Monday, April 16, 2018

It's Not Good-Bye

Everyone grieves differently, and I'm no exception. When my family asked if I would write and deliver the eulogy for my grandfather's funeral, I was humbled and honored. And then panicked as I stared at my blank computer screen through exhausted, tear-filled eyes.

With the help of my incredible family, I composed the following from stories we all shared. Pop, I sure hope I did you justice. I'll miss you like crazy, but I'll never ever forget all the love and great memories you gave us.

"How do you try to encapsulate the life of someone that has always been larger than life to you? I’m told that Pop’s father left his family when he was only 5 years old, so he never had that male role model of husband, father, and grandfather. Yet he still managed to emulate all of these roles perfectly in his life. To say that Pop was a kind, quiet, gentle soul would be an understatement. Granny keeps telling us how she’s not even sure how he worked up the courage to asked her to marry him being as shy as he was, but obviously he did, that night on her birthday after taking her to the movies, in his car, without asking either of her parents for permission, because he knew it was his decision to spend the rest of his life with her. For once she was speechless.

If anyone here has ugly cried while watching the movie “The Notebook”, please try imagining watching that story play out from beginning to end right in front of your eyes. Granny and Pop had quite a remarkable love and admiration for each other, and impressively have been married for 66 years. They did everything together which for a couple of their time is rare. They valued each other’s opinion, sitting around the kitchen table without ever fighting in order to make difficult and life changing decisions, especially the one which Granny encouraged Pop to leave his current job and started his own business at 40 years old. Pop would always tell us wasn’t the smartest move he ever made but with the agency still going strong almost 50 years later I can attest that it was a solid move on his part.The deep respect was evident, as was his need to provide and continually look out for her. Granny, your mother may have called you Helter Skelter, but all Pop saw was perfection.

Their love produced two of the most amazing children, of whom we’re lucky to call our Dad and Aunt. To say that Pop-Pop was proud of his children’s accomplishments would be an understatement. I can’t count the amount of times he would spout off what city our Aunt Sharon was traveling to, or what state assembly person our Dad, John Jr, was going to meet with for insurance industry changes on any given day. His pride in their accomplishments showed every time he beamed that smile talking about where they were that day.

As grandchildren the stories we could tell are endless. How he would always call me “porco” anytime as a young child I would which I would echo that sentiment at an inappropriately timed burp at the dinner table from the wife of a family friend. I’m told Pop turned the reddest of embarrassment, and I don’t think he taught us any more words in Italian after that. For any of you who walked by the photo boards, you could see how he would let us style his hair (aka torture his poor scalp) in the basement for hours, and was proud to have his own Barbie case to play with us.

We remember pop always loving his garden and grape arbour, spending hours planting his blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and tomato plants, as well as sunflowers and purple flowers just for Stephanie. He’d sneak us down into the basement to for our Doritios and soda parties without Granny knowing. Down at the condo in Ocean City was his favorite place to be; waking up early to collect seashells by the shoreline in Shop Rite bags, then going for a slow drive to get donuts and fresh bread with John Michael. Followed without question by naps on his long chair on the patio well into the afternoons.

He insisted on going to the Philadelphia Italian Market every Christmas season, and had a coveted meatball, sauce, and crab cooking recipe. My Catholic guilt won’t let me tell a lie in Church, so although those recipes may not have been taken to his grave, none of us grandchildren are risking him haunting us if we speak a word about how they’re prepared.

With all that, I will leave you with this final story. Every Tuesday night for the better part of 35 years, he’d go out with his guys; Mr. Joe Cuppucio, Mr Joseph Olivo, Mr Joseph Arena, and Pop. They would meet at our agency office, never knowing what restaurant they’d be going to dinner since apparently it was a game time decision. This one Tuesday Pop was walking down the steps and Mr Olivo bursts out laughing at Pop, telling him “You have two different shoes on”.
And they weren’t just any shoes, these were BRAND new, straight out of the box, he’d never yet worn them. So they all had a good laugh, went out to dinner, and went on with their evenings. But Pop, being the shy individual he was, would not go and see if the shoe store could correct their obvious misstep. So that’s why Granny told him, if you’re only wearing them those one time and not taking them back to the store, when you go to the grave, I’m sending them with you.

I can attest we are sending him with those shoes. A friend of mine text me last night to offer condolences for Pop-pop’s passing, and then said to me that “grandparents give us all that extra special goodness our parents didn’t and franky couldn’t.” Which couldn’t be more true. Pop lived an exceptional life and has loved our entire family, as evidenced in his smile in all these photos, more than we could know. He will be loved and missed, by all of us, until we meet again."

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Fabulous Single Girl

While most people do Dry January to jumpstart their resolutions, I decided to do a different take on that. In fact my resolution, if you even want to call it one, was to be on zero dating websites. Yes I realize there are all the puns here, but my parents read this (I think) so I'll keep it clean. I didn't renew my Match membership, hadn't gone back on Bumble/Tinder/Plenty Of Fish. Didn't try any of the new advertised sites, The League, Inner Circle, Elite Singles that come up on my Instagram feed as sponsored posts. I went the entire month of January talking to no new men. It was GLORIOUS, albeit lonely.

It actually wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. The hardest part was constantly checking my phone, out of habit, for messages that obviously weren't there. About halfway through the month that habit faded, and now I'm lucky if I even know where my phone is at any given time (likely still in my coat pocket after the millionth walk with Homer).

What have I accomplished with all this free time? I've finished 2 cross stitches and am well onto my third. I got caught up so many movies and shows recommended to me from friends and co-workers (which by the way, if you're not watching The Good Place you don't know what the fork you're missing!) I finished the almost 600 page book that I started in December along with a second book, thus am already well on my way to actually completing my goal of reading 25 books this year (yes, #nerdalert).

I continue to make my apartment feel like home and built a book shelf I ordered online, as well as finally hanging curtains and pictures I've had since I moved in. I've gone to the gym every weekday morning, continuing to increase my weight lifting numbers and decreasing my pant size.

Most importantly I've also decided that I'm going to stop hash tagging posts or referring to things I do as "sad single girl". It's now going to be "fabulous single girl." Because that's precisely what I am.
Because trying to date is exhausting and frankly I can make better use of my time. Because sitting at home and having no plans on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday means I'll figure it out as the weekend comes. Last minute plans have always, and continue to be, so much fun.

Now that January is over, will I get back on dating sites? Will I work up the nerve to talk to that cute guy at the gym? Will I be vacationing in Europe? Who could know. Which is probably why, every time I leave work, my coworkers tell me to stay out of trouble. That, I tell them, I absolutely cannot promise...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Embracing Me

I could focus on how the holidays are hard. Engagements. Baby Announcements. Births. It's a reminder that I'm alone and as much as I enjoy my freedom, it does get lonely. Or I could focus on the positives, which is precisely what I'm doing because #teamnofeels.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a huge Lady Gaga fan. Have been since the beginning. I finally got to go to her concert this past September and it was everything I could have wanted and more. She has a documentary that came out on Netflix recently which I obviously watched. Her opening monologue hit home. In it she is talking about the issues she was having at the time with her now ex-fiancé:

"And I'm just in a different time of my life now where I just kind of like, I don't know I just feel like my threshold for bullshit with men is, is just I don't have one anymore. I just don't care. I don't know if it's because I'm 30, I feel better than ever, you know. All my insecurities are gone, I don't feel insecure about who I am as a woman, and I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of what I have. I just feel more sexy and sexual and all that shit is better." Lady Gaga, Five Foot Two.

Her words hit home in a way I've never been able to completely vocalize. I've had a year of changes, and that's putting it mildly. New job, new apartment, overall a new life. I'm learning and growing still with all the changes I'm making. I finding what I want, what I enjoy, what I won't put up with, and don't care if that fits into society's mold. It's glorious; it's frustrating. It's invigorating; it's depleting. It's abundant; it's lonely.

I was having an off hours conversation with my manager. She asked what I was doing for New Years, and I told her I had a few invites but no solid plans at this point. She said it was her favorite holiday. It was the only time, when her children were young, she would ask her ex-husband to take their two children, and she would have the night to herself. Not to do anything fancy mind you. But rather to take an evening for HER. Sip her own champagne in the quiet of the house while taking a bubble bath. A night to relax for herself.

That's what I decided that regardless of the invites I have, I WANT THAT. This article by Jezebel only solidified my decision. So much of what I've done this year has been for me...why wouldn't I want to ring in a New Year with my fur-baby celebrating this new life I'm creating for myself? I don't need the glitz of going out to to a crowded bar, or worrying about paying a surge priced Uber to ensure getting home safely.

I get it, this makes people uncomfortable. Even the Treasurer at work made a comment as he left Friday that "Natalie's definitely going out New Year's" Nope, I responded, think I might be staying in. Shocking to everyone, apparently, how can this smart, hilarious, hard-working, attractive (according to some) woman not have won't-want-to-miss-it plans for New Years?!

I've realized that society formulates us to not compute an individual, especially a woman, as able to be okay with being alone. I happily shatter that fucking notion. I am the best I've ever been, alone. So good, in fact, that since my membership is due to renew, and since I only seem to (still) be attracting men that are the same age as my father, I've already discontinued my account for the beginning of January. It's been a year of me actively attempting to try online dating, to no success. I've decided I'm taking the entire month of January to NOT do any type of online dating, paid or free. I'm just going to focus on me.

I look back at my year and overall all the bad or frustrating events have been far outweighed by the good. And I'll be honest, I've made some of my own hurts. I'm not perfect, certainly won't claim to be, and can only hope I've learned from the mistakes I've personally made over the past year. But I've rediscovered my love of music and live music. I've gone to numerous concerts on my own. I've gone to a number of movies with lunches in between all by myself. I went to the beach about once a week this summer. I've learned to jet-ski, boat, and fish at my parents. I took a girl's weekend in September with a friend I haven't seen in ages. I became a godmother to my best friend's son. In October I took the most relaxing vacation I've had in years. I traveled to New York City a couple weeks ago for the new Star Wars movie with friends for the simplicity of the adventure....because I can.

Does it get lonely? Without a doubt. Thankfully I've gotten better at managing that loneliness. A few months ago when I was feeling down (before some family insanity occurred that we're still dealing with), I did something for the first time in ages. I reached out to my girlfriends. And they reached back out. And as shitty as I was feeling for being alone, I wasn't, and suddenly I had plans for a Saturday night. Just weeks ago I got an unexpected girls night dinner just from sending a random text. I'm so lucky, I have these girlfriends who want to be there for me, and I love each and every one of them. They support and laugh at all the mistakes I make along the way, and always give me a home to come visit to. I may not live in the area anymore, but seeing them always reminds me I can come home. We pick up right where we left off without missing a beat, no matter how much time has passed. For that, I am forever grateful. I have a family that loves me unconditionally, and no matter where we are in the country, when we're together the laughter never ends. The bond I have with my family and friends is one I don't take lightly, and am so grateful can't be broken.

So you want to know my plans for this New Year into 2018? Unlike years past, I will be alone, but I won't be crying as that ball drops. I'll make sure to have a pizza, some snacks, and all my favorite booze in the apartment. I'll have plenty of treats for Homer too! I plan on spending the day doing what I want: reading, watching movies, napping, dancing in my kitchen, maybe being responsible and doing some laundry (#adulting). I will take a bubble bath at some point in the evening. Just before midnight I will pour a glass of champagne and cheers to myself, with Homer my sidekick, with the promise to make to 2018 an even more fun and adventurous year than 2017. And I will promptly fall into the comfort of my bed at 12:10 AM after texting all of my family and friends that I love them wishing them a happy New Year. Because I can.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Threat Level: Me

My coworkers get such a kick hearing my dating stories. My two cubicle-mates are happily married; one with children finishing in high school and starting college, the other only a few years older than me with two young girls under the age of 5. My manager is a grandma who's had her share of life struggles with men. My VP is happily married man with three younger kids.

My manager has been checking out the construction workers in the building for me to see if there's any suitable guys. If that doesn't work they'll find another member of the Village People for me, they joke. My cubicle-mates banter that I should pull a Mrs Robinson to the 26 year old guy in accounting who just got a promotion and now has to drop off all the check requests to us.

They can't believe that I got ghosted by a guy after 4 dates because I have career goals. That one of the cute guys who approached me at the gym is married....well "separated" but still living with his wife and 4 kids. I am not in the least way interested in being a side piece thank you very much I've done that and am not a fan. I may not have the highest self esteem, but I at least know I'm worth more than messages on a secret encrypted application; I deserve to be shown off, go out, post pictures of me on your Instagram. 

Two Friday's ago I sat and talked with my manager for about 2 hours after work. We shared our stories of what we've dealt with regarding men. I confessed how as much as I enjoy being alone, and it doesn't bother me, it does get lonely. She mentioned to me how difficult it can be to be alone, especially as she said, when you have to go business events, because everyone will be bringing their significant others and you are alone. "You're now a threat", she said. 

I was first of all flattered that she thinks highly enough of me to see my career shaping enough within the company to progress to be attending future business events. I've been here 8 months, and I have no doubt that I've shown them I'm smart, hardworking, and able to tackle significant projects with little direction and accomplish them. I know that around the office my height is the first thing noticed and commented on, second only to my bubbly personality and a few of the women have pointed out my fun shoe choices. My manager and I have been stopped on more than one occasion in the hallway for some individual in a department I don't even work with to "does she work for you?" followed by a nervous yes, only to be told "what a breath of fresh air! She's always smiling and so nice to everyone. A fantastic new hire to have in the company". I joke with my manager that I'll try to stop embarrassing her around the office. 

I personally do not view myself in the light that other's do. I don't see myself as overly attractive, because thanks society, as a woman I'm not supposed to have an ego. I view me as the overly tall, nerdy awkward girl who has super random thoughts and still gets butterflies in her stomach when she talks with cute boys. I was taught to treat everyone with respect, and I do, from the maintenance people who come down our hallways each morning to our CEO when he walks by our cubicles. 

But I'm realizing that just because society has taught me I cannot be full of myself because I'm a woman, doesn't mean that I'm not attractive and that I'm not perceived as a threat. My eyes. My legs. My confidence. My intelligence.

Forget the fact I check in on my 92 year old neighbor below me regularly. Or that my sister and I visited my grand-mom for the past three weeks almost every other day while she was in a rehab for her fractured shoulder from a fall. Or that I stay late at work or arrive early to complete projects without prompting. There's no little billboard above me proclaiming my good deeds. There's just as society taught us, only my looks are what matter. And as a single, successful, confident woman, I'm a threat.

The guy I was hooking up with for almost a year had a girlfriend; I only found out I was his side piece when she opened an (unbeknownst) ill timed Snapchat last New Year's Eve and confronted me. I had another business contact's wife threaten me with whom there was nothing nefarious between us because I was attending a work event with him that she couldn't make. My Uber drivers into Philly always ask as soon as I get in their car if those are my real eyes or they're contacts. There's a gentleman here in the complex where I walk Homer, who since the first day I've seen him shouts "Hey Beautiful" each time he sees me, and the other day "I love you!" as he drove away. As mentioned earlier I had a guy approach me at the gym, we chatted it up until he asked for my number, and it was only then when we couldn't seem to find a time to meet up that he mentioned about his "separation".

I couldn't put my finger on it, I had this (drunken) discussion with my best friend's husband a couple months ago. I have this thing, I can't shut it off. He asked me who wants me to shut it off, and I said no one, but I keep attracting the wrong people. It wasn't until I read this passage, that it put into words what I'm experiencing. "There's nothing sexier than the woman emitting the pheromone of personal fulfillment". This isn't something I can shut off. It's me living my best life, and people are naturally attracted to that. 

I'm just me, and I won't stop being me, but I understand now how I can be perceived as a threat. I'm an attractive, smart, confident, funny woman who is comfortable in my own skin being alone. I went today to my own double feature movie. Between the first and second movie I grabbed lunch at the brewery connected to the mall. As I was wrapping up mine to go back to the theater a woman, all dolled up, sat two chairs away from me at the bar alone. She told the bartender she was meeting someone here, could she just have a water while she waited. She checked her phone constantly, adjusting her low cut, tight fitting top repeatedly, glancing at the door with every draft of cold air that wafted our way. I certainly didn't envy her, as I paid for my beers and meal, off to do exactly what I wanted for the day, not waiting for a man to walk in and validate me.

Most of the time, that is, because we all have our moments. I'm lucky in that my best friends all trust me, they haven't abandoned me because they see me now as a threat to their marriages. They're inclusive, check in on me, and always invite me along. They, along with my family, help me pick up my pieces when I'm feeling down and remind me that I'm someone who is lovable.  Hopefully me as a threat will eventually attract the right individual, but for right now, I'm just going to keep having fun living my ridiculous, random, adventure filled life. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I continue to be amazed at the way life works. I went back and forth for a very long time about what to do about my engagement ring and wedding band. Divorce is such a strange process. For those of you who have never been through it (and I hope you never have to) the engagement ring is a "contract" between you and your partner. As long as the engagement ring wasn’t “gifted” on a holiday, you went through with the wedding ceremony and were legally married, the contract has been fulfilled and the woman gets to keep the engagement ring. Since I can check all the boxes off to meet this criteria, the ring is mine (insert SmĂ©agol "my precious" voice here).

I was torn. Some people told me to have custom jewelry made. But do I really want to wear something regularly that was the cause of so much pain? Others told me to just sell the diamonds, scrap the bands, and build my savings or take a trip with the money I make on them. But I knew I'd never make back what they're actually worth. Ultimately I decided to take the lemons that were given to me and make lemonade.
Charo doesn't like selfies

I started this process back in July. I visited a local, family owned jeweler (not a large chain) and brought in my rings. As I sat and told the salesman what I thought I wanted, the shop dog (Charo, the Chihuahua) jumped up onto my lap and made herself comfortable. At that moment I knew I was in the right place. Dave helped shape my vision into something even greater than I imagined. At the risk of sounding like a braggart, I went ahead and spent an exorbitant amount of money on myself, visiting the store a total of three separate times to get my vision of the jewelry correct. The end result was my center engagement diamond custom designed into a necklace setting and the remaining side diamonds from my bands into stack-able rings. I won't lie, I felt guilty spending the money on myself, especially going so many years "without" while I was married in order to make ends meet. Then I remember that I'm worth it, and I'm the only one I've got, so why not take something that almost broke me and make it into something that shines.

I got the call that my pieces were finally ready towards the end of the day while I was at work last Thursday. Realizing the date was the 14th, it reminded me that it was about this time last year I had my court date. Flipping back to last year's calendar the irony hit me; it was exactly one year on the day that my divorce was legally finalized. Talk about timing.

Cheers to a fresh start
I scheduled to pick them up over the weekend and wasn't sure how I'd feel, having these new pieces but knowing where the diamonds came from. When I walked into the store Saturday the salesman I had worked with exclaimed (as he was with other clients) "Here she is! Every time she comes in here she's happy. I've never met someone who's always in such a good mood, I don't know how she does it." His co-worker, whom I've also spoken with on my multiple visits, was equally as elated and told me "I already asked Dave if it was okay to put the necklace on you, wait until you see how it came out! We're so excited for you". I closed my eyes (at their request) until the necklace was clasped at the base of my neck. When I re-opened them to look in the mirror, I wanted to cry. It was perfect.

That's when I knew that I had made the right decision to have the pieces remade. Wearing these would be to remind myself that I survived; that the painful experiences I went through have helped me learn and grow. My bubbly personality hasn't been lost, but rather continues to sparkle as I build these next new chapters in my life.

(If you live in the South Jersey area it's Family & Co Jewelers on Rt 70 in Marlton. They're fantastic, and tell them I sent you!)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chuck It

Apparently I freaked a good amount of you out with my last blog post. First and foremost, I appreciate every single person that reached out to me. Every day I’m reminded how loved I am, and what an incredible support system of friends both immediate and from the past that are willing to be there for me. For that I am truly lucky.

I promise I’m of no danger to myself or anyone else. I’m okay, really. But those of you who know me and my always annoyingly bubbly, shiney, she-must-be-taking-drugs-because-she's-always-so-happy personality, well, even us unusually happy people have our hard moments too. Some days I can fake it better than others. But when my life gets a little too heavy I write, because writing gets my feelings out of my heart and head. It’s my most cathartic release besides crying over a bottle of wine with my two favorite men, Ben and Jerry (well three, I mean Homer knows when I’m not totally myself either and loves to give me extra snuggles).

We all have our battles, we all have our struggles, we all have our grief that we deal with in our daily lives. This too shall pass, I know, and until then I’ll keep leaning on those who reached out to me to get me through the dark times. I keep myself busy and surround myself with people who want to be an active part of my life, and the rest will fall into place. Allegedly. Or we’ll get nuked and then no worries for anybody except the cockroaches. And Mick Jagger. The best thing is I know these feelings are temporary, and that I’ve survived so much worse.

I was talking with my best friend on our unexpected girl’s night a few Saturday’s ago about how I seem to be going through so many random emotions. As she lovingly labeled what I’m experiencing PTND (Post Traumatic Nick Disorder), she pointed out that while these seemingly random feelings are coming to light now is actually that for the longest time I was in survival mode. I couldn’t afford to feel anything except nothing in order to finish my divorce. It didn’t matter that my ex had another woman living in the house we owned, that he was buying her things with our money. It didn’t matter that more lies and deception from the years I was married to him were coming to light about finances and secret credit cards and bank accounts. I did what I had to do to survive, which was keep a level head and compartmentalize to no feelings about anything except getting to that divorce date.

But now the dust has settled I’m getting to live instead of merely survive. I’m coming up on a year I’ve been divorced. My home sold. I changed careers. I for the first time moved into my own apartment out of the area for said new job. I’m working on my annulment documents. I did it, I survived. And now I have the time to feel all the things I wouldn’t allow myself to feel during the process. That’s what that blog post was. That’s what this period of feeling down on myself, and sad, and all these raw emotions that sneak up on me is. It’s not just the feelings through my divorce, it’s the feelings I wouldn’t always allow myself to feel in my marriage as well. The lies, being unwanted, the obsessive cleaning, the deception, the guilt, the rage. I haven’t truly gotten to feel it, and it hurts.

My snuggle-puffins
Attempting to date doesn’t help. Digital screens has made dating horrid, frustrating, full of deception, and at times scary. As I lamented to my friend Jason about the creeps that keep messaging me, he said “maybe online dating isn’t for you”. And you know what, I think he’s right. There’s this stigma that if you’re single you should always be “looking”, but I’m already so tired of the process. I don’t feel like making the small talk via text messaging explaining all the changes in my life the past year and a half. I don’t feel like making time to try to meet up with a strange guy after work to sit at a bar and have awkward conversation that leads to nothing more than a slow ghosting fade.

It all came together as I sat at work realizing that I hadn’t heard from either of the two new boys from Match who had started texting me. I realized it wouldn’t matter if they had continued to text and actually wanted to see me. I literally have no free time starting tonight until Monday. My weekends from now through almost all of September are filled with friends, holidays, birthday parties, and adventures. I’ve booked an all inclusive vacation, my first in two years, with my sister in October. I’m going to see one of my favorite comedians in November when she comes to Philly. I’ve found 9 concerts from artists I enjoy that I want to see which fits in my schedule and one of those include, thanks to my brother, seeing my all time favorite band Brand New for the first time in 10 years when they perform at the Electric Factory in Philly. I’m still taking golf lessons and pushing myself to get stronger every morning at the gym. 
Brunch celebrating my
sister's birthday

One of the women to reach out to me after I posted a few weeks ago said it all fell into place for her when she stopped trying to micromanage her life. And maybe that’s what I’ve been doing on some subconscious level without realizing it. So I’m giving up. But in a good way. I’ve decided, as we say in my family, to chuck it in the fuck-it bucket. I still have until January free on Match, so I’ll use it until then but won’t be renewing.

Would it be nice to have someone to share all these experiences with? Of course it would, who wouldn’t want someone to be an active staple in their life? But even though I have my moments of not feeling enough, as one of my best friends sent me that post at the top of the page, I am enough, and if no one realizes that then it’s their loss. I’m going to keep filling my time with people and things I’d rather be doing, even if it is all by myself.

*Cue Celine Dion song*

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Grief Stage: Angry

When I can't sleep I write, so as Homer snores beside me in the bed I try to make sense of the ramblings that my brain just won't shut off. This isn't meant to be a "woe is me post" or that I regret the decisions I made, I just think it's important to put out there some of the more raw and real side effects that going through a divorce can have. Just because I wanted it doesn't mean it's all rainbows and butterflies.
From the book I'm currently reading - "The Missing"

My dad's best friend had sent me an article as I made the tough decision to file for divorce, which outlines how divorce is very much like a death; you will end up experiencing the same stages of grief. I feel as though with most things in my life, I'm not experiencing them in the "correct" order, if you will.

I was catching up on the latest season of Orange Is the New Black, and while not nearly the message being sent with the death in the show (I won't spoil it for those who haven't caught up), the girlfriend of the deceased says the following of how she feels now that the woman she loves is gone:

"That's the thing. I'm not sad. I'm angry. I hate everyone. Anyone laughing or smiling or being alive is fucking offensive to me and they should all just fucking die. And eventually I'm just gonna burn up from rage and I'll just be dust and I don't know how to make it stop."
(Season 5 Episode 6 14 minutes)

I cried my eyes out after that scene, because I know that exact feeling, since that's what I seem to be experiencing right now. I'm so angry now for not being wanted, not being enough for someone. I haven't just been alone since getting divorced, I was alone in my marriage, when my ex constantly chose his OCD over me.

The most meaningless things seem to be setting me off. I still actively avoid social media, forgoing the perfect Facebook posting of engagements, weddings, pregnancy announcements, baby births, and couples vacations for the sarcastic, heartless memes on Instagram. I know that I can't handle seeing everyone's lives put together, as mine is still being forged back from falling apart. 

And that's no offense to my family and friends because I'm guilty of it too; no one wants to put the ugly side of their life out there (except me, right now. You're welcome). I'm so happy that they're happy and clearly want nothing but the best for them. Some days though, I feel like I'm just flailing. The frustration of online dating certainly doesn't help with this fury.

My immediate reaction is to seclude myself, lick my wounds over a bottle of wine and the healing power of tears. I've been trying to get better at this and instead of pushing everyone away, keeping myself around people.

Much like the OITNB episode continues, I try to have an outlet for my anger. I workout daily. I plan fun activities for myself to get me out of the house. The amount of people who are shocked at the things I do by myself - the movies, dinner at a bar, Uber into the Philly to go to concerts or a festival - well what else am I supposed to do? I can't bring my dog everywhere, and if I didn't do things by myself, who would I do them with? I'd never leave my apartment otherwise.

I know I've gone through so many drastic changes in the past 18 months. I can't expect it all to fall into place so steadily with what I've done, and don't worry I'm not Hulk-smashing or crying at the drop of a hat. I try hard to focus on my accomplishments thus far: making the tough decision to get divorced because I deserve better, standing on my own two feet with a new career and my own apartment, and the vacations being planned before the end of the year. 

But some days you just need a cold bottle of Chardonnay and a good cry.