Tag Archives: Dream life

Divorce with Dignity part 1

Divorce doesn’t have to be ugly. Please continue reading. I’ve gotten more than my fair share of unsolicited advice that wasn’t helpful and wasn’t wanted. Divorce doesn’t have to look like it’s portrayed on social media. It doesn’t have to be miserable. That’s such a misconception. I know a lot of people, even some of my dearest friends who have had ugly, painful, and exhausting divorces. I’m lucky in that regard.

The main reason we separated was because of poor communication. We had become strangers that just so happened to be married and had a child together. It was lonely. The specific incidence that led to use being done was a painful experience, we both stopped trying. The specifics of the final breaking point won’t be revealed here. It’s complicated and I will not post about that here. Sorry, but that’s between him and me. I never want to do something publicly that I couldn’t take back. The internet never forgets and I don’t want something I say out of hurt or anger to be out there forever, because I would hate if he did that to me.

Ultimately, our relationship was slowly sinking and we didn’t pay enough attention to try to work it out. So when a major fight happened, I think we were both relieved it was a big enough of a reason to finally call it quits. If that wouldn’t have happened we would probably remain married for the next 40-50 years. We would be in the same situation, both lonely, poor communication, and basically married to a total stranger. We stayed together for our daughter. We stayed together because it was comfortable. We stayed together because both of our parents are still together and there was a lot of pressure and expectations for our married. We had a lot of resentment towards one another, guess what doesn’t fix that? Lack of communication. We might have listened to one another, but we never actually heard what the other was saying. We both felt attacked and both felt defensive. It became this awful pattern.

There have been plenty of opinions, expectations, and pressure placed on both of us since we declared we were officially done. He and I actually get along so much better. We communicate better, like, significantly better. Several times, either one of us would ask the other if we were making the right choice splitting up. Each one of those conversations we both agreed that it was best to divorce. Because we get along so much better, people think we will get back together, or that we should make it work. Honestly, everyone needs to back off.

We have tried marriage therapy right after our daughter was born. We did give it the good ‘ol college try. Our relationship as romantic partners is beyond repair. We make AMAZING friends. I think since the pressure of our rocky marriage is no longer in the way, we are able to focus on our top priority, our daughter, and stopped resenting one another. We had a lot of anger towards one another, so much resentment. There are still a decent amount of people in our lives who don’t we are going through a divorce. I take pride in that because it shows that we are doing something right. An old therapist told me that our daughter doesn’t need married parents, she needs happy parents. That stuck with me. We are happy, we can do family stuff together and it’s not awkward at all.

Mini-me. She makes my world and recovery sweeter!

People give us their opinions all the freaking time. It is so frustrating. This has been like a 14 month process so far. Never once, has it gotten ugly. We’ve had a couple of fights here and there, but nothing like we have had while married and living in the same house. We would rather our daughter see us being able to being around each other, not being placed in the middle. Not being confused because mommy hates daddy and vice versa. Besides; what people see from an outside perspective don’t know all the little details that broke down our marriage. They don’t need to and we don’t have to justify or explain to anyone why it didn’t work out. It’s not their marriage, it’s not their divorce. So their opinions, frustrations, expectations, disappointments are on them. Not him. And most definitely not me.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all sunshine and bunnies. It’s stressful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s scary. Neither one of us planned on ever getting a divorce. We didn’t plan on getting one some day. We have both hurt each other deeply. Both before, during, and after our marriage. In spite of it all, I couldn’t have gotten a better person to be my ex-husband/co-parent; whatever you want to call it. We are choosing how our divorce goes. We talk about it together. We work through issues together. It’s not easy at times, and there are a significant amount of tears.

From divorces I’ve seen and what you hear about other divorces, not to forget, social media and movies giving numerous examples of bitter, ugly, painful divorces; I didn’t know what to expect. He and I chose to do it our way. We chose and continue to choose to not just be civil, but get a long. When we start to bicker we focus on our daughter. At the end of the day, my feelings don’t really matter, neither do his. Our daughter’s feelings matter.

We were told that children of divorced parents who get along well, are statistically as happy and successful in their future compared to children growing up in a chaotic non-divorced home. They are also comparing that to married couples who get along. Remaining married to someone you resent and fight with all the time can be damaging for the kid(s). As long as we keep doing what we are going I think we will all be ok.

Right now, this is working very well for us. Our daughter is happy, healthy, and thriving. She is so loved and blessed to have extended family from both sides of the family near by to give her even more love. I’m proud of us. I’m thankful that we still work as a team. We weren’t working as a team while married, but we are figuring it out. There isn’t a manual for this. There is no one-size fits all divorce. We have found what is easiest for us and our daughter. We will continue to strive to continue to get along. We will adjust as our lives progress and there will be a lot of changes, probably a lot of curveballs along the way. I’m confident that we’ve got this. He’s a fantastic father and I’m proud to have him as my friend and co-parent. I will always be grateful to him. Also, our kid is by far the most beautiful creature on the planet and is so much fun. I hope others divorcing can find peace to get along or the ability to be civil with one another. Children are quite observant and watch everything we do, even when we think they aren’t.

Sorry so long, as always. I wanted to let others know that not all divorces have to be awful. Even when things aren’t easy and we’ve deeply hurt one another, you can get past it. It’s not an overnight thing. It can happen. I’m living proof. If I ever thought I’d be going through a divorce, I thoughts I’d be vindictive because he hurt me. While he did hurt me, I didn’t and still don’t want him hurting. He’s a great guy. I’m a great gal. We aren’t great together. Our divorce will be finalized sometime in August I believe. While this has been a long time coming, and even though we get along, it hurts. It’s sad. It’s painful and this was not a part of my long, specific detailed plan of how my life “should be.”

Once you’re able to get past the hurt caused by and to one another (if you can, some situations are significantly worse than others) focus on the important parts, your child(ren). If you remain married, be mindful of the child(ren). What they see is what they will expect to be treated that way or learn how to treat others that way. Respecting the other parent, whether you’re together or not, greatly impacts the future of your children’s future, self-esteem, school performance, ability to have healthy relationships with others, and a multitude of other things.

Co-Parenting at it’s finest. Our baby is almost 4!

Our daughter turns 4 this week. I can’t believe it. But we celebrated her birthday this past weekend and I wanted to show a pic of Her dad, M, and me. I’m sporting the new trend of sexy neck braces. Both sides of our families came, along with friends. It’s weird if you make it weird. He and I don’t make it weird and if we feel it gets that way with extended family we tell each other to ignore it because it isn’t our issue. Look at my sweet girls’ face. She is happy. See, I can have some positivity. But I have to throw in some complaints or I know you’ll just miss them. The pain in the back of my neck is being a little bitch again, but I took a walk today for much-needed exercise, and I threw up 4 times on my journey. So, that is something……XOXO

10 Things I Think You Should Know About Me

I’m pretty awesome. Even with the extreme body issues and depression, I sometimes feel empowered, fearless and fierce. Other days I don’t feel as awesome. I get paranoid that people don’t like me. That everyone I love will leave me. That I’m an absolute failure. Sometimes I think I have this amazing purpose to help change the world, and it can flip like a coin where I feel that I’ll amount to nothing and make the world a worse place. That is terrifying. I’m worried that I’m a bad mother because I struggle with my depression. I don’t want her to resent me in the future. For today, I just want to tell you some random things about myself. I’m hoping it will make me feel silly and fun.

1) I am deathly afraid of snakes. Big ones, small ones, they freak me out. Like I’m so terribly afraid of them that every single time I go to the bathroom I have to inspect the toilet to make sure there are no slithering bastards waiting to bite my butt. I’m not even joking. I will turn on the light in the middle of the night, just to be sure. It’s a thing you know. I’ve seen pictures on the interwebs.

2) I enjoy sad movies (stupid because I have horrible depression, right?). I love watching documentaries that make you think and see the real, raw parts of things. We hide from the bad. We are afraid of it. People think I’m a masochist because I work in a profession where there is so much negativity, I love being in my bed with the drapes shut. They all make me cry. Sometimes they make me enraged.

I like it because it’s real. I like it because it lights a fire under my ass to want to make the world a better place. It actually inspires me. When I doubt my abilities to really make a difference it’s because people in my life put me down. “You can’t help everyone, Mergen.” “You can’t change the world.” “You’re too sensitive.” “You’re grandiose.” When they tell me those things, then I begin to doubt my abilities to actually make a real change.

While that is a fear, why do I care about the naysayers? I CAN make a difference. I WILL make a difference. There is not much that I feel confident about, but I am damn good with people. I am a born empath, born with a tender heart. In this world, I think there needs to be more “delusional people wanting to change the world” around here. Not more of the cold, selfish, power-hungry people. While I do cry at everything, and while my heart hurts for everyone and all the injustices in this world, I would rather be just as I am than the heartless souls out there. I AM good enough. I AM strong. And I AM fierce. I need to remember that more often.

3) My mind is a hot mess. I’ve got racing thoughts constantly. I have so many interests and I’m very creative and intelligent. What I struggle with is putting my thoughts into action. I have brilliant ideas actually, some silly and fun things, some creative, and some that I believe can really make a positive impact with prison reform and mental illness. Now if I can just pull it together enough to put these ideas into action; I’ll be all set.

4) I have jumped out of an airplane 606 times. I used to love it! Then I lost some loved ones to the sport, then I had my daughter. Priorities change one you have a child, even on our worst days I choose her over my best days skydiving.

5) I have 4 cats. No regrets there. None.

6) I still sleep with my ratty old baby blanket, and brought it with me to the  hospital with my ACDF surgery. I think I wrote about that when I was in the hospital, but my brain was all foggy.

7) I have so many dreams I can’t keep it straight. I would LOVE to someday own acreage, an old farm-house, and a rustic barn. I could have a pumpkin patch in the fall and a little farm stand in the summer. I have a total black thumb, so there does need to be some research and practice ahead of time. While living on the farm I will also be a writer. I want to write short silly stories, and then maybe some how to books regarding mental health and suicide. Like how to write a good mental health evaluation. Or suggestions on how to deal with someone struggling with suicide, suicidal thoughts. Short manuals, I don’t think I have the attention span to write a long book. As evidenced by my chaotic writing style on here.

8) My daughter is almost 4. She is one of my largest frustrations, but the most incredible part of my life. I love being her mommy. Her temper tantrums really, REALLY test my patience (which I don’t have an abundance of) she always steals my heart with a huggy, a kissy, or when she is fast asleep.

9) I have 11 tattoos. I definitely plan on getting more when I get some moolah. I have had 13 surgeries including wisdom teeth.

10) I am extremely allergic to shellfish. How did I find out you ask? Here’s the little story. So, for anyone following my blog, you will know I am a life long vegetarian, for those that don’t understand vegetarianism, we do NOT eat seafood either.

Last summer we went to a restaurant where they prepare your food on one big grill in front of you?  Well, we went there one night when it wasn’t busy and there were only 2 other people there. Long story short, I felt weird when I was eating my non-meat, 100% vegetarian meal. My lips started to feel stingy, my throat felt a bit weird, so I went home. By the time I was home, my lip looked like I had some overdone fillers. I was NOT cute. At least I know what my lips will look like if I ever wanted to have a ‘lil something something done. I took some Benadryl and went to bed. I broke out into hives as well a few times over the summer, that I just blamed on stress because my husband and I decided to divorce.

I finally got into see an allergist. I told him the only thing that I could think of other than stress was that at the restaurant  someone had some lobster with their food. The Dr. said the chances of cross contamination was very minimal. Guess who was wrong? It sure wasn’t me. I have a shellfish allergy. A bad one. Who knew. Good and random that that’s how I found out.

Yet again, what I thought would be a short post, turned into another ramble. I think the posts will get shorter once I have some freedom. Who knows. I think I’m going to take a shower and go for a walk. Need that exercise.

Thanks for reading! XOXO

Birthday Surprises…I HATE Surprises

I am not a very social person. I like spending time with people I’m extremely comfortable with, and usually in small groups. I like structure. I like to know what is going on and what to expect. I do not take surprises well. I get overwhelmed easily. My friends know this. My family knows this. My husband knows this.

(PC: the berry)

I love celebrating my friends and family’s birthdays. I don’t like celebrating my own. I never have. I usually get really depressed around my birthday. I remember when I was 10, my mom made me a chocolate cake and the number 10 was designed on the cake with those pumpkin candies. I remember thinking; “wow, my life is going by so quickly. I’m getting old.” Silly, right? Well those clearly rational thoughts have never gone away.

(I don’t know who to credit for this photo, my best friend texted it to me one day after finding it online)

This is a long story so stay with me. While my family was planning my birthday they asked me where I wanted to eat. I said; “lunch at mom’s house.” What is better than your favorite meal made by your mother? Nothing. My mom tried to convince me to go to a restaurant to celebrate. She asked me at least 20 different times leading up to my birthday. I complained to my husband about how I can’t understand why my mom is so pushy about going to a restaurant. My sister and I both have little ones. Taking little kids to a restaurant is a nightmare. I wanted to relax and be around the people I love.

My husband asked me what I wanted to do several times. Again, I said eat lunch at my parents house and then nothing. I wanted to relax and read. Then, my best friend asked if I wanted to get a couples massage with her for my birthday. Absolutely! Relaxing with my best friend sounds lovely. Not too much effort on my part. Great! Done! I asked my husband if he would be okay with this, he seemed excited that I’d want to do something for my day.

(My BF, daughter and me before leaving for the massage)

We arrived at the spa and checked in. Then my BF was looking at her phone and I glanced over and saw my husbands name in her Facebook messenger. I asked her why they were talking. She turned bright red and said it’s none of my business. The wheels started spinning in my head, but I was drawing a blank. I knew then there was a surprise but I didn’t know what it was. I asked her if I would hate it. She said no. I asked her 2 more times while getting our massages. I thought having her relaxed would make her more likely to talk, it didn’t. I was hoping that whatever it was, that it would be low-key. Like very few, if any, other people involved. I was and always will be perfectly okay hanging out by myself and isolating. Socializing is a lot of work.

After the massages, we drove into our neighborhood. I spotted my parent’s cars while pulling up to my house. I was confused, but then thought how nice he’s having my parents and sister come over. I walked in the house and saw one of my dearest friends standing in my kitchen. I was very confused because I wasn’t expecting to see her. Then I looked over and saw my aunt and uncle. They live in Ohio. I kind of stared at them, then it registered that they came to see me! What?!?! Amazing! My sister, brother in-law, nephews, best friends, parents, aunt and uncle and darling friends from high school all came to my house to celebrate me. My husband had been planning this for 3 months. I had no idea. I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was slightly overwhelmed with tons of people at my house. But, I felt so completely loved and honored that people would come fly/drive really far to see me, all of them just to spend time with me for my b-day.

I hate surprises. Did I already say that?  I do. Almost always. But NOT this one. As much as I dread my birthday, this year was by far my most favorite birthday. I found out that my husband was trying to surprise me at a restaurant initially and had tried to get my mom to convince me to go out to eat (this didn’t click with me until he explained it; I promise I’m not stupid). When it was clear I wouldn’t go out to eat, he asked my best friend to take me to get massages. He paid for them. For 80 minutes! It was the best massage of my life! So much fun getting a couples massage with your bestie, I highly recommend it. After we left to get massages, my aunt and mom came to my house and they, along with my husband cleaned it. They had dinner waiting for me. Cupcakes. Loved ones. All there for me. I may not always express to my husband how much I appreciate him, but he is amazing. I really hit the jackpot with this one. For him to do something so kind and thoughtful and wanted to include my loved ones is just over the top. Besides having the best husband, I really do have a terrific family and the most wonderful friends anyone could ever have.

(This guy…my heart..he totally has it)

Yeah…and a couple of months ago I didn’t know what to get him. Yep, I sure did hand him our daughter and said “your welcome.” That’s a pretty good gift. Now I really need to make up for that one. I’m not a bad wife, I promise. He’s just so hard to buy for. He has everything. He buys what he wants. I can’t afford the things that he would love to have. At the end of the day, gifts don’t really matter. This surprise party was one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I will remember this for the rest of my life. Words can never express how much this birthday meant to me. Every one of those people who helped me celebrate my birthday mean the world to me. For those of my friends who read my blog, I adore you all. Truly and with my whole heart.

Oh and I still got to have my favorite meal prepared by my loving mom. I’m a very lucky lady. Young lady. I’m young!

Labor Day Weekend

I love holiday weekends that are spent with loved ones. I’m pretty traditional and enjoy my holidays to be filled with quality relaxing time. I hope everyone has a safe, happy and healthy holiday weekend!

I’m next to my daughter trying to get her down for a nap. It’s so peaceful to look out onto the water. We are so fortunate. While I love summer, I am very much looking forward to fall. It’s my favorite season. I love the smells, the weather, the colors. Once Labor Day hits, you know fall is just around the corner! For me, it’s like the beginning if the holiday season!

Getting away from the grind of every day life is so important. I feel that it’s so important for family to spend some quality time together away from stress, electronics, noise to be able to re-connect every now and then. I hope everyone out there gets to have some refreshing time spent among loved ones.

You Can’t Adopt Inmates?

I mean, obviously you can’t adopt an inmate. You can’t adopt grown-ups. I know about boundaries with my clients, not being “too invested”, having good self-care, blah blah blah. Doesn’t change that every so often there are several inmates that I would gladly take home if I could.

I think movies like The Blind Side make it seem right to take in grownups/or close to being a grown up seem like such a nobel idea. The entire adoption process of children is much more complicated. Once you turn 18 it’s like good luck, try to have a good life with no support system. I see more grown ups that are emotionally stunted because they had horrible childhoods and minimal to no support system.

As a human, you will come in contact with a variety of people who touch your heart in various ways. Some leave lasting impressions. Some you never want to see again. Then, there are some that if it were allowed, I would take home in an instant! I’m pretty vocal at the jail that I want to take some of the inmates home. People joke around with me and ask frequently who I want to bring home today. We laugh it off. I am mostly joking….mostly. I won’t take anyone home. This doesn’t stop me from wanting to.

Part of the reason I became a social worker is because I wanted to fix the world. I want to leave it a better place than I found it. Some of my supervisors over the years have said I have a “bleeding heart” and that my goals are unrealistic. Who cares if they are unrealistic? First, this pisses me off because who the hell is anyone to tell me that wanting to change the world is unrealistic. Change starts with one person, that’s it! I’m not saying that I will save the world, but wanting to save the world, why would anyone try to stop someone from attempting to do so?

Second, when did we all get so comfortable with the bystander effect? I’m a little disgusted that even among other social workers, there is this idea that some of my clients issues aren’t my problem and someone else with deal with them. Who is this magic someone else? Why is there always a someone else to deal with that specific issue? We try to make almost everything someone else’s issue. It’s not our job. It’s not our responsibility. People don’t want to take on other people’s problems. No wonder it is so hard for people to get mental health treatment. They have to go through many people, several agencies, countless pages of paperwork, then wait several weeks to months before even seeing a therapist or prescriber. People we consider high-functioning wouldn’t think this process is acceptable. For someone who is labeled with a mental illness, labeled a criminal, is homeless, whatever; this process becomes incredibly more difficult; if not almost impossible.

No system is perfect. I see countless issues within the system I work and don’t know where to even begin to start a conversation for implementing positive change. People are also uncomfortable with change. Not the point, with a flawed system it makes it seem more realistic in my mind to just take these people home. I know I can’t fix people. I know I’m not this amazing person that brings happiness wherever I go. I do know that change starts with the person who wants to change. But, I do have tools and skills to offer to these people. I do also have a warm heart that can give comfort and empathetic support.

There are things in this world I will never understand. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my job. I love the population I work with. There are days that are challenging. There are people who are challenging. The system gets me fired up at times. I am passionate about what I do, which people might mistake for weakness or being “too invested” (clearly I hear this term used often). As I have said before, I don’t think that being invested in a negative. Even if other people view that as a flaw, I will not change that. I will not apologise for that. I just wish there was better collaboration between agencies to help these inmates. I wish there wasn’t so much stigma attached to people who have committed a crime. Truly, anyone could easily get caught up in the judicial system, this does not mean this person no longer has value.

I just hope for a better world. I hate having conversations that focus on the limitations of what we can do as therapists/social workers. I don’t like being told that my ambitions are too high. That’s the problem with our society. Even if I don’t come close to my goals, I would rather attempt to get there and accomplish something than set my standards lower and accept things as they are. I may never see the changes in this world I wish to see, but I am sure as hell going to try.