Author Archives: christiangirlsguidetodivorce©

20th Universary

Today would have been my 20th wedding anniversary.

Over the past couple of days, I have been pondering how I feel about it, and I have found nothing. There are no tears. There is no sadness. I feel nothing. It is just a quiet fact. 

So, today, I am celebrating ten years of singlehood. I celebrate the woman I have become. I celebrate being able to heal. I celebrate the fact I have fallen in love and had my heart broken again and again and again. I celebrate the fact that my heart works, and I’m still open to sharing it with someone again – someday.

Today, I celebrate ME.

#happyuniversary

Grammar Matters

Enjoyed a leisurely Sunday afternoon at my favorite happy hour spot, devouring my latest library find.

Guy seated next to me: “How is it you’re single?!”‬

I looked up from my book, propped my elbow up on the bar and rested my chin in my hand.

“Forgiving the presumptive and irksome nature of your question, the answer is as follows:

Besides the overwhelmingly disappointing inability to step it up to my level, the men who lackadaisically profess interest are petrified to send me grammatically incorrect texts.”‬

Butterflies

I used to attach meaning to butterflies. If one crossed my path, I would take it as a sign that something good was about to happen, or that God was approving. It was something purposeful and special, meant for me.

Later, I decided it was all bullshit.

Eaton Canyon hike - Painted Lady

Painted Lady butterfly I captured on my hike in Altadena, California

Confession: I have been really struggling lately.

I’m stressed out. I’m afraid. I miss New York and my “cool life” there. I still love my ex-boyfriend, even though he’s long since moved on. It’s over, and I accept that. Actively choosing to move forward is a lot harder than it looks (but I am as happy as I look on my Instagram feed, dammit)! I have an album coming out in July that cost more than I raised, and I have no fucking idea how I’m going to pay for it. I can’t get my publisher to return my emails. I’m working, but barely part time. I’m living (again!) with my incredibly gracious and generous friends, Curt and Kathy, and I don’t know how I can ever repay their kindness. (I do pay rent!) I don’t feel like I deserve it. I own nothing but four (really awesome) pillows, a duvet, a smattering of clothes I am extremely tired of, a guitar that, some days, is hard to look at, much less play (see above about the ex), an explicit grammar mug, a bourbon glass (ugh, the ex again), a computer, a phone, and Mavis the Mini (oh, how I love her).

I feel like a total loser. There, I said it. Oops.

This morning, I took my blood pressure and it was elevated.

“Here,” Curt said, as he directed me to the couch and propped up some pillows. He switched on the TV and found the Relaxation channel in 4K. He sat next to me for a moment.

“Take it again.”

It was significantly lower.

“Now come with me,” Curt said, as he took my right hand. The velcro strap of the blood pressure machine dangled from my left arm. He grabbed a sheepskin throw off the couch and led me outside to one of the Adirondack chairs nestled underneath the massive Deodar cedar.

He covered the chair with the sheepskin. I laughed, and sat down.

“Now look,” Curt said, with a smug grin.

“At what?” I adjusted my feet.

“Do you see them? Look across the grass.” He pointed towards the neighbor’s house.

I pushed my glasses firmly to the bridge of my nose. My gaze followed.

And I saw them. A frenzy of butterflies — possibly hundreds of them! — dancing, swirling and fluttering in the air, with purpose.

“They’re called Painted Ladies and they’re migrating north,” Curt informed me, then reached over and pressed the START button on the machine. He left.

I sat, my mouth agape, and barely felt my left arm being squeezed.

I’d never seen so many butterflies in my life. And I’m quite certain there is no meaning, other than the fact that butterflies actually migrate north, along the mountain line, lay their eggs, then die.

I watched them flirt with their struggle. Several flew right across my face. One even flew down my shirt and fluttered momentarily in my bosom, before I helped him escape.

Curt re-appeared with Dick Cat trying unsuccessfully to squirm out of his grip. I laughed heartily, and the monitor reflected it.

And then, the annoying, overused Christianese cliche-because-it’s-true seeped into my heart and spread to my brain.

I am so blessed. And I use that word, “blessed”, because I now know that blessing is synonymous with suffering. There is always joy to be found. And it’s authentic.

Maybe butterflies themselves have no meaning (those poor suckers don’t live that long!), but if you don’t stop and look, you won’t see them.

Right now, I don’t have anything (besides Mavis!) that I would have ever chosen for myself. I am still reeling from leaving New York. I don’t have my own apartment. I don’t have the things and the stuff and the relationship I so deeply yearn for. Or am still grieving.

But I have good, dear, wonderful friends who love me. Friends who listen and encourage. Friends who have invited me into their lives. Friends who are the very epitome of grace. Friends who don’t care if my bank account looks like a 14-year-old’s earnings from mowing lawns once a week.

I have friends who take me by the hand and lead me to the butterflies.

And that means everything.

Epiphany

I had an epiphany last weekend.

Saturday, I drove Mavis the Mini down to south Orange County (California) to spend the remainder of the holiday weekend with my best friend, her husband and their five-year-old daughter.

Somewhere near Disneyland, shoving the remainder of my protein-style burger from In-N-Out into my mouth and shifting from fifth to sixth gear, I actively decided that I was done with my most recent breakup. Well, all of them, in fact. Done-zo. Over it. Buh, bye. Peace out. Thank you, next. (Also, yes, if you need to cue the song, go ahead, but Grammar Queen over here will be spelling out the entire word.)

MOVING ON.

It feels so good.

Here’s what I know: if someone wants to be with you, they’ll be with you. It’s that simple.

I’m not in denial anymore. I’m not holding on anymore. I’m embracing my (single) life as is. It’s actually really good, even if I’m no where near where I thought I would be, part seven hundred and sixty-four.

Another epiphany I had yesterday morning, while dolling up to go to the gynecologist and have an ultrasound of my old, cyst-riddled uterus is this: it’s okay to mourn the loss of what you thought you would have. Or even what you thought — or was told — you deserved.

Life is hard. But it’s still beautiful, even if you were robbed of your ideas and expectations of how it would turn out.

The greatest strength to move forward is found in letting go.

Live fully. Love freely. Grieve if you need to, but don’t linger or wallow. Move the fuck on, because there’s so much great unexpectedness waiting for you. Embrace, live in and cherish each moment from here on out.

Else, your life will pass you by. And it won’t be anyone’s fault but your own.

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