Thursday, September 25, 2014

Utah is a  It's especially "unique" if you're thirty one years old, divorced, and have three young children.  I belong to a very small club (I'm not even sure who the other members are). This 30 something, divorced, single parent in Utah club is pretty exclusive and ultra cool. Our motto is, "Don't be mean because that person probably has some hard trial going on and it's really taking a toll on their happiness and general enjoyment of life."  Or something like that.  Maybe I'll decide on something shorter and more catchy.   

Now back to fitting in.  I often find myself wondering, "where the he%# do I fit in?"  And then I realize I'm asking myself that question and that I shouldn't l i t e r a l l y answer my own self and that spirals into the thought that maybe this is why I don't fit in. ;)

To be bluntly honest, I don't really fit in anywhere. Most of my friends and family my age, or close to my age, are married.  I have a few friends that are my age and don't have kids.  I love them but I am not available a lot, so it's hard to connect as much as I'd like. No one is mean to me, not at all. No one excludes me on purpose. People in my life have been genuinely sweet and non-judgmental and lovely and thank you to all of you.  I love you.

Everyone has something in their life that they feel no one can truly understand.  I hope we can all be more kind to one another and realize that no one is perfect.  There are probably a lot of people who feel just like you, but are good at hiding it.  Let's all trudge through this life together, arm in arm, because when you have someone to lean on, life ain't so bad at all. In fact, it can be really sweet.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The only way out is through.

After I decided to end my marriage, I have never had so many people compliment me on my appearance.  I knew nothing about my physical appearance had changed.  What had changed was within me. I had been a shell of the Lindsey I once was.  When I left the marriage, people could see me again.  Yes, I was in turmoil over my divorce and my over my children.  It was the hardest pain I've ever experienced.  But even through that pain, I had light in my eyes again.  A light that had diminished and completely gone out over the years.  When people would tell me I looked great, I knew it was this reason.  This helped me to carry on and ignited the flame of determination that I would not fall down forever. I was going to get back up.

Lately, my little 4 year old has been very inquisitive about life "before" her Dad and I got divorced.  She was so young when we split up, she doesn't remember her life when her parents were married.  I have yet to decide if that is a good or a bad thing. We were watching videos of her as a baby.  She recognized that she was at her Dad's house.  She wondered why I was there.  She wondered where her step-mother was.  She doesn't understand how I know her Grandparents on her Dad's side and all of her cousins.  It's a sad conversation to have with my little girl.  Trying to explain the details is not appropriate nor would she be able to comprehend it.  But that little girl is desperate to know why.  She is desperate for me to give her a way to reconcile it. I wish I could fix it all and that she would have no thoughts clouding her mind with uncertainty and sadness.  I do not know how to help her.  I work so hard and I hope that I can eventually take that away, but it will take time.  Everything takes time.  This has been a hard lesson for me to learn in respect to my kids.  I want them to be okay NOW.  I want them to be happy NOW.  I want to give them peace, RIGHT NOW.  But all I can do is take my life day by day.  Take the little moments that I can and mold them into happy memories and peaceful moments of reprieve.

Kids are resilient, but it doesn't mean they aren't wounded and broken for a time.  As a parent, there is nothing worse than seeing your kids in pain.  Emotional or physical.  I would have done anything to take it away from them, I would feel it a hundred times over to save them from their sorrow.  They grieved over a life that was now gone.  And I am the one who took it away.  I took it away to give them something better.  I had to be the Mom they deserved.  I took it away because I knew the life I could give them was the life they needed. They would be able to grow up and see a Mother who loves her children more than herself.  A Mom that would work as hard as she could to provide them with everything they needed.  A strong woman.  And while I wish I could say I was perfect, I am not.  Some days I feel like I've failed.  But I work hard, all day, everyday.  The difference is the strength I feel when fighting my battles.  I'm alone now, yes, but I have the strength today that I have never had before. I hope one day my kids will see that I had to take that life to present a life full of real moments and healthy examples of goodness and love. 

I know this life is better.  I am happy.  Kids need a happy Mom and they need a happy Dad.  Sometimes the impossibly hard happens and their parents are not, or cannot be happy together. The mood of the parent(s) so often sets the precedence of what will happen in the household. The way I feel now has been a deep influence on my kids, I've seen it evolve in them. When we laugh, it's genuine.  Kids need genuine.  They crave it. 

So, any of you out there that are divorced or who think divorce is absolutely the only and best option, don't beat yourself up.  You STILL can give your kids a happy life.  You aren't alone in the world.  People have felt exactly what you're feeling and they're still alive, somehow you get through it.  Mostly because there is no other choice, your kids need you.  Make yourself better, stay strong for your kids and one day you'll be strong.  You will be more compassionate of others.  You'll be more diligent in the quality of your time with your kids. You'll be stronger than ever before and you can give your kids everything that they deserve. Yes, many things will change, there will be things you cannot control.  There will be sadness and there will be grief.  But, this is also the moment for your to seize the chance to start with a beautiful beginning and live a beautiful story.

Monday, September 15, 2014

So, dating.

So, I'm not trying to brag here, but before my marriage dating was easy.  There wasn't much problem capturing the attention of someone I was interested in.  Boys would initiate and there would be a genuine back and forth of interest.  The guy would call me, not much texting was involved.  Free time was wanted to be spent together.  I could go out whenever I wanted, any night of the week.  All weekends were free.  I didn't have anyone to worry about but myself. 

And with that easy dating, came the easiness of falling in love.  I fell in love and I got married.  Young.  Which is not uncommon in Utah and I don't think that it's necessarily always a negative thing, but, I do believe that with age and experience, comes wisdom.  If you're doing it right, that is.

Anyway, back to the dating thing.  Dating before marriage, easy peasy.  Dating after marriage, HARD AS CRAP.  I don't know when the game changed, but it changed and so did the rules.  It did a double flip, punch to the face, back handspring, cartwheel, punch to the throat, 180.  I don't even understand what's going on half the time.  When did it all become such a game?  If someone initiates conversation via text, am I supposed to wait a certain amount of time to reply?  I guess!  Am I supposed to be really vague and mysterious and not communicate my feelings?  That's right!  Do I act mostly uninterested but with just enough interest to capture attention?  Yes!  Do I date a lot of other people and never commit to anything?  You guessed it!  Am I supposed to text dirty things and totally be fine with men asking for pictures in the nude?  Duh!

I am either crazy, very cynical, or extremely realistic and kind of experienced.  I think I'm the third thing.  It's been almost 3 years since I was officially divorced and 3.5 years since I was separated and had filed for divorce.  In this time (I didn't really date for the first year) I have gone on a LOT of first dates.  Never in my life have I experienced such childish behavior among adults claiming to all want the same thing in life.  Genuine companionship is what we all "want."  No men, no you don't.  You either love the single game or you're too damaged and jaded to care.  Lots of you are liars.  You mostly have intentions that are not of a gentlemanly nature.  Here I am, dating with the mindset of how it was before and to the men I have dated, I've been a fool.  I'm HUGE on communication, on showing feelings as they come, spending time together (gasp!) and getting to really know each other in real life, not just texts.  Weird I know.  I believe that people want to feel wanted and desired and I don't really know why we can't show that to each other.  But apparently it's very taboo. 

Please explain this to me people, because I still don't understand.  I have a lot of things that narrow the "sea" of fish, so to speak. I work full time. I have full custody of 3 kids.  Those two things alone make it hard to date.  Then throw in the caliber of person I'm looking for, THEIR time restraints and you've got yourself a disaster people.  Until I feel someone is really worth it, I don't like to get a babysitter and leave the kids to go out on a date.  That gives me 4 days a month and a few hours on a weeknight, when I don't have children with me.

Dating is dumb.  It's awful.  It's superficial.  It's intimidating.  It's disappointing.  But.... it makes for a LOT of hilarious stories.  I sometimes can't even believe my life.  It's like a Seinfeld episode sometimes and other times it's like the Young and the Restless.  I'm so conflicted in how to view my future.  I know my worth and what I have to offer, I'm not a bad catch.  But I truly feel that a genuinely good man is nearly impossible to come by.  That combined with a compatibility, chemistry, common future hopes & dreams.... it's like throwing yourself off a cliff and hoping for the best.  Maybe landing on something softer than the ground will do. 

Okay, now that we have the negative out of the way, let's talk about some of the most memorable dates I've had.  These are all real.  I won't be writing any names because as hilarious/terrible/embarrassing as these men were, I would never reveal who they are on the interwebs. 

1)  The man who expressed disappointment in my neckline of my sweater.  I was legit wearing a sweater and he was "disappointed" in the lowness of my neckline.  What?  First of all, it's a sweater.  Second, you are a man and you are complaining about this?  Third, it's not all that easy to dress a large chest.  I could wear a parka and there'd be some sort of cleavage somewhere.  And finally, WHO SAYS THAT TO ANOTHER PERSON THEY JUST MET?  It's called social awareness.  Some people may call it tact, who knows or cares what it's called, but APPLY it to your life.  If nothing else but for your own sake. 

2)  The dude who brought his guitar on the date.  Cool, you play the guitar, that's awesome.  But please don't bring it on a first date man!  And to my horror he started playing the guitar and singing.  But no, he wasn't singing songs written by a professional... no... he was singing made up songs.  With the same three chords.  With a flat, out of tune voice.  But trying really hard to sound good.  Were these made up songs full of normal(ish) lyrics?  Thank you for asking, but no.  I was asked questions like, "What's your favorite animal" and "Where was your favorite place to go on vacation" and then the songs were born.  You guys, he sang about a dog.  He BARKED for the chorus.  He sang about Mexico, with all the inappropriate Mexican stereotypes.  It.was.horrifying and after I finish this blog post I'd like to never speak of it again.

3)  The guys (yes several fall into this category and might I mention that none of the venters were "set-ups" they have all been people I've met on my own. I've actually been on one or two "set ups" and they were actually lovely, but we won't discuss that) who talked about their dating/divorces for literally, the entire date.  Maybe I have the face of a therapist because I've never heard so much personal crap after saying, "Nice to meet you," in my life.  Sure I'd like to hear about your personal experiences, but can we do it after we talk about a few other things.  Like, what's your last name?  Do you have kids?  How many?  What do you like to do for fun?  It's all slightly uncomfortable and while I really feel for these guys...I like to talk too, you know?

4)  The dude who not only talked about how wealthy he was, but also how he's dated the most beautiful women imaginable.  Some women that I might even "recognize" (AKA, famous).  Dude, you made me feel like a warty piece of toast.  Here I am, thinking I look pretty cute, and then you go on and on about how you're rich and how you haven't found anyone to marry even though they are the most beautiful and famous women on the planet.  And to add insult to injury, you made the end of this horrific dinner into what seemed to be a charity and showering of advice to help me through my hard times.  Nah.  All the money in the world couldn't buy that guy any tact.  Are you so socially unaware that you don't recognize you said and did every possible thing to make feel like a floppy fish?  Oh no you didant!  *snap snap snap*

5)  The guy who showed up 30 minutes late, in his golf clothes and then had to leave 40 minutes later to pick up his kids.  Oh, you were so engrossed in your golf game that you forgot you had a date that you made sure was still happening only hours before?  Okay - things happen, I guess.  But... showing up all sweaty in totally coordinated and matching golf gear?  Baby blue and white hat, baby blue shirt, white shorts and baby blue SHOES.  And then, calling yourself a "public figure?"  I gave this guy a second chance and on the second date we went on a motorcycle ride.  But oh, where did we go?  A model toy shop.  WITH his friend, to help this "friend" pick out a toy for his son's birthday.  How long did we spend in that painfully hot toy store helping some guy pick out a toy?  An hour.  After picking out the toy, we went on a ride up the canyon.  It was actually really fun, but horrifyingly hot.  So hot we had to stop for a drink at a gas station.  After I furiously searched through the cold drinks and found one that appealed to me, I ripped it open and started to drink it.  I brought the drink up to the cash register, with my date, and they were rung up together.  Did my date forget his wallet?  Yes... yes he did.  Did I have my wallet?  No dude, I can't bring a purse on a motorcycle!  Was most of my drink already gone?  Yep.  Have I seen the guy since?  Nope.

I could go on and on, but I'll save those stories for another day.  This world of being single and dating is a very funny, yet horrific mess.  They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince and to them I say, YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE, YOU DON'T KNOW THIS NEW DATING WORLD, GO HOME!