just let it go

I just spent the last 2 hours talking to my grandmother and I’m pretty sure she invented the concept of choose happy.  There is something so refreshing about talking to someone who has lived through all of the bullshit and can just tell it like it is… I missed her.  That conversation made me realize how important family, especially grandparents, are and yet, I used my embarrassment of my divorce as a reason not to call her more just to chat.  And do you know what she said when I told her that?  “Just let it go.”

The topics of our conversation ranged from how we are both sick right now, to marriage and how hard it is, to not letting negativity affect you.  She listened to the long, drawn out story of the last few months of my life and she offered advice at the moments my voice began to crack with emotion.  She said, “Sweetheart, sometimes things don’t work out.  You couldn’t have known that this would happen,” and I agreed, but also disagreed, because I had another list of things that fell under the I Should Have Known category.  Once I was done spewing more emotions, she simply said, “stop going back and forth.  You can’t look back anymore, honey.  What’s done is done and now your job is to move forward and live a new life.”

**dramatic pause to appreciate my grandma’s no bullshit advice**

And it’s not that I didn’t know these things; it’s not that my friends and other family haven’t told me these things too.  But this straightforwardness from a woman who has lived through some hard times, it just spun my perspective a little bit.  And from it, I grew a little bit stronger today.

And in some true, choose happy fashion, I will leave you with some other “Nicki’s Grandma’s Advice” :
•Always say good morning or pay a compliment to someone when you see them – you never know what kind of day they’re having and you have the power to make it better.
•Don’t let negativity affect you – whatever shit they are going through doesn’t have to be your shit [yep, she said that]
•Don’t hold ill feelings against someone – just pray that they find the happiness they are looking for.  Praying for them will make you feel better too.
•Look in the mirror every morning when you wake up and say “I love myself.”
•”Just let it go” (in reference to any of the following: pain, things you can’t control, other people’s anger, sadness, tough memories, the idea of what you thought things were supposed to be like).

it’s all about balance

It’s officially acceptable to say things like “tis’ the season” and “happy holidays” – I thought I was going to despise it all because of what’s going on in my life, but I have been pleasantly surprised by my overall emotional state. A lot has happened this week and it has reminded me of all of the amazing things I have to be thankful for. There have been so many times in the last few months that I have felt like my world was falling apart, but this week, I feel like a change is beginning; I feel like I’m finally stepping out of the darkness.

“Friends are the family you choose”

For the last 3 years, I have spent Thanksgiving with my family or his. So, as the holiday approached this year, I couldn’t help but be sad. I genuinely miss those moments I was able to spend with his mom and his grandmother as well as the ones he was able to share with my amazing family. But, once again, I knew I had a choice between staying sad or finding happy. I had always heard about people doing “Friendsgiving” and I thought it would be a perfect new tradition to start. It was so much fun! We sat around talking and laughing, drinking too muchall of the red wine. We shared jokes and stories and even some tears later in to the night – but happy tears; thankful tears. And instead of going home on Thanksgiving, my best friend invited me to share it with her family and I can’t even explain how it felt to be a part of another person’s traditions.

The cloudiness from the wine the night before instantly wore off when her six year old screamed “Nicki” as he ran up and hugged me tight. And every family member that showed up after hugged me just like that, as if I was one of their own. The warmth in my heart yesterday was more than I have felt in a while. I am so grateful to them for allowing me to sit at the dinner table to eat and share laughs; to create memories and experience true happiness on a holiday I was sure was going to be miserable. It was exactly what I needed. When the time came, I said my goodbyes and drove home in silence, as I tend to do when a lot is on my mind.

Once I was home and changed in to my pajamas, I sat down on the couch and I cried. This time, the tears were a combination of gratefulness to my friend and her family and sadness because I was missing the traditions he and I shared over the last few years. I think it’s normal for me to burst out in random crying here and there [or at least I tell myself it is] because, especially during this time of the year, it just feels like something is missing. His family, his friends, his jokes, all of it – it was all a huge part of me. But I guess it’s all about balance, right? You submerge yourself in the new experiences with your friends and their families but you also take time to remember and appreciate what life used to be like. As painful as it is, I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to pretend like it’s easy to move on.

But I think that’s how I know that things are beginning to change – I want to remember all of the good things while trying to move on. Before, I did everything I could to block out the memories. Honestly, that’s not possible. The mind is a crazy, overwhelming place and somehow, we all have to figure out how to balance the millions of thoughts that go on in there everyday. And when possible, we also have to figure out how to choose happy, whether that be memories, experiences, or people [or all of the above]. Here’s to finding and choosing the happy for the rest of this holiday season and all of the seasons to come.

– nicki

everything is going to be ok

November 13th seemed like the perfect day to get married last year…how was I to know that it wouldn’t work out? In hindsight, I kind of wish I would have planned it further from the holidays, but it is what it is; I knew this month was going to be tough. On the day that would have been our first anniversary, I contemplated between hiding in bed all day and going on an adventure. I’m so glad that I chose the latter. There is something extremely freeing about driving all alone to a beautiful destination in silence. It took me a while to process the emotions from that day and every day since, to be honest, but I think I’ve finally figured some of it out.

I chose Prescott, Arizona for my [day]venture because it’s a little familiar, a little cooler, and a little quirky. I spent hours browsing through antique stores, looking at all of the things that once belonged to someone else. At one point, I passed through a booth with a sign that read “choose happy” and my eyes welled up with tears because I felt like it was meant for me. I bought a scarf and some coffee and found myself wandering through the courtyard watching the leaves fall. And then I sat on a park bench for a while with my thoughts; there were moments of peace in between many emotional memories. In all honesty, I enjoy thinking about my wedding day in Hawaii because it wasn’t just about me getting married. It was also a beautiful Sunday on the beach where I was able to share laughs and happiness with my family and friends and that will always be something I cherish.

That’s the toughest part though – being able to separate that happiness from the pain. Sometimes you can’t control where your mind goes and the next thing you know, you’re a snotty mess in a public place with no tissues. But, you get through it. And then you walk around aimlessly taking photos, absorbing the beauty around you, and when you feel ready, you take your time on the back way home.

A year ago, I never would have pictured myself sitting here blogging about how it feels to go through a divorce. I thought we were happy; I thought things were perfect. I don’t think you can ever really be prepared for anything traumatic. I’ve always thought of myself as strong and independent, but every day, I am learning that everyone falls and weakens sometimes. I know this will get easier but I also know that it’s going to take a lot of time. Truthfully, I’m grieving a loss and trust me, it hurts.

I am sharing all of these thoughts and feelings in this blog because I know, somewhere out there, there are other women feeling small and defeated from the experiences of divorce or maybe from something else entirely. And I guess I want those women, along with anyone else reading this, to know that everything is going to be ok. In light of all of the pain and sadness, you learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before and suddenly, you’re transformed. Each day, you get a little stronger [and you actually end up having A LOT of conversations with yourself which may cause people and/or animals to look at you funny]. I’m just trying to remember that everything happens for a reason and that if I choose happy, I’ll continue to get through this, one day at a time.

life is better when you’re laughing

 “the most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – ee cummings

Facebook tells me that last year on this day, I was drinking wine out of my new Kate Spade “his & hers” glasses that we received as a wedding gift.  [side eye, annoyed emoji goes here]  A pro and con of social media: reminders of all the memories in your life.  But hey, I’m dealing with it.  A quick scroll and I’m right back in the land of mindless cat memes and Chive articles.  Isn’t that funny?  One moment, you can be cringing at a painful photo and the next, you can be laughing uncontrollably at a baby goat saying “what’s up?”.  But, that’s my point.  We have a choice.  We can wallow in the sadness of something that no longer exists or we can move on and just fucking laugh at something else.  We can choose happy.

 And, it’s healthy!  No joke, I did a little research on the health benefits of laughing, and things like “improved immune system” and “relieve pain” came up.  If you think about it, it’s true; those moments when you’re sobbing and you feel like you can’t breathe and then your sister makes a stupid joke and you instantly find the ability to laugh.  Your body is basically providing you with its own painkillers while endorphins are released from your brain.  Oh, and apparently it burns calories, which is helpful in my case since I’ve eaten my weight in pizza and Thai food since filing for divorce.  But, in all seriousness, aside from my amazing support system, laughing really does help me feel better about myself and my situation.  [also, I feel like an asshole for rolling my eyes all those times my grandma said “laughter is the best medicine.”]

Speaking of medicine, I went to see A Bad Mom’s Christmas on opening night and I must say, it was the ultimate stress relief.  I don’t have children, but I could still relate to everything in that movie and I am telling you, I NEVER stopped laughing.  It didn’t get great reviews, but don’t let that fool you.  I would watch this over and over again (with or without alcohol).  Grab your friends, take a night off, and go see this movie.  And don’t forget to laugh today.

warning: this trailer may be inappropriate for little ones.


tomorrow is another day.

I’ve been quiet and really, unlike myself for the last few months.  It’s true what they say – “everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”.  One year ago I was planning the final details of my fairytale wedding in Hawaii and today, I’m apartment hunting and canceling subscriptions so I can save a few bucks a month.  Life doesn’t always go the way you plan.  In an attempt to stop feeling sorry for myself and to slowly transition to the next step of divorce recovery, I decided to revamp my blog and dedicate it to choosing happy over everything else.

The truth is, once you get over the shock and anger of losing the person you thought you would spend the rest of your life with, you become miserable.  The ideas you had for your future dissolve and for a while, you feel completely worthless and unable to see light at the end of any tunnel.  And good luck to the people around you while you are trying to navigate through the hell that is divorce.  [insert apology to all those that I have hurt or offended recently]  It’s ugly.  It’s embarrassing.  It’s just plain sad.

And then something happens.  You start to notice the people around you that are rooting for your happiness.  The amazing friends that send gifts and notes, reminding you that you can get through anything; the family that plans a visit just so they can spend time with you; the sister who pushes you through when you feel like you can’t do it on your own.  The darkness and gloom starts to fade away and you find yourself wanting to smile again.  And you do… you do smile again.

So here’s to choosing happy.  Here’s to finding that strong, confident woman inside of me and returning to a life of planning adventures and experiencing the “whatever happens, happens” side of things.  I know some days will still suck more than others and that’s ok.  We all deal with life at our own pace.  And tomorrow is another day.