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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Five Reasons My Cat is Smarter Than Me

My cat, who has been with me for the last 15 years,  has never been known for her intellectual prowess.  However, I had recently had to admit that she is, in fact, smarter than me for the reasons enumerated below:

1)  She Know How to Nap

My cat can go from full-on gecko chasing mode to comatose in no time flat.  She never has to read or go through elaborate rituals to fall asleep.  She never complains that her to-do list is too long to rest for a bit.  She doesn’t worry if the bed (or couch, or floor) isn’t “just right.”  She simply sleeps when she wants.  Maybe next time I want to nap, I’ll try chasing geckos first.

2) She Lets Her Needs be Known Clearly

Now, granted her needs are fairly simple: food, water, and a clean litter box, but, nevertheless, she always makes sure her caretakers know what she needs.  She doesn’t hint around or expect mind-reading, just vocalizes to garner attention and then leads the nearest human to the vessel that needs attention.

3) She Accepts What Is

I have to admit, I am  making some assumptions here, but I think  it is safe to conclude that Ms. Kitty is not spending time comparing her current situation to her past.  She exists completely in the “now” and doesn’t ruminate on the “then”.

4) She Has Learned Not to be Anxious

Maddy used to be an anxious feline; she even had to be sedated for a cross-country move when she was a kitten.  In fact, every move was very stressful for her.  She and I recently completed our fourth move in two-and-a-half years.  With each move, her anxiety over the situation decreased.  She seemed to understand that even though the ordeal would be stressful and that change was imminent and inevitable, she had survived this before and would again.  So, there is no need to get all “fight and flighty” about it, just go with it and enjoy the exploration of the new.

5) She Trusts Her Intuition

This is where she really has me beat.  In the last several months of my marriage, Maddy seemed stressed.  She slept more, she wasn’t as affectionate, and she even avoided the dogs which were normally her buddies.  Looking back, I was also anxious during that time, though I ignored it since I saw no rational reasons to be upset.  I had a mental image of what was, and as the human brain is so apt to do, I ignored or explained anything that caused any cognitive dissonance.  Cats don’t operate that way; they simply see what is.  In our current home, with her new daddy and doggie brother, I am happy to say that Maddy is more relaxed and more social than she has ever been.  I’m going to trust her on this one.  After all, she is smarter than me.

Where Is He Now?

When I share my story, one of the most frequent questions I get is, “Where is he now?”  I don’t know the answer to that question. Here is what I do know.

From the day he left in July of 2009 until the divorce in 2010, I kept tabs on him.  I had my ways.   From this, I learned that his wife, who left him upon his arrest, elected to take him back (I even knew when she had dental work done).  I knew he spent time at his parent’s house in our hometown.  He visited his wife’s family.  I knew the newlyweds went to Uganda in February of 2010.  If you’re looking for a laugh, try telling your divorce attorney that your husband is in Africa with his wife (showering with monkeys, according to her blog) weeks before his court date.  Based upon the look on her face, I don’t think she gets that one much…  I kept up with him over those months because his actions still affected me.  He still could harm me financially; his presence in court could change the outcome, and I was still afraid of running into him.

The last day I checked on his where-a-bouts was the day after the divorce.  I figure at this point, his story is no longer tied to mine, and I don’t want to live my life trying to figure out what he is doing.  This decision has not always been easy.  He has not upheld his financial or legal obligations in the divorce, with the IRS, or in the felony bigamy charge.  There are times that I am so angry, that I want to find him and try to make him face these issues.  The reality is that I don’t want to be his bounty hunter, even if it means I never get the money owed me.

There are also times that curiosity tries to get the best of me.  Is he alive or dead?  In the country or an ex-pat?  Still with the wife?  Living in the same area where I might run into him? These are just questions that I really don’t need to know the answer to.  Right now, all I have is the hope that wherever he is, he is not lying, manipulating, and devastating anyone else.  The only place he exists for me is in my memories and that is where I want him to stay.

More Information: Who Is He?

Update: A Strange Place to Be

Update April 2013: Facing the Dragon

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Anger is a Succubus

Anger.   It is so easy to go there.  To stay there.

Why did he do this to me?  How could he have done these things? What a (fill in the blank with your favorite expletive)!

That anger is a succubus; she’ll draw you in, tempting you, and then slowly suck you dry, leaving you brittle while the object of the anger remains untouched.  Anger leaves you in a victim state, powerless.  It is only by releasing this anger that you can take your own reigns from the soul-sucking creature and chart your path.

Take yourself out of the object in the sentences above and make yourself the subject.  What can I do to make my life better?  What can I do now that these things have happened.  Okay, so maybe the expletives can still stand.  They certainly have their place, after all:)  That shifts the power back to you.

Not that it is easy. I still slide back into anger when I have to deal with the financial fallout of my ex-husband’s years of manipulations and deceptions.  Try staying calm when you are faced with paying the bill for the wedding rings used to marry another while you are still betrothed.  Any luck?  Yeah, me neither.

The anger has been the hardest to let go of, even more than sadness. However, I refuse to let that succubus feed off me any longer.

Here are  some of my strategies for moving beyond anger.

Anger Deflation

Practicing What I Preach

Radical Gratitude

Forgiveness 101

Writing Through Divorce

What has helped you?  Are you still angry?

The Healing Power of Pumpkin (and a recipe too!)

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole, but I am sure that it has some truth.  I pretty much have an all-out addiction to pumpkin.  Remember the Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2010?  What, you don’t remember?  Well, I’m sure my poor UPS guy has not so fond memories of those few months when he had to haul my weekly flat (22 lbs, if you’re counting) of pumpkin up 3 flights of stairs.

What did I do with all that pumpkin, you ask?

Not pies.  Not for me.  Most of it went into oatmeal, but I always saved some for my favorite, dessert-style protein shake.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake Recipe

3-4 ice cubes

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 scoop vanilla whey protein

1 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning

1 tbsp flax seed

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Yum:)

One of the great side effects of pumpkin  – it will help to give your skin a sun-touched glow with no sun required!

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