What I’ve Learned

Posted on | June 20, 2011 | 12 Comments

The past two and a half months have been a learning curve for me.  I’ve done things I never thought I’d have to do.  I’ve said things I never thought I’d say, signed things I never thought I’d sign, and become things I never thought I’d become.  But mostly, I’ve just been learning.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about the world around me.  I’ve learned a lot about marriage and relationships.  I’ve learned a lot about people. 

And although I’m a big proponent of you can’t learn anything from other people’s experiences, I’m going to share what I’ve learned anyway… just in the hopes that maybe someone can store something away for later, I suppose.

1.  No matter how bad things seem, they can always be worse.    This is something people say to you when you are in the throes of something terrible and when they say it you want to slap them and say “Well OF COURSE it could, but isn’t this bad enough?” But instead of slapping, take a moment.  Let the words sink in and think about your blessings instead of your trials… just for a moment.  Let your mind focus on the positive just to give your broken heart a break.  You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel.

2. No one elses opinion matters.  This is crucial.  This is huge.  When you are broken and as far down to the bottom as you’ve ever been, wrap your arms, mind and heart around what YOU want.  Don’t think about anyone else.  Don’t listen to anyone else when they tell you what to do or how to grieve.  This is your hurt.  Yes, it effects other people, too, but that is none of your concern.  You are too broken to heal others… focus entirely on healing yourself.  Because to the people who truly love you, that is all that matters.  No one know this hurt like you do.  No one has the right to tell you to suck it up or get over it or even to put your big girl panties on.  You will know when you are ready to stand… do it on your own time.

3. When in doubt, dance.  This may sound silly to you but I swear by it.  When I’m at my wits end and I can feel the tears piling up behind my lids, I turn on some cheesy music and blare it as loud as J and I can stand.  And then I dance.  I dance crazy, with arms flying out like Phoebe running on Friends.  And you know what? I look stupid.  I feel stupid.  And then I laugh… a lot.  And laughing is such a kinder release than tears.

4. Let other people in.  This may seem counterproductive to number two, but it isn’t.  There’s a huge difference in letting people try to dictate how you feel and letting people sit with you while you feel whatever it is you are feeling.  You need people.  When you feel like you can’t get out of bed and that the last thing you want is to be around the people who know you best, that is when you need them the most.  Let them help you.  Let your friends and family surround you with love… just don’t put too much stock in their opinions unless they’re agreeing with you wholeheartedly. 🙂

5. Get out of bed.  Oh how I know the feeling of wanting to stay curled under a heavy blanket.  I know the feeling of wishing you could stay asleep because the hurt goes away when you dream.  I know the feeling of thinking the world is too bright and too loud for you to face.  But face it anyway.  Put on your best clothes, put on your best make up, fix your hair, slap on the only smile you can find, and get out there.  Even if you’re just going to a Saturday morning Farmer’s Market.  Even if you’re just taking a walk around the neighborhood.  Get. Out. of. Bed.  Because at the end of all of this, you are still you.  You might be broken, but you need to remind yourself that you will heal.  You need to look in the mirror and see yourself for who you really are.  You need that new lipstick.  You need that pretty shirt you haven’t worn yet.  You need to feel beautiful.  So get out of bed, get dressed up, and buy yourself some flowers… because you know you are gorgeous and worth it.

I have been separated from my husband for almost three months now.  I’ve ridden the rollercoaster of highs and lows and I know there are so many more to come.  But at the end of the day, I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to remember who I am.  The most important thing is to not let this current low define me.  He may define himself as he chooses… that is none of my concern.  But I get to choose how I define myself and this is who I am.  I am not a divorcee.  I am not formerly married.  I am not unwanted or unloved.

I am a mother.  I am smart.  I am the strongest me I can be.  I am a bad dancer.  I am a lover of bubblegum pop and green kitchens.  I am a fighter and I am a lover of words.  I hate people who cheat at anything.  I love Southern cooking.  Making biscuits from scratch makes me feel like my Granny.  I talk to myself when I grocery shop.  I love red wine.  I do not like olives, although I have tried, and I am inexplicably and sadly allergic to pine nuts.

And yes, I used to be married.  But he wasn’t worth the hassle.

This is what it comes down to.  This is the most important thing I’ve learned…

Define yourself

Get out a thick black sharpie and cross out the words that hurt when you see them, whether they be “widowed”, “divorced”, “sick”, “old”, “fat,” or “infertile”.  Cross them out.  In their place, in a bright teal Sharpie, write who you REALLY are. 

Because at the end of the day, your definition of you is the only one that ever really matters.


12 Responses to “What I’ve Learned”

  1. ChiMomWriter @ It Builds Character
    June 20th, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    Great post. As someone in couple’s counseling desperately trying to figure out what the landscape is supposed to look like down the line, either together or alone, the opinions of others are already overwhelming.

    I know I’m just another random person from the ‘net, but thanks for your writing – You are doing a fantastic every day for your family!

  2. Joy
    June 20th, 2011 @ 9:45 am


  3. Anthony from CharismaticKid
    June 20th, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    Now THIS is an inspirational post. When in doubt, I always dance. The greatest thing about this post is that you may not realize the effect it has on your kids when they see how positive you can be.

  4. Andrea
    June 20th, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    Thank you! I’m getting out a Sharpie!
    My husband has been physically gone for 6 weeks and I finally hired a divorce attorney on Friday. I danced all night with our 3 beautiful kids. We – me and the kids, and you and I as mothers – are getting stronger and better everyday.

  5. Jennifer
    June 20th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    This post has so much power. It is amazing. I love it. Especially the last part about defining yourself. This is something I totally need to do.

  6. Jessica @ Raising an Owlet
    June 20th, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    wonderful post. and i totally get the dancing. When I’ve had bad days, I come home and “dance it out.” makes me feel so much better.

  7. Adrienne
    June 21st, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    You rock my world.

  8. Elizabeth
    June 21st, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

    I think it’s at this point that I should tell you how my husband defines you. Please don’t be drinking while you read this because you may spit it out all over your computer. He once asked me who this law-momma chick was that I kept talking about. So I showed him a pick of you from my Deb book. It’s the one of all the girls who got their dresses at Josette’s around Michelle. (Are you knowing where I’m going with this?) You are sort of doing the sorority girl squat. And well, you’ve got cleavage up to your eyebrows. So now, whenever I talk about Law-Momma, my husband says, “Oh, is that the one with the boobs?” So, you also have a great rack. Which, at the end of the day, ain’t too shabby.

  9. Shanon
    June 21st, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    What an awesome post. I truly loved your advice. Very inspiring indeed! Also? It would be a great idea to print this off. And read it often on those ‘not so good’ days!

    You have a great way with the words Law Momma. I wish you much happiness in the days ahead.

  10. Elizabeth
    June 24th, 2011 @ 8:19 am

    Dont worry, no more talk about your boobs. For now. But I think it would also be helpful to grab a RED sharpie and write out how God defines you. Because that can’t change. Words like “free”, “beloved”, “pursued”, “daughter”, “treasured”, “made right”,”heir”. Heir is my favorite. All that power that made the world? Freely given to me and at my disposable.

  11. Manic Monday | Unintentionally Brilliant
    January 6th, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    […] some of them are words that I wish I could have said so eloquently. Some of my recent faves are: What I’ve Learned, A Day in the Life, and Getting It […]

  12. Kat
    February 1st, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    I was hoping comments would still be open for this post, i recently found your blog don’t really know how, and I am catching up. I big pink puffy heart this post! I am going thru my own hard times right now and I really needed this today. I have to remember to that all of the negatives running thru my head that are easier to give into right now are not me. I am hard working, confident, passionate, a great baker and cook, a great friend, always up for trying something new. Written in bright pink and purple sharpie for me. Thank you for this.

    I hope things have gotten easier for you. Thank you again for sharing because even though we are not going to thru the same thing it was what I needed to hear in my own struggles right now.

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