Friday, April 26, 2013

Going forward

Where I've been

Hello friends,

Though this month is a short one and we are not quite to the end of it, I'm ready to come back and continue with this part of my life. I welcome back the creative outlet, the sense of community and the distraction that comes with being a lifestyle blogger.

But first, I need to tell you where I've been and how my journey changed. Perhaps not tell so much as show.

I ask that you read this with compassion and not judgement. My posts so far have not been very personal but I don't believe that hiding things makes them go away. Once I put this out there and own it I can go forward.

It started years ago with doubts I covered up for the sake of my own insecurity. I buried them under my stubbornness, my waitress smile, my anti-anxiety medication and denied my reality as I pretended my life would be something it could never be. Not with him. He was kind, he was safe, he adored me, he gave up making his own way in life to be in mine. It was all wrong, though. It wasn't true to who I am and what I need.

Then I listened to this song on March 2. It is in French but there are subtitles. I listened to it first and was touched. Then I read the lyrics and it broke me. I was changed and began to see my life differently.

There were tough questions asked by one friend, moods I didn't know how to explain, and situations that tested me and made it impossible for me to continue to lie to myself and to him. I drank too much one night and told another friend everything. There was no going back after that. I had said the words out loud and I could no longer deny their truth.

The last Thursday of March we had the talk. We separated for the weekend. It looked like this:

The view from Capitol Hill
I spent an entire Friday, a gorgeous Friday, walking all over Capitol Hill in the sun. With my iPod on shuffle and my sunglasses on, I got coffee and a donut in the morning by myself. I went to a vintage clothing store and bought a dress. I changed into it in the bathroom of the Elliot Bay Book Company. For an hour, I sat in the grass on the corner of East Pine Street and Harvard Avenue. It felt good. It felt right. I felt happy.

Polka dots, of course!
There was relief that came with the honesty. There was a smile that came with the freedom. There was a peace that everything would be OK.

Skagit County sunset
The next day I didn't feel so good. I felt physically sick and emotionally numbed. Mostly, I felt quiet. My dad invited me to drive up to Bellingham with him to drop off my younger sister. I knew I would have to talk to him about what was going on and answer his questions. Would he be angry? Sad? Or worst of all, disappointed? We drove. We talked. We ate dinner and talked some more before driving back down. It was then I realized what I was doing was impacting a much wider net of people. I realized how far spread the hurt would be.

Rewind to 2007 and nothing has changed
My clothes from when I was 19 fit again. I wore a lot of hooded sweatshirts and blue jeans. There were lots of messy buns and second-day waves. We reunited for two days before it became clear there would be no reconciliation. N opened her home to me (love you, girl!) and I began a series of very strange weeks. I tried to be a hermit but it didn't work.

At Westlake Center
The next weekend, in a period of 24 hours, I was in Lynnwood, Kirkland, downtown Seattle, Renton, Bellevue and Sammamish. I was out at the bars, shopping at Westlake Center, exploring Ikea, and seeing my dog.

Not quite himself

Tucker was nervous, clingy, and sad. I cried when I was told I couldn't keep him. I cried when I took him for a walk. I cried when I left him.

The papers were filed the next day. I found myself on the beach at Edmonds. I felt quiet. My friends were going to meet me for dinner and I wondered how they would react. Would they judge me? Would they say, "I told you so?"

Taking pictures of taking pictures
After a two hour interrogation with some good-intentioned lecturing thrown in (love you T and J!), I felt relieved and exhausted. It was only Monday. I avoided talking to people about "it" as much as I could. Eventually, I would have to go to my hometown and sit my parents down and face them. I didn't want to. I wanted to hide in the city. But I went.

She's growing up so fast
I held my niece as much as I could. She is changing so quickly I can hardly believe it. It was comforting and so rewarding to see her smile.

After I told my parents and answered their questions, I cried. Even though this is my choice it still hurts and it hurts to know that people I love and care about (still) were thinking terrible things about me. Misunderstandings grew into all kinds of accusations and beliefs about why I was ending my marriage. Though some were laughable, they still hit me hard.

His smile
I was allowed to bring Tucker with me and it was so wonderful to play ball with him at my parents' house like we always did. The best thing was just having my little boy with me. Not much can beat the affection and devotion of a dog.

Tucker and I walked up to the lake on my parents' property. I swung in the swing that has been my safe place since I was 12. I climbed trees and got my white Pumas dirty. It was quiet and I needed that.

I sat on the dock he built with my father for our wedding. That dock is where we stood. It is where I said my vows. Look at me now, sitting on the very same dock as I break those vows. I felt a certain sense of shame as if I let everyone down. Perhaps I needed to send letters of apology to everyone who attended the wedding? But how can you apologize for making the hardest decision of your life and explain to them why you know it is the right one?

I took this picture of Tucker sitting in the back window because I knew it would be the last time I'd glance up and see him there.

It was a gorgeous day waiting for the ferry and I wasn't even upset we had to wait for one sailing. It gave Tucker and I the opportunity to walk along the beach.

Get a room and stop rubbing your puppy love in everyone's face.
I didn't want to hear any love songs. I didn't want to see that couple making out in the parking lot. I didn't want to be reminded that I was losing someone who loved me more than anything and I was losing them on purpose. What. The. Heck.

The separation wardrobe
For a week, I stayed near work. It was convenient and nice to have my own space and be able to give N her house back.

I said goodbye to him on a Tuesday. I cried (yes I know I've cried a lot this month) and gave him a hug. He stood with his hands at his sides and wouldn't look at me. I said goodbye to Tucker and took a picture like one of my divorced friends told me to.

Then it was my birthday.

I realized I had no one to buy me flowers anymore. So I bought my own.

I got a new dress to go out with friends.

Two days later, I came back to our apartment and found a pile of memories in the closet. He was gone. Back to Alaska. The one who has been my person for five and a half years, the one I thought I wanted to build a life with, make a home with, have children with, was gone. Though in hindsight I can see this was a long time coming, the end felt so abrupt. Maybe it is better that way. One friend told me divorce is like a death in the family. I think that is the best way to describe how it feels. I let myself mourn the loss and then made myself focus on rebuilding. This is my life and I will make it what I want it to be. Starting with new things:

A vintage writing desk I will turn into a vanity

A studded denim jacket from F21
There are lots of things I miss and I know I have a long way to go yet. But I am resolved and I am strong and I know the best is yet to come for both of us.




  1. This made me cry A I know you are a strong women and even stronger for doing what you did... You have lots of family and friends who will be three for you always... Thank you for sharing your life and story even through it was hard to say....Theresa

    1. Thank you, Theresa. I appreciate your support.

  2. You are both brave and strong Amanda! You've got this! Love you girl!

  3. Amanda - I commend your courage for sharing this with your community. You are a beautiful young woman and deserve the best in life. Let me know if you need anything!


    1. Thank you Kate. I appreciated your text message as well xoxo

  4. Thanks for sharing such a personal experience. Your post was sad to read but I see glimmers of hope. I don't know you, but I know you'll come through this stronger than ever. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders despite this emotional ride you're on. Hang in there.

  5. It's always hard to make tough decisions. I am glad you made this decision now instead of putting your doubts aside, as many of us have, and going through this with children and years more together.

    I can see you're doing great ... that's so awesome.

    Wishing you happiness always

    1. Wendy,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate your encouragement!

  6. Wonderful post. Found it through All Things Kate's 25 faces, you sound like a strong, fearless woman. In the end - you have to do what will make you happy. I've heard that the only way to deal with loss is to let yourself feel the pain, feel the loneliness, and then to move forward. It sounds like you are doing just that.