“In our family portrait we look pretty happy. We look pretty normal. Let’s go back to that. In our family portrait we look pretty happy. Let’s play pretend, act like it comes naturally.” Pink, Family Portrait
Hello everyone. First of all, my apologies for the lengthy delay in posting. The past six months have brought about some major changes in my life, and that, coupled with the fact that Arie is the worst bachelor of all time (and I include Mr. “Ees okay” himself, Juan Pablo in this), kept me from watching even a single episode this season. I mean, I know what happened in the finale- the old switcheroo last seen with Jason and Molly, and I still think Arie is a total douche and don’t feel at all sad about having missed his entire season.
As for me, well, I am getting a divorce. Actually, by the time I actually get around to publishing this post, I may already be divorced. I filed about six months ago and in California, that’s the end of the mandatory waiting period in an uncontested divorce. To call it “uncontested” sounds strange, based on the amount of fighting we’ve done over the most minute things over the past 6-8 months, but we eventually came to our senses and put our swords away, so to speak, and sat down together to settle. We will never completely agree on any of it, really- what ended the marriage, who did what to who, how we got here, where we go from here- but the one thing we finally agreed on was that we had to stop letting our petty shit get in the way and find a way to try to move on in the healthiest way possible for our kid. And I still don’t know if we are doing so successfully, but we are doing the best we know how to in a difficult (to say the least) situation and really trying to minimize the damage on him. He’s so little- just barely five- and I always think about it this way- if this is confusing for us, two grown adults that have participated in the things that broke our union apart and decided it was time to part ways, what must it feel like for him? In his little mind, one day we were a family and now we aren’t- he has no frame of reference or hindsight to backtrack and try to figure out where it all went wrong and it must be devastating to him. We try to focus on the positive- he now has two places to live (both of which have swimming pools, which delights him)and he gets to spend quality time with both of us on his own. We try not to dwell on the fact that we don’t really spend time as a threesome anymore, but I’m hoping with some time and perspective, that might change.
Speaking of time and perspective, it’s amazing what it can do for the soul and the mind. For the first month or two after I realized my marriage was over, I cried every day. I hid it from my son the best I could- cried in the shower, after school drop offs in the car as I drove away, and always at 4 AM as he slept peacefully next to me and I couldn’t sleep because all the jumbled, crazy thoughts in my head wouldn’t let me. I was a mess and I felt like every day, I would barely keep it together enough to get through bedtime, and then he would sleep and I would have my nightly bottle of wine and breakdown. I’m better these days- most days anyway- but sometimes the pain still makes its way out of the little corner I’ve shoved it so deeply into to avoid letting it into my every day life and it breaks me down the same way it did when I first realized I was getting a divorce. And I know it needs to mostly stay in that corner for a while, until I’m stronger, until I have a safe distance from it, until I have some time to let my heart heal a little, so I can only let it out in little bits at a time. I know that might not be the healthiest way of handling it, but I have a kid and responsibilities and a new job and it would just be too painful for me to allow myself to feel it right now. I told someone the other day that it’s as if my subconscious knows this because I’ve only had one dream about my ex since I moved out. It’s my brain’s way of protecting my heart and not even letting me think of him or us or who I thought we were until I’m strong enough to handle it.
Marriage is a funny thing- you pledge in front of God and everyone that you promise to be together forever, when you both damn well know that you can’t predict the future or say with any certainty whether “forever” is even an option. I think in that moment, you want to believe it, but life so often gets in the way and even the ones who seem the happiest, who seem to have the strongest unions and the most solid foundations, are the ones who are smiling for the camera while their lives are falling apart behind the scenes. I was guilty of that for sure- posting the happiest pictures, hash tagging #teamjennings, pretending everything was perfect even though deep down inside, I knew my marriage was crumbling. When I first told people, it was interesting how many of them had the reaction, “I never would have guessed. You guys seemed so perfect.” I think that was mostly my fault, because it was the image I wanted to project of us. I wanted everyone to see my life and think it was perfect because maybe if they did, I wouldn’t need to examine too closely all the things that were going wrong at that time. If I did what I do best and buried my head in the sand, posting happy pictures, pretending to be the “perfect family,” maybe I could just go on that way indefinitely. But life doesn’t work that way and in truth, nobody has a “perfect” relationship and sometimes life likes to knock you on your ass and remind you of that.
As for why our marriage ended, I’ll never talk about that on here. First of all, it’s just a lot of “he said, she said” and we both have different ideas of what broke us apart. The fact is, there were a lot of things that led up to the end, some of them his fault, some of them mine, and spending too much time playing the blame game does nobody any good. And for whatever it’s worth, we do share a young child, and the internet is forever. One day, he may grow up and read this, and I would never want him to have to hear any gory details of why his mommy and daddy decided to get a divorce. All I want is for him to know that while mommy and daddy may not like each other a lot right now, we still love him more than anything in the world, and for now, that has to be our focus.
So I started this blog as a “mommy blog” of sorts (why I thought that I was at all qualified to do such thing, I’ll never know) and then it morphed into more of a reality tv recap blog (which I think is indicative of my reticence to talk about my personal life at all during that time, which should have told me something) and now, I don’t know what it is. I fully intend to watch the new season of The Bachelorette and may start doing a weekly Bravo wrap-up (Southern Charm and RHONY both continue to be the gift that just keeps giving, in my humble opinion) but I also might occasionally share a funny post about being single in my mid-40s suddenly (app dating in and of itself provides for a wealth of material) or a sad, melancholy ode to divorce from time to time. Much like my life right now, it’s pretty open-ended, and I don’t know where it’s going to end up. But I wanted to take a minute to explain my absence and just say a few quick words about my life. I know when I started this blog and came up with the title, I said “I don’t have anything real to complain about, but I don’t let that stop me.” At this point, even while going through a divorce, even while watching my life as I thought I knew it crumble apart, and morph into something else entirely, I think that still holds true. I have my health, I have a beautiful, healthy, happy son, I live in a nice place in Southern California where it never rains, and now, I have the option of taking the second half of my life and creating whatever I want it to be. So even in hard times, my glass is still half full. I’ll try not to be such a stranger. Thanks for reading.