Ask anyone who has been through it what they recommend and you'll get a host of answers about whether or not to get an attorney when you get divorced. We were legally separated back in 2009 and I made a mistake by not retaining an attorney. In Wisconsin you can sign a sheet of paper that will convert your separation to a divorce. Our paperwork was submitted on May 28, stamped on June 1, and I received it on Friday. My brother-in-law was astounded by the ease and efficiency of a government agency as were many of my friends. A close friend of mine told me it was unheard of for a divorce to go so smoothly and so quickly. When I received my first check I put half of it into savings right away. That was a great move and I'm glad my sister suggested it. I have a little more than half of that left in my checking account, but the good news is I'm learning as I go. I can't expect the first month to be surprise free and we needed groceries which is not to say that I have been as frugal as I could have been. Today my middle sister suggested finding a place of my own. When I spoke with an attorney thinking that the divorce was going to require one he said that child support was modifiable so I'm going to find out what I would need to do that. It may not go anywhere, but it might and that would be good for me.

To get an attorney or to represent yourself is up to you. Having been through it I wish I would have had the attorney. It's such an emotional time that I had trouble making good decisions. They know the law and they're there to look out for your best interests which is something I've never had before. It's on me that I didn't hire one and rather than get into a debate about it I'm going to write about what I'm going to do from here on out if I would like a romantic relationship with someone. First of all I'm going to keep going to my therapist. I'll tell her about the financial situaion and she'll probably be very disappointed in me, but not as disappointed as I am in myself. There is nothing noble about screwing yourself and participating in your own manipulation. I told a friend that it's hard to explain how you can get so low you don't even realize how shitty people are treating you. Superficially it's great that he's letting me stay at the house. And I am grateful for that, however, that means that he has someone who is keeping things going while he's at work, going out, and doing whatever else he wants to do at the condo. He would have an insanely hard time finding anyone who cares about this place as much as I do because I view it as a home for my children rather than a rental property.

Being in a psychologically and emotionally bad place means that I didn't stick up for myself the way that I should have. Yesterday I opened my book on triathlon training. It made me almost cry a couple of times because over and over the author says that the book is for every day people and not phenomenally gifted athletes. I'm heavier than I've ever been in my life and it affects me in ways I don't realize on a daily basis. Poor self esteem, diminished lung capacity, having to buy new clothes, lack of energy, the list goes on, but this book is giving me hope. I think I'm on chapter four, I talked to my oldest about it last night, the author suggests turning the training into a family event so kids see mom or dad or both getting up off the couch and pulling themselves away from the computer. I have a short bike ride planned, the book says you need to put whatever you're doing that day on the calendar and treat it like the priority that it is. Phrasing is important, rather than write 'Run', choose words like 'destress for one hour'. According to the author you can follow his plan and be ready for race day in six weeks. He recommends investing four or five hours a week and tells people how to free up time if they think they are too busy which is a common excuse.

He has people write down why they think they won't do this and says that these are excuses people use in other areas of their lives. I almost never take the tests or quizzes I find in books, I'd rather keep reading, but this intrigued me so I asked one of the girls to get me a pen and paper. I wrote down that I was scared, I was afraid of getting hurt, I was afraid I was going to quit, I'm afraid that others will tell me I can't or give me reasons why I shouldn't be doing this, and then I wrote money. What was interesting to me is how most of the answers were fear based. I can just hear people telling me things that they may not even say. It shouldn't matter what other people think or say, I can do this and I can get the girls involved as well. The book says to give yourself rewards for meeting training goals. His example was his wife buying a new dress after two weeks of meeting her goals every day. They don't have to be big or fancy, but there should be incentives along the way to help keep you motivated. I would recommend this book to anyone as the way he writes is very simple, yet profoundly encouraging. For example, one person told him that they had given up after twenty-one days of training. He told this person that he was glad they had those twenty-one days that they probably wouldn't have had otherwise.

I follow a lot of coaches and some sports psychology people on Twitter. What really separates people who do incredible things from others is their mind. There are people who have more to overcome than I do accomplishing things that I don't envision myself doing and his advice is to stop thinking and start doing. I didn't take a walk when I woke up yesterday. I accomplished a lot, but I didn't make time for exercise until I started reading that book. He talks about strengthening the mind while strengthening the body and he reminds people that the Iron Man or Iron Woman triathlon is an extreme race and there are many other shorter and smaller events that are well within reach of the average Jane and Joe. I actually think that if I got on my bike, hopped in the pool, and tied up my running shoes I would surprise myself. But I know that I need to follow his program of small incremental additions because I am so out of shape and overweight. Another thing I love about this book is how he outlines what you need and assigns a dollar amount. You don't have to spend a lot of money to do this, he says heart and lung capacity are more important than the bike you're riding and for the majority of people the bike they have is just fine.

When he goes through things you will need he recommends borrowing what you can from family and friends. This has two purposes. First of all there is the obvious cost savings. Secondly, they can be part of your motivation and a support group. I'll try and remember to go back and find the section where he talks about people being against more fresh air and stress reduction, it's pretty funny to read sections like that, my take away from that was that perspective is malleable and there are counters to obstacles and objections. I am nervous about it, but even if I don't do a great job, anything I do now is going to make me a stronger and healthier person. I have a super nice swimsuit, I just have to see if it fits. I can talk to friends of mine who own pools and see about getting a Y membership at a reduced cost if I qualify which I should. Even if we skip the swim part for now, running (walking for now) and biking are still going to boost our lung capacity and benefit our minds and bodies. We have four hours a week, Jill has a pair of running shoes, but Jane needs a pair. When my brother-in-law took the dog out with Jill he did some running with her and mentioned that she uses her lower body well. I know there is resistance and complaining ahead of me. I can go on my own if I can't sell this to the girls, but I'm hoping that they see the incentive as reason enough to participate.

They tell me I'm fat and I remind them that when I was a kid I was thinner than they are now. I found a bunch of wrappers in their backpacks when I opened them up the other day. Jill had a doughnut wrapper and an empty Arnold Palmer Arizona Iced Tea can. Jane had some weird ice cream dessert. I was going to yell at the girls or talk to them and then I decided to let it go. They have to live with the consequences of their decisions and the sooner they learn that, the better. A lot of times they deny that eating gluten does anything to them so why start a fight I can't win? I will refrain from sharing a treat I buy the next time we go out and I'll explain that I'm very sorry, but the treat is for people who stick to their gluten free diets. Another talk I had with myself was the reading too many books at a time dilemma. I decided that I should limit the books I have going so now there are five of them plus my Bible which I have been better about reading. It really makes a difference when I sit down and do some reading in there. My whole day goes better. I'd like to keep writing, but I have things to do so this is goodbye until we meet again tomorrow. If anyone is interested in the book, it's Triathlon Training In Four Hours A Week, written by Eric Harr. I bought my copy at Goodwill, but it should be on Amazon as well. Let me know if you go ahead with it, I'd like to hear if you enjoy it as much as I am. 

If there is anything I have never excelled at, it is letting go. Of thoughts, of feelings, of people. It's not that I want any of it back, no, I have accepted the loss - these things, these humans that have come and gone. It's simply that they have coloured me in a way that I sometimes don't enjoy, like a terrible tattoo you regret forever. I've perhaps tried to cover them with others or blend them into a new design, but I'm no tattoo artist, I can easily say that much.

You're tired of secrets, you say, and it's strange enough you'd feel that way. They're not mine, anyway, it's not as though I can tell you what to do with them in the end. I've my own. We all do. I am never quite sure why anyone would even try to unwind a web so tangled as the one you created between and around us. Sometimes it is better to abandon and move on, I think, to keep the scars inside of us as memories, to learn from them. I don't know if there is enough room in the world for all the darkness we keep inside ourselves.

If only we were honest with ourselves more of the time. If only we were these open books, all our flaws and scars there for all to see. How much less misery we might inflict upon each other, ourselves. These strange, secret lives we all live.. who we appear to be and who we really are when you peel away the layers.

Sometimes it really feels like I am nothing but these ugly, withered layers, like there is nothing left inside anymore. Nothing worth saving. It gets tiresome, this hanging on, this waiting for the light to shine through the broken bits of this world I have created around myself. Just keep swimming, they say, no matter how tired. It is still more pleasant than drowning.

This is one of those days where I just have to sit in the dark listening to Coldplay's I'll see you soon until I find that piece of myself that steps in and pushes the rest of me out into the light again.

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