Before my college roommate’s wedding yesterday, I had a meltdown.

Sort of came from left field but turned into a crying, screaming argument with my sister Jess. It wasn’t her fault. It was mine. She was trying to help, but the more she tried, the more upset I got. I almost didn’t even go to the wedding.

It started with hating what I decided to wear to the wedding (even though in actuality, it was a really cute dress) and that spiraled into self-doubt, lack of confidence and near-panic over going to the wedding.

Why?

Because I was going alone.

And it bothered me a lot more than I thought it would, even though people go to weddings alone all the time. I just haven’t gone to a wedding by myself, single since before my marriage, and even then, I don’t think I ever was single at a wedding in my life. Ever. Part of me was upset that I am still single (when I got the invitation from my friend Jess, to her wedding, I secretly thought that perhaps I’d have a boyfriend, or at least be dating someone by the time of her wedding. No such luck, clearly.). Part of me was upset over being upset about being single (follow that?). Part of me was upset that I was tearing myself apart for no good reason. I’m not fat, I’m not ugly, I’m better than those words and those things.

So why the meltdown?

I guess I still hold in a lot of feelings that I don’t document here, that I don’t talk about to either of my sisters or any of my friends. And that builds up into meltdowns such as the one I had yesterday. And I need to take my own advice, and just realize that I am worth it and my time will come.

…and then I read Tina‘s latest “30 days of self-love” series and fell to tears again. Why? Because she’s so right. Her post today was focused on “self-love from others” and it’s what I need to really take to heart right now because before anyone else can love me, I need to love me for me, 100%. And when I take her advice:

See yourself through the eyes of those that love you. See the joy you bring them. Open your eyes. View yourself in a different light. We all too often act as our own worst enemy and judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else. Instead, realize you are loved, cherished, wanted, and needed. Love yourself like others love you. Remember. They do. Don’t fight it.

And when I do that, I realize that I am loved by family and friends because I am worth it and well, I am already loved just the way I am. And I just need to channel that more than I have been lately, and not nit-pick the latest trouble spot, bad hair day, fat day, or whatever it may be because not only is it just “surface” things, it’s not healthy. Easier said than done, I know that firsthand, but I don’t want any more meltdowns.

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As for my friend Jess’s wedding? Well, it was beautiful, absolutely wonderful. As I am not one for traditional cookie-cutter weddings, I loved all of the special touches they chose for their wedding…

“At Last” as their processional song, sung by a friend with a gorgeous voice, and “Feelin Good” for the recessional.

…wine glasses with “eat, drink and be merry” with their wedding date as favors.

…a really sweet Charleston dance for the father/daughter dance (they’d be “rehearsing” for weeks!)

…an intimate setting, frills, but not too many, and I dunno, it just screamed “Jess & Andrew” and I loved that.

As for memorable moments, there were a few…

…a few cute guys sidling up to our table during the cocktail reception (high cocktail tables, with apps and drinks, looked a little Sex & The City and I loved that too!) and chatting us up.

…rumor had it that one of said cute boys wanted to ask me to dance…but never did. He appeared to have chickened out.Fail. (truthfully, the other cute guy caught my eye more, but heck, I was just excited that boys wanted to dance with me, hehe)

…dancing with another guy, one of the ushers, and having a good convo about his new digs in Austin, TX.

…overall, just enjoying spending the evening with one of the best chicks I know, and then heading up to the lake to stay there for the night. Quiet, dark, and lake lapping at the shore.

Perfection.

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Re-reading my interview with Andrea Syrtash from yesterday (which, I am still uber-geeking out about, because it was a great interview, and she retweeted my tweet and said my blog was fab – um, how cool is that, seriously?!), there are so many points that I absolutely love that she makes.

But my main – and biggest – takeaway from her comments is about releasing.

Release “the type” in your head.

Release what they may “look” like.

Release (generic) ‘must-haves’ (as in, good job, driven, etc, be more specific).

Release…looking.

That last one always gets me….because I know I need to let go of this feeling of control I think I need (or I think I have, for that matter) to find love. I guess the phrase ‘find love’ is almost an oxymoron of sorts because you don’t really ‘find’ love, do you? It finds you…you just become…in love. When it’s meant to happen. Not on your own timeframe. Not when it’s convenient. Not when you think it’s supposed to happen.

When it’s meant to.

As in, not-in-my-control.

Being Type A, that’s a tough one for me to accept, but on the other, it feels a little like a relief. Just live. Just enjoy. And when it’s meant to, it’ll happen.

Whether it’s ‘organic,’ whether it’s online…it just doesn’t matter, but I feel good knowing that it’ll happen. I take comfort in that, because I believe it.

~~

It’s funny, as I was sitting at dinner tonight with Pete on my patio, I was looking at him and thinking, ‘wow, I was married to him…only a couple of years ago, yet it feels like forever.” I was sort of flashing through our relationship in my head, as we talked about various things, and it made me feel happy that we shared a great thing for so long, and we still do, yet differently. I don’t see him “that” way anymore without a shadow of a doubt, and that’s okay, it’s not sad, it’s not ‘weird,’ it just is. Releasing…in a way…and knowing that whenever I fall in love again, that he’ll be supportive of me (and I of him). And that, to me, is amazing.

~~

And a comment BDFF said to me today was this…and it’s a moment I want to capture and remember and thought you’d all enjoy reading it too:

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.. So love the people who treat you right.. Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

In all of my dating forays over the last year…one of the biggest things I’ve missed, and the biggest thing I’ve missed since my divorce?

Feeling love, being loved and being IN love.

I’ve alluded to this before, on my love list guest post, and in breaking it off with CBE, but for some reason, it’s not completely crossed my mind until this past weekend, when talking to my sister Jess.

I don’t know what love feels like anymore.

I know what it feels like, but I don’t remember…in one way, that sounds very sad, but in another way, it’s just a fact. I haven’t had that kind of love in a very long time, that kind of love where you know it deep in your bones, where you feel safe, wanted, needed, thought about…loved.

The “dig” factor.

I want it.

I’m ready for it.

I know it’s out there.

I just gotta stop looking.

Plain and simple.

I know that, I tell myself that all the time. You tell me that all the time. But sometimes it’s easier said than done. But, when it happens, I know I’ll be ready and I’m looking forward to it.

Til then? I’ll enjoy what I got going on…dabbling in dating, seeing what happens, and being okay with it, whereever it takes me (or doesn’t, as the case may be).

~~

And, on a side note, speaking of all-encompassing love…congrats to one of my bestest – who needs a new name, since she’s no longer “best divorced friend” anymore…Ames and Eric, you are an amazing couple, you inspire me so much, your wedding pics truly capture you and all that you are…love you! XO!!

This is what a marriage SHOULD be.

My sister and Scott are celebrating their six-year wedding anniversary and I couldn’t be feeling more inspired. They are what I aspire to capture one day.

As I look at both of my sisters and their successful marriages, as well, I feel optimistic knowing it’s out there.

As my BDF (ahh, will need a new name for you Ames!) heads off to Oregon tomorrow to marry her perfect fit…I’m inspired.

It’ll happen. When it’s meant to. Not forced. Perhaps not when I want it to. But it will happen.

And for now, I’ll bask in the happiness of those surrounding me. I’ll sit in peace knowing that I am right where I’m supposed to. I’ll be happy knowing that my relationship with my ex-husband is as strong as ever, and I am eternally grateful for that.

I’ll bask in potential.

And, I’ll bask in me.

I used to think there was only one person – one “just right” fit – for us out there in this world.

But now that I’m divorced, I wonder if that’s really true, or if it’s a fantastical idea, an idealist point of view.

And then I wonder if I’m just being pessimistic. Or jaded just because for me that “one person” didn’t end up working out in “forever” terms.

And then I realize that it’s not black and white, and it is truly a case-by-case for everyone. For some, there may be just one person out there, and for me, I guess I just need to realize that for me, there may be a few in-betweens before I find that “just right” fit and I think right now, I am okay with that. I feel good, I don’t feel anxiety or stress or worry, I feel pretty calm, knowing that he’s out there, and I’ll find him (if it’s the last thing I do…just kidding!), or he’ll find me…

My “just right” fit wasn‘t my ex-husband – as hard as that may be for some to realize who may be grappling with this very idea, that whomever they were married to and are now divorced from or divorcing, are not the one they’ll be with forever – for me, I have come to terms with that, and came to terms with that quite awhile ago. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve moved beyond the feelings stage for the state of my marriage and divorce and it’s just a memory of a part of my life that is no longer, and sometimes I think that “empty” feeling is closure, and not a negative thing.

It’s helped me move on.

It’s helped me embrace dating.

It’s helped me move onward and look forward to the man that will blow my marriage out of the water in terms of what it will offer…I know he’s out there, and I will be patient, and I will re-read this post when I’m feel anxious, down or overthinking.

And beyond that, to those of you grappling with this very idea…I think it’s completely normal to believe that there is not one person for us out there…at least not all of us, and the “right” one will come along, when they’re supposed to.

XO!

This post comes courtesy of Travis from “A Culminating Life” – it’s a wonderful post, give it a read, and thank you Travis!!

~~~

Also known as, Funny How I Blind Myself

There is a story. One where the man before he married his wife fell in love with the girl of his dreams. This girl of course, became his wife. She along with him were equals in companionship in this life. And she became his dear companion for many, many years until her death.

I was married for 15 years. I married young. Just out of high school. So I’m not that old. I had married someone who I believed was going to be my companion to carry and share in the burdens for our whole lives. I also felt fortunate that I was going to be one of those that could be part of a long and joyous life, and experience the unprecedented joy of love.

The problems that was raised later in her life, became a direct reflection on the insecurity and turmoil of not trusting men. Due to a marriage prior to ours, that had detrimental affects on her to this day.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt ruled and troubled her mind. It helped drive her into behaviors and actions, that ultimately destroyed the marriage. Like everything in life, we have our choice how we want to act… or re-act.

None of this could have destroyed the marriage, but through years of persistent betrayal of the marriage covenants, it was.

Betrayal of the marriage is a level of abuse. Much abuse that happens in marriage is subtle. It’s neglect, its abandonment of the heart. It’s giving love and attention to someone else other than your spouse. And only the ones who have experienced that immense physical pain of dealing with infidelity truly know that it is very physical. That the heartache, the lack of sleep, the intense agony is abuse.

Men who believe they are superior to woman, fail this one thought… They were born from their mother’s womb and they would not exist without her. This quote, “Man can not degrade woman without himself falling into degradation; he can not elevate her without at the same time elevating himself” (Alexander Walker, in Elbert Hubbard’s Scrap Book [1923], 204).

Men and women are equals. Man can not be any greater unless he elevates the woman to which he will himself will be elevated. And at the same time, degrading a woman is the same as degrading your mother.

For some people, they know the pains that are worse than divorce, and it is these times when divorce is needed to heal wounds, and rescue families.

Divorce is becoming the norm. While long and happy marriages are becoming the exception. This does not have to true. It can be protected.

We can spend all day talking about love. But true love, the one that you can’t bare to let go, is not about talk. It’s about action.

To love your wife, is to do everything in this life you can do, to prove to her the love you really do have. It is the constant attention, compassion, and sharing in every detail of your lives. The moment you give to someone else the details of your heart, you are then cheating your wife out of those sentimental and precious moments. You have restrained the offering of your heart, mind and soul, and gave it to another.

To protect the marriage, boundaries have to exist. And not casual ones either. As men have a natural tendency to keep pushing the line back where our human nature desires it be.

So we have to fight these tendencies with a great deal of diligence.

By putting a firm line that is close to your spouse, you are protecting yourself from the advances of women, who may wish what your wife has.

By maintaining a closeness with your wife, you are reminding other woman, that this is where you belong, and their advances will weaken. The moment you show her a level of compassion and expose your heart, she will believe that she can have this. And each step closer begins to happen. The possibly slow actions of cheating have begun.

There are men, who through their own insecurities, and insatiable passions, choose not to protect the marriage, and abuse their spouses with all levels of pain. From the subtlest of neglect, through the emotional abuse of infidelities an threats, and physical abuse. All are dangerous. All need to stop. This is not just a protection for the marriage, but for the future generations that was created. Children are then having to fight inner demons, that began as they saw the devastation and fallout of the marriage.

By following a simple set of rules, you will always be able to protect your marriage, and constantly remind her that she is your universe, and your universe belongs to her.

The biggest thing that men can do, is have a very open, very talkative level of communication. Communicate everything. I mean everything. By doing this, you will not be tempted to complain to a co-worker how something stunk at home and allow them to open up their heart to you, by which future temptations my arise from.

Your spouse is your best friend. In all reality, if your spending too much time with the guys, and you’ve left your wife home alone, you have neglected her. And you are cheating her out of the time you two could have to continually grow the marriage and relationship.

In social events there is a trick I was taught. This is subtle, and allows a subconscious level of protection. Always have your wife between you and the other women. This could be you just standing behind her shoulder, or by her side where the other woman is opposite of you. If you don’t do this, you can open yourself up to the “friendly” elbow touch, shoulder touch, hand touch. That could get miss-interpreted as an advance. This also can hint to how the husband really wants to let everyone know that he is happily married.

Never talk on the phone with another woman, without your wife present. Even the movies show this stunt when talking about infidelity.

None of this that I’m describing has anything to do with trust on the woman’s side, just notes and practices, to make sure she has no reason to not trust us.

The more we as men do to live a life that is pure, loving, and compassionate to our wives, the greater our life we will be. And the legacy of love that you will leave with your family will have outstanding effects.

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 😉