When Getting out of Bed Deserves a Medal

Today I woke up miserably depressed over my divorce, over fear of bankruptcy and mounting debt, over loneliness, and over the dread of the day. That evil invisible hand was squeezing my heart, I cried and wondered how one body could produce so many tears. It was that crying where your lungs try to stop it because they are at their wits’ end of  your overworking sobs, and you take a deep breath and try to will it away, but it won’t go away and so the tears start coming again and here you go.  I did not even want to write about this on this blog. (Which, by the way, is a tiny blog, but the only reason I started it was that if I could help just one person by reading that she was not alone in her struggles, it would be worth it.).

I have started my own business (what the fuck would you do that for after you just got separated was the usual question, and my usual answer was “well because I just am.”) Not much logic behind many decisions made while going through a divorce. Some days I wake up excited with the feeling I will conquer the world, other days (like today), I just want to pick up the phone and call my husband and ask him to fix everything (he won’t, but there we go again with that lack of logic). And everyone around me is naturally, and understandably, sick to death of my shit and my whines and my self-absorption.

So I stayed in bed and cried. Owning your own business means you can do that, it also means you ain’t getting any closer to those goals you set forth in some magical mission statement you wrote down and lost. But between the hurt, and the apathy that really was trying to creep through and help me out and finally surfaced, I could not get out of bed.

Until now. My eyes are swollen. It is after 12pm. But these days, perfectionism and impossibly high standards have had to take a back seat to “I am just trying to keep my head above water.” So I will go into work, with my eyes swollen, and I will do what I can do.

When a guy points out your faults.

So guess what. I have a lot of faults. I talk too much. I think too much. I’m messy. I can’t cook. I have a temper. All good topics for introspection and maybe for my therapist.

But guess what ladies? We are well-aware of every imperfection we have. Which means we don’t need a man telling us what they are. Husband, boyfriend, friend with benefits, UPS delivery guy, doesn’t matter.

A lot of guys are good at this, because it lets their shitty behavior off the hook . They know we are so hard on ourselves as it is, and they know that exposing our inner critic means nothing is their fault. And if y’all are like me, you’re so used to that self-loathing of imperfection that you fall right into the trap.

“Yep, he’s right, if I wasn’t so indecisive we would have picked a better vacation spot.”

“I cannot blame him for being annoyed with me bugging him during the football game, he’s had a long week (not as long as mine but I digress), and I’m so bad at nagging.”

Maybe it’s time we revolt against this. Hey, why not even agree with them? “Honey you’re right, this IS all my fault” and then walk away, with peace in the deep truth we don’t cause men’s problems. And then we keep on doing whatever the fuck we were doing to annoy them. Because the other option, and I’ve been there, is to begin to believe their lies. And eventually you are holding yourself responsible for everything that goes wrong. With everyone.

So today I pledge to embrace my flaws, and to pinch that fat on the back of my arm (that shit hurts!) every time I believe the negative shit a man blames me for. I pledge to push out of my mind the things he says every time he convinces me that my imperfections have somehow caused his or the world’s problems. Because let’s be honest, how many women start wars and threaten nuclear bonding?

I should totally open and pay all those bills but I’m not going to

I once checked my credit score with regularity and pride. It was nearly perfect. Then I got divorced. Now I don’t qualify for a loan on Chucky Cheese tokens. And I don’t care. I have two tiers of creditors: those who might get paid and those who ain’t ever getting paid. Medical providers, go ahead and write me off, I doubt you’ll go bankrupt and if you do, hey we may be in the same boat. Credit card companies, I’m trying to catch up, but y’all know how it be. Student loans- well y’all I have no net income right now so I can’t help you out either.

I’ve known women who got nothing from their divorce, women who got a shit-ton, and women who are somewhere in the middle. And we all in the same boat, y’all. But I think back to my college days when I threw away credit card statements without reading them, and I somehow survived with a credit score lower than what I pay my parents to live at their house since my husband kicked me out (zero).

Honestly, the first year of this divorce business is me trying to wear non-pajamas in public on the weekends, me trying to find a waterproof mascara that survives random crying jags, and me trying not to go to jail for punching loud chewers, which I’ve always struggled with but now have lost impulse control.

So in the big scheme of things, this whole owing everyone money thing is not on my top 100 list. Unless you owe the mob, a dealer, or Vegas, just say fuck it, I’m doing the best I can

You have my permission to slap anyone who calls divorce a “journey”

When I think of journeys, I think of world-travel, hiking across some giant mountain you can instabrag about, or discovering a new hobby. I am sure the definition includes shitty events as well, so maybe I shouldn’t get so angry when people refer to my or any divorce as a journey. But I do get angry. But that’s ok, because this past year after I packed up and left my home of the prior ten years, I have pretty much remained angry since day-one of the “separation period.” And at this point, ten months into the separation, I am perfectly content to stay angry. So, fellow angry ladies (I am sorry, I just can’t relate to the way I see men deal with divorce, with that steely emotionless resolve, making it even harder on women like me who cry in the grocery store line), you have at least one other person who totally gets it if you throw eggs at your ex’s car, if you scream at people you don’t know, or if you curse out a perfectly nice guy on a first date for no reason whatsoever. I don’t understand the women who meditate, breathe serenely, talk about how much they’ve learned about themselves, and stay positive (disclaimer: I don’t have my own children and I am not talking about losing one’s shit in front of the kids).

Divorce is horrible. And although you may see it as the following things, no one else has the right to tell you it is:

  • a blessing in disguise
  • an opportunity to grow
  • a chance to really get to know yourself
  • a time for peaceful reflection.

Or, my favorite, compare their “college breakup” to your divorce. Because I have been through both and they are not the fucking same thing. At all. So don’t steal my thunder and try to identify my pain with your story of how the Cranberries “Linger” was your and Billy Bob’s song and omg how it hurt so bad to hear it in bars.

I am not a psychologist, although I’ve been seeing them since I was ten years old for anxiety, being a pain in the ass kid, and various and sundry other reasons. So none of this advice is at all useful from a healthy, therapeutic point of view. But I don’t care, because if I try one more time to listen to an e-book on gracefully surviving the hardest fucking year of my life, I will vomit. Because they ain’t helping, and I hate the quiet, patronizing voices of the narrators. Because sure, I should be getting up at a regular hour, exercising, eating vegetables, being social. But instead I just want to lie in bed and cry and listen to my playlist entitled “Fuck My Life.” I want this feeling of a hand squeezing my heart so hard I cannot breathe or eat to go away. I do not want to “sit with the pain”; I am a fucking normal human being who is selfish and shares no characteristics with Ghandi and who just wants to be either happy or numb, neither of which I can seem to achieve.

And guy friends- they mean so well. But they don’t get it and they never will. “Don’t be bitter on dates” is my favorite piece of advice. Well Stanley, I am bitter, and I am too tired to smile with one ounce of sincerity. Now, does that mean I will stop dating? Of course not, because everything I do this year is pretty much the definition of insanity and pushing the boundaries of what is unhealthy for me. I will download and delete the dating apps, toggling between the high of feeling wanted and the low of faceless rejection. And then I will eat a Hershey bar and listen to Lana Del Ray and go to sleep with chocolate on my face.