If I had a dollar for everyone who told me I needed to take care of myself during the divorce and my recovery, well, I would have no debt from my divorce and recovery… In reality it took me 5 years to pay off my legal, foreclosure, and therapy bills. What’s money, right?
What’s money?! It’s what I need to live!!! I need it to pay my electric bill. I need it to buy lunches and braces and dog food. People who say “What’s money?” are stupid.
While I was adjusting to my broke single parent lifestyle, I would see my husband’s mistress walking around town with my kids and her kids. In the beginning she looked pretty good. I admit I was jealous because she was tan from sunning outside as both my husband and her husband paid her bills. She also drove a nice new shiny white Audi.
I, in my old red minivan, would seethe. When people told me I needed to take care of myself I would think about new clothes, new hair, my nails, and new skin, but as much as I wanted to look like a movie star, that wasn’t going to happen on a Walmart budget where I debated weekly between a new lipstick or bread.
I did find a wonderful therapist who worked on a sliding scale. This was the money did not slide out of my wallet while I healed and worth every penny. As I healed a funny thing happened, as I took care of the inside of me the outside started to look better. I had nice hair. I was dropping pounds. I threw out my drab clothes and replaced them slowly with pretty finds from the clearance racks at bargain stores.
It was about a year and a half later that I walked into the same store as my ex and his mistress. She looks awful. I mean she looked worse than I ever did when I was married to him. I recognized the defeated walk of a woman constantly criticized. I recognized the stained clothes of a frazzled mother pushing a grocery cart full of food to be gobbled down by 4 growing boys without so much as a burp. The best part of it was she was fat!
Not chubby. Not plump. Fat! Fat! Rolls of fat burgeoning around your bra-straps fat. Muffin Top overflowing the too tight shorts fat and the best part— lumpy, bumpy, dumpy dimples of cellulite all over those once tan toned legs fat. When she waddled by, I snickered while hiding behind the roasted chicken cart.
What happened to her? My ex happened that’s what! I knew it because the same thing happened to me. He wore her out in less than two years. I lasted ten before I physically caved.
I have to admit I am by no means a fashion plate. But, there was one critical difference between me and her at that moment that I will cherish to my grave. I looked better.
Not just a little better, but a lot better. You see when you don’t hook up right away after your divorce, you do have time to take care of yourself – because you are not taking care of some new guy and his kids. While she and my ex were chasing my ornery toddler and sullen son on their custodial weekends, I walked, went to the dollar theatre, read books in the library, and painted my own nails. I trimmed my hair and dumped Clairol on my head from Big Lots. After a big bird hair color fiasco, I got it right. I also slept on those weekends. I slept for hours and hours.
I wish we were in the do’s and don’t’s photos taken at Walmart that are posted online. I would be in the do column. Do wash your hair. Do paint your nails. Do keep your clothes clean and mended and appropriate for your age and body shape.
Don’t… for the love of God… don’t get involved with my ex. Because you will one day stand in Walmart sweaty, with unshaven legs (yes I looked), and with stained, grubby clothes that make you looked like a washed out dishmop. Yep – you won the booby prize – my ex.
Has this article been inspirational? It was for me. I am giggling away at my keyboard thinking when people tell you to take care of yourself after your divorce from a cheating husband, replace it with one thing – you don’t need to look like a model, you just need to look better than her.
Infantile. You bet.
A whole bucket of reality. Totally.
The truth is that as women we compete. It’s hard enough to lose your home, your spouse and your kids to a disenfranchised body trader in a divorce. You don’t need the kick in the teeth to have her look better than you.
And the day you see her in Walmart looking as miserable as you were in your marriage, you can breathe a sigh of relief. He is her problem now, not yours. So take a walk every day, eat an apple in lieu of chips, get your Diet Coke on and remember… you don’t have to look great… you just have to look better than her.
Bouncing with Style is all about finding the positives in life’s challenges. We don’t always have to be the bigger person, or take the high road. You can sit down and write bitchy things about your ex and his affair partner, like me, Sandra Beck, and publish them for the one person out there that is going to laugh out loud. Then you can smile thinking about all the other women out there who are going through the exact same thing.