Everything has been finalized; I am now a divorcée.
719 weeks and 1 day
13 years, 9 months, 10 days
I gave this marriage 37% of my life, chronologically...but much more in terms of life force and energy. This marriage was a gaping maw of need, of expectations unmet, of spite, of resentment, and so much hurt. This marriage spans the lifetimes of my children, my career, my youth.
In my imagination, a crooked house has burst into flames in the middle of the prairie. It was ramshackle, poorly architected, hastily built ad-hoc, but it was ours. I have a kid's hand in each hand. We are staring as our history forms a dark grey cloud in the night sky, obscuring the stars. I am grateful for that, at least: there is no comfort to be found in stars. They twinkle on, aloof to the microcosmos of humanity, many of them long-dead already and we just can't see it yet.
This seems to be a pattern with me and things that are long-dead; I just couldn't see it. I didn't want to see it.
I suddenly can recollect long-hidden memories, playing like silent movies in my head. How much we laughed during our wedding reception. The look of wonder on his face when he first held Isaac; the one of reverence when he first held Emily. Watching him speak at his sister's funeral. His bare shoulders as he dug up decades' worth of hard-packed clay to make vegetable gardens in our backyard, because he promised me a farm. Tearing up at my sister's wedding because it was already over by that point, but we didn't have the heart to steal any of the spotlight. The hard-earned hug and cigarettes we shared after signing the divorce papers.
Ugh, sorry. Waxing sentimental isn't going to help me now.
What constructive life lessons do I take with me? Hopefully a healthy aversion to marrying again. A grave reminder to always choose kindness over charm. The knowledge to take life more soberly, to give the important things their proper respect and deliberation. No more whirling dervishes. And for god's sake, to listen to my instincts.
Tim and I are almost friends now. We still communicate daily because the kids keep us busy. But for my own sanity's sake, I still need discrete boundary lines. Maybe one day, we will look back at this and laugh.
Tim and I are newly divorced. The legal process lasted about 11 months, and during that time, I also had to grieve the loss of an important part of my identity. I set out to re-learn how to live my life as a singleton. I made a list of milestones to remind myself of what I am free to do and how I could keep myself company and be content when I am alone.
Single Girl Milestones
(Ranked from easiest to hardest)
For Julie, by Julie
1. This apartment is now your domain. Decorate the space as you damn well please (sheets and pillows, wall art, and other decor).
2. If you can afford one, buy a new bed.
3. Netflix and chill with a blanket and some ice cream.
4. Attend a work or school shindig stag. The solo people have way more fun.
5. Go to the park alone with no further agenda, and read at a leisurely pace.
6. Buy your own birthday cake in your favorite flavor, with pretty decorations and writing, the whole nine yards. Share slices with your coworkers, friends, family, and/or neighbors.
7. Treat yourself to thoughtful little gifts, the way you treat others with random things that remind you of them.
8. Take a class (dance, language, arts and crafts, cooking, coding, and other new skills) and attend sola.
9. Watch a movie in the theatre sola. No one will think it strange.
10. Treat yourself to a sola dinner. Eat at the bar if you feel embarrassed. Talk to your counter-mates, the bartender, the chef.
11. Go to a bar sola and buy yourself a drink. Just one drink.
12. Ask someone to dance with you, even if it's just for a few seconds while waiting in line.
13. Ask someone out on a date. Chances are, they'll say yes, because who does that anymore? A chance at a fun or romantic evening doesn't often present itself to you, right?
14. Take a vacation sola. At last, you will only hit the spots you want to see, and you won't have to sit through your companions squabbling or complaining about things.
To take care of myself and just myself
To remember to eat and to stop when it’s time
To take my medicine
To sleep eight hours a night, every night
To stop diluting my spirit to make it more easily digestible
To say no when I mean no
To stop mourning a marriage that never really lived
To recognize a snake and treat it as a snake
To live deliberately and fearlessly
To pause to catch my breath
To accept the generosity of my friends
To kiss someone with eyes closed and heart open
I'm at Long Beach airport, waiting to board a plane that will take me 400 miles away from my loves again. Winter break for App Academy is done for me, and the grind starts back up on Thursday.
Emi has changed considerably since mid-November, when I first left. She uses words and phrases she must have picked up from books and television, in other words, not from Tim or me. Examples: "That was so random!", "I'm ready when I'm ready!", and that argh-growl of absolute frustration that every sister has perfected by the time they are 10. She is precocious in that department.
Isaac has grown into quite the proper young gent. Without being asked to, he picks up things I drop, beaming if I say thank you, smiling curtly if I don't. He reads to his little sister for hours sometimes, or plays imaginary games with her until both of them are lost in the ether, hazy eyes snapping back into focus when I announce dinner or bath time. He is still doing really well in school. When we went to Barnes & Noble to redeem some gift certificates he received for his birthday, he chose the sequel to Chris Colfer's "The Land of Stories," a book on the assassination of JFK, a book on other celebrity deaths, and a brain teaser workbook. He's well on his way to being an awesome tween.
We are doing well! Six more weeks of separation, then on to our next big adventure.
2014 is the Year of the Horse: MY year. Watch out, world.
We wish you and your loved ones a healthy and prosperous 2014!
It's still the 26th here in San Francisco, but it's the afternoon of the 27th in Japan, where you are right now, thousands of miles away from my heart.
You're the best, you know that? I probably don't tell you often enough, but Bu, you are the Real Deal. You are a voracious reader, you love to learn, you are even coding! But best of all, you still have a wide-open heart. You are good company, you make good jokes, you see the good in everyone, and you never hold a grudge.
This summer, I had the thrill of taking you on your first roller coaster ride, and back in January we saw Stanford win at our first Rose Bowl. I can't wait to take you to your first concert, your first Comic-Con and Gallifrey One, your first date, your freshman year of college.
You love Minecraft, Adventure Time, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. You proudly call yourself a Brony, and that makes me so proud of you. You still love fuzzy things and you still allow me to snuggle you. Thank you for that.
You are an exceptionally good traveller. You eat anything and everything placed in front of you. You have good manners. You are so brave because you are never afraid to say you're sorry. You are the evidence that there is still good in the world, and that good wins in the end.
PS: Here's a baby kiwi bird. ISN'T IT SO CUTE???
We have two concord grapevines in the backyard, and it has become our yearly fall tradition to pick dozens of pounds of them in September around the Harvest Moon, then try to unload them on our loved ones and neighbors as fast as possible. Dozens of pounds of grapes are literally THOUSANDS of grapes, and the bastards all ripen at once, so time is of the essence when dealing with them.
This year, however, because of a start-and-stop summer, our grapevines got confused, so we were left with a bunch of uneven bunches, with fruit ranging from green to raisin. We were able to salvage almost 30 pounds of sweet, handsome fruit, but they had to be separated from their cruddy brethren, and thus not giftable. Therefore, I had to tie my bonnet, button my pinafore, and go all Ma Ingalls on them by turning them into jam.
Grape jam, if done by the book, is a pain in the ass. You have to separate the pulp from the skin, then boil the pulp while cutting up the skins in a food processor, then combine them again and boil the mixture down...all to have a few jars of what basically tastes like Welch's. Well, a little better than Welch's, but still, not 12-hours-of-sweaty-labor better.
Therefore, we have winnowed down the recipe quite a bit to fit our needs. It tastes exactly the same as the "right" way.
Mang Farm "Grapple" Jam (1 batch = approx. 4 8-oz. jelly jars)
PS: Would you like a jar of our jam??? If so, post a food-themed haiku below, and I will randomly select a winner and mail one out to you!
As if I didn't have enough on my plate, I have joined a new blog, The Nerds of Color, or N.O.C. for short. It combines two of my favorite things: pop culture and good-looking smart people, in one convenient package.
All contributors had to introduce themselves via their "Nerd Origin Story." I don't mean to brag, but mine was by far the most cringe-inducing. Teaser: it involves multiple rejections...and a fur suit. You will never look at me the same again.
To make amends, I also wrote a piece for our children's nerd culture column, School of Hard N.O.C.s on The Legend of Korra. I don't know how vocal I've been about that show on this blog, but I frigging LOVE IT. I love it more than RuPaul's Drag Race and Game of Thrones combined, it's that good.
We even have a nerdy talk show called Hard N.O.C. Life, with its own awesome theme song:
PS: Apparently Emi was fiddling around with my computer today. This is what I found: