Doing my homework

I live and die by my research. I once spent two weeks investigating how to brine the perfect turkey for Thanksgiving. I weighed the benefits of dry brine and wet brine. I watched video tutorials and read foodie blogs. In the end, it was a damn fine turkey.

When it came to ending my marriage you can bet your false eyelashes I was studying up. My google searches went something like:

“How to have a friendly divorce”
“How to have an easy divorce”
“How to file for divorce”
“Can you have wine delivered in New Jersey?”

After reading a host of articles from all over the interwebs I bought a book on amicable divorce.

Splitopia: Dispatches from Today’s Good Divorce and How to Part Well by Wendy Paris, was an excellent resource for me. It offers practical advice for working with your soon-to-be ex-partner on splitting assets, dealing with family, and working through the emotional fallout. I was able to apply lessons from this book directly to my experience and I’m so grateful.

More than all of that, Paris’ book offered me hope. The simple fact that I was not alone in this experience, despite knowing that I would soon be alone, was comforting. I left the final pages feeling centered in my decisions, armed with a plan to move forward, and hopeful for my future.

Divorce is not just a closing-down of one life but also an opening of another.
– Wendy Paris

Diving into research gave me space to think and plan. I was able to create a narrative about what I was going through for those closest to me and set boundaries where I needed them. This research was also my first brush with mindfulness practice, self-awareness, and self-love. I started out on a journey toward finding my truest self and becoming whole again, a topic I will be touching on A LOT on this site.

For me, reading about others experiences with divorce was a great help. I believe in the power of storytelling which is why, in large part, I am here telling mine. Do you have a story to share? If so, I’d love to connect with you.

ellengetsherlifetogether

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Being Thirty AF

I’ll be honest, being three decades old feels pretty damn fabulous. Throwing on a tutu and fake eyelashes for a little birthday photoshoot certainly helped.

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I was feeling inspired by some “adult cake smash” photos when I jumped on Thumbtack to look for a photographer of my own.

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I really thought turning thirty would feel awful. I imagined myself crying into a pint of fat-free frozen yogurt with an anti-aging sheet mask on.

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Instead, I decided to eat cake and drink champagne on a field with some gigantic balloons. For me, thirty is about living my best life. It’s about surrounding myself with things and people I love, finding and doing what brings me joy, and being my most authentic self.

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Finding yourself can simply mean finding ways to feel fabulous.

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I am so looking forward to this next part of my journey, whatever it may be…

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I just hope there’s champagne.

ellengetsherlifetogether

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Before you get it together, it has to fall apart.

Even after all this time I am surprised when people are supportive. I’m even more surprised when people call me brave. Calling it quits on my marriage, selling our big, beautiful house, and moving to a small apartment in my old college town did not feel brave. It felt like failure.

At first, when I told someone what I was going through and they said, “I’m sorry,” I heard, “I’m sorry you failed.” I realized, perhaps too late, that what these folks were actually saying was “I’m sorry you’re going through this.” I know now that I feared failure above all else. In recent months I’ve learned how to release that fear, how to be where I am when I’m there, and, most importantly, how to forgive myself. I can’t say I always do these things well or with grace, but I’m sure as hell trying.

It was well over a year ago that I confided in a dear friend about my struggles. I told her even if I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t, in fact, married the right person I would probably still stay because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. The way she looked at me in that moment spoke volumes. Living for other people is no way to live. Even then, I promised myself I’d give it the old college try. I knew if I walked away with any shred of doubt, I’d never be able to forgive myself. I jumped headfirst into trying to fix what felt broken and trying to disprove what I likely already knew.

This site is about my journey and my experience starting over. I won’t write about my ex-husband here, what we went through or what went wrong, but I will say that there is no one I’d rather go through this with. He is a great person, but he is not my best person and I am not his.

And that, my friends, is okay.

Over time, and with the support of some very magical people, I started to internalize that there is bravery in asking for and seeking out what you want in life. Sometimes things fall apart, especially when they are built without a solid foundation. And that too is simply okay. You grow and you change and you learn what to do differently next time. Slowly but surely you start picking up the pieces and getting your life together. And this is that journey. This is Ellen getting her life together.

 

ellengetsherlifetogether

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