Moving Beyond the Fixer-Uppers & A Few Random Observations

I haven’t posted a blog here in months.  I’ve been going through a very acrimonious divorce.

I have also been grieving the loss of my father and coming to grips with my broken relationship with one of my adult children.

To say I’ve been navigating a few life crises is a bleeping understatement.

But, I’ve also been doing a lot of soul searching – personal crises tend to do that to me – and I’ve gained some personal insight in this process.  Thank God.

I turned 55 this year.  Not exactly a spring chicken anymore, and it is a bit disconcerting to be facing another divorce at my age – the second.

It has thrown me into a bonafide existential tailspin complete with panic attacks, wrenching crying jags, depression, and more than a few fits of rage where I’ve shaken my two fists right up at God and life.  So there. But if you’re going to have an existential crisis you may as well learn something – and I have.

Numero Uno:  Take complete ownership for your own personal and moral failings which have contributed to your misery.

That’s a tough one.  I’m all for blaming other people.  It feels so much more gratifying, you know?  But I want to grow in this life and be happy.  In spite of my two failed marriages and a few other big, fat, moral failures, I have learned a few things. Such as:

Bitterness, rage, and refusing to take responsibility for your choices is a spiritual straight-jacket.  You do that and “you ain’t goin’ nowhere, sister.”

So I’ve had to take more than a couple of long stares into the mirror and call it out the way it is.  My own choices, my own actions, and my belief system have all brought me exactly to the place that I am now standing. So, fine.  I’ll take the responsibility. It doesn’t mean I have to like it though, right?

My favorite contemporary poet, Maya Angelou, says

“when you know better, you do better.”

Well, at the glorious age of 55, I think I finally know better.  I know why I keep attaching myself to people and circumstances which do nothing but bring me pain and reinforce a faulty self-image.

Self-worth is a fragile thing.  It’s a lot like an oak tree, I think.  It takes years and years to grow and only one fell swoop to knock it all to hell and back.  Here’s another thing:  you are the only one who can really give it to you.  The value you place on who you are directly impacts the value that others will place on who you are. I know it all sounds trite.  We hear it everyday, don’t we?

“You’ve got love yourself, sister!”

“If you don’t like you, who will?”

“Be kind to yourself!”

And blah, blah, blah. But the truth is this:  If you think nothing of yourself, no one, absolutely no one else will either.

End of story.

I had a friend who was a professional dumpster diver.  The guy believed that all of the treasures on this earth could be found in a stupid dumpster.  He looked like a walking dumpster too.  His hair was greasy and oily.  His fingernails were always dirty.  His clothes were smelly and raggedy.

But he was happy.

I could never understand it.  I mean, I couldn’t accuse him of being a miserable dumpster diver.  He wasn’t.  He was one of the happiest, kindest, jovial people you would ever meet.  But, deep inside, he didn’t believe the things he wanted out of life were anywhere but in a dumpster. Now look, if that’s where you want to be, far be it from me to suggest otherwise.

But for me? I’m tired of the fixer-uppers in life.

Posted in family & relationships, love & sex, The Perimenopause Blog.

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6 Responses

  1. Generic Image Roadrunner says

    You know, I think we all know that we have to believe in ourselves…..but
    when you get slapped down with a divorce it’s very hard to get back up.
    Especially when you didn’t see it coming.  I want to take responsibility for my faults, and I want to move on.  I hear you and believe you have to get rid of the straight jacket but I think fear can really hold you back and that’s what’s been happening to me.  I applaud you for writing about this and hope I can believe it too.  Thanks…. 

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    • Magnolia Miller Magnolia Miller says

      I understand what that fear feels like.  I also understand how paralyzing it can be when you REALLY want to change and be strong.
      When you add a broken heart on top of it, it seems like a mountain you will never be able to climb.  I understand how that feels too.
      I’ve cried an ocean of tears over this divorce.  And you know what?  I was the one who initiated it.  I probably could have saved myself a lot of anxiety, sadness, and panic attacks.
      But, for what?  Just so somebody else would pay the rent?
      I had to come to grips with some ugly truths in my life and that meant I had to face up to a lot of things I didn’t want to face up to about myself.  Staying in a crappy situation where I’ve been devalued and degraded just because I didn’t think I could do any better for myself is high on that list.
      Be courageous doesn’t mean you have no fear.  Being strong doesn’t mean you don’t have moments of crippling self-doubt.  It just means that you keep trying anyway.
      You’re not alone in your grief and sadness.  Many of us carry the same burdens.
      One of my favorite bible verses says…..”Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee……”
      So, that’s what I keep trying to do every single day.
      Wishing you well,

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  2. Vicky1956 Vicky1956 says

    Magnolia…you are strong and smart, and a whole doggone year younger than I am. I am pretty much right where you are! I hope I have learned from my mistakes. And I am sure enough done with fixer uppers. The only fixin’ uppin’ I am going to do…is to me! If you only knew how wonderful you are…you would be amazed!

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  3. Magnolia Miller Magnolia Miller says

    Oh, thanks, Vicki!  Every now and then I get a glimpse of my “wonderfulness” :)

    It’s a struggle some days to believe in myself, but not others.  I *do* know I am strong (thanks to my mother’s DNA) and I thoroughly believe I will come out of this time in my life much, much, stronger too.

    But, when I need to write?  I gotta get it out. :)


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  4. Alicia Alicia says

    Hugs and love to you, Magnolia!  It takes guts to look in the mirror!  I got a divorce at 60 and it took all of the courage I had (fear of abandonment), and then got voted out of a church membership (very ugly), and now at age 65 I am a freshman in college (because of what I wrote about my life, I won a scholarship).
    Because I know what a healthy relationship is, I will never be in one again; watching or the red flags!
    Keep writing; feel the fear and do it  anyway! xoxo

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  5. Generic Image Darcy09 says

    You go girl.  I have noticed the trend (for me) was to make a questionable choice first time, an even more dubious choice,or choices, second time around, and time passed (I did not change) and finally I met the bottom rung on the ladder.  I kept the sperm (have a terrific son) learned that some (men) are “one good sperm away from useless” and picked up the pieces.  The motivation was to care about me and when I did that the fall out was easier and less and less and …..  You go girl, you found the track… there are so many out there wondering …. what track?? and they are likely abused victims.

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