Divorce FAQ

A list of the most common questions I face when I tell someone about my divorce.  (Can I go ahead and state that I HATE the “D-word”?)

Yes, all of these have been asked.

Most of them by acquaintances I knew in passing.

No, most of them should NOT be asked.

 

What happened?

Uh.  We are getting divorced?

Did that not answer your question?

I hate this question.  It’s so personal.  A marriage doesn’t end over one event, you know?  Well, usually it doesn’t.  Mine didn’t.  It was a tangled, complicated mess that took all my time and energy for months to even begin to work through.

And you, borderline stranger, want to know what happened?  You want me to sum it all up into a sentence?  No.  Just.  No.

Are you okay?

Some days it hurts like hell and I mourn with passion.  Some days I dance in the backyard with my son and sing off-key at the top of my lungs, celebrating freedom and new life.

That’s not what you want to hear though, is it?

Yeah, I’m okay.

When?

This is like asking when a person falls in love.  Or out of love.  It happened over months and months.

Do I give the date it was first seriously considered?  The date that I asked him to move out?  The date he told me he no longer wanted to work on it?  The date I filed?  The date the judge signed the papers?  There’s not a single day it all unraveled.  It’s not like a marriage anniversary, a date that you can recall at-will (usually).  Or a first date or the first time you say “I love you.” It’s a process and sometimes I can’t pinpoint the specific dates.

Did he cheat?  Was he abusive?  Was it drugs?  Was it the Mormon thing?

Fuck.  Off.

Can we only ask appropriate questions?  “Divorced” does not mean “zoo exhibit.”

I believe that any problems in a marriage can be worked through.  Did you try to work through it?

Cool, thanks for the support.

Can we go ahead and agree that one doesn’t have to justify their divorce?  Sometimes people demand I give them a reason.  Trust me, I have my reasons, and I don’t owe it to people to explain those reasons.

Are you keeping his name?

I am keeping my name.  He happens to have the same last name.  I will not go back to my maiden name, a name I have not identified with in years, a name I last held at the age of 19 just because of how I happened to get my current name.

I like my name.

My son has that name.

And, honestly, I really don’t want to go through the hassle of changing all my damn legal paperwork again and retraining everyone (including my students) on what to call me.  That seems like a giant hassle and I already have one of those in the form of a two-year-old.

What about your son?

Um.  What about him?

He’s absolutely wonderful and we are both insanely grateful he is in our lives.

Who has custody?

People who ask that don’t have a clue how custody works.  We both have custody. Legally we both have the right to make choices for our kid.

What people think they are asking when they ask about custody is about parenting time and visitation.

And unless you’re a close friend, I’m not interested in discussing the details of that arrangement.  Suffice it to say that we see our son at levels that are agreeable to us both.

My parents are divorced and I hated it.

Cool story, bro.

Was the legal stuff bad?

I mean, legal stuff is never good?  Talking to a lawyer was a damn hard choice.  And we both had moments in that process that we are not proud of.  But overall we did an excellent job filtering through our own emotional bullshit in order to take care of our son.

Do you hate him? 

What kind of asshole question is this?  No.  I will never hate him.  For many reasons, not the least of which being that darling boy, who deserves his parents to get along.

Are you dating?

Sorta?

Is he dating? 

Where is he living?

Somewhere else.  Not with me.

… What, do you want an address?

What does your family think?

That they love me and want me to be happy, whatever that looks like.

Do divorced people’s families NOT support them?  Like, is that a thing?

I was supported.

What does his family think?

That they love us and want us to be happy, whatever that looks like.

I am extraordinarily blessed to have a great relationship with his family.

Did you pray about it?

Do you know me?

How did you cope?

Mostly well, with a touch of stupid sometimes.

I have a damn good tribe of humans who helped me out in every moment that I desperately needed it.  I am so grateful to them.

Do you need anything?

Do you actually mean this question or are you just trying to do “the right thing”?  I could use a baby sitter sometimes.  Otherwise, thanks for your pseudo-show of support.

 

FOR FUTURE REFERENCE: Here are the BEST questions to ask someone going through a divorce:

  • Do you want to go out this weekend?
  • Do you want to vent about it?
  • Are you taking care of yourself?
  • Can I babysit?
  • Do you want me to punch him?**

**(Don’t actually do this.)  ((Yes, people asked this and yes, I though it was hilarious.))

 

When The Dream Breaks, We All Will Survive

When I started this blog, I assumed that nothing about my life would be off-limits.  That was part of my depression: the encompassing feeling of alone-ness.  To fight it, I wrote openly about the “hard topics.”

Turns out, there is a topic too hard for me to really cover.

In fact, this topic came up loud and clear about the last time I published a post.  You may have noticed: I took a blog hiatus.

So here it is.  An explanation of my absence, and maybe the only time I touch on this particular topic (at least for now).

My marriage has ended.

I’m not interested in going into the details of the why and how.  It wouldn’t help and it certainly could hurt a lot.  But I will pen this post, as an homage to my pain and a declaration of my future.

I am getting divorced.

I hate even typing it.  It sounds so… I don’t even know.  I started to write the word “final,” but that’s not quite it.  It sounds the way a gavel sounds, slamming into a desk as a judgement is made.  “Divorce” sounds like a sentence.  It’s a label I never wanted, a future I fought against heart and soul.  The word is heavy both in my mouth and on the screen and I despise it.

I’ve come to despise a lot of words lately.

“Ex” is another word I hate.

Any word that smacks of the legal aspect of all of this, “custody” in particular; hate it.

And I hate writing this blog post.

Amy Poehler once wrote a painfully accurate chapter on divorce in her book Yes Please.  It’s honest, but not overly-detailed.  The chapter cuts to the heart of the matter and also makes you laugh and I highly recommend it to everyone.  I read it years ago, before marital issues were even on my radar; even then Poehler changed my perspective on the issue.  Two quotes in particular lodged in my mind:

“I don’t want to talk about my divorce because it is too sad and too personal.  I also don’t like people knowing my shit”

It’s fucking sad.  And it’s fucking personal.  And I don’t like people knowing my shit. She goes on to add,

“I don’t think a ten-year marriage constitutes failure.”

And my seven years should not be completely undone by how it all ended.  It just shouldn’t.  I don’t want it to be.  I’ve been married my entire adult life, since I was nineteen.  I refuse to believe that those seven years were wasted.

Divorce is a grieving process.  Most of the time, my struggle is not the grief on looking behind (although I certainly have and will continue to experience that), but the grief looking forward.  I mourn the life I thought I would have.  Some days I feel like that dream has been stolen from me and stolen from my boy.

My dreams have been crushed.  And yes, some of those dreams were unrealistic.  But they were my dreams and I held them extremely close.

This whole process has taken my heart and soul, it has re-framed my entire world.  It has made me feel both powerless and powerful.  It has narrowed my viewpoint of myself but also expanded my horizons.  It has forced an inner perspective that I often fight and sometimes abhor.  All of it just doesn’t make sense and yet it is all real and somehow mine.

It will be okay.

I will survive.  I am surviving.  I have a tribe of beautiful humans surrounding and protecting my son and myself.  I am facing myself in new and hard and awful ways, but the kind of awful that forces a person to grow.  I am growing more than I thought possible, and healing more than I knew I needed, and I am grateful for that.

I’m actually grateful for a lot of things, lately.  I am incredibly provided for.

And so is my son.

And we will continue to be.

Even though that part of the dream has broken, we are all surviving.  We will continue to survive and thrive and yes, hurt.  But move forward in our hurt onto better and healthier things.  The dream has died and I will mourn that.  But we all will survive.

What Does it Mean? The story of an ellipsis

. . . 

Is it just ’cause it looks cool?

It’s for your family, right?  You, your husband, your son.  Three of you.

Oh my god, how long have you had that?  I just noticed it.

What does it mean?

I get asked these questions on a semi-regular basis.  I got my little tattoo just over one year ago; it was a gift to myself and a reminder of hard-learned lessons.

Usually, I simply tell my curious questioners, “It’s an ellipsis.  You know, the dot-dot-dot in punctuation?”

They respond, “Oh!  I didn’t know it had a name.”  Sometimes, they add, “What does it mean?”

“It’s my reminder to pause.”

I usually leave it at that.  Because the rest of the story isn’t something you usually tell a perfect stranger, and quite honestly most of those strangers are pretty satisfied just to know what the dots mean.  It doesn’t change that there is a rest of the story, however.

In April 2016, I was hospitalized for suicidal ideation, stemming from postpartum depression.  It was horrifying; I was ashamed, I was scared, and I was desperate.  That was the beginning of my healing journey, because it turns out that postpartum depression wasn’t my only struggle.  In the following months, I took drastic steps in my mental health recovery.  That is a story for another time, but suffice it to say that it was long and hard-won.  I had to face fears I desperately wanted to ignore, and I had to let myself experience nearly debilitating emotional pain in order to move forward.

I learned valuable skills.  The ability to pause, for example.  Mindfulness, the art of staying present, is the kind of thing that is so simple to explain but so incredibly difficult to practice.  It is literally just keeping your mind entirely on what is happening in reality in your present.  It’s not obsessing over the thoughts in your head, or clinging to the memory of something painful; it’s figuratively grabbing hold of the present and staring it in the face with your full attention.  It has been said that depression happens when you focus too much on the past, and anxiety is when you focus too much on the future.  Mindfulness is a medicine for the extreme anxiety that I battle on a regular basis.

I had to learn that pain isn’t permanent.  Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice.  I could choose to recognize my pain for what it was, and recognize that it wasn’t permanent.  Life marches forward without your permission, and pain moves too if you let it.

I also had to learn “No.”  It’s a simple word, but a hard word.  I commit myself too often to too much and I wear myself thin.  My hospitalization forced me to find ways to self-soothe, to self-care, to self-appreciate.  Often, this included saying, “No” to extra obligations, “No” to unfinished projects, and “No” to perfection.

Move forward I did, and heal I did, and heal I continue to do.

Which is where my tattoo comes in.

Have you heard of the semi colon project? In sum, it’s about suicide awareness, using the semi colon as its symbol.  In punctuation, a semi colon functions as a place where the author could end the sentence, but decides to keep going.  The sentence isn’t over yet.  Your life isn’t over yet.  Get it?

My tattoo is in homage of that.  In punctuation, an elipsis, also known as dot-dot-dot or [ . . . ], represents one of three things:

  1. a pause
  2. a trailing off, with an implication that there is more information
  3. a way to omit unnecessary information when quoting material

As such, my tattoo is my own personal reminder of three things:

  1. Pause.  Breathe.  Remain mindful, especially when anxiety arises. Mindfulness = medicine.
  2. Things go on, always.  My life went on when I was convinced that it wouldn’t.  My pain moved on, even when I thought it was permanent.
  3. Omit the unnecessary.  Say no when you need to, and get rid of the extra.

It’s not a perfect metaphor, but it’s my perfect metaphor.  Every day it reminds me and strengthens me.

Postpartum Depression and Pumping

I hate pumping.

I’m not even pumping anymore and I HATE (present tense) pumping.

I had every working-mom advantage: I had my own room, time to pump, a mini fridge at my disposal and I HATE (present tense, bold) pumping.

BACK OF PKG., 7/3/06, 3:55 PM, 8C, 5250x3168 (0+1869), 88%, chrome 7 stops, 1/12 s, R76.5, G61.4, B88.5
Torture devices

It’s just the worst. I felt like a cow. I felt so disconnected from my baby and my body, I felt like a machine, I felt sick and miserable.  And it consumed me. It consumed all of me.

I was hospitalized for postpartum depression. Postpartum was the darkest I have ever felt, it was all-encompassing and terrible.  I felt like my emotions were an entire other beast that could never be tamed or controlled or, frankly, lived with.

I spent three days in the hospital, pumping every three hours, even through the night. My nurses would wake me up, I’d go and pump, fall asleep, and try to get better in between. But I didn’t get better. If anything, during my first three days in the loony bin, I got worse. Because I wasn’t thinking about getting better. I was thinking about pumping. I would mentally calculate the three hour time limit, meticulously plan my every minute. I obsessed over every ounce and cleaning my parts properly and ensuring that my nurses were storing the milk exactly as it needed to be stored and calling my husband to coordinate picking up the milk and worrying about my baby and wondering if he was getting enough food.

[If that sentence doesn’t make you anxious, you might be a robot.]

After three days of this over-zealous obsession, my doctors sat me down and pointed out that I wasn’t getting better. The amazing professional held her hands out and asked me, “So what do we do?” And that’s when the realization dawned. I had to stop.  I had to stop pumping, and, to ensure my mental and physical safety; I needed to stop breast feeding altogether.

I went into motherhood not expecting to be obsessed with breastfeeding. I wanted to try it, but I told myself that I wouldn’t get attached. If it didn’t work, I would stop.

It never occurred to me that I just plain wouldn’t like it.

It never occurred to me that after researching all the pumping and breastfeeding information I could get my hands on, I wouldn’t feel confident and informed; I would feel more pressured and overwhelmed than ever before.

When my son was still a squalling infant, I would sit in the rocking chair, holding him with one arm, the other holding my phone.  I spent a great deal of time reading breastfeeding “support” forums (which were insanely un-supportive) that sent me into spirals of anxiety.  My mind consistently tumbled with questions: Was I pumping enough?  Was I drinking enough?  Did my bra fit right? Was I using the right cream?  Did I store breastmilk right?  Was my childcare provider feeding my child correctly?  Was my baby accepting the bottle okay?  Was he too accepting of the bottle?  Were pacifiers going to ruin our breastfeeding relationship?

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What strikes me most about this photo is how tired I look. I have a smile on my lips, but my eyes hurt.

Now, I was lucky in the sense that I (mostly) liked nursing my son. But I was working full time and my supply was not great. I did not yield a lot of milk with each pumping session (and yeah, I tried all the things).

But I felt like I HAD to soldier through it, FOR MY SON. Motherhood had turned my life upside-down and I was fully convinced that life was not my own anymore.  Therefore, I HAD to continue to pump and obsess, FOR MY SON.

I was three days in a hospital before I realized this very important lesson:

More than breast milk, my son needed a healthy mother.

BAM. I resolved to quit. I quit all the way, totally weaned.

When I decided to quit, I did the sensible thing and called my local lactation consultant (AKA “lactivist”).  She is supposed to know everything about boobies and milk, surely she would be the best resource, right?  After carefully explaining my situation, I asked for advice on how to wean.  Know what I got?  A list of reasons why I shouldn’t wean and some suggestions for how to adjust my breastfeeding relationship.

Lady, I wasn’t asking for your opinion on whether I should wean or not.  I already made this decision and it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.  But, thanks for making me question my decision and giving me literally none of the information I asked for.

In tears, on a hospital phone, I called a mama friend who had also weaned.  Suddenly, support.  Suddenly, understanding.  This goddess sent me a full-on weaning care package, complete with a letter. In this letter, I found a glimmer of hope.  I don’t have the letter with me (although I’m sure it’s in this disaster I call a house), but she told me how sad she was when she first started to wean.  Then, she said motherhood got better.

Motherhood got better without breastfeeding?

Isn’t that selfish?

No.  Because self-care isn’t selfish.

Would you believe this is generic clip art? Still applies, though.

Mothers are forced to be martyrs.  Society expects it of us.  No, society demands its mothers martyr themselves on the alter of their children.  We are supposed to take abuse after abuse, and buck up and pretend to be okay.  It’s our duty, they say.  It’s for the children, they say.

Fuck that shit.

I love my son and I will do lots of gross, dramatic, absurd, sacrificing things for him.  But in order to do those things, in order to be the mother that he needs most, I need to take care of myself.

And for me, that meant stopping breastfeeding.

I won’t lie, it was tough.  There was a mourning period, when I sold that pump and put on a real bra.  But it started my journey to healing.  Pumping was one aspect of my postpartum depression, and to end it was the first step to finding my way out of darkness.  I began, slowly, to truly love and appreciate motherhood. And that is what my son needs more than breast milk.

Build Your Tribes

My aunt recently asked me about the term “Tribe.” It’s a bit of a buzzword lately, and I see it pop up in a lot of the hippie-esque groups I follow. But what does it mean?

Here are some synonyms that come to mind regarding “tribe”:

  • Squad
  • Family
  • Circle
  • Community
  • Village

Sounds nice, right? Basically, it’s a group of like-mindedness, often where the members share defining life circumstance.

I first started hearing the word “Tribe” in connection with motherhood.

I’m pretty sure this is the exact image of the first time I saw the term “Mom Tribe.” Click on the picture to get to this wonderful blog.

Build your Mom Tribe. It was the first REAL advice I got on post partum depression treatment. Build your Mom Tribe? Like, what does that mean? And why is it important? And how the heck do I go about it?

Why Tribes are important

You know the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? Yeah, that was just a saying before I gave birth. Now that I am fully responsible for a tiny, 100% dependent human, that saying is REALITY. Let me be clear: I CANNOT RAISE THIS CHILD ON MY OWN. I will go crazy. I did go crazy.

Way back in the dark ages before electric light and social media and all the stuff we can’t live without, raising a child as a village was reality. The community cared for the child as a whole, giving Mama lots of breaks, collectively teaching the child and ensuring they didn’t kill itself (because kids are really set on hurting themselves).  Now, however, the built-in Tribe looks like this:

img_4711
Even the baby is like, “Seriously? These people don’t know what they are doing.”

Yep, there it is.  Three people.  Mom, Dad, baby.  None of whom have a clue what they are doing.  How terrifying is that?

So yes, Mom Tribe is HELLA important; it’s the new Village.  Mom Tribe offers information.  How many times have I wondered, “Is that normal?” Almost every day, raising this little boy.  Mom Tribe offers me seasoned information, trusted because they are experiencing it.  Mom Tribe offers help.  Any parent knows the torture that is sleep deprivation.  Or even just the torture of not getting a break.  Mom Tribe takes the Little One off your hands for an hour so you can shower or nap or do something by yourself.  Mom Tribe offers support and love. And THIS is the big one.  Parenthood is the single most isolating thing I have ever experienced.  Mom Tribe fosters a sense of normalcy in something that really doesn’t feel normal for many women.  It helps you know that you’re not alone.

Maybe you know all of this, about Mom Tribe.  If so, great!  But I want to take it a step further.

We need Tribes.  Yes, that’s multiple Tribes.  We need Mom Tribe, yes.  But while motherhood is definitely PART of who I am, it is not ALL of who I am.

I need a Teacher Tribe.

And an Ex-Mormon Tribe.

And a Family of a Recovering Addict Tribe.

I need communities of information and help and support and love for many aspects of my life.  I need my metaphorical village for lots of giant, complicated messes because life doesn’t come with a manual.  And even if it did, I would want to read through it with someone.

So how do I build my Tribes?

It’s simple and not simple.  The idea is simple, the execution can be tough.  Like the word “build” suggests, it takes continual effort. My advice is this: Get out, Reach out.

Get out

Now, I personally know this is harder than it sounds because I am currently experiencing it.  Three months ago I moved a state away and I’m still having trouble building my Tribe.  Part of it is that I am resentful that I moved.  I miss my Tribes in Colorado.  Part of it is that I am terrified.  How do you even go about finding like-minded people?

Go to activities where common interests are shared. For me, this is storytime at the local library.  It’s free, they have one for babies, and other mothers will be there.  Actually, the library is a good place for lots of activities.  My local library has clubs and meetings out the wazoo, everything from the obvious (book clubs) to the not-so-obvious (board game enthusiasts and practice speaking Korean).

Attend support groups.  There are support groups for everything.  My support group is Al-Anon, which is for families and friends of alcoholics/addicts.  They have meetings all over the country.  In the building I attend these meetings, I see support groups for the whole gambit: sex addiction, food addiction, life with a terminal illness, grief.  Pain bonds people in a powerful way; and this bonding aids in healing.

Use social media but don’t let it become a crutch.  I loooooooooove Facebook groups.  I have a group for everything: big groups, little groups, Mama groups, teacher groups, family groups, buy/sell/trade groups.  My problem is that my groups give me the illusion that I have lots of Tribe.  But the reality is that Tribe must be experienced in person, in addition to on the phone or over a screen.  Groups can offer the gateway, though.  Local groups have get-togethers, buy/sell/trade groups force physical meet ups, even just admiring someone active in your group can spark a friendship.  Some of my husband’s best friends met through online games.

Reach out

Reach out and talk to people.  Some life situations already force us to “Get out.”  Work and family obligations force you to interact with people.  But “Reaching out” is different.

Offer vulnerability.  Vulnerability (like saying, “Hey.  I like you.  Let’s get coffee.”) breeds intimacy or connection.  The first person I added to my Mom Tribe happened just like that.  I knew her from a birthing class.  I admired her.  I asked her to coffee.  While at coffee, I decided to be open and vulnerable about my struggle with post partum depression. Now, she’s my best Mom friend.

I once worked at a place that had weekly get togethers at a bar.  At first, it was awkward.  I couldn’t even remember the names of the people I was sitting next to, let alone maintain a meaningful conversation.  But I still went.  And several weeks down the line, those that were attending the weekly bar sessions were closer than those who weren’t.  That alone, just being present, builds Tribe.  I took it one step further by inviting myself to one of these coworker’s house.  I believe it went something like this: “I’m going to come over to your house, drink your beer, complain about my mother in law, and you can play with my baby.” Now I consider that person’s family my adopted family.  Tribe.

If you are just attending things, that’s a good start.  Attending a support group, going to storytime at the library, those are good places to initiate connection.  But if you don’t reach out, true Tribe is lost.  Tribe demands vulnerability, and if you can’t get to that place, then you will struggle to feel the full benefits.

Rinse and Repeat

Keep at it.  I have a tendency to do something once and then act like I do it all the time, all while not actually continuing to do the thing. DO THE THING.  Keep getting out, keep reaching out.  With time, you build your tribes, and life gets a little easier and a little safer.  Sooner than you’d think, you’re not the one begging for advice, but giving the advice.

Mama Mini-Tribe
My Mama Mini-Tribe
My Student Tribe (when I was a student), My Teacher Tribe (when we all became teachers)
My Student Tribe (when I was a student), My Teacher Tribe (when we all became teachers)
My Teacher Tribe
Another Teacher Tribe *Yes, have several!

Why a Blog?

Image result for love and hate social media

I lovehate our social media age.

I love that Facebook keeps me semi-connected to people who I have at one point been close to.  Or met that one time.  I hate that I seem to spend all my goddamn time on it.  Seriously, the other day my son was pulling on my pants leg, because my face was zeroed in on the tiny screen in my hand reading a political hate article.  How is that nonsense remotely more important than the rapidly growing baby tugging on my yoga pants?  And yet, I find myself clicking that icon before I even realize what’s happening.

I love how I can put a visual to dear ones on Instagram.  It’s like Facebook, without the political clutter: oh look, a baby.  Oh look, a pretty sunset.  Oh look, a clever hashtag.  I hate how eventually I start comparing my life to those photos.  Oh look, she must have the most perfect baby ever.  Why isn’t my baby perfect?  Oh look, a sunset that I’m too lazy to get up and look at.  Frick, I’m lazy.  Oh look, a hashtag far too clever for me to come up with.  Seriously, who can explain the hashtag to me?  I feel like a grandma.

I love that Twitter can give us news the instant it happens.  I hate that people have taken it to be so reliable.  And I hate most of Twitter, let’s be honest.

I love that Snapchat helps me stay connected to my younger friends.  Seriously, would I know ANYTHING about my little adopted sisters without it? I hate that I can never seem to get a good angle, or remember to snap that cool thing I did yesterday.

As you can see, I’m fairly plugged in.  If you look slightly to your right, you’ll see I even have social media for my books.  Oh yeah.  So why the hell would I need to add to all of that?

Recently, a friend posted a controversial article about sexism in the Mormon church  on Facebook and the comments section turned into a scene from Sparta.

Seriously, it was nasty and hate-filled.  As a former member of the Mormon church, and someone who felt very strongly about the content in the article, I was angered and revved and saddened, and I found this intense desire to share my story.  So I did.  Not in the comments (because that would be stupid), but in my own separate post.  For the first time, I shared with the entirety of Facebook that I am no longer Mormon.

I braced for war.

Instead, I got love.  Perhaps something about my phrasing?  Perhaps because I don’t really tolerate intolerable individuals as Facebook friends?  It doesn’t matter, that’s not the point.  The love I received is not even the point.

It was the private messages.

In the space of twenty-four hours, three individuals reached out to me to tell me that their story was similar.  They reached out to share in their pain, to express excitement at finding a like-minded person, to express sorrow that given their individual circumstances, they had to hide their lack of belief.

I felt… connected.  I had this intense knowledge that I wasn’t alone, that my words actually MEANT something.  And, in almost the exact instant, I realized that I have so much more I want to say.

I want to talk about Mormonism.  I want to talk (REAL talk, none of that fake shit) about being a Mom, being a teacher, being a feminist.  About spirituality and friendship and… I don’t know.  The important stuff.  And Facebook and Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are really not the best platforms for that.

And thus, I, Molly Marie, created a blog.

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Why Mommy Magdalene?

The letter M follows me.

I was christened with the name Molly Marie.

My maiden name starts with an M.

My married name starts with an M.

When you add the “Mrs.” I have FIVE damn M’s in my name.  What the hell, Universe?  It feels like the kind of name that should belong to someone far craftier or girlier or something MORE than what I am.  But it’s me.  So why not lean into it a little bit?

This is the blog Mommy Magdalene, written by Molly Marie, whose maiden and married names both begin with an M.  Kind of rolls off the tongue, eh?

The “Mommy” part should be fairly obvious.  Roughly nine and a half months ago, I pushed a human out of my vagina and was thrust into a world that was far harder than my super-difficult pregnancy.  I own that title.

The “Magdalene” is a bit more complicated.  Mary Magdalene is a fascinating and fairly misunderstood character of the Bible.  I’m no historian, but I have been involved with several churches and was alive during the crazy Dan Brown Da Vinci Code craze.  The lovely Double-M Mary Magdalene has three very different interpretations:

  1. She’s a prostitute.
  2. She’s a worthy woman, a student of Christ, notable just enough to be included in the Bible.
  3. She’s Christ’s wife.

Now, I am pretty much none of those three things.  But, like Mary, I can be very different under different interpretations.  I have, at various times in my life, felt like a saint.  I have, at others, felt like the worst sinner around.

Right now, elbow-deep in diapers, recovering from a faith I still feel betrayed by, fresh out of the turmoil of a loved one’s addiction, I just want to be somewhere in the middle.

Molly Marie makes for the middle, with a midnight blog “Mommy Magdalene.”

Fucking M’s.