Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rebuilding & Reclaiming (A Reflection)

Sometimes we find ourselves in a perfect storm of events. We find that those we counted on, who we thought loved us unconditionally (or were SUPPOSED to love us unconditionally & not throw things away over minor disagreements) never actually did. It can make you feel betrayed, angry, distrustful of anyone else (or bolster your preexisting trust issues), sad, but maybe even a little relieved.

Recently, I found myself able to speak more freely since the ordeal that is my divorce is finally complete with my having no further ties whatsoever to my evil ex. The legal system moves far slower than the life cycle of a relationship, both in marriage and in divorce. So many people have said to me "You're very lucky you didn't have kids/money to fight over." Some have told me "A divorce is nothing. I'm divorced as well." Some of those people told me they have even more than one divorce to their name. I heard that and thought "You managed to go through this TWICE?!?!? How in God's name did you ever trust a relationship enough to even contemplate going through marriage and the possibility of divorce again?" That's not something I could ever see myself doing, certainly not without that guy signing a prenuptial agreement. Sorry, babe my trust is gone in that respect. I got zero justice whatsoever in the legal sense. My ex-husband got away with fucking me over & had a judge who condoned his behavior. Bias is not even enough to describe what that mess was.

It feels like if you become an attorney, even if you pursue a calling like I am and you don't make a dime from it no one listens when you speak or bothers to treat you as a human being. Me having emotional strength and not caving to bullshit from the likes of some Long Island bred Mama's Boy who'd have had nothing in NYC if it weren't for me doesn't = me being a robot with no feelings or permission to have any moral failings or not be some fantasy ideal of what we view people as being.

I was telling one friend that I did feel suicidal a few times in my transient life but the ultimate thing that stopped me was refusing to give my ex-husband or his shitty family the satisfaction of my death. I also didn't feel inclined to give my ex-husband or that family the satisfaction of taking NYC & my career away from me, things I worked my entire life to get. I suppose God, my father, my grandmother and any other angels I had agreed since there's no other reason for me to not have taken the path you'd expect me to after what happened. That bastard can believe I left voluntarily all he wants to but we all know the emotional abuse existed and I'm not the type who's going to ask a saboteur for help or show weakness to someone I know doesn't have my back or give a damn about me. He knows exactly what he did and what he pulled; guess how likely I'd ever forgive him for it?

The weird thing is I've not missed my ex. Not sure I even miss my old life itself that much. I'm pissed about the loss of stability but I'm regaining my own now.

I also like to think the court of public opinion and the court of the universe is on my side. I got an agency deal for commercial + print modeling (the very thing those jerks were against me doing) and for voiceover (the thing that jerk would kill to do) at a legitimate, reputable agency. My company has a movie that got mainstream attention in many ways. I got opportunities to do reviews on my own and even get to do a write up on a fashion show that the show producer invited me to and sought feedback from ME on. I've gotten my own entertainment clients and my own opportunities in the industry I have worked in for nearly 9 years. I keep making my own contacts and my old contacts are making their own waves and headway in this business. Tell me it's "just a hobby" or "worthless." I think a lot of these things are proof that the universe just needed me to get rid of my toxic ex; cleanse the things that held me back, dragged me down and caused problems.

The worst things I've had to deal with are the loss of my cats, the loss of my stability, the loss of my private space and the way things ended, knowing that in retrospect my ex was nothing more than a wannabe leech who was trying to use me as a meal ticket. Well, lesson learned. I married for love; my heart was true. I'm slowly rebuilding back to where I was and then some. I'm reliving my pre-marriage single days. At least my look defies my age so my ex didn't get to steal my youth or beauty like many husbands steal from their wives.

Here's an example of the difference b/t my new tribe and the old one: the new tribe is actually happy for me & opportunities I get. Those people congratulated me and didn't make me feel like I'm some terrible person for getting successful or coming into the status I'd been deprived of with my ex weighing me down. I even got to keep my oldest friend in the world who I hope won't engage in a personality 180 like my last one did; there's one thing in particular that if he did, I'd have to end the friendship since not only would he be a liar but he'd be a massive scumbag hurting innocent people I happen to like. Guess my years ago sense that I should keep him around was right. My life would have been a lot easier at home if I had let my ex dictate my friendships but I refused. There was a principle at work.

The goal now is getting me in order, my life, my career and maybe some quality male companionship. I managed this before & now I'm doing this without being emotionally dead inside. My last boyfriend helped me realize I could indeed do far better than my ex in so many ways, I could do exclusivity with someone again from my choice/free will and I could trust someone again. He even went beyond the simple basics like going with me for major surgery when we were merely FWBs.

I also have been spending time reclaiming things like my old karaoke spot and places I'd previously gone to with my ex. I feel it's necessary to create new imprints and memories having zero to do with him in the city I call home. It's also helpful for showing those people I know who haven't lived here nearly as long as me some spots where they can take people & might not have known about if it weren't for me. When I broke up with other guys, I went through this reclaiming process as well. Get rid of a prior association or letting someone else's "thing" stop you from enjoying it like a particular musician's songs or a particular restaurant.

So, what advice could I impart to you if you're a divorced or soon to be divorced woman or even someone who's lost a parent or dealing with a perfect storm of hell? I like to hope I can impart something of wisdom and value a little over 3 years after my father's sudden death & the match that lit the keg of dynamite.

For one thing, you have to never adopt a poverty mentality. You can't think that you don't deserve better or you aren't worthy of things. That's what caused me to marry my ex. You have to know and believe in your heart that today's circumstances are not where you'll be 5 years from now. You may not know exactly where you will be but you can't think you're stuck in today if you hate today. Plus, no one else has to live your life except you & you will be the most unhappy of all if you want to jump out of your own skin or run away or can't take it anymore. I took steps to avoid being another young mother in NC; you have to figure out your own action plan and move from there.

Second, think about your haters. Do you really want to give them the satisfaction of your death? I think most of us wouldn't (certainly not me since I think venom from hatred gives me some energy when that hatred is well deserved). Want to prove your haters right? Suicide is just giving them what they want; granted you could throw in some homicide first but guns and bullets cost money or you're going to have to wait around to effectively poison someone and for the time where you won't be the first suspect. Homicide would require work and money, things you may not have. Instead give them what they don't want, which is your success and your climbing out of the pit of despair. They don't want your smiles or your winks or cheers or anything good happening to you or resulting from you.

Third, embrace your true self. No one is perfect and we all have our moments of weakness, vulnerability, etc. I think it's better to embrace being imperfect than trying to pretend you're perfect. I certainly have my own flaws & limitations. So does everyone else. Expecting me to be perfect is just stupid; that's unrealistic for anyone. Everyone has to be knocked off a pedestal sooner or later.

Fourth, and something I'm still living myself, it's a process not an instant result. It takes time to get the puzzle pieces to fit together properly or collect your puzzle pieces to make the picture in the first place. You can't spend your time listening to haters, even if if feels like the entire world is telling you to give up on your vision and settle for being ordinary. The biggest irony I'm seeing is my personal Facebook page, the venue where I am my true self with no apologies for not being some typical, boring attorney stereotype, becoming an inadvertent marketing tool. I've started to feel validation in my path and my vision for the first time in this career.

I had to fight for validation and people trusting what I said, listening to me and such for a good chunk of my life. I had to prove I belonged in a normal 1st grade class vs. special ed classes. I had to prove I had talent when I was in the Miss Parkland pageant; my own mother said to me after the dress rehearsal that she had doubts about my ability to do that pageant but after she saw my act, felt I could do it. I feel like when people see me in action or they view my reel, hear me sing, see me live in a fashion show, they instantly get why I'm pursuing this career instead of just going to work in some typical law firm as an associate. They 100% understand why it would be patronizing and insulting to tell me to give up. It would be a betrayal of self and any talent I actually have. Perhaps this is what felt like one of the biggest betrayals with my ex; you expect your husband to understand and be on board with you 100% in whatever endeavor you pursue. If you believe it, your time will come sooner or later.

Finally, never, ever be with someone who disrespects your art, devalues you, tries to censor you or dares to diminish you or your light; having support for what I do is one of the most important things to me. Critical, in fact. When someone is not giving you that support, they are killing your soul and spirit. No one deserves that kind of power.

As I have things to look forward to, build on, care about and focus on to take my mind off my shitty ex and what he did, I don't have to worry about getting revenge. Fortunate for him and his awful family b/c if I didn't have that stuff, I'd have no incentives to give a damn about anything and they'd have to be on the radar screen. I think that old adage "the best way to get over a man is to get under another one," is also true. As time has gone on, what my ex did has become less glaring in my mind. Getting better for me makes me feel less motivated to harm my ex or fuck up his life in some way. It also helps when your ex isn't some superstar who has very much b/c what kind of pleasure could you possibly get from knocking down someone who's already knocked himself down?

Some of us aren't phoenixes or nearly as strong as I am. That's one of your flaws/realities. Some of this was almost too much for me at times so don't go patting me on the back or holding me up as a saint. Just know what your flaws/weaknesses are and heed the wisdom of people who know better. I've always done this in my life & made it a point to forge connections with people who know better than me. Do the same.

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