"What People Won't Tell You About Your First Year as a Divorcee"

"What People Won't Tell You About Your First Year as a Divorcee"
By: Anderson Mar

Many of us have been through divorce, and no matter what the reason, it's still a stressful scenario. For some of us, it equals closure; for others of us, particularly those of us who have had deal with a mentally-ill spouse refusing to seek treatment, it was the only option after an uphill battle of many years. Below is a list I decided to compile in order to help others who may be going through the aftermath of this difficult time.

1. You will face judgement from friends, family, and community. We'd all like to think that we live in a liberal, open-minded society where divorce is the "Hollywood norm" and people will realize that "sometimes, things just don't work out." Unfortunately, that is not the case. You will encounter at least 1-2 people who will flat-out state that "You should have just tried harder"; or "you should have just put up with (spouse's inappropriate behaviour)". People will talk in the scene, especially if you're a quasi-celebrity of any sort. Ignore them. They haven't walked a mile in your combat boots, so they have no right to judge.

2. There will rarely be a night when you don't fall asleep in your clothes. 50% of the time, this will be in front of the TV. You just can't be bothered to change into night time wear or hell, even drag yourself to the bed that you once shared with your spouse. What's the use? Sleep is sleep. Whatever gets you through the night. You will no longer eat dinner at the kitchen table. Most meals will be taken at restaurants (alone), at your desk at work, or in front of the computer. Your kitchen table will become a storage place for mail and your handbag and gloves.

3. You'll receive unwanted advances from undesirable people who think you're "back on the market". There are always predators, and widows and divorcees are their favorite targets. They assume you're "desperate" and "lonely", and they'll wait in the wings hoping for the right time to strike, assuming your self-esteem will be shot to hell and you'll lower your standards. No way, girl - you tell them to go f*ck themselves, you hold your head up high, and you keep them at bay. You just got rid of one loser...why would you want another?

4. You will still receive invitations addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Some people aren't in the know, and it is okay to delicately inform them of the change in status. If they're your true friends, they'll stick by you. They may still remain friends with your ex-spouse, but you shouldn't let that bother you. It's neither your problem, nor your business.

5. You will experience financial problems. Even if you were a "financially separate entity" (as my ex-h and I were, since he couldn't hold a job with an anvil), your spouse may have been a fiscal liability and that will likely have had a trickle-down effect on your personal finances. You will likely have to book a 2nd job, or going into consumer credit counseling/get a consolidation loan with a payment plan to get this debt paid off. And that's okay. You're doing the responsible, adult thing. And don't let anyone make you feel bad about it. Also, if you were in a situation where your ex-spouse DID contribute to the household income, you're going to feel the need to pare down your living expenses. And that is okay. Remember, it's only temporary. You won't be poor forever. It will however, generally take 2-3 years to recover totally. You will need to be patient. However, during this time, maintain your dignity. If you're over 30, don't fall in the college-kid mentality of booking a roommate, no matter how bad things get. It will destroy your self-esteem. Book a part-time job instead. It will not only increase revenue, but keep you busy enough to keep your mind off the divorce.

6. Certain songs or movies will "get to you" but avoidance is just running away from the problem; you need to face it. My wedding song was Death Cab For Cutie's "Soul Meets Body". Yes, it's heart-wrenching when it comes on the radio. However, it's a great song and once meant something to me, back when life was happy. Take it in the vein of what it used to mean when life was good.

7. Well-meaning friends will try to comfort you with dismissive statements like "He/She was a jerk anyway", or "You're better off", or "You can do better". They are only trying to help; however, what they don't understand, is that person you were married to was "once a good person". Sometimes, people DO change...and not for the better. Yes, you wish your friends would be a little more understanding and not questioning of your taste in marriage partners. Maybe they didn't like the person from the get-go, or maybe they're mad that this person hurt you, because they're very protective of their friends. Statements like this are common, and you shouldn't let them get to you. After all, don't you try to cheer up your friends any chance you get when they experience disappointment in life? Same concept. It's just human nature.

8. It may take months, or even years, before you are able to get rid of your spouse's belongings, or mementos of your lives together. My ex-h and I were separated for 3 1/2 years before I was finally able to gather up the courage to donate his clothes to the homeless. I still have a photo of us from a huge music festival that we co-produced framed and hanging in my living room. Why? Because it stands as a reminder that together we did great things. And to me, that's a positive thing. I would rather focus on the positive than the negative. I also still wear my engagement and wedding rings, for 2 reasons. One is to ward off stalkers (who are very common in my industry) and two is, because I paid for them myself. So that gives me the right to continue to wear them.

9. Friends and family will also not understand if you're NOT soured on the idea of marriage after having had such a bad experience. Of course, I'm going to get remarried at some point (after all, I'm attractive AND in a band, right?) I am not going to let a bad experience sour my views or make me a bitter, hateful person. Nobody quits the workforce for life just because of one bad experience at a shitty McDonald's job, do they?

(no subject)

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The Dichotomous Lament of Introverted Would-Be Celebrities

I've come to the conclusion that I've basically turned into my father. From the 1970's until his retirement a few years ago, he was in management at a regional communications company which meant basically being on call 72 hours a week, 40 of which were actual work hours, the remaining balance being strapped to a pager at the beck and call of the consumers. It was not unusual for Dad to get a call in the middle of the night because some drunk had plowed into a telephone pole and knocked out service for an entire 3-mile radius, and it would be his job to work until said service was restored. Our family could rarely travel more than 25 miles from our home, even on weekends, because he had to be within a certain reachable range in case a crisis occurred.

In the early 90's, I had a Motorola pager myself because I didn't feel comfortable with giving out my home number to people - I would rather have theirs and I would return their calls from a payphone. I lived without a home phone for 2-4 years in the early-to-mid-2000's. I also lived without a television on and off in 2-year stints between 1992-94 and 2005-2008. Honestly, those were some of the most peaceful times of my life. No stress of having to cater to people, nor being constantly tuned into to threats of war or economic collapse.

I bucked the cellphone trend up until about 2006, when my mother and my husband at the time conspired and got me a phone as a holiday gift.

Honestly, I wish I had resisted that integration into modern society. But once you start, there's no turning back. Naturally, as an introvert, I despise talking on the phone, so I'm mainly a texter. But even that sometimes gets burdenous. I can't wait to hire a new personal assistant. I will literally leave my phone in their hands on the days that I am not booked at dayjobia and pay them to proxy me in answering all phone calls and texts. I'm sure that's the way most of the stars in Hollywood do it.

Introverts don't like the feeling of the need to be "on" at all times. Now most of my friends and fans who are reading this are like, "I've seen you on stage - there's NO way you can be an introvert!" That's where you're wrong. I'm an introvert with 14 years of theatre training. Barring that, a couple of glasses of beer or wine and I'm everybody's buddy. Oh, and ADHD meds help too. There's lots of ways to shove your introversion in the closet when you're in The Industry. And that's fine...it's outside of The Industry where we break down, and I'll tell you why...

The Introvert, at the end of the show, is usually exhausted from expending all that energy on the stage. They want to sit back and quietly observe, and regroup. That's why generally, you'll find me at the back of the room near the bar, having a drink and watching all the other bands.

Introverts also get really stressed out when someone calls on them to make social plans, such as booking a party or an outing. Produce a show with a shyteload of national headliners? Yeah, I can do that, no problem! Feeling goaded into getting a group of people together to go to dinner or to an event? Stressful.

The Introvert usually also falls into the trap, since they are mainly a "listener" and an "observer" of being the person that every feels they need to run to when they are having issues. Believe me, this is the last thing that the Introvert wants, is to give advice or play counselor. It stresses them out, but they are too shy/timid to tell people to grow a set and deal with their own issues, out of fear of offending someone or hurting another person's feelings. So the Introvert ends up being on the receiving end of needy people who drain the life energy out of them, resulting in a higher level of pent-up stress for the Introvert.

The Introvert also "wants to get away" from society and go places and do things ALONE, but people seem to not want to let them do that, because American culture constantly tries to feed us the message that it's bad to do things alone. The Introvert's "friends" get pissed when we want to take a drive somewhere and spend a day sightseeing in a seaside town, or go hiking on a nature trail in the woods to get some "zen" time with nature. I'm not necessary sure if they're pissed because they didn't get invited to go along, or if it's because we're not doing things with them. They don't understand our need to just detox from the society we're forced to be plugged into 24-7. There's some days I just want to scream, " I get one day off every 14-21 days, and I want to spend it alone in nature, because it's the only thing that calms me down!" People seem to take everything personally, and being a "peacemaker" type that likes a very balanced environment, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Most people don't mean to be burdenous or needy; they just are. Sometimes I want to hire a doppelganger to proxy me at social bookings who will entertain these people on my behalf so I won't feel obligated. I mean, that would make the most sense, right? Or perhaps throw a party and introduce them all to one another so that there could be the mutual entertaining of each other, taking the onus off of me.

Another thing that stresses out Introverts is when people call or text them while they're at dayjobia. In the 80's, it was known etiquette that you didn't call people at work for personal things. Why do people not observe or understand that anymore? Email is fine. I'll eventually get back to you...

The Introvert needs time to work out, work on their art, read a book, be at one with nature, and just de-stress once in awhile without others taking it personally. We are not your saviours; we are not your therapists - and it's time we started speaking up and telling you that if you want to be a part of our lives, you need to meet us on our own terms. Instead of asking us to set up a booking with you, make an effort to meet us where we are at. Usually that's on stage somewhere. Believe me, we appreciate the support, and we'll return it at your next event to the best of our ability.

I have struggled with being shy and socially awkward my whole life. Just because I like to embrace glamour and play rock star doesn't make me any less so. Some of us are just different, and that's okay. I write this today in hopes that it will be read and understood, as there are so many misconceptions that shy people are "unkind", "snobbish", or "uncaring". This is really not the case. When Introverts need their "zen time" that should be acknowledged and accepted, rather than misconstrued or judged.

Thank you for reading.

E.I.D. (and I don't mean the holiday in Islam)

It's not uncommon these days for people to suffer from varying degrees of depression. Most times it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and easily treated with the help of pharmaceuticals and/or therapy.

On the other hand, there is depression that is caused not by chemistry, but triggered by events. I refer to it as EID (Event-Induced Depression).

Death of loved ones is not something that anyone finds easy to cope with. Having outlived 12 of the people I cared about, many of whom were the same age as, or even younger than me, makes it worse. It seems like it's a message from the Universe warning me "Don't get too close to anyone, for sooner or later they will be taken away." Conversely, you start to worry about your own mortality, and how it might affect others - "don't let them get too close to you, for when you go, they'll be hurt in the same way you've been affected by the death of those you loved".

This carries over to other sectors of life, where the world "death" can be used as a metaphor of sorts for the cessation of cycles...cessation of happiness. After years of having to save face for the sake of The Industry, I have begun writing again as perhaps therapy for my own healing, and as a way to help others in an "I've been there, you're not alone" sort of way.

Usually, when one is depressed and angry, doctors are like, "Well, there's a pill for that". And truly, some people need pharmaceutical help. But those of us with EID, we wouldn't be this way if bad things stopped happening to us! Granted, there is nothing we can do about physical death - it's the end result of being human. But the human race itself needs to be RE-EDUCATED not to inflict pain on their fellow man.

A bold statement, I know - and one that will get me labeled as a Utopian and irrational thinker. But imagine if people could be "properly programmed" through nurture from an early age not to be selfish, judgmental, and hateful.

What if every single parent, regardless of intellect or social status, brought up their child in such a way that respect for others was a given, and to negotiate differences politely and with understanding? I don't think we'd have a bullying problem that is so rampant in the schools today.

What if we were taught that people aren't disposable? That every single human being has value? Would we scoff in disdain at the homeless on the streets begging for money, or would we take them in, reprogram them to the best of their ability, clean them up, get them off the smack and booze, and train them for some semblance of workforce viability (even if their mental capacity was only enough for them to learn to pick up trash on the sidewalk or rake a lawn)?

What if we were taught that if someone was loyal to you, that it would be a crime severely punishable if you were disloyal to them and backstabbed them for no good reason?

There would be less EID in the world if things didn't suck as much as they do, and if the number of people who were douche-bags dropped. I am miserable in this life because of what other people have done to me. Now, I understand - many of you are gonna respond with, "Suck it up and deal - you have the choice to be happy or not", to which I will respond, "Oh, I was happy, but some horrible person destroyed all that - and yet, you want to blame ME for being unhappy? WTF is wrong with you?" So no, it's not me. It's bad people. If bad people didn't exist, then bad things wouldn't happen, and real people would be happy (and I use the term "real people" here, "real" meaning awesome, honest folks deserving of good things because they are genuinely the real deal who care about doing the right thing and stop and think about how their actions affect others).

EID exists because our society has devolved into a world of apathy and selfishness. Our environment is the problem, so stop blaming the victims.

Young Women of Today, Wave Your Fists (and Fingers) in the air, if need be...

Welcome to society, where they'll show you around and tell you what they'll expect you to be.

It'll start when you are younger, when suggestions are planted in your head, either by outrightly spoken words or some form of "educational indoctrination". Your feet will be crammed into the sort of metaphorical shoes that never fit properly in the first place, and you'll be told to endure the pain anyway because "it's all just a part of growing up", after all. Examples of "successful" people will be blatantly pointed out to you every chance they get, because don't you want to be like that lawyer, that judge, or that Wall Street banker? After all, the one that dies with the most toys wins, right? And they'll tell you that in order to win, you have to sacrifice a part of who you truly are, and fall into the lines of expectation. "You can't go around saying that - what will people think? They'll brand you as a freak if you dare think differently, so bury those thoughts and those feelings and just fall into the modern trends. Just suck it up and deal. It is what it is, and we have no right to complain. You'll understand someday, when you get older. Trust me on this one."

You'll be told that you must start by debasing yourself and your abilities, and replacing your self confidence with false humility. You can't go out there thinking you're pretty, or deserving of anything better than your lot in life. They'll rail about the sins of vanity and pride, and preach the values of martyrdom and self-sacrifice, in the name of conformity. After all, you must blend in - not stick out like a sore thumb, because you don't want people thinking you're some sort of natural misfit - or God forbid, socially-awkward. Nod and smile, it's the game you're going to have to play, all in the name of acquiescence.

Girls aren't allowed to be "funny" - your mothers will tell you that no guy likes the class clown. You're not supposed to say "penis" or "vagina" in mixed company, even though 100% of the population generally has one or the other (and in some rare instances, both).

Girls aren't allowed to be strong. The media will print articles about how muscular women are a turn-off to men. People will also speculate on your sexual orientation if you're jacked, because it's oh-so-important to make a summation of a person based on perceived androgyny.

Girls aren't allowed to shoot their mouths off - people will be offended and cut you out of their lives, especially if you express an unpopular political opinion. Being that it's the US, you probably won't end up in jail like Pussy Riot, but there are other sorts of jails, one being ostracism.

Girls shouldn't dress this way or that way. If you wear a mini-skirt or a halter top, you might get raped, because you're "asking for it" by dressing provocatively. You shouldn't be wearing men's clothing either, because then that makes you a "dyke".

You shouldn't be wearing that much makeup - the magazines say that "the natural look" is in, so you must get with the times and toss out that red lipstick and blue eyeshadow, even though you like it and you feel it suits you well.

If you get plastic surgery, you're vain and a hedonist. If you don't, you're ugly and will never appear on the cover of Cosmo.

If you're a girl singer, you must be a soprano and do pop music and incorporate dance into your stage show, because aggressive women are just kind of weird, and rock and roll is a man's world, after all.

If you have sex, you're a slut. If you choose to remain celibate, you're a prude and frigid.

If you experience a failed marriage, then you're "used goods" and you don't deserve the right to another chance because it's obvious you're a fuck-up at these sort of things.

It's not right to speak out against someone ruining their lives due to unhealthy choices...you should just stand by idly because "free will is God" and not say a damn thing, lest you be judged as "judgmental".

It's okay to be objectified, but if you objectify someone, even in jest, prepare to be crucified by society.

You're not allowed to set your own standards of what qualities you're looking for in a mate, because people will brand you as shallow and tell you you'd better lower them, or risk end up dying alone.

A true lady doesn't fight, or get into fights, even in self-defense, you'll be cautioned.

In short, you must kowtow to society's standards, which become more and more restrictive year by year.

FUCK.THAT.SHIT.

You have been lied to all your life, and now it's time to stop letting society doing your thinking for you. You need to grow a goddamn set of balls and tell people where to go and how to get there when they make negative comments to you and try to put you down and make you feel inferior (usually because they can't get what they want from you).

Feminism was not escalated with the thought of having women rise above men and hate them. Feminism is about EQUALITY. It's about rising above gender roles and just being human.

It's okay to say no.
It's okay to explain why you're saying no, without the need to sugarcoat the reasons for fear of being thought of as high and mighty or holier-than-thou.

It's okay to set standards for yourself that aren't in vogue with modern societal expectations.

If you want to be powerful, be powerful.
If you want to be beautiful and take pride in being beautiful, go for it.
Don't let anyone make your choices for you, or goad you into their way of thinking.
Know what you deserve in life, determined by your own standards of success, set goals, and go out there and get it.

As for your critics, feel free to tell them to go fuck themselves with a rusty chainsaw on your way to becoming a god. You have been lied to all your life. Now it's time to fight back, and you need to wage that battle without regrets and remorse.

I don't look like you.
I don't think like you.
I'm not wired like you.
And that, my friends, is exactly why I'm successful at things most can only dream about.