TikTok and Co-Parenting

Buckle up! This is a long one.

I have a confession to make. I just started getting into TikTok. I only have a few people I follow and I don’t post, but I like the videos. They’re like little lessons sometimes. Small comedy shows other times.

I had a video pop up for me last night and my head just about exploded.

Little background for you so you understand all that’s going on. Woman gets cheated on by her husband. He’s having an affair while she’s at work supporting the family. She finds out, leaves him, and files for divorce. Husband ends up moving in and having a baby with the affair accomplice. In an interesting turn of events the cheated on woman ends up meeting and getting together with the cheated on man. Yeah, they swapped spouses. Also interesting: Cheated on Daddy has custody of the couple’s kids so the cheated on woman is a full-time stepmom to the affair accomplice’s kids. And…. one last twist. Cheating hubby can’t figure out how to properly fill out paperwork so they are legally still married until he files the proper papers.

Got all of that?

Her TikTok basically went like this: I called up my husband’s girlfriend (remember, technically still married) and asked her if she’d like me to take their son for the weekend so they could have time away together. Followed by this lovely montage of all the kids together and words of affirmation about how wonderful it is that they can do this and how this is how it should be. Yes, the cheated on wife watching the affair child of her cheating husband and his affair accomplice. That’s exactly how it should be. In fucking Crazyville!

OK, despite my outburst let me be very clear. If this kind of thing floats your boat then keep rowing merrily, merrily, merrily down the stream. My point is not that you shouldn’t do it, or that’s damaging or confusing to the kids or they’ll grown up having issues. I mean, they might. I don’t know. But that’s not my point.

My point is this: I’m so sick and tired of the media and everyone else out there that tries to sell this bullshit to us as the way it should be. No, it’s the way it might be. Could be. Much more likely if one of the parties is not an asshole. But more than likely it’s not the way that it is and I’m not even sure it’s something we should strive for.

As always there are the sycophants who must chime in with all of their social media wisdom and these are just a fraction of the comments. The post had over 1.4 thousand of them. I did not have the time, nor the stomach, to read through them all.

I love this! That’s how grown women act. These are true mothers.

Seriously? Sucking up to your husband’s mistress makes you a true mother? Not taking care of your kids after their father has abandoned them? Not working two or three jobs to provide for them? Not doing without so that your children don’t do without? It’s only when you offer to take the other woman’s child that she had with your husband that you can call yourself a true mother. Good to know.

No, there isn’t any food in the house because I spent it all on tanning, nails, and tattoos. But I’m a really good mom. Honest! I take my husband’s love child every other weekend when he and the affair accomplice want to get away for some couple time. That’s the very definition of a true mother.

That’s how grown women act. Bitch, please.

And this is what being a grown woman looks like… that little boy is gonna grow up knowing what love really is.

What in the hell is it with grown woman equaling falling all over yourself to help out your husband and the mistress with their child? When did that become a thing?

Maybe what that little boy is gonna grown up knowing about is piss poor boundaries. Or maybe they’ll all grow up under the illusion that cheating on your spouse is no big deal and get a huge shock when they cheat on their own spouse and that one doesn’t say things like, “Oh bring your baby on over. I’ll watch him or her because I’m a grown woman and grown women do those types of things,” or, “I would love to have you and your mistress over for the holidays. Can you ask her to make her amazing macaroni and cheese?” Instead, maybe their cheated on spouse says something along the lines of,”Get the fuck out of here with that ridiculous shit. Watch your own damn kid. I’m not your fucking babysitter,” or my personal favorite, “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire so hell no I’m not helping you and your whore out with your child.”

Honestly, is there no other way for your child to feel loved if you aren’t in one big circle jerk with your ex and the affair accomplice?

This!!! This is how it should be done.

I disagree, M’am. Stop pushing this ridiculous notion that all ex’s should get along and be one big happy family. You know what would be even better for the kids than acting like one big happy family? Not cheating on your fucking wife and ending up divorced so you now have to play one big happy family.

Co-parenting done right. Followed by the person being tagged saying, “Yep.”

Nope. I’m pretty sure my friend who had an abusive ex would not agree that this is parenting done right. Especially considering the fact that the ex attempted to strangle their daughter at one point. I’m pretty sure she feels much safer far, far away from her ex. Pretty sure her daughter does, too.

This can only happen when you saw your partner as a partner and not a possession. When things don’t work out you see the bigger picture instead of feeling like someone else took your possession.

Wow! I am almost without words.

No, how about when someone cheats on you and decimates your life it fucking hurts. You don’t owe it to the person who did that to you to buddy up to them or welcome their affair accomplice into your life. I wouldn’t invite my rapist or kidnapper over for Thanksgiving and I don’t intend to invite my ex over either.

That comment above boils everything down to sex and ownership. It is insulting. It completely ignores the person who has been left devastated by the cheater’s actions. It ignores the person who has had their life turned upside down and they’re struggling to understand what has happened and how they’re going to continue on without this person they loved and thought was “their person.” It ignores the cheated on individual who is left wondering what is wrong with them, or if there was something else they could have done- or something they shouldn’t have done. It ignores the parent that is scared to death because they have no idea how they’re going to be able to support their children, have no idea where they may end up, and have no idea how they’re going to make it. It ignores those of us who went through hell to overcome all of the obstacles thrown our way by the cheater. It takes the insidious act of infidelity and boils it down to ownership and jealousy.

You just won’t co-parent because you thought you owned him!

No, I don’t co-parent because he moved hundreds of miles away from his children in order to be with his cousin. I don’t co-parent because he abandoned his children- physically, emotionally, and financially whenever he could. And even if he had stuck around and my kids wanted to engage with him I wouldn’t have been inviting him and Harley over for dinner or getting a mani pedi with her. I will be civil if the time ever comes where I must be but we are not friends. I like to think I select a better caliber of friends than those two.

Oh yeah, and fuck you, you pretentious little twit!

This is adulting. Hats off to you for doing the best for the kiddos.

Again, I ask, “Is this the only way a person can “adult”?” Because I kinda thought I was sucking it up and adult-ing when I faced facts and realized I was going to have to leave my home. I thought I was adult-ing when I took a deep breath and had to break the news to my kids that we were going to move. I thought I was adult-ing when I went through the whole house and put stickers on the majority of my possessions in order to sell them, seeing as how I had no house of my own and I had no idea when I would be able to afford one (we’re into year six and still no house for Sam). I thought I was adult-ing when I signed us up for Medicaid because that stupid, selfish bastard left us without insurance. I thought I was adult-ing when I got my kids registered at their new schools. I thought I was adult-ing when I took the first crappy job I was offered in order to pay my bills and then took another one when I realized that the first crappy job only covered my bills and nothing else. I thought I was adult-ing when I showed up to my jobs and for my kids every day despite the fact that I wanted to die and my life sucked huge donkey balls. I thought I was adult-ing when I sat in a chair with a plasma needle in my arm twice a week for four months in order to insure that my kids had a decent Christmas because their dad couldn’t be counted on to pay his support on time and I never knew when he might suddenly modify shit again. I thought I was adult-ing when I filed for divorce, had to hire an expert of my own to combat his PTSD claims, ended up at trial, and endured questioning by his lawyer. I thought I was adult-ing when I raised my kids, paid my daughter’s tuition, got my son psychiatric help, paid for counseling for both of my kids, and was the one who had to deliver all the bad news to my kids each and every time because he was hundreds of miles away living a life of luxury with his gold digging whore of a cousin. Huh- who knew? All I needed to do was sit around a bonfire and have a couple drinks with them. Or babysit their non-existent love child. Maybe offering to watch Harley’s children with The Saint would have sufficed.

THIS IS HOW YOU CO-PARENT THE RIGHT WAY.

All caps.

Is there really a right way? And are we sure this is it?

Look, this doesn’t affect me. My kids are grown. I never had to share. I never had to co-parent. He took off to greener pastures and was never seen again except for a brief appearance at Rock Star’s high school graduation so he would know down to the half hour when to cut off child support. I’m still curious as to why we have set this up as the example to which we should all aspire?

There are real people involved in these situations. People whose lives have been turned upside down and inside out. They are doubting themselves. Some of them are suicidal. Some actually kill themselves.

I can’t imagine anything crueler than telling a person who has just lost their spouse due to infidelity that the true measure of how much they’ve healed, or the litmus test of them being a good co-parent is their ability to stuff their feelings deep down inside and pretend that they are perfectly okay with everything that has happened to them. Go to a Wine and Canvas Night with the mistress! Babysit their love child so they can have a romantic weekend away! Come on- do it for the kids!

Love this! Living example for those kids.

Is it? Are we sure this is what we want to teach our kids? Actions have no consequences. Everyone around you will be told to suck it up so that you suffer no discomfort.

I know I’ve been snarky through most of this but honestly is this the only kind of example we can set for our kids? Are they doomed if mom has airtight boundaries with dad? Are they going to somehow suffer because dad isn’t offering to watch mom’s baby with the other man? Will they need counseling if people aren’t fooled into believing that their parents are still married despite the lying and cheating and devastating end of the marriage?

I kinda feel like I’ve set a pretty good example for my kids. I did hard things. I worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. I’ve been steadily climbing up the job ladder, making better money. I’m hoping I’ve modeled a strong, capable, loving mother and that they’re not thinking, “If only she had been nicer to Harley…”

This is everything… could you imagine how much better kids’ lives would be if we just put our drama and hurt to the side for them? AMAZING PARENTING.

Again with the minimizing of what the betrayed parent goes through. The very words they use minimize what I and many others went through.

If we just put our drama and hurt to the side…

What drama and hurt are you speaking of? Are you talking about when I found out he moved me and my kids 2000 miles across the country for a con? Are you talking about when I lost my house? Or when I had to break the news to my daughter that this beautiful new life she hadn’t wanted and yet she crafted for herself was about to end? Was it when I went on Medicaid? Is that the hurt you’re referring to? Or maybe it was signing my kids up for free lunches and textbooks when previously my biggest worry was when my pool was finally going to be completed. Are you talking about the humiliation of having to move back in with my mom because I couldn’t support my kids? Or the fact that I slept on a couch for 2 years and didn’t have a single inch of this house to call my own? Maybe the hurt you’re talking about was when I realized I was going to have work 2 retail jobs at Christmas if I wanted my kids to actually have a Christmas. Or perhaps it was the year I spent four months with a needle in my arm in order to make sure I had enough money for Christmas. I know I keep bringing that one up but believe me, it made an impression. Or maybe the hurt and drama to which you are referring is being left to deal with my children’s mental health issues all by myself while their father is busy building a new life and new family with someone else- someone a little less taxing. I guess that hurt and drama could even be the financial struggles that my kids and I have gone through since August of 2016. But hey, let’s just push all that pesky “hurt and drama” to the side and get on with the more important things in life- like making sure the cheater looks good to everyone and never has to suffer a single consequence.

I know this may come as a shock to most people but I did not cease to be a person once I gave birth. Oh, my life changed completely. There is no doubt about that. I can’t think of an instance where I put my own wants, or even needs, ahead of my children. Our money went to insure that our children had a good life They wanted for nothing. They had birthday parties to die for. I could have bought a second house for what I paid monthly in gym fees for Rock Star. Nonetheless, I still have feelings. I’m still a human being and I still count.

I get to decide where to draw the line.

I do not need to be best friends with my ex and I certainly do not owe it to the person who chose to insert herself in my marriage to be best friends with her or welcome her into my life in any way.

I wish this is how it could be. But the other side is so selfish it isn’t even funny.

I’m not sure about this one. The person who responded asked, “All up in their own feels?”

Typically, when sane people rant about an awful co-parenting relationship it’s because the other parent is an absolute nightmare. They don’t want to be best friends; they would simply like the other parent to be reasonable and able to have a civil conversation about their shared children. They’re not looking to babysit the affair accomplice’s children. They would just like their ex-spouse to cooperate when it comes to their own children.

So, I’m thinking this is probably one of those people who has done something horrible to their former partner and they’re all caught up in their own feels because the ex is not willing to play that game.

Sorry but no one owes it to you to act the way you want them to once a relationship ends. You control yourself. That’s it.

And this is how you teach your kids.

Teach them what?

You know what I taught my kids (I hope!)? I taught my kids you don’t cheat. I taught my kids that cheating has some pretty big consequences. I’m teaching my daughter not to rely on any man and to make sure she can always support herself. I’m trying to teach both of them to look for reciprocity in their relationships and to stay away from those who only take and never give. I’m hoping I’ve taught them to never make their needs smaller for another person.

What I don’t intend to teach them is how to eat shit. I don’t intend to teach them their feelings don’t matter. I don’t plan on teaching them to stuff every bad thing that happens to them deep down inside because it might upset someone else. And I’m sure as hell not going to teach them they should reach out to their former partner and the affair accomplice and ask to watch their child so they can have a romantic weekend together.

And my absolute favorite: Two women supporting each other and showing the kids just what love looks like!

You think this is two women supporting each other? I’m thinking the time to be supportive would have been before she fucked the other woman’s husband. But I’m funny that way.

We can dress this up like it’s women supporting women but what I see is a woman who is falling all over herself to prove something to the world.

Yes, my husband left me for this woman but we are just the best of buddies now. We’re like sister wives! And I love her child she has with my husband the same as I love my own. You should all try to be like me because I’m so grown up and I do co-parenting right.

Blech! It’s kinda like having someone deliberately run you down with their car and then you insist upon using them as your caregiver and in turn you gush about what an awesome job they’re doing taking care of you.

They ran you down with their car. Taking great care of you is the least they could do. Honestly, they should be in jail, not bringing you soup and magazines and changing your bandages.

This is not two women supporting each other. This is one woman who was perfectly comfortable fucking another woman’s husband, moving in with him, and having a baby with him while the other woman tries to convince herself she’s above all the crap. It’s one woman who was perfectly fine with fucking the other woman’s husband, having a baby with him, and then using the cheated on spouse as convenient childcare. In this case it’s both of the cheated on spouses being tasked with babysitting the cheaters’ child. It’s one woman who takes and takes and takes, and another woman who foolishly gives and gives and gives.

Seriously, what has the mistress given the cheated on wife? Her own cheated on husband? She didn’t give her that. Her children? She didn’t give her them either; she lost custody to her cheated on husband. I bet that if you asked the cheated on wife what the mistress turned girlfriend has done for her the response would be, “Not a damn thing.” Probably followed by some tale of how she didn’t keep score and it wasn’t a tit for tat situation. She just wants to do what’s best for those kids!

Of course I’m sure that it helps that the cheated on woman is now sleeping with the other woman’s ex-husband, living with him, and raising her children because the husband got custody. Hell, maybe she has a nefarious plot to try to wrestle custody of the love child away from her as well.

As I said at the beginning of this post, if you want a relationship like this with the person who tried their damnedest to break you knock yourself out. But if you don’t want a relationship like this? Tell ‘em to fuck off. Don’t let yourself get bullied into believing that this is the only way, or even the best way. You do what works for you.

Exercise and Education In One Fell Swoop

I’ve been working from home this week. I did something to my shoulder while on vacation last week. According to the chiropractors and physical therapists on YouTube it is probably a pinched nerve. However, this post is not about my ailments. It’s about my cute mom.

As I said, I’ve been working from home this week since Monday afternoon. Each day my mom announces to me, “I’m going to the library.”

We live outside the city limits so I’m not completely sure how far away the library is. I’m not dealing with city blocks. I’d say maybe a quarter of a mile away. Or somewhere between a quarter and a half mile. She walks there. She likes walking.

Today when she comes into the room I’ve set up as my office to let me know she’s walking to the library I finally ask her, “Do you go to the library every day?”

“Every day Monday through Friday,” she tells me. Yep, my mom, the person who always has stamps, gets the package in the mail right away, irons clothes, and is a big fan of three square meals a day, is also a daily visitor to our local library.

I’ve lived with the woman for 6 years now and I’m just now discovering this.

I look at her, curiosity getting the better of me. “What on earth do you do at the library every day?”

Serious as a heart attack the woman begins to list the many things she does at the library. Her routine, if you will.

“I read the paper and then I make a copy of the crossword puzzle and then, if there’s a new People magazine I read that.”

By the time she gets to “copying the crossword puzzle” the corners of my mouth have curved upwards into a bemused smile. My mom loves her crossword puzzle.

“And don’t you dare put that in your fucking blog!” she tells me.

Oh no! This is too good not to share.

“What’s wrong with going to the library every day? I’m getting my steps in and I’m reading. I’m getting my exercise and education in one fell swoop!”

“I’m sorry. Can you repeat that? That’s going to be the title.”

My mom is so cute. I told her that, too. She’s trotting off to the library every day, getting her steps in and reading her newspaper she refuses to pay for anymore because they’ve pissed her off one too many times.

Can’t You Be Nice To Him…. For the Kids?

Someone wrote about the very strong boundaries she has with her ex-husband. She went so far as to say that she hoped in the upcoming years she could say, “He cheated on me and I never saw or spoke to him again.” I can appreciate that.

As you may expect while many people were cheering her on one person had to ask, “How do you think that’s going to affect your children?” Naturally it must be so difficult for the children to have a mom who won’t suck up to their lying, cheating dad. Throw in a phrase or two about the poor lambs being uncomfortable when the parents aren’t together and how they’ll be forced to choose sides, right along with the requisite story about feuding parents that won’t attend major milestones because of their “bitterness” and “rage”.

Her response could have been my response. Why does it fall to us to once again suck it up? It’s not enough that many times we’re thrust back into the workforce, lose time with our children, work 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet, are responsible for everything child related because the fuckwit is off living his (or her) best life, have to handle the divorce, are being dragged through the mud by the lying cheater, and we’re emotionally exhausted and feeling unloved and unworthy. No, on top of all of those other things we’ve been charged with doing we are also under an obligation to make nice with the very person that put us in that situation.

Think of the children? I’m pretty sure that’s what I did when I worked two retail jobs at Christmas. It’s what I did when I got up and went into work at 2 in the morning because we got 2 trucks during the Christmas season. It’s what I did when I was working 14 and 16 hour days to provide my kids with a Christmas because their dad, the one I’m supposed to “work with” and be cordial to, wasn’t sending a single nickel their way. It’s what I did when I continued to work two jobs even after I got hired on full-time because I knew that I didn’t make enough money at the one full-time job. It’s what I did every time I cried on my way to work, wiping my tears before walking in, whether that was into Target at some ungodly hour or a bank branch in those early days. It’s what I did when I went to the plasma center after work twice a week from August through January, just to ensure I wasn’t dependent on the spousal and child support Jerry Lee sent when he felt like it, modifying it to suit his whims (gotta have money for the whore and her kids). That’s what I did every time I had to break the bad news to my kids, every time I held one of them while they cried. It’s what I’ve done while trying to get Picasso the help he needs and Rock Star the help she needs. It’s what I’ve done the entire seven years since I found out about him and Harley. I’ve shown up. I’ve been there. I’ve done the hard jobs. When he walked away I stuck around. And now you want me to smile and play nice with that motherfucker? Because that’s what’s best for the children?

What if what’s best for my kids is seeing their mom establishing healthy boundaries instead of being a doormat? What if what is best for my kids is me telling them that they don’t have to tolerate people treating them badly? That it’s fine to terminate a relationship that is bad for them. What if teaching my kids that I’m a human being and not some robot is what is best for my kids?

These people have already taken so much from us. Why is it our duty to enable them even further?

As I asked, would you be telling someone to smile and be cordial to their ex if that person had pulled a gun on them? Or beat them unconscious? Or abused their children? If not, why not? Must we get to the point where someone is physically attacked before we can legitimately detach from them?

I’m not one of those people who think that children are irreparably damaged because their divorced parents aren’t buddy buddy. I have no problem with someone telling their child: Your relationship with your father is between the two of you. You need to learn to navigate that on your own. But you also need to realize that the relationship I have with your father is mine to navigate. We don’t have similar experiences so we’re not going to view him through the same lens.

And what’s with this pearl clutching at the idea of Mom and Dad not standing side by side at an awards banquet, or graduation, or even a wedding? I don’t know about you but I didn’t talk to everyone at Rock Star’s graduation. When my kids were in elementary school I didn’t talk to everyone at the awards assemblies. When they played sports I didn’t talk to everyone at the sporting event.

I’ve written about Rock Star’s graduation. I gave Jerry Lee the ticket. I was even the person who offered him a ticket via text message, fully expecting he would come back with some venomous reply. My thought process was, “Oh well. His loss. I tried. I did what I thought was right.” Instead, he shocked me and was actually very thankful. He came to my place of employment. I gave him the ticket. There was no big fanfare. We didn’t reminisce. He took the ticket and left. We didn’t sit together at the ceremony, not that she would have known if we did seeing as how she was down with the graduating class and we were up in the stands. Picasso wouldn’t have known either as he was playing down in the orchestra. My mom saw him and was infuriated by the fact he wore a suit. I saw him. Didn’t give a shit about the suit. I sat with a group of 7 others; he sat alone. I took pictures of her and with her and then headed to the restaurant. He came out of the shadows, cried his crocodile tears and made everything about himself. She joined us at the restaurant. He wasn’t invited.

I could be completely wrong although I don’t think I am but none of this seemed to bother my daughter. No scene was made. I doubt anyone in my vicinity was thinking, “Wow- the anger radiating from her is intense!” or, “Golly gee that woman sure is bitter!” And Rock Star wasn’t sobbing hysterically, “Why can’t I have a picture with my mommy AND my daddy? I just want you two to be best friends for one night. Can’t I have that, please?”

You know what did happen though? Aside from his crocodile tears and making it all about himself, of course. He cut child support in half and prorated his support for her down to the half hour when she graduated. When I dared to question him about this and told him this wasn’t correct he told me to read my divorce decree and then called me a cunt because he was forced to recognize that I was right and he was wrong.

Yet there will always be those Pollyanna’s who urge you to put aside all sense of self-preservation in order to take another beating from the person who has already abused you.

No thanks. If ignoring that motherfucker so hard it makes him doubt his own existence is the worst I do to him then he got off easy.

Why Is It So Easy For Some People To “Get Over It”?, Part IV

Why is it so much easier for some to get over the cheater than it is for others? Define easy. Or at least easier.

I lost my home. I was forced out of the area my kids and I lived in. I lost almost everything I owned. I cried every day for a very long time. I wanted to die. I begged God to kill me and put me out of my misery. I believe at one point I said something to the effect of, “My life is over. Now I’m just waiting to die.”

When I worked as a teller in the branches I often thought that if we were robbed I wouldn’t even care if I got shot and killed. I’d volunteer to be the hostage. All those other people I worked with had something to live for; I was just waiting to die.

Whether I called Jerry Lee the love of my life or the bane of my existence my life did a 180 and I will never be the same again. I will never trust someone like I did before. I’d like to think I’ve worked on fixing my picker. I’d like to believe I got it right this time and that the mobster would never cheat on me. But then again, I never thought Jerry Lee would either. It’s not even that I think he will cheat, or that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know what can happen and I feel that I would be remiss if I stuck my head in the sand and pretended like it could never happen again. And part of me feels that it’s so wrong to think like that because truly healing should mean being able to trust again. Completely trust again with no reservations.

I will never allow myself to rely on anyone ever again. I will never ever lose my home and everything in it if a man walks out on me again. I see all of these women quitting their jobs and becoming stay at home moms and I think to myself how wonderful it must be to be able to trust and rely upon another that way. The trust may not be warranted. We won’t know until much later. But the fact that they have that faith is something I will never have again. I know, and I cannot un-know, that if I depend on someone for my livelihood, my home, my car, my whatever, and I’m wrong about him and what a good person he is, then I will lose everything. Even if my divorce wasn’t as “tough” as someone else’s or my heart wasn’t broken as badly as another’s it damn near killed me and I will never go through that again.

I don’t look at the institution of marriage the same way. I think it’s mostly bullshit and not worth the piece of paper your marriage license is printed on.

I don’t look at in-law relationships the same as I once did. They’re people who are in your life and like you as long as you serve a purpose for their relative. You don’t have an authentic relationship with them. Once your partner is done with you those people you celebrated holidays with and bought gifts for and visited in the hospital and took vacations with won’t remember your name; even more hurtful is the fact that they will immediately slot the new woman (or man) into your place. You’ve now been erased.

I don’t think women should stay at home and take care of the babies while the men folk go off and establish six figure careers. Because you quickly find out 20 years later that when he leaves you for someone else he still has his six figure income and you get to struggle in poverty forever.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe in give and take relationships at all. Someone is always going to have to be willing to believe in someone else and trust that the person won’t screw them over eventually. How do relationships survive when each person is only out for themselves? I’m beginning to think that marriage is a hopelessly outdated institution, one that benefits men far more than it benefits women in most cases.

When you think about it that question, “Why do some people seem to get it over so much easier?” is actually quite insulting. I may not be crying and gnashing my teeth over losing the love of my life or my best friend but it does not mean my road was easy. It turns out I’m just a hell of a lot better at gray rock or no contact than others. No doubt it helped that he moved 6 hours away but even while living in the same house I wasn’t going to give him the time of day.

At the heart of it all I’m a practical person. No point in begging him to come back; I knew it wasn’t going to happen. We both knew there was no turning back. I had warned him back in 2013 that I would forgive him once but if it ever happened again I would divorce him and take him for everything I could. He knew that so the moment he said yes to Harley he knew what was going to happen. And I knew from conversations way back when that when he finally made a decision (usually about leaving a job) his mind was made up; he wouldn’t be swayed by more money or promises of whatever the person thought he might want. He knew he was going to have to leave everything we had just bought together behind. He knew he would lose his kids. He made a choice. Knowing full well that if he let her back into our lives it would mean the end of our marriage and the end of life for our kids as they knew it, he went full steam ahead. He chose her. Every. Single. Step. Of. The. Way.

“Why do some seem to get over it more easily than others?” is a ridiculous question. We don’t know what other people are going through. The only thing cheated on people have in common is that we were cheated on. Everyone likes to think we’re all in the same boat but we’re not. We can all certainly offer up support and assure the person new to this pain that it’s all going to get better, but we’re not all in the same boat. What may look like easier for one person might seem insurmountable for another.

My husband of 20 years was not much of a partner to me. We might have had a good 5 years but that was about it. I was used to going through life alone. I was used to raising children alone for the most part. While I wasn’t mourning the loss of him, wasn’t suffering withdrawals because I couldn’t be with him, wasn’t wondering how on earth I would ever be happy without him in my orbit, make no mistake, none of what I went through was “easier”.

I was very literally thrust into poverty after living in the top 3-4% of the socioeconomic population. I struggled to find work and then I worked so damn much just trying to keep my head above water that I would fall asleep sitting up and had no time with my kids. I worked shitty hours for shitty pay. It took me five years to finally find a job that paid me halfway decent.

I had to move my kids 600 miles away, tear their world apart once again, and move in with my mom. I sold, or left behind, almost everything I had ever owned. I had no bed, much less bedroom, to call my own. I slept on the couch for 2 years. To this day I don’t have a home of my own, and because Jerry Lee let our house go into foreclosure I don’t even have proceeds from the sale of my home with which to buy a new home. I’m starting over at zero. I have no furniture. I have very few household items.

I lost so much time with my two children. I was a good mom to those two. I know they both say I’m still a great mom but I know I’m not the same as I was. I took them everywhere- museums, amusement parks, skating rinks, caves, water parks, zoos, Presidential museums, Yellowstone. I tried my best to keep them busy and engaged. I signed them up for horseback riding lessons; we went white water rafting and took many hikes while living out in Utah. They were both involved in sports. I volunteered at their schools. I took them on road trips. Once I began working I could no longer do that. I feel like I was robbed of the last few years of their childhoods. I see pictures on Facebook of people I know busy with college trips for their kids. I didn’t get to do much of that with Rock Star. I didn’t have the money in the beginning and once I did we didn’t have long before she needed to make a decision. Two trips. That was it. I didn’t get to celebrate my daughter’s senior year of gymnastics. It was abruptly taken away when we moved to Indiana.

My entire life turned upside down and it has never been the same, or even close to what it was. To this day I worry about what will happen when the spousal support stops and when I near retirement age. Even if I can live well these next 10-15 years, what happens to me after that?

Everything I went through was excruciatingly painful. Everything I lost, especially the time with my kids, meant something to me. For a very long time there was no joy in my world. It was a bleak gray. I wanted to die. Does that really sound easier?

Why Is It So Easy For Some People To “Get Over It”?, Part III

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that not everyone has the same experience? You can’t compare this process because no one has the exact same circumstances. Once in a blue moon you may be able to get close, but it’s rare that anyone will be able to say, “I know exactly what your’e going through because I went through the exact same thing.”

The person who is getting divorced at 60 is going to face different obstacles from the person getting divorced at 28. The person who is divorcing after 5 years of marriage is going to have different obstacles from the person divorcing after 25 years. The person who has a high paying job has different obstacles than the person who hasn’t worked in 15 years. The person who has children has different obstacles than the person with no children, and the person who has to share custody with the ex has different obstacles than the person whose ex up and left. Notice I didn’t say worse obstacles or harder obstacles. I said different. And that is true.What may seem like a cakewalk to you may be excruciatingly difficult for someone else.

My trigger? Houses. All these people who get to sell the family home and take the proceeds to buy a new house. Or hell, maybe they are awarded the family home and they refinance in their name. How I would have loved that. But alas, I did not get the chance as Jerry Lee decided to go for a PTSD diagnosis in order to shimmy out of paying a shit ton of spousal and child support. I lost my home. My beautiful 4009 square foot home with 5 bedrooms including a large master bedroom with a walk-in closet, 3 1/2 bathrooms, granite countertops, a walkout basement, a screened in porch that made you feel like you were at the top of a treehouse, a hot tub, and a brand new pool. POOF! Gone.

A close second is people who have jobs. It’s not so much a trigger now seeing as how I have a job but before- oh yeah, big trigger. She’s getting a divorce when she’s making $95,000 a year and I’m getting a divorce when I make zero and will eventually find a job making $11/hour. There were definitely times that I thought this process would be so much easier if I wasn’t worrying about how to pay my bills and whether or not I could afford to feed and clothe my kids.

But in neither of those situations do I think those circumstances make getting over it easier. I realize that even though I moved back in with mom I’m lucky because not everyone has that option. Some people are dead broke like I was and they’re living in their car. Or in a garage. Or a homeless shelter. The woman making good money might have her kids turned against her, or she has to pay alimony to her cheating ex, or she’s had to get a restraining order.

It’s also possible someone appears to be getting over it easier when the reality is they’ve been struggling with acceptance for three years to this other person’s 3 months. When you’re mixing with a large group of people it’s to be expected that some are further ahead in this process than others. You can’t compare how you’re feeling on day 3 to a person who is on year 3. They are probably going to be much further ahead in the healing process than you. Not definitely, but probably.

For some their divorce is filed and over with before others are even allowed to filed. Others are forced to do mediation with fuckwits for years on end before they can even think of going to court. It’s very difficult to heal when you’re still going through the divorce. Or when you have a litigious ex who is constantly taking you back to court for child support or spousal support modifications or changes in custody. A person still battling their ex in court is probably not going to be as healed as the person who hasn’t seen their ex in a year.

Similarly, I’m sure those of us who never have to deal with the ex have an easier time than those that are constantly going toe to toe with the ex. In my situation I haven’t said a word to him in over a year. He asked about Picasso’s graduation. I told him I didn’t think he was going to walk. That was April or May of last year. I don’t have to share holidays. I never had to deal with my kids being around Harley. I certainly never had to deal with her sticking her big fat nose into how my kids should be raised, and she was never stupid enough to reach out and let me know her every thought of my life, my kids, and how I should behave. There was never any back and forth with how to raise them or him doing stupid shit I didn’t approve of. I didn’t deal with buying items that disappeared over at his house, or disagreeing on what was appropriate for Picasso and Rock Star. I know there are some people that are battling with the ex over children years and years later. I never had to deal with that. I made all the decisions. He abandoned them for the most part.

Finally, sometimes, with a little bit of space and perspective, the person realizes that the cheater was never a very good partner. In some case, like mine, Jerry Lee hadn’t been a good partner in years, even before the cheating. I went through life married but alone. He never had my back. He never thought I was special. We were never truly partners. I did most everything on my own. How could I miss something I never had? In other cases it’s once you’ve gone no contact you realize what bullshit you put up with. It is amazing the number of stories I’ve heard over the years of people putting up with non-stop bullshit, and then after they’ve been out of it for a little bit they look around and say, “Why on earth was I ever crying over this person? And why in the hell did I put up with that bullshit?” Again, if you’re on Day 1 or 2 or 10, not enough time to really get that perspective. You can’t compare yourself to those on Month 8. Still other times, like in the mobster’s case, a person may have been mourning the end of their marriage before they ever even separated. In the beginning I worried that I was simply a replacement. Many times he explained, “I’ve been mourning the end of our relationship for 12 years now- ever since I found that first bottle of vodka hidden in our daughter’s room.” As his oldest son told him once the mobster let him know that she had left and moved in with her boyfriend, “Dad, your marriage was dead for a long time. You just finally pulled the plug.”

All of this to say that looks can be deceiving. You never know what’s been going on. Maybe things were bad for a long time. Maybe this wasn’t the first time the relationship was rocked by infidelity. Maybe the cheating was the final straw.

You look over at that other person when you’re on Day 3 after the bomb goes off and you’re wondering why it’s so much easier for them. You don’t know what they’re going through; you don’t know what they’ve been through up to this point. You don’t know that it’s easier.

I will say this. Once you truly embrace the “Trust that they suck” mantra it does become a lot easier. That’s when you realize you aren’t losing anything.

Why Is It So Easy For Some People To “Get Over It”?, Part II

Am I a soul-less vampire? I don’t think so. I’m not still crying over Jerry Lee, wishing he were here to listen to all of my complaints, fears, successes, and so on, but I was committed. I took marriage seriously. And as I’ve said before I’m a pretty logical person. Sure, I have my moments of hysteria but after I calm down I can usually do what needs to be done.

In my situation Jerry Lee cheated previously back in 2013. Technically I had 2 DDays back then because there was the first confession right around Mother’s Day, and then the message from The Saint in August. I cried. A lot. I was miserable for most of that summer, not knowing if I was going to end up divorced or not. I was desperate to keep my relationship together and to keep my kids’ family intact. I was willing to do anything to get things back on track.

Then came the second DDay when I was pretty damn sure it was over until he messaged me with his bullshit, “I don’t want to lose my family.”

Most of you may be familiar with that second DDay. It took place the day of my daughter’s birthday party. I had to throw a party for 13 or 14 girls, hang out with my friend, and slap a smile on my face all day. So I did.

And after the kids and I came back from Indiana (because remember, my stepfather had just died) I took my “To Do” improvement list and I worked on it like a champ. I later moved 2000 miles across the country to make Jerry Lee happy. But I also let him know that if he ever did this to me again we were done.

Can you imagine the pit in my stomach in those days leading up to discovery? I remember thinking, “Surely he can’t be that stupid. He wouldn’t turn around and do this a second time knowing what all he will lose.” Knowing something was wrong but not able to put your finger on it. Feeling like everyone was against me and trying to convince him to leave. Recording messages for friends and loved ones after they found my body because I was so distraught I thought suicide was the only way out. Seeing charges on our bank statement and thinking that they didn’t make sense. Wondering why he was sending his mom money via Wells Fargo wire instead of just writing her a check. Making trips he couldn’t make before. Hoping against hope that this would all blow over and we could get back to our regular lives. It was hell.

Then came the confirmation. I’m pretty sure my first thought was, “Sonofabitch! Now I’ve got to divorce this motherfucker.” I had already told him it was one and done. I was not going to go back on that. If I did I knew it would simply be one lie and affair after another. You tell them if they do it again and you’re gone, and you don’t leave? They’re going to do it again. I wasn’t going to live that way.

I didn’t want to do any of this. But reasoning prevailed. Of course, it helped that I knew he was going to leave this time. I was already hearing about him interviewing for jobs in Kentucky. They had a shared bank account. He knew what would happen if he did it again and he did it anyway.

There is also the fact that he wasn’t the greatest husband. Him not being there to talk about my fears and dreams and all that jazz was a non-issue because he hadn’t been there for that when we were married.

Any stress I felt was mocked. He had it worse. What I was going through was no big deal. Don’t worry about it.

The only dreams and success we talked about were his. I had no dreams. He couldn’t tell you about anything I did. Teacher Appreciation. Building a MOPS group from the ground up. Being PTA President. Helping out at the gym. He had no clue. It wasn’t about him so it wasn’t important.

How can I miss what I didn’t have?

I think that’s a huge part of the bottom line. I didn’t have a great husband who made me a priority. Not having him in my life hasn’t been a big change from when he was in my life. The only difference is in my lifestyle.

I think pride had a lot to do with it, too. Please understand I’m not throwing shade at anyone. I know there are those online who will make comments to others about how they need to have more self-respect for themselves. I’m not talking about that kind of pride. I would have rather slathered my body with honey and crawled over an ant hill bare ass naked than given Jerry Lee the satisfaction of knowing he had hurt me or was pissing me off.

I found out about Harley on August 10th. It was about a week later when I drained the bank account and filed for divorce. In retaliation Jerry Lee diverted the majority of his paycheck into his new joint account with the whore and I didn’t even have enough money to pay all of the household bills. Because for some delusional reason he thought he’d pay me what his lawyer had told him he would owe and I would pay all of the household bills out of that while he remained living at the house, not a bill in sight and over five grand a month to blow on a whore. Another two or three weeks later I sent him a text letting him know how much the household bills were and giving him his total for the month. He was going to “review” the figures and get back to me.

We ended up getting into a verbal argument and I was so frustrated I let out a scream of frustration and I’m pretty sure I called him a name. His response to my frustration? “Oh, I see someone’s upset.” Or maybe he said angry. Doesn’t matter. It was said in such a condescending manner. The motherfucker was amused at my anger and frustration. At that moment I vowed I would never let him see me lose control again. I have kept that vow.

Through all of his snarky texts, insulting stamps on the envelopes, condescending messages in Venmo, and hacking my Facebook page I have remained pretty much no contact. I do not acknowledge him. When conversation has been necessary I’ve been completely gray rock.

When he cut child support in half I notified him that this was not correct and when he came back at me with that wonderful advice to read the court order I simply called my attorney and asked her if this was correct. It was not. He was pissed. He called me a cunt. I refused to acknowledge him.

When he refused to pay the legal fees I didn’t beg and plead. I consulted my attorney.

When he lost his job I emailed him at one point and let him know that not sending anything was unacceptable. I let him know that I knew if he had, in fact, been laid off, that he would have received a severance package, as well as unemployment. I told him that it would not look good for him to not be sending anything. I didn’t figure it would yield any results but I sent the calm, rational email and in the end, he sent child support and partial spousal support.

When I got tired of him paying support whenever he felt like it I consulted the state’s Child Support Enforcement agency. Found out he did indeed owe me whatever the original order stated until he got it modified.

When I found out that not only did he have another job in yet another state but also that he had started that job only weeks after telling me he was looking for work AND he had indeed received severance pay so he was actually being paid by both companies, I didn’t bother with sending him a scathing email. I simply began enforcement through the Child Support Enforcement Agency again. And this time I had no problem with demanding the back support for my daughter where he had not bothered to modify it.

I did, at one point, send him a message letting him know that he was not paying the correct amount of spousal support. I also let him know I knew he had another job. But after he sent his, “Alimony- grateful or not” message when sending the reduced amount yet again, I didn’t confront him. I simply took him to court.

It took a very long time to get what was mine but I persevered and I did it without having lengthy discussions with him.

He has never seen me lose my cool with him again. I’ve made a snarky comment here and there, and I really poked the bear (and had a fun time doing it, too) that time he told me I needed to get a job, but I have not responded in anger. I’ve never tried to reason with him. Explain things to him. Beg him to think about what he’s doing. Hell, I didn’t even point out that Harley was cheating on him. I have whole heartedly embraced the “Trust that he sucks” philosophy. I absolutely believe he sees himself as the true victim in all of this. Realizing that helps prevent me from doing any of those other things. Because I know it’s pointless.

This brings us full circle. Why did I stop complaining about Dave and his shitty behavior to my friends way back when I was a junior in high school? Because I wasn’t going to take their advice and dump him. It was pointless to complain about something I wasn’t going to change. Thirty years later I took that same philosophy into my divorce, only this time it wasn’t my friends. It was my STBX. Talking to him was pointless. Trying to reason with him was pointless. I refused to let him see me as weak.

I’m not cold-hearted and I am quite capable of forming deep attachments. I also know when I’m tilting at windmills.

Why Is It So Easy For Some People To “Get Over It”?, Part I

A question was posed by someone once: Why is it that some people seem to get over the end of their marriage/relationship so much easier than others? The person went on to posit that perhaps some people don’t form deep attachments and that’s why it’s easier for some while others continue to be haunted for years.

I’ve given that question some thought because, as most of you know, once I found out about Harley the second time I was done. I knew I was going to leave his pathetic ass, and every feeling I had ever had for the man disappeared in the blink of an eye. So I wonder sometimes if there’s something wrong with me. I’ve actually wondered before if maybe I’m a sociopath. Do I have no feelings?

Thankfully I’ve come to the conclusion that I am NOT a sociopath. I also realize I absolutely do have feelings. I think what it comes down to is how practical a person is. Maybe even how prideful they are.

I had a friend from high school remind me that back when we were juniors or maybe seniors my friends questioned me on why I never talked about my boyfriend. Now, Dave was a shit. He brought me flowers before our very first date and that one act gave him far too much currency throughout the duration of our relationship. There was a crazy ex-girlfriend who was actually stalking me and leaving threatening messages on my car; she came pounding on his door one day. He stood me up numerous times- so many times I couldn’t even begin to estimate how often he did it. He didn’t spend much time with me. I’m 99% sure he cheated on me- a lot. We broke up several times. I recall being so depressed after one of our breakups that I would literally go to school, come home, and stay in my room the rest of the day. Sweet J finally staged an intervention. Took me to Chick-Fil-A for a slice of lemon pie and a beverage. Looking back it was a cesspool of a relationship. And at some point I stopped talking about it to my friends.

Why? Oh, it wasn’t because I was embarrassed. Hell no. I was far more practical than that. When my friends asked me why I never talked about him anymore I told them the truth: I’m going to complain about his behavior. You guys are going to tell me to dump him. I’m not going to. So there’s really no point in wasting your time.

I was 17 years old at this point.

A couple years later I had a different boyfriend. His name was Derek. Derek cheated on me, too. Like a dumbass I forgave him (after kicking him in the shins). This was very close to the end of the semester and the beginning of the summer break. In fact, he was supposed to take me to my best friend’s college campus right before I found out about the cheating. After I found out I recall putting on my Stone Cold Sam face and telling him I still wanted him to take me to her. He had a car. I didn’t. I was practical.

It was at the end of that trip that I was trying so hard to get drunk and it just wasn’t happening. Finally, right before we were set to leave the alcohol finally did it’s job. I could no longer pronounce Jon Bon Jovi. I believe it came out Jon Bon Bovi and Jon Von Jovi and a whole host of other combinations. But Jon Bon Jovi was not something I could say at that point. I got the brilliant idea to have my best friend come back to Purdue with me. While she’s getting ready I start pouring my feelings out to Derek. I don’t remember much of it and what I do remember was probably filled in for me by my best friend. I was crying. I was screaming, “You hurt me. You hurt me!” According to my best friend he was remorseful. He was hugging me and kissing me and telling me how sorry he was. So, so sorry, and I’m sure he undoubtedly promised he would never break my heart again. Until he did.

One weekend I came down to see him and his

response was not exactly welcoming. “What are you doing here? I told you I don’t like surprises.” His plan was to leave me sitting in the apartment while he tied up some loose ends. I’m assuming those loose ends were to tell his ex-girlfriend that I was in town so he couldn’t spend the weekend with her. This did not sit well with me.

Once he left to take care of his “errands” I got in my car and I drove once again to the college my best friend attended. Her school wasn’t out until June and this was only May. So I spent the weekend with her and I never talked to Derek again. I did run into him one time at a Subway where he was working. He smiled and was all, “Oh hey! Hi!” like he’d never fucked me over and broken my heart. I did not acknowledge him. Like, he said, “Oh hey! Hi!” acting like everything was perfectly fine and I was just some former co-worker and I looked the other way, completely ignoring him. Thank God he wasn’t the one making my sandwich.

It was during the Derek period that I coined the phrase, “Your past may explain your actions but it doesn’t excuse them.” I was 21 at the time.

Fast forward another few years. Now I’m involved with a guy named Mike. He was never someone I thought I would ever end up with and our whole relationship started because of sharing a table at a restaurant for an English assignment. I’m not going to go any further with this part of the story because this is not, “The Many Loves of Sam Awesome.” Suffice to say he would say things that made me think he wanted more and then he would push me away.

One day I had driven down to see him (he was still in school and I had graduated in December). On my way back I slid on some ice, took out a mailbox, and shattered my driver’s side window. When I finally got back to my apartment I called him to let him know what had happened.

“Are you trying to worry me?” was his response.

At some point I sent him a card. I don’t remember what it was for. But I do semi-recall saying something to the effect of, “Not as though you care… blah, blah, blah.” I’m pretty sure when I sent the card I sent it as a goodbye.

He ends up calling me a month or two later. He was hurt by my message, but upon reflection he realizes that what I said was true. Well, duh! He goes on to say a bunch of bullshit that I lapped up like a starving kitten with a bowl of cream. 

I didn’t think I could love anyone but maybe I just wasn’t letting myself.

I’ve never felt like this about anyone else before.

You know the drill. I’m amazing. He’s a fool. Let’s see where this leads. He’s talking about possibly spending three or four days together because of our schedules.

Then, of course, the time comes. I call him. Let him know which days I’m working. He’s suddenly working a lot of hours but we pick a day for me to come down.

We go out to lunch. We see a movie. I was looking amazing. We go back to his apartment and are sitting on the couch. And then he hits me with a variation of, “I just want to be friends.” He really likes hanging out with me but he’s been talking to a friend and thinks that really that’s all we should be.

Fool, I am not driving 2 hours to go to the movies with you! I’ve got plenty of friends locally that will go see a picture show with me!

I let this news digest and then I got up, calmly collected my suitcase, and left. I said nothing. Just got my stuff and left.

Approximately six months later I run into him at a breakfast club down at school. I was down there visiting my friend Molly. Numbers were exchanged.

I know. I know. When will I learn?

I think it was probably the first time we talked on the phone he said something like, “I’m glad you called. I didn’t know if you would or not because of how things were left the last time,” implying that there was some kind of hysterical scene.

I’m thinking to myself, “Scene? You call that a scene? I picked up my shit and left. I didn’t say a damn word. A scene would have been me throwing shit all around your apartment, destroying it. A scene would have been me screaming at you, clawing your face, and kicking you in the balls, all while telling you how much I hate you and wish you would die. Dude, Derek has a whole song. You got off easy!”

Seriously, Derek does have a whole song. I changed the lyrics to The Bangles, “Eternal Flame”. Instead of, “Am I only dreaming? Or is this burning an eternal flame?” I sing, “Are you only dreaming or are you burning in an eternal flame?” And instead of, “I believe it’s meant to be, darling,” I sing, “I believe you were meant to die, Derek.” 33 years later and I still sing my version of the lyrics. Here’s the funny thing- I don’t think about Derek regularly and I don’t give a shit about him. But I still sing those lyrics.

Back to Mike.

Once again it was baiting and switching. He had the nerve to complain to me about his new girlfriend. She was really sweet but he just wasn’t attracted to her, and he wonders if he’ll ever find the total package- great personality, great physical attraction. I’m sitting here thinking, “You had the total package. It was me. You threw it away.”

At some point we must have talked about getting together. Again, I know. Bad move. My birthday was coming up. I let him know I would be in town. He acted like this was terrific news. And then pretty much ignored me.

Apparently, that was finally my breaking point. I was not on my best behavior that night so let’s just say I shared some secrets of his with other people at that bar. And elsewhere. Finally, when I came home I typed up a lengthy letter. I outlined every shitty thing he’d said and done, pointed out where he had been the one to engage with me and try to turn this into something it wasn’t. I explained. I probably had pie charts and an Excel spreadsheet. And in the end I told him if he ever saw me again, and I didn’t happen to see him first, to cross to the other side of the street and leave me the fuck alone.

Why share these long ago stories? In each of these scenarios there was a guy I really liked, probably even thought I loved. And in each situation I didn’t react with emotion. I eventually reacted with logic. Oh, I was an absolute idiot during the relationship. But once I finally accepted what was really going on…

I did eventually break up with Dave but the main point in sharing that story is because even at a young age I realized the fruitlessness of bitching about him to my friends. I knew exactly what was going to happen (they were going to urge me to break up with him) and I knew exactly how I was going to respond (I was not going to break up with him). Why do this dance? If I was determined to roll around in the mud with this guy the least I could do is spare my friends the show.

With both Derek and Mike I didn’t want things to end. In both cases I was young and dumb and thought that he could be “the one.” But I was also smart enough to see the writing on the wall (at least for a little while in the case of Mike). Was i going to sit in Derek’s apartment and wait for him to come back and then act like everything was perfectly fine? No. I did the only thing I could do. I saved myself. Believe me- it hurt. I cried. I was devastated.  One day my brother lied and told me Derek had called. I was so pissed. My hopes were raised and then dashed immediately when he admitted he was joking.

And Mike? Well, I hung in there for quite some time. I really did think we could have something remarkable if he’d ever get his head out of his ass. But then I realized he would continue to do this push and pull routine as long as I’d let him. How long was I willing to be toyed with? The answer to that question was about a year.

Did I not form deep attachments? I think I did. I also think common sense finally won out over emotions.

Saturday Inspiration

I thought we should go inspirational today. I believe each and every one of us should fully embrace this.

Life doesn’t stop until you’re dead. Keep going. Keep dreaming. Keep achieving. There is no law that says you can’t go to college to take classes after age 25. Stop listening to that voice that tells you you’re too old to “do that,” whatever that may be.

I think about how much time I wasted telling myself no one would ever hire me. I would never get a good paying job because I had spent my life being a stay at home mom. And now I’m making almost as much money as Harley the Hillbilly Whore and I don’t even have a Masters like she does. How much further would I have been if I had not let fear stand in my way?

I saw a couple of people paddle boarding the other day. My first thought was, “Wow- that looks like fun.” I’ve actually done paddle boarding before- about 2 years ago. I did great, too, until a speed boat came along.

And then I told the mobster a story about a woman who had just gotten certified as a paddle board yoga instructor, which I don’t think I’d be good at. I’m not sure I would be very good at regular yoga and I’m almost certain I would be falling off the paddle board during paddle board yoga.

My second thought was, “Maybe I could try paddle board yoga. It does sound like a fun challenge.”

My third thought was, “Don’t be ridiculous! You’re too old for that!”

Too old? I’m only 53. I am definitely not too old for fucking paddle board yoga.

I see my mother, older than me, getting in her car and driving to visit various relatives. She goes to Florida every winter. She keeps busy with friends and activities. She walks down to the library almost every day.

I have a dear, dear longtime friend who reads this blog so maybe she’ll see this. She recently went back to school after winning a grant and got her Masters degree. She graduated at 53.

At 25 I had no idea who I was. I had graduated from college only 3 years prior and had worked a series of low paying, crappy jobs even with a college education. I think my biggest aspiration in life at that time was to get married. I’m pretty sure my biggest aspiration after getting married was to have a baby.

How could life end at 25 when I had no idea who I was or what I wanted?

You are allowed to start over at any age. You can find new purpose. You can chase new dreams. You can make new discoveries. At 30. At 40. At 50. Even at 60 and beyond.

Chump Lady runs a post every Labor Day about Mother Jones. If you are not familiar with Mother Jones, born Mary Harris in 1837, she became a schoolteacher and married George Jones with whom she had four children. She lost her entire family in a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1867. Then she moved to Chicago where she built a successful dress making business. She lost everything once again- her home, shop, and possessions, in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While helping to rebuild the city of Chicago she jointed the Knights of Labor. She organized strikes and while the first of the strikes and protests failed, the organization eventually became the largest labor organization in the country. When the Knights of Labor ceased to exist Mary became involved with the United Mine Workers, leading the strikers in picketing and encouraging striking workers to stay on strike when management brought in strike-breakers and militias. In 1902 she was termed “the most dangerous woman in America” by a West Virginia district attorney due to her ability to organize strikes. In 1903 she organized the children who were working in mills and mines and led them on what is known as her famous, “March of the Mill Children.”

Can you imagine? This woman lost everything- twice- and yet continued to reinvent herself. She continued to find a purpose. Her life didn’t end