I have neglected this blog for so long, it almost feels silly to start it back up again. Being a blogger takes a lot of work and discipline and I have just been too overwhelmed with life to put in the effort. Yet, I miss the practice. I am not going to make any promises to myself or anyone else to start writing regularly again…but here I am, back for another try.
Part of why I have not been writing is that my life has been so, well…mundane lately. It’s been very simple. No drama. No exciting stories about dating and men and being giddily in love and having my heart ripped out and tossed in a blender to puree.
Don’t get me wrong - there are dramas, but they are largely internal dramas. A lot of them have to do with stopping the dating roller coaster and coming face to face this year with me. With a lot of feelings that I didn’t even realize I had. I was so busy looking for “the one” that I forgot about “the one” I look at in the mirror every day.
The dating roller coaster is on hiatus, for now. Last November I took a no-dating commitment and dubbed 2010 “The Year of Loving Myself Passionately.” I have to say, though, that I haven’t really been loving myself all that passionately.
Not dating has also caused me to pay a lot more attention to my ex and his new wife and 11 month old baby. They have all moved into my brain and are living lives of permanent domestic bliss there. My ex and his new wife are always happy and they never fight. Their marital satisfaction is complete and total. They have endless amounts of romantic time and fun family outings. Their baby daughter is perfectly behaved and self-soothes like a dream. They are not sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. My ex is so ecstatic to be with the woman of his dreams and to have procreated with her to engender such perfect offspring. Their lives are just fabulously special.
Do I have an iota of a clue of how their life in reality corresponds to how they live in my brain? None.
The truth is that I’m still clearly grieving the loss of my friend and partner of 10 years. Still. This month, we were divorced 2 years ago. He is married to someone else and has a kid! Hello! It’s OVER.
Yet, I can’t let go of him. Friends remind me that I was not all that happy when I was with him, for most of our marriage, that he was far from the idealized soul-mate I am making him out to be now. But that doesn’t compute. All I can see is my loss, and this other woman’s gain.
Ever since he left, I chased men so that I didn’t have to feel what I am feeling right now. I smoked a half a pack of cigarettes a day and drank my daily allotment of wine and beer, ate my daily allotment of chocolate, so I wouldn’t have to feel these things so acutely. But for now…I am on this path of sobriety and celibacy, and those are not options I’m pursuing.
Some days…the grief and the jealousy are not total. Some days, my ex and his family take up less space in my brain. Sometimes, they even go out for a while. Other days, they take over and make a mess, kicking over furniture and being very unruly guests.
I’m not sure what to do with this occupation of my brain, other than to weather it through. The past couple of years, I never really came to terms with what happened, how my marriage ended. The hideousness, the humiliation of being left for someone else. None of my single mom friends can understand it. Their ex-husbands were all disgusting bastards and it was their decision to end their marriages. Not that it makes the whole thing easy and simple - divorce is rarely that - but there is some power in being the one who leaves.
I know, I know, I have abandonment issues. I’d go back to therapy if therapy hadn’t been so completely useless to me my whole life. I can talk about things ad infinitum, and understand very deeply why I feel the way I do. But for me, knowing why things are the way they are doesn’t automatically lead to acceptance of why things are the way they are. I’m still working on that.
One thing that does help is to try to practice gratitude for what I do have. I am blessed with the most awesome kid in the world, a kick-ass job…a sweet little home, a relatively new, reliable car that gets us around to all kinds of places, caring friends…a healthy body, relative youth and physical attractiveness. The list could go on and on. I know, objectively, I have a good little life. But it is such a challenge to not focus on what is wrong with my life. Every day, I just try to change the channel on this tired old rerun that plays over and over in my head.
I see the ways that I try to distract myself from my ex-husband’s family that has taken up residence in my brain. Even when I have my time with my dear sweet little boy, we are always on the go. Because I work from home, being at home a lot when I’m not working is hard. I am always on the hunt for activities to do with S — partially because he is an active 4.5 year old, and partially because mommy must keep moving, must keep going…sitting still can just be too hard for mommy these days.
I do my 30 minutes of meditation a day, but above and beyond that…I’ve got to move!
Another distraction I’ve taken up is in the form of Turkish soap operas. I discovered that I can watch them online through MBC, the Middle East Broadcasting Channel. They are dubbed in Syrian Arabic - the language my ex speaks, and hearing that accent is so comforting to me for some reason. I like that they take place in a culture that blends the values of the Middle East and the West. I tell myself it’s also good for my Arabic, rapidly declining because I don’t have anyone to speak to anymore - but the real reason is the excitement, the romance, that I vicariously get to live through these soaps. It is interesting because I couldn’t care less about American soap operas…but these, I am obsessed with. I stay up until all hours of the night watching them, saying, I’ll just finish this episode. Oh, just one more…
I see the ways I try to distract myself, and I try to have compassion. One cannot be with their feelings 24/7. I am not a monk, not even close.
Summer is tough. It is hot and sultry and sweaty and people’s clothes are coming off. I think sometimes I turn heads, though I always need my gay friends to tell me that. Everywhere I look, all I see are couples. They are holding hands and kissing and going out for dinner and being all lovey-dovey and stuff. I feel so ridiculously, conspicuously single.
But, all this whining aside, I need to go on with this commitment to investigate this single life. There is some value in it, some growth, that is happening. It seems I can’t quite see it, as I go through it, but this is one of those experiences that I know I will some day look back on and say, “Damn! That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Writing this post reminds me that I have sort of forgotten about the “loving myself passionately” part of this commitment. I’ve been so distracted by my mental house guests and their sickening happiness. But I am the landlord of my brain and they can only live there if I say so. I can kick them out, I can spiff up the place, and decorate it to my liking. It is my choice.
Welcome to this blog - my chronicle of the illuminating, character-building path of single parenthood. I'm making this up as I go along. My life is my practice, and my five year-old son is my greatest teacher.