Friday, June 14, 2013


SINGING FEELS GOOD TO ME. I think it ignites several parts of my brain at once. On one hand, it puts me on automatic pilot. If I'm doing some kind of chore that I don't need to think about, like hanging laundry or chopping vegetables, and if I know the song, I can just sing it without thinking. Then, of course, I've got the melody going, but also the verbal part of my brain going. So even though singing is sort of mindless, (or, maybe mindful in the best way) I can't sing and think thoughts at the same time. And too often, my thoughts are what get me into trouble.

Singing is helpful when I am troubled, probably because it just keeps my mind from taking a nosedive into negativity. At least for the space of the song. Also, it gets my blood going, regulates my breathing, and gives me a positive sensory experience. When you sing, you get to listen even as you participate, too. Somehow, all of this always helps me feel better, even when I think I have reason to be miserable.

When J first left I got great comfort from singing "The End of the World." It's got a dramatic melody, perfect for belting out at the top of your voice. And the lyrics are so over the top that if you sing it enough, you kind of get it, don't you? That, in fact, the world has no intention of ending, so you can either get over it or not. Here are the lyrics:

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don't they know
It's the end of the world
Cause you don't love me 

Why do the birds go on singing?
Why do the stars glow above?
Don't they know
It's the end of the world?
It ended when I lost your love.

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything is the same as it was.
And I can't understand.
No, I can't understand.
Why life goes on the way it does.

Why does my heart go on beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?
Don't they know
It's the end of the world?
It ended when you said goodbye.

But really the song puts the whole thing in perspective for me. On one hand, it lets me belt out my sorrow and sadness, but also recognizes that the rhythms of the universe don't stop just because of my little heartbreak. Singing it lets me get my drama queen out, but also calls her on her drama.

What's your favorite song to sing when you're down?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


well, it's been a long time since I've posted or even looked in on this blog. I'll be married again in less than a month, and I'm thinking that I need a check in on that idea of singularity. Can I keep it and still be married? One reading we'll have at our wedding is the section on marriage from The Prophet. "Let there be spaces in your togetherness." 

I think that's what I mean by "singularity." I didn't get it right away just because J left. Singularity awakened slowly and it took a while before I recognized it and understood it as a precious gift. And on the eve of our reunion, I don't want to give it up. I don't even want to give it up in the raw, mundane things, like our finances. I think I will just keep my own checking account and budget now. We can share, sure, but I want to make sure that I keep my autonomy, too. 

I'm sleepy now, but for future entries I want to explore forgiveness and reconcilliation.

Monday, October 1, 2012


This week I was with friends for the evening. One of our circle is walking her own divorce. I don't know her well yet, but already I recognize how her process is so similar to mine. She's a young mother with a lot more poise and sense of self than I had at her age. She's been sharing in our group how she's working through the issues that come her way, and the I've noted how even as each of our relationships is individual, patterns can emerge. After betraying her and leaving suddenly, her former husband now seems to be making overtures--almost as if he's having second thoughts. She told me a few weeks ago about how he seems to want to hang out at her house after visiting with the kids, asking about her dinner plans. "Isn't that interesting?" I ask her and she laughs and nods.

When I saw her again the other night she reported feeling for the first time little bits of satisfaction in being single. She gave an example of being shed of some minor irritations that she had in living with him over the years. Now that he's not there, her mornings are free of that jarring, little bump. I was so glad to hear that she is finding the gifts of her divorce. Her face was shining as she told us, and I remembered that same satisfaction. "I am finding some good things in my singleness," she said. "I don't know. Maybe singleness isn't the right word." "Can we say, singularity?" I asked.

It strikes me now that if J had been making moves toward reconciliation before I discovered my singularity, I might not have found it at all. I don't know if she is harboring those kinds of hopes or wishes, but if she is, she is a stronger woman that I was. As she spoke I did a mental check. Now that J has come home, have I lost touch with my singularity?  I find myself still keeping spaces in my life and in my home to nurture my own individual self. When J was gone, I would often sleep up in the little guest bed in the attic, especially in the winter. Our bed is in the cold part of the house, and without the extra body heat of another person, the sheets were like ice. The attic became my little grotto and the single bed up there was cozy and welcoming, with no memories to haunt me, no grief. Now, when I can't sleep, I take a book upstairs and climb into that bed, stretch out, and revel in my own skin. Sometimes it feels like my spirit stretches out and fills that little room with the slanted ceiling, shining into the darkness. I don't think I've lost my singularity, but I must remember to check in once in a while. It's one of the most valuable gifts of my divorce, and I don't want to lose it.

Friday, August 31, 2012


This idea for this list came from a friend, and felt like a gift. She told me her husband was trying too hard to win the love of her kids. He is not their bio dad. He came into their life kind of late. He would shower them with presents and go to all their sporting events, spend more time with the kids than he did with his wife. She told me, "He's got the wrong idea. If he wants to win over the kids, he should be treating ME like gold." He wasn't treating her badly, just maybe a little bit too focused on winning the kids, maybe because they were pulling away, and she was feeling a little neglected. "But," she said, "if he's not going to treat me like gold, I'm going to have to treat myself like gold." And that's what she did. When he wasn't into going on vacation, she took the kids on a nice camping trip. She bought herself little presents, took herself out to coffee, out for a glass of wine, out for a movie night with friends.

I decided that I would do that too, and I made a list of ways I could treat myself like gold. Here it is:

  • Making my bed in the morning.
  • Doing exercises every day.
  • Eating healthy foods.
  • Treating those around me with love and respect.
  • Paying the bills and making sure my life is running smoothly.
  • Keeping in touch with my kids.
  • Getting enough rest.
  • Saying no when I need to.
  • Making choices about what I'll share with whom.
  • Making a nice dinner, sometimes with dessert.
  • Making sure I have health care.
  • Asking for support when I need it.
  • Indulging in time alone.
  • Maintaining my home.
  • Enjoying my family.
  • Picking flowers for the table.
  • Giving myself credit for all I do.
  • Turning all these outward to the people surrounding me.

Friday, August 17, 2012


If you're happy, I'm happy.
That's what they say when they mean

  • "I'm skeptical."
  • "I can't believe you'd take him back."
  • "What are you, some kind of idiot?!"
Do I sound bitter? I actually love the people who said this to me. Well, most of them. And it's not like I don't understand their concerns. I do. I might have the same concerns, say the same words, to you in a similar situation.

I mean, it's no accident that I haven't posted in almost a year. I hadn't even finished processing my divorce when I started dating again. And for an even bigger cliché, I'm dating my ex, for crying out loud. I had a nice plan for my life, for my blog posts where I therapeutically explored each aspect of my marriage and divorce and transformed it into something healing. So, the joke's on me, right?

But also, I'm getting a little annoyed at having to defend my choice for round two of this relationship. I got a call from an old friend the other day. I had already told her via email that I was seeing J again. That was several months ago, and she was calling to check on me. I told her we were still together and things were going well, and she said she was happy. 
She really wasn't. 

She was worried about me. She even said as much, and wants to call me again later so we can talk more freely (J was right there when she called). 

It's not like I haven't heard the same worries from most of my friends and some of my family. It's not like I wouldn't have the same worries. But I realized after I hung up that I'm tired of calming everybody down about this. People can either trust that I can handle my own life, or not. I'm no longer interested in defending the wisdom of my choice.

On the other hand, now that I've broken the ice about getting back together with J, maybe I can get on with my blog, because I still think an in depth exploration of my divorce would be beneficial. Our reconciliation is really just one part of that.

Yes, everyone. I'm happy. So happy you're happy too!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Imaginary Boyfriend

I STOLE THE IMAGINARY BOYFRIEND IDEA from Amy Sedaris. But I added a twist of Oprah.  Amy is wonderful, but I don't really want what she has with Ricky. The Oprah part comes in because I heard from a friend of a friend, that although she didn't find what she was looking for on those dating sites, signing up and filling out her "wish list" helped her to figure out what she was looking for in a relationship. Then she married someone she met somewhere else. Isn't that the way those stories always go? And happily ever after and good for her. Really.

So what am I looking for? L's new boyfriend doesn't have to be perfect, but he does have to at least aspire to all of these qualities:
  • Communication: He has to at least believe that communication is primary in a relationship. He doesn't have to be the best communicator all the time, but he needs to recognize when he is in danger of shutting down, and rectify the situation. He needs to be willing to listen and share with courage and respect, even when the news is difficult.
  • Maintenance: You don't just put gas in a car and drive it. You change the oil; you rotate the tires; you check the fluids. My new boyfriend needs to understand the importance (and the fun!) of maintaining relationships. I'm not saying that date night has to be stiffly regulated--that can be a trap in itself. But he can't skimp on time together: talking and being silent; laughing and sharing sadness; being alone with me and being with friends together.
  • Well, I have more to add, but just now need to attend to some other things, and think about this a bit more. This is my list, and subject to change without notice. What's on your list? Do you have ideas to share?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The divorce has been final for about a month. It was hard, but it finally felt good to have it behind me. But now J has been suddenly more communicative, starting slowly right after the divorce with little things, and building ever since. He actually texted me and asked me to have coffee with him yesterday. I said yes, but I felt cautious. My hopes and fears bounced wildly back and forth. Was he going to make a big pronouncement--some terrible news about his health--or was he having a change of heart? The divorce was a terrible mistake? But it was We chatted. We had awkward silences. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I don't know if it was a fluke, but he called me again today to tell me about his job. In two years he has never called me unless he absolutely has to.

Here's my take on it. I'm not going to worry about it, but if he is thinking he's had a change of heart, he needs to understand that although the job for L's Boyfriend is open right now, the job has become professionalized and the qualifications are much higher than they ever were before. Plus the competition is stiff. He has to compete with my imaginary boyfriend (He's wonderful. His only fault is that he's imaginary, but I quite enjoy our coffee dates.) and all the guys out there that might answer my ad on whatever dating service I will try as soon as I can stomach a dating service, or can afford to join one. My new boyfriend will have to meet very strict conditions, starting with openness and date night and being comfortable in my community. My new boyfriend will dance with me. Who knows? My new boyfriend might even be a girl.

I'm at the library coffee shop, and a couple is getting their engagement pictures done outside my window, here in front of the flower boxes. It's a rainy day, which will make an interesting photo. That's another condition. My new boyfriend will want to be photographed with me, like it's a privilege for him to have his image next to mine. Am I starting to sound full of myself? I kind of hope so.

The flower boxes are full of pink and white begonias. The dark green leaves are lush, and behind the flowers are tall hedges which will form a green backdrop for the photos. A blue and white awning protects the stone porch of the library, and rain drips elegantly from the awning. I imagine it will look like strands of silver beads in the pictures. The couple is very young and hopeful. The girl is a little plump and taller than the boy. The boy has tattoos and a close clipped goatee. The photographer, a woman in her early forties, is suggesting various poses--seated at the wrought iron tables, holding hands and looking at each other, leaning against the stone railing of the porch. She pulls out props for them, a silk rose and a black and white floral print umbrella, so maybe the rain was part of the plan all along.

A year ago, or even six months ago, my mind would have raced ahead, jumping to conclusions about J and his intentions. I would maybe try to coax him back prematurely. Now? I kind of just want to wait and see. I don't even know what I would say if he told me he's had a change of heart. My own heart feels kind of like wood.

The first few poses were kind of stiff, but now the young people loosen up, begin to grin at each other. The photographer says something and they all laugh. They are so hopeful and so beautiful. I remember a boy and a girl who ran up the stairs to the roof together in a thunderstorm, dancing naked in the midnight downpour. I want to tap on the window and tell the girl to run out into the rain. Let it soak through her clothes and drip off of her long hair. The boy might run after her. Then again, he might not. But, Sweetie? Don't let that stop you.