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In a Year

15 Jun

Some people have told me not to put so much stock or value in the dates.  After all, they’re just numbers and why should I let these numbers have control over me?

Well…  I’m not sure what to say to that except…  Numbers and dates are important to me.  They don’t control my life but I’ve always enjoyed the passing of time marked by numbers and I’ve always enjoyed assigning significance to certain days.  

Such as today.

June 15th, 2017.  Mine and my husband’s 14th anniversary of being together.

Except not.

It would have been, but it’s also the one year anniversary of the end of our marriage.

It’s hard not to be sad on this day.  Last year I was so happy.  Thirteen years together and ten years married.  

We celebrated our anniversary with dinner and a movie.  

I was confident that the troubles in our marriage were secondary compared to our foundation of love.  I was still in love and really looking forward to making plans for the future.  We had been through so much together and we could undoubtedly get through a lot more.  

And now it’s been a year since my heart was broken.

A year isn’t enough time to get over some things.

Granted, I’m not in love with my ex-husband anymore.  That died pretty quick after the final death knell rang.

I’m also extremely happy with my current domestic situation: beautiful house, my three sons, and a man that loves me and appreciates  me and wants me.

If you know who you are, and you love yourself (check and check), a year is enough time to move on with acceptance and an open heart.  But no, it’s not enough time to let go of the hurt and anger.  Maybe next year.

So what have I learned in this past year?

Well, I’m still awesome.  Obvious understatement, right?  But I’ve been pretty surprised with how many people have told me how brightly my candle is burning this year.  Apparently I was hiding under a bushel without an identify of my own?  I don’t know if I agree with that assessment, but dozens of people have told me it’s like I just opened up and radiated happiness and positivity after my divorce.  Wow!  I’m both encouraged and surprised!

What else….

Maybe don’t get married at age 22. 

Do counselling before marriage to see if you’re both on the same page.  One of you might be confident whereas the other might be unsure.

Communicate with your spouse about everything.  As I’ve said before, I used to be cocky.  I considered my marriage to be superior to others.  After all, we talked about everything and everything.  We talked all the time.  Or I thought we did.

Never say never.  Up until last year I said I’d never get divorced.  I wasn’t lying to myself; I believed it with every ounce of my soul.  I’ll never say never again.  Anything can happen.

Some friends will desert you in times of life transition.  It happens.  Try not to be consumed by that and focus instead on the people who are still there.  Oh there were some amazing shows of support for me last summer, from some wonderful people.

Because some new friends will find you during transition as well, and they will become the best friends you’ve ever had.  Like brothers and sisters really.  Despite losing a great love, this past year has been more full of love than I thought would be possible.

That’s enough rambling for now.  It’s time to click off and get out of the city.  

I’m thrilled to be taking a special long weekend getaway with my amazing boyfriend.  New memories will be made on this strange weekend full of anniversaries and memories.

It’s Time to Move On

By Tom Petty

It’s time to move on, time to get going

What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing

But under my feet, baby, grass is growing

It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going

*

Broken skyline, movin’ through the airport

She’s an honest defector

Conscientious objector

Now her own protector

*

Broken skyline, which way to love land
Which way to something better

Which way to forgiveness

Which way do I go

*

Sometime later, getting the words wrong

Wasting the meaning and losing the rhyme

Nauseous adrenalin

Like breakin’ up a dogfight

Like a deer in the headlights

Frozen in real time

I’m losing my mind

*

It’s time to move on, time to get going

What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing

But under my feet, baby, grass is growing

It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going

****

Been working non-stop on my side project (which is more like the main project now): People of Port Arthur by Eating Dirt.

Been working equally hard on my new art endeavour: Pop Art Prints by Eating Dirt.

There she is, one year post divorce. Self portrait.




Super Girls

3 May

If you follow me on various social media platforms, you’ll have seen the bombardment of photos from my November 2016 Super Girls photo shoot.

In the same way that I wrote about my Dress Burning photos and my Tattoo photos, I’d like to now talk about Super Girls.

The concept began as I was attempting to put together some sort of Catwoman costume for Halloween.  

My friend Shelley had a Wonder Woman costume.  We didn’t have a set plan for Halloween festivities but I thought it would be fun if we could get a picture of us together, in our costumes!  

It didn’t end up happening because of scheduling conflicts, but I thought we could still get together and put our costumes on!

The original idea of a simple picture began growing and transforming into an entire afternoon of makeup, costumes, and photography.  At first I thought it would just be Shelley and I but then it became “and Scotia” and then finally, “and Diane.”  Naturally I asked Scotia to do makeup and hair and naturally I wanted Scott as the photographer.

This launched the third instalment of my journey to healing: Healing from Heartbreak through personal exploration and conceptual photography projects.  

In other words, some of my friends and I were going to put on sassy costumes, pretend to fight, and have someone take pictures.

A fun way to spend an afternoon?  

Of course!

The cast of characters?  

Let’s meet them.

Scott.  The Photographer.  From Scott Hobbs Photography.  Number 46 on People of Port Arthur.


*

Scotia.  The Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist of Sweet Cherry Spa.  Number 26 on People of Port Arthur.  Also known as BANE!


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Diane. Professor. Cosplay enthusiast. She did her own makeup and hair here.  Number 72 on People of Port Arthur.  Also known as the Brunette Super Girl.


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Shelley.  Public health nurse.  Number 59 on People of Port Arthur.  Also known as the blond Wonder Woman!


*

And of course, me!  Catwoman.  The blogger!



It’s amazing what a bit of makeup and hairspray can do!

The tireless photographer and his trouble-making subjects:

The basic story here is that Catwoman and her two friends,  Supergirl and Wonder Woman, were on a business meeting in downtown Port Arthur.  All of a sudden, Bane appeared and her objective was to take down the trio of heros (we’re working with the premise here that Catwoman flip-flops from good to bad and in this particular situation, she’s “good”).  

Of course there was some fighting and a few tense moments.  But in the end, good triumphed over bad.  









What a happy ending!  Supergirl rescued us!

A few one-offs:






There is no deep and mysterious meanings to the subject matter of this particular photo shoot.  

I think it’s all rather self-explanatory.

1. It’s important to have fun; you don’t always have to take yourself seriously.

2. It’s important to surround yourselves with friends.

3. Every woman (every person) is a super hero on the inside.  We are strong and resilient.

4. When the going gets tough, be your own super hero.

5. When the going gets tough, surround yourself with other super heros.

I’ve come so far on this journey of healing.  It’s been just over a year now.

Journeying through grief takes on so many forms when mourning the loss of a marriage.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still mad about it.  I am.  I likely will continue to feel anger for quite some time.  

But I’m stronger than hatred and stronger than despair.  I have so much love and laughter in my life. 

My friends are my super heros.  These friends, and so many more.


*serious heart hands*

*

Keep your eye on this space because this isn’t the end of the photo-shoot fun.  Not by a long shot!

Tattoo & Transform

18 Jan

After my marriage ended, I wanted to do something to commemorate my feelings and to signify the start of a new chapter.

Enter, the torched wedding dress.

I wrote about that experience here, but I’m going to show a few pictures again anyway because I love them.





Scott Hobbs of Scott Hobbs Photography was the man behind the camera for this particular event (makeup and hair by Scotia of Sweet Cherry Spa) and I decided I wanted him behind the camera for future projects.  

He was happy to oblige with his expertise and I decided my next series of photos would document the beautiful and transformative process of tattooing.

This was a casual photo shoot that felt just like friends hanging out and laughing.  One of those friends just happened to have a big camera!

Scott is a professional


My hope was that the camera would be able to get up really close and personal as the needle pushed ink into the skin.  

I hoped there would be a mess of ink and blood that could represent how life can sometimes be really messy and definitely painful.  

But what happens after all that pain?  

Wipe away the mess and what’s left is a beautiful piece of art.

After the mess and heartbreak of last spring began to fade away (as time passed), I felt reborn.  

I never lost who I was, but being thrust into a new kind of life, shook me. 

It was a summer of reconnecting with old friends and connecting with new friends.  My people rallied around me and new people built me up and fortified me.  My heart is so full and happy and at peace.

That’s not to say it’s easy and stress-free.  But the process of becoming more ME and more fabulous than ever before is a good one.  I’m not stagnating; something is always happening.

The pictures didn’t go exactly as I planned because I didn’t bleed.  It wasn’t a messy experience at all.  

But we are adaptable and I was rewarded with some lovely photographs.






Thank you Scott for the lovely photos and for the gift of your time.

Thank you Vanessa (of Red River Trade Company) for the beautiful art that is now a part of me.

My collection of body art will continue to grow and I will too.

Cleansing by Fire

18 Nov

It’s snowing right now.  

The first snow of the year.  

A lot of people detest the arrival of winter precipitation but there is something innately beautiful about a fresh and pure blanket covering up the dirty streets and sidewalks.  

That first snow covers a multitude of sins.

Having said that, snow doesn’t have permanence.  It will eventually melt and everything underneath will once again be on display.

Fire though.  

Fire is permanent.

I was watching the snow cover the streets and thought it might be an appropriate time to share my experience with the permanence of fire.

A cleansing of fire, with fire, and through fire.

When I realized, without a doubt, that my marriage was over, my immediate reaction was, “I need to drop this last name.  I’m not that person anymore.  That part of my life is over.  I need a new name and I need do something drastic to commemorate my new identity: my reinvention, if you will.”

I thought, I’m going to burn something; I’m going to destroy something!  Natural conclusion to this line of thinking: I’m going to burn my wedding dress!

In all honesty, many people weren’t thrilled with this idea.  It was thought to be too extreme and in poor taste.  The puzzled reactions furthered my resolve to do something loud and destructive.

I approached my friend Scott, of Scott Hobbs Photography, with my vision and we set to work.  We recruited our makeup artist friend Scotia, of Sweet Cherry Spa.  We drove into the bush one Saturday afternoon and didn’t come out until things were done properly.

Makeup and hair by Scotia


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Photography by Scott


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Behind the scenes:


***

The Journey:










*

Oh, and we had guns.  

Because, why not?


Mission accomplished.

I am Kali, the dark one: the goddess of destruction.  I come in vengeance and fire; I destroy.  I am carnage embodied.

I am Kali, the beautiful one: the goddess of renewal and rebirth.  From the ashes of my mayhem comes something new and wonderful.

Thank you Scott and Scotia for helping me on this step of my healing and transitioning.

I was broken.  

I’m whole again.

So much love and light to you, my dear friends.

Moments

17 Sep

It’s been three months.

The early mornings, as we are all sitting in the living room, it sometimes hits.

These quiet moments before the hectic grind of every day life begins. 

We’re drinking coffee and listening to the big boys talk nonsense about minecraft.  The baby is being ridiculously cute.  We smile at each other, a shared understanding.  We know that we have the cutest kids in the world.

In those quiet early morning moments, I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he wants to leave.  

How could he leave the family he helped create?  How could he stand to miss any of this?  These are moments you can never get back.  

When that realization hits me, I just stare at our beautiful boys with hot tears running down my face, hoping they won’t notice.

I’m ok.  

I’m more than ok.  

Some moments are just harder than others.

Silver Linings

28 Aug

I accidentally published this yesterday before I edited it.  I apologize to the subscribers for the double email.  

Lately I’ve been feeling really depressed about being a single parent.  

I know my story isn’t unique and millions of single parents all over the world are able to carry on and lead successful and fulfilling lives. I have no doubt that my life will have some measure of success and fulfillment, but I guess being a bit angry and sad is just part of the process I need to go through in this transitional phase.

~
Being married didn’t define me and being divorced won’t define me either. I’m so much more than my personal relationships. I guess I’m just feeling cheated out of the life I “signed” up for when I signed the marriage certificate ten years ago.  

~
We made these kids together, then I was essentially tortured for 35-37 weeks, then painful labour and delivery, followed by weeks of feeling awful as my body recovered. But in the end it was all ok because I was so happy to do that for my husband: my partner in life and in parenting. I thought of it as an amazing gift I could give to him, a man who assured me he definitely wanted kids. He was and is a good father. And yet, if I saw this coming, would I have endured pregnancy three times? I don’t know. There’s no easy answer.

I’m coming to terms with losing my life partner but it’s actually harder to accept I’ll be losing the daily parenting partnership that I valued so much. Yes, we will still be parenting together but it won’t be the same. I’m exhausted and scared at the thought of handling bedtimes, overnights, and mornings alone.  

You’re reading this and thinking, is she still whining about her failed marriage? The answer to that is a resounding YES!  

Writing all these thoughts down really helps me make sense of this mess and helps me feel calmer and contented.  

But it’s not a good idea to whine all the time! So I’m going to focus on some good things right now, some silver linings if you will!

Silver Linings:

~~~

I love my house!  I love having a sidewalk in front of my house; I love having a front porch and back deck; I love not sleeping in the basement; I love that all three of my boys have their own bedroom; I love the spaciousness and the storage space in the basement; I love how big the bathroom is!

***

I love my neighbourhood!
 I love being a short walk away from the downtown area; I love being close to two grocery stores, the bank, the drug store/pharmacy, and dozens of stores and restaurants!

***

I love my kids!
 They are super annoying sometimes but they are also loving and quirky and adorable.
***

I love my supportive friends and family!  
The number of amazing people in my life is one of the biggest blessings 

***

I love not being in debt!
 Not owing money is a huge feeling of relief!

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I love the feeling of knowing that good things are waiting for me!  
Yes!  Even though I feel scared and angry, I know those feelings will ease and good things are coming!

***

I love Jason. That one doesn’t get an exclamation point.  It’s a very good thing that we aren’t seething with hatred and acrimony towards each other.  we get along and we will be friends; we will be together as a family as our children celebrate milestones both big and small.

***

I love myself! As I approached age 30 and moved beyond it, Infound myself growing more and more confident. My confidence was shredded four months ago, but it wasn’t destroyed. I can feel my heart and soul knitting back together. And despite what happened, I never lost myself. I took a slight detour, but I’m still here. I know who I am and I know what I want and it’s a wonderful feeling to be so secure in your identity. And, at the risk of sounding completely self involved and narcissistic, I’m going to keep getting better!

***

What are some good things in your life right now?!

Why?

18 Aug

It’s been exactly two months since my marriage ended; four months since I was told the marriage was in trouble.

I’m functional, I’m upbeat, I’ve chosen to be content; overall, I’m in a good place both mentally and physically.

But the mind? 

It wanders.

The question of ‘why’ is never really far from my consciousness.  

I’m not wallowing in despair and I’m not being kept awake at night by an overactive mind, yet I’m constantly just asking myself why.

Why was I unable to see the hints and/or warning signs of a troubled relationship?  Am I really that ignorant?

Why was I so confidant that our love could withstand anything?  

Why did I think things were solid when they weren’t?

Why was I able to look beyond his faults and love unconditionally, but that unconditional love wasn’t returned? 

Why did I believe we were perfect together?  

Why did I have to go through that awful third pregnancy only to have this as the outcome?  

Why was I only given two months to ‘work on things’ before everything was just done?

Why did I think he was so wonderful?  Why did I have him on a pedestal?

Why did this happen?

And many more…

In time I know I’ll get some answers.  But until then, hundreds of questions will be repeatedly cycling through my mind, coupled with periodic self doubt and self loathing.  

What a fun process.

I have to admit, rightly or wrongly, I feel like a victim.  

I feel like things have just been happening TO me, rather than me making things happen.  Life feels chaotic and unsettled and I don’t like feeling passive or like all this just happened and I was helpless to change it.

I’ve been taking steps to regain control; I’m trying to stop feeling victimized.  Small steps.  

For instance, putting a public announcement on social media was one small way of taking control.  I didn’t want my marriage to end but it did.  So in addition to the other reasons I discussed, it was MY decision when and how to tell people.

People were upset about that public announcement, but their reactions to MY news are ultimately none of my business.

Continuing to write in this space about my feelings and healing process is another way of taking control.

I threw myself a birthday party, I went to Alberta to see my brother, I just got another tattoo.  I have more interesting things planned for the near future: things to help me heal and feel less chaotic.  I’ll also be going back to therapy at the end of September so I can figure out how to forgive and how to feel thankful and accepting for every surprise that life throws at me.

I can ask why a million times but I also have to DO things.  I can’t just sit still and let life happen to me.