Sunday, November 24, 2013

Accepting A Liebster Award and Nominating Other Bloggers!

Thank you to the very talented artist and blogger Sandy Ramsey for nominating me for a Liebster Award! It is truly the greatest compliment I can get when I hear that I have made a reader laugh and cry, and that is why Sandy nominated me. So thank you Sandy and happy Thanksgiving!

Check out the beautiful plate I ordered from Sandy’s Etsy shop, Nix Heart. I loved it so much that I got one for my dad and one for me.

Here is what Sandy wants to know about me.
1. Give me one word that describes you from your own point of view. 
Decisive. When it comes to big decisions, ranging from signing my college acceptance letter to signing my divorce papers, I don’t look back. I usually believe that there are multiple choices that I could make that could make me happy, so it makes life easier to tell myself that I made my best decision with the information I had at the time.
2. What is the gutsiest thing you’ve ever done?
This one is easy: getting divorced. It was scary as hell. It challenged all of my beliefs and values about love and marriage. I truly never, ever thought I would get divorced, but I finally had the courage to admit that I had to. As I have often said, life is (hopefully) too LONG to be unhappy. 
3. Who has impacted you greatly but has no idea? 
What a great question. My second grade teacher is the first person who comes to mind. He had a Montessori approach to teaching, which was perfect for a student like me. He gave us space to explore and learn in ways that suited us. I still remember that at the end of the year, he gave me a journal and told me to keep writing. He got sick the year I had him with what they told us was cancer. When I was in fourth grade, he died, and that was my first experience with death. I later learned that he died of AIDS, which he contracted as a volunteer in Kenya with the Peace Corps in the late 1970s. When I think of him, I think of his encouragement of my writing, and that he (unintentionally) made the ultimate sacrifice due to his commitment to serving others. He is a big reason why community service is such an important part of who I am.
4. If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would they be?
Martin Luther King Jr., Cher, and Hillary Clinton.
5. What do you like on your pizza?
She's totally scary!
If it’s a really good pizza, just plain. Otherwise, any veggie except olives. I super love pizza and I super hate olives.
6. Do you have an irrational fear from your childhood? 
No. I think it’s completely rational that I’m still concerned that the evil queen from Snow White resides under my bed.
7. What is the one thing you use most in your house?
My dishwasher. I do wait until it’s full to run it, but how I love to run the dishwasher. It’s my favorite appliance.
8. Miley. Smart cookie or doing a Britney/Lilo/Amanda?
Britney/Lilo/Amanda all had legitimate psychological problems. Miley is just an irritating twit.
9. Have you ever bought something from an infomercial or and As Seen On TV item? If so, what?
Nope, but my former mother-in-law bought every gift she ever gave me from QVC. 
10. What are you most proud of?
I think I’m a good friend. I have friends from elementary school, college, work, and other random connections. For all that I can be a chatterbox, I can be a good listener and I’m careful to not judge others. This is probably why my friends are so awesome.
11. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
HA! That would be one boring movie. Maybe Drew Barrymore could make me interesting.

Now the Liebster Award says I have to give you 11 random facts about me, so here goes:
1. Snakes terrify me but I find hamsters precious.
2. My weekend breakfast has been coffee, a bagel, and eggs while watching Beverly Hills 90210 reruns for a decade+.
3. I have seen Cher, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, and Face to Face in concert multiple times. I would see any of them again.
4. At this moment, there are 6 pillows on my bed, 3 for decoration and 3 for sleeping.
5. I don't have cable anymore and I don't miss it.
6. I don't eat meat and I don't miss it (but, oddly, the smell of bacon is still appealing).
7. I rediscovered the public library 3 years ago. I'm a huge fan.
8. I hate vacuuming but I kind of like dusting.
9. I wanted to be a mermaid or a writer when I grew up. Close enough!
10. I swam with dolphins in Cancun this month, so I can officially check that off my bucket list.
11. I am the middle child and the aunt of two nephews and one niece.

Now I get to nominate some great bloggers! The Liebster Rules say I’m supposed to nominate 11 bloggers but I need to go to bed soon, so here’s my list of not 11:

Darling bloggers, will you please answer these questions?
1. What movie do you own on DVD (or VHS?!) but you’ll still watch it if you find it on TV?
2. Did you want to have children when you grew up? Do you have them now?
3. Who was the first person you said “I love you” to?
4. How would you describe the way your home is decorated?
5. What was your most significant travel experience?
6. When you think back on losing your virginity, how do you feel about it now?
7. Other than the Liebster Award, have you ever won an award?
8. What is your greatest character flaw?
9. What book did you have to read for school and you ended up loving?
10. What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
11. Disney World: awesome or creepy?

Who are some bloggers you love?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

5 Ways that Living Alone After Divorce is Awesome… Except When It Sucks

"Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time
you most need to be by yourself.
Life's cruelest irony." -Douglas Coupland

Being home alone is awesome... except when it's not.
It’s been 75 days since Max and I sold our condo and officially went our separate ways. My new apartment is awesome and I’m thrilled to live by myself. I can be deliciously selfish. Everything is the way I want it, according to my rules. I don’t have to be considerate of anyone else’s feelings, tastes, or judgments. After living with my ex for so long, these are especially welcome changes!

But I’m discovering that living alone when I was 23 and single is very different from living alone because I got divorced. I guess I didn’t really anticipate that when I moved here in September. I thought I would love living alone as much as I did the last time.

Confession: I don't fully love living alone (yet).

Sometimes, especially on Sundays, my own company doesn’t quite fulfill me. Sometimes, I find myself wanting to do something some trivial task and then I realize it’s very challenging alone but it would be easy with someone else. Sometimes, I have to admit that I can get a little lonesome.

As I've noted several times since I got divorced, it's amazing how often I can experience opposing feelings at the same time. My current living situation is no exception.

Here are 5 ways that I'm finding living alone after divorce is both cool and uncool:

1. Cool: Monday through Saturday.
Uncool: Sunday. I’m still struggling a little with the first day of the week. Max and I always enjoyed our Sundays together, usually just chilling at home and getting ready to start another week. At night, we often got a pizza and watched a movie. Then when Jason and I were dating, we spent pretty much every Sunday together. Now, it’s just me.

2. Cool: I don’t have to clean up after anyone. I keep my apartment clean!
Uncool: There’s no one to help me with the cleaning. Max was much better at vacuuming than I am. I get bored and the skip corners. He would actually move furniture to get every surface.

3. Cool: I can decorate my apartment however I want.
Uncool: Hanging stuff on the walls. It’s really hard to hang a picture on the wall by myself. Plus I get really impatient when it comes to measuring and Max was so meticulous with stuff like that.

4. Cool: I can be a little sketchy and no one has to know. I had to walk the straight and narrow with Max because he walked the straight and narrow.
Uncool: Temptation can run rampant! I could bring home a different guy every night. I could smoke pot every day. But are these good choices? Probably not. The only way to keep myself in check is my own conscience. Boring!

5. Cool: I can cook whatever I want. I don’t have to come up with recipes that would work for both a vegetarian (me) and a meat eater (Max).
Uncool: There’s no one to talk to over dinner. There’s no one to compliment my dish (should it actually deserve complimenting). There’s no one to do the dishes since I did the cooking.

But don’t get me wrong, dear readers! Overall, I really, really like living alone. I am so overjoyed to be rid of our condo, truly no words can express it. It’s a bazillion times healthier to not live with my ex-husband. But as with any big change, transitioning can kind of suck!

What was the hardest part about adjusting to living without your ex?

See also: What Successful People Do On Sunday Nights
I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Being Divorced on My Wedding Anniversary: Remembering My Wedding Day

Autumn in the New York City area is glorious. From the brilliant colors of the leaves to the return of sweaters, it’s an exciting time of year, filled with new beginnings and old traditions.

What Autumn Meant to Us

Max loves autumn. It reminds him of his glory days running cross country. He also loves football, the smell of crisp fall air, and knowing that Thanksgiving was just around the corner. 

Me? I liked autumn just fine but I also associated it with loss. In late 2003, my sister Katherine's then 29-year-old husband was diagnosed with lymphoma I was 24 years old when I witnessed fighting proof of my sister’s profound love for and commitment to her husband. She was just 28 years old and advocating and researching and caregiving with the tenacity of a spouse with decades of marriage behind her. 

Despite their fiercest efforts, my brother-in-law died in his home on October 17, 2004. I was forever changed by the love and grief I witnessed, particularly during that month. That "in sickness and in health" stuff was no joke.

Fast forward to 2008 when I joyfully accepted Max’s marriage proposal. We started wedding venue shopping and ended up looking for autumn wedding dates. October 17, 2009, was available but I declined for October 24, 2009.

Maybe now, I had thought, beautiful October could have new joy for me and my family.

Kat the Bride, being escorted into the church by my dad
and the umbrella carrier.
On October 24, 2009, Max and I said our vows on a rainy, dreary day. It didn’t matter. We were both deliriously happy. My wedding day will probably always be one of the happiest days if my life.

Almost exactly three years later, I filed for divorce. I was so emotionally overwhelmed that the terrible timing with our anniversary hardly registered with me.

But this year, free of living with Max and lawyers and paperwork and uncertainty, my anniversary hung over me like a threatening cloud. The question was whether the cloud would quietly pass or violently storm. I was awash in sad memories of my brother-in-law’s final days, the happy memories of my wedding, and the horrible truth that fierce love and dedication saved neither my brother-in-law nor my marriage.

Allow me to share the details of my wedding anniversary when I was no longer married.

October 24, 2013 and I'm Not Married Anymore

What would have been my fourth anniversary fell on a Thursday. I decided the best thing was to take the day off from work for a Me Day. I lined up a perfect day. 

I woke up to a brilliant blue sky, so already the day was different from October 24, 2009. I started Me Day with a bagel and The Golden Girls, two guaranteed Kat pleasers. Then I took a Spinning class. After getting nice and sweaty, I headed to a day spa for a facial. 

Fresh faced, I ate Mexican food for lunch while reading People. As I nearly gagged over Kate Middleton's post-baby body, I glanced at my watch. Four years ago at this time, photographers were capturing the primping process at my parents' house.

Today it was just me and my burrito.

I texted Max. I told him I was thinking about him and asked how he was. His response:
I am thinking about you too.
I was going to email you later but I’ll just tell you now that I love you
 and I hope today isn’t too tough for you.

Tears spilled on to my burrito.

I texted back that I loved him too, and that I have no regrets. He agreed.

And that is all we said to each other that day. Hardly as monumental as wedding vows, but those couple of texts made such a difference for me. I still felt sad and missed Max, but I felt... peaceful. (That doesn't feel like the right word, but close enough.)

That evening, I met Yoshi at the pub where we had my divorce party. We had a few beers and a few laughs, and then we called it a night. Later that night, I was able to rest peacefully alone in my massive bed in my one-bedroom apartment. I’d come a long way since last October 24, and I know I’ll be even stronger next October 24. 

In time, the beauty of autumn will feel hopeful to me again.

How did you handle your anniversary after your breakup or divorce? Did you ignore it or did you recognize it?

Super Sunday Sync

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My First Post-Divorce Breakup, Part 3: He Gave Me Orgasms

First, a batch of brownies told me it was time to end things with Jason.

Then, after days of excruciating post-breakup texts from him, he sent me a very different text:

“Well let me know if you ever miss the sex enough.”

Here’s the last part of the story of my first breakup since my divorce.

I stood in my kitchen with my mouth full of Baked Tostitos, staring at my phone. Was I walking into a trap? Was he going to accuse me of using him for sex? Or was he offering some freebie? So I carefully responded, “I’m not sure how to interpret that.”

"Hello, this is Kat speaking!"
You guys, I don’t know what the hell happened, but the next thing I knew, starting on a Thursday evening (my wedding anniversary, of all days!) until Sunday afternoon, we had a sexting marathon.

As you may remember, I was introduced to sexting by the 26 Year Old, but he liked some talk and some photos. [He actually just sent me one a few weeks ago. I texted back that he looked hot but I was kind of seeing someone, but would let him know if/when I am single again. Never burn bridges, folks!] It probably goes without saying but I NEVER sexted with Max, and before Max texting didn’t exist. And you know what? I think sexting is awesome. I’m not big on the photos but I love the talk.

Oddly, for the bazillion texts Jason and I had exchanged and how much we liked to talk about sex, we had never sexted. Well, we were sexting like champs and it was hot as hell. No photos, just lots of words.

Among the racy texts I did ask a few times if this might be a bad idea. I didn’t mind our bodies screwing but I definitely minded the possibility of screwing with his mind and heart (and who knows, maybe mine too). He insisted that it wasn’t a bad idea. That’s what I wanted to hear so I went along with it!

We Are Not Getting Back Together. Just Sex.

So, we set a date. Sunday afternoon, he would come over after work and we’d make our sexting dreams come true. I paced my apartment like a damn cat in heat. Finally, a knock at my door.

I opened the door. I hadn't seen him in almost two weeks. He stood there with a devilish grin – not exactly the warm smile I was used to. He stepped in the door and we started kissing. (Uggh, you guys, he is such a good kisser! And I love kissing!) I pushed him away and said, “Look at me. This is not a relationship. We are not getting back together. This is sex.”

He nodded and leaned back in.

“No!” I said, still resisting. “Repeat it back to me first!”

He repeated that we were not getting back together. Just sex.

Then I asked him if he’d been with anyone else since me. He said no, and neither had I, so I grabbed his hand and off to my bedroom we went.

Since I’m not looking for a career in erotic literature, let it suffice to say that we had ourselves some fun and he gave me my orgasms, as usual. When it was over, he left. No cuddling, no kiss goodbye.

In my afterglow, I paced my apartment again. Was that a good idea? How did the sex feel now that it was truly just sex and not tied to feelings? The sex was still hot, that’s for damn sure, but I wasn’t so sure about anything else.

Four hours later, my phone chirped.

We Are Not Getting Back Together. Just Sex. Again.

Him: “Are you up for round 2 at 9:30?”
Me: “Omg are you serious”
Him: “See you in a little over an hour”
Me: “Ok, let’s do it.”
Me: “No sleeping over”

He came over for round 2, and just like in the afternoon, he was gone as soon as it was over.

On Monday, I got another text, this time just “9:00?” With a smiley face. Of course.

What ever happened to romancing? A little foreplay? I wanted my sexts!

First I said no. Then I said yes, because I’m weak like that.

Again, we had our romp. When it was over, again, he bolted out of bed. As he dressed, I attempted to make a little conversation and told him that I might be appearing on Huffington Post Live. He was completely disinterested. Flushed from his orgasm, Jason strolled out of my apartment. And maybe out of my life for good.

Sex with the Ex -- Great Idea or Totally Stupid?

After he left, I also thought about the blog entry I wrote four months ago, when I shared with you my first time having sex after my ex-husband.
“Now that I’ve finally had sex again, oddly, I kind of don’t care when I have it next. The sexual side of me is definitely not going dormant again. But maybe it’s best for me to hover at third base until I have a boyfriend again.”
Maybe I had a point back in June. (Imagine that!)

As much as I love (loved?) sex with Jason, I admit that it lost something without the emotion. The way he walked out of my apartment was obviously completely different from how he used to depart. (Well, when I was actually home to see him depart!) The fact that we barely spoke made me feel a little... icky.

I am still processing what the hell has happened with Jason over just two weeks – from him being “in love,” to having his heart broken, to having emotionless sex. Can things really change that fast? Does this prove my theory that he was never actually in love with me? Or is he just faking a lack of feeling to bed me?

I am proud of how I conducted myself through my divorce; I still want to hold my head high as I venture into uncharted territory in my new sex and dating lives. I’m not ashamed of my choice to have post-breakup sex with Jason. But, I would be lying to you and myself if I told you I’m proud of my choice. And I would never lie to you, dear readers!

But you know if I have another moment of weakness for the Incredible Sex, I will confess to you. I promise!

What was your first breakup after your divorce like? Did you doing the dumping or did the other person? Did you ever get frisky with the ex again?
The Jenny Evolution