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  1. Divorce: A Year in Review.

    April 20, 2016 by admin

    June 2015: My ex leaves with my dogs. We hug, we laugh and we say “see you later.” My new roommates (sisters, strangers) arrive. I leave on a plane to go to St. Croix for a week with a close high school-era friend. (This literally all happened within 12 hours). My new roommates ask if I have any rules or preferences about them moving their things in. I say to make this place look completely different, do whatever you want. My mom asks me why I’m not “more sad.” Everyone is disgusted that I am going on vacation. June 6-11: St. Croix. My first taste of singlehood – I rent a car in my name and have to learn how to drive on the left side of the road unexpectedly. I am invigorated. I am having fun, I am free. Turns out this is a destination wedding trip and our company is mostly newlywed couples. I get drunk everyday and hit on someone’s husband right in front of them and pontificate about how love is a lie and “come talk to me in 3 years.” Wives physically shield their husbands when I am around. I am uninvited to said wedding. I come home to a stripper pole in my kitchen. July: Still in party mode, I go to Vegas for my 29th birthday with my childhood best friend and new roommate. I am still spreading my wings and enjoying my new freedom. My ex refuses to acknowledge me for the most part whenever I call or text, and flat out ignores me when I request a photo “of even just part of one dog” on my birthday. He also writes himself checks from our previously joint bank account for hundreds of dollars. Whatever. Party on, excellent, I’m okay I’ll be fine. I adopt my dog, Murphy from the humane society. I have one of the drunkest 24 hours of my life, and I start to re-evaluate this coping mechanism. August: I go home to CT on a pre-planned 2 week trip. This would prove to be the turning point into reality. Contrary to our agreement, my ex continues to refuse to acknowledge me or let me see my dogs. After a few drinks at a family party, my sister thinks I am ready to hear that my ex has a new girlfriend. Everyone in my family is already aware but was afraid to tell me. I say “fuck him” and we sit around and mock everything about him and his new girlfriend. I cry myself to sleep. I cry myself awake, and while driving, eating, showering. My mom prods me “are you ok?” and isn’t happy til I’m crying, but it feels good. I cry more on this trip than I ever have in my entire life. I start to feel the ghost of him everywhere I go, every road I turn down, every family event attended as a single person, every saltbox house I see should’ve been the one we moved in to. But more than anything, I feel this emptiness in my chest and in my heart. Regret seeps in. I e-mail him my apologies and I love yous, I call and beg him to go to lunch with me or let me see the dogs. He declines. I make an emergency appointment with my therapist via Skype. At 10 days, I find it unbearable to stay any longer and I pay hundreds of dollars to change my flight. Meanwhile: It becomes evident the new roommate situation is not going to work out. I give my notice that I will be breaking our (my ex and I) 2-year lease. The property manager says as long as it gets rented before I move out, I will not have to pay any penalty. I get the call while I am in CT that someone is interested but needs to move in within the week. September: I arrive home, and all in two days I get absolutely everything moved out, cleaned, spackled, sanded, replaced. I give away 75% of my possessions. It is unseasonably warm for Labor Day and I am exhausted, too exhausted to think about anything. I barely ate in two days, and I’ve never been so sweaty. I am emotionally wrought after having to go through all of “our” belongings and giving away so much. I am so proud of myself for doing this on my own. My ex texts and asks for his half of the deposit. I keep my wedding dress. I move in with my friend Jon. I start doing Crossfit. It is so hot, I go into the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I go home to surprise my mom for her 50th birthday, and I do okay this time. I post a photo of me with an “it’s a girl balloon” and jokingly caption it with “could someone please send this photo to my ex and his new girlfriend?” I still find this hilarious, though he made it clear he did not. His new girlfriend changes her profile photo to one of them in his mother’s kitchen, and my heart breaks. October: My ex pays his credit card with my bank account, twice. I ask him about it and he says to “call it even” for the deposit, even though he left me with the lease and I stayed in the house to avoid financial penalty, and did all the work to clean and restore it myself. Nothing feels fair. I can’t even look at a Sam Smith album without bursting into tears. I miss my dogs. The divorce is finalized around what would have been our 3-year anniversary, almost to the day. I find out via e-mail from his lawyer, when I wrote to inquire about paperwork they had requested and which I had paid $40 to get notarized. He writes back, “divorce is done and over with there is no need for anything further.” Just like that, no punctuation or proper grammar. I feel like I am falling backwards. I notice my weight starting to creep up. I blame Crossfit. November: I am definitely getting fatter. I am drinking way too much. My uniforms don’t fit right anymore. I get the pants taken out as far as they go, and they still don’t fit. I cry in the dressing room of the uniform shop, and the old filipina woman looks at me with pity. I say “I’m fine” and  “how much for new pants?” On Veteran’s Day, we think of everything our vets have sacrificed and I think of how I sacrificed my marriage and potential soul mate. I write this to him, I apologize again, and he never writes back. I go through all the old photos of our “happy times” on my phone for the first time, and it feels like my heart is being ripped out through my face. I cry, alot. December: I’m the fattest I have ever been, atleast since high school. I won’t look in the mirror. Previous favorite items of clothing won’t even button now. I am disgusted, I hate myself, I feel like I’ve lost control of everything, including (especially) my body. I decide it’s a good idea to go off my anti-depressant medication. I attend an AA meeting, “just to see.” I am not embarrassed by this fact, as it was one of the bravest decisions I have ever made. Afterward, a man from the group hands me a rose, saying he always brings one and gives it to the person who looks like they need it the most. I have officially won the Saddest Person in an AA Meeting award. I put the rose in water and it seems to live forever. I try to go on the Master Cleanse, and I last 1.5 days. I decide to be more body positive. I move in to my new apartment, just me and Murphy. On the first night I drink an entire bottle of wine, eat half a pizza, listen to Adele on repeat and drunkenly email my ex that I will forever be here and that I love him forever and ever and everything I ever did was stupid and wrong and I am stupid and wrong. I go home for Christmas and feel OK, mostly because I have Murphy with me this time. I miss my ex at family functions when all the boyfriends and husbands are doing boyfriends and husbands things and he is not there. I find out I am deploying on a Navy hospital ship, and I am ecstatic. This is an opportunity I gave up at the request of my ex earlier this year. This deployment is exactly what I need. My ex’s new girlfriend changes her profile picture to one of them at Rockefeller center, and I think I might throw up. January: I start taking better care of myself. I cut back my drinking, I work out regularly and start getting stronger, I track what I’m eating and start taking supplements. I do stand up comedy for the first time, finally. I meet my now-boyfriend and he gives me hope that emotionally giving and emotionally receptive men exist. After just 2 weeks of dating, we take a long weekend trip to Catalina Island. I feel torn on whether I should be dating since I still have moments of missing my ex, and the consistency of married life, and most of all – my consistent, “happy” weight when we were together. My body dismay turns to a slight obsession. My boyfriend says I look fine. I ask my ex for my sea bag (Navy issued duffel bag) back and he replies that he is “out of the country,” because God forbid I know where to find him. Spoiler alert: I never get the sea bag back. I give away my wedding dress. February: My boyfriend and I take a trip to Alaska for Valentine’s Day. It’s starting to feel real now. He becomes my best friend. I have a dream about my ex getting seriously hurt and in my dream, I am crying and telling him I love him and that I am here for him. This confuses me greatly, and I pull away from my boyfriend. March: I travel with my boyfriend to Seattle, and Temecula wine country. We say I love you. We touch upon what to do when I deploy, as he deploys soon after I return. Everything is a question mark. I freak out every other week. I open up about my marriage and divorce. I wake up one day and realize I haven’t cried over it or felt regret in a few months, and I’ve stopped lurking my ex and his new (now long term) girlfriend. I worry that my new relationship is simply a distraction. I realize I’ve spent all my savings traveling, preparing for deployment and living outside my means, something that my ex never would have let happen. I change my name back to my maiden name while in CT. I continue to work out consistently and eat healthy. I call DirectTv to cancel my service and they require my ex to call them since it is in his name. The woman in customer service is extremely empathetic. April: Changing my name is proving to be more emotionally exhausting than anticipated. I find it rude when people ask “did you just get married,” and I reply in such a way that they realize they are out of line. It’s like asking if someone is pregnant when you aren’t sure – just don’t. USAA sends me new checks with my maiden name, but an “R” (married name) monogrammed onto them. I do my own taxes for the first time ever. I start introducing myself as Danielle Baldino again. I start writing again (here you go). I joined a new gym with my friend and go regularly. I talk openly about my divorce, particularly with other divorcees, without my voice cracking. I read a chapter in Amy Poehler’s book “Yes Please” about her take on divorce, and I laugh hysterically and cry hysterically and say “yes!” out loud like a crazy person. Someone gets it. I’m not alone. I’m getting it. I realize I can be a whole person, likely for the first time in my life. Sometimes you have to put the whole puzzle together to figure out what piece was missing; I can honestly say I’m no longer a scattered mess of pieces, but I’m not quite done yet. Let’s say we have all the edges and similarly-colored center pieces sorted out (and also I hate puzzles).      


  2. It’s alive!!!!!

    September 1, 2015 by admin

    michaelbaldino has successfully restored my blog and I am so so excited to write and share with everyone again! That is all.