Nominated, who me?

Thanks so much to Spaghetti Sam (on for nominating me for the “One Lovely Blog” award. You’ve made me blush!

The usual rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award. (done, see above)

2. Share seven things about yourself. (as if you don’t know enough about me already)

3. Nominate 7 other bloggers and inform them (can’t wait to share this)

I’ve already completed the first rule, and I am a rule follower for the most part, so on to the next two requirements.

Seven things about myself…that I haven’t already shared on a public forum that can reach anyone anywhere in the world, similar to crossing the street naked in a busy city. Gee, that could be a challenge.

  1. I am the oldest child in my family, including grandchildren on both sides. This seems to make me a tribal leader of sorts, responsible and wise, the counselor to not only my family but also my friends. The number of times I’ve heard “you’re the oldest, you should know better” are too many to count. This is probably why I have always attracted boys/men younger than myself for most of my life, I suppose.
  2. My first real job was at McDonald’s, when I was 15. To this day, I am still grateful for the experience and customer service training I gained over more than three years – through two separate stints with McD’s – because it gave me a great foundation for customer service practices that I still utilize (and expect, but am often disappointed by) today.
  3. I love to travel, anywhere and any way. Flying is great, but road trips are better. Give me a car, an open road and unlimited time (and bank account) and I probably would not return home for over a year at best. I love the idea of stopping along the way at quirky little shops, off the beaten path diners and other undeclared sites along the way. I am all about the journey, not just the destination. Pretty much the same way I look at life, it’s not where you start or where you end up, it’s what you did along the way that will make a life well lived.
  4. I love old cars. And old furniture, and old photographs, and old stuff. Part of my road trip journey usually includes antique shops, or flea markets (I love those too!) My home was built in 1927 and it feels and fits perfectly for my soul.
  5. I am a mom to three growing boys, who are too quickly becoming men. Being a mom of boys has given me so many opportunities and insights that I doubt I would have ever had with girls, I cannot express how incredible that feels. Knowing that I have some influence, if only over a few future men, gives me the best feeling in the world. I have always said “I’m changing the world one boy at a time”, and I really believe that to be true.
  6. I love to cook and bake and try new recipes and new kitchen tools. I have a tendency to discover a new way to cook, or a new cuisine to eat, and cook that way for months before moving on to the next thing. Currently my new obsession is with the InstantPot – if you haven’t heard of it, google it and read up they are incredible machines! My brother-in-law referred to my kitchen tool wishlist as “power tools for women”, can’t say that I disagree. Who doesn’t appreciate a new Ninja blender or KitchenAid for Christmas??
  7. While I have only been blogging about my divorce and the events around it for the last year and a half, I had originally started blogging about four or five years ago with the idea of just writing creatively to express the ongoing narration that played in my brain daily. At the time, life was very busy with kids and house and family so I didn’t get much accomplished. But then life presented a topic that I couldn’t ignore or refuse to make time for, so here I am.

Now for the nominees. This is a tough one on one hand and so easy on the other. I really enjoy reading so many different blogs and discovering the many formats and subjects that are still out there, but there are a few that I keep returning to continually.

I nominate: K E Garland, Tikeetha T – A Thomas Point of View, SDC – Don’t Make it Weird, stilllearning2b – Lessons from the end of a marriage, Love, Laughter and Truth – Matthew Williams, Jenny Maloney – Place for the Stolen, and Maria@NoMoreNarchole.

Writing my way to sanity

The question has come up more than a few times since I began writing a blog, with regards to why I am writing about my divorce experience for all of the world to see. Why can’t I just write it in a personal journal, to keep to myself? Isn’t therapy enough of an outlet to clear my head, and my heart, on a weekly basis?

Why do I need to air my “dirty laundry”?

I’ve been called classless and destructive, defaming and selfish, add in a thoughtless and uncaring parent, and I’m pretty much a social media monster.

At first I felt incredibly guilty, so sure that it was all true because someone else felt that way and had said it, or written it, to me. That’s always been a weakness of mine, believing another person’s opinion of myself over my own.

But then I remembered, just because they say it or feel it doesn’t make it true.

When I first began blogging a few years ago I was looking for my voice, for a way to hone my writing skills, and maybe find a new outlet for my creative brain. I had tried so many other outlets over the last half of my life: aerobics, bootcamp, scrapbooking, camping, school volunteering, crossfit, etc. but none had ever addressed the running commentary going on inside of my own head.

No, I wasn’t hearing voices, just my own.

My own view of the world, the events that affected me and my family and friends. I was almost constantly internally narrating, like an episode of the “Wonder Years” or “A Christmas Story”. My mind a constant screen playing the continuous film reel of my life on scratchy, jumpy 8mm film without a soundtrack.

Okay, maybe a soundtrack sometimes.

One day, a few years ago, it occurred to me to write it down. Get it out of my own head and into a space made for such things. I started off with the desire to write a book. Why not? Isn’t that what all writers aspire to do in their lifetime? That’s the only way to become a “real” writer, isn’t it?

I tried to make that happen for awhile, the outline was completed and I just needed to fill in the meat of the stories, but it was more overwhelming and challenging than I had ever imagined. So many directions to go, where to begin, how to end? I read about “building characters” and plot lines, I even joined a writing challenge to motivate me to get it done. I thought you just sat down and started to write!

I had no idea how wrong I was.

Plus, it would be  time consuming, and as the mother of three, I couldn’t justify carving out the time needed to put my whole heart into it.

Wanting to write a book was like realizing one day that other people were eating and enjoying pie, not just a piece but a whole pie. Pie is good, and I like pie, so I should eat pie, too. Not just a piece of pie, to make sure that I like that kind of pie, no I would get the entire pie, like everyone else had, because I was certain that I would enjoy it as much as everyone else did. Who wouldn’t like to eat an entire pie??

Me. An entire pie is too much pie if you’re just starting to eat pie. Make sense?

So the next best thing was to blog, to write “episodes” of my life instead of an entire made-for-TV movie. Start small and see if it fits. It was a test, really. Can I really write something that other people will read and relate to, or do I only sound interesting inside of my own head?

I stumbled along with the blogging idea for awhile, not really knowing how to hone in on any one area of my life or interest to write about. There are so many possibilities! I was so excited when I had two followers, the thought of having many more than that was beyond my imagination. Who would want to read what I had to say about anything? What made my life so interesting that anyone would care to read about it?

But then life presented a topic.

A topic that affected so many areas of my life, my world, my family and my friends. I began reading articles, books, and blogs on the subject, to understand more about it, but noticed that nobody was really talking about it the way I was narrating it inside of my own head. Not every experience is the same, not every narrative is the same, obviously.

Not every divorce is the same.

I also began to realize that my experience was a slowly growing trend. Friends and acquaintances began approaching me with similar stories once they had heard that I was going through a divorce, looking for support and guidance, someone to say “me too” so they wouldn’t feel so alone. And for some reason nobody was really talking or writing about what was really going on in these divorces, from this point of view or experience.

They felt scared, embarrassed, lost. They felt used and mislead.

Divorce has been around for quite some time, I know. My parents divorced when I was  nine, so it’s not something I had never encountered. But midlife divorce, or what is now coined as “gray divorce”, is a fairly new idea and not one that most people even think about. Once you make it past the twenty, fifteen or even ten year mark you’re solid, right? It’s an easy road from there, you’ve put in the hard work years, sacrificed and raised children together, now it’s smooth sailing and fun until the end of time. Now you’ll travel, take long walks on the beach, grow old together.

Nothing is guaranteed.

So, I began to write. I began to express the voice inside of my own head, my own dialogue, to clear my mind and heart. I also wanted to be a voice for those women in a similar situation, and to let them know that they are not alone. They are not the problem, or a bitch, for feeling this way.

It’s not completely their fault. And it’s okay to have the feelings they are feeling.

I want all of my friends and acquaintances, who are at all of the various points of this process, to know that while it is hard and hurtful, it doesn’t have to destroy you. It can make you stronger, it can make you appreciate who you are and create an entirely new and happy life – now and in the future.

But it will take time.

You can live again, and you will. You can love again, even marry again, but you don’t have to. You just have to find the best version of yourself for yourself, nobody else.

But it will take time.

You have to do what works for you, what fits for you, what makes you feel whole again. Screw the haters, the judges of your life choices, and the stiflers of your voice. Everyone is entitled to their own story and how they choose to tell it, and to whom they choose to tell it to. Privately or publicly, as long as you express the truth, nobody can tell you not to.

But it will all take time. And that amount of time can only be determined by you.

So, I write. It’s part of the process of rebuilding for me, it’s part of the “time” I need. Eventually my plot line will take another turn, new characters and other life events will fill my blog, plus opinions and views that I have on it all…and other people will be upset and judge and hate on it. But that’s okay.

They should write their own story.