Why Didn’t You Throat Punch Him?

angrybuddha

I’ve known for just over two years now that my wasband is gay and we’ve been divorced for over a year and a half so I’ve processed things and am in a good place, but the two questions I still get are 1. How did you not know he was gay? and 2. Why aren’t you angrier at him? I might get back to the first one at some point, but I don’t think it’s really that important. I think the second one should be addressed.

Honestly, in general, I am not a very angry person. At least I can’t stay mad. I get annoyed, I get frustrated and then I forget about it. This is not intentional, my brain just doesn’t hold onto details and when you don’t remember details it’s easy to let things go. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a nemesis at work that I think is worthless and overpaid and when I have to deal with his incompetence I get spun up. I curse to my assistant about him and complain to my best friend over a martini and then…I let it go. You know why? Because he is not worth it. And as my BFF likes to remind me I am only in control of one person’s behavior.

So, as you might be able to guess, if I’m unable to stay mad at a jerkface at work, it is very unlikely that I’m going to be able to really be angry at a man I’ve loved for over a decade. But that is the question that I get constantly – “Amy, why aren’t you angrier?”.

I think when Chris first told me that he was attracted to men my response was “are you fucking kidding me?”. At the time I was about 2 sips into a margarita and to this day I think he should have let me finish that drink before springing that news on me. So, my initial response was anger, but that quickly turned into hurt and grief. I don’t think after the first 24 hours I had any anger left. If I stayed angry at Chris, where would that get me? What would it change? It would get me nowhere and change nothing. We’d still have gotten divorced and I would have lost a best friend. It wouldn’t have made Chris magically like women.

And you know what? I had a great life for those 8 years we were married. Six of those years we lived overseas in England and Japan. I got to see the world. I like to think that I would have traveled on my own, but probably not as extensively. I got to go on a safari in South Africa, explore Croatia, pop over to Belgium for a 3 day weekend, enjoy the tulips at the Keukenhof, and run races in Scotland, Mongolia, and New Zealand. And even more importantly than all of that, I made the best friends that I will ever have during my time overseas – ladies that I can’t imagine my life without, friends that will be part of my life forever. For that I am thankful and none of that would have happened if I hadn’t been married.

You know what else gets me through and lets me release my anger? Knowing that my best friend wouldn’t hesitate to throat punch him or anyone else who hurt me if it came down to it. And for that, I am truly grateful.

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Failure by Comparison

GoRuck373When someone says failure it conjures up all sorts of negative connotations. Perhaps you didn’t get the job you applied for, you got a divorce, you didn’t meet the time you set for yourself for that last race you entered. In other words, you failed. And I get it. In that moment, failing sucks. Who wants to abandon their dreams, fall short of their goals, fail? As I get older, I can honestly say I do. It is only when we fail that we reassess and only then that we find out how strong we are.

I have failed at a lot. This used to be really hard for me to admit, especially out loud. I grew up in a house where if you weren’t going to be the best at something, why bother? When I entered my first marathon my grandma asked me if I thought I would win. When I told her no she responded, “Why are you running then?”. Believe me, this is no way to live. I have learned so much more from my failures and shortcomings than I ever have from my victories. It has taken me years to push away the fear of failure and embrace the uncertainty that comes with new experiences.

ComparisonThief

Some of my biggest failures are due to comparing myself to others. This started at an early age and my comparisons were focused on my older sister, Monica. Let me clarify now that Monica and my parents didn’t encourage this competition I had set up, it was all my own neuroses. I was two years behind Monica in school and she was a tough act to follow. She was president of the National Honor Society, salutatorian, captain of the soccer team, dated a cute guy, and was all around loved by everyone. She didn’t do any of these things to try to make me look bad. She did these things because she was good at them and that was her personality. I am the one who would constantly make comparisons. With this self-imposed set up for disappointment, I concluded I would never be as good as Monica at anything and said fuck it. Yes, even back then I had a potty mouth. This worked until about half way through my junior year when I realized “oh shit, if I want to get into college, I better get my ass in gear”. That was the first step I took on my journey of realizing that I’m not living for someone else, I am living for myself. It was a tiny baby step that would have to be reinforced countless times in the future.

As most American females do, I also compared myself to any and every other female I encountered. Whether it was in real life or people I saw through the media, comparisons were made. Again, my first comparisons came with my sister. We are the same height and I weigh roughly 25 pounds more than she does. Who cares about this? Absolutely nobody! But I didn’t get that until about a decade ago. The one time I starved myself and got down close to her weight people asked me and my family members if I was sick with some terminal disease. Healthy, huh? I also compared myself to celebrities, friends, strangers in the gym. The self criticism and negative talk were hard to control. For me the comparisons diminished (honestly they still occasionally pop into my head when I’m having insecure moments) when I started pushing myself in physical challenges and seeing what my body is capable of. I will never be a size 2, or even a 6, and that is okay. These thick quads of mine have carried me through 10 marathons, 2 trail ultra marathons, triathlons, and a GoRuck Challenge. Do I wish my boobs were a little perkier? Hell yeah, I do. But you know what? They’re 37 year old boobs and are pretty fabulous.

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If I went by societal standards, one of my biggest failures would probably be my divorce. I think it’s ironic that I see that marriage, divorce, and the aftermath as one of my biggest successes. Shit, I got a gay guy to propose to me and we kept each other pretty stinking happy for over 8 years. That’s got to be worth something, right? Plus, the biggest part of that success is that I can honestly say that my wasband is still one of my best friends. We can count on each other for anything and know we’ll always be there for each other. As in all aspects of life, success and failure are all about perspective.

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The only failures that we should truly regret are the ones we refuse to learn from. Didn’t get that dream job? Tweak your resume or volunteer some hours in that field. Missed your race time? Add some hill work or emphasize your recovery days. Got divorced or going through a break up? Honestly assess your contributions to the split and then realize that there is someone out there who will be a better match.

failure

While I have come a long way and am no longer afraid to try new things, I still have a ways to go in learning to trust my gut and follow my instincts. My current job is great by society’s standards. It pays well, has benefits, and a retirement plan. But you know what? Society’s standards aren’t necessarily my standards. I don’t find my job challenging or fulfilling. It goes back to my last post of wanting to do more and be more. I am trying to be honest with myself and admit my passions. It’s scary because what I want to do is not going to necessarily provide me with a steady salary or benefits. It’s going to take me a while to go through training and determine if this is what I really want. I will take the time to make sure I will be ok financially the first couple years of this venture. But you know what I’m not going to do? I’m not going to let my fear of the unknown or the possibility of failure prevent me from following my dreams. As my wise friend Katie said, “I decided to jump in bed with my fear and go for what I want”. We only have one life, folks. Let’s live it to the fullest!

New Beginnings

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Man, I don’t even know where to start. It’s been 2 years since I posted. 2 years! What have I done in that time? Looking back it seems like so much and so little too. I returned to Gainesville from Japan after obtaining a job as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Florida Museum of Natural History. I bought a car. I bought a house (that decision still scares me). I’ve made friends. I’ve started dating (also scary). I’ve run 4 marathons, an ultra and completed a GoRuck challenge since being back. I’m volunteering as the Program Director for Girls on the Run. Listing all of that makes it seems like I’ve done a lot, but something in me still feels empty, like I haven’t gotten anywhere.

This is not a new feeling for me. I think I’ve always had that yearning to do more, be more. In my early college days I thought it might be filled with religion and I tried a lot of churches. While that is fulfilling for some people, and I believe in a higher power, I don’t believe that is what leaves me empty. I have this desire, no this need, to make an impact. To be bigger than myself. I can’t do justice in describing it, but there’s this dull aching in my chest that needs to be tended. I want to help people, I want to make people realize that they are awesome, I want to inspire people to push themselves and, more importantly, love themselves. What do I do with that? I don’t know. In my “about” section of the blog I ask people to follow me as I discover who I am and what I want to do with my life. That was 2 years ago and I’m no closer to finding the answers. How do people figure out their calling? How can I make a difference?

Go Big or Go Home

Literally. If I don’t find a job to support myself, I will be moving back to Gainesville in October. That’s my deadline. We leave Okinawa then and I need a j-o-b. There is no way I can live with my parents. My dad would be fine, but my mom drives me crazy. I don’t even think it’s intentional, but she just pushes all the right buttons. Plus, I don’t want to be the mid-thirties loser that has to go back to her parents’ when her life falls apart.

My sister has offered me the guest room and I know she is sincere in her offer, but with her family and job she always has a lot going on. Knowing that it could be for longer than a typical vacation makes me feel intrusive.

My other offer comes from my BFF, DTMB. She is the best and it would be awesome to stay there, but again she’s got a husband, 2 dogs, chickens, a full-time job, etc. I don’t want to be the sad, soon-to-be-divorced friend that comes to crash with my cuddle-challenged pup.

All of this leads to the most stressful part of the impending divorce, Job Hunt 2011! Living overseas for the last 6+ years I’ve been sheltered. I’ve heard about the economic difficulties going on in the states, but I really had no idea how many people would be applying for one position. I am in competition with hundreds of applicants. I never knew a job search could be so hard.

I’m casting a wide net and applying for jobs I know I’m qualified for and for jobs that I’m mostly qualified for, but that get me really excited. I’ve applied to be a  biological technician, naturalist, environmental educator, program coordinator for Girls on the Run, sports director, and volunteer coordinator and my job search has covered 12 states ranging from Pennsylvania to California. I’m going for jobs I actually want and not just jobs I think can pay the bills. I’m trying to be brave in my search and find something I can be passionate about, but the reality of needing to pay bills keeps creeping into the back of my mind.

   

I’ve applied for over 30 jobs now and have received 6 or 7 rejections, a lot of no feedback whatsoever, and two calls for phone interviews. I’ve completed one phone interview and afterwards I thought I had done well for the most part, but in the last 5 days I’ve really been picking apart the answers in my head. I wish I could just let it go, but I’m obsessing. I’m not fully qualified for the job I interviewed for (no budget experience), but it sounds like a great job and I think I really want it. The other phone interview should be next week. I’m pretty sure I only got this interview because I know a guy that already works for this organization because I am definitely not qualified for this one (not nearly as many years experience as they want in this field), but I hope knowing someone opens the door just enough so I can wow them.

To keep the sanity levels relatively high, I’ve been sticking with my regularly scheduled exercise plan. Yesterday I ran 14 miles and it was a great run! After last week’s pitiful 12 I was worried, but everything went A-OK! Husband and I had to leave the house around 8am to get him to the airport which meant a super early start for me so I prepped the night before.

I left the house at 4 am and headed to the meeting point for WOOT (Women on Okinawa Trails) where I’d meet up with some running buddies at 5:30. Since it was still dark I had a head lamp and a reflective vest. I probably won’t be running at 4:15 in the morning on my own when I get back to the states, but I feel perfectly safe here in Okinawa – probably because I’m bigger than 90% of the local men. I cranked out 7 on my own, met up with my ladies, and got 7 more miles run and done. It was slightly cooler out (maybe mid-80s?), but still crazy humid. During those 14 miles I drank 2 liters of water and ate 1 pack of Clif shot bloks. I felt strong the whole time and was really proud that I didn’t take any breaks on this one gradual hill that lasted .75 miles. Boo-yah! I hope all of my long training runs go this smoothly. I also hope that I always have my yoga mat in my car. I sat on it on the way home in an attempt to protect my seats and when I got out of the car there was literally a pool of water on the mat. I am one nasty, sweat monkey and it feels so gooood!

Republican propoganda or…

a way to save my marriage…

I’m a loser baby…

“Thank you for applying for FISHERIES & WILDLIFE BIO SCIENTIST II with the FWC – Fish&Wildlife Cons Comm.  After careful consideration, the agency selected a candidate whose overall experience, knowledge, skills and abilities best match the duties and responsibilities of the position.”

Yep, that’s what I had waiting in my inbox when I woke up this morning. Now I’ve gotten other rejection letters, but this one hit me hard. First of all, that second sentence seems overly cruel and unnecessary.

I have a Master’s degree in Fisheries and over a decade of working with some of the best freshwater biologists in the country. Really? You found someone with better experience, skills, and abilities that wants to work as a Scientist II? That’s not even the team’s lead biologist. I understand I haven’t worked directly in science for a while, but I still find it hard to believe that someone could fill that position better. Maybe my ego is too big, but I know that I’m a great biologist with incredible skills for identification and a ridiculous work ethic.

The worst part about the whole thing? This was my fall back job. The job that I would go to when I didn’t get any of the 4-H Youth Leader or Girls on the Run jobs. The job that I’d be a shoo-in for because that’s what I did with my entire adult life before I got married. This was my safe bet. Now all bets our off and I’m scared and pissed. Awww, shit.

Top 10 Reasons You Know Your Husband is Gay

I know that no one wants to hear from their spouse that they’re gay. It’s a sucker punch to the gut that knocks the wind right out of you. So for those of you that are wondering if maybe your husband might be more interested in balls and bats than hoo-has, here are some pointers I picked up a little too late.

1. He really likes split-leg, super short running shorts.

2. He has no qualms dressing up in a skirt for Sunday ultimate frisbee.

3. He’s way too willing to support your Glee obsession.

4. He wears Speedos to avoid tan lines. The fact that they look like the Swiss flag is just a bonus.

5. He loves singing “Defying Gravity” and “Don’t Stop Believing” with you as a duet while driving.

6. He takes you to see “Wicked” (or any other musical) whenever it’s showing.

7. He doesn’t like strip clubs or titty bars.

8. He becomes fastidious in his grooming, including manscaping.

9. “Grindr” and “Break the Illusion” are in your computer’s search history.

And for those of us who are a little slow on the uptake, then best way to know if your husband is gay is…

10. He tells you he is attracted to men.

Yep, that oughtta do it.

What does the blog title mean?

I know, I know. The blog title is weird. What does “It’s Not Supposed to Feel Good” mean? For me, it’s a reminder to push out of my comfort zone, a way to tell myself that sometimes when I want to get things done I’ve got to push myself. I came up with this mantra while running my first (and so far only) ultramarathon in New Zealand. About 42km in to the 60km race I just started feeling crummy. I wasn’t injured, nothing was really wrong. I just had achy knees, the bottoms of my feet were on fire from the difficult terrain, and I was just plain tired from being out there almost 8 hours. And then it hit me – “It’s not supposed to feel good!”. I was supposed to be tired and achy. I was pushing myself further than I ever had before and it was supposed to be hard.

Well, that’s where I’m at in life right now. I’m at a point where I’m going to have to push myself harder than I ever have. My husband of 8 years and I are going to be getting a divorce because he’s gay. That would be hard enough on its own, but he’s also military. So, for the last 8 years I have been following him around and putting my career on hold. We’ve had the luxury of me not needing to work so I volunteered a lot and took jobs that were nowhere close to my career field. We’ve also been lucky to have all of our medical needs covered (even if some of the military docs were slightly sub-par). My life of luxury is now over. Along with wrapping my head around my husband being gay, I need to find a job that can support me, find medical insurance, and figure out where I want to be. I’m applying for jobs in my career field (biology) as well as dream jobs (program coordinator for Girls on the Run). I’ve gotten no responses and I’m getting nervous. I’m also nervous about what decision I’ll make if I am offered both jobs. Would I take the comfortable, full-time science job that is located in my home state? Or would I be brave enough to follow my passion and take a part-time job, with no benefits in a state 1000 miles away from friends and family? Sometimes the big life questions aren’t easy to answer, sometimes it’s not supposed to feel good.

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