Self Help Starts With Focusing Inside of You

Enrollment is typically a word used to describe your commitment to take classes that will end in an accomplishment.  This is why we enroll our kids in kindergarten and later we get to watch them enroll themselves in their first college class.  What I want to offer is more than selling an idea to you.  It’s about getting you to embody a lifestyle, and that’s the cream filled treat I’m after right now. I want to enroll you in living epically.

I did another Facebook Live video.  My goal is to post one a week.  It allows me to get comfortable with seeing myself on camera.  The video cut out because of a weak signal, but I stuck with it.


I see my blog as free therapy for me, and I’ve been asked if I see the value I give others.  I don’t always.  Sometimes, I get encouragement from people that follow along with my shenanigans and their ability to make a deeper connection that resonates with their experience helps me feel like I am helping, but it’s not my goal to be a self-help guru.

I don’t read a lot of self help books, and I rarely get lost in movies or television anymore.  I spent so long escaping my reality into someone else’s imagination that I now choose to face my life head on.  There’s no escaping into fiction. There’s no checking out in a vicarious adrenaline rush or a romance that will warp my ideas of deep and meaningful love.  I face my life and when I recognize a shortfall, I get to take notice and make changes.

I mean sure, I read inspirational bits in small doses (and mainly from Pinterest lately).  Yes, I took the Basic and Advanced leadership courses. What I get from it all is what I take and internalize.  It’s not enough to ask how to live a meaningful life, if I can’t internalize that system of values. Otherwise, I’d remain on the eternal search for the next person who can tell me what to do. To live epicly when you weren’t before means you get to do what you have never done before.  It can be hard, but nothing magical happens when you’re still in your comfort zone.

It helps to be as introspective as I am.  I look at every detail and analyze meaning in everything.  I want to know what the general thought is and then see how it applies to me uniquely. It’s who I am, but I look for it in others. If I have a conversation with a man that can take new information, blend it with what he already knows, and come up with a new perspective or ideal, rather than spitting out the old, separate from the new, he has my attention in all the right ways.  Intelligence it hot.

It’s not enough to tell people that the life I get to live is amazing.  It’s not enough to say anyone can join me, or you should follow in my footsteps.  I know what it means to live authentically in who I choose to be.  I know how amazing it feels.  What I want for those I love is for them to know and understand that they have the potential to live as they want to. They can do what I do because it’s a choice that is their possibility.  The hardest part isn’t when you set out on your journey.  It’s  that moment when you decide to take control of who you are and what that looks like.

img_1890

This sunset summed up my day of being protected in a space meant just for me, below the clouds and out of the rain. The sun was just mine.

For me, this road has been solitary.  I have a hard time accepting dates I don’t want. Why spend my time in a way that doesn’t excite me? I have many people say they want to join me, but it’s beyond their comfort and I often end up alone.  I invited my family to join me on Sunday and they all chose to stay closer to home because it was a rainy day in Los Angeles.  I went out with an umbrella, but didn’t see any rain at all because serendipity is on my side.  (That post is coming soon.) I have a great friend give me the “SWSWSWSW” I’ve been living by.

Some Will.

Some Won’t

So What?

Someone’s Waiting.

I’m not waiting for anything, and that is my authenticity.  You get to decide what yours is.  How epic is that? I can’t sell you on how I choose to live, but I can enroll you in the idea that it’s always shifting and growing in ways I can control.  I can show you that I’m always learning with each day, experience and connection.  You get to do that as well.

Advertisements

Infatuation

In the blowing winds

You’d be my anchor

Together we are the storm

The pressure drops

A hostage to your gaze

The calm you hold

Keeps me grounded

While I hold you high

Fallen leaves circle our feet

Crisp air metering breath

I hiccough in cold

Paroxysms of pain

vying with relief

Found in your arms I brace for it

Clouds shift slowly

burdened by crystalline weight

The pressure falls and I’m lifted

and beaten

collective drops sting

cold and constant

Your touch a searing moment

of indelible memories

Steam rising from heated flesh

met with the pain of the storm

 

I step back and am removed

I don’t live in the raging storm

you need to be rescued of

I don’t dance in the laser flash of lightning

Because I was made for the sun

 

 

Outgrowing Confining Comfort and Why You Can’t Grow Without Space For It

I woke up this Thanksgiving morning in a really bad mood.  I had gotten several texts and messages throughout the night.  When I’m online dating, a lot of activity is always between 1 and 4 in the morning, and just before a lunch break at work.  I’ve written about this. I’m a light sleeper and I didn’t sleep well.  My neighbor started playing soft hits on an injured speaker and singing along to it.  Singing is my happy sound, so I normally wouldn’t care, but my mood was enough to know that I wouldn’t have been in the space I wanted to be in if I had gone to feed the homeless like I was planning to.  Instead I went to see pretty things in an effort to find my center.

I went to Abalone Cove because it was on my list and my sister that hosted Thanksgiving lives close enough that not going would have been a wasted opportunity.  The views were beautiful, and the trail down the bluffs to the ocean was easy.  I sang to the music on my favorite playlist.  I danced alone on the beach.  I picked up rocks and sat on boulders to watch the waves crash.  I stood in gratitude for the life I get to live and the opportunities to feel freedom that land in my lap.

After the hike up, I went across the street to the Wayfarer’s Chapel.  It was a beautiful building with amazing acoustics and beautiful gardens. I was so glad I took the time to explore.  You should totally be exploring.

I made stops afterward on my way to my sister’s house. The Wayfarer’s Chapel is beautiful and Hopkins Wilderness Park was closed for Thanksgiving so I walked through Redondo Beach Pier.  I found ways to recharge and find that inner joy so when I was at my sister’s house, I was happy to pitch in and be present.  I was dancing and singing while completely sober because that was what I chose for the day. It was a really amazing feeling and it carried me to sleep.  I mean, I got home and my neighbor’s celebration was still in full swing, but I was happy to hear the happiness from his party and it didn’t stop me from falling asleep.  I slept through all of the late night texts and messages.

Part of my walk on the beach was the hunt for rocks.  My favorite rocks are unique in color, often rounded by water or weathered in some way so they are smooth and not crumbling and if I’m really lucky, I find a rock that has a hole weathered through it.  I’ve had two before and I’ve given them both to people that matter to me.

The first was given to a friend of mine that helped me work through the major traumas of my marriage and life.  We met in that second leadership class.  It’s about taking leadership of your life and part of that is facing whatever you’ve been running from. He was a safe place to yell and cry and scream.  I left it all in that room when it comes to my ex and my parents. We exchanged our vulnerabilities and he showed me areas that were broken and helped me heal them.  Time doesn’t heal everything.  You need to release it, and let it all come up and out of you.  It was just in September and I cried so hard that I was shocked by the sound coming out of me. I had given him a rock I once found with twin holes, side by side, being weathered in.  They were dips and not fully formed.  I was thinking of a gift to give him and holding that rock and I realized it was us.  Just as I rescued it from being weathered, together, I was being rescued from the hole inside of me and with his help, I found hope again.  It was after working through things with him that I started seeing dates as a possibility for a deeper connection.  Before that, I wasn’t  at all emotionally available.

The second was the first rock I’ve ever found that had a hole through it.  I was unique and beautiful and I loved it enough that for a while I drove around with both in the console in my car.  I would hold them through traffic and they made me happy.  I gave this second rock to a person that is gender fluid.  I think of her as a her, because I identify with her as more female, but when she shifts into more of a male, he is so hot (and way too young).  I offered the rock as a unique gift for a unique person.

Now I have new rocks that will ride shotgun with me.

My favorite take home is this last rock.  It has holes through it from sand and water washing it.  I also has a tiny shell inside of it.  I imagine the shell was much smaller when it first landed in the rock.  As the creature grew, so did its shell.  The rock was protection.  The rock offered a safe place where the animal was protected from prey.  It was able to grow and eat in safety until one day it was too big.  It was too big for the life it was meant to lead, so it left and created a new shell and probably didn’t need the same protection because it was bigger and stronger than it was.

This could be a metaphor for the life I’ve had as a wife, but it’s so much bigger than that.  We grow as people when we’re protected, and eventually the situation that protects us becomes a prison instead.  It’s the blurred line between supportive love and enabling co-dependency.

I love the life I get to live.  I love feeling independent and free.  I feel so much peace in knowing that I’m not the only one responsible for my kids and that when they’re gone, I have the freedom to figure out what I want my life to look like and who I want to be.  Without the safety of that rock, I would have never known what it was to not be able to be who I am and stand where I do.  I occupy the spaces that matter to me.  And it feels really good to look at this rock and know I’m no longer that person that was confined by my protections.

What’s Your Contribution?

A few weeks ago I showed up for a friend.  She’s a super talented actor and she had produced, directed, and put her mark all over her Unsupervised Sketch Show at Bar Lubitsch in West Hollywood.  She gave me a solid block of laughter on a night I really needed it.

We all have moments when we see something we really want, and then we’re blindsided by the other side that we tried to refuse to see.  We’re smacked with a painful and dirty reality.  But that night she helped me laugh.  When the show was over, she gave me a hug to hold me up and together and I woke up the next day feeling like this wasn’t a funk I wanted to stay in.  I woke up determined to shake that feeling.  I stood in front of my bedroom mirror and outloud said to myself, “what is your contribution? You don’t get to be a taker, stuck in your head and wallowing in disappointment.  What are you going to contribute?”

I got to work and did a first live stream that was about contributing, and not about being stuck in my head.  This moment came on Veteran’s Day and the weight of the remembrance I was in was profound.  This came just after President Elect Trump won the election.


The point for me was it’s not enough to sit in my funk.  How could I be the person I wanted to be if I wasn’t actively contributing to the world around me?

Last night I was at Blind Dragon Karaoke but I was an hour late because I got to show up for a stranger in Roku.  Yeah, I’m embracing childcare so I can go clubbing on a Monday night like I don’t have a full shift the next morning. I could complain about sitting in a bar when my friends were in another venue all together, but I believe everything happens the way it’s supposed to.  We cross paths with people all the time and it was a moment for me to give to her.

She was kind in leaning in to tell me that I’m beautiful.  She was too.  She was a tall leggy blonde and going through her own moment of disappointment.  I encouraged her the way I would encourage myself.  A few years ago I would have been anxious about missing out on what I had planned to do, but I felt like I was where I needed to be.  By the time I left, she was on her way to being just fine.  I was able to enjoy my friends for a while.  I sang (badly) to a few songs (and had an epic time of it). I checked back in with her on my way home and she was fine.  I headed home and was in bed by 12:15 and I felt like it was a terrific night.  I felt like I had given of myself in authenticity.

My goal as a person is to be brave, in spite of fear.  Courageous in spite of physical discomfort.  Heart led, so my needs are never greater than those of the whole . . . While not becoming a martyr because I can’t contribute if I’ve sacrificed myself.

Sometimes showing up just means you arrive in the authentic space you occupy. I was exhausted yesterday, but determined to get a sitter and show up for birthday celebrations for people I know and love. I showed up in exhaustion.  I showed up in transparency.  I showed up with an open willingness to take what came as a gift offered to me and a gift in which I get to give of myself.  I was met in a room full o f love and joy.

What do you contribute outside of what you feel? It’s so easy to get stuck in your head with the things said to you or the things you can’t quite comprehend.  It’s easy to look at what you are used to and disregard or dislike anything that is foreign.

An easy way to contribute outside of yourself is to reach outside of yourself.  Sometimes giving is as simple as giving a smile, or a hug.  You don’t have to fake a feeling you don’t feel, because being open in vulnerability allows others to reach into something they feel and offer empathy.  You get to receive that. Sometimes there’s a disconnect and you aren’t met when you reach out, but that’s okay too.  You get to continue practicing living with your heart outside of yourself where it can do the most work in creating deeper connections with your world, removing biases and fear. You get to be your authentic self and transform the prejudices against your exterior from a position of the authority of your birthright.

Reinventing Yourself

I watched a beautiful friend blossom in a few short months, and this transformation is one that inspires me.  We met at the first leadership class I took in July.  I had just started a new job.  I was still going stir crazy with way too much down time at work to make me happy. I’m still getting on my feet as a single mom and near 40-year-old starting on a new career.  This young woman was a petite powerhouse.  I mean, she looked solid and muscular.  She was beautiful.  And she was nervous about the company we were in.  The class I took was a privilege. I’m fully aware of the gift I was afforded. At the time I was stll skeptical about the class.  The way things fell into place put us in a room with actors, lawyers, doctors, business owners, nurses, news anchors . . . It was a mosh pit of success. I was an odd one out, but that is who I embrace on most days.  She was lost.

We were standing outside of the room on the way in from a break and she told me she didn’t know if she belonged there, she was only a scientist. Seriously.

I remember thinking how amazing it was that she was a scientist.  I dropped my geology major because it was too hard for me to do it well.  Literature was easy for me.  I was frustrated that with my education in Los Angeles, I couldn’t get a better job because of my lack of paid experience and she was feeling unimportant because she was a scientist.  I got past my shock and told her that she was a badass.  I gave her a minor glimpse of the amazing I saw in her. Fast forward to last night when I showed up for her graduation from the third leadership class, and she embodied all I saw in her when I first met her.  She was no longer ashamed to be “just a scientist,” but has already set things in motion for medical school.  She is fierce and the transformation in her life is encouragement.  Being able to see her grow the way she has in such a short time, and for me to be inspired by that is her feedback.

On my lunch today, I shared a Facebook live stream because I choose to get comfortable with speaking in front of a camera.  I used to be such a ham and lately I’m more like chicken.

I’m a mom that would have given every single breath, vision and dream for my family, at a radical personal cost because this is what I thought motherhood meant.

My parents always did what was necessary.  They worked, they were present.  To this day, I’ve never seen either of my parents drunk or high.  They embody sacrifice and putting their children first. The last almost 16 years has taught me that being a sacrifice to my family doesn’t serve any of us.  I believe I would do what I can to be the mom and example I need to be for my kids, but that means learning to balance self care with caring for them so I can continue to care for them.

Just this weekend, my son wanted beef jerky.  I had passed on that bag for myself just the week prior.  It looked good, but I was being frugal and decided I didn’t need it.  Kid2 asked and before he could finish his sentence I had already approved. I debated and denied myself, but offered it freely to my child.  I’m not doing anyone any favors by showing my family I don’t matter.  I’ve done it long enough.  I have been getting a sitter to show up for me, so I could show up for friends lately, and soon I’ll be getting a sitter to show up for me, so I can show up for me. I’m working on fighting for every choice like I matter because I do.

I get to make space for my own joys and pleasures along what I do when my kids are with me and when they are away.  I don’t need to be a martyr.  I can make sure my kids have what they need and celebrate with friends because that’s the point of a sitter.  I don’t need my time to become secondary to the idea that my time is only valuable in the context of a date night with their Dad.  Grocery shopping or a Target run used to be my ideal space for “me time” because I had no idea there was more to life than being a mom and a wife.  My enjoyment of my life is just as important as theirs is.  It’s a valuable gift that they would see that I am not secondary or sacrificial to my family. I don’t need to stay home with the kids and make space for someone else’s dreams and hobbies. Happy wife, happy life takes on new meaning when I’m in charge of my own happiness.

I am in the process of a divorce from a marriage that has lasted 42% of my life.

I get to decide what being single means.  I get to figure out what I like to do and go do it.  This usually looks like hiking and museums with some really great food thrown in and watching live performances in Santa Monica. This looks like those incredible hugs from that really hot guy with washboard abs that managed to convince me my curves and softness are sexy and that I’m beautiful. Or it’s coffee with that one man who never skipped leg day from Uruguay that said my name in a way I can’t copy.  He made me laugh and that was enough. It’s late night texting that means I don’t go to bed until 4 in the morning with the bald man with soft crinkles for laugh lines and a deep, penetrating voice that tickles unexposed fantasies, and that’s okay because when I wake up at 6:30, he’s still the one on my mind. It means spending the night out alone because dating myself never disappoints me.

I get to learn how to budget my finances.  I get to prioritize purchases that I value.  I can buy a game for my kids, or budget and plan for school pictures or jewelry if it sounds like something I would like.  I don’t need permission or to worry about picking a fight.  There is no more fighting or my passive aggression.

I get to decide how I want to raise my kids when we’re in my home.  I get to let them test their boundaries without feeling like I’m coddling and overbearing because someone else thinks I need to be. I get to teach them to cook and test their independence in doing so when they’re ready.

I’m starting a career from spending most of my adult life as a stay at home mom.

I love my job, but I get to take my time figuring out what my career should look like, and being picky about my next job.  This morning that meant I turned an hour long interview into 8 minutes, because I knew they couldn’t offer the work environment I thrive in. I had no reason to waste another second of my time impressing them when they can’t offer what I want.  In dating, it’s text messages that look like this:

“As beautiful as you are, it feels unfair to test out the fact that I know it won’t work.  We want different things and as much as I might enjoy your company in the short term, you aren’t the one for me.  I hope you find who you’re looking for.”

I get to figure out what brings value to my work and what solidifies my work ethic.  I can say yes.  I can say no. I’m in a position to ask for what I want and there’s nothing forcing me to stay in the present aside from the fact that it’s what I have been doing.  I’m not happy with a portion of something, so I’m not happy with the whole and I don’t need to sit and complain because I get to change things.

This means you get to reinvent myself.

If you find the people you surround yourself drain rather than energize you, it’s time to create space for yourself.  You don’t have to apologize for taking care of yourself.

If you don’t like how superficial your connections are, you get to reach out in vulnerability and accept support and encouragement with genuine connection.

If you don’t like your job, look for a new one.

If you don’t like what your bank account looks like, see where you can improve things.  Is your bank offering cash back or an annual percentage yield? Are you pinching every penny? What are you prioritizing and is that serving you or costing you more?

If you don’t like what you look like, change it.  Get a haircut.  Start exercising slowly enough that it isn’t a struggle to increase what you started with.  Change your diet.

You are in control of your life.  If it doesn’t look the way you want it to, the only one that can change it is you.  You are your only road block and your only motivation and the idea that you keep doing the same things because it works is a fallacy because if you are unhappy, it’s not working.

If you feel fear, doubt, or stress, you should know you created it.  It’s in your head, can’t be measured or removed by anyone other than you, and it only hurts you when you allow it to manifest physically in your body.

Live the life you want by choosing better.  Even if it’s one small step in the right direction each day, it’s better than sitting in pain, complaining that you aren’t living epicly.

Learning to Lead My Sons on a Hiking Trip

I was determined to take my boys hiking today.  I felt we were due to physically work out what it feels like to be a family in transition while we looked at pretty things. We went to Malibu Creek State Park.  Kid1 has had a rough couple of weeks with school, transportation to school and my childcare arrangements after school.  Kid2 needs me to step up our physical activity for the sake of his health.  His last physical revealed a 20 pound weight gain in 6 months. Kid3 is emotionally suffering and trying his hardest to be resilient.  It looks like aggression against Kid2.

As we set out for the day, Kid1 was determined to show me his defiance by sitting in the car when we stopped for drinks and snacks.  We got to the park, and headed out and he was determined to lead, not knowing where we were going.  He was kicking at trees and rocks and I decided to let him go off, because he has enough of a sense of self preservation that he wouldn’t go off trail.  There were several people on that trail and for the most part at the beginning, I could still see him. At one point, he doubled back to say he wanted to go home.

He set off again, and I kept pace with Kid2 who was going the slowest, and setting my pace.  Kid1 was thundering off, and Kid3 was anxiously going back and forth between us as Kid2 and I were bringing up the rear.  As people passed me, I asked if they had seen a teenager in dark colors wearing a beanie up ahead, and everyone noticed the angry teen that wouldn’t acknowledge them.  We were heading to the Rock Pool, and it was a left turn that happens well before the MASH site (which I might just experience on my own one day).  Because the MASH site was straight ahead, I was sure Kid1 was continuing straight ahead.  It’s what I did when I went to Runyon Canyon on my own.

Kid2 was starting to suffer and I didn’t want him to continue that far beyond where I planned to take them.  I had him sit on the trail and rest, and told him I would go find his brothers.  He was happy to rest, and within a short while I caught up to Kid3.  He had already turned back, to make sure I was okay.  I had him sit with his brother, and started running along the trail in search of Kid1.

I can’t tell you the last time I ran, because it’s not my jam.  But I ran.  I was running on a dirt trail, littered with dips and rocks.  I was light on my feet and I felt powerful.  It might have been my irritation.  When I caught up to Kid1, I had an earful for him. I let him know that his anger and stubbornness and unwillingness to seek direction made his entire family walk farther than we needed to. I acknowledged my failure to lead him in staying with the son that needed more physical support and encouragement.

I was this powerful gazelle, running along the trail toward him, but in stomping anger as we walked back together, I slipped on a rock and fell.  He was angry enough and probably afraid of what used to be normal that he didn’t laugh at me.  I told him I appreciated it, but not laughing told me how upset he really was.

We headed back and Kid2 and Kid3 were walking toward us because they wanted to catch up to us.

The details aren’t nearly as important as the lessons.

  1. The last person sets the pace because we’re a team has always been my ideal, but it’s not enough when I’m alone with the kids and there isn’t another adult to lead us.I need to take us places that are not just my choice, but destinations they would like to explore.  I need to internalize the joys of the outdoors and exercise for them and I can’t do it when I’m forcing my agenda.
  2. Kid1 is just like me in his need to stubbornly go off on his own. I normally look at it as adventure but the cost to my team as a leader isn’t always fair.
  3. Kid3 is a mother hen, worrying about everyone.  I spent the day trying to show them it’s my job to be mom, casually intervening when they tried to correct each other. I told them they should be getting in trouble together and they are not eachother’s parents. They can’t take my job.
  4. I failed Kid1 in not reining him in and leading him more closely. He is not ready to lead and I shouldn’t have let him. From where I was, I didn’t see it as leadership, but when he hit that fork that he didn’t even see, and I had to chase him down a good mile or so, it became clear he needed me to set boundaries. On the way back, he was allowed to go ahead as long as he waited at every single fork in the road for my guidance.
  5. More preparation wouldn’t have been terrible.  I kept looking at the progression of the sun with our late starting time and wondering what would happen if we had to hike back in the dark and I didn’t have a flashlight. We got back well before the sunset and watched it from Point Dume.
  6. I’m fearless in life except when it comes to my boys.  I was worried about the little ones when I was off and chasing my oldest.
  7. Hiking isn’t a family trip for good reason, and our future compromise is museums. I couldn’t enjoy the beauty on the hike. It felt like exercise and not fun.
  8. I’m in better shape than I thought I was and running doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

When we were heading home Kid3 went from a tantrum to complete break down and it looked like aggression toward Kid2 and a meltdown on the floor of the car as we parked along PCH.  Being near the ocean was a bonus because we got through his moment and the ocean and the music I played in the car allowed me to shift back into joy before we got home.  As a family, we had a collective break down.  I nearly lost it, yelling at Kid3 and it was a look from Kid1 that gave me a moment to pause.  (Mom fail.) Kid1 told us about the many things stressing him out the last two weeks. (Bonus for him finding his voice!)  Kid2 is always the King of a Delayed Reaction, so I get to see what that will look like later.  I was losing it and watching the ocean to find it.  Once we were home, Kid3 admitted the divorce isn’t sitting easily with him and that was part of his need to cry and kick his brother. We’ll be heading to my mom’s house to hammer it out with that 100 pound heavy bag later.  He said all he was ready to and I’m sure we’ll talk again later.  We always do.

We’ll be okay, but I get to learn from what today looked like.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 or The Day I Filed For Divorce

Day 1

I went to the courthouse with my stack of documents and I did it.

I filed for divorce.

Last week I met with an attorney I found through the LA Bar Association.  He was older and kind, and we went over the forms I had already filled out.

The good: Free legal advice and direction.

The bad: He wouldn’t represent me.

The sad: He wouldn’t represent me because his retainer was $3,000 and I think he felt bad about asking that much of me.

The inspirational: He thought I should be a legal secretary because I have the chops for it as demonstrated by my preparation and understanding of his explanations.

I had always planned to file for my divorce on my own but the love of family means I get their wisdom from their own experience.  I was consulting an attorney out of fear because mistakes happen and when I arrived I was intentionally receptive and ended up with free legal advice.  I left his office feeling confident again.

I love what I do for work.  I’m passionate about it and I love learning more.  My job pays me like they don’t need me to stay because they don’t seem to value the training already invested.  This meeting prompted me to really consider the direction I should be shaping my career into.  At the same time, being undervalued means I qualified for the fee waiver.  Yay for fighting with that poverty line!

I walked out of that courthouse with the weight of the past two years lifted.

It’s been over 20 months since March 11, 2015 when I was told my marriage was over.  There was no warning and I was in shock . . . but 20 months? The time has become a toddler.  I’ve gone from a crying mess on the floor unable to care for myself, to a toddler that doesn’t know when something might be out of reach.  I can see it so it must be meant for me, right?

I walked to my car feeling free and beautiful and courageous.  This joy carried me through my day where my news to a couple of co-workers was met with high fives and concerns of “are you okay?”  I am great.

It became a day of celebration and that looks a lot like self care.  Is it possible that self care is just a personal celebration? It felt like it. In the last couple of months I have gotten to a place where the mani/pedi’s have slowed down.  It’s about responsibility and that looks a lot less frivolous.

I had a breakfast of mojo potatoes smothered in nacho cheese and bacon.  Lunch was albondigas soup.  Dinner was Squash soup with a dessert of creme brulee.  It was epic food joy all day and a celebration of who I am with every single bite.

img_1705

Mr. Marcel on the 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica

I stopped at the Pandora store and asked for a divorce charm. They don’t make those.  They should. I thought about the 16 with a circle around it.  It was 16 years of marriage and now I’m embarking on a new adulthood.  In the end, I decided on an angel wing because I was flying high and loving the freedom I was walking in.

I walked back to the pier with this song:

https://itun.es/us/KWHpJ?i=591273015

On repeat. I stood on the pier with icy wind blowing consistently at me. It was strong enough that my hair was uplifted and held away from my face. It was a cool caress and I remembered the night my tribe lifted me high above their shoulders … when I had given up my pride and stepped into vulnerability, being seen and receiving their support when I stretched beyond my comfort but did not break. I heard the crashing waves and I was moved by the emotion of knowing that once again I was being stretched, and I would not break.

img_1704

Pandora Charm for the day I filed for divorce.

I kept the news primarily to myself.  I didn’t warn anyone of what I was planning all week.  I didn’t even tell my siblings until the next day.  We all knew this was coming, but I wanted it to be a solitary journey. I only told two people that know my ex, and while I didn’t get a response on a voicemail I left, I did get encouragement in the form of a message from a great friend.  He announced a pregnancy with his his wife, and I messaged him my congratulations with my news.  He said, “Sorry about the divorce but it’s for the best. We both begin new chapters.”

I filed for divorce and it wasn’t in anger or pain.  I filed and it wasn’t at a time when I was dating anyone or falling in love.  It’s not about another person in my life.  True story: I realized without a doubt I was being catfished Monday.  Tuesday I was online dating again, embracing whatever that looks like.  I decided to take the good to grow from, and the bad becomes an Instagram share for laughs.  Bring on those dick pics and prepare for my snark.  Wednesday I set up a coffee date for after work at 6:30 and a different one for 9. It was just a meet and greet, yet I was stood up by both.  Dating sucks, but it can’t be worse than staying in a dead marriage. I’m ready to embrace my freedom. Thursday morning I filed for my divorce. I filed for divorce and it was a moment to take back my independence and it felt like freedom. I don’t feel like a victim to his decision anymore.

I walked from the Promenade back to the pier, and I could hear a man on a bar patio trying to get my attention by yelling loudly enough through my blasting ear buds so I could hear his appreciation of my walk and I kept going because this day wasn’t going to be marked by meeting anyone else.  Imagine this: My gray and pink CSULA hoodie, bootleg jeans, Ugg boots, and still I still walk in a way to turn heads.  This day was all about me. This was one of the best days to be me.  I felt so alive.

Day 2

The next day dawns beautifully and I spend it practicing writing my name again, like you do when you fall in love with a new person, but I’ve known me my whole life, and this name is one I was born into.  I can’t get my signature to look like it used to look because my hands are no longer the hands that used to write it.  I’ve grown in ways and changed in ways and my signature cannot be the same because I am not the same. Is it possible to be who you were but not who you were because the old you is gone and you’re a new person?

I vaguely wonder if I should check out where his copy of our divorce papers are through the online tracker.  I wonder when he will be served because the sheriff will do it for me, but they have a few weeks to get the job done and I decide to enjoy this space I’m in.  I text my siblings and was received in love.  I reach out and talk to more friends.  I’m greeted with hugs and high fives and congratulations as if my child has just been born but there are no tears or fluids or blood.  It’s clinical in its neatness.

img_1718

My kids return home and I get to face transition day energy shifts.  I debated telling them about the filing. They knew it was coming, but do I tell them it’s started? I get to share my joy in a way that will shatter the hope of their yesterday as minimally as possible, but I know the devastation. I’ve lived through what I’m doing to them.  In the end, I realized the sheriff’s are serving him and I have no idea when that will happen.  I don’t want them freaked out, so I explained what was happening, waiting for things to dissolve into tears.  They accepted it.  They took it matter of factly, and were back to telling me about their days and the things they want.  Kid1 was angry toward Kid2 who was in a loud nirvana and Kid2 was fighting it out with Kid3.  It could have been my news.  It could have been the transition and the fact that each one is a boy and that’s what boys do.  Either way, I’m present and we’re listening to each other.  It’s a good space to be in.

Day 3

We had a physical day of exercise and feelings came up and I gave space for them to come out.  The boys are feeling the pain I expected, and being present is all I can do. I realize the weight of my news in terms of being with their Dad, knowing details and him not knowing them.  I don’t want them to feel like they’re keeping secrets, so I tell him what I’ve done so they don’t feel they have to.  This was met with gratitude from the kids, and a better reaction from the ex than I expected.

When things first started shifting beneath me, my sister told me I’m stronger than I know and I get it now.  I feel it now.