It has been 8 years since I served my ex divorce papers accompanied with restraining orders. Seven years since my divorce decree was granted by the courts.
How does one be joyous and happy before one comes to terms with grief and anger and disillusionment?
Between then and now I was busy surviving; repairing; working on getting my professional license free from encumbrances; getting my kids thru elementary, middle school, high school, and college; repairing emotional and spiritual wounds; trying to make sense of it all; going to court; securing permanent restraining orders; financial instability and budgeting; working thru my own demons; comparing myself to friends who, in my mind, had successful marriages; finding my tribe of women who support and love me unconditionally; questioning my ability to make choices…..
Then, the intensity of survival was enormous!! That was an understatement. Celebration was the victory felt in waking up every day beginning again and again knowing that my children and I survived another day of dealing with STUFF. STUFF-The aftermath of a nuclear destruction that he had created for us during our marriage.
Today, the intensity of survival has lessened. My family and I are in a place of thriving. We are being mindful and grateful of being alive, having a roof over our head, food on the table and, most importantly, each other. Of course, days of surviving does show it’s ugly face on occasion. But it’s more manageable.
Some day, I may take the time to send out invitations celebrating my divorce. The theme being “Road to Self-Empowerment and The Continued Victory over Victimization”. For now, my 7 children and my closest friends who are my tribe, share with me that internal sense of beating the odds in my situation. That in itself is the daily celebration.
Today was our first Thanksgiving celebration as a married couple. He wanted me to cook a complete meal. The traditional turkey with the stuffing, the gravy, the mashed potatoes, the green beans, and the pumpkin pie..kind of meal. UGH! I grew up focusing on academia and practicing piano. Who the heck had the time to cultivate domestic duties such as being in the kitchen? Besides, I had no role model. My mom was not a good cook.
Grudgingly I agreed. Where to begin? Turkey. Ha! That’s a good start!! How big? What is stuffing? How do I make it? Where does it go inside the turkey? How do I make gravy? How do I make mashed potatoes? How do I cook green beans? So overwhelmed!!!
I just broke down and cried!! Embarrassingly, this grown woman had a full-blown out temper tantrum!!!
Eventually, with the help of his sister (the one who lived in another state), I was able to piece together our first Thanksgiving meal. The turkey was a bit dry. Maybe next time I’ll invest in a thermometer. The stuffing and the gravy turned out better than I expected. I don’t think anyone could ever mess up store bought boxed dressings and canned gravy. My sister-in-law gave me a dynamite recipe for mashed potatoes. The easiest part was boiling the potatoes! Next time I’ll peel them. The green beans were steamed. That was easy! Lastly, the grocery store pumpkin pie was an easy and delicious dessert. Top it off with whip cream and that completed our first Thanksgiving meal!
So, okay. It wasn’t the most elegant and most tasty meal. But, I must say that I’m pretty proud of myself for accomplishing such a feat!! This time next year, I’ll be a more daring and experienced chef. Wait, the Christmas Holiday is around the corner….
Google.com defines brave as follows:
- “Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage” (adjective);
- “People who are ready to face and endure danger or pain” (noun);
- ” Endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear” (verb).
- Synonyms listed: “courageous; valiant; intrepid; heroic; lionhearted; bold; fearless; gallant; daring; plucky; audacious”.
Today, I chose to be brave.
Morning. That heroic minute when I chose to get out of bed without hitting the snooze button. That heroic minute when I chose not to flip off the car that cut in front of me on the freeway. That heroic minute when I chose to greet with a smile each colleague I passed in the work place.
Day. That heroic minute when I chose to be mindful how I fill the prescriptions for my customers. That heroic minute when I chose to be grateful for having a job rather than complain of being tired from standing on my feet for 8 hours. That heroic minute when I chose to show compassion and kindness for those patients who are impatient due to feeling sick and themselves having had a long day in the clinic. That heroic minute when I chose to create a cheerful work atmosphere rather than get caught up in the annoying, aggravating, and maddening nuances that are part of working in a pharmacy.
Evening. That heroic minute when I chose to give my son a hug as soon as I entered our home. That heroic minute when I chose to cook a simple weekday meal or concoct ‘leftover delight’ rather than do ‘Take Out’ or nothing at all. That heroic minute when I chose to sit down and have dinner with my son. That heroic minute when I chose to have dialogue with my son. That heroic minute when I chose love and relationship above everything else.
Today, I chose to be brave.
When I am having a bad day I go out and do things that make me happy. I feed my spirit.
HALT is the acronym I use to gauge how I am feeling: Hungry; Angry; Lonely; Tired. This measurement tool was one of the many gifts I learned from my therapist.
Becoming aware of the feeling that something “just does not feel right” is a skill that I have worked to be cognizant. What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way? What is making me feel that way? I do an internal check. Am I hungry? Am I angry? Am I lonely? Am I tired? Am I a combination of these, or all of these?
It is vital for me to take action in taking care of myself, or I’ll reap the consequences.
My go to arsenal of remedies consist of the following:
If I am physically inside a building, go outside and walk. Just walk. Breathe in the fresh air. Spread my arms wide and feel the open spaces…feel expansion. Drive. Drive to the beach. Walk along Coast Highway. Put my feet in the wet sand.
Go to a place that is visually beautiful. The first place that comes to mind is The Whole Foods Store in Del Mar, California. I love it there especially in the evening. Inside it is bright! It is colorful! It is visually appealing and it makes me happy!
There are times when staying home is the healing answer. Put on my pajamas. Cover myself with as many blankets as possible. Have a bowl of popcorn and watch Netflix or Hulu.
Then, there’s the line up movies I watch allowing me unbridled and non judgmental emotions:
“While You Were Sleeping”
“Under the Tuscan Sun”
“Sweet Home Alabama”
“Pride and Prejudice”
“The Count of Monte Cristo”
The Indiana Jones Series
“The Italian Job”
The Mission Impossible Series
Lastly, all I needed was a hug from one of my kids or one of my best friends to make me feel valuable and whole…once again. .