divorce · dogs · Pets · Uncategorized

Navigating Separation: 10 Things NOT to say to your friend during a Separation/Divorce

So I know this is a travel blog and yes, it’s primarily about my dog Ava, but I want to be real with my readers, the few of you that there are LOL! I am almost officially at month 4 of being separated from my husband.Never thought it would get to this point, but here I am and NO it’s not any easier.

I wanted to take a moment and address some of the mistakes I’ve had happen along the way. Not necessarily things I’ve done, but things well meaning friends and family have done or said to me. I probably would have made the same mistakes if roles had been reversed so this isn’t a blast but a “hey if you want to be encouraging or helpful DON’T DO or SAY this”. Here we go:

1) Most of you know I’m a believer, a Christian. While sending verses and encouraging messages is helpful, I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with the “God has a plan” bit. I know He has a plan, I know it’s a great plan but right now this part of the plan hurts. Somedays it’s physically painful and on those days it doesn’t feel like a great plan. It feels like one of those plans that some how went awry like a Chevy Chase National Lampoon’s Vacation plan. I know people mean this in a way to say that God will see me through all of this and that He wants good for me, but most days I wish we could have just stuck to the ORIGINAL plan which was that my husband and I stay married forever.

2) “You’ are strong. You’ve been through worse/or even better this is the second time you’ve experienced this, you should know how to handle this.” THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE DUMBEST, HURTFUL THING SAID YET.  Yes, this wasn’t my first marriage. Yes, that marriage ended up in absolute disastrous flames, but it was an entirely different situation. When that ended, I was downright THANKFUL that it had. I do not feel that way about my husband right now. Yes, I know this type of hurt, but you know what it’s DIFFERENT. Do I know that I’m strong? Yes, I know, but somedays it would be nice for someone to acknowledge that somedays it’s ok not to be strong. It’s ok to breakdown and want to eat ice cream and potato chips and drink soda and cry.

3) The “girl he don’t know what he’s missing” campaign. While I get that this is meant to empower me, make me feel good about myself, most days it actually has the opposite effect. Maybe he doesn’t know what he’s missing. Maybe he isn’t missing me at all. Maybe he knows and he’s decided he doesn’t mind missing it. At any rate, I hate when people say this to me.

4) “I’m jealous. You get to start over and live YOUR life”. What’s to be jealous of? The fact that if I wanted to live “my” life is that I wouldn’t have remarried. You’re jealous of legal issues? Or maybe it’s the endless nights I spend awake trying to figure out what went wrong. Don’t tell me you are jealous of my freedom when in reality I’m a slave to the what if’s.

5) “I hate him”  Here’s the thing I can hate him, you can’t. I love him, still love him, maybe will love him for years to come. There are other ways to share your frustration with what I already know to be a frustrating situation. Instead you can say you understand it’s hard.

6) “I don’t know how you are getting through this?” GUESS WHAT ME EITHER!

7) “Let me know if you need anything”- I don’t like asking for help so if you’re offering be specific. It could be something as simple as asking me if I’d like to have dinner or chill out and see a movie. This is the vaguest statement and I will feel as if I’m burdening you because I feel like my situation is a BURDEN. It certainly is for me.

8) Who cheated? OMG guess what NEITHER OF US DID!

9) “Why did this happen?” You know what I have no idea. See above sleepless nights and what if questions. Besides do you really want to know? You are only going to get my side of the story and quite honestly it’s filled with some pretty big questions.

10) Last but not least “THERE ARE MORE FISH IN THE SEA” Do I look like the Gordon’s Fisherman? I don’t care if there are more fish in the sea. The assumption that I’ll just get over this marriage if I find another relationship is STUPID! Maybe I wanted this person! Maybe the thought of being with someone else is not only revolting but frightening and right now the feelings of LONELINESS are pretty dang high. So this doesn’t make me feel confident, or excited to meet anyone new, or even consider meeting anyone new.

 

Ok, so I’ve probably come across as a pretty ugly word at this point, but I am trying to be helpful to those who maybe know someone in the situation I am in. Really right now what I could use is a friend to spend time with, to make my life feel somewhat normal. Just getting my mind from dwelling is a welcomed break. Don’t think we have to talk about my separation, we don’t. But, don’t think it’s not ok to ask about my husband because it is. I want to know that this is real. That the loss I’m experiencing is real, but sometimes it’s ok to be able to watch Bridget Jones’s diary with a bottle of red wine and reenact the opening scene because I am all by myself and I don’t mind embracing the absurdity of it.

Maybe this will be helpful to some, maybe it will make me out as a huge jerk, either way time keeps ticking on.

 

divorce · dogs · Pets · Uncategorized

Tea Time: Heartfelt Memories

I was never a big tea drinker. For a southerner, we had an usual tea deficit in our home. Our drink of choice was Kool-Aid, which I now account for my ADHD addled mind. When Ken and I met, he was an avid tea drinker. I remember unpacking box after box of empty and half filled Teavana canisters and realizing he might have a problem. This knowledge was solidified when I discovered he had over 4 different style tea pots. His obsession became one of our most cherished routines. After his stint in rehab for substance abuse, he quit drinking alcohol for nearly two years. Instead of a night cap, it became a tea cup. As I would put the kids to bed, Ken would brew a pot of tea and create an assortment of snacks; olives, cheeses, fruits, crackers. He would arrange them on a little wooden tray and then carry them to our room. I remember climbing into bed and sitting cross legged with him as he poured our cups. We would discuss our day, our good and bad, our dreams and vision. To this day it’s one of the most romantic sweet memories I have.

I wish we could go back to those simpler times before everything fell apart. Have you ever had one routine that no matter how many times  you’ve tried to disassociate the emotion from, you just can’t? That’s tea time for me now. Instead of the peace that holding a steaming cup of chamomile gave me, it now sends tears down my face. Tea time shouldn’t feel like this. It should be safe and warm, comforting.

Ava enjoyed tea time as well. It was a signal to the end of our day. She would always nestle at our feet. I guess it was peaceful for her as well. Her ears twitched back and forth as Ken and I talked. She listened attentively to our conversation. I guess the tone of our voices were soothing. She’s more restless now. At night she becomes anxious around 9pm and begins to whine. That’s about the time we would begin our tea ceremony. I don’t know that she realizes this or if it’s just time that she knows we would have been settling down for the night. Either way, the sadness that this creates for me crashes over me like a wave. I can’t explain to her why he no longer comes home or why nothing smells like him anymore.

Life goes on though and maybe one day the tears won’t flow down my face. Maybe Ava won’t whine and remind me of our sorrow. For now though, I’ll muddle through like everything else. I hope Ava understands the best way a dog possible can.

 

 

 

divorce · dogs · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

I Like Big Cups and I Cannot Lie: Southern Grind Coffee Shop at the Wharf

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I decided early this morning to get out of the house. I was in a bit of a funk yesterday and I knew if I didn’t SNAP OUT of it, I would remain that way for an indefinite amount of time. I’ve really been missing the friendship of my church family in Salem, NH (www.graniteunited.com For anyone in that area CHECK IT OUT) so I thought I’d visit a church I’d heard really awesome things about. Church, however, has become a painful experience for me lately. Ken and I were faithful and volunteered in several ministries. We served beside each other and I loved every second of playing the keyboard while he played bass guitar. Now, I’m usually brought to tears at worship songs that we played together and attending church nearly brings me to hysterics. So, I talked myself out of going, which made me feel even worse actually. My mom had seen the mood I was in and suggested that we head over to the Eastern Shore of Alabama to the Orange Beach or Gulf Shores area. The weather was beautiful and I thought well at least I’ll get my mind off my troubles. I’m so glad I went because we explored the Wharf, a shopping and dining stop, that offered everything from beach style bars to home furnishings. It’s also the home to my new favorite destination coffee shop, Southern Grind Coffee Shop. (www.thesoutherngrind.com)

Southern Grind is the CUTEST, ocean/beach themed coffee shop I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. The cool turquoise and sand color palette immediately created a very serene atmosphere. The shop is filled with sea inspired decor, candles and artwork created by the owners themselves. Not to mention, they are DOG FRIENDLY! The outdoor seating area is fittingly called the “Pooch Porch”. There are water bowls, treats, food dishes and if you are in need of anything, don’t hesitate to let the baristas know and they will take care of you and your four legged friend!

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I didn’t have the opportunity to dine in, but opted for a coffee that was spot on. The only downside of this little gem is that for me, it’s a little out of the way. However, you can bet that if I’m in the Orange Beach area I’ll be stopping by. Several of the dining venues offered pet friendly outdoor seating. The Wharf itself has a boat dock, an amphitheater for amazing concerts, mini-golf, and an arcade. It’s a great place to take the family for some fun!  If you’re looking for some “down-time”, they also had several spas to help you relax and get your beauty on. I was really impressed and will definitely make the Wharf at Orange Beach one of my weekend entertaining visits.

For more information on The Wharf at Orange Beach you can check out their website at http://www.alwharf.com

Thanks for a great cup of coffee and a delightful find Southern Grind! Can’t wait to see you again!

divorce · dogs · Pets · Travel · Uncategorized

Sunny Days and Summer Nights

So much has changed in my world in the last two months. yesterday it changed even more. I bought a boat. I purchased a much loved 32 ft. Allied Seafarer sailboat. She is beautiful! The Deja Vu is my new baby. I’m a little concerned that Ava will be a little big for enjoying her at sea but for now she’s enjoying watching me refinish this girl!

The boat really wasn’t in bad shape. She had been cared for by the same owner for over 25 years and age is the only reason he was sailing this beauty. Her lines are absolutely gorgeous. She needs a bath, all of the wood will need to be sanded down and stained, and the inside will need to have some minor remodel work, but in my opinion she is PERFECT. Ava enjoys laying on the deck and watching me as I wash and clean. I think she mostly just enjoys being outside. I’m interested to see how she will do if were were to get underway. I will definitely be looking into getting Ava a life jacket. I’ve heard ok things about the life line netting but she’s so large she could jump overboard if she cared too. Thankfully, she’s happy to lay here thumping her tail in joyful exuberance.

My disposition has become a little sunnier since purchasing the Deja Vu. I guess she gives me something to dream about and to keep me busy. Things between Ken and I have not changed. I only communicate with him via text messages and when I do it’s just him letting me know something else he feels I should be responsible for. I need to get back on the career track soon or no amount of work I put into my new baby will matter because I won’t be able to afford her! For now though, she makes me smile and dream, something I’ve not done in awhile. I never realized until just recently how I have operated under so much stress. I don’t even really know how to relax. Even when I’m laying out by the pool, soaking in the Vitamin C, my mind is racing and I have to tell myself to take deep breaths, listen to the ocean, SLOW DOWN! Not something I am accustomed to. I think it’s what pushes me though to keep moving. If I slow down, if there is no momentum I feels as if I’m wasting my life away. I need to learn that rest is not waste and I need it sometimes.

I hope to have some before and after pictures of the remodel of the Deja Vu. I found her name rather fitting. Here I am finding myself in the same place I always am. This time I’m going to do things differently. This time instead of trying to fill me life with people who love me I’m going to learn to love me, because quite honestly I don’t like the girl in the mirror most days. I’m too hard on her often for choices she was forced to make, not ones she really wanted to. I want to be able to make choices because they are right for me not out of the necessity of being something or someone everyone else needs. That’s rather frightening territory after 20 years of living for others.

Time to get back to work, sailor! Happy Hump Day!IMG_1308

divorce · dogs · Travel · Uncategorized

Wheels: Motion, Movement, Memories

I’ve not had many travel-ish things to blog about the last few days. Ava and I have mostly focused on settling in. We’re still pretty transient between my parents and my grandparents home. Ava enjoys the beach at my parents, so we’ve spent most of our time here. I like her choice. Our morning walks have been filled with gorgeous orange and blue sunrises, the rhythmic sound of the waves against the shore, and the songs of seagulls. All things which give me a great sense of peace.

Today’s blog prompt was the word “wheel”. This immediately brought to mind motion, movement and even memories. Wheels are always moving, turning, creating something whether it be the large wheels of a truck, the wheels moving water through mills and locks or the wheels that turn in my mind at night carrying me through thousands of memories. Sometimes I wish the wheel would stop spinning. I re-hash conversations and scenarios, live in the what-if’s. It’s not necessarily a pleasant situation. However, not all memories bring me pain. This morning, as Ava and I were on our first walk of the day, I took a deep breath and really opened my eyes to the beauty that surrounds me here. I’ve had a hard time with the slowing down bit for a long time now, but this morning there was a breeze that gently coaxed the Spanish Moss in the Oak trees to dance and sway. I stood for a moment watching the leaves shake and the sun filter through them. For a moment, I could have been transported to New Bern, North Carolina. Kenny and I spent many dates nights in New Bern. It was one of our favorite spots. It reminded me of home with it’s oak lined streets. Ava seemed to sense that I needed a minute. She tipped my hand with her nose, but didn’t make a sound. I love how she knows just when I need her.

There has been some positive motion today and I need to remind myself of the positives. I’m guilty of allowing the negatives to weigh me down. I made a connection here with an agricultural nonprofit similar to what I was doing in New Hampshire (look up Veterans Chapel Farm on WordPress). I hope to maybe spend a little time volunteering with them. I took a certification for a position with the City of Mobile and I applied for more jobs than I can count. I did 8 miles on the bike at the gym and lifted weights. You know what, I actually accomplished some things I can be proud of. Not to mention I didn’t eat like crap although I’m convinced the south has the best food in the country!

I’ve often wondered how even after thunderstorms the moss still manages to hang in the trees. I mean it should be blown out of those grand oaks and tumbled to the ground. Somehow it clings on and that’s where I am right now. I’m clinging to things that are solid and strong like those oaks; my family, my friends, and most importantly my faith. So while the wheels in my life are currently taking me down a very unfamiliar, rough road, I am going to keep my determination to allow God to make something beautiful of this journey.IMG_1305

divorce · dogs · Pets · Uncategorized

Daily Prompt: Commit

I wish commit, commitment, committed were positive words for me. It seems like over the last few years they’ve been worn down and lost their luster, much like glass that is tumbled over and over again in the ocean. I’ve tried to remember things I’ve been committed to in my life but I feel as if nothing has ever really stuck. Just like that glass I’ve been worn down and tossed about on the ocean of life.

Commitment did mean something to me at one time however. It meant loyalty and stability. It meant safety. Four years ago, I was committed to being the best wife and mother I could possibly be. Something happened over those years though and I find that although I still want to be committed to those things, my role has changed. I suppose I could say I am committed to Ava now. She’s all I have left of the broken pieces of my previous life. Yesterday when I cried myself to sleep she nudged me until I wiped my tears and paid attention to her. Isn’t it funny that an dog would be committed to me more so than nearly any human I’ve ever encountered?

I tried to write out a list of things I want to commit to like healthier eating, working out, spending more time with Ava doing fun things, even finding a job, although I don’t know how I could be anymore committed to the latter. There’s always the popular “I want to be more committed to myself” but that just sounds shallow and self centered. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I need to learn to be just a little more self-centered. I don’t believe it’s in my nature though.  I need to remind myself that while I feel like that dull piece of sea-glass, pummeled over and over again by the waves, once taken out of the ocean and polished it becomes a beautiful work of art. I loved visiting Marblehead and looking for sea-glass with my mother in law. The colorful hues and shapes glittered after being cleaned. I hope my life story will end that way. Right now I’m being tossed about and I don’t feel anything beautiful is ever going to happen, ever. Sometimes it takes years for the ocean to smoothly polish the glass until it’s perfect. I need to just be committed to take a deep breath and ride out the waves I’m being rolled in. That incredible work of art, sea-glass, was once just a dirty bottle tossed aside.

Today I am committed to just being ok with being the dirty bottle riding the surf, believing that one day I will be a beautiful piece of art that someone will treasure.