Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Getting through a divorce...

So it's been a little while, no? The last time I wrote was January 2015, slightly less than 18 months ago. Holy cow has my life changed since then. I am forewarning you that there is cursing in this blog post. I am writing about some of my experiences that, in my honest opinion, needed some serious *fucks* to get through.

I am writing again because I have some friends who are in the same place I was 2 years ago. Newly separated, trying to wade through the murky waters of divorce, single parenthood, dating again or not, and living with their parents. Some of my friends have children, some do not. Some are living with their parents again, some are not. The common thread connecting all of us in this position is that we feel broken. It is so damn scary.

I don't have all the answers. I have stumbled through this craziness by the grace of God, the love and support of my family and friends, and lots of therapy. Mostly everything I am about to say was told to me by others. I still need it told to me at times. Maybe that is the real reason I am writing this that I can take my own advice sometimes. Whatever the reason, I just had a strong feeling that I should write this in my blog today. I have started and stopped several posts over the past 18 months. This is the only one that has made it this far. Take what you need, leave the rest. All my love...Melanie Rose

What do you do when you feel like you are completely broken?

  1. Reach out to, text, tap on the shoulder. I had (have) drive to work phone call friends, walk into their office at work and tap on their shoulder friends, text in the middle of the night friends, and those who I would call and not say a word because I was crying so hard. You know what I mean. I know you do. And you need all of those kinds of people in your life right now.
  2. Cry. Shout. Scream into a pillow. Bite the shit out of that pillow if you need to. Before I actually left, I would cry in the shower or on the bathroom floor because that was the only place I could hide. Holding it in is not good for anyone. I tried to hold my shit together for my daughter, who was 6 years old at the time. But you know what, our lives were changing and parts were really, really shitty. Is pretending that everything is honky dory good for a child? I truly believe that it is a disservice. Emotions are normal. We need to let them know that moms (and dads) are feeling the same things they are. Be aware that you don't put the responsibility of making it better for you on them. I know my daughter takes on that role anyway. She hates to see me sad. But I tell her that it's a normal part of our human experience. None of us escape it. So when I needed to really let it out I made sure I was able to do it where and when she wouldn't be around. I would scream in my car. I would cry in the shower. And in my car. And when I was sleeping in her twin bed with her and could not move for fear of waking her, I would cry into, or bite, my pillow.
  3. Hug the heck out of your kids If you have children, hug them. Every second they allow it, let your love for them, and theirs for you wash over you like a wave of healing energy. Your love for your children is a very powerful force. Use it. Also, hugging them gives you the physical touch that you need right now. Let their touch heal you. 
  4. Go to your momma, grandma, aunt, best friend, sister, SOMEONE who loves you unconditionally and is not judging you for your decision, crawl into their lap and let them stroke your beautiful head and face and tell you that it is all going to be okay. You need someone in your life who can do this for you. It may not be your mom. Not everyone has a mom, or maybe mom is not on the same page. I was blessed that my mom was right there with me. But, we also know that sometimes moms take on our pain, and maybe we need other people in our lives who can be this person, too. Allow someone else to care for you in this intimate, motherly way. 
Here is the truth that you need to hear. You feel broken because you are broken. My beautiful lovelies, you are so broken. But it is okay. You are breaking open so that your beautiful soul and heart can emerge. You will be stronger than you ever imagined. You will be more YOU than you ever dreamed. You would not be in this place if this did not NEED to happen. You would feel more broken if you chose NOT to take this giant, scary step. Somewhere deep in your hurt, you know that with all of your being, you are being true to yourself by leaving. But it fucking hurts.

About 6 months before I actually left my ex, I was working at a summer camp. I was the cooking instructor and I had a free period and I was doing my prep, with tears streaming down my face. I had decided the day before that I was leaving my husband. I had not told him yet (or for months to come) but I knew in my heart that it was over. A woman I did not know very well was walking by and saw me, stopping to ask if I was okay. I told her that, no, I was really not okay. This woman who I barely knew told me this, "This next year is going to suck. It is not going to be better 1 month from now or 3 months from now. But a year from now, it will be a little bit better. And each day after that it will be a bit better until you realize that you are good. And this process, it takes time. It does not go away by trying to avoid it. So just go through it. You'll survive. You may not feel like you will, but you actually will. And you will be a better person and mom for it."  I don't even remember this woman's name. She had never been through a divorce, but her best friend had and we were all around the same age. I found her bluntness to be comforting and her words true.

Which brings me to my final words for today. Sometimes you will need to take this one day at a time. Sometimes it will be one hour at a time. And sometimes it will be one fucking minute at a time. And you need to swallow your pride and gather your tribe around you. Whoever it is....brothers, sisters, family, friends....gather them in and let them support you. You will make it through this. Let those who love you hold you up.

Thank you for listening my lovelies. I don't know if there someone else out there who needed to read this today, but I felt a strong feeling that I needed to share it. xoxo

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What I miss

As much as I am relieved that I am no longer married, and that I am able to move forward in my life, there are some moments in which I remember what I miss.

It started innocently enough, when I absentmindedly tried to twirl my wedding ring. I have not worn a ring on my left hand in almost 10 months. So it seemed out of the blue that I suddenly realized it was not there. I started to panic, thinking that I forgot it, until I remembered that I no longer wear it. It no longer belongs on my finger. Frankly, I had not been wearing it all that regularly during the last several months before I moved out. It felt like a lie, wearing that ring. Looking at it would bring me to tears because it was given and received with hopes and dreams that were not realized.

Thinking about my ring led me down a train of thought that I do not often take. I wouldn't call it feeling sorry for myself. I was taking a look at my reality and how it makes me feel. Granted, it does not help that my would-be-wedding anniversary is approaching next week; the first since my divorce. Or maybe that was the original catalyst in all this.

I miss having a partner. I know, I know. I have not had a partner in years. I am not sure we ever were true partners. There were moments, but it was always an uphill battle. I was often lonely and felt alone. I always wanted a partner, someone I could lean on, and who could lean on me. It's hard, always being the strong one.

Yesterday Lilly had an issue in school. She was injured, by her own doing. She scratched her cornea throwing a ball in gym class. She is her mother's daughter, after all. Anyway, it was a bit of a stressful evening. She is fine now, but that Momma moment had already occurred. My mom helped a lot and was great. I am so grateful to my parents for all the help they give me all the time.

But. The realization that I am the person responsible for her weighed heavily on me. And it made me yearn for a partner. I still wish I had someone that could just hug me, hold me, tell me that it is going to be fine, that I did a good job being a mom that day.It would be so nice to have someone to lean on and into once in awhile. I still hope I'll have that one day...

p.s. I have been receiving texts from a few of my best friends letting me know that I can lean on them. I am incredibly grateful for my friends. Without them, I would not be standing as tall as I am today, for they surely have been holding me up this whole time.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Let's Just Call This a Cul-De-Sac

Most of you know by now, or from reading here a few months back, that I am divorced. And as such, I have ventured into the world of dating. At 39. With a child, and all things that accompany said child. Like... limited availability, time to talk only when she is asleep or maybe in the bathtub, and please, PLEASE do not send inappropriate texts because she is learning to read and sounds out *everything* on my phone. Get it? Good. And of course there are things that I would like to forget but cannot, like stretch marks. 

My mom, in her mom-wisdom, suggested that maybe I should wait to date. Give myself some time. I had waited enough time, I thought. I was not about to waste any more valuable time. I wanted to get out there and prove that I was good. I was ready. I was happy, dammit. 

I rather accidentally started dating someone I kind of knew from awhile back. I asked him to hang out one weekend. No intention of it leading anywhere. But it kind of did. And neither of us was quite sure what was going on, or where things were going. After a little while, we talked about it and came to a decision. Okay, yes, this is what it is, but it was not like, life-commitment status. It was a "take it one step at a time" thing. He is a really nice guy, who is very attractive, has a job, can carry on an intelligent conversation, likes sports, and lives on his own. When you get out there in this new fangled dating world, you realize that this is nothing short of a miracle, indeed. 

And then things changed, shifted. I noticed it, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. But it was holiday time. Holidays are so emotionally charged, as it is, so I tried not to pay attention to it, until I could not help but pay attention to it. And one thing we told each other from the beginning was that we would just be honest and communicate about whatever was going on.

To respect his privacy, I am not giving any more details, but bottom line is that it ended. Well, he ended it. I would have given it more time. Whatever "it" was. While we were talking, and even while I was talking to my friend about the situation before he and I spoke, I knew that this road I had taken was not meant to be continued. At least not in the same way. 

I am really sad about this relationship ending. I was feeling a bit crazy for feeling that, because, after all, I know that this was not meant to continue. In the quiet of my mind, when I listened to my heart, I knew that, regardless of the connection/chemistry we have, it was not enough. Something was missing. I can't tell you what, but...something. And obviously, he felt the same way about me. We always said we had a good time together, but obviously something was missing for him, too. Really, he was the brave one for ending it. 

And then I had a realization today. It was like a slap upside the head. Of course, it is entirely possible that God tried to whisper it to me, but I am not always a very good listener because I am too busy, ahem, TALKING. This is what came to me...

It's okay. It's possible to have true and deep understanding and clarity that a certain situation and/or relationship is not meant to last longer than it has AND to still be profoundly and deeply sad about it's end.  

It is okay for me to be sad about this. And cry, and lick my wounds. One of my friends suggested I also lick some lime, salt, and tequila. :) I'm not a tequila girl, but red wine should do the trick. And cupcakes. Nutella cupcakes. I spent some time tonight with one of my girlfriends, who is also newly divorced. We ate Snickers-stuffed Nutella cupcakes. They were as amazing as they sound. 

More importantly, I have realized that I need to take a break. I have decided that, at least until my 40th birthday, I am not going to date or go to online dating sites. That is another whole post altogether, the online dating fiasco. I am giving myself this gift of time. To get healthier, both physically and emotionally. Figure out what I want. Learn to love myself a little bit more again. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Racial Divide

If you know me, you probably know by now that I often process things by talking about them and by writing about them. I sometimes get really quiet first, and go within. But the need to let it out inevitably comes.

The problem this time is, that I have no answers. I don't know what to say. But I know that not saying anything, is NOT the answer. I am talking about the police shooting of Michael Brown and the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island and what is really a huge racial divide in our country.

Here is what I will say. I am so sad about what has happened. I am so, so sad about the very real possibility of it happening again, and that it could happen to someone I know and love. I am sad that people I know and love have to even think about this, ever.

Like many, I've been glued to my twitter feed and news outlets. My thoughts about this all have been a bit disjointed. Here are some of what I've been thinking...

1. Within the past year, I was out to breakfast with one of my besties. We were at a very well-known and loved establishment in my very liberal town. We had a delicious meal and great service. Our waitress was sweet and friendly. And when the bill came, it was placed in front of me. Not in the middle of the table, where there was plenty of room. Not in front of my friend. There was no question of who was paying this bill. And the waitress was dead-on wrong; my friend happened to be treating me that day. We both stared at it sitting in front of me for a moment, nodded our heads and acknowledged that we both saw the same thing.

2. The majority of my career, up to this point has been spent teaching young children, most of whom are minorities. I know that the children I taught in Newark, who are now turning 15, 16, and 17-years-old are at risk. They are at risk for a lot of things...drug abuse, gang violence, dropping out of school, and yes, for being targeted by the police. I took care of them like they were my own babies, and this hurts me.

3. Lilly does not see color in the way that the world does yet. I would like to preserve that as long as I can. She's 6. She may use it to describe a friend in the same way she uses hair color.  And that is it. She was describing her "crush" the first month of school. "His name is James. He is taller than me. He has short brown hair. He talks a lot. He's nice. He gave me this ring. (?!) He's an oldster. (a 2nd grader) His skin is brown. And his eyes are black." 

4. White privilege exists. I wish it didn't. I don't know what to do about it. But for my babies who I taught in Newark and Hoboken; my friends; my friend's children; my neighbors; Lilly's friends...I want to figure it out. How do we stop this?

What can we do? Talk about it, even if it is uncomfortable. Be respectful. Listen. Keep an open mind. Love. Because I still have hope that love wins.

What do YOU think we can or should do?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My new road

So much for writing regularly, as I had hoped back in August. Life, as usual, got in the way. I have been teaching, learning my new job, being a mom, and, oh, yeah, getting divorced.  It's official now, I am once again Melanie Rose Fleming. People have asked me how it feels, if I am upset, or if I cried.

The only way I can describe it is this: It is like a sigh of relief. That is not to say that I do not have a long road ahead of me as I traverse my new life. I still have some messes to clean up from before, financially. I am now, not only single at 39, but a single mom with full legal custody of an amazing but rather precocious 6 year old. The road ahead may be rocky, or full of overgrown weeds. I am guaranteed to find a few dead ends. Some parts are going to seem like they are all uphill, with the rewarding views far in the distance. I am trying to enjoy everything, one step at a time. And you know, I have been wanting to get back into hiking for awhile now. :-)