Divorce

Journal Entry from November 4, 2010-

My whole life I have always wanted two things: to be completely loved by one man & to be rich and famous as an Entertainer. A few years ago, I remember telling my mother, that if I ever came across a magical genie and he told me that I could either have a famous, well respected acting/singing career or true love for the rest of my life- in a heart beat- I would choose the career. I felt that way because I thought I would never find a man who loved me. And I don’t mean just “love” me in the all encompassing, soap opera way. I mean someone who would love ALL of me.  The moody-spoiled-insecure-sometimes vain-sarcastic-not always skinny-loud-fake hair, nails, contacts-self centered-bitchy version of me.

When I look at that I think “Who the hell would want to be married to that?”Would you? The saying “You have to love yourself, before someone else can love you.” makes some sense. But if that is actually true, then it makes sense why I am where I am today. Alone. Alone in a condo I once shared with my husband overlooking a very calm bay with nothing to keep me warm but the blanket around me and the endless tears rolling down my face.

My marriage is over.

I write that, hoping that in the very smallest part of my heart that that statement is not true. But then there is the overwhelming obvious. The condo which is full of life is now quite. The games are all packed and gone. His clothes, shoes, bike, hat, smell. The smell is the hardest. That smell that I fell in love with that I only found in him, is gone. And who is to blame?

Most people would be quick to say that he is. Here is a man, who after a big argument and when I say argument I mean, I yelled and slammed doors and he just sat there. After an argument thought “I give up. I’m going home.” Home by the way is Canada. We lived in Florida. Not really a few stops kind of trip. Most would wonder, “Why did you leave? Was she so horrible? Could you work things out? Is your marriage worth fighting for”

I say our marriage is over because if he felt anything, he never would have left. So maybe he IS to blame? Or maybe it is me. After all I did tell him “Why don’t you just go. You left me once before!” (We will get to that later). Maybe I pushed him. In arguments, I always wanted the last word. And I always wanted to be right. I remember one time my husband said ” I know you have a degree in Rhetoric, so stop acting like this a debate you are trying to win!” I was so pissed! For one- he was totally right. And two- he actually called me out. And in that moment I thought “Well if he can call me out on my bull shit, maybe this guy can put up with me.” But perhaps that was just it. He was tired of ‘putting up with me’.

At one point he said to me that he was tired of the “verbal abuse”. Verbal abuse? Those words sent me into a tail spin. Was I an abuser? I went to the ultimate source to find out- Wikipedia. Technically, in some ways, I was. But I kept thinking to myself “I see nothing in what I was saying or doing that could really be abuse.” There were no tell-tale, Lifetime television for Women warning signs. No made-for-tv moment. I wasn’t enjoying my actions. No close up shot of his tears or me standing  over him in a power woman stance. No soft, yet artfully intriguing music. No clever emotion filled title “Bitter Love- A Woman Beyond Control”. For Christ’s sakes, I was not Valerie Bertinelli or Meredith Baxter Birney.

We argued like any couple in their first year of marriage. But the difference, the big difference, is I did and still do want to fight. For my marriage that is. And he does not. My marriage is over. And I want to know why.

 

Always a bridesmaid

My best friend is getting married, and I am the maid of honor. For some women, this statement may conjure feelings of nervous anticipation and hormonal dread. The best friend who will soon be a bride, is yet another piercing reminder, that you are not one nor are you on a path to becoming one. You may assume, that at my age this feeling might be an everyday occurence. I assure you, it is not. Other than the fact that I am genuinely happy for her and thrilled about the man she is about to marry, there is no internal bell that is tolling for my potential spinsterhood. I am ok that I have no ring.

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Now this isn’t to say that I don’t want one down the road, but let me explain. As someone who has been married and gone through the pains of divorce, the topic of my second marriage brings up feelings of well deserved apprehension. It does not however, make me think less of the sanctity and honor that is the civil union. Sure, like all little girls, the fairytale wedding was one that I dreamt of ever since I married my Barbie to GI Joe. But the older I got, surrounded by divorced couples and people on marriage two or three, it made me wonder what the rush was for?

In my case, when I really looked at it, what I was truly excited for was the reception. I wanted the party. The one that you see in movies with people dancing, kids sneaking booze, grandma grinding with a groomsman and me and my girls red in the face laughing. It was that atmosphere that I looked forward to and it wasn’t until I was married that I realized, there’s a whole other part to that fairytale that we don’t pay attention to- the actual marriage. The ups and the downs, and the parts that are often left out in the big screen version. The everydayness, the paying of the bills, the compromise, the financial issues, the moves and travel and the things that you sometimes have to sacrifice for and in a marriage. In other words, real life. During this time, when the glitz of the big day wears off and you come to the very real realization of your vows and that whole “better or worse” part, is when the work begins. Because that’s what a marriage is, work.

It can be hard work or easy work. Sometimes you might want to dial in your efforts, and sometimes you excel at it. You may want to call in sick, but you can’t. And you may have a boss you can’t stand, but for the sake of the job, you suck it up and keep truckin. Marriage is work, whether it’s a good marriage or a bad one. And just like any job, it depends 100 % on your efforts first. The amount of energy, drive, determination and love you put into any job, will ultimately drive the outcome of its success.

I guess that’s why I’m not in a rush for a ring. It took me all this time to realize what I have to do, to put in the work to make a marriage…work. I can honestly say, I still don’t think I’m ready. There’s still so much I want to see and do, places I’ve never been and dreams I want to chase. But at the end of the day, hopefully tackling the big world that is our universe will prepare me to apply for the position of “Wife”, and hopefully by then I may have a life’s resume worthy of being hired to play the role.

Football is Life

I wish I could say that I am not sure where my love of football came from. As I am writing this post I am sitting with a glass of whiskey,  sore after a workout, watching the NFC playoffs. But I can tell you two very real reasons why I love the game.

My mother actually enjoys telling this story. How at a very young age, a baby even, my mother found that whenever a game was on tv, I was captivated by it. She thought it had to do with the uniform colors and the constant running. I mean, what 18 month old knows a thing about Zone Defense. But once my mother noticed that I would become silent and actually happy when football was on tv, she began recording games and having them around, just in case I had a fussy moment. Some babies find pacifiers soothing, I found Joe Montana soothing.

The second reason I would attribute loving the gridiron would be my late grandfather. I grew up with my grandparents and my grandfathers’ form of “church” was Sunday football and whiskey. After a family breakfast, we would spend the next several hours watching football. There were no chores, no going outside, no visiting friends, just football. I don’t really recall how it happen, but I began to join him. He and I, and sometimes my grandmother, would spend silent hours, watching the Redskins and his beloved Bears. When he noticed that I started to enjoy the game, he would teach me about football and why in his opinion, there was no greater player or man, than Walter Payton. I loved those times, and still have a soft spot for the Bears to this day.

Fast forward a few years later, a proud Georgia girl, where football and tailgating is life, my love has only grown. Some may call it obsessive, some may call it just a game. In the past, I have always enjoyed dating guys who love football just as much, if not more than I do. Has this been an issue with guys who may not like football as much as me? Yes. But is it enough to go crazy over? No.

In the end, I can appreciate if a guy doesn’t relate to the game like I do. It’s those differences that make a couple click. One may love podcasts, the other reality shows. One, Coke…the other Pepsi. Ok, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far. Either way, appreciate my dedication to all things pigskin, and you will find a woman as loyal to the game as she is to you.

 

Creating Mr Right

My favorite question from any of my girlfriends in regards to my dating life is “Well, what are you going to do?” What am I going to do? That’s what hanging out with my girls and a bottle of Jameson is for. What am I going to do? At the end of the day, I find myself saying the same thing, “I’m just going to create the perfect guy from a collection of guys from my past.” That’s a thing, right? Creating Mr Right? I mean, isn’t that what a B.S vision board is? A collection of all the things that you want in the “perfect” guy?

Alright, I’ll stop you right there. Because what I am proposing simply can’t be done. In many ways, not only do I want to “create” my Mr Right, I want the parts to match my fake masterpiece. To me, it’s not just about the inside, but the whole overall look. You know, rugged Gerard Butler jawline, Top Gun Tom Cruise smile, David Beckham butt, etc.

So if I really had to create my perfect Dating Frankenstein  based on past experiences, here’s what I would manufacture:

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Trait 1: The Bedroom

Let me just get this one out of the way, because to be honest, it’s pretty darn important. My “Mr Right” and I were, how should I say this….”Angelina and Billy Bob”intense. Now, I am sure there are kids reading this, so I will spare you the details. But what I will say is, he is number one for a reason. We all should aspire to hit such heights, so pay attention potential suitors.

Trait 2: The Personality

This one makes me very happy because the guy who currently matches this trait is someone I, to this day, still consider a very good friend. And that’s why he has a special place in my heart. From our love of football, to travel, to social views, if I had to make a “Mr Right” he would embody all of these things that I love and have in common with said individual. Even down to bonfires and country music.

Trait 3: The Family Life

Y’all know I don’t like kids. And they HATE me. However, I do have a great respect for those who have kids and date. I can’t imagine being a single mom and dating. And thank the Lord, I have yet to create a Spawn. (Fingers crossed that I never will) But there is a deep love of family from a particular individual from my past that I have always found his greatest quality. The way he gushes over his kids accomplishments and how he will drop work, his social life and almost anything else just to attend a Father/Daughter dance, is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a man. My “Mr Right” must adore his family and their bond is one that is crucial to him. Points for being a Mama’s Boy!

 
Trait 4: The Diva Factor

There is no question that I have a tendency to be a diva. (stop laughing) I would say it has a lot to do with my job, but to be honest, I work best when I’m the center of attention. Things get done that way. This fourth trait is a tie held by two men from my past. The first allowed me to thrive in my Divadom. When I was onstage or walked into a room, his entire world shifted to me. What girl doesn’t love that? However, that can get boring and you need someone to put you in check. That’s where the second guy came in. Not to be blunt, but he was the one that would call me on my shit. Don’t get me wrong, he let me have my moment in the sun. I enjoyed being able to shine around him. But when the Sun got to Icarus level, he quickly reminded me of what was important. And the best thing about that, was that it caused me to realize there are more important things in life than if I go to a club with or without bottle service.

 

Trait 5: The YOLO Equation

And finally there’s the YOLO Equation AKA “You Only Live Once”. Every day you are on this Earth should be met with the chance to do something great. Whether it’s travel, or make music, to helping someone, or appreciating the world around you. This last trait is held by a man who lives by that law: You really only live once. So what are you going to do with that time? Sometimes I get so caught up in the next plan, the next year, the next 5 to 10 years, that I forget, that I have a gift. A gift that I love to use, and don’t really get to appreciate until I stop using it. I love music. Music and song is one way God communicates with us. And if all I have is that, and a way to express it with someone else who loves it as much as me, then I look forward to making beautiful music with my “Mr Right”.

 

Who knows. Maybe there is a guy who holds true to all of these things. (Oh and Honorable Mention: must cook, clean, can sing “You’ve Lost that Lovin Feeling”, play Poker, has a passport and a 720 or higher credit score.)  Buttttttt, in the off chance that everything above is all in my land of dating make believe, I only hope that I possess some of the same things that make me his “Miss Right.”

 

A Letter to my Heart

Dear Heart-

This is the day you were not prepared for. This is the first day where you simply must get up and move on. This process my dear heart, will be slow. It will be painful. Memories will flood your brain and remind you of the joy you once held so deeply. You will cry. A lot. You will hear songs, see movies, smell scents and fall in a lullaby of love, loss and regret.

But heart, this is not the end. Those memories, are not sad because they happened. They were once real. Hold fast heart, on the fact that your love was once so real, that it burned a level of passion, you were not prepared for. It is only by its absence that you feel a loss.

Dear heart, you will become stronger from this. There will be a day, when you will faintly recall pain or sadness. Instead, you will look back and take inventory of your life. And when the scenes of your past return to your memory, you will hold with them a grateful heart. A heart that was blessed to have had such a love. You will also step into a world of possibility, for my dear heart, the course of your life still continues.

What has happened in your past, was to prepare you for your future. Perhaps love will return. In its return you will learn from your mistakes, you both will grow, you both will be different people, for love changes us all. But perhaps, dear heart, that love may not return. It pains me to say this. You will however, learn that this is not the end of your journey. Because something greater is yet to be discovered for you.

Dear Heart- your song is not over. The melody of your life has just begun. There will be days of longing, hours of questioning and seconds of confusion. But heart, believe me when I say, there will be a time where your love will be of greater measure than you ever thought possible. Hope for that heart and take comfort in its arrival.

The Ghost of Loves Lost

My boyfriend and I are both divorced. I usually tell people, that I am happily divorced and that mine was not only an easy one, but a smooth one. But it doesn’t erase the pain and it never makes dating life any easier. As a divorcee, you always find yourself haunted by the ghosts of your past.

When it comes to the point of wanting to move on, it’s hard to erase that there was once a time where you saw yourself having to date again. No one goes into a marriage with that game plan. And when a marriage ends, no one understands how the heart and the head are to move on. But they do. We do. We move on and fall in love again, if we are lucky.

My boyfriend and I have two very different relationships with our ex spouses. In my case, there is zero contact of any kind. Social media, phone, email, etc. My boyfriend is the opposite. As he has stated several times, it is hard to just end something that was almost 12 years of his life. As his girlfriend, the woman he currently loves, this has been one of the hardest things for me to understand.

I am very much a woman who believes that the end is just that, THE END. It may kill me to move on, and the pain may last long, but my desire to be kind and friendly to an ex, has never been something I have been good at. However, my boyfriends greatest quality is his heart and his amazing ability to care. Throughout our relationship he has been very honest with his ex about his attempt to move on. He has spoken about me and his desire to start having a happy life. And as one might imagine, that has not gone over very well.

Looking at it from the outside, I can understand why. I have been that girl. The one who lost a love, realized what I had and was desperate to get it back. The funny thing is, we always feel like we are the only who has ever gone through this kind of heartache. But for once, I have found myself on the other end. The girl who now has to learn that the ghost of the past is now the third part of the relationship. Haunting us as an ever present shadow.

 

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So the question is, how do we move on? Or better yet, how I can I help and support the man that I love? I have found there are four very clear stages in regards to divorce. Denial, Anger, Apology and Acceptance. During denial, we can’t help but say all of the things that might remind us that we are NOT in fact, going through a divorce. “My marriage isn’t over. We can make this work. This is not happening to me.” They may seem outlandish, but these are the words that ring over and over again in our head. And though they may not seem real, and in most cases they are not, they are a comfort to us at that time.

Next comes Anger. I’m not gonna lie, this stage was fun for me because along with the Denial stage, you find yourself taking a lot of blame on yourself. But when you get to Anger, it’s very freeing to release the blame and just get pissed. “I gave this person the best of me. The marriage is over, so now what the hell do I do? How f&*^ing dare she?” You do have to be careful during this stage. If there is ever a time to be self destructive and say, sleep with alot of people, it’s during the Anger stage. So be sure to have an outlet. For me, it was hitting the gym, and cooking… A LOT.

After Anger comes Apology. If you notice, the stages get harder and harder. Often, divorcees feel like this stage is the time where you have to apologize to your former spouse. But it’s just as important to apologize to yourself. Divorce will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that one is never prepared for. At that time, you will feel you have let yourself and all those you love around you, down. But you haven’t. So it is important to apologize to yourself for having those feelings of fear and doubt. Then, you move on to your ex. But remember, a good apology is all about sincerity. Remember, they are going through pain, just like you, so think about what you would want to hear.

Finally Acceptance. I hate this stage. For one, it’s where I find myself with my boyfriend and I . Accepting that the past is the past, that you are in fact a good person who deserves happiness and allowing your heart to heal so that you may move on. Here’s the trick about this stage, it is the hardest because it takes the most time. For some people, like myself, this stage came pretty soon and I felt very blessed when it did. Did I fall and hit some big lows before I got there? Hell yea, I did. But once there, once at the light of Acceptance, life became a bit easier.

So all I can do now, is be there for my boyfriend through his various stages. I can laugh with him, cry for him, be a friend for him, but most importantly, know that this is his journey. And he doesn’t have to do it alone.

The Childless Manifesto or Why My Biological Clock Can Suck IT!

In 2014, there are very few things that jar me to the point of absolute and total hysteria. Men who wear socks and sandals, I let go in the 90’s. Twerking, I gave up as soon as it started and to be honest, the less we talk about Justin Beiber, the better. (Though I did sign the petition to have him deported) With those few exceptions, my moral compass has pointed slightly due North to a place I like to call “Desiree’s Attempt at Happiness”. However, there comes a time when the nonchalance of others makes me question a lot of things.

 

I am not afraid to say it… * clears throat * I am a 35 year old, college educated woman- with NO children. For some reason, and I can never understand why, but this shocks a few people. On a lovely day, upon the sea a woman asked me if I enjoy my job. “Yes I do”, I replied. “But it must be hard” she continued “being away from your family. Do you have kids?” “No” I remarked . “I do not”. “You don’t?” she asked. And in that moment, it wasn’t the question that bothered me, but her tone. It was as if in that very second, I went from the most interesting person in the world- a cruise ship entertainer; to the saddest, most lonely and unfulfilled woman alive AKA “The Childless 30 Something.”

 

Now before I continue, this is in NO way a criticism to the mothers out there, because let’s be honest, there is a reason why I don’t have kids. And I am not here to argue about who has it harder. What I am trying to shed a little light on is the world in which I live in, and other women like me. The world where we are not only happy childless, but we are thriving, we are content and where we don’t need your stinkin judgement.

 

Ok, Ok. That was harsh. So I will just start at the beginning. My mother will be the first person to tell you, that when other little girls were playing with dolls, yours truly was playing “Teacher”. I would come home from school and have my friends meet in the kitchen at my grandmother’s house where she had the alphabet and numbers chart posted, and proceed to go over the days assignments. Confession: I would get so angry when my “students” failed to turn in their homework. I was a dedicated 8 year old professor. And while after a few minutes they would abandon me for other interests, I would sit quietly and create tomorrows lesson plan.

 

“That sounds so maternal, Desiree. See. You have it in you.” I’ve heard that one before. And that is exactly my point. Have “What” in me? Some overwhelming desire to reproduce? A strong maternal urge to feel the beauty of a life growing inside me? A deep longing of accomplishment knowing that I have created another human being to grace this Earth? Yea, ummmm- no. I don’t have “it”, I don’t know if I ever will have “it” and if I don’t ever have “it” should I be cast out of society as some childless troll? No.

 

When I think about why I am so ok with being “without child”, I look at my job and my lifestyle. I travel for a living. I have a passport that gets more action than a Kardashian. I am conscience that my job makes it difficult to be in the frame of mind to start a family. In others words, I am one of those women who put her job first. And I have done it proudly. Not so long ago there was a time that I was married, and yes, I did have that picture of the family life in mind. And it wasn’t so bad. But I always told myself, that there was so much I wanted do and see and try to become, before the so called crowning achievement of my life would take place.

 

Sadly my marriage did not last, and the white picket fence dream I wanted, died. And slowly, so did my desire for children. At least it did for the moment. Who knows what will happen in a year or two or five. For all we know, a husband and a family may be in the cards for me. Or just the husband and countless Sky Miles. Either way, to all my moms out there, do not pity me. Do not pity women like me. We made this choice. This choice to decide if children are an important part of our lives.

 

Let me be quite frank, America. I admire mothers…and fathers. Yours is a selfless, sometimes thankless, unconditional loving kind of job. The biggest reason why I couldn’t do it, well it’s because right now, that’s not me. I am the most selfish person that I know. I swear like a sailor, drink like a fish and other forms of debauchery that make me a horrible choice to be a parent. I mean honestly, why on Earth would I want a smaller version of that? Sure, you are quick to say “But that’s how you are now.”, and you would be right. But if I decide to spend a grand on a pair of shoes or go to Hawaii twice in one year, I have that luxury. And all because I know, that the world would be a better place without a mini me.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I have amazing examples of motherhood in my life. I have the best mother in the world and I had the single greatest grandmother that ever lived. I have two best friends who I am not only the Godmother of their children, but some of the best moms/women that I know. I admire them more than words can express. I see their joy when their children succeed and their heartache, when their children are in pain. I know that I could never do that. But, if I were to speak to the future me, who may be a mother, this is what I would ask…

 

“Desiree,

Did you see the world and make mistakes? Did you play hard, laugh loud and never compromise who you are? Did you ask questions and demand answers? Did you fall in love and have you become someone’s ‘everything’. Did you try for a dream that you once thought was impossible, and after you either failed or accomplished it, did you dream a bigger dream? But most importantly, Desiree, do you have a story to tell?”

 

If I can say ‘yes’ to all of those things, then and maybe then, I can consider myself ready. In the meantime, in the countless Mommie and Me Yoga classes, walking parks and Sisterhood of the Breast Feeding women, judge not the sister who is not with you and rejoicing over the right to have someone cling to her breast. For while that is a beautiful and natural act for you, that’s just another Saturday night for me.