suddenlysinglewomen

Surviving the unwanted divorce

Who Deserves It More?

In Chapter 4, page 45 of “With Or Without A Man” there is an account of a woman who was single because she had never married.  What she wanted to do though is something that any single lady could do whether widowed, divorced or single by choice.  I’m still talking about how important it is to make your living space your own – an expression of who you are.

She had watched her friends get married and receive gifts that she had wanted – items associated with weddings.  She decided that while she couldn’t take control of finding an appropriate man, she could take control of owning those things.

I had always dreamed about having a china set when I got married.  So, I decided to stop doing without just because I was single.  It was real awkward, but I walked right into the department store and registered my pattern, along with all those happy brides-to-be.

When the saleswoman asked about my upcoming wedding, I took a deep breath and told her I wasn’t getting married; I just wanted the set.  I secretly grinned at the woman’s embarrassment, but felt so proud.  Then I told my family and friends about the china pattern I had registered and that that’s what I wanted for all future holidays and birthday presents.”

When I got divorced, I decided I no longer wanted to use the same dishes and silverware and pots and pans, etc. that I’d used during the marriage.  Maybe it was symbolic, but getting rid of them was so liberating.  I slowly started over.  Most probably are not able to get all new things all at once, I certainly wasn’t.  But I found some pretty pottery that reflected my personality and love of color.  I bought slowly on sale, and had it “registered” where my friends and family could help me fill out the set.

I also bought colorful pots and pans.  I wanted a happy kitchen and it actually inspired me to cook more.  It may sound crazy but doing something as small as changing out the towels in your bath that you use every day can be so uplifting.  I donated so many of the things that were still very usable to help out those in need, as well as to kids going off to college etc.  Take a look around you – what can you change out that would lift your spirits?

I challenge you to not only looking “forward” in your new life, but looking “forward to” changing your life for the better.  There are some seriously pretty dishes out there, just sayin’ . . .

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Christmas Decorations Already – – – Seriously??

Yup!!  It’s that time of year again when retailer’s are already looking past Halloween and Thanksgiving and heading right into the Christmas decoration displays.

What’s up with that?

I live in a very warm climate, cooler Fall weather is just beginning to tease us with the possibility of days where the temperature gauge actually dips below 90.   Somehow looking at Christmas decorations now, in barely October,  just isn’t right.

My divorce was final in November of 2007.  Even though I had moved into my new place in October, I had yet to receive all items from storage.  Downsizing from a home where there were many holiday gatherings and much social entertaining done in the month of December, I had plenty of holiday “stuff”.  Unfortunately it was all in boxes and as yet undeliverable (long story – another time).

What to do?  My first Christmas as a single woman; I was NOT in the Christmas mood and decorating was not something I was looking forward to doing “alone”.  We’d had a giant artificial tree, and every year a group of elves descended upon our home and put it up, carefully hanging all the ornaments.  Garland, wreaths and glittery bows were inside and out – sleigh bells hung from the front door and Christmas music played throughout the house.  We were festive.  Ho Ho Ho Y’all.

Then I found out that the “kids” were coming to my house for Christmas as were my mother and brother.  Alas, something must be put up . . . but what?  Hmmmmmm!  And that’s when it hit me – – – this was MY house, and no matter what was in storage, or what I could go find at the stores, for the very first time ever it was going to be done MY way.  No “keeping up with the Joneses”, no “Mr. and Mrs. So an So are coming so it has to be perfect”.  I wasn’t charged with throwing the perfect party having the perfect buffet and the oh so perfect libations.

This year was just Christmas at home with the family.   And although now I may not have the life I had chosen, I did have a choice as to how to handle my “new” life.   Making my own decisions began that Christmas with my decorations.   Doesn’t sound like that big a deal, but believe me, when you live with a person who is “high control”, something as simple as what kind of lights go on the Christmas tree is HUGE!

Always white lights, that’s what he had to have.  Everywhere were white lights, on the tree, on the garland, wrapped around the trees outside, wrapped around the banisters of the staircase.  It wasn’t until I was standing at the nursery picking out my tree that it hit me – NO MORE WHITE LIGHTS!!  COLOR!!  Yippee!!

So even though I may not like seeing all that Christmas decor out there in October, it did bring back a fun memory of my first “single” Christmas and a way I was able to make it a positive.   This year, make your own “single” memories and as it says in “With Or Without A Man”,

. . . part of being grounded in your living space is meeting your own expectations, assessing what you have and making sure it reflects who you currently are.”

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Putting Down Roots – – – And I Don’t Mean Like a Water Oak!

Feeling secure – what is it exactly?

For me it’s putting down roots, being grounded, having a foundation that’s steady beneath me at all times.  In the title I refer to a Water Oak.  I live along the Gulf Coast, therefore it follows that every few years there IS going to be a hurricane or a tropical storm that comes a’knocking – – – or should I say “knocking” things down?

Hurricane Alicia, 1983.  We lived at least 60 miles inland but when you have hurricane force winds, mileage is irrelevant.  I had a three year old, a two month old, and a husband that had lived through hurricanes in Corpus Christi, TX where whole houses had blown away in front of his eyes.  It was tense.  During the worst of it he gathered us downstairs as far from windows and the potential of flying glass as he could.   We hunkered down.

During the night we heard an enormous cracking sound, followed by crashing, a large boom and then felt the earth shaking.  It was too dark to see outside, rain was blowing sideways and there was no power to turn on lights so we just had to wait in order to see what had happened.  During the eye of the storm passing over, we were able to see outside to our front yard.  We had lost our huge Water Oak.  It had not cracked in half, it had literally fallen over, roots and all, leaving a huge shallow hole in the front yard (and an even bigger whole in the corner of our neighbor’s house).  At a minimum, the diameter of the tree trunk was 3 feet.  You would think that the root system of a tree that large would be extensive, and deep.

You would be wrong.

I am not like a Water Oak, I put down roots, and I tend to stay put.  I need stability in my life in order to feel safe and secure.  My foundation may be poured with concrete, but there’s steel rebar running through it.  I need to feel grounded.  Going through a divorce was like loosing that Water Oak, you think you’re secure but a storm sweeps through and down you go.  BAM!!!

In “With Or Without A Man”, Chapter 4 talks about “Being Grounded”.  Quoting from page 41:

To build a solid yet flexible single world, you need a solid foundation and good grounding.  This represents the quality of being settled within yourself and your surroundings, regardless of whether your love life, or any other part of your life, is as you would wish.  It is being settled with what you have even while realistically aspiring to something else.  It is knowing the difference between what you have control over and what you don’t.

What do you need to get grounded, the first task?  To build a foundation?  You need to feel you belong in your living space.  You need to feel you’re part of your neighborhood and community.  You need friends and a social life.  You need to be doing something meaningful with your career or your avocation.”

I knew after my divorce I could not stay in a home we had occupied together.  Too much bad karma.  Uprooting from my friends and neighborhood was difficult.  You’re already feeling damaged and alone, and now you have to move?

   “ Home is the space you occupy, a place that is yours.  It reflects who you are and says, “I live here.

Fortunately I was able to make a new home for myself, I filled it with things I loved.  Yes many items came from the “marriage home” but in a new setting they didn’t remind me of anything bad or negative.  They were mine and made me feel safe.  I filled it up with photos of my family and friends and remembrances of happy times.  If it didn’t make me smile, it didn’t get to live in my home!  These were my four walls, and my new foundation.  I met my new neighbors by walking my dogs.  I established myself and I began to live again.

Look around you, does your home reflect who you are, or who you’re striving to become?  Does it make you smile?  Do you feel secure?  Get your feet back under you, you’ve weathered the storm, now it’s time to rebuild!

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