When people show you who they are believe them

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I was watching Oprah one day many years ago when I first heard her share the very wise words of her dear friend and mentor Maya Angelo: When people show you who they are, believe them.

It can not be any clearer or simpler than that and I have tried to live by that premise.

Here’s the challenge… what do you when they change?

You believe them.

What if they are flip floppers?

Believe them.

Believing when people show us who they truly are whether it be positive or negative is the only way to navigate your own course and not be distracted by the pretty shiny things someone might be trying to use to steer you off your course and on to their own.

It’s not easy. I’m a girl. I like pretty shiny things and can be easily distracted.

However, what I know for sure is who I am. I trust my instinct about people and am often right.

And when I am wrong, I own it.

Good or bad.

When people show you who they are… Believe them. It just might save you some time and heartache.

 

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Last Night I Forgot I was Divorced

We love each other

I didn’t sleep well last night.

I woke often and carefully tugged at the covers to gain a bit more for myself but didn’t want to disturb my husband sleeping soundly next to me.

I cuddled up against him, trying to absorb some of his body heat to chase away the early morning chill that hung in the air. As I rolled over I could feel the pressure of his legs leaning into mine as he sidled up next to me.

Even as I enjoyed the closeness I felt as if something was wrong. Like we had gone to bed before resolving an argument or that I was forgetting something important.

This feeling lasted throughout the night and infiltrated my dreams.

I didn’t sleep well last night but for some reason I didn’t want to wake up.

Didn’t want to open my eyes.

… and then I did.

Brain foggy with sleep I rolled over and saw one of my cats sound asleep cuddled up next to me, hogging the covers.

It was only then that I remembered.

I’m not married anymore.

I haven’t slept or cuddled with that man, any man, for a very long time.

I don’t know how it happened but last night I forgot I was divorced and mistook the cuddling of my a cat for the warmth and love of a husband.

Oh well, it could have been worse.

At least I had the cat.

 

 

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Diamonds are Forever

Rings

 

I’ve never cared much about jewelry.

So, when we exchanged simple gold bands on that lovely summer day in 1995 I was happy. Those circles of gold represented the promises we made to each other that day. And that is what made them valuable to me.

In our second year of marriage for Valentine’s Day he gave me a diamond wedding set. Not because I longed for a diamond or he had a romantic notion to fulfill. I had lost my simple circle of gold and all of the promises it held and we needed to replace it.

We were doing a little better financially at this time so I ended up with a diamond wedding set. I would love to say he “re-proposed” as he slipped the ring on my finger but he did neither.

Come to think of it he never really proposed. It was a casual conversation that turned into a wedding one month later.

About a year after I lost my gold band, a friend of mine found it in the couch we had given her. He took my circle of promises and slipped it on the pinky finger of his left hand and there it stayed.

He still has it somewhere…

In the eighth year of our marriage I watched a documentary on “Blood Diamonds” and how they were used to support the wars going on in the Congo and Sierra Leone. I saw images of women and children with their hands chopped off to prevent them from mining these diamonds that are so often used as a status symbol. Sickened by these images and the reasons behind them I removed my diamonds and vowed never to wear them again. My husband supported and even applauded my social conscience.

I was happy to place that gold circle, keeper of promises back on my finger. However, my husband really liked the symbolism of wearing my original wedding band on his pinky finger and I felt the sentiment behind that was sweet and meaningful.  So we purchased a new, slightly fancier band; that I, once again; slipped on my own finger.

Two years later as our 10th wedding anniversary approached I was very excited. It was a milestone that meant a lot to me. For several years I had wanted and been mentally designing a platinum band to mark this very special occasion. A couple of months prior to our anniversary both my husband and I went to a local jeweler and explained what I wanted. We sat there with paper and pencil trying to illustrate the vision I had been carrying around with me for so long.

It was a simple design but for some reason I was having trouble getting it out. At one point my husband took the pencil from my hand and began to draw exactly what I was looking for; a simple platinum band with 10 starbursts engraved all the way around. Each starburst represented one year of marriage. On the inside of the ring I had him engrave the words, “The First 10”.

My dream was to have a similar band created for every 10 years we were married. It was a romantic notion for sure but one that was meaningful to me.

The ring was ready a week before our anniversary and I was excited to pick it up. It was exactly what I had envisioned and it felt even more special because we had both participated in the design.

As much as I wanted to wear the ring—and he encouraged me to—I wanted to wait. We had plans to go away for our anniversary. Just a quick trip to Sun Mountain Lodge for the weekend but I was very excited.

As I reflect on that weekend and all the effort he put in for it to be romantic and filled with surprises I have to wonder where we went wrong…

The biggest surprise came on the day we were officially married 10 years.

It was early afternoon and we were sharing a bath and glass of wine in the Jacuzzi tub. He reached out, picked up my left hand and held it gently. He began to share how much he loved me and how happy he was to be married to me. He said how proud he was of my decision to give up wearing diamonds and the reasons behind it. As he continued to speak he began to slip the anniversary band off the finger of my left hand where I had happily placed it just that morning, replacing it with a beautiful princess cut diamond.

I opened my mouth to protest but he asked me to hear him out. He told me the story of how he had been working with the same jeweler for months to find what was called a Polar Bear Diamond. It’s a diamond mined in Canada and is considered “bloodless” or “Conflict Free”. He went on to say how much it meant to him to put this diamond on my finger because I, more than anyone, deserved it.

Needless to say I was crying at this point. It was such a thoughtful and meaningful gesture. It meant the world to me. I felt as if the promises held in the gold band on his pinky finger could be shared, if not transferred to this ring.

In 2006, for Christmas he gave me a beautiful ring that held three diamonds (all conflict free) to represent the past, present and future. Again, it was thoughtful, meaningful and a surprise.

Christmas 2007 it was a diamond journey necklace.

It was around that time we decided not to exchange gifts anymore. We generally bought ourselves what we wanted or needed and decided to remove the “pressure” of having to come up with gift ideas.

The first year of no gifts was tough for me but I got used to it.

In 2011 we spent our last Christmas together as a married couple (blissfully unaware that in five short months it would all be over). It was also the year that he surprised me with the most meaningful and thoughtful gesture I had ever received from him.

As I mentioned, we had stopped exchanging gifts several years prior so I wasn’t expecting anything which explains why I was confused when two gifts were placed in my lap. They appeared to be professionally wrapped in white glossy paper with red ribbon and bows (the colors of our Christmas decorations) but they weren’t.

He had wrapped them himself.

I looked at the gifts and then at him and whispered, “You got me a present?” my voice filled with emotion.

He just looked at me without responding.

“You got me a present.” I stated my voice filled with awe.

“I can’t believe you got me a present.” I whispered as the tears began to flow.

Upon opening the first gift I immediately recognized the box as being from Swarovski and rightfully guessed it was the crystal horses I had been raving about for weeks.

“Are these what I think they are?” I could feel the heat on my cheeks and taste the salt of my tears as they flowed faster and harder.

He nodded.

I didn’t even finish opening them before I reached over to hug and hold him.

“Oh my God, I can’t believe you did this! When? How?” The questions flowed as the shock wore off and joy took over.

He encouraged me to stop talking and continue opening my presents.

After spending several minutes admiring my beautiful horses I gently placed them back in the box.

As I reached for the smaller gift I looked at him and said, “But I didn’t get you anything.”

“This,” he gestured to me “is my gift.”

I began to slowly, methodically unwrap the second present. I wanted to savor every moment. However, as soon as I saw the distinct shade of Tiffany blue I tore into it. Inside of the box was a diamond infinity ring set in platinum.

“Why…?”

“Because I knew you wanted gifts this year.”

“Is it because I’ve been sick?”

“No.”

That was the last piece of jewelry he gave me.

Our marriage ended five months later.

That was 15 months ago.

Yesterday I decided I was ready to let go of the past and begin moving forward.

I took the jewelry that represented those thoughtful and meaningful moments of our marriage and sold them to a wholesaler.  Apparently those moments aren’t as valuable now as when they happened since I received but a fraction of what they cost… monetarily anyway.

I sat silently as the jeweler evaluated each piece. Remembering…  Tears came to my eyes and my voice shook as he asked questions. He kept apologizing to me. Telling me how sorry he was that my marriage had ended. Asking me if I was sure I wanted to do this.

All sentiments I would’ve liked my ex-husband to have expressed to me before he made his decision to end the marriage.

“Yes. I’m sure.” I said. “It’s time to move on.” My spirit grew stronger as I spoke these words and I am happy to say they are the truth. I felt lighter when I walked out of there.

Letting go of the past.

Moving towards my future.

As I thought about what to do with the money I knew I would pay some bills. I also felt the need to do something meaningful and thoughtful with the proceeds. To honor the spirit in which they were given and received.

Immediately an idea came to me. One I followed through on when I got home.

I wrote a check to my daughter and son-in-law. They have been trying to conceive for the last two years without success. We recently found out they would not be able to have a child without help. The money will be used to help pay for the first fertility treatment they will be doing in September. The intent is that each one of those diamonds will be forever represented and the meaning behind hold true… hopefully, through the success of this procedure.

A Solitaire Diamond ring from a conflict free source representing love and respect

The Past, Present and Future ring with flawless stones implying a life well lived

A Journey Necklace shaped to represent the road to be traveled

An Infinity ring representing the love, respect and commitment to be given and received

 

If diamonds are truly meant to be forever then they never really belonged to me. They would have eventually been passed on, creating new memories of meaningful and thoughtful gestures for someone else.

 

The diamonds are gone.

The memories tucked away.

The intention paid forward.

 

 

 

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Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me 8-21-13

Sometimes I feel like I’m melting…

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Eye of Her Storm

Eye of the Storm 8-21-13

When words are not enough…

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The Lost Girl

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The Lost Girl

 

I am lost

No matter where I go
I don’t belong

I’m lost
I can’t be found

It makes me wonder
If my time here is done

I’m in the water
I can’t swim

I’m in the air
I can’t fly

I’m in a car
I can’t drive

There’s oxygen
I can’t breathe

There’s beauty
I can’t see

Birds are singing
I can’t hear

There’s danger
I can’t scream

I’m lost
I can’t be found

It makes me wonder
If my time here is done

I am lost
I am lost

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Why Can’t I Move Forward?

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I thought I was ready.
I went on a date and it was nice.

He gave me a gentle kiss goodnight and I enjoyed it.
I even thought about him a couple of times yesterday.

So, why did I just blow him off when he invited me out for go-kart racing?
Why did I take it a step further and tell him I am not ready for this?

His question for me was valid.

“Natalie, what are you waiting for? The excitement of a little kiss, holding hands; you want it; I saw it in your eyes. Deal with the apprehension like you do with heights; head on! Feel the joy of courtship.”

My response… tears. The sadness was overwhelming and unexpected. It caught me off guard.

Thank God for technology. Tears and sadness can’t be seen via text message.

Thank you and goodbye was my response.

 

“What am I waiting for?” I asked myself

Then it hit me.

If I truly move forward, I can never go backwards.

As much as I logically know going backwards is not an option, my heart still beats with love for him.

As much as I hurt from the pain he inflicted, my blood still races with desire when I think of him.

Moving forward means I can’t go backwards and I am not ready to accept that, which tells me I have more healing to do. I am still on the path I committed to 14 months ago; be in a healthy relationship with myself before I move into one with someone else.

This is where I take a deep cleansing breath and choose to be kind to myself. By kind, I mean patient. I will respect the inner voice inside that has my best interests at heart.

It’s okay to feel lonely and want to be in the company of someone who tells you how beautiful you are, how smart, funny, etc. It’s okay to want to be wanted. But, to act from a place of fear or desperation are not the right motivators to move forward.

I’m not ready to move forward romantically. Not because I desire a romantic relationship with my ex. That ship has sailed and sunk; killing all on board.

I’m not ready to move forward romantically because I’m not. I believe it is a testament to the deep love and commitment I thought I shared with my husband for 17 years.

As the saying goes; Time heals all wounds.

I just need more time.

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