5.28.2013

I write best at 3:00 in the morning...

The last time Josh was gone overnight was last August. Nine days after we moved to Champaign, he left with his group of best friends to spend two weeks canoeing, hiking, and camping in Canada.

I used to be alone overnight on a regular basis. I mean, I spent almost half of our first year of marriage hogging an entire queen sized bed while Josh was on TDY, sometimes for weeks at a time. People assured me that his absence would get easier over time and that I'd learn to cherish my "me time."

It never became easier, only more lonely.

This past weekend, Josh decided to take his new motorcycle up to our hometown to visit his friends and celebrate one's graduation from college. The moment he told me about his plans to spend the weekend back home - without me - my heart did one of those nervous flip-flops. You know, the kind you get when you're almost at the top of the roller coaster but can't see the drop yet?

We haven't shared a bed for a few months now, and I've kind of gotten used to it. Once I can convince myself to climb into the empty bed it's usually around 3:00 AM and I have no other choice but to sleep. But I haven't been alone alone in our apartment overnight in almost ten months.

Last time, it was under completely different circumstances. This time last year, we were both still blissfully unaware of how quickly we were unraveling. I knew he was having a blast with his best friends in Canada and that he would be home in two weeks. I knew that when he came home he would scoop me up into his arms, kiss me deeply, tell me that he loves me and missed me while he was away, and show me the gift he got me on his travels...like he would always do after his TDY's back in the day.

But this time, we're unhappily married and waiting on a divorce to be finalized. This time we're just roommates who happen to be best friends and kinda married, but only on paper. This was his first time away since our life fell to pieces and it scared me to death to be alone this past weekend.

When he left Friday afternoon, I laid in my bed and watched Grey's Anatomy until the sun went down. I decided that I was hungry and would need comfort food, so I ordered a pizza and poured myself a glass of wine. Then another. And another. By the bottom of the third glass I had enough courage and energy to deep clean my kitchen - like, super deep - and moved all of his stuff out of our closet and into his closet. My bedroom is now solely my bedroom (the bathroom is another transition for another day). And you know what? It feels pretty damn good.

Left: where his clothes used to be in our shared closet/Right: all of his stuff in the guest room closet.
I spent the rest of the weekend cooking, baking, and doing mountains of homework to keep myself occupied, but the tears came anyway. My mother called...tears. I read a tweet from a fellow divorcée...tears. My father called...tears. As strong as I am sometimes, I make up for it with incessant crying shortly after.


Maybe I'll post the recipes for both of these soon. They're worth sharing!
But I learned something about myself this weekend. I learned that I am strong. Crying doesn't make me weak. I'm going through fucking hell right now with this stupid divorce, losing three jobs in nine months when I've never been fired ever before, losing friends, and a ridiculous amount of mental and physical illnesses. I am allowed to cry.

I also learned that I am capable of living alone. I hated it. I was miserable most of those three days by myself. But I lived. I'm still breathing and my heart is still beating and I'm writing this post (while crying, of course). It's going to suck for a while, I know that, and maybe one day I'll be content living on my own.


But for now, I'll just survive one three-day weekend at a time.


5.23.2013

Guacamole of the Year

Hello, loves!

I know I haven't been around much recently, but I felt an urgent need to share this with you.

If I could, I would eat guacamole on everything and at every meal. Chips and guac, slap some on a burger - the options are endless. I've finally mastered the perfect guacamole (in my opinion at least) and thought I should share it with you all. I originally found the recipe here while searching for a copycat for Chipotle's recipe. I may or may not have eaten an entire batch for lunch.

That recipe calls for serano chiles and garlic, but I personally feel that the red onion and cilantro add enough flavor to compensate if you choose not to add the other ingredients.

It's not complicated and it's not "measurable," if you ask me. When I measure things there's either not enough or way too much of something and I just end up winging it anyway. So with this "recipe" feel free to just toss ingredients in to fit your personal taste. When you like it, stop adding!

Here's what I use:
4 organic avocados (I find the organic ones ripen at a decent pace)
Red onion, diced (I like mine chunky)
Lime juice
Gourmet Garden cilantro paste (it's pricey, but I prefer the taste and consistency over fresh)
Salt, to taste

Simple and sweet, right? I told you this was easy.

Crappy quality picture, but look at those simple ingredients!
1. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Then slice the flesh lengthwise in fourths, and sideways in fourths as well. Use a fork to scrape the flesh into your bowl, but be sure not to get the stringy "skin." *Pro tips: To choose the best avocados, first squeeze gently. If it's soft, it's ready to use today (or possibly rotten). If it's still firm, it'll be good to use in 2 or 3 days. Next, pop off the brown stem at the top. If the empty spot is brown, the avocado is either bad or usable today. What you want is a pale green spot for the best quality avocado. I learned that here and it has never failed me. 

2. Mash up the avocados with a fork, potato masher, whatever until it reaches the consistency you prefer. I prefer mine like Chipotle's - a little chunky, but smooth enough to scoop up with a chip.

3. Toss in as many red onions as you like (I looooove red onions), a small splash of lime juice, about a tablespoon of cilantro paste, and a few dashes of salt. 

4. Mix well and taste. If you like it, leave it. If you feel it's missing a little kick, add a little extra flavor until you're satisfied. Successful cooking (if you could even call mashing avocados cooking) is the art of trial and error.

5. Chill for 15 minutes - if you wait too long it'll brown - and serve with your favorite tortilla chips, on a juicy burger, or on top of chicken and salsa. 



It took me a while to get mine juuuuust right, but now that I've mastered it, I can't get enough. Enjoy!


5.20.2013

Wherever I'm With You?

Move In Day - August 1st, 2012
Looking around our apartment, I feel sad.

When we chose this apartment in December of 2011, we were still happy. The knowledge that in just a few short months Josh would finish his enlistment and we'd be moving to Champaign was exhilarating.

When we signed the lease that day, I remember thinking, "This is everything I want." It was supposed to be our home for the 4 years Josh is in college and it was exactly what we needed.




This is the first time in four years that I've had every last box unpacked (that's what happens when you live the college, military, then college again life) and now I have to pack it all up for the sixth time in those same four years. When I look around, I don't just see our material possessions. I see wedding gifts people sent to us with the blissful belief we'd be together forever. I see all of the furniture we bought together to deck out our first apartment together when we finally closed the long-distance gap "for good." I see all of the hard work I put into picking out the perfect decor, arranging it just so. And I see the hours upon hours of cleaning and maintaining I've done singlehandedly since the day we moved into our very first place together almost 2 years ago.



Perhaps more painful than anything, I see the life I will no longer have.

I see the memories we won't be making. I see the dishes we used to entertain with. I see the gifts we've given each other but will no longer share (board games and Blu-rays anyone?). I see the bed we picked up for $300 from a friend and have slept in together - sleepover style - for 2 years. The nights we spent laughing, having "deep" conversations, fighting, and...wrestling...in that bed are long gone.






The wedding pictures I spent hundreds of dollars to print and frame (not to mention the two grand we spent to hire a fantastic photographer) are meaningless to him, so I'll get to keep them. But they'll surely be packed away in a "boyfriend box," only to be opened again when I can finally think about the memories without wanting to off myself.




In a weird way, sometimes I think I'm more sad that I won't be able to say I'm married and that I'm losing the home I created and worked so hard for, more than I am that I'm losing Josh. Maybe I'm just numb at the moment. Maybe I am that shallow. Who can tell at this point?

5.13.2013

Today is "D"-Day

Today is the day that my marriage legally ends.

After today I will no longer be Joshua's wife. I will no longer be a "Mrs."

Thinking about it last night led to a meltdown and I'm sure there are more to come as 12:15 draws nearer.

If you think of me today, good vibes, a prayer, whatever's your style will be greatly appreciated.

*UPDATE: You-know-who didn't fully understand that you have to file the paperwork and THEN set a court date, so we're not getting divorced until June 3rd.*

5.09.2013

*Click*

I woke up this morning thinking I was in for a good day. My plans were to spend the morning at Sportland (Josh is being rebellious and getting a motorcycle), have a girls only lunch with Dani and Erika, and finish my last day of work with my afternoon family. Then, tonight my cousins will be in town for a few days and that was supposed to be the highlight of my weekend.

Instead, I was rudely awakened by the UPS man, not knocking, but banging on our door. Josh ran from "his room" to answer, grabbed the package, ran back to "his room," and slammed and locked the door.

This has recently become regular behavior. At the end of the night, he heads into "his room", slams, then locks the door. And it hurts. Every single time I hear that *click* of the lock, it's another nail in the coffin of our once happy marriage. I've done my best to let it go or to make jokes like, "What? You think I'm gonna steal all your fine jewelry in the night?"

But this morning that *click* felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I can't explain why it was different this time, why I couldn't just let it go, but it was. And when I attempted to relay this to Josh and started bawling, he acted as if it was no big deal. As if his hurtful actions were the norm and I was a psycho (which I kind of am, but that's for another post).

When I couldn't handle his stale demeanor any longer, I walked into "my room," into the bathroom, closed and *clicked* the door, climbed into the empty tub, and cried. Yup. Just sat in the tub and cried like some lonely old hag who had no allies left in the world and whose husband couldn't care less.

I kept thinking to myself, "He doesn't love you, respect you, or give a half a shit about you. He's not worth your tears." But they kept coming anyway and I couldn't will myself to stop crying. The only thing that eventually calmed me was writing this post in my head (blogging is cheap therapy, for real).

Maybe I'm crazy. But maybe this is just what happens when "our guest room" becomes "his room." Or when "our family" becomes "my family." When "our bed" and "our savings" and "our plans for the future" become just mine or his.

Maybe this is just what happens when one becomes two and a life is ripped apart at the seams.


5.01.2013

Win-Win

Our current "situation" has been predictably confusing to most people. We expected the confusion and the questions. Most divorces are messy, and understandably so, with name-calling, lawyers prodding so they can get more billable hours, and extra-heightened emotions. With all that, what was once a starry-eyed pair of honeymooners spirals into two monsters pitted against each other out of spite. It's just a back and forth battle of one person hurting the other and no one wins. 

But very early on, Josh and I made a pact; we would both be victors, when all was said and done. No one was going to be the "loser" in this divorce. Our inevitable end wouldn't just be amicable, it would be friendly

Personally, I think we've done better than most in a situation of this nature. That's not to say we don't have bad days - neither of us is perfect - but we've done our best to keep kindness a priority. When one of us says something spiteful or hurtful to the other, we ask for forgiveness almost immediately because we realize that we're both to blame. Josh may have been the one to initiate the divorce, but just like we fell in love together and built a life together, we also fell apart together. It was a team effort, from start to finish.

We don't hate each other. And we do talk smack...to each other's faces. That doesn't mean we don't fight, get pissed as hell at each other, or have days when we just want to strangle the other person. But it doesn't mean we're at each other's throats 24/7 either. It hurts like hell to lose a person you once loved, so it is painful, but that doesn't mean you need to inflict more.

Moral of the story? It is possible to have a friendly divorce. Whether you're the one who initiated the divorce or not, if you truly love or ever did love your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you don't treat them like shit during or after your divorce. Josh is my best friend. And I am his. Best friends don't treat each other like shit, no matter the circumstances. 

Your experience can be hateful, which in turn equals twice as much pain for both of you and doubles the time it'll take you to recover. Or your experience can be sad, heartbreaking even (as divorce almost always is), but give you the opportunity to start the healing process sooner because you and your ex-spouse decided to be nice to each other. It's as simple, and as difficult, as that. 

Choose anger or choose peace. Choose resentment or choose recovery. Choose to hate the man who wants to live his life apart from you or choose thankfulness for the opportunity to get to know yourself again and be stronger for it. 

It's all up to you.

Oh. You thought that was rock bottom?

Just when I think there's more pain and loss than I can handle, The Universe throws me yet another curve ball. 

I've experienced too much. If only you knew (and yes, I'm throwing myself a big ol' pity party). I wish I could draw the line and tell life to back off. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. 

In my 22 short years, I figured I'd been through enough. But every time I get enough hope to stand up again, every time I think I can finally breathe again, I get kicked in the gut. Down for the count. 

So, on top of the pile of crap that is my life at the moment, it was only a matter of time before the cherry on top arrived. 

Enter: "We're firing you by email, effective immediately, because your divorce situation worries us even though you've been nothing but professional and loving to our children."

Yup. You read that correctly. I've been fired. 

I gave up my afternoon job so that I could work full-time for my morning employers over the summer. That job was supposed to get me through the summer and allow me to build up a teensy bit of savings before moving home in August. And not two weeks before I start there full-time they fire me over  email, leaving me unemployed. 

Just when I had come to terms with my impending divorce, just when I had started to get my head together, I get another bomb dropped on me. 

No better time than the present to start cleaning up the wreckage, right?