Tag Archive | divorce

Aftermath

Instagram Self portrait

Self-portrait with Myles - Instagram

Before I start talking about my adventures, it’s only fair that I discuss what happened after the divorce was finalized. If you were to peruse my blog and possibly my facebook posts, you might think that life was all sunshine and roses once I left Rob. My life is certainly better, but that wouldn’t be an accurate description.

I would liken my first year post-separation/divorce to the summer between high school and college — carefree and filled with revelry. I had spent years putting my wants second to Rob’s wants and needs that I felt deprived. I did the typical divorcee thing and made up for it with a vengeance. Some women party and go on dating sprees. I traveled and started running. If there was any opportunity to pack my bag and get out of dodge, I would take it without a moment’s hesitation. I never thought I would see so much of the United States in a single calendar year. If not for my new beau D and Myles, I am certain I would’ve been wandering the country visiting my various friends.

Man with dog

D and Myles at the beach

If I wasn’t traveling, I was running or traveling to run. I had it on good authority that becoming a runner was in “The Divorcee’s Handbook”. I didn’t question it. I loved the way running was shaping my body and I became addicted to feeling of satisfaction that came from finishing races. Running was my therapy. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t felt in quite some time.

Additionally, I was making new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Movies. Festivals. Concerts. I attended as many as I was invited to.

It sounds great, right?

The second year came along and reality came banging on my door. Until the divorce was finalized, I put off thinking about or planning for my future. Years of running a household and struggling to make ends meet had left me exhausted and inert. I had put all of my focus on getting out of my marriage and none on what to do once I was free. Once it was finalized, I was left asking myself, “What now?”.

I assessed my situation. It was depressing. At 36, I was nearly broke, working part-time as a home attendant for my grandma and living with my parents. I went from living in a place of my own with my husband and dog to my family’s bustling, noisy household. I wasn’t just living with my family. Being in this household has brought many demands and expectations. I scarcely have a moment alone or time to think. I suspect this is why I haven’t blogged much nor have I done much design work. I’m pulled in many directions and don’t have as much time as I used to for myself. I can’t clear my head. Running gives me a little “me time”, but not much. I am definitely a person who thrives on being alone.

To add insult to the situation, I’m treated like a 18-year-old. I have a curfew and have to account for my whereabouts at all times. I’m not exactly sure how this came about. It may be because the last time I lived in this house I was still in college and the 12 years I spent living independently have been stricken from everyone’s memories.

For a time, I was even “forbidden” to date. My bad marriage apparently was a sign that I had poor judgment and couldn’t be trusted to make relationship decisions for myself. It was also suggested that my marriage to Rob was my only shot at marriage. To say that this has made dating D difficult doesn’t adequately describe it. Luckily for me, D has been very patient and understanding. This is why my relationship with D has been so low-profile. Another reason for the low-profile relationship was to keep some of the gossip and criticism at bay. I was bombarded with well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning comments about it being too soon for a relationship and that D was probably just a rebound. I hadn’t planned on getting involved, but sometimes life has other plans. D has been one of the best things to come into my life in a long time.

The adjustments that I had to make were not limited to my living quarters. When I packed up and moved from Los Angeles to Virginia Beach, I changed my lifestyle drastically. Because my 1st year in Virginia Beach was such a whirlwind, the gravity of what I had done didn’t hit me right away. Out of the blue, it hit me. I miss living in a city. I can’t say that I miss L.A. exactly, but I miss its resources. I miss the ability to find nearly anything my heart desires within a drivable distance. I miss being able to get REALLY good Thai at 1AM. Hell, I miss getting really good Thai food without paying an arm and a leg. I miss the food trucks and the immense variety of food that I had available. I miss farmers markets and all the fresh produce my heart desired. I miss having an enormous flower mart and garment district as my creative playground. I miss all the great paper and stationery shops. However there are things that I don’t miss. The traffic. The pollution. The crowds and the incredibly high cost of living.

So where does this leave me?

My inner circle let me gripe for a bit, but then basically gave me an ultimatum. Make a change or shut up. {Tough love goes a long way.}

I sent my résumé to the four winds and nothing happened. Not a call back. Not an email. Nothing. My years of work experience in L.A. left me in a weird position. I had paid my dues in an industry that was non-existent here. I was not qualified for the design jobs that were available here. I had zero experience with web design and that’s all most employers wanted here. I could try my hand in another metropolis like D.C., Philadelphia or New York City, but I lacked any of the capital to move again.

I was crushed and heartbroken. I guess I believed that magically everything would’ve fallen into place once I left Rob or put in a little effort to getting my life in order. In a way, I thought the mess my life had become was caused by the “mistake” I had made in marrying Rob. This for a short time translated into me not wanting to do anything for fear of making another mistake that I couldn’t remedy or digging myself into a deeper hole.

Thanks to Cicely, I got moving again.

I decided to go back to school to learn web design. I applied for grants and loans. I enrolled at my local community college last fall and managed to finance the endeavor on my own. Presently, I am taking a full course load. It is a lot of work and took a lot of adjustment. Prior to this, I hadn’t been in a college or university setting in over 10 years. I’m doing well and am enjoying the learning experience. I’m really hoping that this will be what gets my career back on track and gets the rest of the pieces to fall into place. I love my family, but am ready to have the degree of separation that allowed us better to appreciate one another. I’m looking forward to living in a place of my own again. More than anything, I miss my independence.

As rough as this sounds, I don’t regret marrying or divorcing Rob. It’s an experience that has shaped me, but not crushed me. I’m not where I want to be, but I know I’ll get there… eventually. Until then, I’ll keep fighting hard to move forward and live the life I’ve always wanted to live.

Wish me luck 🙂

Hello Again

Hi… Remember me?

I’m a blogger… I think.

I went from 100+ post a year to 5. As in, one, two, three, four, FIVE posts last year.

With a blog named “the Adventures of Anne K.”, the lack of posts would imply that I don’t have any adventures. That’s not the case. I’ve had quite a few adventures. I simply didn’t feel like sharing.

{GASP!}

What?! Did I actually say that?

Or let me be accurate, I didn’t share them here. I  facebooked and tweeted to a select group of family and friends.

For years, I shared my life with Rob.  Post-divorce, I wanted my privacy for a while. With so much of my life out in the open, people felt compelled to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do post-divorce. Some advice was good; some bad. Most of it was unsolicited.  Worst still were the judgments and recriminations that came. I can’t believe she got divorced so quickly. She didn’t give the marriage a chance. She ditched Rob and moved across the country. It’s too soon for her to start dating again. She’s having too much fun. Shouldn’t she be doing something more meaningful with her life? 

I don’t care what most people think. However, it was all so annoying. I didn’t feel the need to defend myself. It was unnecessary and futile. So, I went radio silent.

So, here’s what you missed…

2011 was a good year.

I traveled. I will blog those trips, btw.

I ran… A LOT. I got my first marathon in the books. That is quite a story as well.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what came next. My first year post-divorce was spent reveling in my newfound freedom. It was like the summer post-high-school, pre-college. Lots of fun, no responsibility.

The second year post-divorce was a rude awakening. I sacrificed a lot to get out of a bad situation. I left my home and was now living with my folks in my childhood bedroom. That is as awkward a situation as you might imagine. I am in my mid-30s living like a high school kid. I gave up city life for the suburbs. The stationery business that I put so much work into building was almost non-existent. I had a few potential clients back out. I applied for design job after design job with no response. I have no web design experience, which is in demand. I was now employed as a caregiver for my grandma, which I enjoy, but doesn’t pay enough to cover the debts I incurred during my marriage.

It’s not all bad. By no means am I complaining. Like I said, I was out of a bad situation. However, I was floundering.

To get my career and the rest of my life back on track, I decided to go back to school to learn web design. I enrolled at my local community college. There was a lot of paperwork and A LOT of adjustment. College had changed radically since I attended 10 years ago. Despite the differences, I am enjoying the learning experience. {Hi, Mr. Clement}. Let’s hope this means I’ll be at a job that I love and pays well by the end of the year.

In the meantime, I’ll be blogging again 🙂

Progress Report

A year ago today, I took the first big step in starting my life over. At 9AM last year, I boarded a Virgin America flight from Orange County bound for Washington, D.C. I had 10 boxes in tow – 1o boxes that held most of what I hold dear.

I was leaving the life that I had spent 7 years building, a relationship that I had been in for nearly 6 years, and the dog that I had raised for 5 years. I cried most of the flight. I have never been filled with so much uncertainty and heartache as I was on that day. Despite this, I knew that leaving was the best thing I could do for myself.

Staying in a relationship where I was miserable and stressed to the point of physical illness would have been lunacy. I gave new meaning to loving someone until it kills you. Make no mistake, I loved Rob. However, sometimes love isn’t enough… especially when someone doesn’t love you nearly as much in return.

So, I ended a marriage that wasn’t working and had no hope of surviving. I received a second chance and a new lease on life that many people never get.

I could not have done it without my support system.

I have an amazing family – both immediate and extended. My immediate family drives me crazy sometimes, but I know that when I need them they’re there. I would not have even considered leaving Rob if my parents hadn’t generously invited me to move back home. Both of my siblings Cathee and Nate stepped up and assisted me at crucial moments. My grandma has been my cheerleader and source of consolation. In addition, I have a multitude of Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins that have been there for me in ways that I hope to repay someday.

I have a plethora of friends who rallied to support me. My best friend Cicely counseled me and drove with me cross-country. My other dear friend Neleh helped me transition back to Virginia and threatened to remove me from my folks’ home lest I keep hiding in my bedroom. Of course, I had countless other friends who offered advice and stories of encouragement. The most amazing part is that I have not met many of these friends in person. Many are people who I chat with on Twitter or are blog friends. In essence, they were total strangers.

Where am I a year later?

I’m healthier than I’ve been in years. As I have exclaimed all over this blog, I am now a runner.

This hasn’t been the easiest year. There have been a few setbacks. I’m not entirely where I want to be, but there has been progress. Even a little progress is better than where I was before.

I took a hiatus from The Paper Stylist to focus on the rest of my design and photography work. This has given me the opportunity to restructure and evaluate what I want to do. I have been able to expand my portfolio. I’m excited about the projects I have on the Horizon.

Just when I thought I would hate living in Virginia, I had two fortuitous breaks. One is that I started contributing as a photographer and writer for AltDaily.com. While working with them, I’ve become very involved with my community and discovered there is much more to love about this part of Virginia. The other thing is I made local friends courtesy of Twitter. I’ve been to more birthday parties and “just because” gatherings than I can even count. These folks have made my life here more than tolerable, it’s been downright enjoyable.

Traveling has once again become a hobby of mine. I have been making up for lost time. I have flown and driven many miles to visit new destinations. While I haven’t gotten any new stamps in my passport, I have seen so much of this beautiful country.

In the state that I was in a year ago, I had sworn off men and relationships. For 6 months, I hid at home. Then, I re-entered the dating arena. It was hilarious and disastrous. I was ready to swear off dating when I met someone who I ended up liking a lot. Yes, D, I’m talking about you. We went on a few dates. Somehow, a few dates turned into several. Several dates morphed into spending lots of time together. Now, we’ve been “together” for a few months. I like where we’re at and that’s all I’m going to say about it. 😉

My life is immeasurably better than it was a year ago. It’s nothing like I thought it would be and I like it.

You can start over again. Life really isn’t over until you’re dead.

Musings about TheEx

August 26-Sept 2, 2010 {Los Angeles, CA}

Rob & Dottie - Old Town Pasadena

When people say that divorce is a long process, they aren’t kidding. It is a painful and seemingly never-ending ordeal. Imagine your worst break-up and drag it out over a course of a year or more. By most standards, Rob and I are having an amicable divorce. Despite this, it’s still been a gut-wrenching affair.

I had to head back to Los Angeles to handle divorce business. No need to get into the specifics, except to say there were more papers to be signed and an appointment at the courthouse. In the weeks and nights preceding the trip, I lost a considerable amount of sleep and the stress was eating at me. I hadn’t seen Rob, whom I’ve conveniently referring to as TheEx, in 6 months. We have talked over phone during the last couple of months, but seeing him in person would be different. I wasn’t sure how I would feel – angry? sad? indifferent?

My emotions have run the gamut. For a long period of time, I was angry at him, like raging lunatic angry. I have hundreds of tweets that can attest to this. {Sorry, twitter friends}. Then the anger would turn to pity when I would speak to him and hear about what had become of his life. Then, of course, he’d say something to piss me off and I’d be back to being angry. Then, I would be sad when I ponder why our marriage was among the many that fail. It was a terrible roller coaster to be on.

After several flights and a short car ride, I was standing in the home that I had shared with Rob. It felt familiar and foreign all at the same time. Then, there he was… Rob – the man that I had been married to for 2 years and left 9 months prior. He hugged me and I felt like I was hugging a stranger. I had spent nearly 6 years of my life with this man and now it felt odd for him to even touch me. It was unsettling and upsetting. I did not expect that. I thought I’d feel differently, but I didn’t expect to feel so disconnected. It may be a defense mechanism.

I left Rob, but I left because I had no choice. In my angry tweets and ranting about Rob, I omit the part where I have been deeply hurt. I’m sure that the hurt could be inferred. I loved Rob to the point where it nearly killed me… literally. The stress of our failing marriage had caused my health to degrade. I was overweight, clinically depressed, had daily migraine headaches, and the beginnings of an ulcer. I had persevered for nearly a year when I realized that I was the only one trying to save a sinking ship. Rob’s promises were empty and simply lip-service. They were terrible realizations to make. This man I had loved so much didn’t love me nearly enough.

There was a question of whether or not I missed Rob. The answer is a complex one. My life with Rob wasn’t all bad. We had some good times. After all, I was married to Captain Fun. This blog has dozens of entries detailing our adventures and exploits. It’s just that those good times were few and far between. I will miss Rob’s sense of adventure. Although, I still have my own wanderlust to keep me moving. More than his sense of adventure, I miss Rob’s friendship and the familiarity we had. He knew me and all my idiosyncrasies well… sometimes to my disadvantage.  How else did I stay for so long? The man knew how to play me. He’s not nearly that nefarious, but I think you get the idea. I’m confident that after some time Rob and I will be able to establish some kind of friendship.

Because I’ve had some time and some space away from him, I can honestly say I don’t hate Rob. The anger has subsided and I’m reveling in my freedom. I don’t think Rob’s a terrible person, just a horrific husband for me. Despite some of the unforgivable things he has done, I still wish the best for Rob. Everyone deserves a happy life… even Ex-husbands 😉

In a Fog…

NYC -Times Square - 3.12.10 {photo by Cicely}

I took an unintentional blog break. It wasn’t for lack of activity. March was a whirlwind – Jay-Z concert, Trip to NYC, and other tidbits. Despite all the exciting activity, I’ve felt like I was sleepwalking through a fog. I would love to say that I’m doing unbelievably well since I’ve moved. I should be honest. I’m not.

Since November, I’ve been jetting between L.A. and Virginia Beach. This, of course, was disorienting and kept me from fully acknowledging what was happening. Mentally, I knew that moving cross-country, getting divorced, and leaving Dottie with Rob was momentous.  I thought I had prepared myself. I read books, talked to divorced friends, and prayed. Then, it hit me a week after my NYC trip… I’d lost my life as I knew it.

There are things that I’m glad to have lost. L.A. Traffic and my awful landlords. In all seriousness, I am relieved to be out of marriage that wasn’t working and couldn’t be salvaged. The stress of the situation was really taking its toll. I am grateful that the divorce is amicable. I believe that given enough time Rob and I could be friends.

What I didn’t fully comprehend was that by moving I was losing a lifestyle. I had gotten comfortable with city life. Diversity. Late night. Creative Resources. A plethora of eateries. I loved it all and now miss it all. I especially miss the fast-paced indescribable energy that you find in a city. The slower pace and homogenized community in Virginia Beach is safe and comfortable for some, yet stifling for me. I am not trashing the place. It’s just not my style. The resources that I became accustomed to are nonexistent here. It’s hard to find alternatives without having to spend a lot of extra cash.

In case it wasn’t apparent, my living situation isn’t ideal. After living on my own for 12 years, my financial situation dictated that I move back in with my parents. For years, I have reveled in my independence. For a good while I was taking care of myself and Rob.  I had my household. My own home. To have to depend on my parents again is demoralizing. For as much I love my family, there was a very good reason why I lived 3,050 miles away. I like having my space. Being in the midst of a busy household is tough. I feel as though I never have a moment to myself. If that wasn’t enough, I’ve traveled back in time. I’m 16 again and have a curfew. I’m 34 years old! I’m divorced, not a child.  My 26-year-old brother doesn’t have a curfew, but I do. The thought alone makes me want to cry. I’m not out late {nothing’s open!}, but I’d love to have the option. I’m convinced this is karma biting me in the butt. A few years ago, I teased a beau when he moved back in with his parents. I joked and said we could pretend we were in high school again. He was hurt and I laughed. Now, here I am in my old high school bedroom {which has been redecorated at least}. Dear E, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I was jerk. If it’s any consolation to you, I’m receiving my comeuppance in spades.

With this in mind, it’s difficult to transition. I am humbled. I am upset. I am depressed. I am not getting any sleep.

I AM NOT defeated.

I’m still fighting and forging ahead. I’m a feisty gal. It’s what I do. Beneath this emotional fog, I still know that I have been presented a unique opportunity. I got a “Do-over”. By losing so much, I can start from scratch. Move to Paris or NYC? Maybe. Go back to school? Strong possibility. Travel as much as my little heart desires? Sign me up. Rethink my career choices? Most definitely. I just have to figure out what it is that I really want. This is tougher than you can imagine. I’m a sky’s-the-limit-kind of gal. The choices are overwhelming.

Please don’t call the guys with the coats just yet. I’m very emotional, but I’m still here. I just wanted to vent and explain where I’ve been.