiny distractions and false advertising. In the end, it is what’s inside that counts for everything.

  1. What do you value most highly in an intimate partner (current or past), and why?
  2. What brings you joy?
  3. If you could never do one household chore again which one would it be?
  4. What makes you laugh? (List as many as you like)
  5. Who are your mentors or heroes, and what qualities do they have that you admire?
  6. Under what circumstances do strong negative emotions overtake you (or try to) and how do you handle that?
  7. What do you hide or feel ashamed of vs show and feel proud of?
  8. What do you ‘work on’ about yourself, or what are your weaknesses?
  9. What makes you a great partner?
  10. What brings meaning to your life, generally and specifically (daily or  weekly practices or hobbies, for example)?

119 days left of 2015; 10 self-improvementy thing-a-mabobbers to work on

Earlier this summer I had some unripe peaches on my counter in a bowl. Within a day or so, at least a few of them became rich orange and yellow and ready to eat. I was so impressed! (It doesn’t take much, apparently!)

Maybe, I thought, it’s only time that leads us humans to ‘ripen’ or bloom too, right? But what takes the peach a day might take us a year. And we must work so much harder than a peach!

In the remaining 119 days of this year I want to work on these 10 things:

  1. Practice Compassion – I am working on the idea of forgiveness – it’s hard for me. But compassion is a slight pivot from empathy that I think is healthier for me. I feel sorrow for the suffering of others. Period.
  2. Practice curiosity – I’m interested in building my curiosity back up and using it to explore things with kindness and wonder – instead of fear and anger.
  3. Respond, not react – I’ve been pretty passive aggressive or reactive in my life. When I didn’t agree or didn’t know what to say, I would hide in non-response. I want to be more careful with that. I want to respond….
  4. Let go – of the people pleasing, the people grasping, and the obsessive fears about what other people are going to say and think about me.
  5. Expand the feel-good comfort zoneIt’s such a simple lesson I’ve learned – doesn’t feel good? Don’t do it. Duh… And yet, my whole life, I thought enduring pain was part of what I was supposed to do. No more.
    Now I want to ski and swim and sail and play guitar! I have shunned and feared so many things like these my whole life because I was too cool, too scared, too busy smoking and drinking. Blech! I want more of these wonderful life-affirming things in my life. NOW!
  6. Prioritize, and prioritize again – what really matters today? What matters next week? What matters in a year?
  7. Embrace loneliness – I’m a little bit lonely, since separating, you know? And worse than lonely – I get that feeling where I just kind of miss the assurance that if ‘if this one person loves me, I’m ok’ – but I’m aware that’s a bit of a crock. And I don’t want to run from my uncomfortableness. I have run from that in the past. It doesn’t work. I will stand on my own two feet until the time comes to stand beside someone else on my own two feet. No more flippin’ rescues.
  8. Give back where it matters – I devoted a crap load of my life’s years and Moving Forwardenergy to an angry man who had no respect for me. In the future, that energy will be given to charitable causes, friends who care and that I care about (including you, my blogger family), my extended family who could use an extra sturdy leg around, and myself. Oh, and my job! Yes, my job… they actually deserve more from me.
  9. FocusI’m so very scattered and disorganized…. Oh Look a SQUIRREL…>!
  10. Have funFun? What’s that? Is it scary? Will it hurt? No? Ok then…. I WILL TRY IT!!!!!!!!!

Xo,

Georgey

100 Followers, 100 Thank Yous!

Dearest YOU,  Blogger Community…. Thank You For Following! 

I never could have imagined that an anonymous blog could be so cathartic… and healing… and rewarding. It means so much to me! (Like, maybe too much? LOL)

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Fellow bloggers – you are AWESOME!!!! 100 Followers strong and every single follow has brought me more strength and more courage. 

Through you I am able to feel confident, where all my confidence had been lost.

Through you I am connected, where before I was feeling so isolated.

Through you I remember who I am and see the beauty of being-true-to-oneself through reading about who you are.

Through you I believe that a ‘better life’ is possible, if I believe.

Because of you I feel even more able to stand on my own two feet for the first time in my whole entire life. As long as I can be me, and you can be you – nothing can really go wrong.

I started this blog because I was quitting drinking in an effort to save my marriage. I was also going through the process of publishing my book (still am). And to top it all off, I was adjusting to a new life in luxury travel marketing at a pretty swanky organization (still adjusting, it’s a pretty intimidating world! We have yacht sized conference room tables! ).

But a few weeks ago, my life changed massively and permanently, and don’t think I would have been able to escape my situation without this blog in the background, and all of you somehow rooting for me? I have felt secure somehow, in this nest of non-judgemental bloggers who all have their own human struggles!

I have not regretted. I have barely cried. I have barely stopped mind you!! But I know I am moving in the direction of becoming a healthier, saner, more balanced person – and mother – who will be better equipped to give something back to the world for having gone through it.

In honour of you all I am going to start sharing some of the strength I have been gathering… tonight I’ve decided that I’m going to start volunteering at a women’s shelter. Through all of this, I have been aware that having a great job is a MAJOR difference between what happens to me next and what happens to women without financial security. I pledge to share this strength with others…. and help empower more people to say no to suffering, say yes to life…. and become the beautiful people they were born be.

 

Mammas, don’t let your daughters grow up to be wing men.

Women in their 30’s who are not in a committed relationship fall into a few camps, I’ve started to notice.

4 brands of single.

Too few feel like this:

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Most seem to feel more like this:

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All…… kinda trapped in their own unpleasant situation.

Aww, ladies…. we women…. we tend to get so lost in our own circumstances sometimes. And I kinda wish I could give you a real what’s what some days, because you are so much more capable and beautiful than you think!

So here we go:

#1

Dear friend who has never found love and who doubts she ever will, and who believes that the interesting guys want younger women, and there’s no hope…..

Don’t be the fool who loses her chance because she lost hope. Probabilities state that like, every minute, a bajillion men are getting out of bad marriages, reaching emotional maturity through blogging ; ) , deciding they’re ready to settle to down, figuring out who they are, joining Tinder, taking a chance on life, or moving into the city from somewhere far away. This is happening every day, constantly. To lose hope is to give up on a firehose of potential partners! What you need to be doing is building up your positivity reserves, your sense of self, your inner strength, your accomplishments, and your love for life, so that when your special partner in life comes along – you are both high functioning, fit, healthy, happy individuals.

I know personally that you are funny and kind and smart as hell – please don’t be discouraged or afraid. Live life with the verve you deserve, and love will come find YOU.

#2 

Dear friend who still wrestles with a pushy ex-husband, whose kid is going back and forth on joint custody.

You are still letting him walk all over you. Which first of all, kind of defeats the purpose of divorcing the guy, and second of all, is just not something you need to be dealing with anymore. You are too nice because you have low self-esteem, and you let him walk all over you because you are too afraid to assert yourself. Trust me… I know a thing or two about this syndrome myself…. it’s yucky and no fun. Bad cycle.

Listen… You have no control over him and he has no control over you. You can value his opinions, but not at the expense of your own. You no longer need to be overwhelmed by him and you can and must discern inappropriate behaviour. If he is disrespecting you, you have a responsibility to YOU to lay down a boundary. Don’t go through life being the nicest because you are afraid of being clear about what works and doesn’t work for you. Don’t be bullied and bossed around, ok?!

#3 

Dear friend who loved and lost, who is desperate for a rich prince charming, even to the point that your young daughter is being used as a prop to catch men. 

Buddy… you know how much I love you! You are the funniest, kindest, sweetest girl I know! The life of the party, even when you’re blue. But this man-catching business really has to stop. You are teaching your daughter that her value is to be found in how valuable she is to others. You are teaching her that others determine her worth…. and worst of all, you are teaching her that mamma can’t ensnare a man without help from her cute little seven year old self. So what’s she going to do when she turns 13? She’s going to do what her mamma did… try to catch a man. And she’ll succeed, and succeed again, and succeed too many times to count, until she learns this lesson that you should have taught her my friend…. to love and cherish herself and nurture her inner resources relentlessly. Never stop improving. Teach her that if she doesn’t value herself highly, nobody else will. Please rethink the wingman strategy and replace with proud gender-less independence, achievement, and ferocity. You have so much strength, and are so self-sufficient – teach her what a virtue that is, because it is!

#4 

Dear senior level executive at my office who always looks really great and is a super high-functioning and independent single mom. 

You’re pretty cool you know. Yeah, you know.

I don’t have advice for you because I think you’re rocking it, and I like the way I feel around you. You are empowered. You are boss. You’re not giving yourself up to nobody, nothing, no how. You’re funny and beautiful, and you know you have your pick of men when you decide you want another partner in your life. You’re not there yet. And you aren’t scared. And you aren’t indecisive.

Go you!

# 5

ME!

Dear Georgey who put her foot down on a long cycle of bad behavior and is now unsure what comes next. 

It’s been a long 10 days, the longest of your life maybe, and you’ve grown so strong in such a short time. Sure, you still wake up full of anxiety and don’t feel certain about step, but so far, every step you’ve taken has worked out well. You’re trusting your gut. So stop being scared that you’re going to end up like this person or that person, and that the future will be or won’t be any number of things. All you really have are these single days, these hours, these moments. Be impeccable. Be assertive. Be smart. Use these calm days to think and grow and to love your little girl. Be aware of your thoughts, don’t run from them. Be aware of your feelings, but don’t act on them. Stay the course Georgey, be open to life’s miracles, just like you to told your friend to be.

When in doubt, think of astronauts and Amelia Earheart and the artists you adore who are fierce and brave! Think of the women who have achieved great things, and know that the only thing that separates you from them is not fear but the willingness to DO SCARY THINGS ANYWAY!!!!!!!! 

There is absolutely zero chance that their marital status had any baring on what these women did with their lives…… never forget that. You. Be. You.

Roberta Bondar

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Can love die? Can love be reborn?

Father’s Day today. And I got to be the lose-bag who doesn’t speak to her husband or father. Well… I took some chances today. (EDIT: Actually, they are the losebags for their choices. Not me.)

When we got the copy of the recognizance for J’s restraining order, it said that he could see our daughter if arranged through a third party (not what we were told originally). I gave it a lot of thought and decided that Father’s Day with mutual friends was reasonable and not something I wanted to withold by any means. So our mutual friends acted as that third party today, and since they too have a three year old daughter, I was able to drop her off at their house. I brought over the backyard swimming pool and they had a ball all day. When I picked her up this afternoon, I saw him – just his black t-shirt, crouching over to help our daughter with something. But now I’m haunted.

Addiction strikes. I’ve always loved his arms…… just one glimpse and I’m having fantasies of kissing him – the kind of kiss I know we’d have after a separation like this.

I am feeling weak and unholy tonight. There is something you lose in marriage in the way of desire for the other. Something that thinking they’re gone for good sort of brings back. God – how I miss the times… you know? The drunk times, the wild times…… many, many years ago. We were always a hot and cold, high and low, in love and in hate couple. But imagine that for a moment when it was good – we were hot, high, & in love. 

——-

Whatever J and I were leading up to last Friday; a couple, a disintegrating marriage, an un-couple — I think that us is dead. I’m pretty sure the combo of me putting my foot down, a night in jail, the scare of a lifetime, enforced separation, and the involvement of ‘the law’ — has all worked together to put that old marriage in its grave.

Good riddance, I want to say. But of course it’s never that simple. Does still wanting him like this mean something is alive?

I know that my own soul has moved past that person, that life, that relationship. What I need to do is open myself up to the idea that I will attract new things into my life that are a better and healthier fit. <— healthy thought of the day hahah. 

That sucky old me is gone. Feels like I went through a portal that day that I’ll never come back from. I came into my own. I feel different in my skin. Maybe it’s being away from him too.

Also realized what a co-dependant TWOT I’ve been…. never again.

And that version of him I’m sure is gone. I hope it is, anyway.

And that us – dead. Gone in all of it’s rightness and wrongness, beauty and harm.

If there is ever to be a new ‘us’ born, so be it – and it is my hope, in my heart, that our love might be reborn in some other configuration; one of gratitude and grace, acceptance and camaraderie. That’s the dream. Whether it’s possible between two people whose love went way south and way sour – I don’t know. Maybe we’ll be one of those couples that divorces and remarries. (Probably an hour with the son of a bitch would stop my romanticizing in it’s tracks, but hey –  what can I say?)

I miss my man. If not him, then some phantom or ideal which was – is – my husband.

I’m not feeling vindictive or vindicated, just kind of at peace. And mourning for two people who lost their love.

Heartbeats – the saddest, most romantic song of all time. Heard it while getting coffee this morning. Almost lost my shit.

And another that I’m thinking about today…

True Colours – CYNDI LAUPER
More than once, J would look at me with tears in his eyes when this song came on. It was a shared moment between us, this song – his way of saying thanks for seeing through his bullshit. He used to say music understood him better than people.

Who is he? Who am I? Why is love so complicated? I have been ‘finished’ with so many people before, never to turn back – or even care! I guess a part of me believes we can never actually divorce…. as long as our hearts remain tied. FACK.

You with the sad eyes…. don’t be discouraged….

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On Being brave, even if alone.

It’s been a long 5 days. Probably the longest of my life. It feels that way when every step is truly going to effect the rest of my life. A few of our close mutual friends have… not been calling, let’s say. Their silence has been challenging. I know that it’s probably not easy – these friends all have daughters – to empathize with my ‘marital struggles’ when they see a man who has lost access to his child. Fair. It’s not an easy pill to swallow.

I spoke to a social worker today who said that with ‘guys like this’ who blame and rage, it truly takes the anguish of being away from their family to take responsibility.

And about me – she said I’m doing good, I’m doing good things for my family, but I need to stop worrying about whether he does this or that. Need to stop being co-dependant and that I should go to Al-Anon. (Funny how the alcohol piece is coming back into play again, as it is still part of the cycle, and a big part of the accepting vs. not accepting behaviour).

I did what I did because enough was enough. And even though the results have been really severe and harsh, I feel like anything short of this would have caused harm to our daughter. She can’t be at the other of end of his tirades, she can’t and she won’t be now – because I have protected her.

*deep breath* It’s what I’ve been trying to do for such a long time. Separate from the marriage, the love, the relationship.

Before the incident I had called my mother-in-law crying my face off, driving in the car, feeling suicidal because I felt I had no choice but to live with his abuse forever. I wanted to die. It blows my mind, but that’s exactly what it feels like being stuck to a psychologically, emotionally abusive man who is the father of your precious child. There is no where to run, no where to hide – and no way to stand up and say stop – well, almost no way.

Today my MIL sent me an email that said ‘to know you is to love you’ and told me I was not a ‘mamma bear’ but a ‘mamma swan’…. with a picture of a swan protecting her baby. Her ongoing faith in me is like medicine for the parts in me that have been cracked and need to heal. She knows me, she knows him, she knows that good could come of this and he had to stop raging.

There’s something about standing on one’s own two feet that is so new and so strange to me. Just standing.

Not running. Not orbitting. Not escaping. Just standing firm and tall.

I feel my own goodness inside, warm and familiar – I have missed it. This relationship was from day 1 an act of furious self-forgetting. I wanted this life he offered me, this new world where the real me was like a small crumb that could be cast aside in favour of a fabulous but faux romantic union. We were the couple to beat…. so in love.

But I’m back. And I’ve missed me. A lot! I kind of like me actually!

I have this strange faith today, growing with every hour – that karma and light and justice might show up for me if I show up for them.

I may walk this path alone, but I am ok. I am so much MORE OKAY now. And doing the right thing feels so damn good, if really, really hard… still so good.

Ok.. enough of this serious. I leave you with the defence I’m planning against all evils coming my way:

(Think it’ll work??)  

Xo,

Georgey