Monday, October 19, 2015

Don’t Do It for the Haters

People come and go in our lives, and that is to be expected. However, there are certain individuals who hang on with a steel grip, studying our moves, hoping that we fail. They thrive by laughing at our setbacks, while getting some sick internal pleasure from watching us struggle. These people are known to many as haters. I call them assholes, but “to-may-to”, “to-mah-to”, right?

Booting haters out of our lives should be the simple resolution. However, some haters are discreet and keep their ill-intended desires a secret. Clandestine stalking becomes their favorite pastime. So if your life is on display, you should expect that they will be paying close attention.

Should this bother you? Being that stalking is illegal in all fifty states, I would say yes. However, the internet has changed the rules, so using the “unfriend” or “block” buttons for any unwelcome negativity in your social media world may only act as a band-aid. What you need to realize is that the bigger picture has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with you.

In my opinion, one major mistake is to triumphantly declare, “I’m going to prove you all wrong” or “Look at me now, haters”. The problem with these statements is that you are giving your haters credit for your motivation. The last thing these people need are ego boosts or opportunities to acknowledge their roles in your success. So, if you have a goal, go for it! But don’t let your accomplishments be overshadowed by your haters. A friend recently shared a valuable piece of knowledge with me, which is that these people are miserable and bitter, so even if you succeed and shout from the rooftops, “IN YOUR FACE”, they will certainly find something or someone new to hate on, and their cycle will continue.  

From experience, I can tell you that even if the cyberstalking doesn’t end, haters can be silenced in your mind. In my case, I learned to sympathize with the assholes of the world. I tried to imagine coping with that intense inner turmoil day in and day out. It must be exhausting. I also remembered that these people have always been in the background of my life. Paying attention to them only put them in the forefront, a place where they clearly did not deserve to be. And lastly, I realized that I genuinely like who I am, and no one can ever take that away from me. 

The reality is that your decisions may not have happy endings, and you may fall short when attempting to achieve a goal. And the haters will be attentively waiting for these moments. However, your reaction is also your decision. Responding to someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart can possibly result in empty accomplishments. Instead, choose to ignore the chatter and negativity so that you can focus on your own successes and learn from your disappointments. Set goals, not to prove who you are to some random asshole, but to make your life experience superior to what you ever thought it could be. The right people will find you and will eventually drown out the ones who never should have mattered in the first place.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Divorce: This is How We Do It

This past May, as the officiant welcomed guests to my wedding, I stole a glance at the first row where, sandwiched between our two daughters, my ex-husband sat smiling at me. Noting his presence with an awkward stare and crazed looks in their eyes, some baffled attendees whispered to me, “Ummmm…you are aware that your ex is here, right?”  

The expectation when a couple goes through a divorce is that the hatred between the two parties should multiply quicker than Gremlins who were fed after midnight. However, after an honest and curse-free discussion about what went wrong with our marriage, my ex and I determinedly tiptoed around the hatefest and revived the friendship part of our relationship. With our new bond intact, we were able to pay attention to what mattered most.

Our first conscious decision was to focus on our girls. It’s easier said than done, especially during those moments when all you want to do is throw a dish at your ex’s head and call it a night. But if the focus isn’t on your deteriorated relationship, it allows you to A) save your dishes and B) be a better parent.

We agreed that our mess didn’t belong to our children, so talking shit about each other in front of them was off limits. Reminiscing over the gory details of your divorce has no place in your child’s world. Influencing a child to dislike their parent only reflects poorly on you. So, venting about your ex should be reserved for nights out at the bar with your girlfriends, which brings me to my next point…

Divorce deserves a few drunken nights with unrestrained conversation about the best way to banish your ex from the country. But be warned- it will get old quickly. Whether the divorce was due to lying, cheating, stealing, or just plain ole incompatibility, it simply doesn’t matter. Wearing your post-divorce hostility like a badge of honor prohibits you from moving forward. So have a few drinks, a few chat sessions with your girlfriends, and then move the fuck on.  

The opportunity to display your readiness to move on will be presented to you during the “dividing of the assets” segment of the divorce process. My ex and I chose not to concentrate on “stuff.” Dragging your feet over petty bullshit like china or a bedroom set does nothing except increase your lawyer’s rate. And if you are being difficult on purpose to make your ex “pay” for what he did to you, congratulations on proving that you can be an asshole. But your ex probably already knew that. 

Hence, the divorce.

Looking beyond shitty divorce behavior can be like trying to find a Hershey’s kiss in a sea of horse manure. But I’m here to tell you that it’s completely worth it. Through the divorce fog, my ex and I gradually grew into our friendship, which eventually extended to my new husband as well.

Today, when I look at the weird, but stable foundation we have created, I can’t help but smile, knowing that our decision to forgive, forget and accept has allowed our girls to be surrounded by love, rather than anger, distaste and bitterness. Our daughters can live with confidence, knowing that their parents and stepfather will always be in their lives…together.

*This piece was pubished on BLUNTmoms on October 5, 2015.
*This piece was also published on Reality Moms on September 14, 2016.