New Series! Introducing … The Divorce Diaries
It’s no secret that about five years ago, my life changed in big ways. I wrote a bit about that journey in a series for Glamour, which after writing about and interviewing other people for years, it was scary, exciting, and therapeutic–all at the same time–to write from a personal place. But I’m so glad I did! I hear from women all the time who are facing similar big life changes and looking for advice, encouragement, or just someone to tell them that everything’s going to be ok (it will, I promise).
I’ve been wanting to write more on this subject in a more extensive, public way for some time now. So, I’ve decided to pool my advice, observations, wisdom, experience, encouragement, along with all kinds of confessions–both serious and hilarious. I’ve lived it all in these past five years–from crying to laughing, barely surviving to thriving. While it felt like my life was falling to pieces back then, I never imagined the beautiful, wild journey in store, or how happy I’d wind up years later in this very moment. I’m excited to share those thoughts, anecdotes and stories here. Will you follow along?
OK, so today’s topic: For starters, I just want to say that I really do think men are great. In fact, I loooooove men (and my fiancé, Brandon, is my total dream boat). But girls, here’s the thing: I think that, in marriage or any longterm relationship, we sometimes fall into roles that can become limiting when (I suppose this is true for men, too, and I by no means want to imply that I or women are victims in any way. No. No way.) These roles we can find ourselves stuck in, well, it’s nobody’s fault, per se. I think it just happens.
For example, I use to rely on my ex to fix, install, build–basically anything that involved a tool, he handled it. I don’t think I touched a household tool in more than a decade. Not such a big deal, in theory, especially when I had no interest in anything handy, and he did. But then, years later when I found myself suddenly single, with three little boys wanting me to fix their broken remote control cars, in a creaky old house with things breaking right and left, and no man around, at first I kind of … panicked. How do I do stuff like this? I mean, I’m not sure I even know how to … change a light bulb in the chandelier!
I remember this hilarious moment when, over wine, my friend Claire and I both shared that our houses had become really dark (literally, like we couldn’t see!) since our respective divorces because the lightbulbs in the ceiling fixtures of our homes had, one by one, slowly burned out (a metaphor for love?). Our ex-husbands used to handle these tasks, but with the weight of single-motherhood and finding our footing after climbing out of the rubble after bombs had been dropped on our lives, tasks like changing light bulbs fell to the bottom of our lists. (“Changing lightbulbs” became one of our favorite friendship text memes in the years to come.)
“You know what you need?” another girlfriend said over lunch one afternoon when I was still in that really hazy, dark period. I needed a thousand things in that moment, but she boiled it down to just one: “A good handyman.”
She was so right. I’d never be able to operate a screwdriver to save my life. And I had no interest in changing the lightbulbs in the chandelier or spending an agonizingly long time attempting to hang curtain rods or fix the door hinge that my six-year-old somehow managed to pry off. I do not have a single Joanna Gaines bone in my body and while I’m creative, I’d officially missed the DIY boat. But that was ok. I had more important things to do then: like keeping my writing going and getting a grip on my life and happiness so I could provide the most peaceful and nurturing home for my boys.
So I found a handyman. He was really nice, and he did a million projects for me. Buuuuuut, then it turned out he was going through a divorce, too. And, uh, he sort of asked me out on a date. Awkward. So I found another handyman! But then he moved. So I found another! And, this one recently installed a new chandelier in my bedroom which I love, set up a hanging egg chair in my living room (why not?), and comes over often to assemble whatever desk or IKEA contraption I’ve carted home for the kids.
And when Brandon and I get married? I’ll still need my handyman! Why nag my husband when I can just make a call and get stuff done? A marriage-saver, I tell you.
Girls: get a handyman. It’s empowering.
More divorce diary confessions to come. Tell me in the comments what you other questions you have on this subject. Any particular topics you’d like me to cover? Thanks for reading along!