I’ve mentioned before that I am very much a ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of girl. I’m not typically the person that steps outside of that zone when it comes to food.
My ex-husband was the complete opposite. He enjoyed an incredible love for sushi, Dim Sum, Thai peanut sauce and had an affinity for hole-in-the-wall restaurants. All of those things were foreign to me before hand and I had zero desire to try something other than the local steak restaurant. It took a lot of convincing (years) for me to try any of these. And then I did and now I have a huge love of a few different sushi rolls, I have had my fair share of BBQ buns at the local Dim Sum restaurant, I could eat Thai peanut sauce for dessert and I have a few new favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants that the kids and I love to go to.
Something else that my ex-husband exposed me to was matzo ball soup, bagels and lox, and potato pancakes. While I didn’t fall in love with bagels and lox or potato pancakes, matzo ball soup was another thing all together for me. I think I’ve had matzo ball soup from every deli on the east side of Orlando and the best that we ever enjoyed was homemade. The boys love this just as much as their dad and I and it has become their comfort food and one of their favorite meals.
So the other night, I made matzo ball soup…because I love it and for no other reason other than I hadn’t had it in years. The boys were delighted and the little redhead really enjoyed her first matzo ball. But the point was that I was able to enjoy one of my favorite things…without guilt. Without having to hear complaining from my Irish Idiot about it being something that my ex-husband liked. It was fantastic.
My Irish Idiot is insecure. He hated when I would want to eat something or do something that tied me at all to my previous marriage. He was never okay with sushi, we never ate at anything other than the typical chain restaurant, and matzo ball soup was never allowed on the menu, even though it was one of the boys favorite meals. I could kick myself now for ‘bowing’ to his ‘requests’ but at the time it just wasn’t worth the battle. I would rather struggle over something bigger than about what we ate so I gave in about these kinds of things.
Looking back, I realize how much I chose to not battle over things that I thought were small but now that I’m single again, I realize that they really play a large role in my life. Not that everything is focused on food but even enjoying my favorite beach in the world, 1st Street Beach in South Beach (Nikki Beach) was off of the request list with my Irish Idiot.
I could continue to question myself forever for why I always bent to his wants and needs when some of my most favorite things, and they were simple things, were thrown to the wayside simply because they were connected to my ex-husband.
I walked away from my ex-husband with a few new favorite things like eating at some great restaurants in downtown Winter Park, loving the diversity of Miami, and enjoying every ‘Saw’ movie ever created. And that’s ok. I still dislike my ex-husband…but it’s okay to enjoy some things that he exposed me to.
I will be walking away from my Irish Idiot with a love of Ford trucks, a larger love of Jeeps and a love for camouflage anything and so are my kids. And that’s ok. I will despise him for a long time for the damage that he has done emotionally to me and the kids, BUT I can still love the good things.
I realized that if I gave up these things, I would be doing more harm to myself than anyone else. While they (my ex’s) may be prideful and think that I love these things only because of them, I’ll let them think that, because WHO CARES. I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy new things, meet new people, eat more than just steak and potatoes, and it just happened to be when I was with them. That’s how I view things.
A ‘revised’ me
It’s now part of who I am. What my history is. I won’t apologize, diminish it or ignore it. And anyone that is ever involved with me – fair warning – if you ever attempt to tell me that you don’t want to do something because I did that with my ex-husband(s) then…forget you.
I don’t associate matzo ball soup with my ex-husband or Jeeps with my Irish Idiot. I remember that my ex-husband shared his bowl of matzo ball soup at Bagel King with me and that I loved riding in my Irish Idiot’s Jeep, but that doesn’t mean that I’m trying to recreate the same memory and experiences if I enjoy these things again. I’m trying to simply enjoy some of my NEW favorite things.
My advice to anyone going through a break up or a divorce – don’t shun or ‘back-burner’ dreams or wish list items simply because they remind you of your ex. They don’t remind you of your ex – they remind you of a time when you and your ex shared a memory. It is YOUR memory, YOUR wish list item, YOUR dreams. It just happens to be that your ex exposed you to these things and he was there when you experienced them.
Life changes over time and as much as we want to associate memories with people, if the people are no longer in our lives, the memories are now only ‘ours’ and if we choose to act on those memories and fulfill those dreams, those are now OUR dreams that WE’VE defined and fulfilled and no one else’s.
These two men, that have been tough to have in my life over the past years, will now forever be in my life. If I choose to forget the good things that I experienced with them, then I am choosing to deny myself fun life experiences.
Why would I do that? Why would I want to tell myself, “heck no, Staci, you shouldn’t buy your dream Jeep simply because your Irish Idiot likes Jeeps” or “No – I can’t go to the best sushi restaurant in town with my best friend because it will remind me of my ex-husband.” That’s simply denying myself a good time. Denying myself the opportunity to enjoy something that I love – not because I want to remember my ex’s, because trust me I don’t, but because I like these things. Plain and simple. And for no other reason.
My ex’s are simply that – my past, my history and I refuse to let them have a part in my future. They made choices that put themselves in my past and I will move on.
I will own my dream Jeep (and hopefully before my Irish Idiot purchases his next Jeep, just to show him up – yes that will feel good). I will take my best friend on a date downtown to the best sushi restaurant in town and yes, I will own a boat before my soon-to-be-ex does.
But not because I want to put them in their place and show them that I don’t need them. But instead because I love these things now (I’ve always loved boats btw), and I will pursue these dreams no matter who turned me on to them and no matter how I learned to love these things.
Go enjoy your version of Matzo Ball Soup. Experience new things, even small things like sleeping in the middle of your bed. You’ll be amazed how great it feels to really enjoy some of your favorites…on your own…even if your ex exposed you to these favorites. And don’t feel bad for enjoying it.