{Divorce} Is a Launching Pad not a Failure

Ten years ago I woke up and made a decision. A decision that was months in the making and one that needed to be made for my own sanity. I chose to leave. To walk away from a marriage that wasn’t worth saving and said goodbye to a child that I will love until my last breath.

Only a handful of people knew about my situation. Most thought I had the perfect storybook marriage. I had the big house in an affluent community, money, travel, and a husband that adored me. In reality my husband only adored me in public, my big house became my prison and the money only flowed one way, his wallet. Day in and day out I was told that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t thin enough, smart enough, or pretty enough to be loved. Those words cut into my soul and my mind believed them as truth. After awhile I no longer recognized the woman in the mirror and my laugh disappeared. Smiles rarely showed and my light hearted manner slipped away. He broke me in more ways than I could ever explain.

I never correlated what I experienced with abuse. Until I started therapy. My therapist looked at me point blank and said “Hun, that’s not normal. You went through mental and emotional abuse.” All I could say back to her was “Umm what?” She explained that he used manipulation and gas lighting to break me down. To make me feel like I was less than and that if I ever left him I wouldn’t survive on my own.

His last words to me were “you will never make it on your own.” Those very words have been my fuel. I’ve been fighting to do better and be better because I couldn’t let his last words win. It took awhile but I slowly found myself again. At first tears were plentiful. I felt like a failure and having to start over at 27 was scary. I got my first apartment, learned how to pay bills (no side eyes, the ex had done this for me), and I adopted a muppet like dog. And I never looked back. I was determined to make it on my own.

My adorable apartment in Uptown + the muppet like dog

And when I was ready I dipped my toe into the dating pool. It took awhile for me to realize that his words were false and that I was indeed beautiful. To this day I can remember the first time after my divorce a stranger told me that I was beautiful. It was in the uptown Green Mill parking lot and I cried. I cried because it was the first time in over a year that someone uttered that word in my direction. I left that parking lot with a new found confidence and my grove was back.

Dating as a young divorcee is hard. I kept my guard up and my hope close to my heart. I just wasn’t going to settle for anyone that slid into my DMs. I was picky and there were times where I didn’t even show up to the date. Yes, I AJ ghosted people and that’s ok. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it or maybe you got lost and you didn’t want to be super late. Anyways dating is hard, like real hard.

I didn’t spend a lot of time in the pool, Charlie came in and threw me a life ring. Charlie was able to peel back the layers and heal the years of hurt. In his eyes I was everything and nothing would ever change that. Sure he was 13 years my senior, yet the difference didn’t matter. He’d tell me often “AJ do you know why we work?” I’d tell him no. “You understand the work. You understand that an Attorney doesn’t always work a 9 to 5. You understand that sometimes a case comes before family. You understand that sometimes I have to be away for weeks at a time and because you understand, you are ok with it.” He was right as a paralegal I understood the work and all of the late nights and long weekends that go into a case. I never complained or batted an eye when he stayed in the office till 1AM. He was right, because I understood the work we just fit.

That fit was short lived. And my heart to this day still hurts. Charlie died on February 16, 2012 from injuries sustained in an auto accident on Valentine’s Day. His life was taken by a drunk driver. A driver that I have forgiven. He made a mistake and like me he has to live with the consequences of his mistake for the rest of his life. Charlie was a once in a lifetime love. His soul was vibrant and his personality could fill a room. He knew how to make you smile in the worst moments and roar with laughter. To calm me Charlie would tell me stories in Mohican and with each word whispered I’d forget what I was fretting over. Charlie looked out for everyone and lived life to the fullest. A piece of my heart lies in a little cemetery in Montawk and because of that I strive to live the life Charlie had imagined for me.

After Charlie I took time to let my heart heal and when I was ready I dipped a toe back into the pool. Dates were plentifully, but only a few had long term eligibility. After awhile I just gave up and decided that the single life was the life for me. I had a good job, a cute apartment and a muppet like dog. Life was good and I was happy. But fate, she’s a funny lady, Fate had other plans for me. On Veterans Day 2014 a marine slipped into my DMs and I’ve never looked back.

It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had our trials and our triumphs. We’ve gone through more than most couples do and we’ve come out on the other side stronger than before. He gets me and I get him back. Jay believes in my crazy dream of motherhood. Jay doesn’t like the limelight, he prefers to be in my corner where he can cheer me on from the cheap seats. He answers to every whim of my wanderlust heart. Jay gets my Tasty Taco addiction and my need for adventure. If it’s out there and if it won’t kill me, I want to do it. But mostly Jay is what my heart always needed, he can make me laugh until I can’t breathe, he can calm me when I’m out of sorts, he knows that the simplest things make me happy, and he always makes sure the bed is made. (Having a made bed is everything to me) He is a good egg and I am never letting go. Well that is unless he declares that he hates dinosaurs and fluffy white dogs, then I’ll let his ass go. I can’t have that negativity in my life 🙃.

Looking back now I realize that my divorce wasn’t a failure, it was my launching pad. I’ve done a lot of amazing shit in the past ten years and none of it would have happened if I stayed in that marriage. I wouldn’t have worked as a contract paralegal hopping from case to case. That job eventually led me to my niche, I’m a Risk Consultant and it perfectly fits me. It’s a mix of law/regulation review and procedure/policy analysis, which is my jam. I never would have done the best thing ever…….. duh adopted a muppet like dog! Cullen has been my side kick for almost ten years, he is my joy in four legged form. In the end I am the one who got rescued on adoption day. Nor would I have a shit ton of travel stories to share. My life would have been boring and sad. And ya all know me, I may be a lot of things but boring and sad isn’t one of them. This life I’ve built and rebuilt and rebuilt again, is fucking amazing and I wouldn’t change any of it. Life is a beautiful disaster and this disaster is all mine.

What a difference 10 years makes!

From time to time people ask me for advice. Like relationship advice, yes you read that right, relationship advice. And when I respond I think back to what Charlie said “you need to find someone that understands the work.” He was right, at the end of the day you need to find someone who understands the work and understands you as a person (<—- last part is my two cents). Otherwise your relationship isn’t going to work. Things will happen in your relationship that neither of you signed up for, it’s what you do with those things that matter. If those things break you apart and that break is not repairable, it’s ok to walk away. You did your best, you gave it everything you had and now it’s time to call it. A wise attorney once told me “there are no winners or losers in a breakup or divorce, someone has to call it. That’s the hardest part, making the judgment call.” <—- I heard this advice on a Friday and walked out of my marriage that Sunday and then never looked back. Best advice I was ever given. So if you are where I was ten years ago, just call it and never look back. Your launching pad is waiting for you.

{Divorced Life} Standing On The Other Side 

I watched the days tick closer and closer to June 27, to most it’s a regular day, but for me it signifies the beginning. Six years ago today I walked out of my lovely home nestled on a quiet street in Woodbury with my best friend at my side and I never looked back. 

The last words Scott spoke to me were “you’ll never make it on your own. No one will want you.” Those words sunk in deep like a knife cutting through my flesh, those words became a challenge. A challenge to become the woman he never deserved to call his wife. I was broken, yet I dug deep and put one foot in front of the other and walked out with my clothes and kitchen things. Cause ya know a girl has to be able to cook and needs clothes, nothing else in that house mattered to me. 

I will say this, the hardest part of leaving was walking away from Nylan. I helped raise that little boy for 5 years and he was my heart and soul. Nylan will always be apart of me, he will always be my step son. No matter where life takes me, Nylan will always be in my heart. Step parents have no rights, when you divorce you are expected to walk away from a child that you saw as your own flesh and blood. Nylan is a bright funny kid that I miss with all of my heart. I have to believe that one day he will stumble upon this here blog and he will see that I never stopped loving him. 

Not many 27 year old women find themselves sitting across form a divorce lawyer talking about property and bank accounts. Or talking about “um our baby died and he doesn’t want to be financially responsible for any of the bills…….” She asked me like all lawyers do “why are you getting a divorce? Have you tried counseling?” I looked at her and said ” I do not want to be married to a man who rather lie comfortably in the bed of a whore than with his wife. I do not want to be married to a man who chose to stay in Vegas after his wife uttered the words “our baby died.” He never put me first, I was always third best. So no counseling is not an option, divorce is my only way out.” An I did just that, I freed myself from someone who never wanted me. 

In ways I felt ashamed, it was hard for me to admit that I walked out of a mentally/emotionally abusive controlling relationship. I didn’t want people to think I was stupid, all women even the smarties can fall into controlling relationships. I had to work through a lot of shit, his voice on quiet nights seeped in reminding me that I wasn’t pretty and that I was to fat for someone to love. Little by little I was able to push his voice to the side. In the quiet moments I reminded myself that he no longer had power over me, I was free and I owed it to myself to do better. 

The best decision I have ever made is to trade my exhusband in for a muppet like dog. My IKEA filled apartment was lonely, I missed having someone to come home to and mostly a little four legged beast to cuddle. I called in sick to work (cough cough) and drove to Whipstaff Ranch to pick up what I hoped would be my trusty sidekick. Cullen, cullen rescued me that day. A mighty little muppet like dog rescued me, he was exactly what I needed. 

Slowly I began to move and grow in my new normal. Cullen was my constant, he was with me every step of the way and with one sniff he judged all of my dates. Dating was strange, my the game had changed since I last played. I adapted, signed up for dating sites and had fun going out for drinks and then coming home and watching lifetime movies with the dog. Don’t judge you know you get sucked into lifetime movies too! 

Life, it hasn’t been easy. I’ve hit more road blocks than smooth passages. Each one has taught me a lesson, a lesson that has made me stronger than I could ever imagine. Mostly it has taught me to be patient and to trust the journey.  That as long as I keep the wind at my back I will sail into safe harbor. I’ve stopped caring about other people’s opinions and stare down their judgy eyes, divorce means knowing when to get the fuck out and having the strength to leave. The decision to leave is the easy part, physically leaving is the hard part. 

“You will never make it on your own,” still cuts through me like a knife. Thou his opinion no longer matters I still feel like I need to prove him wrong. Six years, I have survived on my own for six fucking years! Like that is a feat in itself, knowing that my bills are paid and I get on the bus to a job that I love in my mind is wining. At the end of the month I have money left over to do things, fun things and I have become very thrifty.  In my eyes I’ve made it and that’s all that matters. 

“No one will want you.” He saw me as damaged goods. Sure a blood clot and stroke mess a girl up, but it doesn’t mean I am down and out for the count. Sure losing a child can scare men away, but it can bring me to someone who wants a family too. This girl isn’t damaged, he was wrong about that, I’m filled with awesome sauce! Whether I was ready or not, love crept in when I wasn’t looking, fate brought me two men that I adored. Charlie left  in the middle of our story. I can die knowing he loved me until his last breath. His leaving gave fate the chance to bring me Jay and his bitchy cat Dexter.  

An that is when the love came in. Jay just looks into my eyes and knows that my soul has seen to much and that I for some reason love him without question. He has my heart for his whole life and I have his. Together we have a baby in heaven. If you are counting, yes I have been pregnant twice and have two babies in heaven, I guess I am special. Anyways back to the mushy love story stuff. In Jay’s eyes I see the soul of a weary marine, he paid the price for my freedom and for that I am thankful, his eye tell a story of things I could never imagine, yet he is determined and never gives up, because he knows I will never give up on him. For now our children have four legs and fuzzy tails, he and I have faith that our rainbow will come and we will add another chapter to our love story. 

The exhusband was wrong, I made it and I found someone who loves me without question. Maybe he uttered those words because he knew deep deep down that without me, he would never make it. As far as I know he is still alive and has remarried, so I think that’s a sign that it’s time for me to stop living in the shadow of his words and to step into the sun where they will never again touch me. 

{Divorced Life} April 3, 2005

Ten years ago a bright eyed college junior walked across the Ross Hall Parking lot to hug her date. He had brown eyes and he was her cup of hansom. That day took them to canal park in Duluth, the ice was just letting out on the lake, the cool breeze landed her in his arms, and they had conversation over burgers at Grandma’s. She felt a tug like she never had before, with each word she fell for him. That night was the beginning of a beautiful disaster.

The Monday after our first date Scott called me and told me he had something to say. That if I wanted to walk away, he understood and that was ok. I waited, he took a deep breath and said “I have a son.” I excitedly asked “what’s his name, how old is he.” At 22 I stepped up to the plate and took on the role of stepmom. It’s a role that I cherished and I loved Nylan as he was my own.

Young love is full of passion with a dash of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what would happen if you veered from the vision you created and the path you dreamed of. Somewhere between 2005 and 2006 I threw caution to the wind and went all in. I graduated in May 2006, moved in with him in July and was engaged by thanksgiving.

Law school was put on the back burner and I started forming a new dream. I found a career in the pharmacy benefit management field and started planning our wedding. May 2008 seemed like a lifetime away, but in the wedding planning word it was just a day away. I planned every detail right down to our orange wedding cake.

Scott and I traveled the globe together. Cruises became our thing, we saw the Texaribian, Alaska, Africa and Europe. Money it wasn’t an object, we did what we wanted to. Scrapbooks were filled with photos of a happy couple and photos of the little family surrounded the home.

I just wasn’t marrying Scott I was marrying Nylan too. I raised Nylan like he was my own, we played together, baked together, and I showed him more love than one soul can handle. He was mine and that’s all that mattered. In the heat of wedding planning I decided to go back to school, we bought a house and continued to build a storybook life.
Married Life
A life that was built on unstable ground. Scott cheated before we even said I do. I brushed it off and thought he would change as soon as we said I do. His ring was more of an anchor than a symbol. He didn’t want to be with just me. Overtime the words unraveled and our story fell apart. He took comfort in the arms of someone else, blamed me for our “bad marriage” and repeatedly told me that I was no longer attractive.

We saw our first wedding anniversary, we spent it apart. He was in Seattle and I stayed home with Nylan. Five months later on one fateful October day I almost died. Scott was to busy being Scott to care. He didn’t realize that my life had changed. I was no longer the woman he married, I had changed, my life was almost pulled away from me and I would never be the same.

He couldn’t handle the new me, he chose to leave me alone most nights and between WOW and the women we hardly spoke to each other. Well we must have found time to hang out because the joke was on me. On April 1, 2010 I found out I was pregnant with our son.Scott seemed genuinely excited to have a baby with me.

Yet the seat in my prius was moved each morning. I knew he didn’t give up his flings and I started looking at my options. My marriage was going nowhere fast and I would raise the child on my own if I had to. God stepped in and on May 11, 2010 I found out our son was gone. Scott was in Vegas, he didn’t even bother coming home, Sherri took me to the hospital and friends took care of me. No one should have to go trough the death of a child alone. When he came back, he expected me to be the same.

I would never be the same! I survived a PE and stroke, to only turn around and have my child die. I was broken and there was only one option, leave. On June 27, I walked away from my loveless marriage and started searching for myself. It will be five years this June, five beautiful years and I can truly say that I found myself.

To be honest I wouldn’t trade the five years I had with Scott, for those are the years that taught me to fight for myself. I know that I never want a marriage like that again and that no woman should settle for being kept. I do not hate him, I actually just don’t feel anything towards him, he is my son’s father and because of that Scott will always be a part of me.

Just like how my life would be different if I had never gone out on that date 10 years ago. Who knows I may be a lawyer, I might not of had a stroke, and I would probably be married with children. I chose to dance that day, I chose to throw caution to the wind and let fate ride. Fate she has brought me to a lot of beautiful places and put me through experiences that have given me a lifetime of lessons. I have no regret, because that one choice lead me through a beautiful disaster that I get to call life.
Post Marriage

{Divorced Life Dating} Fish and Valentines


Friends are quick to offer hugs, Kleenex lay hidden in their pockets just in case I burst, and people tread lightly around the name Charlie. Part of me wonders where the past three years have gone and part of my wonders “How did you find the strength to move on?” Three years is just a fraction in time, but time it stopped on Valentine’s Day. It stopped the moment Charlie became the fifth car in a nine car pile up, it stopped the moment he became the fourth person to die from their injuries. That day was the worst day and the days leading up to February 16, 2012 were the slowest days of my life.

I hung on to every second, every minute, and prayed with all of my heart. That day God failed me and I had to face a life without love. The moment Charlie died, my heart it broke in more ways than I can possibly describe and I lost my faith in the world. My hopes of a country chic wedding with a twist of elegance and a beautiful life were dashed. One person, one person’s decision took the wind out of my sails.I only got to love Charlie for a fraction of my life and he, he loved me until the last breath he took.

A part of me believes that he knew that he would only be a dot on my time line. He Gave me his heart, he peeled back the layers, calmed my fears, and with his love he mended the scars. One man took the time to heal my heart and with that he restored my ability to love. Without Charlie I would still be a semi bitter divorcee. A small piece of my heart will always be for that man. Charlie taught me what love was truly like, he loved every inch of my gloriously flawed self. My heart it needed to heal and in my heart of heart’s I know Charlie would want me to fall, to fall the way I fell for him.

I have fallen, fallen for someone who truly gets my cup of tea. Yes me, little old curly haired me has found love. Honestly, it kind of just jumped out of no where and bit me in the ass. I have no doubt that someone above pushed and pushed until I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance. Tomorrow is about spending the day with an amazing man. A man whose eyes light up when I walk into a room, who calls me beautiful when I’m a mess, and who tells me “you are the best woman ever.” Jay makes me smile until my cheeks hurt, a feeling that I haven’t felt in years, he makes me laugh until I am in tears, and his loving eyes never leave mine. This, this thing that I have is something I dreamed of and waited for. Something I lost three Valentines ago and now I finally have it back.


I have this intense desire to make this the best Valentine’s Day ever and I cannot wait to spend the evening with Jay. I bought what I hope is the perfect gift and I have decided to indulge our inner toddler by buying tickets to the MOA’s Sea Life Adventure. Ya know, because in my mind there is nothing better on Valentine’s day than Love, Fish, and watching movies with the muppet like dog.