sparklybecky

adjusting to what life has sent my way, while rediscovering who i am

Can you be friends with your Ex??

How do two people who were once married to each other and supposedly madly in love stay friends after that marriage ends?

My ex and I get along fine as long as I agree with whatever he has to say about our minor child.  Once I have a different opinion, or voice in the matter, things change.  I get nasty emails, am told “I suck”, am told I make him look like an *ss, and other lovelys.

No, you can not stay friends with your ex.  At least I can’t.

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New House – week 3

Issues so far:

Ants in the kitchen.  Tried ant traps for the Scout ants to take poison back to the Worker ants and Queen.  All it seemed to do was attract more ants.  I knew I had to do something else when I started greeting them in the morning when I woke up and walked into the kitchen.  Finally got the ant spray.  I don’t know why I didn’t do that in the first place.  Within seconds the ants were taken care of.  I have left a few traps, just in case.

Lawn.  So the lawn was put in 2 1/2 weeks ago and has grown quite a bit.  I went out to mow today, but the lawn mower kept stalling out.  The grass is tall and very wet, because it rained today.  I forgot about the rain, because it was sunny at the time of trying to mow.  After stalling out the 4th time, I called my dad to see if it was because the grass was too tall, wet, or both.  I hated to make that phone call.  Since I got divorced, I am trying to do everything on my own.  I don’t want to look like I need help.  But my dad knows lawns, and it was a phone call that needed to be made.  He agreed the lawn was too wet and I should wait for it to dry up a little.  So now most of my grass is tall and there are a couple choppy rows, with chunks of wet cut grass lying around.  Oh well, I’ll be the beauty of the neighborhood for a day or two.

Mail.  My subdivision has clustered mailboxes by a neighborhood park.  I was never given a mailbox or key.  I didn’t worry about it at first because when you forward mail it takes a few days to a week.  But while waiting I contacted my realtor and even emailed the subdivision realtor and didn’t get any help.  I finally found the right realtor to talk to and am getting the keys to the mailbox tomorrow.  I’ll probably have a pile of bills waiting for me.

Neighbors.  My next door neighbors are interesting.  They refer to the fence we share as “their fence”.  They did put it up two years ago.  My lot was bare this whole time until I bought the lot.  When they heard my lot had been purchased, they found out what size home was being built on it.  They felt the house was too big for the lot and tried to put a stop to it…..unsuccessfully.  One day my parents were walking through the house while it was being built.  The neighbors were outside.  They got to talking and the neighbors toured the construction with my parents.  They made more than one critical comment about various things I had in my plan, such as a window in my bathroom, a doorway without a door, the man door I was putting in the garage.  Needless to say, they always have a smile on their face, but I know they are thinking something else inside their crazy little heads.

 

I don’t let these neighbors bother me, or my crazy ant visitors, or my tall, wet grass…but I am glad I will start getting mail.  This house is my dream home.  Just what I always pictured in my head, not that I spent a lot of time picturing myself divorced and living on my own.  I won’t sweat the small stuff.   I continue to hold my head up high, even if my insides have no idea what to do.  And I have to remember it’s okay to make a phone call every now and then for help.

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Welcome Back to SparklyBecky

Welcome back to me!  I have been off this blog for 9 months and what a  nine months it has been.  Highs and lows of divorce, dealing with an ex who is nice when you are doing things his way and a jerk when you aren’t.  I think someone forgot to tell him that once you’re divorced, the ex wife can do what she wants.  He can’t control her anymore.

I went back and browsed the few posts I did write way back, one was about deciding where to live.  I ended up and rented a house.  I’m so glad I did, it was a great transition home while deciding where I wanted to live.  I’m excited to say that in February I bought a lot in a subdivision and started planning the building of a brand new house.  My motto was “out with the old and in with the new”.  Two weeks ago we moved into our brand new home.  I got a new bed, new sectional couch, new dining room table, new beds for the kids, and even some new dishes.  I erased as much as I could of the past.  Do I sound bitter?  I don’t mean too.  I guess I still weave through the stages of grief, but I truly am happy…..a little lonely sometimes.  I’ve done a little dating, but I’ll save those stories for another time.

As a teacher school is out at the end of this week.  I’m looking forward to yoga, walking, jogging, tennis, working in my yard, exploring some new recipes in my new kitchen……and anything else interesting that comes along my way.  I hope to blog and post pictures within this online journal not only for me, but anyone else who happens along it’s path. 

As the end of the first year of divorce draws slowly near (just 2 months away), I look forward to seeing what else is in store for sparklybecky.

 

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Loneliness

Divorce can be so lonely and it’s only the beginning of my new life.  Maybe I would have been better staying with the marital problems.  I’ve started working on making new connections.  It just takes time.  It’s the evenings that are hard.  I miss having a husband to hang out with.  I miss looking forward to seeing him after work.  I miss him.

And what’s sad is we haven’t even moved into separate homes yet.  I move out in two weeks.  What’s it going to be like then?

I just want to be happy again.

I know, I know…..I’m in charge of my own happiness.  Sometimes it’s just hard to stay upbeat.

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Where to Live???

We sold our house.  Sold in about two weeks to the second person who looked at it.  Talk about an answer to prayer!!  I had planned on buying a house and looked at about two dozen.  I picked one out, made an offer, and got cold feet.  Was I deciding to fast?  What about all the fix ups I want to do  to it?  Will I ever be able to afford that?  It didn’t look like the house was going to go through so I started looking into renting.  At this point, I only have three weeks left in my house, and I’m stating to feel a little concerned as to where the kids and I are going to live, along with our dog and cat.   On top of that, my teaching job starts this week, my son doesn’t have a job and we are pressuring him a little hard to get one as he is 18 years old and not going to college.  All this on top of all the emotions of a divorce and I am just a little bit overwhelmed!!

Then it looks like it might work out again to get the house.  So I have two paths to follow, buy or rent.  I decided to keep following both paths until one stopped and one kept going.  I looked at an apartment about 7 miles from my current home.  It is a beautiful area along the river with lots of mature trees.  There are ponds throughout the apartment complex and walking paths.  They have a three bedroom on the ground floor and the deck isn’t enclosed and it opens up to trees and a grassy area, so it makes it feel a little more spacious on the outside.  There will be four of us, but we can manage a 3 bedroom.

I started feeling positive about the apartment.  Then I thought about the pets.  They love our current backyard, and would the dog bark at every movement from people next door or above us?  I also talked to my 14 year old who has been very open about living anywhere, but now sounded a little bit unsure.  At least that’s what I got from  his 14 year old grunting sounds.  So now I’m leaning toward the house.  Back and forth my mind goes all afternoon.  But my cold feet toward the house comes again.  I start thinking about what I really want in a house – granite counter tops, nice cabinets, stainless steel appliances.  I start to worry I’m settling.  I start realizing maybe a transition period would be good.  Rent a place for 6-9 months, adjust to being divorced, then start looking for a home.  That felt like the path to follow.  So I let my realtor know that I was no longer interested in the house.  I had placed an offer but the time passed for the owner to respond because they were out of town.  They were taking their time getting back to me and now it didn’t matter.

So rent it is.  But should it be the three bedroom I found?  Wouldn’t it be better to find an apartment closer to my sons school and friends so this divorce/moving situation wouldn’t be so hard?  This morning I get up and go look at some very nice apartments about a mile away.  I love this place too.  But there is a problem.  They only have one and two bedroom apartments.  I look at the model and love it.  I try to picture four of us in it.  I start to think older kids can spend more time at their dad’s house, not just with me.  After all, it would be perfect for the younger one.  Luckily I have a counseling appointment on this same day and I can discuss it with her.  I putter around, crying off and on while in this overwhelmed state of not knowing what to do…….thinking, thinking, thinking of all the different scenarios…..at the same time reliving different parts of my marriage and divorce in my mind.  My mind is overloaded, but when I begin to settle it down, I realize what I must do before I even walk into counseling.  The three bedroom apartment.  It has the most space, is on the ground floor, and has beautiful ambiance.  It’s not for ever.  Less than a year.

Then I walk into counseling and lay it all out for her.  I tell her all about the apartment, my 18 year old’s lack of motivation to get a job, my fears, my thoughts….everything you tell a counselor.  You know what I mean if you’ve been.  And I cry.  I can’t help but let it out.

But, I walk out feeling a little bit better.  I go to the apartment complex and pay my deposit.  As I leave, I drive around the whole place again and soak it in, realizing within two weeks I will call this home.  My counselor told me I should do something symbolic as we leave our old home and move to our new home to start our new life.  (They will see their dad, and can stay with their dad, but this is for their new life with me at our home that I am providing).  So I am thinking about what this might be.

Driving home, I can feel my eyes and head start to hurt after releasing all these emotions I’ve held onto all day.  I was planning on going to my classroom to work, but ended up going home and vegging in front of the television and falling asleep.  Just what I needed.

I keep thinking I’m doing better.  But now that the house is sold and we are getting closer to moving, it is all becoming so real.  I relive the pain the divorce has on the kids and I am having a hard time letting it go.  My older two (20,18) will be pretty good.  They don’t have the best relationship with their dad right now and I’m hoping the divorce will actually eventually bring them closer together.  It’s our 14 year old I’m worried about.  During a camping trip, he told his dad that he gets sad when he thinks about it, so he just doesn’t think about it.  And I’m sure it helps that nothing looks different at home.  But now we are moving.  This will bring it all fresh to his mind.  It hurts so hard to know that he will be sad and we are tearing his life apart.

It has always been my personality to want everyone to be happy, even at the expense of my own happiness.  I considered staying in the marriage, just so the kids would have an intact family.  But then I wouldn’t be happy and neither would my ex.  He was initially thinking of waiting until our youngest graduated from high school.  That’s four years.  That’s four years for me to not be loved by my husband.  To basically be a mom and maid.  I realized I wanted more than that.  In a relationship, I want to be loved romantically,I want to be wanted,  I want to be needed.  Not only do I want these things, I need these things.  And even though it’s hard on my kids to have their parents divorced, I figured it was a better lesson for them to see me seek happiness, rather than stay in a marriage that wasn’t happy.  I hope we made the right decision.

Why blog all this?  Well, it helps to get it off my chest.  It’s like writing in a journal.  And if someone reads it and gets a little help with their own situation, than I’m glad I could help.

I know life is hard right now and could get harder, but I do hope there is a happier time in the future.  And from what I’ve read about happiness lately, it’s one’s choice to be happy.  I try hard to choose happiness, but sometimes things just bring you down and you find it hard to dig your way to happiness.  I guess the key is to not stop digging.

And by the way, my son applied for several jobs tonight.  Maybe he is starting to see the light.

 

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Letting Go

How can you be with someone for over 20 years, amicably go your separate ways, and let go?  It hasn’t been easy for me, particularly while we are still living in the same house, and being such good friends.  How can two divorced people be such good friends?  We both admit that we  have gotten along better once we knew we would be divorcing  then we we did when we were married.

The good news is we sold the house.  In fact it sold two weeks after it was listed – to the second person that looked at it!!  That’s pretty hard to believe the way real estate is these days. See my post called The Power of Prayer.  I know that is why our house sold so fast.  A lot of prayer and a lot of faith in God for his help.  So now I can do some serious house hunting.  I’ve been out with my realtor twice and am going back out again this Friday.  Hopefully that is the day I find my new home.  And hopefully that will be a huge leap in the process of letting go.

During the divorce process I learned about the five stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If you’re interested, google “5 stages of grief” and something will come up that will define them in great detail.  These stages don’t move in any particular order, and you aren’t necessarily through one before another.  Sometimes I find I travel through them several times in any one day.

My morning can start great.  I’m feeling good.  I’m in acceptance.  I head to hot yoga for a sweaty workout and during a slow, resting period, instead of breathing problems and issues outside the door like the instructor says to do, they all come to the front of my mind and my eyes fill with tears.  By the time I get to the car, I’m mad as a hornet.  Mad at myself, my ex, God…….  Other mornings that start out great I will find my mind wandering to all that’s happened, and I’ll feel that gray cloud of depression make a home over my head.  Tears will come to my eyes but not always run down my face.  I have been on an anti-depressant for almost a year.  I hope some day to be off, but for now, it helps keep me sane as I weave through these grief stages.

I must confess.  Things are better than they were.  Several months ago I cried off and on for what seemed like forever.  My days teaching kindergarten last spring are all a blur.  Somehow I managed to get those kids ready for first grade.  Talk about having no clue what was going on and being in total denial.  Slowly the time between cry sessions lengthened as I began to understand the truth behind our relationship and why we were having the problems we were having.  Well at first I denied the problems, but now I understand.  I have let myself see that they were there.  I’m working on accepting that we let them happen and forgiving myself for not making changes sooner.  Changes that we can’t make now and stay together.  If we had made changes much earlier just maybe we wouldn’t’ be going down this path.  I have to accept and forgive that as well.

I think acceptance is a big part of letting go.  And when I find my new house, I think acceptance will help me make that house my home.  And just maybe, I’ll be able to finally get a good nights sleep, in my new bed, in my new room.  These sleepless nights are getting a little old…….but that’s a story for another day.

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It’s Official

I’ve been watching the mailbox these last few days, because I knew the paperwork would be coming any day.  Well, today was the day.  August 11, 2012.  Interesting.  I met Bruce on August 12, 1988.  Just one day shy of 24 years from the day we met, we are now officially divorced.

Another interesting fact, at least to me.  The judge signed the paperwork on August 8, 2012.  Back in 1988, I thought it would be neat to get married on 8/8/88.  (I did meet Bruce 5 days later and we were married 4 months after that.)  When I was out and about on 8/8/88, I never would have imagined that a judge would be signing my divorce paperwork on 8/8/12 – 24 years later.

When checking the mailbox these last few days, I wondered how I would feel.  Today I found out.  When I saw the two thick envelopes in the mailbox, I knew exactly what it was.  We had to provide envelopes and stamps when we filed the paperwork.  Of course we didn’t know that, so we took a walk to the corner store and purchased some.  We chuckled when putting the stamps on the envelopes.  Stamps that said things like “Liberty”, “Freedom”, “Justice”, “Equality” — perfect words for envelopes to hold divorce paperwork.

I saw those envelopes and my breathing stopped.  It’s not that I’m not for the divorce.  It’s just that when I saw those envelopes, knowing they held the official “signed by the judge” documents, what I saw was the end of what I have lived for for the past 23 1/2 years.  That time frame of 23 1/2 years will never get any bigger.  It’s done.  It’s over.  We’re over.  Bruce is now not my “soon to be” ex husband.  He is my ex-husband.  I am officially single.

Nothing has really changed.  I’m still sitting on the couch typing on the computer and working on stuff to get ready for my job as a teacher.   I don’t look different.  The world hasn’t changed around me.  The sun is still shining brightly outside, the sky is still blue, and the leaves are blowing in the breeze.  But I feel different.  I feel like I’ve lost a part of me.  My counselor would say that I have been losing that part of me for several months, even years.  That part has been slowly leaving me bit by bit as Bruce and I started having marital issues.  But that part of me will know longer leave slowly, until it’s gone.  That which remains has simply been cut off.

I have been officially single for one hour.  That time frame will continue to get larger.  This time tomorrow, I will have been single for one day.  This time next Saturday – one week.  Next August 11, 2013 – one year.  Although I have lost a part of me, I am filling up that empty part with new thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

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Power of Prayer

Since my husband and I decided to divorce, well, actually, since I knew we were having problems and there might be a divorce, I have leaped into my spiritual side of focusing on God, prayer, faith, Bible reading, and anything else I can hold onto that has a spiritual element.  Even though my husband and I believe in God, it wasn’t an area we focused on as much as we should have.  If we had, just maybe our marriage would have taken a different path.

Quick side note that I may expound on in another post, we are not divorcing because of any immoral acts, infidelity, or adultery.  Believe it or not, but after 23 years of marriage and three kids, we just didn’t know each other well enough.  You would have thought we would have figured that out a long time ago, or at least knew each other well enough by now.  But like I said, I’ll save that story for another day.

I have never felt I was good at prayer.  I wasn’t confident in how to pray.  The main problem was I just didn’t do it enough.  Prayer is like anything, you have to practice it.  There don’t have to be any rules or formality.  What I discovered in this whole mess of a life I found myself in, was that all God wanted was for me to talk to him, just like I would talk to a friend.

The biggest impact on my faith was when I started having prayers answered.  I have never not  believed in prayer, but I had an Aha moment this past June that has strengthened my belief and made me much more conscious of daily (or I should be honest and say, almost daily)  prayer for myself and others.

The Aha Moment:  I have been taking Hot Yoga classes this summer.  During class the instructor always talks about breathing your problems out past the edges of your mat, even breathing them outside the door.  I haven’t mastered this yet.  As soon as she brings up problems to breathe away, all of my problems come to mind.  One day, towards the end of class, I started thinking about all the crap my husband and I were going through.  Tears came to my eyes, mixing in with the sweat dripping down my face.   By the time I was in the car to drive home, I had an enormous amount of anger in my heart toward my husband.  I felt so weighted down with anger, I didn’t know what to do.   I cried my eyes out, and then somehow I just started praying, practically screaming to the Lord ,and I begged Him to take my anger away.  The most amazing thing happened.  Within nanoseconds I had no anger.  In fact, I had such peace within, I almost wondered why I was wiping tears from my eyes.  God not only answered my prayer, He did it practically while I was praying.

Now, I have never doubted there was a  God, but at that moment, my belief was confirmed.  Since then, I have experienced other answers to prayer.  The Lord has been quick to answer, and I know that won’t always be the case.  I am currently in a Bible study, studying Nehemiah.   During his life, he once had to wait four months for a prayer to be answered.  Now, I am one who likes quick responses, but I know I must be faithful in prayer and God will answer when His time is right.  I am so thankful for all He has answered so far, and I will continue to pray steadfastly and earnestly in all things.

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Don’t Dwell on the Past

So true!! You can’t go back and change the past, but you can move forward in a new direction, learning from your mistakes

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What’s in a Name??

When you get divorced, what do you do with your last name?  Keep your married name or go back to your maiden name?   Many women keep their married name because they have children and it makes it less confusing for the kids.  Some decide to go back to their maiden name, or I suppose you could do a hyphenated name, but if so, you probably would have done that when you got married.

There is actually a third option, which is to create a new last name.  This is the option I chose.  I didn’t want to keep my married name as I don’t feel I am that person anymore.  I do have three kids, but they are older and I don’t think it will effect them.  I think I would have made the same decision if my kids were younger.  I didn’t want to go back to my maiden name because I am not that person anymore either.

My counselor suggested creating a new last name, something that describes who I really am, not the “down and out depressed, because my life has turned up-side-down” me.  I googled name changes on the internet and found similar information.  So I thought about it and brainstormed names.  I mentioned it to my daughter to see what she thought and she was very supportive of the idea.  So I thought some more.  I googled last names on the internet and tried my first name with each one.  I googled those I liked, both first and last name together, on the internet to see what came up and what kind of people may already have that name.

I narrowed it down to two names, Becky Sparks and Becky Diamond.  I thought Sparks, because I consider myself bright, sparkly, fun, and colorful like a firework.  In fact, Firework by Katy Perry is one of my favorite songs.  I’ve lived the down side of the song and am working my way toward staying on the up side.  I liked Diamond because it also shines and sparkles and I thought of the saying “a diamond in the rough”.  UrbanDictionary.com defines it as Someone (or something) that has hidden exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, but currently lacks the final touches that would make them (or it) truly stand out from the crowd.  Well, I don’t want to continue to lack the final touches, I want to have them.  I think Becky Sparks has the final, sparkly touch and is ready to move forward and face life as it comes in a positive way.

However, when I first thought up Becky Sparks and tried it out loud, I have to be honest.  I thought it sounded like the name of a porn star.  My counselor assured me she didn’t think so.  Now that I’ve practiced the name several times and am using it in print I am getting use to it.  And I like it!!  It will not be official for a few more weeks, when the divorce is final.  When that happens, Becky Sparks I will officially be!!

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