Author Archives: reinventing the wheeler

About reinventing the wheeler

Married for 16 years, 3 kids, stay at home Mom for 10. Marriage ends, my take away 3 kids and a suitcase. How do you reinvent an old song? How do you recreate a broken family? How do you begin to start over carrying all of this? How do you get a job, reenter the workforce? Where do you live? What do you tell people? Whats that sound the car's making? Can you just quit? What's a girl to do...I reinvented myself, I found new dreams, and after an 18 year break I'm back in school...reinvention - a new way to do an old thing...the old thing, that's not me, just to be clear.

A tiny quick look back, as I keep moving forward

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My thoughts on my first breakup post-divorce.

  • I haven’t felt this stunned, hurt and disappointed all at once, in a long time.
  • I’m most surprised by the fact that I’m still so surprised.
  • As much as I tried to hold back, it didn’t really work, if anything it worked against me. It kept me more at bay than really enjoying the moment completely. Hold back at the most, is all talk and dangerous because it gave me a false sense of security. When the rug slipped out there was nothing protecting my heart, least of all myself.
  • Being lied to, really for the first time in a relationship I feel so baffled almost like I’ve found an element that hasn’t made it on the periodic chart. I feel like the emotional vision of me must still be standing there, jaw dropped, finger pointing. Ohhh look I discovered a liar…..golf clap yay!!
  • The best thing, about what right now feels like the worst thing, is: I know for a fact, I can love again. That’s good news, although right now I can barely see the shadows of it, wondering if I could ever love again was a considerable thought that often kept me company. That’s not even a question after this breakup. So I’d say my value perception is developing nicely.
  • One thing I hope I take away from this is, red flags mean something, every time, no matter what! Whether you want them to or not, you can’t wish them away. Red flags mark something. If you’re at sea, there’s a diver below. If you’re on ground there’s a gas line beneath the surface. If you’re starting a relationship, it’s a sign. Don’t dig here, trim up, keep moving, but do not ignore these tiny cautionary reprimands.
  • It was still worth it. I refuse to ever regret loving. It was treasurable to love and be loved.

Rantings of a People Pleaser

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In recent weeks my ex of 1 yr has been slipping in a People Pleaser nightmare, “by the way”… this is 3 words a struggling people pleaser never wants to hear. That’s because those three words are almost always followed by the inevitable…”Can you”…
My ex has been casually tossing in, “we’re playing board games, by the way….Can you stop by?
…”Or I’m going to take the kids to Cracker Barrel, by the way if you want to join us”….This sounds innocent enough, but trust me divorce is not for the innocent.
Last night my evening culminated with a trip to let’s call him boyfriend‘s house. Said boyfriend was sick which was already causing me to proceed with caution.
I’ve learned to pick up on the buzz words of a snare trap. The tiny pitch of a miniature violin playing the uncanny oh so familiar sympathy solo, is my first red flag. Much to my surprise, boyfriend seemed to really just want company and eventually I headed home without having chewed any of my appendages off to set myself free.
A welcomed relief settled in as I answered my 16 yr old daughter’s call. Even as she spoke I felt the tug of the rug beneath my feet. “Why is dad playing board games at our house?”….”Wait? What?…were the two words that won the hole shot out of my mouth.
So if he couldn’t get me to the games, he’d bring the games to me? What does the word divorce mean to this man? In the 16 years I lived with him, never once did we play board games and now twice in a week?
WTF? Too little too late is a real thing people. We’ve crossed right into creepy, of stalker proportions!!
My ex has little to do with our 16 yr old daughter. I’ve tried to explain the emotional turbulence of teenage girls, but they both have an affinity for collecting offenses from one another. Did I mention I’m don’t live with my ex-husband? Did I mention he’s in my house and I’m not? How is he not aware of these things? Wait am I crazy? Is this really happening? For the record I’ve made zero visits to his house when he’s not home, and it was my home for 16 years!!
The most self-doubting card is always played by my ex, and I fold every time. One look he shoots me that says… What? Nothing outta the ordinary here…I’m always sitting here at your table, playing your board games with our children! Don’t look so surprised!
This is a look I should be immune to, but last night proves I’m not. I don’t care how civil our lives apart are, there are still boundaries! I don’t have a key to his house, because his locked doors keep me out! How is this not an obvious, same rule applies?
The above scenario should have been the Grand Slam, dive in, no water wings needed, let one rip, you can’t go wrong whichever way you blow situation. I’ll just say I was reaching hard to tap into my inner black girl. My “here hold my earrings, gurlll” moment was here and I walked right passed it. Straight into the kitchen like everything was normal. I did, I won’t lie. He knew what he was doing, I was sidestepping an inch and he’s was closing in on the mile.
Will it happen again?
I bet it will. And I hear the Olympic echo let the “cycle games begin”.

30 seconds to encourage

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If I had thirty seconds to convince someone to leave a domestic violence situation, I would say:

  • Do you cry yourself to sleep most nights?
  • Do you ever feel like your partner hears you?
  • Do you dread the weekends because your partner will be home?
  • Are you always tip toeing around on egg shells?
  • As you read this are you making excuses for your partner?
  • Does your partner make excuses for you, or are you tossed right under the bus?
  • Where’s your common ground with your partner?
  • Did you rearrange your life to fit your partner?
  • Does your partner get jealous when you talk or spend time with your friends?
  • Do you feel like you have more bad memories than good ones?
  • Does your partner get so angry when you disagree, that it scares you?
  • Does your partner have guns or knives around the house?
  • Does your partner threaten suicide?
  • These are just a few red flags, which should be a big warning to a potentially explosive situation.
  • Two years on the other side of an abusive relationship.
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  • I have never been happier in all my life
  • I had no idea I was so strong and capable of so much
  • My kids are so much happier making every bit of the struggle was worth it
  • I am enough
  • I love my life
  • I can’t wait for the weekends (but weekdays are great too)
  • I’ve never once dreaded going home
  • It turns out, I’m not always wrong J
  • Little things don’t ruin the whole day…if you identified w/ the 1st list you know what I mean
  • My life is on a schedule and it’s a schedule that considers all of us
  • If there’s something I want to do, I can!! (Incredible feeling!!)
  • I’ve not once cried myself to sleep
  • I constantly go to bed wondering how I got so lucky

 

Let me just clarify. I’m not in a relationship. If you’re in a domestic violence situation do not draw on strength from another man to get you out, you are playing with fire! You are enough, I was enough. I had some really supportive family, extended family and friends that encouraged me through some of the really difficult times. But I was what I needed, I was what my kids needed. My divorce is final and I think dating now is an option, but sooner would have lent me a whole lot of extra drama. Some of the things I did to get me from stay at home mom to bread winner was:

  • I listed stuff on eBay
  • I started a house cleaning business
  • I offered to help a catering service when they needed extras
  • I made myself available to any odd job.
  • I’ve set with invalids
  • I’ve house/dog sat
  • I sold jewelry I had
  • I sold stuff at Plato’s closet and consignment stores
  • I went back to school which while it has been a hard thing to do, because I was a single mother of 3 I applied for every grant and scholarship available. And I applied myself, I got good grades and going to school has been profitable, it’s worth checking into.

You can do it. You’re enough. Live is for living not hiding. Show your kids what happiness looks like. Show yourself what freedom looks like. Be the boss you were born to be. You’re already living with regret STOP IT!

Divorce is worse than death

howileftastalker's Blog

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It sounds like a horrible thing to say especially coming out of a domestic violence situation. The sheer fact that I’m with my children and we’re in a happy loving safe home, it truly is all I need, but given I live in a first world country abiding in it are first world problems; therefore divorce is worse than death.
Dramatic as it seems, think about it. When there’s a death people expect you to walk around in a daze to go through the stages of grief. Your loved ones send flowers, neighbors and friends sign up to bring meals.
People give you consideration. It’s an excusable absence from work or school. Airlines even offer bereavement discounts. Death can bring insurance pay checks, social security may start sending checks. Again I’m merely comparing two losses!
Divorce on the other hand for me anyways has been lonely. Friends can shy away…

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It’s not your fault…

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It’s not your fault mom and dad divorced

I have heard its common for kids to feel responsible for their parents split, but it’s never been a battle I fought, until it came up recently.

My oldest is 16. Her father and I have been separated almost 2 years and divorced 1. Recently in a hormonal meltdown, she threw out…and I know you blame me for your divorce at least dad does, he said so. Of course I said what?? No….and all the expected reply’s but they all seemed to hit the wall she built and just slide down.

Yesterday I picked her up from practice, just her and I in the car and I said, “When you and your boyfriend (let’s call him bf) broke up (temporarily) this week, was it over me?”…”No” she said (kind of questioning where I was going). “Well, I know you think I don’t like him as much as his mom likes you, do y’all ever fight about that?” “Not really” she said, “actually not ever.” “Are you sure I didn’t cause the break up?” “Maybe I should have invited him over for dinner more often?” “Would that have helped?” “Mom!! We got back together, it had nothing to do with you!!” “Honey I know I could make things easier, I really can try, I don’t want to be the reason you guys don’t make it” “For the last time mom, bf and I have never had a fight over you!! For the record though you could be nicer” “Really…you’ve never fought over me, even though I set the curfew, I make the rules, and you don’t think I’m all that nice to him?” “Yes, mom…it’s our own issues, our little everyday disagreements that have NOTHING to do with you!”

“Okay, I see.”

“But can you see, that just like I had nothing to do with you and bf’s breakup or arguments. Even though I make the rules and set the curfews and it doesn’t appear I like him, your relationship didn’t hinge on me.” “You, sweetheart had absolutely nothing to do with your dad and I getting divorced.” “You couldn’t have. With all my ultimate veto mom power, I haven’t even made one of you and bf’s arguments.” “Your dad and I had our own little everyday disagreements that had nothing to do with you.” “Your dad and I decided we, us, him and I, couldn’t work it out.” “Kids have power, not veto power mind you, but power.” “You could have insisted on sleeping in the middle of our bed every night.” “You could have interrupted him every single time he tried to talk to me.” “You could have screamed nonstop every time he called me.” “You didn’t. Even worse case toddler as a teenager scenario, we may have called a doctor, but not a lawyer.”

Ahhhh victory!! It’s over the wall!!

She got it. I could see it in her eyes, the relief. She was carrying the weight of a broken family and she had the wrong bag. The whole night was slightly different. Slightly, but still noticeable. Even when I tucked everyone in bed, it was still there, or not there. Kids get tied up in wrong thinking all the time. We know to battle for their self-esteem, their identity, their value. Constantly talking to them allows little hints of what they’re carrying to slip out. Refusing to be offended is the hardest and one of the most important things a parent can do. Hearing my daughter say, I blamed her, stung a little. I had to follow the advice I constantly give my kids, Is it true? No of course that wasn’t true. But the truth in how she felt came out. Anger is a little like alcohol, sometimes it can be a truth serum, but you got to be willing to remain unoffended. Your children will thank you, their children will thank you, their children will thank you….  

 

Carrying the Past

If you carry bricks from your past relationships to the new one you will build the same house (1)

Holding on to the past

“Two monks were on a pilgrimage. One day, they came to a deep river. At the edge of the river, a young woman sat weeping because she was afraid to cross the river without help. She begged the two monks to help her. The younger monk turned his back. The members of their order were forbidden to touch a woman.

But the older monk picked up the woman without a word and carried her across the river. He put her down on the far side and continued his journey. The younger monk came after him, scolding him and berating him for breaking his vows. He went on this way for a long time.

Finally, at the end of the day the older monk turned to the younger one. “I only carried her across the river. You have been carrying her all day.”

There have been plenty of times in the middle of my worst days that I have unintentionally carried the past. Sometimes dealing with the issue will hold you back less than avoiding it.

My 1st unanniversary

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Today I would have been married 18 years. My first divorced unanniversary. Last year we were separated, but this year was different. Let me preface this whole thing, by saying, I’ve never been happier. I wanted the divorce. My kids are happier and more adjusted than I ever thought possible. Perfect best case scenario. So why was there a tug at my heart all day? I think this is some of the things people fail to mention about divorce. It still hurts, even though it hurts less. I guess it’s like getting a tooth removed, why does your tongue seem to question the emptiness? Every night I go to bed (by myself) thrilled to be me. That’s an unbelievably amazing feeling. The first year I was separated I had some pretty great mentors. A question they constantly made me revisit was who is Christel? I wasn’t sure. What does Christel want? I didn’t know. What does Christel like? I didn’t have an answer. That sounds crazy, but it’s true. I had spent so many years walking on egg shells trying to please, I completely lost myself. The past almost two years I’ve spent dating myself, getting to know me. And it’s been the best relationship I’ve ever had. I know what I want. I know who I am, and I definitely know what I like. Freedom to be me has been the most amazing journey. No wonder the path to get here was so difficult, it was complete unexplored. I guess my first advice to anyone wanting to avoid marriage explosion would be, don’t let you path get overgrown. The Segway from yourself to others should be well beaten. No matter how far you reach out, always return to yourself.
Today tugged at my heart because I’m human, not because I failed, not because I feel guilty, just because.
So today I started a new celebration. I got my hair highlighted. My stylist of 15 years, brought a bottle of champagne, we ate chocolate, cheese and drank to a beautiful friendship. If I was a mouth, today would’ve been a tooth implant. It’s a little foreign at first, but less distracting to my tongue. My hairdresser and I laughed about things that had happened over the years and we toasted to lot’s of happy memories. When I left I was full of hope, because I had been celebrating my victories, and my hair looked phenomenal. Cheers to new reason to celebrate old days.