Saturday, 9 July 2016

Post Divorce First Date Dilemmas - Clothing

So here we go .... arriving sometimes a little unexpectedly at this place where no longer does the ending of that relationship or divorce feel like the big shadow on your life and you think you can take that scary step out into the long forgotten world of dating... 

A kindly friend has set me up on a date, eeeek in itself.... asking my daughter to babysit comes with the inevitable curiosity of "where are you going tonight", "who are you meeting Mum?" and you find yourself telling that first little white lie... hmmm "just a friend" and for the record I really hate lying especially to my children.... They then ask whether they know this friend? Sensory overload of the uncomfortable mother comes back with "erm a friend of a friend"... "who?"  The questions come thick and fast, whoooah.... I wasn't prepared for this, how can each one of us, so individual and so different in this world know how to be with what is before them except how they are feeling in the present moment?

Understand that the questions quick fired by those whose sole purpose in this situation is to monitor the emotional radar in my already jumpy tummy and this makes me feel wobblier.   I am now asked ...."Mum so what are going to wear?"  Yes, good question.... its been some time since the dating 'wow' favourites existed my wardrobe and I doubt whether any of them still do, fit or really look like 80s throwback party pieces... I mindlessly open the wardrobe, my brain full of uncomfortable whooshes already with possible judgementals beating their drums at a lively tapas bar.... I feel the contractions of fear literally rolling up their sleeves at the wardrobe dysfunction to follow... my mind goes blank... 

I mindfully breathe a few deep breaths then start to try and look at the situation.  This is the wild woman sisterhood stepping out I am talking about, who am I now is where I am, and unhelpful thoughts of "is what I am wearing going to get me a second date, if of course we are both interested in going any further than the padron peppers and pulpo?...  

I breathe some more, coming into the present moment, my tummy tense, I give it a rub with my hand as I breathe, this helps me relax and then as our minds can be so flighty I then obediently follow my wild mind into the past and what I had worn before.  This is of course no help, a few smart dinner party silk dresses shimmy over my hands, trusty and worn tops that had seen better days and a die hard rock 'n roll T shirt with a sumptuous pair of red lips and a tongue on the front waved at me.... nothing or so I thought to go and have tapas with a stranger.  

I bring my attention back to my rail of clothes, espying a cheeky black see-throughish shirt number that merits a colourful bra strap underneath and then I stop myself... OMG as the full impact of a pink bra strap could veritably give the very wrong impression. I find my 'best bum' looking jeans winking at me, pleading with caution to put them on as a starter
... "Mum so who are you going out with tonight?" comes the sing song voices of my children, their interests picqued at my inability to seem normal in the face of a future night of possible laughter, fun and really some attention - what I could really do with. 

Ummmmm, sticking my head deeper into the hangers "what top should I wear my loves" I ask. "Depends on who you are going out with" the children are grinning, they sense evidence of weakness, "just a nice person".  This answer is clearly worth a bit of constructive advice..."This is lovely and you look really pretty in it, wear this" .... noooo I think 'really pretty' is giving off the 'pick me' energy... I want to be happy, calm and comfortably at peace with my dinner date not sidestepping advances of shared extras.  

Treading carefully and literally as a dear man I heard from told me that on his first date he treated this lovely lady to him wearing a pair of bright red shoes, he said he felt free to finally choose and have a different wardrobe whilst married.  So I have work flats and heels, a pair of guaranteed f**k me shoes and conversely the trainers that my bunion feels oh so comfortable in. I am of the opinion that after a certain age my feet would protest too much at the thought of vertiginous heels and I now feel I am in need not only of a wardobe overhaul but also of some much needed advice from those that know 'what is what' in the land of mid 40s dating singlies... 

I am no longer a welcome guest of a healthy joint account to purchase freely les vetments of sexiness and I realise I need to get clever, believe in myself a little more and realise that in the grand scheme of things that a next life partner is really going to truly find me attractive as I am.  No longer do I read fashion magazines or have them in my house to judge myself by or for my teenage daughter too and thoughts of mindlessly trawling the internet for a sassy top leaves me cold.  I have a couple of hours to go... I begin to look with a more positive eye at the end result that walks through the restaurant door.  

Confidence in myself is the sexiest attire for the evening.  Realising and reminding ourselves how much we have all been through should not be an obstacle when there is an unexpected joy to be had of just 'being out' on a Saturday night, perhaps with someone who is equally delighted to have a date. That element of gratitude comes shining through and I suddenly feel so much better.  

It is a tricky time this, for so many single 40 somethings and as I reach for the cheeky black shirt I realised that a new wardrobe in itself is a journey of self-realisation.  Being happy in your own skin is the true, honest deal, smiling your biggest smile and remembering who you are is what is to be worn... now where did I put that black bra ....

With love Natasha

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Taking Responsibility For Your Divorce?

Are you taking responsibility for your divorce? 

Recently I have found myself in the company of several couples whose marriages are not so happy .... they haven’t been happy for a long time. 

As good married couples they have trundled along...through the the long sleepless deprived stage of small children and mortgage payments, career influence and possible mid-life crises. This all interspersed with sporadic extra efforts, be it in the marital bedroom or maybe kitchen, 'team together' life happenings and well ... just because, well, being with someone you know and are unhappy with is easier and less scary than leaving.... 

And so my question is this... 

To what level of unhappiness, loneliness and I am sad to say, abuse, do we each tolerate in order to see this unsatisfying life of ours through?  What is acceptable to us as couples, that we give ourselves an easier, permissible acceptance to be miserable, lonely and at times sexually frustrated that we stay in such legal agreement? And surely if we are feeling this, are not our partners on some level feeling the same?  

Why then is there such surprise when that clear divorce gunshot rings out of the marital blue?  At what point do we start to take some personal responsibility for the demise of our relationship? Is it easier surely, to vilify ourselves by apportioning blame elsewhere for our failure to truly prescribe to the sanctified promise of forever?  Is it not right and proper that we equally take responsibility for our personal actions, thoughts and conduct whilst in our marriage? 

So is it the sadness of disappointment, the inability to take responsibility for the end of a marriage or the easier blame game that makes it so hard for so many to forgive and move on?  At what point did we choose to ignore our inner voice nudging us to pull our socks up, to work less, spend less, laugh more, kiss more…. the list of infinite life possibilities…. 

Forgiveness

In mindfulness there is the idea that you can forgive the person, but their actions are borne out of how they are feeling at the time. You know them to be a good person so is it not worth looking at why the marriage has ended? Could it be that your partner's actions were due to unhappiness, loneliness or simply that they had fallen out of love? If this is the case, is our extraordinary life worth time with someone who feels this way?  

So I hear cries of what about the children? Yes the children... I agree - so what about our responsibility as a committed married couple who are able to show our children how we can laugh, hug, kiss and talk to each other? Rather than comfortably letting the children be the no-man's land buffer zone for those that cannot speak or make love, cherish or respect each other any more? 

So with cries of incredulity and pain, fear and guilt that the marital horse has bolted, are we ready yet to begin to take responsibility?

Who are we most angry with? 

Anon
Is it our marital other, a third party or is it ourselves? Are we prepared to have a look? To understand those decisions we made for the long days or nights worked, forfeiting time snuggling down with our loved one for financial gain. Or wishing we had worn our birthday sexy underwear a little more, or not chosen to live our lives through our children so we did not need to look at the up close and personal reality?  

Marriage is hard, we have the good times and the bad times, for the majority it balances out, for so many though the scales silently do dip to a private undeniable low. How then can we move on if we choose to continue standing blameless, but so wounded, waving the pained victim flag or self-righteous pointy finger at everyone but ourselves?
  
It is HARD having a closer look at ourselves...
 


It’s brutal, thinking we were so assuming that our marriage vows were water tight when so clearly they were not.  

Personally looking at the marital breakdown, it is ultimately taking responsibility for our part of the process.  It’s the jolt life hands to us sometimes, as our wake up call of what we need to look at in ourselves, be it setting boundaries, acceptance, self-worth, inner peace, truth, happiness, intuition….


Maybe tough food for thought …. and with it a wonderful poem....

With love x

PICK MORE DAISIES

If I had my life to live over again,

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax.
I’d limber up.
I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.
you see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,
hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments.

If I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else- just moments,
one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live my life over,

I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances,
I would ride more merry-go-rounds,
I would pick more daisies.


– Nadine Stair 85 years old

Friday, 25 March 2016

Easter Bunny Has Spring in Her Divorced Step

Reasons to be cheerful on a wet afternoon waiting for my children to return home, school’s out and I am writing a blog... yayyyy, I have Easter eggs a plenty for my children in the cupboard and thoughts of spring sunshine and the beauty of nature’s seasonal revealing is to behold.... 

So where am I going with this one ... it is about the post-divorce spring in our step, the sky being blue beyond the clouds, the bouncing back point that happens when you are ready .... and doesn't it take some time after our relationships and marriages have ended? 

So like the cold, hard unforgiving frost that finally relents on those dark winter dawns giving way to the bright, crisp and sunshine filled mornings, we begin to pick ourselves up ... as so ably demonstrated by my beautiful spring daffodils in these photos here - 2 hours of magic sunshine!


And the thing is, we humans aren’t really that much different... it doesn't take much for us to feel a little better. Be it a stranger’s kind smile, great customer service or the delight in the new buds poking their fluffy noses out of their winter protection.  With a little kindness we can all of a sudden have our little inner funny back with a belly laugh or that warm fuzzy feeling… it’s those little touches of sunshine in our lives that make the difference to tough days, grey days and days touched with world news sadness. 

Is it not a time to show each other the joy and gratitude that comes with being blessed with a little love, gentleness and perhaps a little chocolate to help us all grow richer in community, support and with love for each other …. 

Spring for me is about growth, new seeds, change and opportunities to just 'let go' of the greyer, more incumbent parts of lives, the winter layers of protection.  Fresh mornings, clearer thoughts, breathing, meditating helps us leave the anxious and fearful ruminations, the worries and the “what ifs” and allowing ourselves to be more present.

Divorce is a seasonal plant in many ways beginning with its summer of unexpected disappointments and discontent.  The storms, the washouts or the unexpected languishing in hot sunshine until the decision of autumnal shedding of the tired, faded and letting go of the marital rings begins to draw in. To the winter of discontent, the facing of our inner fears, reality and darkness maybe coupled with anger, bitterness and grief.  

Moving on to the next stage of a new life awakening, being in the present with acceptance, rather than resignation of what life holds is an incredibly powerful tool. And if we divorcees finally ‘get it’ we do become spring like, venturing out gingerly, perhaps a little fearful of those unexpected spring frosts that come along and send us back a few steps on our newly found life path.  We then wait a while until the sun begins to melt our outer frostiness, we raise our expectant excited cheeks a little higher towards the sun, feeling the birdsong of spring excitement in our nervous ‘learning to fly’ once again hearts… 

Since my marriage ended Spring has indeed become my most favourite season, I feel very bouncy, alive and open to the changes that this growing season gives me… 

I am looking forward to our Easter weekend, celebrating with my children, my love, friends and family, hunting for chocolate eggs, eating and dining, laughing and thankful for the joy and growth that is in my life.....

Happy Easter everyone x

Saturday, 5 March 2016

A Mother's Day Perspective After Divorce

Photo from Yours Tastefully
As a Mum of two beautiful, funny and generous hearted children Mother's Day this year has something a little different coming up for us.... we are here together, our little gang of three and this year we are not just celebrating me....

These little people are the part of Mother's Day which is the melt in the mouth butter icing royale on the cake of 'Mum's' lives..... with the rainbow layers, children bring with pure hearted goodness.

For me, Mother's Day is a celebration of all our complicated little intricacies we have as a mum with our children, which is the interwoven emotional tapestry of extraordinary love... from the moment children enter our lives....

As Kahlil Gibran wrote... 

"Your children are not your children. 
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. 
They come through you but not from you, 
And although they are with you yet they belong not to you.       

You give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts, 
You may house their bodies but not their souls, 
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. 
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.  
You are the bows from which your children are living arrows are sent forth.  
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. 
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; 
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.  

My lovely children have helped me be the Mum I am today and on Mother's Day, we three will celebrate with loving kindness the gift of each other, to each other ....

This blog is with love, support and honouring all those wonderful,strong, incredible hearted women in the world who are 'Mothers', who have had mums, who miss their mums and as a reminder to those who forget ....to call your mums often...

With grace and love to you all xxxx