Friday, August 21, 2015

Why Divorce is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me: a personal story


Allow me to preface, my divorce is my divorce. It’s not your divorce, your parent’s divorce, etc. Please understand, because I surely do, that divorces are painful and while my divorce was the best thing that ever happened to me, that is an individual experience and summation and is not meant to diminish, deride, or disparage anyone else’s marriage or dissolution of marriage.

Months into a difficult separation and impending divorce I ran into a friend I had known for many years, over the course of my marriage and prior to. We were acquaintances and at one time colleagues. I liked her. She was married and had small children and she was also many years younger than me. I only mention that because I was quite young when I married (and subsequently divorced). We greeted each other in the grocery store parking lot and what happened next stunned the shit out of me.
She shamed me.
She’d heard about the divorce and she shamed me.
Before I knew it, I was an unwitting guest at a grocer storefront reckoning. My host, a paragon of domestic virtue — who couldn’t believe I was sitting by acquiescing to the quiet passing of my marriage. I didn’t know where this was coming from, both her staunch faith in marriage and her critical judgement of me, but the latter felt ugly and completely unearned. She knew nothing, but that didn’t prevent her from speaking. The longer her disapproval went on — the more her words began to tighten around my neck, similar to the way my husband’s hands had on that St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Savannah. I didn’t know if she’d ever stop, I was suffocating as she spoke. I felt my face growing hot while the rest of me became paralyzed. Would everything always feel this way? Would I experience every confrontation through the eyes of a victim? No, surely not. But this feeling and this woman who, without provocation, wants to destroy me—level me. At least, it felt that way. Am I being defensive? Shouldn’t I be? Oh god. Would everything always feel this way? Yes, for a long time it would.

For a long time people would misunderstand the circumstances surrounding my divorce, hell, I was one of them. My ex is a good man who loved me. I can write that with sincere honesty and it looks great on the page. Maybe our marriage did too. Good? Loving? This is what many people think a marriage should be. But what about everything else? Trust, respect, appreciation, and reciprocity. What about self-love, self-respect? What about seeing someone as not just your half but a whole, and not yours at all?

My ex is an alcoholic. That’s a fact, not a judgement. I am an alcoholic too. My mother just celebrated 25 years sober. I grew up attending AA and Al-Anon/Alateen. My awareness of the disease is well documented, well informed. I can tell you that my ex-husband is an alcoholic with dogged certainty.

One example of my ex-husband’s acute alcoholism is that he didn’t even realize that I was an alcoholic. After noticing that my social media activity indicated I was drinking a lot he confronted me, “You drink so much now. Why didn’t you drink this much when we were together”? His tone was full of sorrow and regret, implying that if I drank more when we were married I would have been more accepting of his drinking…and we would still be together. Of course he was wrong about this. It was hard to have to tell him, “I did. I did drink this much when we were together. I drank everyday. We drank everyday. I drank to keep up with you, I drank to keep you, I drank to lose myself”. It was like having to tell Bruce Willis he’s a ghost.

Maybe the most significant incident illustrating his disease was that St. Patrick’s Day weekend. That time he threw me over a coffee table onto a pull-out sofa. From there he pinned me down and began choking me. He choked me nearly to death. The only reason he choked me nearly to death and not to death is this — he passed out. He slept through the night. He woke up not remembering anything. What a lucky guy. I am not as lucky. I will always remember what it feels like to not be able to speak, scream, or even whimper. To helplessly grasp at the hands and arms around my neck, until my own arms become numb and fall away. To feel a calm come over me that I want to believe is a reprieve but it is just a clarity, an aura that comes in the last moments before death. Suddenly everything is numb. I feel nothing, nothing save a single hot tear on my cheek. How did it escape? Why couldn’t I? I stopped fighting. I let go. And just like that, he does too.

Despite what happened, I intended to stay. That’s hard for me to admit. I grew up in the golden era of Lifetime movies. I swore up and down that I would never find myself down and out with a man who didn’t treat me right. I was too strong, too educated, and loved myself too much to suffer abuse at the hands of another. At least, that’s the fiction the television producers decided on and I bought into — the truth is anyone can be a victim. It’s the boiling frog, the creeping normality of domestic abuse. Death by a thousand cuts.

I suggested counseling. That was something he would not entertain. No. A hard no. I don’t know why it offended him. I could still feel the bruises on my neck and he was offended? I offered we go together. Still no. He didn’t suggest any other solutions and one night, while I was at work, my friend’s and sister came to me and told me I wasn’t going home. They were taking me to my sister’s and I could go home in the morning. They didn’t think I was safe.

When I did come home he finally offered a solution. We would get divorced. He decided our lives (his) would be too complicated together. Now that most of our friends knew, he didn’t think he’d be able to face them. I remember feeling relieved, but divorce had become an established threat for him to make. We’d drink too much, we’d fight, he’d threaten to leave me and move to Las Vegas (a move he eventually did make). I asked him solemnly to confirm this is what he really wanted. “Yes”. He added that he had been sober all morning while he reached this decision, a detail he included to add legitimacy to his choice. And it did make it easier for me — because it was now the only choice I had. There was nothing left here for me. The door was closing and this was the window opening, this was my way out. This was him waning on the strong hold he had over me, and I could breath again.
Divorce is the best thing that ever happened to me.
That doesn’t mean it was easy.
It was, in fact, the most difficult thing I’ve done.
First, I had failed. Failing at anything is hard, especially this. I thought I was pretty good at marriage. But I had to stop seeing this that way. Maybe I had failed at marriage or maybe marriage had failed me? But life—I hadn’t failed at that, not yet. In fact, it seemed like life was actually a consolation to my marriage ending.

Another seemingly generic pitfall of divorce is that, no matter the circumstances, it is something that still needs to be mourned. There is the loss or division of property, the reallocation of friends and activities, and the unanticipated complete change of lifestyle; and when you’re done grieving all these tangible things you then have to entomb the loss of your future. Your life as you knew it. Every plan you ever made for yourself involved someone else. Someone who is now gone. Every picture of the future in your head has to be redrawn, cropped or edited. Some are more adept at this task, while others are wholly incapable. I think it is this critical marker that will define most people’s divorces. In order to move on, you have to first be able to imagine moving on. For many of us, this is the scariest part.

Next it’s important to observe that most people will undergo their divorce alone. This already isolating experience will probably lead to further separation and estrangement. At the time of my divorce I had many friends who had never been married, yet alone divorced. Even for those who have divorced peers, it’s still a hard subject to brave. I try not to look back to my divorce because it invariably reminds me of how few friends were really present for me, let alone helpful. All acrimony aside, I wasn’t completely alone. There were a few people who patiently stood by, like a custodian, making sure I didn’t completely self-destruct. For the record, I did try.

Then, there is the stress. The unimaginable almost inexplicable stress. Both your brain and your heart have been lacerated. You might be abusing some substance to feel better or feel less (as a bartender I was audience to many divorces in which this was true). My guess is you’re not sleeping well or as much (i.e. you’re now sleeping alone or in a different place). Tasks or chores you shared with a partner now have to be completed alone. Maybe your eating habits have declined or are just plain dismal because (I can vouch) it’s extremely difficult to cook healthy meals for one person, it takes some dedicated time to learn. And during all of this people are emerging from every dark corner of the world trying to date (fuck) you, yes even your ex’s friends.

For me, this stress and more had all sorts of surprising and adverse effects. I developed eczema and migraines. My ex would call in the middle of the night, drunk on the side of the road. He would send me letters and messages begging for reconciliation. He even started a band called No Second Chance, because he honestly believed that in all our time together a second chance was something he never got. I went to live shows to support him. I stood among our friends and listened to him sing songs he wrote about me. Songs where he called me a whore. Songs where he called me an angel. Songs where he talked about fucking other women, who he also called whores. It’s charming, I know. But I loved him and I wanted to remain friends, more so even — family. We had been each other’s family.

I did something very selfish and stupid to circumvent any decision I might make to reconcile. I started dating someone else—almost immediately. I knew that if I were committed to someone else, felt responsible for someone else’s feelings, that I would not go back to my ex. It worked — for me. It didn’t work for the person I dated because I ended up really hurting him. It also didn’t work for my ex because he didn’t have the ability to imagine moving on. He wasn’t able to edit that picture in his brain, even though I was projecting a different one. When he showed up at my new house unannounced and saw the picture of me and someone else, he responded by breaking my boyfriend’s car window and threatening us. My boyfriend called the cops because he wanted the damages paid for. Even after I talked my boyfriend out of pressing charges, the cops said they were obligated to bring charges and my ex-husband spent that night in jail. When the date was set for his hearing I wrote a letter on his behalf. In part because I believe that, for many individuals, being in the system will do more harm than good. I feared that, for my ex, it would make him more angry, hostile, misanthropic. It would set him back financially and maybe even emotionally. I do believe in reform, but I couldn’t see it being served in this case. My boyfriend was pretty upset and couldn’t understand why I would stick my neck out for my ex. I tried convincing him it was completely selfish, that my ex lived in the house with my name still on the mortgage and I needed him out of jail and making payments on the house. My ex boyfriend used to tell me that because he once lived with his girlfriend, he understood what it was like to be married. He didn’t. This argument is just like telling a parent that you “get it” because you’ve got a dog. [Take this advice if nothing else, don’t ever make one of those parallels.] The District Attorney called me one afternoon about my ex-husband’s case. He asked me if he’d ever had incidents of violence before and if I ever felt threatened by him. I lied. I lied on the phone to the District Attorney. I said no. I didn’t mention being pushed, threatened, or locked in a room. I didn’t mention any of the shitty things my ex used to say to make me feel like a terrible person who didn’t deserve any better and I definitely didn’t mention the night he almost killed me. I imagine a lot of women, men too, have been in a similar position and have done the same. And for what? Maybe I did the wrong thing? I can’t know for sure. At the time I did what felt right, and for some reason it felt right to lie.

Years passed. The most notable year was when we had been divorced more years than we were married. I think we both felt the weight of that. And then more years passed. And recently his mother passed. I can’t imagine how hard that was for him, but I do know that if he survived that, he can survive anything.
Divorce is the best thing that ever happened to me.

So many years have passed that most of my peers today didn’t know me when I was married. Enough years have passed that I question whether I knew myself when I was married. But the divorce I can always see. I see the lines and shadows it left upon me. I open my mouth and I hear all the evidence of my divorce. I’m alive. It looks and sounds amazing, like the best thing that ever happened to me.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

No More Apologies

My capacity for empathy grows every day
and my experiences inform that growth

Living half of my life
in chronic
is just one example
of many experiences
I never anticipated

I fantasized about
dreamed of
prayed for
wished for
more times then I will
ever admit to

Anything to quell my suffering
silence my pain
hide my fear


But every day I live
I know that living is teaching me

And I am
and happy
and I can forgive all the suffering
because surviving it has afforded me
in all its fragility
it often

Twenty years ago I experienced
for the first time
the cultural phenomena of losing someone so special to you
who also happens to be 
a total stranger

They found him three days later
my mom was the first to call me.

I reacted 
the way I felt I should react
the only way
I knew how


people feel things 
and it makes other people

people feel things
and others
understand and support

My mother is an example of the latter.

Here is a poem she wrote for me twenty years ago: 

Saturday, February 08, 2014


Thank you to the love I chased forever
the love 
that never fully returned me

Thank you to the boys I kept returning to 
when no one fully loved me 

Thank you to those who took only what they wanted
making more valuable 
everything that remain

Thank you to everyone who hollowed me out
broke my pneuma, bruised my casing 
You allowed me to grow back 
in finer fettle

Thank you to the men who noticed me
hating myself
just long enough for me to notice them

Thank you to the men who 
never noticed me

Thank you to those who pleaded for second and third chances
gently reminding me 
that to lose me is a tragedy
and I was losing myself
every second and third chance I dispensed

Thank you 

Thank you for losing me
Thank you for leaving me
Leaving me 
Just the way I am
So he could find me
Just the way I am 
So he could love me
Just the way he does 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

No, bless you

I can picture the day in my mind.  Eighth grade Algebra class, we had a substitute teacher.
An important detail only because of what was about to happen.  I was about to sneeze.

When I sneeze, I discharge a high pitched sound.  It has always been this way, for as long as I can remember and so forth presently.

If I had to describe it, my best account...a cartoon mouse?
It's not intentional.  It's just what happens when I sneeze.  If I could alter it (or any other unfavorable quality about my voice [pick one]) I would.

The truth, I never thought about it much.

Until that day.

I sneezed.  A few peers said bless you, as expected.

Unexpectedly, the substitute teacher halted her lesson and glared at me.
Daggers—at a child.

She said some choice words to me and told me to sign the infraction book.

The infraction book(s) existed in each classroom and kept an account of every time a student pissed off a teacher.  That's honestly the best I can explain the arbitrary nature of it's purpose.
If a student signed the infraction book 3 or more times in a week, they were prohibited from participating in "free hour" on Friday.
"Free hour" was the last hour of the last day of the week; students whose names stayed off of the infraction book or appeared 2 times or less were allowed to sit outside for an hour on Friday and socialize.
Students who exceeded their infractions were to sit in a room, study hall style.
The troubling thing, there were almost always more people in study hall than free hour. 
I didn't want to sign it.  I had already signed it twice that week, like most weeks, for not very good reasons—and this, the most very not good reason of all.

Before I could object, I witnessed an astonishing event.

My classmates (all of them) stood up for me.

A harmony of, "No, that's just how she sneezes" and other varied protests tickled my ears. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and what I was hearing was the surprising news that
other people noticed me
and my behaviors. 
It was noteworthy that they defended my honor.  They weren't about to let me get steam rolled by this substitute teacher
that wasn't nearly as cool 
as learning
I was being listened to.

Things I said, did...
small gestures
something as insignificant as a sneeze...

That day, in that eighth grade classroom, I learned something profound.  
I have an affect on people.  However small or superficial, however bad or however good, however temporary or lasting, however intentional or fortuitous.  
Even if no one can hear me, someone is listening.

Thank you for listening. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LOVE AND FAMINE (to my godson on his third birthday)

To my godson on his third birthday*

If my godson could read 
I would most surely not let him read this. 
But one day soon he will be reading 
and one day, not too soon, I will want him to read this. 

So in the interim, I ask you to read this. . .

I want to guide him, however misguided that may be. 
I want to help him, however helplessly I can. 
I want to teach him, however under qualified I am to do so.  

One thing I am qualified to do is wait tables and tend bar. 
No, not the only thing my sillies. 
Yet, for the last 17 years I have worked in an industry that has 
guided me, helped me, and taught me 
many, many things. 

To my godson on his third birthday, I wish to teach you what I know about life, love, and flatulence as it relates to my experience in this industry. 
I will likely learn more in the process, Thank you Ebin. Happy Birthday!  

Find a vacancy

Find an empty, CLEAN table or scratch of a bar to sit at. A booth near the window may be what you want but if it’s not available—pull up your big kid pants and sit somewhere that is. 
The key is understanding subtext. When you are told to sit anywhere you like—it is assumed you know to sit at a clean table. But you don’t. You always choose the dirty one, the unavailable one, or you pass up available real estate and opt to wait for someone to leave. I know. I’m watching you, and if I may be’re making my job hell. 

Boy oh boy. 
We truly do want what we can’t have—and this goes further than just restaurant seating. 
The easiest way for us to chose our lovers is to shop everyone else’s choices, right? 
If it is available it probably isn’t any good, right? <buzzer sound>
Playing musical chairs as children taught us how to fight for seats, and how to feel dejected when we couldn’t keep up, competitively.
Ebin, please don’t play musical chairs. Just keep playing the drums. You’ll always have a seat of your own. 

Know what you want

Don’t be arrogant enough to keep your server lingering at your table while you mull over the menu options. You don’t need an audience to decide your lunch. Your server is likely needed elsewhere and could be fulfilling other people’s needs. 
But selfishly you keep them. 
Undecided you sit, insisting your needs are more important than other’s. 

You don’t know what you want but your loneliness desires an audience. 
You need to keep people near you even at the expense of letting them move on. 
Don’t keep your lover standing at the table if you don’t see anything on the menu that you want. 

No Yelling!

Your needs are important. And your server is gainfully employed because he/she agrees—and they want to take care of your needs [in exchange for a few of your dollars]. But if you mistake your needs for being “an emergency” or <cringe> more important than someone else’s—please, let me be the one to disabuse you. 
Let your servers earn their gratuity by serving you, as they see fit.
This is to say, please don’t yell for their attention, get out of your seat to find them, or touch them physically as they move around HASTILY. 

Your needs are important. And someone is employed as your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/lover because they agree—and they want to take care of your needs in exchange for your love and affection (or whatever your arrangement may be). But if you mistake your needs for...forget this, just listen. Do not yell at people. It makes you an ass. Do not yell at your lover, it makes you the biggest ass of all. Respect is a fundamental, not only of romantic relationships but all relationships. 
If you want to scream go out for cheerleading, or something comparable. Otherwise keep your thoughts and feelings to a dull noise. 

No Yelping

Criticism, when constructive, can be great. Was there something about your experience that strongly bothered you...that can be fixed? Okay, may I suggest you mention it to someone you believe could benefit from your evaluation of the product or the experience. Perhaps it had never been brought to their attention properly.  Wow, you could really be helping them in the long term make others like yourself happy—or—you could write a snappy, poorly edited, run on paragraph about what your usual dining habits are and how this time you were sorely let down. 
Web 2.0 didn’t make us all reviewers. It is a job that still requires some merit. You sir aren’t offering constructive criticism, you are simply letting everyone know not to cross you—because you are a poor sport (and probably were not hugged enough).  <---snappy Yelp-like one-liner

Things didn’t work out. You had a bad experience. May I suggest you mention this to someone you believe could benefit from your evaluation of the experience. That is, your ex. Telling everyone else this person’s flaws and failings just isn’t quite as constructive as telling the old flame why things burned out. Maybe it has never properly been brought to their attention that they are clingy or flaky or pushy or a bad listener. Maybe it is too late for your relationship but it is never too late to help someone you care(d) about. Give it a shot, express yourself well. 
You could really be helping them in the long term make others like yourself happy—and—it may bring you some closure as well. 

Get off your phone

It is absolutely not imperative for you to be talking on your mobile phone while ordering a meal or paying a check. Nothing, nobody is that important. If it were—you would not be doing other things. You would (hopefully) be ministering to the important conversation, giving it your full attention. We are in an age of adjustment to technology (some could argue we always are), but cell phones have been around long enough for us to realize their value. Their value will always be superficial in comparison to an actual human encounter. If you don’t recognize this, I am sad for you.
Your “multi-tasking” abilities are, in truth, a disgusting display of your selfishness and disregard for genuine human dignity. You are being wildly rude to both the person you are having a conversation with and the person you are seeking satiation from. If you can’t plan your phone calls around mastication then politely ask your telephone partner to “hold for one moment please”. It is painfully difficult for your server/clerk to recognize that you are ready to be engaged, as most of us were raised well and don’t wish to interrupt your “important” conversation.
Apologizing for being on the phone makes you less of a dick but I appeal to you now and ask you to just avoid being on the phone altogether. 

Our phones have become so much more than devices for talking. Our communication and inquiry needs are being satisfied at just a subtle flick of the wrist, but we have personal needs too. 
And these needs are always much more fun to satisfy. <---am I making myself Verizon clear? 

Prove it

That was the best service you ever had, you loved it. Don’t just tell them, $how them. 

That was the best _____you ever had, you loved it. Don’t just tell them, show them. 
It’s a dating cliche but you know it as well as I do...Actions speak louder than words.

Be Patient

Good things take time.
And you may never fully understand all of the circumstances happening in the background.

Good things take time.
And you may never fully understand all of the circumstances happening in the background. 

I share this with you Ebin**  because I like the way I see the world and I like how the way I see the world is shaped by all of you in it. 
Seventeen years of both dating and catering to people’s idiosyncrasies (ie working in the restaurant industry) can leave indelible marks on you. Scraping off my layers of cynicism and still finding more is discouraging yes, but I am finding so much more than just that. 

*I started writing this on Ebin’s third birthday, August 15, 2012 but as per usual I became distracted and a few days later Fall Semester began. The academic year tragically marked the end of such personal writing pleasures as I pursued the 4.0.
Sorry this took me so long Ebin, but I get the feeling you understand. 
**anyone else reading this

Thursday, July 05, 2012


This blog is about Love. This blog is also about Marriage. This blog will [try to] connect the dots between these two fundamental entities embedded in our humanity. This topic has been tackled by several million dozen people before, myself included, and almost always discussed with greater intelligence and success than I am currently capable of. It is with regard to that truth that I attempt it, some may so to no avail <---me, I am the one who says that. 
To define my role in this argument I will concede to being the product of two divorces and the sum of one divorce. I have been in love a couple of times and I have loved many times. I consider myself very lucky to have been conceived of love (?), to have grown up surrounded by love, and to have been a very fortunate receiver and provider of love.
Now that I have inserted myself into this dialogue fairly and honestly I am ready to fully make an ass out of myself. 
Anyone who knows me presently may be under the impression that I hold marriage in scathing contempt, and they would be half right. Of course, anyone who knew me 15-20 years ago would also be under the same impression, and they too would be half right. The truth is, I never wanted to get married. I never dreamed about a wedding day or a romantic candle-light proposal. When the JC Penny catalog would come to my childhood residence I would look at the bras (because I one day wanted boobs—and something to put them in) and I would look at flower girl dresses (because <sigh> I one day wanted kids—and some dumb fancy dress to put them in).
If you’ve been alive for even a minute you soon realize that you can’t always get what you want but if you try real hard you may get a poorly conceived Rolling Stones song or a failed marriage and the inability to have children.
Life is unfair, etc. 
Another memory from childhood involves sitting together as a family watching Married With Children. I love(ed) this show, as it was the first exposure I had to this brand of “disfunction” presented in family life (I was too young to have seen All In The Family at the time...I have since remedied that). I use the quotation marks around disfunction to denote sarcasm. It was refreshing, even in grammar school, to see such a relatable depiction of spousal, sibling, neighborly, and community love. Which is to say, an honest love that sometimes didn’t look like love at all—but rather contempt, complacency, anguish, and many passes at suicide. Even Buck, the family dog, suffered as a Bundy. And Whoa Bundy did they suffer, but they suffered together—as a family—and for this fictional family that was what love was about. 
Ah, the absurdity of familial love. 
But what about the absurdity of matrimonial love? Thrice divorced, four-times married Hoboken hoodrat/casanova Frank Sinatra, singer of Love and Marriage, (later optioned by Fox as the opening theme for Married With Children) might even say that marriage is an institution that you can disparage. It seems he did quite often. But I am speculating. 

BFF Love in 2007 in front of Buckingham Fountain, also seen in Married With Children

I told you I have tried to tackle this subject before. I did so pretty ungracefully and also self published it on the internet. I'll just let you read it for yourself.

This Myspace blog was written four years ago. It only garnered 136 views and 5 comments. A friend's wife reposted it, which was very flattering even though she neglected to give the writer credit. 
But this banal banter was just intended as silly noise. Much like all other things I write or say—it is to be taken with a certain level of skepticism. You can be certain it was written with a healthy dose of it.

Current mood:sleepy                     March 24 2008

Marriage is a public admission that you need to fight with someone everyday to feel alive.

Marriage is a good way to incur credit card debt.

Marriage is countless bad dates with other random couples...just because they are a couple too.

Marriage is a phone call to the cops at 2am.

Marriage is just like waiting tables; a character building occupation that everyone should experience once (but only briefly so they don't run the risk of watching their spirit die).

Marriage is not having to date anymore (whew!)

Marriage is not getting to date anymore (what?)
Marriage is an easy way to diminish self esteem.
Marriage is true intimacy : )
Marriage is (weddings specifically) a real financial burden on your friends so make sure you don't run out of booze. Skimp on food if you must...just don't run out of liquor, wine, and beer. It is important to serve all three. No one's going to dance to Kris Kross if we can't properly get annihilated.
Marriage is making sacrifices you didn't expect to make (like seeing your friends).
Marriage is like's not for everyone.
Marriage is above all--a legal contract and just like should think twice before applying it to you.
It needs to said (to anyone I've ever been married to [that's you babe]) this bears no reflection on you. These are just observations I'm sharing for funsies and because I can't sleep (although I desperately need to). Ohana and love always!!!
And for the ten people I know who are happily married...I'm not knocking you. Much respect, love, and well wishes for the future.
I have to make these disclaimers because it's increasingly obvious that a lot of us (myself included) take ourselves way too seriously. I just like drinking, writing, writing while I'm drinking, and sharing useless thoughts with the few people who find me charming when I'm really just being obnoxious.

So, how does one pontificate on the subject of love and marriage? There simply are not any facts about love, just human experiences with it. And love isn't easily defined (although my favorite definition is Merriam's #8: the score of zero {as in tennis}).
The first known use of the word marriage was 7 centuries ago—and we still can not agree on it's definition. 
You see, this is my ambivalence on broaching the subject. It is an impossible task but yet I am so compelled to dive head first into the ewwy gooey mess that is love—and every conversation about it. 

Most people think I am a cynic, and I am happy to let them think that. I encourage them really. I spew a lot of vitriol when talking about marriage, it's just become a part of my routine now, my brand, my persona, my performance. I don't know how to turn it off, 
I don't know how to shut it down—I don't know how to shut the fuck up. 

Here is the truth. I am a romantic. Yuck, I said it. Even after spending every waking moment of my life not wanting to get married, I went and got fucking married. I was really in love, I was really happy, and I was willing to do anything to make my partner happy too. Sidebar, I was also really young—capricious youth—but I certainly think our story was meant to be written, and I've never regretted my decision to get married. 

Elvis sighting, NV 2003
We vowed to adopt each others hound dogs (check). We vowed to never step on each other's blue suede shoes (that part was easy—we didn't own any).
We tried to take care of each other in sickness and in health. Sometimes that is hard. I drove him to work every day for months when he was having seizures and when I needed a root canal he fought me. He fought me on spending the money, even though I was in desperate pain. It wasn't really about tooth number 19, or the money, it was that he liked fighting me. I couldn't figure it out, why he liked fighting me so much. After 5 years it was hard not to think of his fighting as love. He loved me. He loved me a lot, and often when he was drunk, and often in front of friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. His love was sometimes embarrassing. His love was sometimes scary. He almost loved me to death once. But I did what love does, I endured. I endured up until the day he asked me for a divorce. I knew this time it was not just a threat, as asking for a divorce was sometimes a part of his "loving me rhetoric" when he was really drunk. He assured me he was sober and that he had given it thorough contemplation. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and promptly gave him a divorce. 

Okay, you got me. There is nothing prompt about divorce. That part was painful, that part was ugly, that part was messy. That is the part I do not wish upon anyone. I constantly defy marriage because today, if you are going to get married you also run the risk of getting divorced. When I cringe at the announcement of impending marriages it is not born from bitterness, contempt of the institution, or the inability to be happy for my loved ones—it is because I want to protect them. I want to protect them from the dissolution of marriage that we Americans have a 40-50% chance of encountering (if current divorce trends are maintained). I want to protect them from sitting at a bar popping pills and chasing them with vodka like so many of my regulars at the bar did 5 or 6 times a week after they suffered their own divorces. I want to prevent them from literally drinking themselves to death like my friend Kipp did 8 years and 4 days ago because he was unable or unwilling to recover from his divorce. I want my friends, and well everyone with exception of Ann Coulter, to be happy. But the truth is this, and it’s something that the online version of Merriam-Webster neglects to include when defining love, love can sometimes destroy us. 
Does my caution of marriage stem solely from my own divorce? Was the foundation already present because I came from a twice divorced home? Was my fear of marriage confirmed when I studied Criminal Justice for 3 years and wrote papers on the topic of reducing spousal homicide through reporting domestic violence? I don’t know. I guess all three are likely. 
It is worth mentioning that the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report, column 15: Relationship of Victim to Offender, offers summary codes. For example: (HU) Husband, (WI) Wife, (CH) Common-Law Husband, (CW) Common-Law Wife, (MO) Mother...etc. 
This list goes all the way down including (EH) Ex-Husband, (EE) Employee and stopping lastly on (ST) Stranger and (UN) Unknown Relation. 
So what does this prove? Does it prove that your husband or wife is your future executioner? No, clearly not. I’m certain it proves nothing. It does however suggest the already commonly accepted notion that, as humans, to know us is to want to kill us. 
You [human] are much more (insert made up percentage here) likely to be killed by someone you are acquainted with than by a stranger. Assuming of course that you are unlucky enough to be killed.

I often [always] tell people that I will never get married again. But I also said that I would never get married once. I've done a lot of things I've said I would never do, most of which are too embarrassing to list here. But I'm not completely obstinate on the subject. To prove this I have made a [clearly] reasonable second husband collage to back this up. 

Albeit, most of these men would have to get divorced for the purpose of being my second husband or I may have to convert to Judaism. I'm fairly open to both. 

I have not even addressed the topic of marriage equality. That is a whopper, and I honestly feel it deserves it's own blog—or maybe it is just this simple;
We may not be able to define love or marriage but we should fucking celebrate all love and honor it amongst all consenting adults. 

He makes silly faces

a lot

My ex-husband, he isn’t a monster. He is my friend. He is my family. He is someone I love.  It is not his malfeasance we are divorced. We both fought, we both tried to make our own brand of love work and we both failed at it. But this [see pictures] is what our love looks like now, after our divorce. Many people stay married because they love each other, or have love for each other. And herein is what I take issue with. Love, for me, is simply not enough to make a relationship last. There are many fundamentals to being in love and being in a relationship, and Christ—to belonging to a sacred union that my own best friend can not legally enter into. Love is a foolish defense for being with someone. Love is an affectionate emotion that I often prescribe to my coffee. But there are expressions of love worthy of exploration: mutual respect, trust, admiration, and appreciation. Not to be confused with deference, adherence, or other archaic forms of submission which anyone who has been married under biblical sermon has vowed to do. To quibble with Sinatra one more time, love and marriage do not go together like a horse and carriage. Well, maybe at one time they did; but we are not a one horse town anymore folks. We have hybrids now. 
People speak of “unconditional love” and, FUCK, what does that mean? We try so hard to find love and now there are conditions? There is so much conflict in even discussing is no wonder we affectionately refer to it as a four-letter-word. 
So again, I’ll speak through my own experiences on this one too. A long time ago on a soap opera I loyally watched growing up (General Hospital) a character (Carly) said these words (I remember verbatim), “Jason loves me because of who I am and not in spite of it”. 
Laugh all you want, but those words haunted me. I remember thinking, “what a truly great way to love people, I’m going to do that”. I have since always tried. I have found that it is not always easy to love everything about someone, but you can love that you don't love everything about them, if you will. I don’t know, it’s like meditation. It takes practice.
I think it is up to us, individually, to define what love and marriage means; as it so clearly means so many different things to so many individuals. I wanted to start a dialogue between us, that is, myself and my six followers. 
I’ll go first:
When I was 15 I thought I knew everything about everything. I’ve spent every year since then understanding that I know nothing. The nothingness in my head struggles daily to develop ideas, opinions, feelings—a somethingness about my environment...any semblance of truth, fact, certainty. Those ideas, opinions, feelings we spend so much time forming, they can be all the somethingness we have sometimes—and they can be hard to let go of. But we should, because they are not truth, fact, certainty. And that is my truth. 
To me, love is an energy. Like everything else in this world; and energy does not die—it goes on forever—or it changes form. 
I’d like to hear (read) your thoughts and feelings about love or marriage.

Because maybe I would like to change my energy.