the antithesis of all inspiration that ever was.

In the early days of my divorce, I had all kinds of people and friends that tried to comfort me. Some things they said were more comforting than others, but I knew everyone meant well. I can remember when I was barely even able to whisper my deepest, darkest fears outloud to a friend about being the only person I knew going through a divorce. Essentially I was worried about what would people would think. In the grand scheme of things that was insignificant - I needed to find a lawyer, find a new apartment, figure out how to afford to keep living in Los Angeles, be able to function enough to keep my job, go at least one hour without crying. Telling people and being worried about what they would think should have been the least of my worries, but at the time it seemed so impossible. How was I ever going to get the words to come out of my mouth? How was I going to tell my hairdresser, who always asked about my husband? What would I tell my co-workers, my college friends, my grandma (who knew nothing of our ongoing problems)?

When I was finally able to muster up some courage to name these fears and say them aloud, I was met with so many different responses. One of them that sticks out in my mind is a friend who told me, "Oh don't worry about being the first one. Give it a few years and half of your friends will be divorced too." I know she was trying to comfort me with this statement, but I did not feel comforted. And I have to tell you, being almost two years out from my divorce (wow, has it really been that long?) and now knowing of several friends who have gone through divorces, it still doesn't comfort me. I wouldn't wish the pain of divorce on anyone, no matter how amazingly well things have turned out for me. My life right now is the direct product of the ultimate Redeemer and I will forever be thankful, but I still wish I didn't have to go through divorce to get here.

One of my best friends from high school recently found herself suddenly in the midst of a divorce, and it has devastated her and her two children. I feel like this is supposed to be my opportunity to pass on wisdom to my friend, to say all the right things and none of the wrong ones, to be a living-breathing-walking-talking example of how to survive divorce. Except I feel none of those things. Somedays I still feel like I barely made it out alive, and I honestly don't even know how I got here. I recommended some books to her that helped me, told her that I love her and I am here for her, and I started pinning more quotes about "strength" and "womanhood" in an act of virtual support (I should also maybe mention that this friend lives across the country, so virtual support is one of the better things I can think to do, although I do wish I could buy her coffee and take her to the movies and cry with her and hug her everyday). I want to tell her that someday this will all be better, but I honestly feel like a phony. Yes, I am living this amazing, incredible life and I am so so happy - in my career, in my friendships, in my relationship with my boyfriend. I don't wish to have my old life or my old marriage back for one second. But my heart still aches sometimes. I wonder if I'll ever fully be over the pain of my divorce. If I'll ever be able to visit my hometown {where my parents live} and not worry about running in to him or his family, or if I will ever not be flooded with memories when I drive by my old high school. Will I ever stop holding my breath when one of our mutual friends announces on facebook that they are so happy for so-and-so and their engagement, and feel relief only when I don't see his name? What about when I drive by a project that his company is working on? There are only about a million of those in Los Angeles, one that just started down the street from where I live now. Will I ever not be sad that I don't get to have a relationship with his sisters or his parents, one that I had for over ten years and then was just ripped away from me? Will I ever want to go to a high school reunion or will my fear of running into him always outweigh my desire to see other people that I love? Will I ever be able to enjoy an entire holiday without thinking, even for one moment, about our traditions, our memories? As happy as I am now, I worry that I will never have a life that is fully present in the one that I am living now. And so when people tell me, "Oh well at least B. has you" and "I'm sure you will be such a good support for her as she goes through this" I panic just a little bit more. I never felt prepared or equipped to survive my own divorce, and I certainly don't feel like I can be much help to anyone else. I wish so badly that that was the case. I want to be able to say all the right things, all of the time. I want to be this Elizabeth Gilbert beacon of hope for her, but instead I have been incredibly triggered by my friend and her divorce and I find myself crying all the time now. I am so incredibly sad for her and my heart aches for what I know she is going through. I try to pray for her, but the words that come out are more like "please please please please please please please please just be with B. And with me. Amen" and then I dissolve into a pile of tears again. Meanwhile, I am the busiest I have ever been- with my career, family obligations, party planning, social media whirlwind-stuff, studying for my LCSW exams, etc etc. I don't even watch TV anymore and I can't remember the last time I made it to crossfit. That will all change hopefully soon, but it all just feels like too much sometimes. Somedays I don't even want to be happy-and-thriving-Adriana because I'd much rather be eats-chocolate-for-breakfast-doesnt-get-dressed-and-naps-all-day-Adriana. And now, I'm two years out from my divorce and the thing that one friend said to me in an attempt to comfort me has come to fruition and I could not be more upset about it.

I don't feel like an inspiration. I feel like the antithesis of all inspiration that ever was. And so I will end with a quote that helped me immensely, but I have nothing inspiring to say of my own.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” - Haruki Murakami

start here.

If you are reading this, its probably because you follow me on instagram. You are familiar with my love for champagne, sprinkles donuts, and my friendship with Hamlet the piggy! You also know that I have an obsessive mug collection and I love to style my apartment in fun and eclectic ways. Many people have asked me if I had plans to start a blog, but what they don't know is that I already have one.

You see, I've been a blogger for almost as long as I can remember, and an avid journaler before that. Most recently, I had a personal blog where I wrote about one of the most painful times in my life- my divorce. I was engaged at the age of 23, had my "dream wedding" at 24, and found myself divorced at 26. I am now 28, for those of you who are curious. I blogged as a way to write about all the things I was too scared to say, and all the shame I was too afraid to admit. I blogged to help me process my own feelings - feelings that varied from day to day. Sometimes I was angry, sometimes sad, other days relieved, and still other days I was scared. I blogged as a tool to help me navigate these uncharted waters - I was the only person I knew, at my young age, going through and experiencing a divorce. I also blogged as a way to practice gratitude and put things in my life into perspective.

My divorce is not the first thing I ever talk about, for a lot of different reasons, but primarily because it's not the most interesting thing about me. Nor do I want it to be the thing that defines me.

But it is a part of my life and my story.

So. In an effort to be open and authentic and practice vulnerability, I've included posts from my personal blog on this blog. Read them if you want to. Or don't. It's up to you. They are labeled in the category "Pre-pineapplesandcoffeecups". Some of the things I wrote at my lowest times, but I also wrote about fun and positive things happening in my life. I wrote about my foray into online dating, and my experience as I started dating my current, wonderful boyfriend Andrew. Some of the posts are excepts from a writing class I took through UCLA extension. I talk about my insecurities, my fears, and my faith. No matter your opinion, there is a lot of pain in these posts, so I hope you will be kind.

I started my Pineapplesandcoffeecups instagram for a few main reasons. For one, my life really started to open up a few months ago and I wanted a way to document all of the fun I had been having. I was tired of living in the shadow of my divorce. Also, I am a children's trauma therapist, which is a career that I absolutely LOVE and I am so passionate about, but it can be difficult, as you might imagine. Instagram reminds me that there are still beautiful things in the world worth documenting and exploring, even in the midst of sadness and suffering. I use my instagram account as a creative outlet - a way to document all the fun ways in which my life has improved so drastically.

I was having a conversation with someone recently about my divorce and they made a statement like "Well he shouldn't have divorced you and broken your heart". I thought about that statement for a minute and replied, "I don't think he broke my heart when he divorced me, I think he broke my heart when he married me". And the more I have thought about that, the more I know it to be true. When I was married, I was oh-so-unhappy, but I felt like I had made my bed and I needed to lie in it. I did everything I could think of to do to "save" my marriage, until that decision was taken out of my hands. And then I was oh-so-scared (read: scared utterly shitless) about going through the divorce, being divorced and what life would look life in the aftermath. And now I'm here in the "aftermath" to tell you that it's a glittery, donut-infested, laugh-until-you-cry dance party. Seriously, I do not think I will ever stop being amazed at how incredible everything has turned out, or how beyond thankful I am to be able to say that.

So internet world and insta friends, this is me. Wholly un-edited, damaged, work-in-progress, fun-loving, coffee-drinking, vulnerability-seeking ME. I hope you stick around. I can promise lots of glitter and spray paint and pizza making and book reading. But that doesn't mean this blog - and my life - will only include the happy and the yummy. As one of my favorite authors/writers/warriors/role models Glennon Doyle Melton puts it, life is "hard and good".

We can do hard things. But we can also decorate cookies and bake pizza and go on adventures and fall in love again and laugh with our family and snuggle our pets just a little too tightly until they squirm and accidentally scratch us as they try to escape our loving embrace. We can eat pineapple slices for dinner and go swimming at midnight and collect an obnoxious amount of coffee cups and food-shaped inflatable pool toys. And that's a life I hope to keep living. One that is hard and good.

*Hopefully more good than hard, but you get the point.

** Also I hope there are a lot of donuts. Donuts make even the hard stuff a little bit better.

“…sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.”  - Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

the after party.

Things are so, so good right now.

They are hard too, but good. Hard and good.

I’m smack in the midst of studying for my LCSW exams, which are a HUGE deal and if I don’t pass I have to wait 6 months to take them again. I take my first one in around 14 days. HOLY CRAP. I don’t really want to talk about it.

I also still work full time as a children’s trauma therapist, which I love but which is also sometimes/often/usually draining and all-consuming. It’s not a show-up-to-work-and-sip-coffee-all-day kind of job. (Where can I get one of those?!) This past Tuesday I was at work until 8 pm with an unexpected and completely out-of-the-blue crisis with an old client from 2 years ago.

On top of all of this, the boyfriend and I decided to do a Whole 30. Which hasn’t been that hard but holy-grocery-shopping. I feel like when I’m not working I am either at the grocery store or cooking. Which makes me feel a little stabby sometimes. I love eating. I love when other people cook for me. I do not love cooking. We only have 12 days left and we’ve been rocking it. It feels really good to be doing something like this with a partner.

But I can’t stop dreaming about after. After these tests, mostly. Yes, I want to be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I want to be done with these tests and this studying. But I also want to take a calligraphy class. I want to host dinner parties and go exploring on weekends and read books for pleasure again. I want to take another writing class and learn how to use photoshop and start a blog where I share all the wonderful, amazing and FUN things in my life, instead of feeling like all I ever write about is my divorce.

However, I do feel like I’ve turned some kind of corning in my healing. There hasn’t been any big bang and I didn’t have a life-altering epiphany of any kind, I just kind stopped hurting so much. I know this has just as much to do with all the work I’ve done to process everything (on my own and with help) as it does with God holding my hand through all of this. There’s a song I love by Casting Crowns where the very first line of the song is “I was sure by now God you would have reached down and wiped our tears away, Stepped in and saved the day, but once again, I say “Amen” and it’s still raining. As the thunder rolls I barely hear Your whisper through the rain “I’m with you”, And as your mercy falls, I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.” That song has spoken to me through many seasons of my life, but especially though the pain of the process of divorce. I had so many moments along the way where I was just in disbelief that SOMETHING ELSE would happen and I would kinda look to God and say “Really? It hasn’t rained enough on my life yet?” I had moments where I felt like He should have just swooped in and lifted me out of all this pain and misery. But what you can’t see or feel when you are in the storm, is that He is doing this. When I was at my most scared and alone, He sent people into my life I hadn’t seen or talked to in years, and they are now my very best friends. He helped me write about my pain and shame when I was absolutely sure I would die of embarrassment if anyone ever knew what really happened. He sent hope and encouragement through friends and family, and he sent love in the most unexpected way possible through Andrew. I had forgotten what it felt like to laugh myself silly almost every single day with someone who thinks I hung the moon and looks at me like I’m the most important thing in the world. I have pretty strong feelings about how awesome he is too.

A few people in my life have told me recently that I am an inspiration to them, for one reason or another. While I am completely flattered by the compliment I am also stunned by it. First, what an amazing thing to be told. That might be my second favorite compliment ever, second only to “you have a great laugh” which is my favorite. Usually the compliment is given in some sort-of reference to the fact that I seem to do so many fun things or that I’ve “come so far” considering everything that’s happened. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and I think that I just felt, after my life being HELL for the past 3 years with marrying the wrong person and all the pain associated with that I was finally just like NO MORE. I’M GONNA HAVE FUN. And I made “fun” a priority. I decided to do all the things I’ve wanted to do for so long, like decorate my own place the way I wanted to decorate it, eat donuts for lunch (although I probably did that one too much, hence the current Whole 30 happenings), and sprinkle kindness around like confetti. And also just lots of regular confetti. And piñatas. And staying up all night reading books. And paining my nails every other day. And spray painting everything gold. And finding an epic, loving church.

That’s a part of this rounding-of-the-corner, I think. Even in the midst of the darkest part of the storm, I kept looking around and finding things to be thankful for. And one day, I woke up and I was thankful for just about everything.

So I think I am going to keep doing that. Be thankful that I even have the opportunity to study for these tests and the opportunity to learn more about this field of social work that I love. Be thankful for the ability to grow and the opportunity to become licensed. Be thankful that there are SO many things on my “to-do list” and that I will probably, in all likelihood, have the ability to do them. What an incredible blessing this all is. The storm, the rain, the struggle, the healing, the fun, all of it.

lift your eyes.

Sometimes I feel guilty for only/mostly writing about the painful things in my life. I am currently in a really wonderful place in my life. Weekends filled with laughter and coffee and book reading and swimming and exploring and our incredible church and just this overwhelming sense of peace. Weeks filled with challenging but inspiring days at work, fun coworkers and the most supportive boss imaginable. I've always had a small, tight-knit family but this past year has brought us all even closer. But no matter how great everything is, I still have these black holes that the only way I know how to cope with them is to poke them with a stick and stir them around a little bit. It's probably the therapist in me. I tell my clients all the time, "We can do hard things". I tell myself that a lot too.

But that doesn't mean I WANT to do these hard things. Writing about these wounds is very cathartic - but not until it's over. I know the science behind this - I do it with clients on a daily basis. Being a children's trauma therapist I get all of the really difficult cases. When a client and their parent(s) walk into our offices, they are screened at intake for a "trauma". So I get the kids who have suffered anything from a traumatic car accident/dog bite to extreme physical/sexual/emotional abuse. Sometimes they have all of the above. And they are little children. We play games and get to know each other first - but eventually I ask them to write about the worst and most painful things that have ever happened to them. This is called their Trauma Narrative. Sometimes they hand write it, sometimes they type it, and other times I type it for them. If they are really little (3-4 years old) they draw pictures while we talk about these hard things and read books titled "Uncle Willy's Tickles" and "Mommy's Black Eye". The point of this is that everyone, at some point, does this. They write/draw/create a trauma narrative. It's often messy and draining and difficult and they NEVER want to do it. They skip appointments, fake illnesses and try to change the subject for an entire hour. It is always hard. Occasionally I'll get the rare teenage girl who is ready and wanting to write about her experiences, but usually it's a balancing act between lovingly encouraging and forcing them to complete this part of treatment.

It's also my absolute favorite part of my job. Because they always come out the other side of this trauma narrative glad they did it. They are so stinking proud of themselves (as they should be) and they share it with a parent or caregiver. They commonly tell me they feel "relieved" and "lighter" and "happier" after they've gone through the whole process. They beaten the beast. They've taken this awful, horrible, traumatizing, unspeakable thing they've lived through and put it on a piece of paper. A tiny little white piece of paper, that sits on a small(ish) desk in a medium-sized office in the middle of a large city that is still pretty small compared to the whole of the world. There is just something so empowering about drawing the big, bad wolf on a tiny piece of paper. Suddenly that big, bad wolf doesn't look and sound so scary anymore. It doesn't erase the pain of the experience, but it somehow makes it more manageable. It's profound. I am so beyond thankful that I have been entrusted with these children's stories and experiences. They never cease to humble and inspire me. They are the true definition of survivors.

This all brings me to one client in particular. She's a teenager and she's been struggling for awhile now. I've had to hospitalize her twice now, for suicidal ideation. After her most recent release from the hospital she was in my office, crying talking about how she doesn't feel like she is getting better. She also told me that she has been cutting herself.

I know all of the "reasons" people cut themselves, on paper. I've read the research, I've talked about it in class and I've heard it from so many clients. But that doesn't mean I understand it. I know that you can't see emotional pain like anxiety or depression and sometimes people feel like it's easier to "see" physical pain - like a cut. For one, it's a distraction from the emotional pain. Now they can focus on the physical pain. For another thing, they can actually see this physical cut/bruise heal. They can watch it scab over. They can SEE the healing.

I get all that. Or, at least in theory I get it. Until the other day. I was wresting with some of my own pain and this client came into my office and started explaining her fears about not "getting better" and how she was cutting again. And she said, "You know how sometimes you just get so tired of feeling the same pain over and over again? And you would just do anything to feel pain from somewhere else? It's like that". And I nodded my head and we talked about it. It wasn't until later that it hit me that I knew exactly what she was talking about.  It's just that instead of cutting, my coping skill set is a little more developed than hers. I bleed onto a blank page instead of down the bathroom sink.

I'm continually awed at how God is using my pain - my big, bad wolf - for good. Even when it's hard to see, I know it's happening. My life right now is enough proof of that. But also, He continues to use my wolf to create in me more empathy and understanding and to give me insight into the pain of others, so I can be a better supporter and encourager. Which is incredibly helpful when you love your job as a trauma therapist.

And just in general as a wannabe-lover-of-all-human-beings.


"Sometimes the day won't ever end. Sometimes you just throw up your hands. It's the little things sometimes.
Sometimes the world has just gone dark. Sometimes you're praying for a spark. It's the little things sometimes.
But if you lift your eyes, see it in a different light. Just a cloud up in the open sky, let the rain fall away, Cause today is beautiful. "
  - David Dunn, Today is Beautiful

show up. keep showing up. and do not be ashamed.

We’re coming up on almost a year from the exact day that my life fell apart.

April of last year was no picnic either, as it was the month leading up to the day where my life fell apart. I still remember the feeling of my stomach sinking through my entire body and slamming into the hardwood floor when I was told, over the phone, some of the most painful and hurtful things from someone I once loved more than anything. I remember the screaming, and then the crying, and then the worst part – the begging – and then more crying and the absolute sheer panic that I felt. Those first few days in May last year were some of the worst I can remember.

Somewhere, in the midst of the dust and the debris of my life falling apart, I stopped panicking. I was still very sad and struggling with shame, but I felt a sense of calm that made NO sense. I still didn’t know where I was going to live, how I was going to tell every one I knew, how I was going to continue to function like a normal human being, but I knew I could do it. I knew I was loved. I knew I would be taken care of. I knew this needed to happen.

And so.

One by one people started stepping up the plate. My family was first, followed closely by my incredible boss, and friend after friend after friend - coworkers, old college friends, and new friends stepped up.

I got over my shame enough to start writing about my experience and found that writing about shame is just about the best way to kill it. There is something incredibly powerful about taking all of my deepest and darkest thoughts and fears and transferring them to a tiny little piece of paper. Suddenly, these fears that feel like they could take over my life and snuff out my breathing are reduced to words on a paper that is floating around in this infinite universe.

And so.

The rest of this story is wrapped up in this blog. The reading, the writing, the praying, the music, the searching, the grateful heart, the healing. Days and weeks and months of searching and questioning and finally just being content with not having all of the answers. Finally accepting that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and that sometimes when your life is falling apart it’s so that something better can fall into place. Sometimes bad things aren’t really bad things at all.

I’m at an almost unfathomable place in my life right now. I have more friends than I know what to do with, a better relationship with my family than ever before, and I’m finally happy with myself. I feel excited about my life and the future for the first time in YEARS. Professionally, I’m at an all-time high and its possible that I could go even higher here pretty soon. I’m dating someone who makes me laugh more than any person I’ve ever know, who looks at me like I’m the best thing he’s ever seen, and who has shown more patience towards my damaged heart than I have ever deserved.

And still.

I still hurt, but in new ways. Friends that were invaluable to be during the course of the past year seem to not like me as much now that I’m happy. They were happy to be my life raft when I needed it, but now that I’m doing well they try to cut me down. It’s bizarre, passive-aggressive, and painful. It’s taken me a few months to be able to identify these people in my life, because I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Oh she’s just having a bad day. // She couldn’t possibly have meant it that way. // I’m sure she was just joking. I’ve finally realized that I can’t keep making excuses for passive-aggressive behavior. I did that for wayyyyyy too long in my marriage and I wish that I hadn’t. And no matter how these individuals chose to treat me in this new season of my life, I will forever be grateful to them for being there for me when I could not have survived without them. And, for what it’s worth, I still hope I’m wrong and that they are really capable of being happy for me when I’m happy – as capable as they were of being sad for me when I was sad or mad for me when I was mad. I’ll never stop hoping that I am wrong.

And because this is so long already, and because she’s a hero of mine, and because these words have become a person mantra of mine, I’ll leave you with this quote:


“I decided the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.” – Anne Lamott

i'm friends with the monster that's under my bed.

I am not good a balance.
When I was married, I was totally married. I scheduled my life around being married – around another person. My dreams and my goals and my plans for my life didn’t matter as much as someone else’s. I was also, unfortunately, married to the wrong person – a person who was selfish and manipulative, so that didn’t help the situation any. I spent all of my time trying to be better, as I felt inherently less-than. A better wife, and better lover, and better cook, and better housekeeper. Anything to keep the other person happy, which was next to impossible. As a result, I lost myself. I lost friends, I had strained relationships with my family, and I didn’t like myself.
When I found out I was going to be single (or more accurately, divorced), I threw myself into that new role. I read books like “Not Your Mother’s Divorce” and “A Woman’s Worth” (both of which I’d highly recommend, by the way). I spent nights journaling and learning to cook for one, enjoyed the solitude of living alone and spending entire weekends without putting on pants or leaving my apartment. I reconnected with old friends and spent a lot of time traveling and doing “single things” like going out, partying, flirting with guys, etc. It was A LOT of fun.
When I started dating again, I told myself it was the perfect time because I wasn’t in a hurry to find anything so I could be as picky as I wanted. I flew blindly into dating and found myself face-to-face with someone I felt instantly comfortable with. Pair this with my introverted, socially-awkward side and my tendencies to go too-deep-too-fast, and I found myself as someone’s girlfriend. Instead of “dating like a normal person”, I once again found myself falling deep into something. After our third date, we spent every single day of the next week together, except for one. He met my friends and my family, got a key to my apartment, and spent almost every single evening of the next month at my place.
I like the idea of being married, I think. I want to be married again someday.
I like living by myself. I like not wearing pants on weekends. I like seeing my friends as often and as much as I want. I like staying out until the lights come back on at the bar. I like reading books all night long and cooking for myself.
I like being in a relationship. I love being adored and valued and complimented and appreciated and loved. I love being in a partnership.
I just don’t know how to balance all of these things in my life. I’m drowning. And I am scared of taking down the people I care about with me too. Best friends, family members, my boyfriend. I don't know the solution or have any of the answers, but I know that admitting when I'm failing has always been the first step towards figuring things out.

To the woman who is dating my ex-husband,

You probably don’t know this, but you are the best thing that ever happened to me.

And if someday you get curious about me - the woman who was married to your boyfriend when you started dating him - my guess is that you will probably stumble across this blog along the way. And if you just read the rest of these ramblings, you probably won’t get the full picture of how thankful I am for you. So that is the first reason this letter exists.

The second reason this letter exists is because I have spent entirely too much time thinking about what I might say to you, if I ever had the opportunity. We both live in LA, a town that basically coined the phrase it’s a small world after all, so I’m not going to doubt the fact that it will happen at some point. I’m just guessing that if/when that does happen, it won’t be in an appropriate context to say everything I think I want to say. So here goes.  

I felt a lot of shame, for a long time, about my divorce, about how it happened, about the details. The details that involve you. I guess I just want you to know that I don’t feel ashamed anymore. We all make shitty decisions sometimes; I won’t hold that against you. To be completely honest, you were the catalyst that finally released me from what had become and extremely disappointing and damaging relationship. Who knows how many more years we would have tried to tough it out? And because you are you, and because you exist, and because my husband decided he would rather date you than try to figure things out with me, I get to live this incredible life. So when I say that you are the best thing that ever happened to me, I mean it. I’m not saying that with malice, or sarcasm, or bitterness. I could not be more sincere. (This is also why I did not write this letter 6 months ago.)

For the record, I do hope you get the better version of him. I hope you two are a better match. I hope he decides he wants to grow-up for you. I hope you fully love and appreciate his family. I hope you have similar political beliefs and the same ideas about money. I hope you enjoy watching sports and “being young” on weekends. I hope he decides you are too precious to risk driving drunk while you are in the car. I hope he found the person he can love more than he loves his job. I hope you help make him the better person I know he wants to be. I hope you both know that I’ve forgiven you, that I’m thankful for you, and that I’m oh-so-happy now.

I hope that if we ever do cross paths that we can both be honest and admit the pain that has been caused and maybe wish it had all happened differently, but appreciate where we are now. That’s the kind of life I want to live, and that’s the kind of life I wish for you.

I hope we can do those things.

- A

when you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in.

It's a strange thing sometimes, to look around and realize that I really am on the other side of all that pain. I'm really here. I made it, somehow. And I'm so thankful to be here.

To be clear, being "here" - on the other side of all the pain of last year - is not perfect. It's decidedly imperfect and there are a lot of side effects left over from being in such a shitty, damaging relationship for so long, and then culminating in a shitty, damaging untangling from that relationship. For one, I have a lot of insecurities. I often find myself slipping into the self-doubt territory - where I think about all the ways I've failed, why someone who was supposed to love me found it so easy to treat me like I meant nothing. I ponder those things for awhile before I catch myself and have to remind myself that everything that happened was not because of a flaw in me - it was because of character flaws in someone else. Sure, relationships go through ups and downs and sometimes people fall out of love. Those things aren't so unusual. But we all have choices as to how we handle ourselves in those situations, and unfortunately I was attached to someone who handled that situation about as poorly as I can imagine someone would. So even though it's not my flaw, it does make me question my judgment quite often. How could I have been so wrong about someone? How could I have handed my heart and my life and my trust to someone who could (and would) hurt me so deeply, and in so many ways?

I'm trying really hard to not let this last relationship be the measuring stick by which I compare all current and future relationships. To be honest, it wouldn't difficult to beat this aforementioned measuring stick - you could give me three compliments and a cupcake and you'd already be winning. But I'm scared. I don't really trust my own judgment. I feel insecure. I doubt myself constantly. So this leads to me subconsciously comparing my new relationship to my old one (READ: old, shitty, hurtful, not-worth-it ex-husband to new, fun, thoughtful, funny, sweet, amazing, incredible boyfriend). Oh you want to promise me things? So did someone else, once. Oh you think I'm beautiful? You'll change your mind. Oh you think I'm funny and smart and you like spending time with me? You'll decide otherwise one of these days.

I'm not the only one who thinks this way. People who love me have really been affected. One of the people who I think was most affected by my divorce was my brother. He's known K. since he was young - they grew up playing soccer together and I think he was pretty excited when we started dating. They always got along really well. That's another painful side effect of divorce - losing relationships with the other person's family. I know that I miss K's sisters a lot. It's painful to build that relationship with someone and to really, honestly love and care for them.... and then POOF that's gone and neither party had much warning. I saw K's Dad and Step-Mom three weeks before everything happened and I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever see them. It still hurts. I think my brother has been feeling this way too.

A few days ago I texted him about coming home for his birthday next weekend and asked him if he was excited about meeting my new "boyyyyyfriend". This was his response:

Brother: No, not really.
Me: Um why not? That's rude. And it makes me sad.
Brother: Sorry. But I didn't want to lie. Your last boyfriend wasn't so great. And your new boyfriend is a guy. I don't really trust guys. They have poor motives.
Me: Do you want me to date a girl? Or be single forever?
Me: And just because K was an ass doesn't mean all guys are.
Brother: I know that, but in my experience most guys are... and no, I don't want you to be single forever. But that doesn't mean I'm excited to meet your boyfriend.

That wasn't the end of the discussion, but it coves the most important parts and rounds out my point nicely. I'm not the only one who has been burned and is more than a little weary. So I feel for this person who has chosen to date me, in spite of all my insecurities and doubts. What's even more unbelievable is that we discuss them and we talk about them and when I'm at my darkest and lowest points he reaches down to meet me and says amazing things like "You are an incredible person who is worthy of being loved. And I think you forgot that."

And then I melt into a little tiny puddle. Again, measuring stick SMASHED into teeny, tiny little pieces. I mean, it's just obliterated.

So again, it's strange being on the other side of all that pain that I got used to living in. But it also feels really amazing. So I'll keep fighting through the bullshit insecurities and just try to continue to be thankful for this NOW. For these feelings. For these experiences. Who knows what the future holds? I certainly don't. But I trust the One who does. More than I've ever trusted anyone ever before. Love wins.

"Once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.”  - Haruki Murakami

the list that's not really a list.

I had almost forgotten how fun making out can be.

I am really trying to just enjoy the NOW, and if the now includes a make out session on my couch, I’m not going to complain.

However, I’m also a tad weary of the “beginning” part of things. You know, when you meet someone you think is cute, you get to know them a little better and find out you have SO much in common, and pretty soon you want to be together all the time and forget about normal everyday things, like doing laundry and eating dinner because you are so distracted by their lips. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this part. It’s totally fun, so sign me up.

I just don’t want to get so distracted that I forget about everything else that I want. It’s too easy to get caught up in the physical side of things and forget the rest. Sure, the physical side is important to any relationship – I think, especially in the beginning. But I also know I’m looking for something that can develop into so much more than that.

I joke around about having a “list” of qualities I want in a partner. I’m only half-joking when I say that. I do have a list, but it’s not an end-all-be-all list. If I met someone who had all or most of the qualities I am looking for, I wouldn’t stop dating them if they didn’t meet all of the “criteria”. One way I could outline this list is to just write out qualities of my ex and then say “The Exact Opposite of All of These” and it would be pretty accurate. (It actually makes me laugh now when I think about just how little K and I had in common. I mean, it’s ridiculous.) Anyway, I’m still learning things about myself and what I want, so this list is sort of growing and changing and evolving along the way.

One of the many incredible/nice/sweet things that fourth-date guy (!) says to me is that he thinks I’m a good writer. It took me awhile to figure out why that was – for lack of a better phrase – such a turn on for me. It’s a nice compliment, sure. But I think it means so much to me because it means that he takes me seriously. When we talk about my writing class, he takes my ideas seriously and we have conversations about the things I’m struggling with and not only is it so FUN but I feel heard and supported and like what I have to say matters. Let’s just say those are not things I felt when I was married and leave it at that.

Because of my past relationship(s), I also know that I want a partner who will stand up for me when warranted, but not in an overbearing I’m-a-manly-man-and-you-are-my-property-hear-me-roar kind of way, but in a  you-are-my-partner-and-I-only-want-good-things-for-you-so-I’m-here-to-help kind of way. Someone who will back me up but also call my bluff when I’m not being authentic. Someone who – when it feels like the world is against me – is the one person I know I can count on to be standing next to me saying “Bring it on”. Someone who I know and trust without a shadow of a doubt, that he’s not going anywhere.

Making me laugh is a given. I laugh often and easily, so if you can’t make me laugh we are going to have much bigger problems.

Someone who listens and doesn’t participate in the “crazymaking”. You know what I mean – when I’m angry at you for something and instead of listening to my experience and my feelings you dismiss them and say something like “Why are you ALWAYS so angry” or “Are you on your period?” That’s a good way to piss me off, fast. I am a human and I have feelings and yes, sometimes those feelings are going to be angry ones and they might be directed at you. I’m looking for someone who can handle that and is willing to listen and talk about what I’m feeling, instead of simply writing me off. It’s entirely possible that I am blowing something out of proportion (or that yes, I’m on my period) and then we will come to that conclusion together as we talk things out.

Someone who supports me. Challenges me. Is a progressive Christian. Deep-thinker. Book-reader. Affectionate. Tells me what he’s thinking. Good kisser. Great family. Similar goals in life. Knows how valuable I am (and reminds me when I forget). Likes my writing. Loves his job, but not more than he loves me (been there, done that, no thanks). Passionate and compassionate. Loves animals. Not allergic to cats. Wants children. Supportive. Honest. Loves my friends. Loves my family. Can apologize. Is willing to be open and vulnerable, even when it’s not easy. Witty. Sarcastic. Great sense of humor. Respectful. Willing to let our relationship develop at it’s own pace.

You know, the standard stuff.



In the meantime, I’ll just be over here working on myself and re-applying my chapstick.

fear is a liar.

I write to practice vulnerability and authenticity.

Very rarely do I edit my words. It's cathartic to have a space where I can metaphorically sit down and bleed onto a page. But in doing so, I know I open myself up to judgment; the prying eyes of human vultures. Everyone wants to see you when you are down. They want to know just how you fell down the cliff - was it something you could have prevented? Was it an accident? Or maybe you threw yourself over of your own volition.

Whatever the reason, they want the front-row seat to witness it for themselves. When the whispered rumors start, they want to have something to add to the conversation.

I know this. I accept this, as part of human nature.

And I know it's not always this way. Other people want to know when you are down so they can help you back up. They want to sit with you in your struggle and they find ways to identify with you and let you know that you are not alone. Some are more vocal about their support, and others are silently sitting on the sidelines whispering encouragement under their breath. I don't know who I love more. Both types of support mean so much to me.

As beneficial as it is for my soul to bleed out occasionally, I sometimes wonder if the benefits really outweigh the negative. I finally got my life back - in a really big way - and I'm basically throwing all my dirty laundry out for all to see. Sometimes I wonder what the point is.

When I read over my old entries (in this blog and in my paper journal alike), I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm proud of my honesty. I'm proud of the growth that has happened over the course of this past year. I'm reminded of just how scared I was during the beginning of all of this, and just how amazing everything has turned out. I'm really am in awe of how much I have been loved and cared for, even when I couldn't see it or feel it. So maybe there isn't a point to all of this. Or maybe the point is to simply have a space where I can remove thoughts and feelings from my mind and my heart and put them into something else - a blank page on a computer screen; a crumpled piece of paper; the hands of someone who might not do honorable things with them. And then step back and let the chips fall where they may.

This is especially terrifying when I think of someone I'm just getting to know being given the keys to this information. Not that I would ever try to keep any of this from someone I was really interested as having as a part of my life, but it's a lot of fucking information to get at once. Considering I'm the person who lived it, I can understand how overwhelming it can be. What I think I fail to remember sometimes - and what I'm afraid others will miss - is that these are not stories about failure. Sure there is brokenness and pain, but more than anything -  these little blips of emotion I choose to translate into words - are about triumph. They are about the adventure of finding myself again; my voice again.

So when that little asshole fear starts lying and telling me I'm not worth it, I will always choose to push back. Never again will I let the lies of fear dictate who or what I am supposed to be. I won't be silenced by the fear of being inadequate, or his lies that I'm broken or damaged. I will retreat, when needed, to the place where I translate these blips of emotion, as a way to remind myself of my utter awesomeness. Of my honestly and vulnerability and my strength. Of all the qualities I look for and seek out and admire in others - I will see them in myself. I will continue to believe that I'm worth it, no matter what has happened in my past.

I'll take a few deep breaths, look around and see the truth, and simply push "Publish".

Fuck you, fear. You have no place here anymore.