Archive for the ‘I Got a Divorce’ Category

My ex and I split up a little over 2 and half years ago.  It was a traumatic life moment, but I truly believe it was the best decision for the both of us.  I hear through the grapevine that he’s getting married again soon, so I assume he would agree with that last statement.

After the decision was made to split, I had to find a new place to live. I moved into the apartment where I still live now.  Honestly, I have always loved living by myself.  I am fairly neat, organized, and particular about how I like things. Roommate situations have never worked well for me, dating back to my sister and I sharing a bedroom, and especially my dorm roommate freshman year (by second semester, I had my own room, and never had another roommate the entire rest of college).

I have loved living in my cute little apartment. The location is great because I can walk to the gym and get to work in 10 minutes if there is not traffic (if you are familiar with LA, you know both of these things are rarities).   The moment I walked into the place, I had a good feeling about it. It was the first apartment I had looked at during my search, so I thought I should at least check out some other places for comparison. I kept going back to that first place in my mind, and finally just pulled the trigger. The building manager is the nicest woman ever and we hit it off immediately.  Having an obsession with HGTV (I used to want to be an interior decorator when I was a kid), I decorated it to my exact liking – and even went super girly, embracing pastel colors and flowers everywhere. I painted my bedroom a beautiful shade of purple (yes, I am a Purple Person) called “Brushed Lavender,” and it makes me happy just to be in that room.

Over these past few years, I have worked hard to get past my previous relationship, and tried to come to terms with mistakes I had made and how not to make them again in the future (in theory, at least – time will tell on that one).  I hibernated for a really long time and went out of my cozy apartment as little as possible. Then, I finally decided it was time to get back out there. Very shortly thereafter, I started dating my boyfriend.  We were casual about it for a pretty long time, and didn’t really talk about boyfriend/girlfriend status for a good six months or so.  But it happened organically and it just felt right.  About six months ago, we started talking about moving in together.  The upshot is that, as of this Saturday, I will be leaving my cute little apartment and moving into my boyfriend’s place.

Of course, we are both really excited about it. He’s never lived with a significant other before. Since my only previous co-habitation situation (sorry for the lame rhyme) failed spectacularly, as excited as I am about this, there is a sort of tinge of nervousness deep down that I haven’t really been acknowledging until recently. I’ve done a ton of self reflection in my lifetime and feel like I have a pretty good sense of what my issues are and how to work through them. Also, my boyfriend and I are awesomely compatible and on the same page with a lot of important things, so logically, there aren’t many things to be nervous about. Which is all fine to say, but if you’ve ever been in a traumatic situation like a failed marriage and a miserable day-to-day living situation, I think you’ll always be a little gun shy about trying it again.

Since I’ve lived in my apartment, whenever I need tailoring done, I visit the seamstress at the dry cleaners down the street from my place. Her name is Mary.  She has some sort of accent that I can’t quite place, and even though I know she’s not Italian,  she reminds me of the old Italian tailors of my youth.  A year or so ago, I had bought a few pairs of wide-leg pants that I loved and thought were trendy and amazing.   They needed to be hemmed (I am only 5′ 4″, so most everything I buy needs a good 6-12 inches lopped off the bottom).  When I put the pants on and stood on the platform, she looked at me with a very scrutinizing look on her face. Then she said this: “Can I tell you something? (she didn’t wait for an answer)  Those pants make you look heavy. But you’re not heavy. I fix them for you.” I left thinking, “I either love this lady or I hate her.” Turns out, I loved her. She was totally right and thankfully not too concerned with hurting my feelings, because it benefited me in the end.  She took the pants in on the sides so I didn’t look huge, so how could I not be grateful?

I went into her place a few weeks ago to have a dress altered. As I was in there, I casually mentioned that I’m moving. When she asked why, I said, “I’m moving in with my boyfriend.”   Not knowing any details of my life (other than that, sometimes, I am really bad at picking out pants for myself) or anything about my previous situation, her response was, “That’s good. It’s time to move on.”

I very much want to put a sign in her window that reads “Alterations and Life Advice.”

As I start this new chapter of my life, I am contemplating the  idea of “moving on.”  I feel like I’ve hit the re-start button a few times in my adult life already.  Out of college, in an effort to cut ties with a toxic friend, I made an entire new circle of friends.  Stuck in life back in Boston, I decided to move to LA.  After my marriage ended, I started over yet again since life as I had known it changed immediately.  This time, I’m starting something new under the happiest possible circumstances.  Still, it is human nature to be apprehensive when you are leaving the safety of one situation for the relative uncertainty of another. Not that I am uncertain about my relationship. But there is a sort of safety in being by yourself and on your own, because you are not depending on someone else, and you are not vulnerable to being hurt or disappointed.  It’s the easy way through life, and it is never fulfilling.  I think that, sometimes, moving on means making the choice that scares you a little because that’s how you grow. I will not use the over-used phrase “comfort zone,” but that is essentially what you need to abandon when you’re moving on, moving forward or however you want to look at it.   Sometimes, moving on means taking a deep breath and taking that leap. In the end, there is a direct correlation between how scared you are and how rewarding the experience will be.

Strangely, it makes me feel happy and reassured to know that that my crazy, outspoken seamstress is behind my decision.


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I actually feel bad for Kim Kardashian.

I hate reality television.  The most I can stand is a competition show, every once in a blue moon. Watching the drama (or worse – mundane details) of other people’s lives holds no entertainment value for me.  If my TV accidentally ends up on a Kardashian show, I immediately change the channel as a matter of principal. I would have lit myself on fire before I would have watched Kim’s wedding to Kris Humphries.

Maybe it’s because I’ve gone through the shame of a divorce myself that I actually feel very sympathetic towards her right now. Granted, she invited the mass public scrutiny by having her wedding be such a public spectacle in the first place. But, having been married for just over four years, I remember the shame and embarrassment of having to tell my family and friends that it didn’t work out.  Just about everyone supported me and validated my decision.  I’m sure Kim’s close family and friends are supporting her as best they can, but I can’t even begin to imagine the humiliation of having the world media point a finger at you for having something fail so spectacularly in such a short amount of time.  Again, when you make your living as a “reality star”, you sort of open yourself up the world to judge every minor move that you make, so she’s probably not surprised at the amount of attention this is getting (the fame-whore part of her probably even likes it).  I’m just saying that, having gone through a divorce, it’s hard enough to not feel like a loser and failure without everyone making fun of you and judging you.  She’s probably just trying to show a brave face by keeping up her public persona and appearances these past few days, but I just want for her to go into hiding for a few weeks.

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Divorce is a life occurrance with many milestones. There are the obvious initial emotional ones, followed by the logistics and pain of filing paperwork at the courthouse, followed by the aftermath of getting your life back to “normal.” Then, if you are woman who was optimistic and foolish enough to change your name in the first place, you must go through process of getting your maiden name back.  You know this endeavor is going to be no fun whatsoever when it starts out with a trip to the Social Security office, followed by an in-person trek to the DMV.  From there, you then need to notify everyone in the universe that you have changed your name.  For those on the periphery of your life who didn’t know you prior to this fiasco or know of any of the details of the ordeal itself, it inevitably prompts the question, “Did you get married?” 

In an effort to circumvent this question at work – where I am considered a quasi-professional – I sent an email to all of my colleagues, business associates and clients saying, “FYI, I am reverting back to my maiden name.”  I personally think the gist of the situation is conveyed nicely in that statement, without having to have said, “Hey, everyone, I got divorced!”  Still, I cannot count the number of emails or phone calls I got asking, “Did you get married?”   

Now, being a bit of a people pleaser, I always feel obliged to put people at rest in an awkward situation, even if they caused it themselves by being dumb and not reading my email.  My gut reaction to this is to overcompensate by being overly glib and saying something like, “Actually, I used to be married and now I am un-married.”  When this makes people feel further uncomfortable for having put their foot in their mouth, I am then even more compelled to put them at ease.  So when I get the response, “Oh, I’m sorry. ”  I come back with, “Don’t be!  If you met my ex, you’d be sorry for me if I was still married!”  At this point, in an effort to to put others at ease, I have fully succeeded in making myself sound like a callous asshole.  I chalk it up to being part of the process.

Still, at points I cringe at having to have this conversation. Case in point: last Friday, I had a dentist appointment before work. Inconveniently, someone scheduled a conference call with one of my big partners at a point in the morning that didn’t really give me enough time to get to the office to take the call, so I had to start it in my car. Since I live in California, a “hands free” cell phone state, and I am wothout a working earpiece, I put my cell phone on speaker and then hit “mute” to cut out the background noise.  I was pulling into the parking lot at the studio when my client asked, “Are you leading this call?”  I un-mute myself and say “Of course!” and start trying to get my brain into work mode as I drive up to the fifth floor of the parking garage looking for a place to park. Now, the studio where I work has recently been on a hiring binge, so parking is a huge issue; if you arrive even 45 minues after 9 AM, you’re generally out of luck trying to find a spot and have to valet.  I made it in the nick of time and pulled straight into a spot in the last available row.  I started to feel relieved that I could take my phone off speaker, get out of my car and really concentrate on this conference call…when the VP of marketing at this company asked, “Hey, did you get married?”  At this precise moment, a security guard started banging on my window yelling “You have to pull in at an angle!”  So, I re-start my car, put my phone back on speaker and say, “No, I used to be married but I’m not anymore!” as I backed my car up and then pulled back in at an angle, nearly hitting the security guard.

It was just about then that it occurred to me that it is really hard to go through a divorce with your diginity in tact.  The people around you often don’t make this any easier.

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For those of you paying attention, you’ll recall I’ve mentioned that I’m going through a divorce.  I will not be maudlin and pontificate about any of the details here.  I am only writing about it at all because Tuesday was the day when I got to file the paperwork making our divorce final, which involved a trip the Burbank Court House.  And hilarity ensued…

It seemed wise to get a leg up on the lunch-time crowd, so I left work at 11:15 to file my one form. The experience started with the security guard at the front door, a 300+ pound African-American man, 60 if he was a day, who looked me up and down as I walked through the security gate and said in a slow drawl, “I like your shoes.”  Eew.

I made my way upstairs to the Clerk’s Office which was blissfully free of people.  I walked up and handed my form to the woman at the counter. She didn’t even glance at me before she stamped it and handed it back and said, “We need three copies and two self-addressed stamped envelopes.”  Excuse me?  “Where can I do that?” I asked, to which she replied, “There’s a Fed Ex Kinkos down the street.”  Great.

So I made my way back downstairs, past the creepy security guard who leered at me the whole time, out the door and down to the next block to the Fed Ex Kinkos. I made my copies easily enough, bought an entire box of envelopes (a pity, since I have thousands at home that my Mom gave me after an unnecessary trip to B.J.’s Wholesale Club about 9 years ago), and asked the man at the counter for stamps.  The whole time there was some woman who thought she was ahead of me in line yelling at the poor guy.  He instructed me to the ATM machine next door to buy stamps (how convenient!).  Done! Easy peasy! Crisis averted!

I made my way back to the court house and walked through the gate as the security guard said, “There’s those shoes again.” Eew. Back upstairs in the Clerk’s Office, it was starting to get crowded – they had one window of a possible seven open and there were about four people in line.  I hastily started filling out my two envelopes, at which point my pen ran out of ink.  I grabbed one of their pens which was out of ink too. I finally found a working pen, finished filling out the envelopes and added an excessive amount of stamps to each just to be on the safe side.  This task completed, I got back into the line.  It was at this point that I looked down at my three copies of my form and noticed that I’d left the original form on the copy machine at Fed Ex Kinkos.  I believe my reaction upon realizing this was to yell “Damn it!” and run out the door, but I can’t be totally sure since I was getting into a bit of a tizzy by that point and actually contemplated pretending one of the copies was the original so I wouldn’t have to walk by the security guard again.

Of course, being a perfectionist and a nerd, I didn’t do that. I marched myself back downstairs and was relieved to see the security guard leaving – it must have been his lunch break.  I ran by him in case he was thinking of asking me to join him.  Then I ran to Fed Ex Kinkos, grabbed my original form, and ran back into the court house.   Back upstairs in the Clerk’s Office, the line was literally out the door. There had to be at least ten people in front of me. 

And this is when the story takes an unexpected turn for the better. A woman at the front of the line said, “Ma’am, you can come up here.”  I think I looked at her like she was from another planet, and she said, “You didn’t hear me before, but I said I would hold your place for you.”  I said, “But what about all of these people?” And she said, “It doesn’t matter, you were here first.”  I’ll never see her again, but I kind of love that lady.  

I am often reminded that so many things in life come down to your own perception and choices.  My grandfather, 96 years old and an inspiration if ever there was one, is forever telling me to be happy and to “always laugh.”  Sometimes it seems like goofy or trite advice, but he’s clearly on to something.  There are so many things about this divorce scenario that could make me feel horrible about where I am in my life, and there are certainly lots of reasons I could dwell on the entire ordeal. However, I prefer to talk incredulously about the pervy security guard, laugh at my own stupidity (I left the original on the copy machine! It’s a rookie mistake!), and feel ever so grateful for the kindness of strangers.  It is truly all about how you choose to look at it – “always laugh” indeed.

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