Tag Archives: divorce

Coping With Hyenas


Image via How Stuff Works? A Discovery Company

Type ‘Coping With’ into Google and revel at the hits you get. Everything from death to math anxiety, people have expressed (or experienced) a need great enough that someone sat down to write out techniques to deal with it. Problems and bad times and hard luck and desperation and loss seem to circle life, waiting for a weakness to show; waiting for a too long a pause at a juncture; waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Opportune for them of course. Never for us. And never one at a time.

Why is it that one thing can’t go wrong at a time? Hmm? I liken bad things to a pack of hyenas. One finds you, alone in the wilderness of life. It starts to giggle and inches closer. You see it coming and your hackles rise and you are pretty sure you can deal with this. It’s just one right? But the giggling turns frenzied. It’s calling to its friends. A buddy from the bad stuff pack joins in. Then another. Before you know it you are surrounded by the infernal, ugly, tough luck times…and they won’t stop that incessant giggling.

Well, I’ve my own pack of hyenas, as does everyone else. In my tiny little world I think I have more hyenas than anyone else. Plus my hyenas are bigger, more vicious, and uglier. At least that’s how it feels to me when staring down the muzzle of one. (In particular the species Maritus Scindo of the Curia Sempra family) (Ten points if you giggled at that. Twenty if you Googled the words and then giggled.)

Then I type in ‘coping with’. 19,800,000 hits off Google. Nearly 20 million sites to help with warding off hyenas of all types, sizes, and ferocity. There are a variety of coping techniques that vary greatly depending on the person and the situation. I firmly believe that a large stick would pick off at least two of my hyenas but there seem to be laws that frown on this. Conservation, endangered species, protection for the mentally handicapped and what not. Instead I turn to sarcasm and hyperbole, and more importantly writing. Its my coping technique.

Another one I found was to put problems into perspective. If zombies are eating the guy fifty feet away, you might be willing to admit your hyenas aren’t quite so terrifying. So, naturally I checked the Yahoo! News Feed, and this is what I’ve found.

Maria Shriver must deal with a public and humiliating divorce after her husband, The Former Gubernator, admits to having fathered a child and keeping it from her.

Residents of Talkalakh, Syria are fleeing their homes and livelihoods. One man describes walking down the streets where one can smell the dead bodies.

Bethanny Frankel is being sued for $100 million dollars by her ex-managers. Not that she can’t handle that what with SkinnyGirl Cocktails and stupidly successful reality shows. But still, $100 million dollars. That’s $100,000,000 with all its zeros attached.

Maybe my hyenas aren’t so big.

Jenn Wants a Valentine


The year 2011 is my do-over. Various oops-es, failed experiments, and “Aw damn” moments have ironically led me to a pretty good place. Yes, I’m divorced and living in a roach motel apartment. I’m underpaid and confused as hell as to how to get off state assistance. It seems a vicious tale-chomping circle. My car is wheezing through life and I really can’t afford a new one. But on the bright side, I’m the mother of a beautiful little girl who is blossoming into a promising young geeklet. My writing career is gaining momentum. I’ve found friends and activities that I can be and am passionate about. I’ve remembered the things I used to love like music and stupid sci-fi shows and stand-up comedy. And what is life without the things you love? I’ve established my independence and have never been more self-confident. Right now my possibilities are endless and it feels so very good. Really, the woes of my life are incredibly dim when cast in the light of my optimistic enthusiasm.

So that leaves me in a place to look for my first-ever valentine.

Comic from xkcd.com

Yeah, you read right. I’ve never had a valentine. I don’t say that to get pity or a “Poor Jenn” reaction. It’s just a matter of fact that I’ve never had a valentine. Even when I was a kid and my class mates were required to bring those cute little cards with cartoon characters and kitty cats, I never got a special note with a “Check Yes or No” message.Valentine’s Day has never (ever) been my favorite holiday. I was either perpetually single or in a rather loveless marriage. To top it off it was my ex-husband’s and my tradition to argue on every holiday. Valentine’s Day included.

For a good number of years, I would actually begin to sink into a quasi-depression around this time of year. All those cutesy little, gag-inducing goodies that grace the front aisle of every store used to mock my singleness. I didn’t actually want any of them, not being a chocolate fan or a stuffed creature lover. I’m too practical to appreciate flowers and to absent-minded to keep track of diamonds. The stuff didn’t really matter. What I wanted was someone to give me cutesy little Valentine gifts. I wanted a valentine. To add another level of complex, what I wanted more than anything was for someone to WANT to give me a valentine.

There is no depression this year. Although late at night, when my daughter is asleep and the room has fallen silent, I can feel it there. On the edges of darkness, looking for a weakness in my soul, waiting to sneak in and poison my new-found optimism.

Even sans depression, there is still the desire to have a valentine. The longing to be needed again by someone other than my kid. If you remember your single years, or are still single, you know what I’m talking about. You can be needed by your kids and parents and job and hobbies and commitments and friends, but it is so very different than being needed by the one you love. More than that, I would like to get married again. My first marriage didn’t work but that doesn’t mean I’ve condemned the institution entirely. Perhaps I’m overly optimistic. Perhaps I’m still quite young. But I’d like to believe that people in my age group are capable of marrying and staying that way.

When an older couple in my church announced that they were celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary I was struck with a rather numbing realization. The chances that I can ever enjoy a sixtieth wedding anniversary are rapidly dimming. Statistically speaking, even if I were to marry tomorrow a man my same age, we would be eighty-six on our anniversary. According to the CIA, the average life expectancy of a man is only seventy-eight. It’s only eighty-one for women. While few of my friends have lived even thirty years much less sixty, I am gaining more and more divorced friends. Fewer and fewer of us will be able to accomplish what generations past are managing.

It’s not a good trend. It’s a terrible, horrible trend. And we’ve already discussed how un-trendy I am over on GeekMom.

But I have other reasons for wanting to remarry. I know a good number of single mom’s who have sworn never to sport that left hand-band ever again and for good reasons. So here are my good, geeky reasons for wanting to try marriage again.

  • I want someone who will be as excited as I am when I get to bring home explosives from work. Insurance, liability, blah blah blah…Let’s go light something on fire!
  • I want to prove that love really is for everyone. I mean the deck is sort of stacked against me. I’m divorced, chubby, a complete and hopeless geek, a total nerd, balance a full-time career with a full compliment of other activities including starting a non-profit organization, and have a kid. If that is considered baggage, I’m a freaking super-freight cargo ship. But I also believe that there is someone out there who is as excited to deal with all that as I am.
  • I enjoy experimenting with all the online dating companies in as clinical a fashion as I can manage. See the complete and hopeless geek statement above.
  • I want a wedding redo. Yeah, that didn’t go so hot. Pretty but not really what I would have chosen were I not trying to compromise with a bad match.It used to be that you only get married once but it seems most get at least a second chance. It sucks, but I’ll take it.
  • When I married the first time I had no idea who or what I was. I didn’t know that I was a geek. Well, at least I didn’t fess up to it and own it. I was not comfortable with myself, my identity, or my purpose. (Actually I had no idea what my purpose was. It is still vague in many areas but coming into focus slowly. And I’m ok with that.) You can’t expect to  share yourself with someone if you aren’t exactly sure who “yourself” is. It comes as no surprise to me now that my marriage didn’t work. Heaven knows I tried to make it but we were both young and naive, and to be blunt, stupid. The fault falls to both of us. Mine for attempting the impossible, his for not attempting anything at all.
  • I want someone who isn’t obsessed with the physical and material. Someone who can challenge me intellectually while still attracted to me romantically. I know it has to exist in one person. Thus far I’ve only located one or the other.
  • I want more kids and while single parent adoption isn’t out of the question, I feel I got ripped off during my first pregnancy. My then-husband hated the idea of it and refused to accept. It wasn’t until the last month of my pregnancy that he started to come around and then he got himself arrested and I gave birth without the benefit of my supportive husband holding my hand. The very first moment in time when all three of you see each other as a family was taken from me and I want another opportunity at that. (Only this time the number will be four, more if my husband has kids of his own. The number involved isn’t important. The experience is.)
  • As with most people looking for love and marriage, I really want to share my passions, enthusiasms, near obsessions, (actual obsessions), and joys with someone. It’s a lot to ask of a normal person. I’m seeking a geek this time around.
  • I was so very young and naive the first time around. I’m eager to experience love as a real adult. (As opposed to the pretend one I was.)
  • I want my daughter to see that grown-ups make mistakes. We learn from them and move on with our heads held high. Just because something is hard (and marriage is hard) doesn’t mean you should give up on it.

Now those are just my reasons and only very briefly synopsized. I have others that are my own and range from inanely shallow to immensely philosophical but here is not the place and now is not the time for all that. For now I must satisfy myself with wading out into the sea in search of those prophesied “other fish”.

I’ll be single again for Valentine’s 2011 but that doesn’t mean I go valentine-less for the twenty-sixth time.

My valentine-daughter and I all made up pretty for the holiday.