Photo attribution here.
I remember going in to work the day after The Mr. made his official declaration that he was done. I could have called in sick, but knew that if I stayed home that day I would just lie motionless on my bed, staring into the great black abyss of my future stopping only occasionally to wail like a banshee, useless phrases like, "Why don't you love meeeeeeeeee?" I chose door number two, behind which was an incredibly challenging five year old boy with behavioral issues out the wazoo with whom I was to spend hours playing pirates.
The memory is of me sitting on the floor in his living room. It was day one of Operation Don't Die of a Broken Heart. I listlessly watched the clock and congratulated myself every time 10 minutes passed. Minutes became hours, became days, became weeks and as the months crept on I began to formulate plans. Plans to get away. If I hadn't been completely broke, with an unreliable car, a year lease I'd just signed in a place chosen due to proximity to his work, and a commitment to stay at my nanny gig through the school year, I would have been gone faster than an ice cream sundae from my fridge at that time--which is essentially faster than the speed of light. And let's be honest, if even one of the above inhibiting factors had been absent I would have high tailed it to my beloved California directly following his "I don't"s.
To be brief regarding my love affair with California, it began in February of 2010. Knowing only that I had had quite enough of BYU for the time being and that I loved Sassy McLadyBoots, my friend who so brilliantly decided we should room together in our adorable apartment mere miles from the ocean, I embarked upon the 17 hour journey and immediately was smitten. When The Mr. and I married we moved up the road to Long Beach and lived in what I can only assume will always be my favorite apartment. Hardwood floors, big windows, Spanish style building built in the 1920s, crystal doorknobs, all just blocks from the beach and 1/2 an hour from anything we could ever wish for. Anything, that is, besides the broken bits of our dysfunctional families.
This fact was more than awesome for me, but as time went on The Mr. became more adamant that we return to his comfort zone. Under duress I complied, which ultimately left me where this entry began; broker than broke, utterly defeated, a soulless shadow of my funky, artful self and dying to get away. Back to the sunshine. Back to the ocean. Back to the place where I didn't spend my time wondering how I could make things even slightly less hellacious, but still not break a covenant.
Myself at 19 years old would have jumped ship and made the move on day one, but Lindsay of today has jumped ship enough times to know that a sinking ship is still drier than the ocean and strategy is far more likely to begat success. I saved my pennies, paid off the debts, worked my ass off and waited for the minutes, hours, weeks and months to pass. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Eat mind numbing food. Sleep. Repeat.
With the exception of a few beautiful souls sent to me from God, it was not a happy time. But it served its purpose because today, my friends, today I write to you from the living room of Sassy McLadyBoots herself where I currently reside. The sun is shining, the pool is clear and inviting, the streets are familiar, and the cells in my body feel like they're making that noise that Wally makes when he charges up in that weird movie about how technology makes us obease... you know the noise I mean?... I'm a nanny. Don't judge me.
From this glorious new place of rebirth, these are the things I have to tell you...so far.
1. Getting "away from it all" and "following your heart/dreams/passions/something shiny" are beautiful, important concepts imbedded deep in the human psyche for survival and while the grass may be greener here--or really there are just more palm trees which totally trumps grass anyway-- my second day here I nearly had a panic attack and the third day I cried like a baby and for twenty minutes thought The Mr. was my soul mate.
2. Seasonal Affective Depression is real, and one should never forcefully remove another from her ideal climate.
3. I spent the week long road trip down here and the last three days shopping in thrift stores with awesome friends and sewing my acquired purchases into fabulousness. This only solidifies the lesson God has been trying to teach me through the incredibly painful medium of a failed marriage that He made His kids the way He did on purpose. The things I want and like, the things that make me laugh or sneeze or nauseous are essential characteristics of His creation. Minimizing, ignoring or attempting to remove these seemingly insignificant or incidental elements is insulting to Him and only brings me down. Others who minimize or attempt to eradicate these elements also offend God. I'm His piece of art. It's no one's place to shape me but His.
4. When the moments come that bring up old (or perhaps very recent) stuff, that's okay. Here's what you do about that; you notice it, you take a deep breath, and you let it go. My mama taught me that, and you know what? She's right.
5. While not every Devout Yet Divorced Mormon can pack up and haul herself off to a sunnier destination-- I do recognize the intensely blessed position I am currently in-- I whole heartedly believe there is always, always, always a way to change things for the better. Always.
So keep your head up. Find what it is you look forward to and walk towards that, big or small. Be especially forgiving, loving, kind and generous to yourself during this time. Pick up your pen and start filling the pages. You are the hero of this story.