Sayonara 2013!

Adios! Hasta pasta! Bon voyage! 2013 can go suck an egg!

I say that with some disdain, with some negativity. I say it with a heavy sigh. But, in all honesty, 2013 can only be described as bittersweet.

The hardest year of my life has also brought out my greatest strengths. I fell to the deepest depths of my despair. I hit my point of no return. I got to numb and went past it. But without this strife, without the hard decisions I had to make, I wouldn’t be bravely standing here today. For that, I have to be grateful for the journey.

New Year’s Eve 2012 was the worst I ever experienced. A year later I’m in amazement at how significantly my life has been altered. Through pain, peace.

But since making those hard decisions I have experienced amazing joy & hope & satisfaction. A peace in my soul amid the chaos still rolling around me.

Through all that pain I experienced I have no anger left in me. Sometimes exasperation, frustration, but no anger.

I am still very sad. I still love my husband. Not in that first-romance-roll-in-the-hay way, but in a father-of-my-children and former-best-friend way. I miss that companionship sometimes very much.

It’s been a year of firsts. Or firsts, again, if that makes sense. I haven’t lived on my own in 15 years! I’ve never been separated with a likely divorce looming ahead. I’ve never had to really imagine or experience being “single” at this age, and with children. Not to mention with a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, wifi complications, cell phones, instant messaging, Facebook, data packages, middle school fundraisers, 4th grade school parties, soccer registration, business trips, and the insane and constant desire to just be on my couch, in my jammies watching NCIS reruns.

Side note: I hear so many divorced women say they never date, never meet anyone, etc., but I have to say that I think it’s just because they are exhausted!! And I don’t blame them! Jammies. Couch. Blankie. Remote in hand. Oh yeah, baby. Sometimes that’s all I need to bring my anxiety to its knees. Jammies, a blankie & a diet Pepsi: the modern mother’s anxiety-armor. (Substitute wine where needed!)

Some days I need more. Some days I crave more. And I know it exists. There will be love & romance again one day. But, hey, that’s a post for another day & another time.

For now, let me just say: I’m stronger today than I was yesterday. I’m sadder, yes – because something broke that I never wanted to break and all the glue can’t fix it – but I’m oh so much wiser too.

2013 – you had your place & time. Buh-bye!

C’mon, 2014! Let’s do this. It’s our year.

All my love,

Stef

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Grief is a tricky little bitch

One minute you’re driving along, everything is cool & moving forward and then – BAM – you get smacked in some unexpected way that knocks you on your ass. Before you know it you’re bawling, sobbing, full-on Niagara Falls, at an airport while the manager of the rental car place is giving you a hug. Don’t laugh, because that totally happened to me.

It’s over the oddest things too. Little remembrances that make you or break you; fortify your decision or make you crumble into despair.

That stupid saved water bottle sitting by the sink. The absence of the expected creak in floorboards when your partner usually comes to bed. Curtains with memories. T-shirts with smells. Stumbled upon receipts. So many pictures. So many words.

All memories shared. Memories thrown away. Memories that have lost their emotional value. At what point in the grieving process do those memories become valuable for the experience itself rather than the emotion that was inevitably present? I’m waiting.

Yours, in love,
Stef

The evolution of break-up grieving

Some days I look like this:

Working, kicking butt, taking names. The usual.
Working, kicking butt, taking names. The usual.

I would say most days I’m content, working, doing my job and being a mom. I have friends, I have family, I have support. I can take the hard stuff in stride, I think, most of the time. But sometimes I wonder if I’m just faking it. I wonder if I’m putting on the “I’m getting by” face and it’s really masking the grief stages.

I think a break-up is very much like mourning the death of something. The death of a dream? Losing that love, that support, that unconditional “someone is there, even if it’s not perfect” quality that we all get in a long relationship. That “hi honey, how was your day?” greeting. That “it will be okay” hug. That “I’m there for you even though I’m really mad at your stinky ass” support.

Today I look like this:

This is sadness.
This is sadness.
This is mourning.
This is mourning.
This is grief.
This is grief.

Some days, like today, I look like this:

This is heartbreak.
This is heartbreak.

Some days, like today, it feels like it will never stop, never get better, never be okay.

Will I ever look like that girl at the top again?

Logically, yes, I know I will. I will pull it together. I will get over this heartache. That’s what my head is telling me.

My heart . . . my heart is stupid. My heart can’t be trusted. My heart is grounded until further notice.

The 7 stages of a break-up are very similar to the 5 stages of grief. I’m reproducing some good points from an article here (without permission, I should add):

1. Shock: “What the hell just happened?”

Shock is the body’s natural protection against pain. And when your relationship first ends, you just might not want to deal with what’s coming next. It may be too scary, too lonely, too confusing.

  • Do prescribe yourself calming cures like meditation or long walks.
  • Do not freak out. You will make sense of all of this!

2. Denial: “This is so not happening.”

Denial is rejection of reality and a storage of feelings. The thinking is that, if you don’t accept the heartbreak, then it didn’t really happen, thus leaving hope for reunion.

  • Do open up to a journal or trusted friend to begin unleashing fears, identifying unreasonable thoughts and more.
  • Do not minimize the situation. Pretending your breakup doesn’t have to be dealt with will lead to emotional numbness and leave you stuck.

3. Isolation: “I just want to sit in this all by myself.”

Dealing with the dissolution of the relationship. You may replay the relationship over and over in your mind. Your thoughts may feel very scattered and disorganized. You may draw your blinds and not even want to leave the house. Sitting in darkness feels better than going outside and admitting to the world that, yes, it’s over.

  • Do take regular showers and create reasons to face the day (work, social activities).
  • Do not indulge in self-pity by letting irrational thoughts like “No one will ever love me again” take over.

4. Anger: “I hate you for breaking my heart!”

In this stage, your heart goes from sad to raging mad. It becomes fueled with anger towards your ex for whatever his part in the breakup was, and/or toward yourself for your part. The deeper desire here is often to place blame.

  • Do feel, write or talk about your anger.
  • Do not act on it.

5. Bargaining: “What will it take to get him back?”

Sometimes involving prayers, this stage is often about getting your ex back. Desperate to negotiate with yourself or your ex, you may go to extreme measures to make deals or become something else (thinner, less jealous, etc.) to make amends — when in truth, it is just about making the current pain go away.

  • Do create a self-love list complete with what makes you happy and things you want for your future.
  • Do not include wanting your ex back in the above list!

6. Depression: “I will never get over him.”

You realize the magnitude of your loss in this stage of grief, and it can feel all too overwhelming. You may wind up in a state of deep sadness that can even resemble mild depression. At this point, recalling what your life was like prior to your relationship or what it could be like now can be hard

  • Do surround yourself with positive people and lots of sunshine.
  • Do not fall victim to unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating or drinking.

7. Acceptance: “I understand why I was with him, why I’m not now, and that I will be better than just OK.”

The acceptance stage of a breakup makes all the other really tough ones worth it. The sun begins to shine, and you begin to feel like yourself again, ready to move onward and upward.

  • Do celebrate getting through your breakup.
  • Do not be surprised if you still feel moments of sadness from time to time; it’s normal. Just keep on your positive path!

With love, sadness & pain,

Stef

P.S. I’m trying to remember these things today; maybe you should too:

tumblr_lphh0gm2zj1qm6m56o1_500 responsible for my own happiness beingstrongquotes