Archive for ‘October, 2013’

Lori_Shadow

Sometimes, people have a difficult time when someone changes. They especially don’t like it when they change their way of being. During this journey of finding myself, I’ve discovered who I really am and what I stand for. Yes it was a divorce that started the journey, but the journey was grown through a need for self-definition, not from post-divorce trauma. Who I was throughout my childhood and my first marriage is very different than the person who I am now. There are parts that are the same, of course, but for the most part, I’m different. My family, and the family I was married into at 23, didn’t talk about the “bad stuff” nor did we show our vulnerable sides. Everything was very surface at best. It was what I knew, so I lived that way, too. As Maya Angelou says, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

Yes, my family doesn’t appreciate the “new” Lori sometimes. My ex husband definitely does not appreciate her. I’m bucking the system. I’m changing my role in how the world goes round. In the past, my role in my family was that of the pleaser: the quiet and don’t rock-the-boat kind of person. When my grandmother would put me down or my mother shared her opinions which I didn’t agree with, or my ex husband would pout until he got his way, I never spoke from my true self. I would either ignore the remarks or my response was sugar coated and came from a place of trying to please them. “What can I say that won’t hurt their feelings, because I don’t want to be rude?” was a thought I had often.

I used to be the “yes girl,” you know, the one who made everything smooth and happy. If I had my own individual thoughts, I didn’t share them. I was just happy to see others happy. If I had my own needs, I didn’t bring them up for fear that it would seem too selfish. I now know that I don’t have to be a “yes girl” at all.

I’m a woman who speaks from my heart and always tries to be honest and truthful. If there’s a misunderstanding, I want to clear the air. My bringing it up doesn’t mean I’m mad. It just means that we need to talk about the issues. That’s a healthy way of dealing with things. So many people brush those types of discussions under the rug. Now when I see an issue, or I’m scared of something, or something affects me or my family, I speak up about it. It doesn’t come from a mean-spirited place. (Although sometimes, if I’ve let it fester too long, I may not speak it as eloquently as I could) I’m just trying have a healthy relationship with people and open up the lines of communication. If I’ve ever offended anyone with my openness and honesty as I evolve into myself, I’m truly sorry. I’m not the girl who purposely sets out to hurt people.

It’s a scary thing–to speak your true feelings. Most times, I’m still terrified to speak my needs or be vulnerable. I’m scared people won’t like me. I’m afraid if I tell someone “no” that they’ll judge me and hate me forever. This is the me I revert to sometimes–that 6 year-old little girl with the curls in her hair. Changing your thinking and learning to stop that feeling of shame is like walking from the dark into the light. It’s warm, it’s rewarding, it’s a bit unnerving taking that step because you’re used to the dark, desolate feeling of keeping quiet, which in a way seems safe. It’s not. I promise, if your heart is pure and your intentions are good, speaking your truth is worth every step.

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Yep, I did it. I got one!

I think it would be funny to wear a shirt like this around town or to a local singles volleyball night (ahhh, memories of my early-single days). Being single and over 40 and landing yourself a great guy who really is husband-material is a HUGE accomplishment, if I do say so myself! (Perhaps you men feel the same way and think that all of us crazy women are just the kind of psycho you’d like to avoid!) My husband is kind, loving, funny, sexy, a great father, a hard worker, dedicated, honest, and one hell of a ball player! All the great things that make up a good match for me. I’m thankful we found each other in the sea of divorcees!

Now, I didn’t date a ton, but I did give dating the good ol’ college try. As I told Brandon when we were first going out, “There were many first dates and only a handful that made it to date two or three.” What is it about people who are single and over-forty, anyways? My girlfriends and I would always ponder this and say, “We’re a great catch (not as a collective group, but on our own)! Why is it that there aren’t any men out there that are worth being with?” In my few years of dating, I’ve seen my share of cra cra. Really.

Let me illustrate.

Let’s start with the “semi-pro” football player I met online who told me he was on some league here in Utah that I’d never even heard of (Yeah…semi-pro. In Utah. Uh huh.) He said he was a bag thrower (luggage handler) for an airline in his “spare time.” It was his “real job.” We chatted by email, then over the phone. One day, he insisted he’d love to meet and I explained to him I was headed to a park to play football with my kids. He seemed harmless enough, so I told him to stop by. My kids had met a ton of my friends whom I played volleyball and softball with, so I figured it was no big deal. He arrived at the park and we said hello and chit-chatted for a moment. He told me I was more beautiful in person than in the photos on my online profile. I thanked him and soon we started throwing the football.

The entire time he’d make comments like:

“See, even ugly guys are funny.” or “Just because I look funny doesn’t mean I’m not a good catch, right?!” And then he’d laugh at his own jokes. It was not a comfy situation for me. The self-loathing became apparent (and annoying)! We quickly wrapped up our game of catch and I told him, “Thanks for coming by.”

Later that day he texted me and said:

WELL, WHAT DO U THINK?

ABOUT WHAT?

ABOUT ME. ARE YOU ATTRACTED TO ME?

WELL, OBVIOUSLY YOU’RE ATTRACTIVE OR I NEVER WOULD HAVE MET YOU IN PERSON

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? SO DO YOU THINK THIS COULD WORK OUT?

(note that we’d only spent 1 hour throwing the football around with children at the park…not exactly a lot of time to create a great foundation for an everlasting relationship) I’m a firm believer in being honest and truthful, so I tried to tell him politely that it was a “no” for me.

IF YOU’RE ASKING ME IF THERE’S A SPARK THERE, I’D HAVE TO SAY NO.

HOW COME? IT’S CAUSE OF THE WAY I LOOK, ISN’T IT!

NO, NOT AT ALL. I JUST DON’T SEE THIS GOING ANY FURTHER

WHY NOT? JUST TELL ME.

I WANNA KNOW. JUST TELL ME SO I KNOW.

WELL, TO BE HONEST, YOU WERE PUTTING YOURSELF DOWN ALL DAY WHICH MADE ME UNCOMFORTABLE. YOU DON’T SEEM LIKE YOU’RE THAT CONFIDENT

OH, SO THIS IS MY FAULT?!

Okay, now I was trying not to get pissed. Really, I just wanted him to leave me alone and I wanted to go to sleep. In order to end the conversation quickly, I took the blame…

NO, IT’S REALLY MY FAULT. I’M KINDA PICKY AND JUST NOT ATTRACTED TO PEOPLE WHO AREN’T CONFIDENT

YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT IT’S YOUR FAULT! I’M A GREAT CATCH! YOU’RE THROWING THE BEST THING THAT EVER CAME YOUR WAY!

YOU’RE SO DAMN PICKY! YOU’RE THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEMS! NO WONDER YOUR EX HUSBAND CHEATED ON YOU!

That was when I politely replied and told him that his comment was rude and uncalled for and to please never contact me again. The next day I opened my match.com email and saw a note from him saying: AND YOU’RE NOT THAT BEAUTIFUL EITHER!

Two months later, that man tried to friend me on Facebook.

Um. Hello. Crazy much?

Note: That, my dear online daters, is why you DON’T have dates pick you up at your home. Can you imagine if he’d had known where I lived? Seriously, no wonder he’s been single for 27 years and hasn’t ever been married!

Stay tuned to find out why I recommend you ALWAYS ask online potential-dates for their last name before meeting them. Seriously people, I can’t make these stories up!

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Shoes

Today I wanna run.

Some days, there’s just too much going on and it feels like you can’t handle everything. This past month has been one of those days. I’m finding this to be a common feeling of divorced moms (and perhaps it’s this way for divorced dads as well, but they don’t mention it in the blog-o-sphere like the women do).

Don’t get me wrong: I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of who I’ve become. I count my blessings every day! But I’m also tired. Tired of holding it all together. Tired of cleaning up messes that I didn’t make (figuratively and literally). Tired of trying to keep everyone happy, giving and giving and feeling like I’m everyone’s mother 24/7. Some days, I want someone to take care of me. Is that bad to say? I feel like a diva even typing that.

The balancing act of working mother is a difficult one…especially when you have a handful of children. You run all morning, getting everyone out to the door and to their destinations (usually nagging, and threatening multiple times), rush through traffic to get to work, rush through a work day and try to be as productive as possible, leave to take a child to an appointment or pick up another one who’s sick, then you rush home, throw dinner on the table (or grab food on your way out of town), grab a few kids and run or pick them up from an activity, or their dad’s house, run back to pick up and run home for clean-up and sleep (usually nagging, and threatening multiple times) when everyone usually quiets down. Then it all starts again.

This weekend, I had only five of our kids with me, and on Saturday we only had 2 soccer games to get to. It was somewhat strange to only have two activities on the calendar. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the slower pace! And on Sunday, my daughter made us pancakes (which was so nice!!!) then me and my girls and I ran away to watch the University of Utah women’s soccer game in the warm blanket of the afternoon sunshine. I even snuck in a nap after (shhhh…)!

I realized I need more days like that. I realized that I give and give until I’m a crumpled ball of nothing on the floor and I turn into a woman I don’t like. And when you add to that the stresses of money: paying for a divorce (still making payments on that baby), an ex who’s late on child support, etc. on top of the said crumpled ball of a woman, I become a very ugly, stressed-out woman I don’t like.

When you’re in this boat, it’s easy to accuse and point blame their dad should put in more of an effort or if the kids would listen and pick up more it wouldn’t be so hard on me but I need to realize where the blame should be put: on myself. I haven’t shown people that I deserve to be healthy, loved, waited on, paid on time, put on a pedestal just like I put them on one. When I was newly separated (and didn’t work full-time), I did a great job of putting myself on the calendar. I worked out, I met up with friends, I laughed, I did a lot of reading. It’s like I forgot how to do that again. I relax when I’m in my husband’s arms, but other than that, I don’t do much for myself. Why do I always slide back into that routine? Is that how we’re internally coded? I want to change that, immediately!

So today I just may run away. And as I’m running, I plan to evaluate what I need and want. Of course, I’ve got to clean the house to get ready for a real estate showing, make dinner, get the laundry done, and rake ten-million leaves…but I’ll run away somewhere in there…when I can fit it in. Oh, wait a second, now I see the problem…

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I’m not sure if anyone else out there has the balls to ask the type of questions that I do when it comes to in-person discussions. I’m all about getting to know people and understanding who they are and where their decisions come from. I’m serious! (stop rolling your eyes!) I’m not big on judging.

Take my ex husband for example. When I discovered his hidden “friendship” with the neighbor, I told him, “If you love her, go to her! Just let me go!” (This was early on in their relationship, friendship, whatever-ship.) He insisted he didn’t. To this day I’ve never had a conversation with him about his eff’d up midlife crisis that caused him to jump into the deep-end. I did, however, ask him near the end of the end how he could have left our family in the dust for another woman. His reply: “I didn’t leave you for another woman. I simply had a friend who made me realize our marriage was toxic.”

Hmmmm…really. You mean the kind of friend you have when you’re over at her house at 1:00 am and you accidentally butt-dial your wife and your wife hears your “friend’s” muffled voice moaning ‘Oh my God!’ into the phone? That kind of friend?

For all of those out there who have tried to figure out how someone could live a double-life (or a triple/quadruple/please-not-more-than-that-life), sometimes aren’t you just trying to seek answers so your brain can understand it?! Most of the time we won’t get those answers. That type of behavior isn’t in everyone’s blood, so you wouldn’t ever be able to understand it. But if you could get those answers, and you ran into a cheater on the street, what would you ask? The Barbara Wawa (Walters for you younger peeps) in me just might ask him/her this:

1. How did you go home to your wife/husband/kids every day and act like you belonged in that house after just being with another man/woman?

2. When you were kissing the other woman/man (or taking her to your local theater, or to Park City, or to the University of Utah game, or meeting her in random parking lots) did you ever worry you’d run into your friends or family?

3. What on earth possessed you to leave your church-going life and your family for a stripper? (this is not my story, but someone else I know)

4. Was it a huge ego boost telling your friends about your extracirrcular dating? Because that’s how your husband found out about your slutty affairs and he showed up and surprised you while you were on a date. SURPRISE! (again, not my story)

5. Did you never give your kids credit that they’d figure out your cheesy lies and your cheating ways and that you’re the reason your family broke up?

6. Did you ever think you’d catch a disease from the slut/man-whore and your vagina/penis might catch on fire and implode/fall off? (admit it, we all wonder if the cheater ever thought this)

7. How the hell did you keep all of those lies/names/details straight and hide everything behind a smile? (perhaps you should use that to your advantage and make some good money being an actor!)

8. Do you think asking your ex wife if her friends were available (and asking them out via email after you got your answer) or asking out the realtor your wife selected to sell your house (the one that your marriage built) is the new way to network? Cause believe me, it ain’t. Stop being a cheap bastard and open up a match.com account! (yep, this one is my story)

9. How can you look your parents and friends and children in the face and lie about your secret life while making-up lies about the spouse who didn’t cheat?

10. Aren’t you exhausted by all of the hiding of texts, photos, phone calls, dates, perfume/cologne on your clothes, parking 5 houses down from his/her house just so the neighbors wouldn’t catch you? Tiger Woods had a team and multiple phones to hide his affairs. Just how did you do it?

There was a time when I was trying to understand my ex’s ways. I’ve now accepted I won’t. And that’s just fine. I realized this after I had a friend tell me, “Ya know, you’d think being in a marriage your spouse would be common sense. Like the ‘All I Really Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ poster. I don’t think your ex husband ever learned those things.” Sadly, I think that friend was absolutely right!

What would you ask the cheater/liar in your life?

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ILearnedInKindergarten

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WeddingRing_Web

Part of daring to love again has so much to do with inner-reflecting. Seriously, you can spend all your days stomping the earth to find that “perfect” someone and drag him or her home by the hair and call them your spouse (isn’t that how the cavemen did it?), but when it all comes down to it what you really should be doing is looking in the mirror. After a failed relationship, we are all too quick to point out the “other person’s” faults. ‘He was controlling’ or ‘She never wanted to have sex’ become part of the story weaving we create as we tell people our reasons we’re back on the market again. While some of this may be true (*clearing throat*), what most of us fail to do is take a good look in the mirror–and not the foggy, toothpaste-splattered mirror. The perfectly clean, just-windexed mirror–and if you’re over 40, put your glasses on so you can examine it with 20/20 vision.

After my divorce, I took a few years to really look at what I wanted my next relationship to look like. How I failed in my last one, how he failed me, and how we failed each other.

The good part about this exercise is that your potential to grow is astronomical. The bad part about this exercise is that you can be so laser-focused on the bad things in that relationship that you bring them in your already overly-stuffed baggage to a new relationship. Ouch. That’s what I notice myself doing in my new marriage…far too often!

Am I enough?

Is he enough?

Can we trust again?

Are we having sex enough?

Are we having sex too much? (Nah, no such thing!)

Can we support 8 kids?

Will we be able to blend families with minimal issues?

Will the Niners go to the playoffs again?…oh wait, not a relationship question.

As you can tell, I tend to over-analyze and over-think, which can exhaust even the best of new spouses. Luckily, knowing that this is part of the growing process gets me through. The trick is communicating with each other about your fears and your weaknesses.

Take a moment and look at what you could have done differently in your past marriage. I’m not saying take all the blame. What I am saying is take that pile of crap that is your divorce and dissect it. Look at the good, bad, and ugly and turn it into fertilizer for the next relationship and watch it grow!

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