Tag Archives: divorce

Winter Solstice: Celebrate Another Year of Not Going Postal (Yet)

It’s the day after the winter solstice, which — if you’re anything like me —traditionally represents the height of your winter madness and the rock-bottom of your deeply-dug “I-Hate-People” hole.

But I feel pretty ok. And it’s not because something particularly glittery or exciting has occurred in my life. Life keeps pooping along like it always does. And I’m not feeling joyous or running through the streets of Boston throwing tinsel and anything that can be tinseled. I’m still anti-tinsel. It’s not holiday mania, in other words. But I feel ok, and that is kind of remarkable.

For the last few years, I have faked my way through the holidays like a champ. I was still working on getting myself settled and divorced and yes, probably hoping that by the next Christmas my cup would run over with joy. And now I’m here. My cup runneth over with “just ok.” Or maybe my cup just runneth not with misery. My cup is legitimately fine, thank you.

Enough about my cup.

This perfect little illustration describes how I feel right now (Not mine, but borrowed from Hyperbole and a Half — a wonderful blog that I can’t recommend enough).

hyperboleandahalf

I’m feeling empowered by my state in life. Which is weird because I don’t have a lot of the stuff I’m “supposed” to have locked in. (relationship, mortgage, kids, clear sense of exactly what the rest of my life will look like, an unbroken door handle on my car, etc.) I feel like I either:

A. Accidentally stumbled upon the secret to happiness, which is to fail at life and figure out what you want.; or

B. Hit my head and am in a drug-induced coma, so none of this is actually real.

Either way, I’m just going with it. Next week, life will probably kick my ass just for being so damned cocky.

How are you all? Doing ok? 

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This Train Has Jumped Its Track

dynamiteI’ve never been a great planner. No that’s not entirely true. I did plan one hell of a great wedding. After 2 years of planning, my wedding day went off beautifully, and without a hitch. Tah-DAH!! And then things fell apart. We both went to grad school, bought a house, money got tight, we disagreed about what to do with our future, he had an affair and problems with drugs and alcohol that I could not plan my way out of. I did try for a couple of years. But I finally had to conclude that I could not control everything, and I certainly could not control the actions of a person who seemed determined to self-destruct. I had to light a stick of dynamite under my plans and run.

I’m glad I ran. It was absolutely the right choice.

Even before everything in my marriage fell apart so spectacularly, I already felt as if I were marching forward mindlessly according to someone else’s plan. Whose plan? I don’t know. My ex-husband’s? Our family’s plan? Society’s plan? Married life for me was simultaneously surface-comfy yet terrifying, like a hug that from a reformed convict that continues for 2 beats longer than it should. I felt “on track,” and that was satisfying. I had checked off most of my shoulds, including college, job, marriage, mortgage, grad school. The whole world shouts “hooray” for the person who is on track. We love a track. Here comes the Predictable Safe Life Train! Choo-choo!

But, at the same time, the whole thing felt surreal. Like I was acting out a part in a children’s show. Absurdly wide smiles and choreography, and everything dumbed down. “Heyyy, Kids!! Let’s play with matches and LSD in this abandoned refrigerator!! Wheee!!”

When you fit into a comfortable, vanilla, predictable story — when you are “on track” — the world assumes all is well and smiles upon you. You make people comfortable by fitting in. You realize that making everyone comfortable is your job — and you do your job. You put on your uniform and smile for the camera. You bury your dreams if they aren’t Pinterest-ready. Your job is to shut up and be grateful for the nightmare wrapped in shiny paper.

Leaving my marriage put me off track. It was scary and interesting and weird. I could sense a discomfort from others that wasn’t there when my life was going according to plan. I went off-plan. Derailed. I blew up the happy narrative.

So, now I’m at a new crossroads. I work a day job that may no longer be a good match for me, though I don’t dislike the company or the people I work with. The job description has changed, and I have not. Or maybe I have. I’m feeling less comfortable in the corporate environment than I did a couple of years ago. Shifts in management have changed the landscape significantly, and I just do not fit in there now. I was always a little bit of an oddball in the office. Now I am just an anomaly. I do not belong.

It’s no one’s fault. I am this. They are that.

I’ve felt this before: this disconnected feeling — this need to be out of the confines of a school building or an office. It’s uncomfortable, and potentially self-destructive, because surely my days are numbered. It’s just a matter of how I want to handle it. Do I take a leap and leave of my own accord? And to where? Another corporate job sounds like a terrible trap, and I’d like to avoid it if I can. But I live in a world of commerce, alas. I need things like shelter and protein and coffee and wine.

This is your Life. This is it. How do you want to remember it? Do you want to regret not taking a chance? What does that chance look like? What do I want, exactly? How do I want to get there? What do I need to do it? Do I need a day job? Do I need this day job? What am I afraid of? (Failure. Poverty. The perception of others. Making the wrong choice and regretting it.)

Interesting. It mirrors the thought process that kept me in the marriage for so long, up to a point. I remember feeling desperately afraid of taking the wrong path and regretting it. I was afraid of what people would think of me. I was held back by the comfort of “the devil you know,” because the alternative seemed so unclear, so scary. And I stayed on the safe path, despite hating myself for it. Until finally I decided that I would rather take the leap than live a lie.

I’m afraid of my own mind. What if this is madness? What if this is the story that I tell myself while in caught in a temporary down cycle, and I later come out of it –filled with regret?

What if the fear and the lack of funds and the depression keep me from being productive with anything? What if I’m back to the state of mind I had in high school, in my marriage, in my last job? What if being on track is the key to everything, and I’m just a rambling, bumbling idiot with nothing to say — and I only realize that AFTER I throw myself off the track?

Let’s put that all aside for a moment. What do I want?

I want to write. I want to get off track in my own good, semi-controlled way. I want to be caught up in my work. I want to wake up each day excited to get back to work.

I want to collaborate with other creative people in a supportive environment. I want to be in a position in which I feel I have something to contribute. I want to help people achieve their goals and feel good when they succeed. I want to be at peace with my life as it is, and not feel the need to defend it.

Whatever track I’m on, I want to know that it is my track, and not some ancient trail that has been laid out for me. The new trail is difficult, it may lead me off a cliff, but at least it is my own.

offtrack

Ok, I will stop talking about tracks, now.

 

 

 

A Bad Marriage is a Like a Polyester Shirt.

On the surface, Monday was perfect – sunny, but not too hot. An ordinary workday. And yet, I felt…mysteriously enraged. All day long, this intense, seemingly sourceless rage simmered as I tried to focus on the work at hand. It wasn’t until late afternoon. that I realized my shirt was closing in on my ribcage like a medieval abattoir, but the pain was not intense enough to notice on a conscious level. I spent the day squelching the urge to hurl grenades out my window into Copley Square, but I had no idea what was happening.

Continue reading

Fuck It: In Defense of Saying ‘Uncle’

edisonThomas Edison famously claimed that genius was “One percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” It’s pithy, and I appreciate the sentiment — I really do. Clearly Mr. Edison was a genius and a successful man. But it also sounds to me like a relentless douchebag congratulated himself for being a such a relentless douchebag. And the world shouted “hooray,” because we love that shit.

Never give in. Never say die. Never give in the overwhelming might of the enemy. Never, never never. Never give up hope. Do not go gentle into that goodnight. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. It’s as American as apple pie and Mighty Mouse and Super-Sized energy drinks.

I am in no way a relentless douchebag. I’m a quitter.  Continue reading

Here it comes! Wait for it…

44109-Happiness-Loading“There’s a kind of freedom in being completely screwed… because you know things can’t get any worse.” ~Clark Kellogg (Matthew Broderick), in The Freshman.

My life looks a little tragic, today, but not in an interesting or romantic way. I’m not likely to get a write-up in the paper any time soon (“Hero Woman Impales Self on Fencepost While Pulling Toddlers from Burning Building”). I’m also not living with poverty or illness or any number of horrible problems that other unlucky souls are forced to contend with. In this time and place, on this planet, I am one of the lucky ones.

*There,  that’s my obligatory humble preamble. Everything that follows will be pure navel-gazing, whining, and duck-face selfies with cocktails.

My tragedy is pretty dull, though I have been chucked through an industrial-sized emotional shredder over the last ten years. The short version: Continue reading