Entries tagged "divorce"

So, You’re Getting Divorced?


I’m so sorry. Congratulations. It likely doesn’t feel like congratulations time if you’ve only just discovered your marriage is not going to work. But at some point, however far in the future it may be, it will. This might be hard to believe, but it’s true. This is just one of the things I’ve learned going through my own divorce. Here are some other things I learned or wish I’d known at the start.

1. Welcome to Divorce Club. It’s a little like getting a motorcycle. You’re going to find out there’s a little wave and an understanding people flash at each other. We find each other via uncanny emotional cruising we might not realize we’re doing. You’re entering or have been through the shit. We know. We’re there too. People who haven’t been there have no idea. Those civilians probably aren’t going to be very cathartic to talk with.

2. You will need a new emergency contact for your doctor’s office. This will hurt.

3. There is no reason the person you’re divorcing is going to make more sense to you or behave in a way you think makes more sense during divorce than they did during the marriage. If they did, you wouldn’t be getting divorced.

4. Holding onto anger and resentment about your spouse’s behavior is only going to make you, your friends and definitely your kids miserable. Of course, it’s a good idea to feel however you do feel about things. Be as angry as you need to be when you feel angry. But nurturing anger long term is just going to make the divorce process harder. You have practical shit to deal with now.

5. You are going to be a teenager for a little while. This part can be fun, especially if you’ve never been one before.

7. You get a sex life! Only have sex with people who are unavailable for a relationship for a good while.

8. Make a friend under the age of 25 who can talk sense to you about texting and social media as they relate to online dating, pick ups and their aftermath. If you haven’t dated in a while this shit might be new to you. If it’s been a really long time, learn how to have safe sex.

8. Have some friends you can fall apart with. Divorce Club members are good candidates. Unless someone has been through hell, they won’t be very good at being with you while you’re in it. Walk away from advice givers (this included if it bothers you).

9. Divorce is like a death. It’s the end of your idea or dream of a future you made decisions and compromises for. And like any death grieving isn’t linear. Be very gentle with yourself. A friend told me “when someone dies you get a year.” Your life relationship died. You deserve to be forgiven for whatever weird stuff you may do this year. See number 4.

10. You thought planning your wedding was time-consuming and expensive?

11. If you can avoid hiring divorce lawyers, do it. It’s a cliche because it’s true: the lawyers will do better than either of you will financially in the split. You will often end up having to manage and fight with the lawyer as much or more than your ex.

12. Don’t hire a lawyer without an endorsement from someone who’s been in Divorce Club a lot longer than you.

12. Nothing emotional is accomplished or gained in a lawsuit. You will never feel better because you sued someone. You should take care of yourself and if this is necessary to do financially, then it’s necessary. Just know that it is often a second emotionally painful thing to deal with in an ongoing way. And it makes closure take much longer.

13. If you die while you are still married, your ex is your next of kin. At some point you will be motivated to do whatever you have to do to end it.

14. You will want to be divorced more that you ever wanted to be married.

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Video of my #ContactCon performance (4 min) : When my too big to fail institutions failed me. Loss and the Net.

Doug Rushkoff honoured me by asking me to be one of the 10 people giving an opening provocation at the very inspiring conference he and Venessa Miemis convened the other day called #ContactCon. It’s was a conference focussed on what people could actively do to concretely fulfill the promise of the Net.

Our role as opening provokers was to give people some inspiration about what the Net needs. I knew I would focus on emotional and a connection on people since that’s what my performance work centres on. I only had four minutes to make an impression and move the room.

I also knew that the other speakers, like Scott Heiferman, (founder of meetup) and Eli Pariser, (founder of MoveOn) whom are all wonderful and whose work I admire weren’t performers. And while people spoke about the importance of making the Net human I wanted to make the room feel human as I made my own points. I wanted to shift or sculpt the social space in the room. Later that day, Doug called it “repasting the room” when he thanked me for my performance

Usually, if I had more time, I’d then use the openness and emotional connection in the room after what I did to shine focus on people in the room and to draw their stories out. I explore some of how I do this in shows, and how these “mechanics” of  conversation or tummeling work  in this other talk I gave at Google and teach people how to do it in UnPresenting.

And some people asked me afterwards as I discussed social and emotional engagement if its necessary to be heavy and sad to pull a focus like that. No I don’t believe so. I think you have to be genuine. You have to work with what’s truthful for you right then. Believe me, it’s a lot more fun for me when it’s hilarious. In time, this story will also be hilarious. At least some of the time.

I’ve written all this to give some context as to why I did what I did in this provocation. It was a chosen performance. Usually this opening up of the room happens in a performance or “talk” of mine. Because there was no time for it I got responses all day long, many in the bathroom from other women (a sure sign you’ve hit a nerve). I choose to open myself up and be vulnerable and honest in these moments but it can be tiring. It’s been a difficult and profound year for me personally, a year of biblical kinds of loss. I’ve moved from place to place with one suitcase for over a year. I’m ready for home and settledness.

This video doesn’t give context. I’m not sure it conveys how it felt in the room before, during or after I spoke. I did shift the feeling in the room which was my goal. I’m proud of that. I’m proud that I can be publicly honest about something difficult. I do know that institutions, even the ones we helped to build, fail. And I do know that outsourcing a sense of self to them also fails us.

Occupy Wall Street points to the institutional failure and shift that has only just begun. I am learning every day how to self-create and collectively create what is needed to feel home in a life of change. This is a huge opportunity for those who make online and off. The goal is not to have something static forever. I’ve learned the hardest way that we really don’t have control.  That kind of making is an illusion. We want to be ourselves and feel safe and feel together. I know I do.



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