Here's to maintaining some self-respect and sanity while tending to the growth and maturation of young minds, including your own young mind. Here's to recognizing that it isn't necessary to know how everything is going to turn out in advance, and that often Life has much better in store than one can imagine. Here's to hope and happiness even when Life gets complicated, especially then... That's when it's needed it most.

...afterall, the car may only seat seven but room for friends is unlimited...

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Reintroduction of Abby to Herself

For twenty-two years I signed my name the same way. I kept my married name post-divorce to remain cohesive with my children; we were still the 'C' family. That was important to me. Everything I did in the last twenty-two years, barring the last year, I did with that name. I graduated with two Bachelors degrees, reared children, applied for jobs, created email accounts and blogs, won awards, started businesses. When I re-married last December, it was very important to my new husband that I take his name, and I did. Within a very short time, however, it was clear that my husband was harboring some very difficult to manage previous emotional damage and illness. He had been kind, caring and respectful and loving to me and my children prior to our wedding. After that day, there were frequent episodes of emotional abuse and physical roughness which eventually led to more serious physical abuse. I had married Dr. Jekyll and come home to Mr. Hyde. By the end of October, every possible warning bell and siren was blaring. It wasn't safe to remain in the marriage.  I thought to myself, "here I go, again, on my own... goin' down the only road..." (K, sorry... that was just too tempting to pass up. By the way, does anyone else find it more than just a little ironic that David Coverdale is never alone in the video for that iconic break-up song? He's always got some girl crawling on him, ... or the car. His lonely street of dreams doesn't look very lonely, or authentic—in my own humble opinion. The producer lost some unreal opportunities for awesome-landscape-while-driving-alone-in-a-convertible footage there. Still, a great song. I'll just keep the reel of awesome-landscape-while-driving-alone-in-a-convertible footage running in my head when I listen to it.)

Now, months later, life is really good—notwithstanding the lonely street of dreams business. I've had so many dreams come true lately. Our neighborhood is wonderful. The kids love being back in our home after six years with my parents. They are doing very well in their new schools. Things at work are excellent. I was one of the first hired at a new facility and that is finally paying off with some seniority in the schedule. I have earned a little bit of respect. Immediately following the end of my marriage, my boss asked what name I'd like shown on the schedule and without hesitation I gave her my maiden name. My gut said, I'm not returning to the name of my first husband. And with that I was Abby 'T' at work. That is a nice feeling. There are still a few things in the system which need to be changed, along with the actual divorce and legal change of the name, but the feeling is good.

And then.... I ran headlong into some unexpected cognitive delay. I had been signing my name Abby T. 'S' for a year, on a million documents a day. It took a while for me to remember that I wasn't going to sign that anymore, like that lag that comes when you are writing the new year on checks after January 1st.  Slowly my brain found a new signature and Abby T. 'C' started coming from my pen; and remember, I have to sign my name a million times. Every. DAY. Finally (with about two months distance between me and the end) signing Abby A. 'T' became more natural and I'm starting to feel like that girl again. Such an odd thing, getting reacquainted with myself after living as 'someone else' for a while. Like peeling back layers of an onion, layers which I believed for a very long time, were ME. During this time, I've taken the opportunity to ask myself what Abby likes... really, truly likes and enjoys, thinks is beautiful and what makes her happy. I've learned a lot. It's been a wonderful un-becoming, a time for recognition. The new year feels especially poignant. My only real goal is to be true to myself; recognizing what is good and best for me and doing those things as often as possible.

And now a few timely quotes, okay four:

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau. 

You are so young, all still lies ahead of you, and I should like to ask you, as best I can, dear Sir, to be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue. Do not now strive to uncover answers: they cannot be given you because you have not been able to live them. And what matters is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then you will gradually, without noticing it, live your way into the answer, one distant day in the future. ~Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926), 1903 July 16th letter to Franz Xaver Kappus, from Worpswede, translated from German by Charlie Louth

“View your life with kindsight. Stop beating yourself up about things from your past. Instead of slapping your forehead and asking, ‘What was I thinking,’ breathe and ask yourself the kinder question, ‘What was I learning?’” ~Karen Salmonsohn

Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about un-becoming everything that isn't really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. ~Unknown 


Anonymous said...


I love your writing!!! And I love the Whitesnake song reference! So sorry to hear about your second marriage but glad you are safe and happy!

Have a great day!

Tina Clifford Jensen

cindylee said...

So proud of you! Fabulous quotes!