Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Masks We Wear

Okay, I'll be the first to admit, I like wearing a mask. I've been so wrapped up in Phantom blog I probably think more about the symbolism in that story, than I do about living my life as a single. After all, the ending song is learn to be lonely, right? I've added the lyrics below, so you can sing along. In case you've forgotten the Phantom's plight in life.\

Anyway, I love masks. I found this mask on iStockphoto (paid my $1 right to use it). It's one of the masks someone wore at the Venice Carnival in Italy. If you've never looked at the carnival, you should Google the event and read about it. It's quite a big deal -- people dress up in elaborate costumes with masks pretending to be someone else. Great way to escape for a day, become a character or a person you'd like to look like.

I've been joking on MySpace that this mask is my cheap face lift. At 58, hey, works for me. No pain. I look as good, if not better, than I did at 28! I can continue to hide behind it while I reach out to others, hiding my own pain, fears, failures, and whatever other ghosts I deal with daily. I've yet to find someone I can truly trust to take my mask off for. That, of course, takes intimacy and a bit of courage to do so.

Whatever mask you like to hide behind, I'd be curious to know. You should check out some of the photos of the fair and pick one out. A little fantasy doesn't hurt too much. Especially when living alone can be such a challenge.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection

Whether or not you're a Christian and celebrate Easter today, resurrection is still a good thought to ponder. Resurrection -- a rising from the dead.

I think most of us divorcees will agree there has been death in our past, and not the kind of the literal mortal sense of the death of a body. The type of death I speak of here is more along the lines of relationships. Marriages that were once alive and breathing, that are now past and buried in the memories of our lives. We can carry grief over broken marriages for quite some time, as well as a feeling of failure and a fear to try again.

However, there comes a time for all of us, that we must resurrect the dead feelings within us to carry on in life and perhaps find new love once again. Maybe it will take a miracle to resurrect your desire to find love once again because of the hurt you have experienced. Sometimes I think it will in my life. We must have hope though that there is life after the death of a marriage. It's a hope that all of us must possess, otherwise we will just continue to live in the graveyards of our past never forever doomed to walk among ghosts of failure and pain.

This Easter day, I pray that if you've been through divorce and the pain associated with it, that the hope that lies dormant inside of you of finding love again will resurrect to new life. May your next relationship be an eternal one. God bless.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dealing with the "Ex's" Last Name

I suppose since most of my readers are divorced, this article may have some relevance to divorced women only. Men, this probably won't apply to you since you get to keep your last name throughout life, unless you're entering into the witness protection program. Since this is going to be on a more personal level, I've changed the names to protect the innocent. (Just kidding...I'm leaving blanks instead.)

So my ex has finally found someone after 8+ years of us being divorced. I've had a variety of feelings regarding this whole situation that I find somewhat puzzling, but I'm not going there in this post.

I truly have no feelings for him any longer. He's the father of my son. We had kept somewhat of a friendship over the years, and I somewhat depended on him as well. However, I have talked to him very little since this new woman has come into his life. He dropped the bomb on me during our Thanksgiving dinner last November that he had met someone, which was pretty rotten timing I thought. I had a fairly good cry over it when I came home. Frankly, I don't know why. Perhaps because I felt like I was losing a friend through this all and some sense of security was leaving as well.

Now that he remarried, I'm having an identity crisis. I still have my married name. After the divorce, I didn't revert to my maiden name because it's Ukraine and nobody can spell it, let alone pronounce it. I have a very strange feeling, however, that I suddenly need to change my name either back to my maiden name or something else. Why? I guess because another woman is going to be Mrs. ______ and I'm officially losing my my position and title. Sort of a finality in it. I guess there's lot to be said what's in a name. I just feel like since the title and position is being given to another, I can't and don't want to keep this name! I'm not the Mrs. anymore, and frankly, I don't know who I am.

I guess you could say I'm going through an identity crisis by all this. Since I'm still living in solitude and not dating, what's the point of keeping a married name that no longer means anything? Maybe I need a new start and changing my name will help. I don't really look forward to changing my credit cards, my bills, my bank, my paychecks, my lease, my driver's license, my registration, my insurance, and my whatever. It will be a pain in the neck for sure. But I suddenly don't want to be associated by a name that is not mine. It was bestowed upon me as a result of marriage. I didn't take it by choice. I kept it by choice because we still had somewhat of a relationship. Now that's it's being given to another, I no longer need that name.

Am I crazy? I don't know. All I know is I have to find who I am. I'm not Mrs. Whatever any longer. I'm Ms. or Miss Whatever. I had thought of taking my mother's maiden name, which is very English, very easy to pronounce, and it has the same initials as what I have now! That would save a few pen strokes.

So what's your vote? Got any good names I should consider? Should I go back to my Ukraine difficult identity, or pick something else. Maybe when I do, I will finally be able to let go completely of the memories and the pain associated with a broken marriage. Maybe with my new name, things will look up!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Why Can't I Find Love?

Why can't I find love? Boy, that's a question that haunts me every day. It's such a basic human need, yet it seems so hard to attain; and then once you attain it, it seems so hard to hang onto. There are days I'm at a total loss as to why I've been single since November 1999. It's a question that baffles me.

As far as I'm concerned, the ability to live totally happily and totally fulfilled as a single individual is a gift. Unfortunately, it's not a gift I possess, and to tell you the truth, it's not a gift I want either. I'm a people person. I'm the type that likes to support someone, love someone, care about someone, and be loved in return. I'm the type that hums the songs like, "Love is a Many Splendid Thing."

"Love is a many splendid thing. It's the April rose, that only grows in the early Spring. Love is natures way of giving, a reason to be living. The golden crown that makes a man a king. Once on a high and windy hill. In the morning mist, two lovers kissed, and the world stood still. Then your fingers touched my silent heart, and taught it how to sing. Yes, true love is a many splendid thing!"

If love is such a splendid thing, then why is it so hard to find? Why are we so picky in our choices with one another? The majority of us come from broken homes, broken marriages, and broken lives. You think we'd do anything to attain love and keep love, but unfortunately we don't. We forget to cherish it, take care of it, water it, and hang onto it when we have it.

I don't know what the answer is. I don't know what single site to search or what single group to attend. My son thinks I try too hard and I should give up. His philosophy is then it will happen. I'm to the point I've lost all hope of ever finding it again. Maybe when the hope dies, then it will happen. What do you think? Is love a many splendid thing for you or are you a happy satisfied single?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The "D" Word

The "D" Word -- no I'm not talking about divorce today. I'm talking about a depressing subject -- depression. I'd be a liar if I didn't confess that I've struggled with it myself as a single. It comes and goes in my life since my divorce nine years ago, and it seems to be knocking on my door again.

When I fell into the first pit, I found it a humbling experience to head to the doctor to find help. Dealing with depression can be an extremely defeating aspect of life. For me, I felt more of a failure having to admit I couldn't handle life without a pill. At the time, I had a great doctor who gave me the "medical" reasons why our brains short circuit occasionally. For me, I had gone through the following life challenges within a period of a few years:

*My marriage ended.
*I went through divorce.
*I moved seven times in three years, two of them major moves between states.
*My mother died and I had to bury her alone with no help.
*My son left home for college.
*I went through another relationship that ended in horrible heartbreak.
*I was unemployed for 18 months because nobody would hire a woman in their 50's.
*I went through half my retirement money to survive during this time.

When I told the doctor the stress I had been experiencing, she looked at me in astonishment and wrote out the prescription. In medical terms, stress in our lives depletes our brains of important chemicals. Depression isn't necessarily a psychological problem, it's also a physical problem. When I understood that concept, I more readily accepted the little white pill to help me pull myself out of the pit I was in.

Since that time, I've been on them and off them. But I'm finding that when I go through extreme stress again, I'm being pulled back into a darker existence and faced with the need for help once more. This past year has been a stressed filled one with disappointments, money problems, and horrible stress at work. I feel like I'm being swallowed up into another dark hole, and I'm helpless to do anything about it.

I found an interesting article on the Internet while building my website regarding singles about depression you might find interesting. "People who benefit the most from getting married are people who suffered depression when they were single, say researchers from Ohio State University, USA. Most previous studies on marriage looked at the benefits for the whole population in general, rather than trying to find out whether certain types of people are helped more than others." You can read the entire article at: Depressed Singles Benefit From Marriage. Without someone to share life with, a shoulder to cry on, the caring of another soul in your life, being single can be a real challenge. I wasn't wired to live alone - hence my dilemma.

If you're dealing with the big "D" I encourage you to get help. Don't be too proud about it like I was and suffer needlessly too long. You have the company of millions going through the same struggles. Hang in there, and accept this cyber "hug." I relate. Been there and done that too.