Top 5 Things I Learned From Divorce

It has been just over a year since my ex and I split, and three months since the divorce was finalized.  As I sit in my cozy new apartment, I’m thinking over this past year on my own.  Quite frankly, I’m amazed at what this year has brought to me!  When “our” door closed for the last time behind me last year, I was more lost, alone, scared, and heartbroken than I knew one person was capable of being.  Distance and time have given me the perspective to realize that my healing process began right in that moment of hurt.  I couldn’t see it then, but our split (and subsequent divorce) has been one of the biggest blessings in my entire life.  As I worked through the hurt surrounding them, as I let the healing process do its thing, I began to learn incredible lessons; I became a lot older and wiser during this past year!

A friend asked me for the “Top 5” things that I learned over this past year, so I wanted to share them with you.

(1) Single and alone and lonely are three different things.
I am finally in a place in my life to understand that being single doesn’t mean that a person is lonely or that they are necessarily looking for a relationship.  Being single can also be a choice that a person makes, whether for a season of life or for their entire life, and it’s perfectly normal and acceptable!  Think about all the awesome things that single people can do because we don’t have to check in with someone else!  It’s kind of the best thing ever.  I’m not saying that I will spend forever living the single life (maybe I will, who knows!), but for right now, I’m loving it.  I get lonely some days, and I miss the companionship that a relationship brings, but I have the perspective to recognize that I’m lonely because I’m lonely, I’m not lonely because I’m single.
 

(2) You learn a lot about yourself when you reach the end of your rope, or when you get backed into a corner. 
I was living a pretty comfortable and normal life while I was married.  Bills were always paid, two paychecks came in with regularity, and my life was headed somewhere.  When I was first out on my own, panic set in.  I was completely lost, and I didn’t know even the first thing about starting my life over from scratch.  Thankfully, Google, my mom, and the private Trash the Dress Facebook group all exist, and between those three sources, I was able to start figuring it out.  
In the year since the split, I have learned how resilient I am.  People often say “I can’t imagine doing what you’re doing” or “I wouldn’t be able to handle getting divorced”.  You know what?  I didn’t think I could do it either, but I did, and I am!  You don’t know what you’re truly capable of until you have no other choice.  Then you can be pretty damn amazing.  It took losing everything I thought I had to show me that.  It’s not fun to go outside your comfort zone…that’s why they call it a comfort zone!  But when you get outside that, and you are truly uncomfortable, you prove to yourself that you can do just about anything.  I’m no longer afraid of anything life throws my way, because I know I can survive whatever is coming for me!

(3) It’s important to know what refreshes your spirit, and it’s important to do it regularly. Check in with yourself every day.
Oh, my friends, please figure this one out and do it.  It is indescribably important!  
The number one thing that refreshes me is Jesus.  I find that spending even a few minutes a day reading my Bible and/or praying brings me back to center.  Life gets so hectic sometimes, and Jesus is the rock upon which my life is built.  Everything else may fail me; my husband can leave, my friends can stop talking to me, I could get fired from my job, my finances can be a mess…but Jesus will never change and never abandon me.  I am blessed by the fact that my church family has been incredibly supportive through this entire divorce process.  To know that there are so many people who care about me and who pray for me on a regular basis?  That is a blessing and a miracle!
The second thing that refreshes me is writing.  I find that I don’t know what I truly think about anything until I wrestle with it enough to put it into words.  That’s how I process things!  If I’m feeling particularly angsty, an afternoon writing a blog post or journaling is certain to pull me out of the funk.  
 
(4) Each of us is broken in different ways, and there is beauty to be found in that.  Kintsugi means “golden joinery” in Japanese. It’s a pottery practice where broken pieces are repaired with gold; the idea behind it is that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken, because it has a history.
This is one of my literal favorite things; ever since I read about it, I look for it in the people I know in my daily life.  I choose to look for the beauty that comes out of brokenness.  
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A bowl that is whole and perfect can be beautiful, but a bowl that has been broken and repaired with gold is unique, interesting, and priceless.  I choose to believe that I am more beautiful because I have been so broken.

(5) Forgiveness is impossible on your own terms. If there are terms, it isn’t forgiveness.
Ah, the kicker, and the hardest one.  I have not fully forgiven my ex yet, though I promise I am trying.  It’s something that I have to choose to do daily, because those hurts sneak back up on me, and I start to get angry about it.  I have to remind myself to forgive him; by not doing it, the only person I’m hurting is myself!  I know that the only way to be truly free of him and the hold he had/has on me is to forgive him.  Forgiveness is hard because there are no pre-requisites for it.  I can’t say, “I’ll forgive him if he apologizes or tries to make things right.”  If I have conditions on it, I’m not really forgiving him!  Forgiveness is me giving up my “right” to hold a grudge.  It doesn’t mean I forget what happened or condone what happened.  It means that I say, “This is what happened.  Even though you did all of these things to me, I am not going to feel resentment about it anymore.  I’m giving up my ‘right’ to blame you for these things.  I forgive you.”
Divorce kind of feels like the end of the world.  It’s the end of the life you had planned, the end of an important relationship, etc.  In fact, it often feels like mourning the death of a loved one.  But there are some days when you are able to step back and realize that your divorce is also the beginning of so many new and wonderful things!  For me, it has been a springboard into a life I never thought I would have.  I am a completely different person than I was a year ago, and I love who I am today.  I know that this journey is far from over, but instead of worrying about where it’s taking me, I’m learning to enjoy the ride!
xo

Singal: Redefine “Single” After Divorce in your Twenties

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I just invented the word “singal.” At least I think I did. If it’s already in use, well then, great minds think alike and I’m sorry but I did do a quick Google search and all I found was a location in South Korea.

Single can be such a scary word, especially post-divorce in your twenties.

Young divorcées are fierce and should have a label to match. Hence, “singal.”

Definition: An unattached, independent woman. 

But let’s not stop there. As a group, let’s further define this revolutionary divorce before 30 term!

Post your suggestions in the comment section under this article!

How My Divorce Made Me a Woman

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

-A.A. Milne

Divorce is my phoenix. It’s that moment everyone asks for and only few receive, to burn into the ashes and rise once more stronger, braver and wiser towards life.

I have succeeded in changing my life completely. I have succeeded in pulling myself out of grime and filth and nursing myself back to beauty- the beauty every woman holds.

However, I have spent so much time thinking that I am healing from the scars of a divorce- the failed marriage every woman hates to admit. I have blamed my scars on a man; I have blamed everything relating to the relationship and the partner I chose. I for a moment thought I was changing my life to get away from the last three years I wasted. I thought that this new me was embracing the woman I would of become had I not chosen to get married.

Have you noticed in the last two paragraphs how I mention, I chose? I chose the marriage. I chose the man.I chose the kind of love I wanted. I chose to stay for three years.

I am not healing from the scars of a divorce and wasted marriage, but rather I am healing from the choices a broken woman made far before she ever met the one relating to her three year lesson.

Divorce and marriage was but the stepping stones in learning a very important lesson: I grew up. I became a woman and I took responsibility for who I was, chose who I wanted to be,  how I wanted to be treated and how I would be.

To state this sentence publicly has been something I have been milling over and wondering if it’s the best choice, as once again it holds me accountable for my actions on the Internet, where nothing is ever really removed. But I want to be accountable. I acknowledge that I am 100 percent responsible for the scars I have due to my three year lesson. I cannot blame my ex-husband, for I allowed it. I waited. I could of walked out way before I even got married, but I did not, because the worth I saw inside of myself was what he gave me in return.

I am responsibility for every nightmare, every flashback, every scar, every tear. I am responsible for I chose to accept it.

This is a very controversial statement I know, however, at one point I have to stop blaming and hating and I need to begin to move forward, and this is the only way I know. I cannot blame him for being who he is. I do not regret getting married either or the pain of the divorce. I do not regret it for the lessons I have gained has built me into someone I always dreamed of becoming when I was “grown up.”

Sitting here right now, typing this out, I feel proud of how far I have come and I am proud of who I have become. Where I am right now is opening the chapter for me to feel confident in the choices I make from her onwards.

So today, I received my divorce certificate and in celebration of this spectacularly hard lesson and the outcome of it, I would like to say that:I am the Phoenix
I now see the reason and the gift of being married and divorced:  my ex-husband is the flames that dissolved and brought forth a new life and a woman proud, strong and happy.

Always remember to see the beauty in the lesson and who you are due to it.

Single is not a status

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The Ladies Who Wait

Hey everybody! How’s it going? I know, it’s been a while. But here’s something that’s been on my mind lately:

Things are about to get real personal. You ready?

I have not had sex in 14 months. Or kissed anyone in 14 months. One guy tried to hold my hand, but I put a stop to that pretty quick. And 14 months ago, I was married. So, you know what I’m saying.

Yes. I’m counting in months. My abstinence is a newborn. Well, a toddler, now. Let’s be honest, my abstinence is walking, talking, and growing teeth. Soon it’ll be doing taxes. As the great Bridget Jones would say, ” it’s been so long, I think my virginity is growing back.”

What led me to this sensual desert? I’ll tell you.

Phase One: The first few months after things went kaput, I was in denial, mourning, and overall adjusting to changing the portrait I had painted of what my life would be. I was in that stage where if any other guy touched me, I probably would’ve broken down in tears. Not sexy. And if sexy, not a guy you wanna be with.

Phase Two: Feeling open to dating, but everyone around you is still getting used to you being single and all the guys who are single, still see you as married and imagine you’re an emotional hot mess, which, let’s face it, you probably are.

Phase Three: Decided to live with my parents for three months in between moving from Florida to New York City. They live in the middle of nowhere, and why in the world would I try to date anyone when I’m leaving in three months, currently living with my parents, and don’t have a car?

Phase Four: Finally, move to New York. Open to dating. But for some reason, nothing happens. I meet people. I do the OkCupid thing. I take classes and am involved in projects. And nothing has happened.

Three months go by. And here we are. It’s not that I haven’t had fun, been enjoying myself, been growing, learning, and loving life. It’s not that I haven’t moved all over the country in the past year and had the biggest mental and emotional overhaul of my life to date.

But this is where I am. And people are shocked when I tell them. But here’s the thing. I’m not.

The time has flown by, ladies. And like they always say, when it’s meant to happen, it will. I take solace in this.

I always joke that I could be a “one night stand” kind of gal. But you know what? I don’t think that’s true. Something is wired in me to where, for some reason, it simply doesn’t happen. I am a late bloomer, I think. First kiss didn’t come ’til I was 18 and it was with the man I ended up marrying.I sometimes say it’s my moral compass, but it’s not even that, really. I believe if I stood in a crowded room with my eyes closed and my lips puckered, for some cosmic, unknown reason, I would spend the hours without anyone penetrating the invisible protective orb around me.

So, what’s the good thing about this? Can we talk about that? Let’s spin this positively, shall we? For those of you who feel like me- like the words “dry spell” don’t even begin to cover it (it’s more like “water was never invented – what’s wa-ter?”)- listen up. It’s not so bad.

#1. You have time to spend on YOU. That’s right. Watch all the Doctor Who you want. Or, be productive and take that swing dance class. Or hell, both.
#2. You don’t have to spend time worrying about how you look, why all your clothes suck, must shave every six hours, must always look perfect even when sick and going to the pharmacy.
#3. You’re not consistently dealing with an emotional hangover from every male encounter where you have to pick up the little pieces from your still fragile heart.
#4. You don’t want it. You’re not looking for it. If it comes along, great, if not, great. And here’s the thing; I don’t mean this as a game. Like, if I pretend to not care the one will show up, so I’ll pretend to not care. REALLY DON’T CARE. Then, you know what? You really won’t care. It’s a win win. He shows up, great. He doesn’t, great. See how this one puts all that “alone forever” anxiety to rest?
#5. It’s empowering to know that YOU’RE responsible for your own happiness. Just because you haven’t “gotten any” in a while, or haven’t “been on a date.” Who cares? This doesn’t define you. Maybe it’s because I’m hypothyroid and I take my hormones with a glass of water each morning, but any and all “urges” are not dehabilitating. Really. You’re gonna be okay. You won’t die. You won’t shrivel up or grow cobwebs. Or forget. Or get bad.
#6. My conscience is clear. I know that I have requirements and standards for who sees me naked. And I want the next guy in my life to get that. To like it about me. Cause chances are, it’ll make him feel pretty freakin’ special, too.

Before I peace out, I want to be clear: This is not me condemning those who love to explore, be free, be wild. I admire you. Sincerely. Some days I wish I was more like you. Fact is, I’m just not. And I’m hoping I’m not alone out there. So, this is for the chicks who are doin’ it on their own. In every sense. Because people don’t often go to bat for us. Especially people without religious messages. So this is me, stepping up to the plate for the ladies who wait.

Snowed In & Single?

It’s not easy being divorced when the weather patterns call for cuddles. Those of us on the East Coast froze during power outages and lived by candlelight for a week during Hurricane Sandy and now we’re taking cover during a blizzard. Granted, power outages can be slightly romantic if you’re under blankets roasting marshmallows with your lover over those flames. But what if you’re a newly single twenty-something divorcée and the only warm body next to yours is that of your dog or cat?

Ladies, this is when you create your own retreat. I’m talking about the type of getaway that people pay thousands of dollars for just so they can connect with nature, enjoy solitude and get in touch with their feelings. Lucky you, this personal pampering experience can be yours for free! Just pretend the snow is sand and you’re all good.

Seriously though, here’s how to make the best of the blizzard:

  • Read that book you’ve had on the side of your nightstand for the past year.
  • Stock up on fashion, beauty, health, gossip and home-decorating magazines. Then, rip out pages of stories and photos that inspire you. Pin them to a cork-board and use this as motivation to achieve your goals.
  • Drink hot chocolate with the little marshmallows in it. Heck, go all out and roast marshmallows over your stove. We won’t judge. We’re doing the same thing…and adding Nutella.
  • Take a bubble bath. When was the last time you actually did that?
  • Take advantage of free time and try out new hairstyles and makeup looks. Then take photos of yourself. New profile picture? Tada!
  • Sign up for that dating site you’ve been thinking about.
  • Bake pancakes for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. Anything goes when you’re snowed in!
  • Journal.  Let it all out.
  • Make lists. Lots of them.
  • Mani/ pedi. This should be so obvious I should not even have to list it.
  • Watch marathons of your favorite show on Hulu.
  • Shop online. May we suggest Etsy, ShopRuche and Modcloth?
  • Take a walk. Calm, quiet – and yes, cold. So bundle up!  You’ll be amazed at how free and beautiful you’ll feel.
  • Stay in your pajamas all day.
  • Practice yoga or dust off those exercise DVDs.
  • Paint. Color. Get silly and crafty. Remember the things you used to love to do? Do them!

Wow, this all sounds so much fun that I need to get off my computer and enjoy my own snow night!

(the end).