Four

Photo from outside the courthouse August 9, 2017

Four years ago, at 4:19pm my high conflict, 748 day divorce battle was officially finalized by the judge.
Happy 4th Divorcery to ME!
Each year on this day, I celebrate the end of my over 20 year marriage and beginning of my new life. If someone had told me on that day in 2017 how much would change in my life, I would never have believed them. I actually laughed that day and thought that freedom just felt good enough for me.
Over the course of our 20 year marriage, my wasband was unfaithful numerous times and I always looked the other way. I knew it would never last long, and truth be told, I was focused on my kids and did not have the time or energy to deal with his nonsense.
I have told my story many times now and continue to tell it as to educate and empower others. Earlier in the week I wrote a post about an event in August of 2014 that put things in motion. He yelled at me in public. He was comfortable enough and empowered enough to demean me in public…..and that was pivotal. I spent the following month questioning everything.
October of 2014 was our 20 year anniversary and we went to dinner (his favorite place not mine) and midway through dinner, several of his buddies joined us. Yes, I was celebrating my anniversary …3 men and me!
As the days and weeks progressed, I started asking more questions about money, bills, and changes on credit cards. I started asking questions about work hours and over time. I started looking for proof that the cheating was not in my head this time….that I was not “crazy” (as he called me over and over)
Christmas that year lead to physical battles over checkbooks, bills and cashflow. I was not allowed to have access to the checking account because I was “bad with money” and given an allowance even though I was a full time working professional.
Spring brought more bills, more utility disconnections, more unexplained (lies) charges and more fighting. I continued to compile evidence.
May of 2015 was D-Day. I confronted him which led to a huge fight. I moved his things down to the ‘extra’ bedroom. We lived in a war zone for weeks until I went away for a few days with the kids. When I got back he had taken several plastic tubs of clothing and left.
July 23, 2015, I filed for divorce and he was served.
748 days later, our divorce was final.
1,461 days later, I am free.
The past 4 years have not been easy. I have done a lot of work on myself and made a great deal of changes in my life. I have given up on worrying about other people’s expectations of me. I have given up carrying baggage that is not mine to carry or is just too damn heavy for me to carry alone. I have given up the feelings of shame and failure that often accompany being divorced. I have given up the anger that I was not enough. I have given up the sadness that I wasted years of my life. I have given up regrets.
I am slowly reclaiming parts of the woman I once was and rebuilding my life. I am creating new and better relationships with each of my children as well as my friends. I am finding new things I love about teaching and returning to my roots in education. I am realizing that I have gifts and talents that need exploration. I am constantly being reminded by those that love me that I am worth my own time, effort and love. That I am worthy, I matter and not to devalue myself.
I was asked recently if I would date/love again. The answer is complicated. It is not a simple yes or no. I am in love with my life (even the shitty, difficult, uncomfortable parts) and enjoy my own company. I would love to share my life with someone, however, that person would have to add value and not complicate the life I have and am creating for myself. That is a tall order but I believe that person is out there. I have not given up on love!
Each day of this new life is a gift and I do not take even one minute for granted. I try to live it all to the fullest. I take chances and make mistakes. I learn from my mistakes and move forward…one step at a time. This 4 year Divorcery is one of the best yet! I continue to grow and make progress! Each day brings more joy, more love, more happiness!
So today, just like each year on this day, I remember the courage it took to free myself. I remember how hard I fought to save my family. I remember how hard I fought to save myself and create a better life for my children. I remember the mistakes I made and all the lessons I learned in the process. Instead of focusing on the pain, I find comfort in the good times and growth. I know, deep in my soul, that I am stronger and capable of so much more than I ever imagined. I am moving forward, focused on the future.
If I can do it, anyone can! I am here to inspire, assist and support you in any way possible!
I am courageous. I am brave. I am empowered. I am free.
And you can be too!
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Timehop

I have a love/hate relationship with Timehop and the daily memories it shows me.
I hate it because it reminds me of memories I would rather forget but I love it because it reminds me of all the good times and, more importantly, how far I have come.
Today, today was one of those not so great memory days. It is funny because yesterday something triggered this memory. I scrolled Timehop today to see the photos of that day and it all came flooding back….like watching a rerun of an old TV show I had seen a million times.
It was a Tuesday. My girls were already in school and we had to take a drive to take the jet ski out of the water near my parents home as it was the end of the season. My wasband, young son and I loaded up and drove out there. We spent the day on the beach and I took one last ride on the jet ski to end the season.
As was the routine, I walked up, got in our truck and headed to the boat slip while my wasband drove the jetski to meet me there. It was already an odd day and we had not spoken much but I no clue what was coming.
I pulled up and waited for him. When he arrived, I started to back the trailer up as I was instructed. I don’t know if y’all are aware of how difficult it is to back up a boat trailer while driving a full size suburban when you can not see said trailer. It was as if someone flipped a switch on the wasband. He started screaming, yelling, cussing and berating me. To be honest, this was not new but this was the first time in public. Other boaters and the harbor master just stood there. After a few minutes the harbor master walked over and calmly asked my wasband if he needed any help. He told him no and brushed him off. The HM then walked past the front of the truck, looked at me and mouthed,
“You ok?” I nodded. All the while, my son is laying on the floor of the back seat trying to hide.
Could the wasband jumped in the truck and backed it up himself? Yup…..but he didn’t.
Once the jet ski was out of the water, he complained that there was not a dry/unsandy towel for him to dry off…..
I suggested that we go eat something thinking he was hungry. We went to a local Brewery and when we were not allowed to sit at the bar because our son was with us? Well, the hostess was well aware of his displeasure. I took my son to the rest room and was again, asked by a stranger (the hostess) if I was ok. I said yes and made excuses.
We drove home in silence for over an hour until I apologized for suggesting the trip and not backing up correctly.
I knew something was wrong that day. I knew my marriage was in trouble. What I didn’t know was that it was not my fault. My wasband was already having an affair at that point. It would be a few months before I would have face that reality.
That was 7 years ago. The jet ski was parked in the garage that day and never used again. It was sold 5 years later after we were divorced. The battle and sale of the jet ski is another story for another day.
Back to my love/hate with Timehop. I was determined to create a new memory for today. So I took one long look at that old picture and it clicked. I needed to go to the water. I packed up my bike and headed to the lakefront. I rode for 20 miles along the Lakefront, taking in the beauty of the city and all the while releasing that woman that I was on that day(and other days like it). I repeated over and over, “You have come so far. There is peace in your solitude. There is happiness in your heart.”
I stopped on the ride back and looked out over the choppy lake water. I realized that I had weathered the storms that were meant to sink me. I had learned to keep my head above water, swim and eventually surf all the waves of emotion. I took a beep breath and forgave myself for that day. I made a promise to myself that I would never again lose my sense of direction again. I promised myself that I help other women like me find themselves again. I promised to love myself again.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Tired

November 8, 2016

I’m tired.
I don’t know how to do this “divorced mom” thing.
Hell …I can’t even get divorced.
I am jealous of the relationship my kids seem to have with “her”. I taught them to be kind to all but have a hard time with them being kind to her. I do not want to be bitter but I am. I can’t stand that “he” waltzes in and out of their lives. According to him, parenting is my job however “he” and others feel that I am doing it all wrong…..and they feel free to share that opinion with my children.
I live in a house that is falling apart and filled with crap I don’t like it don’t want/need. I feel the walls closing in on me here. I used to love the holidays and now I hate them. I see the stress of it all on my kids and it kills me.
I’m tired of secrets and lies. I want to live transparent but my kids are still stuck in a vortex of crap.
I feel out of shape and unattractive. I don’t want to leave the house so how will I ever date? Wait….Dating is so much work and I’m not really interested. My friends are all busy with their own lives. Getting together with anyone leads to the “pity look” then the “elephant in the room” … I am tired of talking about it thus I don’t want to see anyone. I just want it over. I need a new car but can’t afford the payment and even if I could…I can not get a loan. I am just so tired…..
Here’s to soaring again……

Panic

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I guess I fell asleep at some point because I woke up alone in my bed. It was not the first time nor would it be the last.
I got ready for work. The plan was to push everything out of my head and get through the day.
I got the my son up and ready. We were in the kitchen when my wasband came in. I told my wasband that we needed to talk. He told me there was nothing to talk about. I can not remember what he said next….but it was something that raised the eyebrow of my son. My son turned and, for the first time I had ever seen, stood up to his father.
“Leave Mom alone! What the heck is wrong with you? Why can’t you be nice to her?”
“Son….remember who you are speaking to and watch your mouth….” and my wasband left the kitchen.
My son and I went to school without saying another word.
I did the best I could to get through the day but late in the afternoon, while teaching my class, I felt sick….like never before. I have panic attacks and anxiety. I have been in treatment for these issues as these episodes have had very dire consequences. I know what to expect. I have ‘coping skills’ and  meds to help. But this was different…..
I sent a student to get my partner teacher. My partner teacher and I had worked together for 15 years at that point. We KNEW each other. I remember I must have looked bad because the look on her face was one I had never seen before. She sent me into the hall as I tried to get my breath. She walked my students out of the room to their fine arts class and then ….
I melted down. I could not breathe. It was the panic attack to end all panic attacks. I was breathing into a paper bag and she was trying desperately to calm me down. She went to call 911 and I begged her not to……I finally regained control …..over an hour later.
She covered for me the whole time. Not only did I feel like a weak woman but I felt like a failure as a teacher. I needed to get it together.
I pulled myself together as much as possible and got through the reminder of the day. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go home that day or any day after that….but home was where my kids were and I knew I had to take care them. So I went home……
Here’s to soaring again….

D-Day


Monday, September 5, 2016

D Day…a day that will live in infamy….
Our D Day came on a Monday afternoon. I had come home from work, gotten ready to go for a run and a friend called. As I listened to her….I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
I got off the phone and went upstairs. I entered our bedroom and closed the door. My wasband was napping prior to going to work. I thought the house was empty and we were alone but I closed the door anyway.
I confronted him about what I knew. I told him that he could not sleep with another woman and remain married to me. Well…that sounds pretty, doesn’t it? The truth is I said, “Seriously? You think you can Fuck someone else and get away with it? You think you can fuck someone else and still sleep in the same bed with me?”
The wasband rolled over and calmly said, “I will Fuck whoever I want and there is nothing you can do about it….now get the fuck out of the room. I have to get ready for work soon.” and he rolled back over.
I went down to the kitchen….stunned. About 45 minutes later, one of my teen daughters came into the room, put her arms on me and said, ” I know everything, mom.”
“How? What are you talking about?” as I played dumb.
“My sister was outside the door and heard everything……she messaged all us girls.”
I have 4 daughters. The oldest was a gift. She is my step daughter but neither one of us like that term that term and so she is my bonus daughter. All 4 girls are so different but sisters in every sense. I also have a son. He is my baby. My “happy accident” and he knows it. I have said from the day he was conceived that he had a special purpose….every day I am reminded of how special he is to me.  But I digress…..
So now my girls knew…..oh no…..my goal now was to keep this from my son….he was too young to understand.
I tried to steer clear of the wasband the rest of the afternoon and let him leave for work.
The rest of the night was a blur…..
I remember sitting on the couch waiting for him to come home. When he arrived home in the early morning hours of the next day, I tried to talk to him. Actually I didn’t talk…I cried, I begged, I pleaded, I debased myself to the point of embarrassment. He was stoic and seemed even more angry. He “shushed’ me more than once as I cried but it was not the sweet, caring “There, There, sweetie….” kind of shush. It was “Shut the fuck up. The kids will hear you. Just shut up….” He pushed past me into the guest room where I had moved his things….phone charger, sleep machine, etc. At that point, his rage came to the surface….and I cowered. He looked at the bed and realized I had not put fresh sheets on the bed nor had I swept up around and under the bed……He called me lazy and snarled “You should have taken care of this crap….what the fuck were you thinking…”
I was scared and cowered as he slammed the door.
He…yes…the man in charge….had decided the conversation was over for the night. I retreated to my room and locked the door. I didn’t sleep that night (or many other nights) but that is another story for another day.
Thinking back on it now….It was like an out of body experience….the days and weeks that followed were all like that. I asked him to tell me it was not true….I asked him to tell me he loved me and it was just a mistake. I wanted it to be like the movies….I wanted him to come home begging for forgiveness and for me to take him back. Boy, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Looking back on it now? I am so glad I finally took a stand. It’s not easy or fun now but it is so worth it. I am worth better.
Here’s to soaring again…..