Yet Another Blog Makeover

I did it again. Changed the title, tag, and focus of my blog. To my handful of cherished readers, I feel I owe you an explanation. Again.

As some of you know, my blog started as Middle-Aged Madness, evolved into Midlife Awakenings, and now the title is simply my name, Kim Gorman. I started it one year ago with a flurry of posts, posted nothing for several months, wrote a couple more posts, went another couple of months without posting, and have been at it faithfully since the start of the year. As silly as it all seems, anyone who really knows me isn’t surprised. One of my greatest challenges in life is knowing who I truly am.

I can blame why on so many things, but I do feel that moving so much as a child plays a key role. The first two years of my life were spent traveling all over Europe, where I was born (Germany), with my parents. Sometimes they left me with trusted friends on weekends so they could escape together. When we moved back to the States, we moved three times before I was eight. After my parents split up, I moved three more times before finally settling in the town where I currently live.

Being the new kid on the block so often wasn’t easy. Maybe if my family life was more stable things might have been easier, but it wasn’t. Each time I entered a new town and school, I had to make a new group of friends and adjust to their way of doing things if I wanted to fit in. I learned quickly to adapt my personality to meet their expectations so I would be liked and included. As a result, I lost site of my true self. It’s a problem that followed me into my adulthood.

My blog has sometimes been a reflection of my identity crisis. While it’s true I can rightfully identify as a wife, mother, and higher education professional, what I really want is to just be me. I’ve been searching for myself for a long time. Sometimes I find her. Usually it’s on my yoga mat or in my gardens or when I’m writing for no one except myself. And therein lies the problem.

With titles like Midlife Awakenings, which by the way I still love, there are certain expectations, such as the blog being exclusively about midlife. Though I love this topic, I was beginning to feel a bit constricted by it and didn’t always feel authentic in my writing, though certainly at times I was. With my computer recently out of commission due to crashing, I had some time to reflect on my blog. I realized  the common themes of many of my posts were marriage, motherhood, and the search for my truth in all things, whether it be career, relationships or my most meaningful life moments and memories.

I chose dogwood flowers for my header photo because they remind me of my happy place as a child, when we lived in an old colonial house in a city I loved. I had a sunny bedroom with a bright orange carpet that I used to play in for hours. Outside of my bedroom, its branches so close to the window that I believed I could reach out and touch them, was an ancient dogwood tree. I loved that tree, that room, that time, so much so that I currently live in a very similar old colonial. Some years ago, per my request, my husband and sons planted a dogwood tree in our backyard for Mother’s Day, which I can see from my bedroom window. I don’t need a psychiatrist to tell me that I’m probably trying to recreate that happy place.

In addition, I want desperately to be a published novelist. I’m close to completing a romance novel that I plan to submit for publishing, and which I fully expect to have rejected. I mean, how many writers do you know whose first submissions actually get accepted? Even so, I’m going for it, and in preparation I felt it was time for my name to be my writing brand.

So there you have it, the story behind yet another blog makeover. Thanks for reading and bearing with me. Again. All I can say is it’s a good thing I’m not one of those bloggers who hopes to make a living out of it. I’d be starved and homeless by now.

Maya Angelo Quote

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The One Question to Ask if You’re Considering Divorce

One of my Facebook friends recently posted an article that essentially said if your partner/spouse isn’t looking deeply into your eyes while painting your toenails and declaring that you’re his soulmate, then you need to move on. I couldn’t help but laugh. It was all I could do not to comment, “And we wonder why the divorce rate in the United States is 50%.”

Sadly, too many people believe this pile of crap. They don’t want to acknowledge that marriage can be hard, hard work. That sometimes your partner will disappoint you or aggravate you or do something really bad or dumb, but you stay anyway. You stay not because you’re a sucker or an enabler or have low self-esteem. You stay because this relationship isn’t just about you. It’s about both of you and, more importantly if you have children together, it’s about them. The family unit trumps your individual needs almost every time.

This is not to say you should remain in a physically and/or emotionally abusive situation or tolerate chronic infidelity. If this is happening, please get help, stat. Let me just be clear that your spouse not saying “I love you” daily or asking about your work day or cleaning the bathroom doesn’t constitute abuse.

If you read my blog, you know that I sometimes disclose personal details about my marriage, especially as it relates to my husband’s job issues. I do this not to throw him under the bus, but because, well, this blog is about the truth, and the truth is that he’s having a midlife career crisis – big time. Sometimes his shenanigans make me feel so crazy and hopeless that I want to leave. I tell myself that life would be easier and more peaceful without him.

My life, that is. Not his necessarily, or our sons’.

I’ve been threatening the “D” word on and off for a while now. I’m ashamed to admit it, but there you have it, the truth on the table. As in, “If you don’t find a better paying job and stick with it, I’m leaving” or “If you use the charge card one more time I’m leaving” and “If you don’t start seeing a therapist I’m leaving.” I think you get the drift. By now he knows I’m the girl who cries wolf. During the most stressful times, divorce seems like it could be a fairly easy escape, if you don’t count my children being torn in two, our cozy home sold, and the remains of our family scattered around like dried up leaves in autumn.

It finally occurred to me recently that I had a decision to make – stay or go. Simple as that. No more idle threats; they are pointless and immature. As I imagined what it would be like to leave my husband of nearly 22 years, uproot my children, decide who gets the sectional sofa, a question popped into my mind like an epiphany.

What if leaving wasn’t an option? What if I had no choice but to adhere to my marital vows? How would I approach this frustrating situation then?

The answer came to me immediately. I would love him, support him, and do my best to build him up, knowing that he’s in crisis and doesn’t have the skills to cope alone. I am his life partner, his helpmate, and it’s my role to support him through the tough times. What kind of wife, woman, would I be if I just walked away and discarded him like an old sock in his hour of need? He would never treat me in such a shabby way.

What if leaving wasn’t an option? How would you go about resolving the issue if the status quo also weren’t an option? What creative approaches might you try?

We can’t change anyone. We can only change ourselves. The notion is truly empowering, especially when it places us in a position to have a positive and even soul-saving impact on those we love. There is almost always someone stronger in the marriage at any given time. If that person is you, try not to view it as a burden, but rather recognize it as a great gift you’ve been given, one of strength, compassion, and the ability to problem solve.