By DejaVow for DivorcedMoms.com
I spent the last two weeks at my sister's house, helping her to recover from her mastectomy surgery. It's been a little isolating. While I live on the fringes of civilization, she's a little more backwoods. Needless to say, I've been without internet access for the duration of my stay.
I took some time to escape from her house for a few hours. For some reason, I keep getting Starbucks gift cards at work. The thing is, I don't even drink coffee. Ever. So I decided to take a drive, sit in the closest Starbucks I could find, and throw back Chai Tea Lattes until I used up every cent of the latest award.
Tucked in a corner, jotting down ideas for the blog, I started to indulge in people watching.
Was the old couple sitting together actually happily married after decades together?
How about the young family with the small boy...would they make it past 7 years? Past 10?
The teenagers were happy and not buried in their cell phones. How was that possible? I thought all teenagers had cell phones permanently attached to their hands for easy texting and playing Flappy Bird.
How about the 50-something guy checking out the brew your own beer kits at the attached grocery store? Was he single, married, separated like me and just looking to get out from under the divorce cloud for a bit?
And the lonely old woman in the booth. Could that be me someday?
Back in September 2013 I decided to stop posting updates to my personal Facebook wall. I found Facebook depressing. I wasn't going to be one of those people who aired out their failing relationship status for all to see, so my updates were positive, fun, uplifting -- all of the things I wasn't believing inside.
I was hurting, lonely, unemployed, separated, and feeling like a failure.
All of my friends were happy so I had to be happy too. That's when I realized I was comparing my insides to everyone else's outsides. I was happy for moments, but not overall. I had good days and bad days, but no one would have ever been able to tell. I was upbeat, optimistic, and supportive in my posts, like life was one sunny meadow with song birds fluttering around my head and helping me to fold my line-dried laundry ala a Disney Princess.
The question popped into my mind: How many other people are putting up the same front?
In another Divorced Moms article, there are 4 Tips to Survive Divorce in the Digital Age. Number one on the list is unplug. That's exactly what I did. My last update was six months ago after a night out with my girlfriend and then... nothing. I dropped off the face of the earth as far as Facebook was concerned.
I started picking up the phone instead.
I reconnected with the friends that I wanted to reconnect with. We had long phone calls and talked in depth about children, careers, home, and future. Much more than we would ever do over a Facebook entry. My life got easier to bear because I was no longer the odd one out in a world filled with happy women, genius kids and spectacular husbands. Connecting by phone or in person allowed us to dive into topics of infidelity, discipline problems, relationship disappointment, and personal resurrection. My self-esteem started to grow.
I got back into the groove of being me -- the one who cries when she's sad, laughs when she's happy and is quiet when she's thinking deep thoughts.
Without my 200 friends, my life got richer with the five friends I kept. They are the ones I do things with, who I laugh with, and who offer up help when I need extra hands to move furniture, paint walls, or just listen to my latest rant about the deer and gophers in my garden.
As my hamburger/sangria-loving friend said, when God closes a door, he opens a window -- so climb out that bad boy and meet me at the bar!
What it all boils down to is this: I'd rather have four quarters than 100 pennies.
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