Chipping away...

Two weeks ago, I was the luckiest woman on earth, enjoying a writer’s retreat with some of my very best writer buds. I had been anticipating the trip for nearly two months with more glee than a kid waiting for Santa. In the back of my mind, I was a smidge worried that I was building it up with unrealistic expectations for how much I could accomplish.

I was not disappointed. All it took was a fifteen-minute conversation with two ladies in the group, and I was off and writing. I fleshed out seven short stories, jotted down ideas for another three, and was well on my way to having the beginnings of a collection I could publish under my pen name, probably before the end of the year. I was almost in tears on the drive home, I was so excited for what had happened. I felt like I was on the right (write? Heh!) path and that the disjointed road of my life was finally straightening out.

Cue the tension music here. (Dun dun dun!)

After enjoying a few hours of peaceful time at home loving up my kitties (who made no bones about how much they missed me) putting away my things, watching a little TV and relaxing, I made the fateful error of checking my email at 1:09 a.m. This reminded me that I should print out my Judgment of Divorce so I could spend my Monday reclaiming my maiden name forever. As I scanned the pages looking for that exact paragraph, I realized that the version of the Judgment filed with the court and signed by the judge was totally wrong. It was the version that my ex-husband (or was he?) and I had agreed to have revised because there were multiple errors.

As the ramifications crystalized in my brain, white hot rage with the intensity of a billion suns filled me. I cursed like I’ve never cursed before (and if you know me, you know my profanity skill level is off the charts). I jumped up and down and YELLED at the paper, at the computer, at my ex for hiring such an incompetent fool, for yet another hiccup in what had already been a frustratingly, humiliating experience. I shot off a furious email to my attorney. I penned another one to my ex, with no fewer than a dozen f-bombs demanding that the situation be rectified immediately. I did not regret this, nor do I now.

I did not sleep well. I shook with fury the next day between emails and phone calls. Curt, tense text messages to the ex kept me on the verge of tears. At the end of the day, I learned I would have to resign all the paperwork to be refiled with the court which meant missing more work and more waiting.

I came back from my retreat at the zenith of my happiness since my entire world imploded last November. Discovering my divorce was not final caused me to plummet back into the depths of depression. Perfectly understandable given my strong desire and desperate need for at least a portion of this mess to be over with. The problem is, I didn’t recognize just how far I nose-dived.

And then Goddess made it all clear for me, yet again. The word she used was “contrast.” The contrast between my high and my low is what put me back into this hole. I don’t think I really understood how much I had been improving emotionally, mentally, and creatively until this bump in the road. It wasn’t until I could see the contrast between how great I was feeling to how bad I got in so short a time did it really become obvious.

I chose to allow someone else to control me and my emotions. It was as if I erased the last five months of therapy. The negative thoughts took over and began to cement themselves into my brain all because I had to wait another few weeks to get my name back. The delay was my trigger and I shot that gun with mental muscle memory like an expertly trained assassin. All it did was continue to cement the negativity in my heart and soul. What a dope I was to fall back down that slippery slope. Man, I’d gladly smack my six-and-a-half foot wide Chuck Taylor against my ass if I could.

Logically, I get that the answer is to stop the thoughts. Make the decision to be happy, regardless of what happens in life. It’s so easy to say (and write down), but very difficult to do. And even if I do it, it doesn’t mean it’ll stick. But I can never stop trying. It's a lot like quitting smoking. Never quit quitting. From now on, if he invades my thoughts in anyway, I must come up with a catchphrase. Some combination of words that will fill me with strength and hope. “Knock it off!” doesn’t feel strong enough. “Let it go!” is too cliché. Perhaps I’ll go with, “GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN!” That at least will make me laugh.

I have to be over this, at least to some degree. I must make myself move on. You can never make people do, say, or be what you want, so quit trying. Concentrate on yourself and what you can do to make it the best it can be. Dreadful situations will always arise. Sadness, heartache, frustration, anger: none of these can be avoided. I must choose to be okay every circumstance and then decide to be happy regardless.

I am good and kind. I am beautiful and smart. I am loveable and desirable. Choosing to let go of the negative thoughts is the only way to ensure bad things happening do not erase all that is good about me and my life.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here with my mental mallet, chipping away at the concrete in my head.

J.A. Thomas

August 30, 2017

#pain #persist #creativity #divorce #writer #courage #freedom #strength

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