Monday, 29 October 2012

November Rain

Ok, not quite November yet. But just a few days away.

Anyone remember how beautiful it was on Friday? Since then, not so much. We seem to be experiencing the effects of the Hurricane. It never really stops raining.

Personally, I don't mind the rain all that much. I find it romantic. I remember one night when it was pouring and I actually convinced Travis to go for a walk with me. No umbrellas. We got soaked. Not sure that he ever really appreciated that carefree, crazy side of me, but he used to put up with it at least.

Another time, as I was saying goodbye to Adam for the millionth time, it started to rain just as we kissed. We stood there laughing instead of running for shelter.

And then there was that one night in the Bahamas, when it was literally a downpour, and the square was completely flooded and it all just turned into a crazy dance party. I'm pretty sure Chris lost his shoes that night.

It seems official. The optomist is back. These memories make me smile *big smile*, not cry. A manicure helps (a lot actually), as does finally starting to feel a little better and of course, not listening to quite as much City and Colour. Going a little bit stir crazy from studying all the time. Monique texted me tonight, she's experiencing the same thing. It's almost comic, a couple of 30-something ex-dubs trying to work full-time at demanding corporate jobs and go to school at night and write papers in our spare time.

Summer was fun, but since then, I've pretty much become...boring. All I do is go to work, go to school, study. Have the odd Dexter/Walking Dead catch-up with pizza night.

As stressful as it's been though, no panic attacks. I think that's the result of my wise decision to stop dating. (I have exceptional insight. I'd use it on myself, only I don't have any problems. Ha ha.) Not that the guys haven't been for the most part awesome. But there always is that one, once in awhile, who shakes you up and makes you feel bad about yourself. Those ones can come back, even months later and with a few nasty messages tear you apart all over again.

Ugh, my girlfriend is currently in her ex's apartment building contemplating knocking on his door. And I have 3 more chapters to go before I'm ready for school tomorrow night. I have to go. But take a few minutes tonight and watch the rain. As melancholy as it is, it's one of my favorite things. :)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Little Hell

"There's a degree of difficulty in dealing with me. From my haunted past comes a daunting task of living through memories."

It's raining again. It seems appropriate. Still trying unsuccessfully to do schoolwork while sick.

I've been deathly ill. My ex-boyfriend took on the task of taking care of me the other day. He is a great person. Kind, generous, thoughtful, creative and smart. He always has my favorite music and tv shows ready to go, dinner, a nice bottle of wine. He loves to cuddle, thinks I'm beautiful. Maybe I'm an idiot to want to stay single right now. I understand though, the crazy that I've brought to all my recent relationships, and I'm trying to keep anyone else from getting caught up in that. This is my cross to bear, and I have to do that alone.

Yes, I am much better these days. Reconnecting recently with my mom and sister has been good for me. It's not like at this point, after three and a half years, we're going to be anything special to each other. Although having something there is better than nothing at all.

But...I still feel lost. And with Travis getting re-married, I know the next couple of months with me would not be great. I need to figure out how to deal with that before I try dating anyone again.

I wouldn't want anyone (Dad) to think I'm not grateful that life has been so kind to me lately. Things are great at work. I'm doing well at school. I have amazing friends. But I can't help but shake the feeling that the little hell that is my past life in the back of my mind, that always pops up again in dreams/nightmares, may never go away. And that I may always be somewhat lost and alone.

Sometimes, I write here when I'm feeling sad, or sorry for myself. That's really not the case tonight. I had a great Saturday evening with my "Toronto family", dinner with my ex's parents and kid, we ate, we played, we watched baseball. I love them.

I went out last night to a Halloween party, dressed as a vampire with a bunch of awesome friends. (That's another one of those things I never got to do growing up.) Actually a friend of mine was shocked when I told him that the other day, he feels strongly that all cults should make the "fun stuff" mandatory. :)

And life continues to improve as more and more old friends wake up and walk away from the JWs and back into my life. People I've met try their best to understand it all, but these guys REALLY get me.

It's not easy. The year of being shunned, I accomplished nothing. Unless you count incessant crying and drinking copious amounts of wine. Then I went back. It's really only been a year and half since I truly left them. It does feel sometimes like I've survived a war and got out alone, leaving the people I loved behind. The post-traumatic stress lingers.

But don't feel sorry for me. That was a choice I made, knowing the consequences, and I own it. I could have gone back, I still can, anytime I want. I'm sure everyone out there has their own "little hell" that they are trying desperately to forget about, or heal from, wishing it was just a bad dream they could shake off in the morning.

I have been so lucky on the "other side". Sometimes I just wish I was a little bit younger, a little less damaged, a little more optomistic. But it's only been a year and a half. I won't always be a fragile bird who always flies away from anyone who gets too close. And someday the blackbird will become some happier color.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Mad Men

Break-ups, especially Divorce (sorry, I have to capitalize it for some reason) usually give women a welcome excuse to indulge a little (or a lot) in something we all do from time to time (be honest!) - complaining about men.

They're insensitive, or they don't get us, or they never want to talk about "feelings", or they just want to give solutions, not really hear our problems...this is how many women feel. Personally though, despite getting Divorced, I feel this entire process has made me appreciate men MORE than I ever have before.

Truth be told, there is The Asshole who started all this. He's mean and he lies, and he's a huge part of the reason I feel like I need to wrap myself up in bubble wrap and stick on a label that says "Fragile" before leaving the house most days. (NOT talking about my ex-husband. He's a good person and I love him a lot.) But besides that guy, I've been really lucky.

Not to discount the women in my life who have been fiercely loyal...

But one of my best friends showed up last night, with pizza and red wine, which he picked out because the store didn't have any of my favorites and this one had a happy pink label, and it made me think. My whole life I've put so much emphasis on girlfriends. And they are great to have. But when the chips are down, and I've stood on the precipice of completely losing myself trying to deal with all this loss, more often than not, it's been a man who grabbed me and pulled me back.

And they are sensitive. They do get us. They talk about feelings. They can listen empathetically without just giving you a solution.

Over the past few years, the men in my life have spent literally hundreds of hours listening to me talk about my feelings. They've stood by my side when I was alone and held my hand when I cried. They've lived with me, loaned me money, been my date for important events when I didn't have one, given me honest advice when I was getting derailed and needed to be readjusted, hugged me, sat with me without talking, put up with me when I wasn't me at all, let me sleep on their couches, brought me food when I was sick, remembered my birthday, cheered me up when I was sad.

In Jerry Maguire (best movie ever by the way) she says "Maybe men are the enemy. But I still love the enemy."

So yes, I'm Divorced. But I don't believe men are the enemy. I think they are trying just as hard as we are, sometimes harder. I think men are great, just the way they are. :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Winter of Grace

"By "guts" I mean grace under pressure." - Hemingway

Let's face it. Last winter was terrible. I was feeling a little sad on the weekend, in part because one of my ex-best friends was getting married, in part because my ex-husband was there with his fiancee, in part because my estranged sister was there with her new boyfriend.

A whole room full of people I used to be very, very important to, who now are no part of my life in any way. Not because we don't still love each other, but simply because of religious belief differences.

But there was another part to the feeling. It's starting to feel like winter (what happened to enjoying a little bit of fall weather?) and last winter was very, very bad. We watched a wonderful person we love very much slowly waste away from the monster that is cancer. (See Faith, Hope and Love.) I was able to push it aside in the nicer weather and have a recklessly fun summer, trying to forget about everything that happened, but now that it's getting cold, it's getting harder and harder to get that out of my mind.

Reckless summer and winter's arrival aside, I'm trying to be optomistic. I already know the melancholy and infinite sadness winter 2012/2013 will bring. Travis is getting remarried in January. Still seems too soon. And Nicole? Really? I don't see it, as nice of a person as she is.

Maybe he likes her because she is the exact opposite of me. She's dark, I'm fair. She's tall, I'm short. She's quiet and compliant. I'm emotional, outspoken and independant. Travis is not coming back. After all, it my choice to leave. My choice not to stay in a marriage where I would be forced to live a certain way of life, tied to a set of religious beliefs that I no longer had any faith in.

Well, don't worry. I'm not going to pull a Taylor Swift video moment and show up and try to break up the wedding. This is the Winter of Grace, after all. Instead, I had lunch with my mother. And then with my sister. It seems possible that's it's finally time, and I'm hopeful, we will all find a way to co-exist peacefully after three and a half years apart.

I've spent all night trying to write a paper for school, and here I am, on here instead. It's due tomorrow. I worked until 8:30 last night. Morale is low in the office of the CMO.

Even though it's almost winter, there may be good things ahead. But first, I need to stop listening to Freebird and get some sleep. The paper is almost done, will finish it tomorrow. And tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Man in the Mirror

Did you know Michael Jackson was raised JW too? Probably not.

Random fun fact. (I do love this song.) I'm not saying that's the whole reason he was slightly crazy.

One of my best friends got married yesterday. Ex-best friends. It looks like Travis is next. Then my sister. Yes, I'm happy this way. Things are really good and I have a lot to be grateful for. I can't help but worry that I may never look in the mirror and actually know who I really am.

Margaux today is so polar opposite to the person I always was. I've tried almost everything trying to figure out who I want to be now. I still have no idea.

I ran into Adam on Friday. I don't know who he is anymore either. But here in Toronto, he's the only person who really knew who I was before my old life went away.

The work thing is going great. But corporate? I'm good at it, but it's not really me. I spent 13 years working part-time and doing 100 hours a month of volunteer work. I started a new volunteer gig last week. It makes me re-evaluate everything else.

We don't live in a world where single girls living in a big city can just quit their jobs and go do volunteer work. The JW in me is hard to kill though. I'm sick of partying, sick of dating. Tired of working for a big corporation with a bunch of people who care about their jobs more than anything else.

Most nights now, I just come home and put on my pjs by 7 pm. Two of my ex-boyfriends called me last night. If I wanted to pick a normal happy ending, I'm sure I could. But I've already got one divorce under my belt, not gonna do that again.

I wish I could do something to make the world a better place. Make a difference. And it would be nice to not be alone anymore. It's been a long time. Find a way to reconcile who I was with who I want to be. Look in the mirror and recognize myself. But I guess I just have to be patient. Victor Hugo said in Les Mis, "Will the future ever arrive?...Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depths, small isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threaten on all sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more in danger than the star in the jaws of the clouds". I hope so.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cold Effects

Ok, it's official. I'm sick and I've run out of snappy titles. Please feel free to delete my blog address from your favorites bar and find someone else to read.

I've been thinking about it all day and "Margaux vs the Common Cold" is not an exciting read. But there's something about being home sick that sucks up all your optimism and makes you feel really, really single.

Today, I started to understand why people stay in mediocre/unhappy relationships. It's probably mostly just to have someone around who will make you soup and get you another blanket when you are sick. Let's face it. Only someone who actually loves you will put up with the coughing, the Kleenex piles, the unshowered, sweatpant wearing you that wants to die.

There's something about the cold season starting again that I think makes people want to nest. Being single in the summer is oh so much fun, but come wintertime you want someone to come home to and snuggle up with. I've heard from FOUR ex's in the past few days. Mostly I've been letting it hit voicemail. Getting back together with an ex is an easy way out of being alone, but I'm at the point where I want to find real love, not a fill-in until springtime.

In an effort to move forward with the one goal I haven't accomplished (see Goal Setting) I pulled out my book today. It was with horror that I realized out of 72 pages, at least 62 of them were about Adam. I haven't touched this book in over two years, but I thought I was on my way. I realize now, I'm basically starting from scratch.

Because 62 pages of Adam is not a realistic perspective on my entire life. I have a new friend from NYC with contacts in publishing who said he would try to help me, but only once I finished it.

So here we go. I'm still not sure how it ends, but I know how it begins. And I'm hoping for a happy ending.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Giving Thanks

I've been excited about this one all week.

Another re-post, Giving Thanks is one of my favorites. This Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for a loving family; fun, loyal friends; a great job where I've had consecutively the best bosses ever; being back in school; my awesome apartment; the Cat; all the new people and experiences that have come into my life over the past year; and, of course, turkey!

I'm also grateful to all the people who are reading this blog, all over the world, everyday. Humbled and thankful.

I'd like to give a shout out to my best friend Liz on her birthday. I couldn't have made it through this past year without you. Looking forward to celebrating today with you! (heart)

Sending lots of love to Liz and everyone else this weekend. Try to take a moment to meditate on all the things each and every one of you have to be grateful for. Sometimes life can seem hard, unfair, stressful. But if each of us gathered up all our problems, and put them in a pile and then walked around assessing everyone else's pile of problems, I'm pretty sure most of us would choose to stick with what we've got.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here we go:

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving. Being lucky enough to live in Canada and have a job, for most of the people I know, this particular long weekend means turkey dinners, drinking wine, washing dishes, spending time with family and friends. I'm actually trying to fit in three separate Thanksgiving dinners this weekend if you can believe that. Two years ago I would have laughed at the idea that life could come so full circle.

There are so many things we have to be grateful for, not just this weekend, but every day. Family, friends, health, home, money, the list goes on and on. We are very lucky.

But this year the thing I am most grateful for is Freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom of speech. Things that people have fought for over the centuries, but I never really understood how absolutely necessary these things are to true happiness until recently.

I ran into a friend from a past life yesterday. She still lives the way I used to, being told how to think, what to say, who to be friends with, who she can talk to, who she can date, who she can love. She's not a very happy person.

But, because of how she's conditioned to think, she looked at me with a mixture of pity and condescencion. When she asked how I was, I thought for a second about all the things I wanted to say.

I wanted to tell her that with the barriers that kept me at arms length from my family removed, I have a closer relationship with them that I ever would have. I wanted to tell her that now that I no longer have to go through life secretly judging and trying to change people, people like me so much better. I wanted to tell her I finally have true, loyal friends who I know would never walk away from me just because someone else told them they had to. I wanted to tell her that I don't have to live in fear of that ever happening to me again.

I thought briefly about the fact that I don't have to be eternally single like her, because I can date whoever I want, instead of being forced to choose a romantic partner from a tiny pool of people who are "acceptable" to the group.

Thoughts ran through my head about how much I love my job, my apartment, my friends, my complete freedom to choose to live the life I want to live, not the life someone else is dictating for me. And how much more interesting it is to be able to bring anyone into your life that you want, just based on who they are as a person and not their religious views or lifestyle choices.

I wanted to tell her how strong I felt having been able to make those changes to my life and move on. But she never would have believed me anyway. So I just smiled and said "I'm great". And I am.

With a worried look that showed clearly she thought I was hiding my internal pain and suffering under a brave external smile, and a hug, we walked away from each other.

This Thanksgiving, I feel like the war I've been fighting the past couple of years is finally over. There are still a few battle wounds that will take a little longer to heal, but thank the universe, I am free. :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sex and the City

So I never realized this before, but life really is a lot like SATC.

Here we are Ladies, in our 30s. My girlfriends are all successful, intelligent, (did I mention beautiful?), kind, FUN.

We have interests, talents, abilities. We do not have to compete with the 22 years olds in short skirts. We can still pull off a pretty mean short skirt ourselves. And we have the confidence which comes with experience and feeling good in our own skin.

So why are we still putting all our self-worth into how we are treated by men? We live (gratefully) in an age where we literally don't need them. Not to say a nice boyfriend wouldn't be great. Love is the greatest thing in the world. But putting up with bad behaviour just for the chance that some guy is gonna change and appreciate us for who we are?

Not to say I am any better than anyone else out there. A couple of my recent blog postings were about the Scorpions who managed to hurt me. Obviously I still think about them, it still affects me.

But we're just as good as them now. Our jobs are equivalent (or almost), we have nice apartments, we can COOK. And the best kept secret? We hold ALL the power.

A man can walk into a bar, and put up his hand and say "Who wants to go home with me?" Nine times out of ten, no response. A woman on the other hand, will get a different reaction. The problem is, we don't recognize that we're actually in control. So we try too hard, make too many allowances, to make them like us. We don't have to. A good guy will be willing to work for you, to show up on time, (or at all), to wait for you to trust he is sincere.

One of my girlfriends spent our last few conversations crying about the guy she's dating. I don't blame her, if I put that much time and energy into someone who turned out to be such a loser, I'd cry too. I have cried, not that long ago, and one of my girlfriends spent that night, holding my hand saying he wasn't worth it. That's what friends do. Another good friend is still constantly thinking about THE question: why was her ex such an a*hole, when she was so good to him? Sometimes we just need to accept there is no answer, we will never get that closure we so desperately want to be able to understand what went wrong. Maybe the only answer is, because he is an asshole!

I just feel that all of us have spent way too much time lately mourning these guys who are JUST NOT WORTH IT. So let's make a decision to be strong, be alone (together), and wait for the one who is worth your time, energy, all the cute, thoughtful things you will do for him, your love and the *very* occasional tears. If we do it together, maybe we can change things.

In the meantime, it's Thanksgiving this weekend, so we will all eat my fabulous turkey, drink wine and talk about something other than the boys.

Please read me: You complete me...?

Monday, 1 October 2012

I'm Doing What I'd Rather Be Doing

My new boss, Jersey, (who by the way is officially my boss as of today, it was announced to the Firm) loaned me a great book today. (See link.)

It's all about the power of personal choice, setting realistic expectations, knowing who you are and what you want (and don't want) out of life.

Reality, drama, truth, the importance of accepting and feeling your emotions and...breathing.

All things that I buy into and have wrote about on this blog, but recounted oh, so much more eloquently. If you pick it up and have a read, you will not be disappointed.

Once we become brave enough to make our own choices (not those dictated to us by others), it's important to accept the implications that come with choosing. That whatever choice we make, we are comfortable with it. You know what you will lose and what it will cost.

I think I did that when I walked away from my past life, but no matter how hard you try to count the cost of a choice, sometimes it will be harder than you ever imagined. But to me, that is better than living a life of mediocracy, feeling sorry for ourselves that we don't have what we want, but part of the reason (or maybe the whole reason) is that we just won't even try to go for it.

Being true to ourselves means we are honest about what we want, we push ourselves outside our comfort and go for it. Even though our choices are always only ever half-chance, just like everyone else's.

At the end of the day, we shouldn't congratulate ourselves too much or berate ourselves too much either. Listening to that voice inside of us and doing what we need to do will bring less regrets in the end, than if we had never tried at all.

And you never know, maybe we'll end up being able to spend our lives doing what we'd rather be doing. :)

PS - If anyone in the GTA knows anyone who is looking to take a trip down the aisle and is searching for a bargain, check out this link. For Sale: time to clean out my closet...:

The prettiest wedding dress in the world.

Goal Setting

*This is repost from last fall. As goal setting is back in progress, I thought I would share.*

I haven't posted anything on here since June. (Not that I think anyone has noticed.) It was a wonderfully self-indulgent, lazy summer with lots of patios after work (yay!), dating (ugh!), suntanning at the pool, spending time with friends and even having the best trip back home.

In all my hedonistic activity, I was under the impression that I hadn't accomplished much at all this year. That was, until I discovered scrunched up in a drawer the other night a list of goals I had written at New Years. Of the 13 things listed, I've actually, almost accidentally, accomplished more than half of them.

And as for the things that I didn't accomplish - like getting back into volunteering or working on my book or losing weight or deciding how/when I am ever going to get back to school...those are things I started working on over the last couple of weeks even before I found my list. I'll get there. :)

At work, we are all required to write up our goals at the beginning of each new fiscal year. We're in the process of "goal-setting" right now. Over the year, we're measured and assessed by our progress on those goals, then given a performance rating, which ties into how much of a bonus we get.

I think life, like work, can be very similar. Discovering that list of goals this week taught me that although you can't really chart a course to attain happiness, setting goals to positively gauge your progress in the pursuit of it is important. Your performance rating measured against those goals will give you a feeling of accomplishment where you've done well, as well as point out areas for improvement going forward. At the end of the day, the "bonus" is that you actually notice the progress you've made and appreciate the happiness that you've gained, whereas without goals how do you measure your success?

It was a great summer, but I'm happy it's almost fall. I don't know why, but to me fall feels like somewhat of a new beginning. And once you've made peace with your past, the future can seem so much more exciting! Bring it on.

Fall 2012 Update: well, I did manage to lose some weight, got a volunteer gig, and I've been back in school since April. Looks like it's time to make some new goals. :)