I feel like I say this a lot lately, but what a week of ups and downs and everywhere in between! Last week was a doozie from a financial perspective, and this week has been truly trying at work, and I’ve had that all-over-the-place feeling, without a lot of respite.

However, as I look towards next week, and the next few months, I have a lot to look forward to, some fun trips, some “me” goals to accomplish (more on that later, but one may come next week when I attempt dinner by myself in San Jose!) and I realize that this year already has been filled with some chances, some risk, and a lot of growth because of that. And when I stumbled upon this quote for Quote Friday, it felt fitting for the coming months and where I am mentally right now.

“Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can-and surely will at times-fail. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk.”

Sure, we get hurt, and that’s a risk, but if that is the only risk you’re facing, then, why not? Really?

We’ve all experienced heartache, sadness, and pain, but you always recover, right? We’re amazingly resilient people, especially those of us that have gone through trying life events, and I firmly believe that you grow and learn so much more from what hurts you and even when you fail, than if you never took the chance in the first place.

So, if the worst is the risk or the failure, then take the chance…more often than not, you’ll be rewarded. I’ve found this to be so true in all of my experiences, particularly with dating. Sure, there have been a couple of choices that maybe I would have handled differently, looking back, but I learned from them (hindsight is truly a powerful thing, isn’t it?!) and grew from them, and had I not taken those chances, I would have either taken them later on, perhaps, or still be wondering “what if…”

While I feel like this post is a little bit all over the place and not that specific, it’s how my brain’s working after the week I’ve had 😉 So, on that note, have a fantastic weekend everyone…and uh, ask me about how date #3 goes with chemistry.com boy #2 tomorrow, because my date’s tonight!

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Okay, it’s blog confession time.

I joined chemistry.com for real (not just the free weekend awhile back, which is where I met CBE).

Why so soon after the end of CBE?

I’m not sure, but just felt like it was something I wanted to do. Maybe a little bit on a whim, but I’m feeling as though I’m in this mode of discovery and I want to keep moving ahead with the dating thang.

Sure, it may be fruitless.

But, it may also be fruitful.

And, it will most certainly be entertaining, right? At a minimum?

I was lamenting how when brainy blonde ended things with me that I decided to go on a self-imposed dating hiatus for awhile to let things settle and determine where I wanted to go next in the whole dating experience of mine, but with CBE, I want to jump right back in.

You’d think I would want time to recover, so to speak.

But I realized suddenly that I brainy blonde hurt me more than my “quasi-relationship” with CBE ever did.

Humph.

Well, that was a realization I wasn’t quite expecting. I guess I sort of shoved back the hurt from brainy blonde (I was blindsided by that, and the potential I saw there was stronger, earlier, the connection was starting, I realize now) and now hindsight is smacking me upside the head a little.

Ending things with CBE was the right thing to do. That was the final realization for me (signing up for chemistry.com, that is, and then the realization that I wasn’t feel hurt like I was with BB). And yes, I realize I said yesterday I was “done” talking about CBE. Well, I am…this post was less about him than about this thing called dating, mmk? 😉

So, without further ado – onward I go – chemistry.com, here I come. Wheeee!

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So, as some of you may be aware, chemistry.com is sort of similar to eHarmony in that you take a long questionaire and are assigned matches that way. Well, chemistry.com assigns you a “type” and I’m a builder – see below for the description – uh, yeah, that describes me to a “T” doesn’t it?!

You are popular, trustworthy and dependable. People like you for many reasons; but among them you tend to be stable, loyal and caring and you have a wonderful knack for common sense.

You are a guardian. Your relationships with friends, kin and colleagues are important to you. So you spend time and energy developing and defending your social networks.

You are a good executive and manager. People almost instinctively feel you can supervise financial, business and social issues effectively. And because you are sensible and factual, you can.

You work hard. You like schedules. You are detail oriented. And you tend to respect traditions. So you bring strength and stability to your social and business environments.

Yet you admire people who are spontaneous and you enjoy new and different ideas and experiences, as long as they are not dangerous. Respectability and appropriateness are important to you. And you are capable of deep, solid friendships.

The fifth in a series of posts on the beginning of the end of my marriage, and a look back at our relationship, from meeting, dating, engagement, and the in-laws (that could be an entire blog in itself, but that’s a story for another day…!).

So, in recapping the beginning of the end of my marriage, I’ve had some moments of clarity about the good and the bad about my marriage. Call it hindsight, call it learnings, call it healing…but there was some good, some bad, and some in-between moments in my marriage that I suppose you could call signs that the foundation for our marriage and relationship was 1) clearly rooted in friendship and b) had some deeper issues than maybe I saw at the time.

So, here are some of the bad (and please, when I say bad, this is probably nothing near “bad” in true bad marriage terms, but for me, these are signs I see, looking back, that nudged at the longevity of my marriage):

My in-laws never accepted me. My ex-husband is Lebanese. His parents moved here before he was born and made a life here for their family (and contrary to what many tend to believe when someone says “Lebanese” or any Middle Eastern nation, he is Catholic) and Pete was born here (so he’s an American citizen by birth, and his parents received citizenship after moving here). Needless to say, their culture is very much a part of their beliefs – that their children should marry partners of Lebanese decent. So, from the beginning, there was hesitation that he date an American woman (their belief – stereotypically so – is that American women latch on to men, take their money, make them sleep on the couch, and then divorce them – nice uphill battle, no?), and they were always very cool towards me, closed off, and hard to approach.

Complicating things further, I only saw them every month or few months, as they lived two states away, so it wasn’t as though I had a lot of opportunities to break that exterior. They “blamed” me for taking Pete away from them (since he moved here a year after we started dating), they were always pushing him to move back home, and they just plain didn’t like me. Finally, the summer before our break-up, his mom told me she loved me, and I finally – finally – felt accepted – almost TEN years later. Yet, once Pete told them he had decided to move out and was ending our marriage, they immediately told him they never liked me, they were glad we were divorcing, and were extremely suspicious that I was going to try and “take” everything from Pete – the house, money, belongings etc. It was shocking to me, at the time, and I firmly believe that their reaction to his ending our marriage sealed the deal…had they pushed him to try and make it work, I think he would have. And, if you are almost 30 and your parents can influence your decision that much…well, enough said.

To this day, they don’t know that we have such a good friendship. Pete had to keep it secret that we talked often, that our divorce was as open between us other communication-wise possible, and that, well, we were getting along great. They wanted him to hate me and sever all ties, but he didn’t, and for that, he’s redeemed himself (if he had, in fact, let his parents feelings towards me influence his decision to divorce me)

My ex never taught me Lebanese. We’d been together almost 10 years and I barely knew any Lebanese…the language his family spoke fluently, almost all the time whenever I’d visit. I think they took it as an insult that I didn’t know their native language, yet, Pete never took the time to share it with me, beyond a few words (and several of those being curse words!). To me, being in a relationship, and a marriage for that amount of time should mean sharing everything – especially culture and language! It never really occurred to me that it could have been an issue in our marriage – or to my in-laws – at the time, but in looking back, I think it was pretty huge. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it signified, underlying, that this wasn’t going to last…subtly at least.

My engagement was anti-climactic. It occurred to me that I got engaged almost four years ago – February 11, 2006. Why doesn’t that date stand out more? Because my engagement was anti-climactic…and please, I hope this doesn’t come across as surface or superficial, but there wasn’t a lot of thought put behind it. He came home from picking up the ring (he went with my sister and brother in law) and sort of just gave it to me and said, “will you engage me?” (it was supposed to be a cute little joke between us, because he would always say that for some reason – not will you marry me, but will you engage me..odd quirk perhaps) and that was that. I was happy, but at the same time, I was a little dissapointed that he didn’t put more thought into how he was going to do it. I don’t need a lot of super fancy things…elaborate dinners, 2 dozen roses and chocolates, but just in terms of how it was presented – just pretty plain and simple. No oomph. Just okay, we’re engaged. That’s cool.

I actually was talking to Pete yesterday and mentioned the date and he didn’t even remember it! He was surprised it had been four years, and he even said – before I mentioned it – that he “didn’t really think about it, he just did it” when he asked me. He said he “didn’t want to do anything crazy” – but I guess that was the state of our relationship – just one step after another…you move in together, you get engaged, and then you get married. Formulaic…stale…just there.

While these aren’t “bad” in terms of truly the bad…for which I am extremely grateful (no abuse, no cheating, etc) – for me, they were things that are foundation issues with our marriage, in my opinion. I WANTED to be close to my in-laws, I WANTED to learn the language I heard so often, and I WANTED to feel the sense of truly, madly, deeply love that I think I deserve (I use that song because in the early days of our relationship, that was “our” song, and now, looking back, we weren’t truly, madly, or deeply in love with each other…we did “just” love each other, and Pete made the right decision to end our marriage, I firmly believe that).

What do you think? Are these foundation issues for you, too, or just nice-to-haves? Maybe I am overthinking, but for me, these are signs that maybe we weren’t meant to be “forever” and there were some issues that weren’t easily changed…things that I don’t want in a future relationship, and things I’m sure I’m going to be more sensitive to “sensing” in the future…whereever that prince charming may be lurking 😉

As I am realizing I am coming up on my one-year blog anniversary (2/21/09), three things came to mind – one, WOW, I am almost at 30,000 hits in just under a year of blogging, two – my life feels so rich with my blog family, which complements my real family so well, and it grows by the week, which is even more amazing and three – there is so much more to the story of where it began than I shared when I first started blogging.

So, with that in mind, I am going to do a series of posts over the next week or so (either daily, or, interspersed with other posts – depending on what other fun things I opt to blog about 😉 ) on some of the things I didn’t get into on my blog in the beginning, and some of the things that happened between October 08 (when we broke up) and Feb 09 (when I started my blog), because the full story actually isn’t here in full, and I want to chronicle it. I chalk it up to my earlier days blogging…the posts were shorter, weren’t as in-depth and when I re-read them, I actually don’t connect to the posts nearly as much as I do now.

And, if there are things you feel you don’t know about my story so far, please feel free to comment, request, discuss, etc., I’d love to hear what you think as I round the bend towards year two of To Be Determined (for example, I’m really enjoying reading the backstory of According to Me – back to her first days being divorced etc., flashing back to those times). So, stay tuned, I’m going to start these posts tomorrow, and I’m actually looking forward to sharing some more of the backstory for you, but also for me. Knowing some of the posts I have in mind already, I’m seeing things in my past that I never quite put my finger on, that speak volumes now. Funny how powerful hindsight is, isn’t it?

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On a side note, I was chatting with Diary of a Divorced Guy last night on gmail, randomly (funny, as I just chatted with INRIS last week on gmail, as well. Fun to chat with my blog peeps! lol) and he asked what I’d like him to post about and them bam – check out his post – too funny, and I blushingly appreciate the oh-so-complimentary shout-out. It gave me a smile, and made me giggle. Hey, coming from a girl that is horrible at taking compliments, the fact that I am pointing it out, is huge for me 😉

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On a second side note, and against my better judgement, in hindsight, I took a peek at boy #9 on Facebook and lo and behold he’s now “in a relationship” with who I can only imagine is the girl he had the “chance” run-in with just after the holidays, when he ended things. I of course clicked on her picture, and she doesn’t have much set for privacy (silly girl..!), so I could look at some of her pics, and well, she looks like she could be his brother! Very similar looking, in a way, and sorta average, not gorgeous, but cute, sporty-ish, maybe? I was a little bummed, which is silly, because it’s obviously in my past, but at the same time, felt good in knowing that I guess he was legit with what he said (though I did believe him then, so that really hasn’t changed) and then, tiny satisfaction that she wasn’t TOO good looking….ok that’s catty, but come on, I deserve to allow myself just a smidge of that, right??

Funny how when you’re thinking about a particular topic, chances are, there is someone else out there thinking the very same thing.  Doing my daily sweep of my favorite blogs this morning, I came across Momma Sunshine’s post on perception. It was as if she took the words straight from my mouth!

After writing yesterday’s post on the public vs. private “me” I began to wonder if my post came across the way I wanted it too – not in an “I’m ashamed” if my “real life” friends/family find my blog, or that I misunderstood how transparent blogging is, at it’s very root, or that I am clueless to the fact that my blog can be pretty easily found, if someone wanted to (it’s not like my name isn’t in it, or I don’t use a real email address to post comments to others blogs) – but as it was intended, the struggle with exposing my inner thoughts and feelings to an audience that perhaps I am not intending. And at the core of that is just that – it is a struggle, and it’s one you can’t really control. And that’s the chance you take with blogging, isn’t it? So, I feel at peace with how I go about mashing (or not mashing, as the case may be) my personal and professional “me.”

Another reason why Momma Sunshine’s post struck me is because I am also constantly in amazement at perception, in general. My own sense of perception of things has become so much more evident and strong and clear over the last year, that I tend to notice when people lack perception and/or hindsight on a daily basis. In a way, it frustrates me when people don’t “get” it, or jump to conclusions, rather than think more broadly, or allow themselves to think beyond what they’ve always known. I’ve blogged on this topic quite a bit (namely, here, here, here and here) and while others in my life and in my blog “family” might have their own interpretation of what I write, or of me, or of their approach to life and getting through obstacles, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and in Momma’s words:

And so, all I can do is keep blogging. I will continue writing about the things that are on my mind, the things that are happening in my life. Some people will relate. Some people will understand me. Some people will read my words and know who I am through them. Other people, either through accident or design, will get a completely different view of who I am. I can’t be responsible for that.

Those who know and love me, know…and that’s really all that matters.

I follow quite a few divorce blogs these days (as you can see from my ever-growing blogroll!) and recently found a gem in Student Mama. She is a (newly) single mom grappling with everything that comes with separation/divorce, and her post today just blew me away, for a couple of reasons. First, it was a smack of reality that although my divorce journey has had many low points, it’s just me, I don’t have any children, which makes divorce one step “easier.” I can’t imagine the complexity and added pain of going through this if I had children, so it made me realize that in a big way, I’m really lucky it IS just me. Second, her post today was incredibly insightful and so on-point, I just had to mention it.

She talks about grappling with being a single mom, learning her way, and accepting that she IS now out on her own and figuring out where she wants to go next. What struck me was what she wrote at the end of the post:

I feel, freedom in my future…even if I don’t see it. After all, hindsight is only 20/20 if we continue to look backwards. I learned my lessons – I reflected…I’m over it. It may have slipped through my fingers this time, but only because I thought I saw something real in in my tunnel vision – it was only an illusion. The acceptance is real.

Wow – I just love that point. Hindsight really IS only 20/20 if you continue to look backwards and not forwards, reflecting on that time and what you want to do differently. I also think the point of tunnel vision is right on – I look at my past marriage now and see the things I never would have seen or noticed before – that we had a friendship, not a marriage, we didn’t communicate properly, and it didn’t have that chemistry that it used to – it was “selective memory” in a sense. I don’t regret it, Pete is a great guy, we have a great friendship and are supportive of each other, but we weren’t meant to be married, and I never, ever thought I’d say that, but it’s true. And that’s what walking out of “tunnel vision” does – it gets you to see things you never saw, or wanted to see, for what it was. Thanks Student Mama for a great post today!

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On another note – wish me luck tonight as I host my first big shindig at my new place with 10 of my friends (and my sisters) for a “girls night” Thanksgiving style! First time I’m ever attempting to cook a turkey…God help me 😉