Finding Your Grateful

Finding Your Grateful

She was grateful for the little things. Clean water in the glass in front of her. A nice meal on the table, even if the company was less than stellar - or rather less to her liking. She found joy in the situation because she was truly grateful for the things that were within her control, or within reach of her control.

Life had been tough up until this point, tough for a while anyway, not always, but tough enough lately. She learned to face each day by simply being grateful for what was right in front of her. Gas in the tank, a roof over her head, some money in the bank, and a few souls she could count on.

The New Relationship After Divorce

The New Relationship After Divorce

My BF stayed the weekend at my house and no one died – so, there’s that.

It was awkward, but not lethal.

In the making of my new life, I’ve taken my time to decide what I want and lay down its foundation. I’ve come to the harsh reality that a new relationship, and inviting someone else in, needs to be a part.

We’re not meant to do life alone, even though there are places in me that scream it would be much easier that way.

My post-divorce checklist looks something like this:

Can’t, Won’t, and Not Willing

Can’t, Won’t, and Not Willing

She wanted to quit her job. The work was ok she guessed, but the management was oppressive, and she wasn’t getting the opportunities and benefits she deserved. She was worth more, and if they couldn’t see it, then she would find a place that could.

I’m in Las Vegas this weekend. I’m here quite a bit lately, and as a girl who gave up drinking and doesn’t gamble, this is not necessarily an ideal destination. I am a seeker of peace and tranquility, it’s a stretch for me to hang here; but this season has served as a great place to watch and to observe some of my fellow humans. Plus, being here has given me the opportunity to nurture a budding relationship that has more merit than anything since my divorce. So, it’s what I’ve chosen right now.

Confessions from a Privileged White Chick

Confessions from a Privileged White Chick

I have a confession. I used to think I was better than other people. I don’t want to say I was ever a racist, but I might have been. It’s hard not to be when you grow up under the guise of white privilege in the United States.  My confession: I had little understanding for those who were different from me. And I didn’t need to – I never stepped out of my realm of convenience (my bubble).  My life was good. I attributed that goodness to something I had done; but the truth is there is nothing I could have ever done that would explain the level of status to which I was born.

This is a fact of being a white person in America. You believe you’re just a little bit better than everyone else.

After the Storm

After the Storm

I was insecure and a little scared, even though this wasn’t my first rodeo.

As a native Floridian, hurricanes are par for the course. Hurricanes can also be a terrifying experience - howling winds, blowing transformers, storm surge, and falling trees. But mostly it’s terrifying because of the unknown. No matter how you prepare, you’ve never quite sure – should we stay or go? Have I done enough? You mitigate your risk compared to your time, energy, and resources. You watch the news – you watch too much news.

It is a debate that presents itself repeatedly, no matter how experienced you become.

Waking Up is Hard To Do…

Waking Up is Hard To Do…

I was a zombie before it was cool.

A card-carrying member of the walking dead – dead to my feelings, my pain ate me alive until there was nothing left but an empty shell. I had lost myself somewhere along the way.

I was talking to my therapist about childhood trauma I experienced at a young age and questioned her about the validity of such things – did everyone with this type of trauma grow into adulthood with this amount of pain?

She explained to me that when you’re a part of a healthy, functioning family unit you’re not afraid to talk about problems. Talking openly and working through problems is a part of how relationships work. She explained that in those situations, when abuse or some other trauma occurs, parents and caregivers are aware enough to know something is going on or the child feels safe enough to talk about it. When that happens, the problems are faced head on and dealt with. Saving the child and the entire family unit a lifetime of pain.

I knew in that moment I wanted to live like that.

Minimizing Bad Behavior

Minimizing Bad Behavior

He never came home when he said he would.... The facts never seemed to matter much when she was telling a story... The third drink made him intolerable to be around... Everybody knew he’d cop a feel if you got too close…She bullied everyone around her until she got what she wanted...

These situations, and many like it, run amuck all around us.

Why Dealing with Your Pain Will Save Your Life

Why Dealing with Your Pain Will Save Your Life

Sometimes people aren't very nice. Or rather they're not considerate and intentional with their words and the implications of such. 

People are hurting. And hurt people hurt people.

It really is that simple. 

How many tears have I cried over these things? How many have a held back?  Stoic -  as they begin to eat me alive from the inside out. 

Owning Your Sexuality

Owning Your Sexuality

It was about 6 months ago. I decided I wanted to focus a bit more on my writing. Besides this blog, I had yet to take on a personal writing project.

I think in words – filtering almost every experience through the grid of how I would string letters together to create something meaningful to describe it.

How would this scenario play out?

What would this person do?

That person?

I did what any aspiring writer would do in my situation, and Googled local writing groups – I hoped to find something near me, and people – to help me in my new endeavor. I found several that fit the bill, arriving on a Tuesday evening clad in my standard jeans and T-shirt – yes high heels are required uniform for me– just to give you a picture.

Forgiveness After Divorce… and Beyond

Forgiveness After Divorce… and Beyond

Love hurts.

Sometimes it’s beautiful and lovely, of course. But sometimes it just effing hurts.

People offend, they do hurtful things – this cannot be avoided. I do it, you do it – we all do it.

So, let’s talk about how we handle the hurt that comes our way.

It is so easy to take offense, hold a grudge, lash out in anger.

Holding a grudge is another way to avoid feeling pain – and living this way will stunt your growth. If you’re not growing and changing, then you’re not on the path the becoming who you were created to be and this results in a perpetual cycle – of becoming angry at every offense.

Stepping Out of Codependency

Stepping Out of Codependency

The room was dark, and my head spinning as I listened to the clock silently tick its way toward dawn. Why did I feel the way I did? I was confused all the time. A constant struggle to attain ‘rightness’ with the people and the world around me, a fight that was pointless, and failing with each attempt. It was keeping me up at night and it was slowly killing me.

Dysfunction, addiction, and codependent relationships are all a part of my story – they are a part of many of our stories.

For the Love of Men

For the Love of Men

When I die, I hope no one ever says, ‘he was such a nice guy.’

I had reconnected with an old friend and we were discussing the complexity of relationships over plates of tacos (so essentially, it was a perfect night for me).

The hearts of men have been on my mind quite a bit recently. As this thing grows and expands and it’s reach becomes out of my grasp, I’m getting more feedback. About half of that comes from men. The men are sending me ideas for guest posts, they are sharing my work with their peers and private Facebook groups. They want more and they want to talk about their hearts and relationships.

The Power to Win

The Power to Win

I have a love/hate relationship with my inbox.

This morning, as I analyzed its contents (which sits around 500 or so messages, even with twice daily purging), about half (more than half?) of what’s in there are useless distractions – of what’s left, about half are the things of obligation – stuff that needs my attention because I am a human living in this world.

Among the rest are a few nuggets of gold mixed in with reminders of some things that are going my way – as well as some things that are not. Some of the messages are encouraging, others confrontational. In there today, is a note from an old friend that brought a smile to my face. But I have also had moments where that inbox has grown arms and punched me right in the gut. Funny, how a simple message can elicit such emotion.

Three Things the Women in Your Life Need (But Won’t Tell You)

Three Things the Women in Your Life Need (But Won’t Tell You)

Last week, I wrote about Why Your Wife is So Mad. I’ll be honest, it irritated some people (and it wasn’t your wife). It was called feminist BS, among other things. Funny, as I’ve never really considered myself a feminist necessarily. Meaning, I’m not pro-female as much as I’m pro-people and pro- healthy relationships. And pro- deal with your stuff so you can be a better human -kind of gal.  So, if that makes me a feminist bullshitter, then um, ok I guess. 

But I digress:

This is the Reason Your Wife is So Mad

This is the Reason Your Wife is So Mad

Ok guys, this one’s for you.

I get a lot of mail and comments from men who struggle in their marriages or have recently gotten divorced. These guys are looking for material, groups, and the like focusing on their needs during relational turmoil. I tell them I can’t really speak to all of that, because I’m not a guy. They express severe lack of resource, both online and in a general understanding within our population – I can’t disagree.

Universal truths about relationship are essentially gender neutral. I can see thier point. But still, I’m not a guy.

So…Let’s unpack this and get real.

Taking Your Best Steps After Divorce: An Interview with Life Coach, Suzy Garber

Taking Your Best Steps After Divorce: An Interview with Life Coach, Suzy Garber

How do you know you’re ready to date after divorce? What steps should you take to overcome fear? What can be done to prevent past mistakes and set you up for future success?  This week I sat down with certified life coach, Suzy Garber to discuss how to thrive during (and after) life’s transitions.

Life coaching can benefit many. Suzy is offering 1 free coaching sessions for any readers of Unchained who are curious about the differences life coaching can make.

How Divorce Has Made Me a Better Mom

How Divorce Has Made Me a Better Mom

Some days in life -- some moments in time are forever etched in your memory, stamped on your brain like a polaroid set there to revisit time and time again …  sometimes, those moment are centered around unique experiences and fun.  But more often than not, they come as defining moments – the ones that aren’t triggered necessarily by a joyous occasion, but instead a drop of life that hits you and changes you forever.  

Building Your Emotional Toolbox

Building Your Emotional Toolbox

In this week’s, Divorcing Well live video event, we talked about building your emotional toolbox and how you can increase your emotional capacity by using the right tools. Like anything else, it takes practice. I’ve found I get better at communicating and having the difficult conversations after I’ve done it a few times – which means, the only way I get better at this stuff is by d-o-i-n-g-  i-t!

Surviving the Bitterness of Divorce (Guest Post by Meghan Mercer)

Surviving the Bitterness of Divorce (Guest Post by Meghan Mercer)

There is no question that divorce is an emotional process. Sometimes it feels like your emotions can change in an instant from anger to pain to even brief moments of joy. While it is important to experience and acknowledge all of our feelings, we must remember the importance of how we choose to act based on those feelings.

I once was taught that most anger is a cover of raw pain. Think about that for a moment… Sometimes anger is easier to feel than pain. To me, anger lulls shame, invokes control, and ultimately makes me feel as if I'm coming from a place of power instead of falling victim to my circumstances and feelings.

Dating After Divorce - Yes, We Went There

Dating After Divorce - Yes, We Went There

Seriously, can we not talk about this? It just HARD you guys!

But – it’s come up several times in the divorce group this week, so I thought I might broach the subject during our weekly live video. It was a lot of fun I think!

Some of the questions up for grabs included…