Author Archives: christiangirlsguidetodivorce©

Forty-One

I’m 41 today. I’m all alone in a big house, taking care of a scrawny orange cat who is a total dick. And since I’m all alone in a big house with a scrawny orange cat who is a total dick AND IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, I decided to lounge around in lingerie. I also did some gardening. In lingerie.

In lieu of writing flowery poetry about turning 41, I am going to quote my dear, good friend Renee.

“41 is going to be your year. You are going to find love in a way you never expected. And you are going to release your album and it’s going to be a tremendous success. You are going to receive the desires of your heart. You are going to be financially stable.

You are going to be completely at peace with yourself, and that’s what the love is. Whether it’s a man or it’s just you being at peace with all of the goodness of who you are and how you are and why you are — you are going to be at peace.”

Amen. Here’s to love. Here’s to peace. Here’s to 41.

Onward

Bad Things: Cancer. Fresh breakup grief. Ex-boyfriends who text out of the blue, despite having a serious girlfriend. Toxic people. Being allergic to avocados. Botched bikini waxes. Mumford and Sons. Not having your boundaries respected.

Good Things: Making music with exceptional people. Having your best friend, her 4-year-old daughter and her parents in the audience, and receiving a love note on an offertory envelope afterwards. Butterflies. Purging yourself of all things toxic. Siblings. The ocean. Mavis the Mini. Going for a run and realizing you have more sprint in you than you thought possible. Writing as catharsis.

Best Things: Knowing you are strong, capable and fully, deeply loved despite any lame, bleak, or tough shit life throws your way.

Onward!

Letting Go

IMG_0855I’ve never been very good at letting go.

Five and some odd years ago, I put everything in storage and moved across the country, to continue my love affair with New York City.

I lived out of a suitcase for too long. I sublet an overly pink princess room in East Harlem and taught my roommate’s cat to play fetch. I rented a couch in my now-divorced friends’ constantly-dark living room. I lived on the road in a tour bus and hotel rooms.

And then, finally, I got an apartment. An amazing one. An affordable one.

“You can’t ever let this go!” they said.

I hired movers and got scammed out of $850.00. I hired movers again and this time, they were honest.

And, on March 16, 2014, my earthly belongings and I were firmly rooted again. I set up a comfortable home in my beloved New York City. I carefully designed and painted my walls. I bought candles, accent furniture, plush towels and really, really, really good pillows. I had my own bed to sleep in again, despite the steady stream of obnoxious noise on 5th Avenue.

I pounded the pavement, determined to pick up where I left off after my divorce. I had almost made it to Broadway in 2009. Surely there was no way I would fail this time!

But somewhere along the way, my dreams changed. Broadway no longer lures or intoxicates me. Besides the constant rejection, I don’t even like musicals anymore. I lost interest in playing someone else on stage.

I just want to be me.

Things at home became extremely tense when my seemingly perfect, married roommates split. I had lived through the hell of my own divorce; now I was living right in the middle of another one. After a while, however, things settled down. I was less trust and a close friend, but I still had my apartment. I still had my stuff. I still had New York City.

Oh, New York City. How I love this town. I could write about it, all day long. But the time is not now. I can’t see very well through my tears.

I am letting go. It is so fucking hard, but I am finally letting go.

I am leaving New York City.

I am selling everything.

I am going back to Los Angeles.

I am going home.

And I am grieving. I haven’t quite processed the brevity of it all, because I am knee-deep in selling everything. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. It’s like a full-time job. It’s also therapeutic. What was I doing, holding onto silverware, pots and pans and a hand mixer I got for my wedding nineteen years ago? I am now undoing, piece by piece, the life I built here.

I am letting go.

It is my nature to keep quiet when things get hard. I need help breaking up with my boyfriend, New York City. I need my stuff to sell. I need to say goodbye to my dear friends and good neighbors here, and I really don’t know how to do it. I don’t have a lot of time. My lease is up at the end of this month.

“You’re crazy to leave that apartment!” they say.

But an apartment is not a reason to stay anywhere. I’m quite good at painting walls and picking out accent furniture. My worth is not measured by my address. It’s time to move on. It’s time for a new chapter.

It is time to start over. Again.

It’s scary as hellfire and brimstone, but it is also wonderfully freeing.

I am letting go. And I am beyond excited for the next adventure.

18th Universary

Today is my 18th Universary.

I don’t feel anything. It just seems like an uneventful blip on the radar of life. A hiccup. A fart. Weird.

Last year on this date, I sang at my uncle’s memorial service. Just a few days prior, my boyfriend ended our almost two-and-a-half-year relationship over email.

You know the story: that event sent my heart and mind into a spiral of lyrics. I began to compose music in my head. And then I asked for help. And then I went to Nashville and wrote more songs. And then I raised funds to help pay for the cost of recording, and all that other stuff. And a week before my 40th birthday, I recorded my very first solo album. And it’s REALLY good.

Bucket list. Check.

In the back of my mind, I have been waiting for this week to happen. Not so much that today would have been my 18th wedding anniversary, but that I would make it to the year mark of my blindsided breakup.

“I think that dude’s actions have probably occupied your mind and heart long enough,” recently said my friend and fellow bandmate, Phil.

He is so very right. Perhaps it is hard for me to let people go. I don’t understand why they act so epically shitty without regard for other people’s feelings, or seeming consequence. And perhaps it’s a simple explanation: it actually has nothing to do with me.

“As you grow, you pick people who match you. You’ll choose better next time. It’s less a matter of finding someone up to your standards and more about gravitating towards a better match,” said my therapist back in December.

Hey, guess what? I’m growing. It hasn’t been easy, but right now it feels really damn good.

It’s necessary and good to grieve. I have done that. It is necessary and good to move forward. I am doing just that.

And as scary and wonderful and unexpected and unplanned as it has been, I am dating again.

Here we go.

Again.

Forty.

Moved to NYC, swung an off-Broadway hit show, toured and recorded with a Grammy-award-winning band, got cheated on, got divorced, sold my house, discovered I had a sister wife, wrote a blog, got a book deal, realized the truth of grace, fell in love, got held up at gunpoint, exercised my potty mouth (and kept my purse!), moved back to NYC, recorded at Capitol Records, toured with yet another amazing band, played the Hollywood Bowl (and a few other iconic places!), fell in love REALLY hard, got dumped over email (AGAIN), wrote songs, raised money, solidified great friendships, made a record…

…and have therapy at 3:00 pm.

Goodbye, 30s. You were defining. But tomorrow starts a whole new chapter.

And I absolutely cannot wait.

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

You drove me home yesterday, after the end of five days straight of 12-hour catering shifts. I could barely walk, looked like hell and probably smelled worse, but you were kind to me. (You smelled GREAT, by the way.) You engaged me in conversation, even though you confessed your English wasn’t that great. You were even kinder when I attempted Spanish and told you I loved you instead of what my name was.

I didn’t hide my attraction to you in the slightest. You see, Daniel, after getting my heart broken enough times, I’ve realized it is much more resilient than I ever dreamed it could be. Last night it fluttered, flirted, flip-flopped and fumbled for words, especially when you smiled at me and spoke honestly and openly about life. I appreciated your directness.

I was happy your GPS system malfunctioned, causing our time together to be extended. (Hence me tossing my hair and declaring, “I’m in NO hurry to get anywhere!”) I’m not sure if you noticed how I draped myself over the armrest, just to be that much closer to you. Yes, Daniel. I confess I have no shame. (You also have amazing arms.)

When you pulled up to the green awning in front of my apartment building, I didn’t want to get out of the vehicle. I don’t care that you’re making extra money driving people around. It’s hard to live in this city. Hell, I work catering jobs to pay the bills so I, too, can keep living my dream.

I’m so glad I met you, Daniel. Perhaps selfishly. But I’m just so damn tired of grieving the loss of my last relationship. It’s time to move on. There is no set time frame on grief, but at some point you realize you’re the only one crying. And life keeps moving on.

Daniel, thank you for taking my hand as I struggled to get out of the vehicle. And thank you for asking for my phone number. Did you notice how quickly I gave it to you? I hope you use it. If not, that’s okay, too. I have no expectations. Just hope. And a renewed spring in my step.

Life keeps moving on, indeed.

~Leslie

Just Keep Pedaling

I sat on a bench in Central Park this breezy afternoon, allowing the sun to soak into my skin. At one point, I looked to my left to notice a fat squirrel sitting right next to me. We locked eyes for a moment, then he scurried away.
“Typical male,” I muttered.
I closed my eyes and listened to the ducks, geese and red robins.
A few minutes later, I heard a child’s consistent crying. I squinted through the bright sunlight to get a better look at the situation.
A little boy on a tricycle slowly pedaled across my path. He pedaled and cried, loudly. The oversized helmet he wore seemed too heavy for his head, yet he managed to keep pedaling.
And crying.
He teetered and tottered; making jagged, sometimes dangerous sharp turns all over the pavement. He wasn’t in complete control of his tricycle, but managed to stay upright. And in motion.
Pedaling and crying.
Next to the little boy towered his father, who walked slowly, steadfastly and silently beside him. He kept an eye on his son, who kept pedaling and crying.
“I know how that feels,” I thought, and smiled.
I recalled a recent conversation I had with my dear friend A.D. Adams :
“Sometimes moving forward doesn’t necessarily mean in a straight line. And your Father, his wisdom, compassion and love, will always walk silently beside you in the very same way. Just as he knows — and anyone else who knows you — you’ll keep pedaling!”

Five Days Left

Hopped in a Via and started chatting with my driver, Bakary.
 
We chatted about life, heartbreak, surviving in/the city; our dreams and fears.
 
I told him how I was attempting to raise funds so I can record an album. I told him how, when I first launched the project on Kickstarter, I don’t think I actually believed it would happen.
 
And now, with five days left, I’m so very close. I’m so close I can smell the vocal booth in the studio; I can hear horn parts on the bridge of one of my songs. I am close to tears thinking about all of the people who have pledged so far — a majority of you childhood classmates; friends.
 
It is an amazing thing to be so loved. Even if this project doesn’t fully fund (and I’m praying it will!) I have learned something absolutely invaluable:
 
You all believe in me.
You have supported me without question; without hearing one note of my music.
I am astounded.
And it pushes me even further: to get this project funded, recorded, mixed, mastered and delivered.
 
Bakary pulled over at my destination, got out of the vehicle and carefully placed my luggage on the curb. He smiled at me from at least a foot above.
 
“You have a good heart, Leslie,” he said. “You are a very special person. Don’t let anything or anyone change you. Even this city.”
 
I opened my arms to this stranger — my new friend.
 
“Let’s hug it out, Bakary!”
 
“I love you!”
 
“I love you, too!”
 
 Click HERE to pledge to my project. There’s just five days left!

Heartbreak is a Gift

I’ve 20 days left to raise funds to make my album happen.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m pretty terrible at self-promotion. I can’t be anything other than myself. I do my work and hope it speaks for itself.

But sometimes you have to see yourself as others see you.

My friend Chelsea — an exceptional writer whom I met several years ago when she interviewed me for an assignment about Christians who exercise curse words — offered to write yet another.

Leslie-Intelligentsia-2-copy

And it’s just perfect. Here’s an excerpt:

“That’s what I’m looking forward to, when Leslie’s record comes out. Knowing her and her work, I know it will be sour, bitter and sweet in perfect proportion, like an old-fashioned made right. It will be sharp enough to make the heartbreak culprit bleed, while being gentle enough to bind up your own wounds. It’ll stroke your hair with reflective insight and slap your ass with humor.

Best of all, Leslie’s record will give you more than words. Hers is the big, bad, ‘you can’t ignore me now’ voice of the woman who really tried to do it all the nice way, and is finally going to speak her mind.”

Read the article here.

*****

As of today, I am 40% funded. That is amazing! But I still have more to go. Click to make a pledge here. Don’t be afraid to pledge now; the funds will not be deducted unless the project is entirely funded on March 29, 2017.

And, as always, sincere thanks.

 

Hi, I’m Leslie Spencer.

Please support me in following my dreams. My goal this year – my fortieth on this planet!! – is to have my book published and this album recorded, produced, mixed, mastered and distributed.

There is no guarantee as an artist, but if anything I have written over the past several years has resonated with you, my hope is that my music will speak to you, as well. Every single contribution certainly helps, no matter what amount.

Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart.

~Leslie

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