Now is Good.

Just because life hands you lemons doesn't mean you have to suck.

Hiya. August 27, 2012

Filed under: 3 kids,Balance,Change,divorce,Realizations,Romance — nowisgoodblog @ 10:43 pm
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Hiya.

So.

Here are some pictures of my kiddos from this morning:

I know—it’s crazy how they look absolutely *nothing* alike, right?!  Weird.

Back to school again.  But before this, there was …

The end of school.  Summertime.  Vacation with family.  Vacation with friends.  There was The Ex and The Girlfriend having their baby (and my children gaining a half-sibling).  There was major adjustment, for all of us.  There was Avery’s 10th birthday.  There were girls’ nights out and there were concerts that had me grinning for days.  There was a three-day music festival on the beach.  There was love and romance and trying to figure out the relationship stuff … yet again.   There was my annual sailing trip to Canada, after much (much, much, MUCH) effort and gnashing of teeth and making of arrangements and calling in of favors that surely must have rivaled the planning of a land war in Asia (and as a reward, there were beautiful days and blue skies and calm waters and sweet young boys and Tommy Green, Jr. and time spent with now-dear friends and yes, there was more romance).  There was the arrival of puberty in the house, unexpected and much more of an emotional watershed for me than it was for the amazing kiddo who actually went through it.  There was The Ex in trial out-of-state and my forced need to do some real, true single parenting sans co-parent for awhile (and the resulting realization for both of us, I think, that we need each other to make this thing work).  There was football beginning again and there was back-to-school shopping and there was a new school begun today complete with lockers and bells and complicated schedules and hello-you-are-most-definitely-no-longer-in-elementary-school-anymore-it’s-time-to-grow-up.

There was laughter and there were tears and there was joy and pain and happiness and sorrow.  There was Life.  Constantly and amazingly and incessantly.

I could’ve written about any of it.  I wanted to write about much of it.

I didn’t write about any of it.  (Obviously.)

There are a lot of reasons for that, I suppose—lack of time, a sudden desire for privacy (for me and for my children and for others in my life who deserve it), some strange new-found hesitation to expose my psyche to the ether (perhaps spurred by the realization that there were people … people in my real life … who were reading and who were knowing things that I wasn’t sure I was ok with them knowing).

The purest truth, though, is probably that although I’ve wanted to write, I haven’t needed to write.  The catharsis is somewhat done.  Life is more or less normal—at least, my new version of normal.  Time and change and adaptation and a whole truckload of what-can-you-do?  My kids are growing up in front of my eyes and I swear that most days I can watch myself age in the mirror and in general I think I’m just far less inclined to waste time being angry or wistful or hopeful or overly concerned about anything except this moment right here and now.  And by the time I sit down to write about the singular moment?  It’s gone.

I haven’t written here in four months (almost).  There have been times I’ve thought I was done.  I’ve considered shuttering the blog.  The idea of catching up, of backfilling the diary function, of re-opening wounds that have finally begun to scar … it’s just seemed too daunting.  And I would have, except that I miss it.  The writing and the feedback and the connection and the chronicling of whatever small, specific journey I’m on?  I miss it.

So.  Hiya.

Things are going well here.  Crazy and chaotic.  Joyful and bittersweet.  Complicated yet simple.  The good and the bad and the everything in between—they compile to form my unforeseen life, yet somehow they are just exactly right.  We started school today.  A new year and the next step.  Everyone had a good day.  I hope you did, too.

 

Let It Go. April 3, 2012

Filed under: Change,Help,Realizations,Understanding — nowisgoodblog @ 9:12 am
Tags: ,

Kelly Rae Roberts

I saw this several months ago and snatched it up immediately.  It’s printed on metal with raised sides all around and it’s sort of rustic-looking.  It’s a tray.  Or it’s wall art.  Or it’s something else entirely.  Regardless of its function, it’s a good reminder—Let It Go.

We all deal with difficulties.  Marriage, family, kids, divorce, heartbreak, illness, jobs, finances, aging, parenting, weight, whatever.  Each of us, on any given day, feels shackled by something.  We are all burdened by the unexpected.  We all fear.  We all tire of the fight. We all have unseen stones around our ankles that keep us from soaring.

Last night, a conversation with Jen sent me downstairs to stare at this lovely reminder that now hangs on my bedroom wall.  In discussing her particular stone for that day, she said, “I can let it go.  I really can, now, at 40.  Just Let.It.Go.”  I’m not sure why letting go seems easier now, at 40, but she’s right—it does.  Maybe it’s wisdom. Maybe it’s a developing recognition of what is truly important vs. what is not.  Maybe it’s as Anne Lamott perfectly reminds us: “you just don’t have that kind of time.”

Focus on what’s real and what’s right.  Seek joy.  Fight for the things that are worth it, but walk away from the rest.  Cultivate fearlessness.  Identify whatever is holding you back or weighing you down … and then let it go:

Let It Go. 

Surrender your heart. 

Liberate your doubts. 

Unleash your intuition. 

Take a risk. 

Do the thing you didn’t think you could do. 

Manifest courage. 

Take the journey back to your self. 

Free yourself from negative thoughts. 

Embrace beginnings. 

Release your worry. 

Answer the question: “What is calling you?”

 

On Writing. March 22, 2012

Filed under: Change,divorce,Realizations,Writing — nowisgoodblog @ 4:36 pm

Photo by Freddy Von Essen.

I started writing here because I needed a lifeline.  My world had been razed.  Everything known had become unknown. Pain and loss and confusion weighed me down every minute of every day.  I wrote here because it—all of it—felt better out than in.  I wrote because there were so many dangerous objects flying around inside my head that I couldn’t see them clearly, much less battle them, unless and until I pulled them out and laid them bare on paper.  I wrote because my pieces, torn and tangled by divorce and betrayal and custody and re-entering the workplace and single-parenting and simply surviving the crucible, could only be managed when I pulled them out one at a time and tried to reassemble the puzzle.

I didn’t always know what I would write. Sometimes I began a post intending to write one thing and ended up writing something altogether different.  I wrote because I needed to.  I wrote to discover my truths:  That I am strong.  That my kids come first.  That happiness is both my responsibility and my right.  That nothing lasts forever.  That now is what matters most.  And that somehow (and I’m still not always sure how), revenge and bitterness and regret have no place in my life.  I wrote to unearth these things.  I wrote because it just felt good.

Then a few months ago, writing here became a chore—nothing more or less than any other item on my never-ending, never-changing, faithful as the tides “To Do” list:

Mainline Coffee. Get Kids Up/Dressed/Breakfasted/Backpacked/Off to School. Exercise. Shower.

Clean Up from Breakfast and Morning Chaos. Laundry. Work. Blog. Carpool. Swim/Football/Karate/Choir/Etc.

Homework. Cook Dinner. Eat Dinner. Clean Dinner. Baths. TV. Books. Bedtime. Collapse.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  Every. Single. Day.  Writing here became an “I have to” instead of an “I want to.”  I stressed about it for awhile, and then I just went on hiatus.  Sort of unintentionally, really—I just didn’t have anything to say.

And that’s the crux of it, I think.  I’ve been writing about my divorce for two years now and suddenly, that seems way too long.  Even I’m tiring of hearing myself talk about it.  Most days I don’t feel there is anything new to say.  Divorce is really, really hard.  Betrayal is really, really painful.  Starting over is really, really scary … and exhausting … and enlightening … and exhilarating.  It’s not that I no longer have disputes with The Ex.  I do.  It’s not that my children have become immune to the fallout from the drastic familial turn their lives have taken.  They haven’t.  It’s not that it doesn’t still hurt.  It does.  A lot.  Often.  It’s more that this is my normal now.  Same sh*t, different day.  And most of the time?  I feel like I’ve got this thing.  I’ve got it.  Writing about it was starting to feel a bit repetitive, so I stopped.  I stopped writing my blog and I stopped reading other people’s blogs.  I just … retreated.

But I miss it.  I miss recording my life in this online diary (because that’s really all I do).  I miss the feedback and the support and the criticism and the community.  I miss feeling like once in a blue moon, I write something that helps someone else.  I miss creating something, even if it’s just a few random words in my tiny corner of the blogosphere.  I miss it.

I think maybe I no longer need the lifeline, but I think I still need to write.  It’s a need I’m not sure I can explain, other than to echo the truth of Joan Didion, who explained it best (as she usually does), when she said:

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.

What I want and what I fear.”

I’m not sure what to write.  I’m not sure what I want to write or need to write or should write.  I’m not even sure I know how to write when it’s not born out of a place of pain and desperation.  But that’s why I write.

I need to.  So I’m just going to.  And I’ll see where it takes me.

 

Trust, Revisited. January 9, 2012

Filed under: Change,Dating,divorce,Realizations,Understanding — nowisgoodblog @ 11:21 am
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I originally posted this in April of last year.  I grappled with the issue of trust then … of figuring out how in the world to ever be capable again of believing in someone’s stated good intentions, of how to avoid assuming that everything told to me was a lie, of how to replace suspicion and self-preservation with strength and faith.  I thought I had a handle on it, and moved on. 

(And Fate said, “Very funny.”) 

I was reminded this weekend, in fairly unpleasant fashion, that I haven’t at all mastered this trust thing yet.  Maybe I’m not even close.  I’m not sure if it’s a lesson that is easily forgotten, or if it is just one that is so difficult, so huge, so monumentally risky that it must be relearned again and again.

I don’t really know what trust looks like now, in the aftermath.  The blind and utter faith I had before, in The Ex?  I have doubts of ever making it back to that place of surety. And I have doubts that I even should.  That place seems … naive.  And maybe just a little bit irresponsible.  But being able to trust, to believe, to hope, and yet still tempering that with wisdom and experience?  I’d like to figure out how to do that.  That’s the place I’d like to find.  I’m hoping that the choosing, the deciding, the trying to trust again … I’m hoping that gets me pretty close.

I still believe in the quote I included in last April’s post.  It still moves me and motivates me.  I needed the reminder today.  Maybe someone out there does, too. 

From April 2011:

It shouldn’t come as a shock that I sport some pretty serious trust issues these days, especially given that letting people in and being vulnerable was never my strong suit in the first place.  Giving someone the power to hurt you isn’t the same as giving them permission, I realize, but it sure puts you one step farther along that road.

The one person in my life I ever fully trusted—with everything—with all of me—was The Ex, and he betrayed that trust in fairly spectacular fashion. Ever since, I’ve been angry at myself for having been so naive.  I’ve been disappointed that I ignored the warning signs and believed the excuses.  I’ve regretted the faith I had that someone with whom I shared great love would never willingly, intentionally, carelessly hurt me.  I trusted completely and in the end, felt like a complete fool for doing so.

It’s not a mistake I have any desire to make again.  There’s ego wrapped up in that, for sure.  As well as pain and fear and disbelief and quite a healthy dose of self-preservation.

I’m not sure how to come back from the place where my trust was so desolated.  I don’t know what has to happen before it makes sense for me to hand over that power another time.  How do I learn to trust The Ex again (and I have to learn it, at least on issues relating to our children)?  Where do I find the confidence to trust my own judgment after being so very, very wrong before?  When does it become the safe and smart move to trust someone else with my heart?  Many days it just doesn’t seem worth the risk.

But then there’s this:

Better trust all, and be deceived,

And weep that trust, and that deceiving;

Than doubt one heart, that, if believed,

Had blessed one’s life with true believing.

–“FAITH” by Frances Anne Kemble

Easier said than done, obviously, but it makes me want to try.  That single little stanza somehow stills the swirling inside.  It does nothing to explain the when or the where or the how, but it fairly well nails the why.  When I read this I feel absolution for wrongly trusting before.  When I read this I feel a beginning justification for trusting again.  Wish me luck.

 

40. November 25, 2011

Filed under: Change,Realizations — nowisgoodblog @ 2:20 pm
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Today, I am officially 40.  FORTY.  That sounds a whole lot older than it feels.  40.  I am not where I thought I’d be at 40, obviously.  My life looks nothing like I expected or planned.  Yet here I am.  I am 40, but I am also a lot of other things:

I am mother to three amazingly wonderful children.

I am a lawyer.

I am a working single mother.

I am healthy.

I am strong.

I am a sometimes-runner.

I am a part-time yogi.

I can rock a pair of cowboy boots.

I am a voracious reader.

I am a drinker of red wine and a lover of dark chocolate.

I am a lover of live music.

I am a mama bear.

I am divorced.

I am a survivor.

I am a daughter, a sister, a friend.

I am blessed with an ever-widening circle of supportive people in my life.

I am sarcastic.

I am honest and direct and open.

I am a grammar geek (I am sort of a geek in general).

I am a burgeoning optimist.

I am seeking.

I am growing.

I am a writer (that’s the first time I’ve ever said that “out loud”).

I am hopeful.

I am thriving.

I am happy.

I am 40.

And I’m just getting started.

 

Tolerance Isn’t Forgiveness. November 22, 2011

As always, always, always, I appreciate the supportive feedback I receive from this blog.  I truly do—more than anyone will ever know.  But reading the comments to my last post have made me uncomfortable enough that I feel the need to set the record straight.  I’m all for taking credit where credit is due (it often embarrasses me, but I’ll still take it … pretty much every time), but there is no way I can accept praise for something I haven’t done.

So to be crystal clear … I haven’t forgiven anyone.  Not The Ex.  Not The Girlfriend.  Not The Ex’s family for (seemingly) so willingly standing by in mute support while The Ex ripped apart his family.   Not the friends The Ex kept or created since.  Quite honestly, not anyone who lays a blessing at the feet of either of them or the relationship that started and continued out of lies and deceit and betrayal and intentionally inflicted pain.

I don’t forgive.

I can’t.  I’m not sure I ever will.  They don’t deserve it and they sure as hell never asked for it.  And yes, I fully realize that those matters are irrelevant to the true nature of forgiveness.  You don’t forgive because it’s requested or entitled.  You forgive because ….  Actually, I have no idea why I’d forgive them.  For the betterment of my mental and spiritual health?  Ok, maybe.  For the benefit of my children?  That’s the better argument, although I’m not really convinced that forgiveness is required.  Cooperation, civility, fairness, encouragement of the father/child relationship—absolutely.  Forgiveness—I don’t know.  Perhaps if I were a better Christian, a better Buddhist, a better anything ….

Irrelevant, though.  For now, make no mistake—I am nowhere near forgiveness.

I still would be quite pleased if their relationship crashed and burned.  I would feel satisfaction if he cheated on her, or if she cheated on him.  Deep down, I continue to hope that one day, The Ex will know real regret for the damage he’s done, and that it will pain him severely.  It would please me for either of them to discover an ounce of guilt or shame.  I’m not proud of any of that, but it’s the truth.

The thing is, none of that is really helpful.  Not now, wishing for it.  Not later, if or when it actually comes to be.  Entertaining any of those desires is a waste—of my very valuable time and energy—and I feel they’ve taken enough of those already.  I’m not keen on gifting them any more.  I am not at all zen about what they did or about what they continue to do.  I’m just beginning to get more and more zen about the fact that there isn’t anything I can do about it.  The universe will take care of them … or it won’t.  Either way, it’s out of my hands.  Either way, it has nothing to do with me and the way my life plays out from here on in.  Either way, we all march on.

Time dulls the sting.  I’m still appalled … I’m just a little farther removed from the pain of it these days.  They still suck—they are, in fact, monumental in their suckiness.  It’s just that more and more, their suckiness doesn’t affect me as much (or at least not in the same way).  So I’m trying to tolerate it.  Their suckiness.  The Ex.  The Girlfriend.  Their marriage, the children they are likely to have, the children I already have to share.  I’m trying to tolerate it all.

It’s just time.  Maybe.  Or maybe I’d just like it to be time.  I don’t think tolerance is the same thing as forgiveness.  Not at all.  Not even a little bit.  Not in any universe.  It’s only a tiny, but very difficult, step in a better direction, and one I’m trying hard to take.

 

The Difference A Day Makes. October 20, 2011

Filed under: Change,Friends,Realizations — nowisgoodblog @ 11:14 pm

I started today annoyed.  Frustrated by things outside of my control.  Lacking respect I think I deserve.  Waiting for a change I knew wouldn’t come.  Wanting … something else.  Needing something other than.

“Don’t make somebody a priority if they only make you an option.”

Midday I was granted a reprieve.  Things I didn’t know how to deal with, things I wasn’t ready to deal with … suddenly didn’t have to be dealt with for awhile longer.

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”

–Elizabeth Taylor

I ended the day with friends.  Old and new.  Understanding.  Acceptance.  Wine.  Laughter (lots of laughter).  Love.  My life.

It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”

–John Leonard

Nothing ever stays the same.  The good ends.  The bad passes.  The focus shifts.  You never know what’s around the next corner.  As they say about the Texas weather …

“If you don’t like it, just wait awhile and it will change.”

Always wait awhile.

 

 
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