A Backward Glance While Moving Forward

Reading a number of blogs this morning, I was struck by one headline. “Sometimes your decisions are not yours to make…” by The Reluctant Mom’s Blog. While I love reading all the funny pieces, I also appreciate those that provoke thought.

You decide to have children. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, maybe you can, maybe you can’t. This decision absolutely changes the course of your life.

You decide to marry, divorce, be a star, buy a house, go to church, take a huge risk, never make any decisions. And, although you believe you know what you are getting into, you don’t. So I think we make choices, which turn into decisions after the fact. Some good, others great, bad, and middle of the road.  Going a bit further, perhaps decisions are the consequences of our choices.  And, regardless of the outcome, those of us who have the freedom to make choices are the lucky ones.

It would not seem so, if we only focus on the mayhem induced by a bad choice or three. But I believe in scale, yin and yang, reasoning. So I have to say that although the end product of our choices can be our worst nightmares, we still had a part in it.

When I made the choice to divorce some years ago, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I was acutely aware of what I was getting myself out of. And no matter what anyone else thinks, divorce is, to quote a friend, “like being in a bad car wreck every single day”.  Those days, whether they span a week, a year, a lifetime, are indescribably atrocious. Individually and collectively.  I would not wish divorce on any couple I know. But sometimes it is necessary.

My ex is a good person. We have two daughters, two very bright stars, to mark the absolute best that came from our union. And I will never, ever be sorry for getting married because these two girls make the world a better place to live in. 

It has been my experience, personally and from observation, that when the woman initiates a divorce, she is the bad cop. Of course there are many exceptions, but I’ve not witnessed more than a few. As the saying goes, “it takes two”, but, in an effort to make sense of it, most friends and frenemies feel they must choose sides, fuel the rumor mill, and unintentionally make the aftershock of divorce so much worse than it needs to be. Choices, all. My exposure.

To make a long story short, the personal gains have far outweighed the losses. And I am not the same person I was. During, after, and since my divorce, I chose to be misunderstood. I am a private person and the inability to remain married was strictly between me and my ex. The toll was heavy in every way. But everything comes with a price to pay. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Divorce scares the hell out of couple friends. It forces them to look at their own situation. And they don’t want to catch the disease. After the implosion of family, I think the hardest, most heartbreaking consequence was the loss of lifelong friends. Individual and couples. While they remained at the top of my grid, they quickly filed me in their “out” boxes. No longer a “couple”, a member of their clubs, a part of their gatherings.  After my family, my friends have always been the most important people in my life.  I was naïve. Loyalty is a given if I’m your friend.  Had no idea they would divorce me.  But good always comes from terrible.

There were the handful of friends who did not waver, who will always have my back. And, I have made so many new and strong alliances with amazing people I might have missed along the way. I now know what it’s like to be truly loved. I am not naïve about people any longer. While I still enjoy the occasional celebration with “the old gang”, I must admit that afterwards I usually wonder why I spent so much time mourning their disappearance. And it always comes back to the same conclusion: I believed them to be people they weren’t. My bad. But my good, because my life now is richer because of the people who are in it.

There will always be those days when my heart sinks, just for a minute. And that is awesome. Hearing about the activities and stirrings of my old life, still raging like a freight train with a full tank of gas, used to send me to bed for … however long. Getting that puppy down to a minute is progress, folks.

Even if it’s made one tiny step at a time. “Sometimes your decisions are not yours to make ….”. But it’s what you do with the consequences. This, in my mind, is what determines the wiggly course of your life. Dealing, learning, overcoming, changing, trying … all survival buzz words.

Later.

 

Oh, DO SHUT UP!

... and I mean it!

Disrespectful behavior. Unsolicited opinions. Judging others with a harshness you would never turn on yourself.  I’m not mad as hell, but I’m not gonna take it anymore.  As a repeat offender of all of the above, I beg for blanket forgiveness. Am currently undergoing Think Before You Speak Rehab. Am also offering a 20 for 1 Free Won’t You Join Me deal for this course. It’s said that the characteristics we dislike most in others are probably ingrained in ourselves. I’m in rehab and trying to mind my own business.  So, what’s your excuse when you say:    

  • “Do you still see what’s her/his name?”  If you know me, you know very well I do.  Your disdain/dislike for people I welcome into my life is Not appreciated. 7 bitch slaps
  • “How is the situation going with _____ <insert loved one>?”  Do you have dementia? Seriously? I’ve answered this question of yours about 100 times.  Your lack of concern is duly noted. 14 bitch slaps
  • “That’s the only brilliant idea you’ve ever had!” Maybe so, maybe not …but you look and sound like a condescending shrew when you throw this one out in front of a group of people. 21 bitch slaps
  • “We don’t approve of that/her/him/it?” Funny, I don’t remember asking you for your opinion of that/her/him/it. I do remember you weren’t born with a silver spoon crammed in the lower portion of your face. So pitiful not even worth lifting my hand
  • “What were you thinking (in reference to personal choices)? Gee, I was thinking about what works for me and what makes me happy. And thinking a bit longer, you and your expectation hoops never crossed my mind.  If your opinions are so important, run for judge. 11 hits to the side of head with heavy gavel

Don’t mean to start the day as Ms. Grumbleton. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to accept anymore of this nonsense with a smirk.  Nor will I use the words brewing in my head when I hear such things … you have shit for brains, obviously your frontal lobe stopped developing when you were 11, and surprise! you are an inflatable gas bag. Where’s a pin?    

Instead, I better work on keeping my own behavior in check. Eyes on own paper and all that.  But as a perpetual Girl Scout, I will be prepared….    

Now where’s that duct tape?    

Later.