You know, it occurs to me at this pivotal juncture of my life that the past few years have taught me a valuable lesson: Namely, there is a wrong way — and typically anywhere from one to a shitload of right ways — to approach many of life’s pesky little obstacles. Here’s just a quick sampling of examples:

Wrong way: Cheat. And leave a brick behind as evidence.

Right way: Take ownership of your issues, communicate about the problems, commit to giving the relationship time to heal or die. Sucky? Yes. Easy? Hardly. But it’s only right.

Wrong way: Buy Splenda at your local Ralph’s or Safeway (that shit’s expensive!).

Right way: While at your favorite coffee house, after purchasing your venti low-fat iced caramel half-caf mocha with extra ice (hold the whipped cream), stealthily slink around the counter, pretend you’re grabbing extra napkins, and fill your pockets with as many handfuls of Splenda packets as possible without being discovered. (I just may happen to know someone who knows someone whose personal record is 46.)

Wrong way: Disrespect/disparage/disregard/treat the other parent of your child(ren) as though he/she is dead.

Right way: Acknowledge that your child(ren) came from the womb/sperm of the other parent, thus making that other parent inherently deserving of respect.

Wrong way: Make potato salad with copious squirts of mustard. (Ewww.)

Right way: Make potato salad with mayonnaise only, hold the French’s. (You know, I just realized: the words “sperm” and “mayonnaise” should NEVER appear in sentences that live in close proximity of one another. Just sayin’…)

Wrong way: Pose for your online dating profile picture while sprawled on a SpongeBob SquarePants bedspread. (Seriously. I once received a “wink” from a guy clearly posing on a toddler bed surrounded by SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy Cheeks and the whole gang. Ewww…yet again.)

Right way: Have someone take your online dating profile picture while you are fully clothed, not drunk, not in the vicinity of children’s cartoon characters and not holding a fish (Don’t ask me why, but there’s a disproportionate number of men who pose with a fish — so I figured it was worth mentioning.)

I could go on and on, but you probably get my point. And yes, I realize I may know someone who knows someone who may be a Splenda klepto, but the first step in beating an addiction is admitting it, right? I’ll have to get her to work on that.

Anyhow, notice the pic above does not show me standing in front of a “One Way” sign. And there’s a reason: There are many ways to approach a problem. There is just, oftentimes, a universally wrong way.

And Marilyn and my ex are heading the Wrong Way. In CAPITAL LETTERS. Maybe even underlined. With italics. And in bold.

Which brings me to the title of this blog post: Didn’t they see the signs? And if you’re new to the details of my bat-shit crazy life, please check out the inspiration for this post’s title here — cuz you kinda hafta read one to understand the nuance of the other. It’s much cooler that way. Trust me.

So the signs — ah yes, the signs. I got a big ol’ sign in the form of a legal motion a few weeks ago. This motion was attempting to do a few things, including make a significant change to custody of my two amazing children and add a clause that would prevent me from publishing or blogging about my life, post-divorce.

But I mean, come on: Didn’t they see the signs? Don’t they know me well enough to know how I’d respond to this?

I’m not the type who will just quietly sit back and give in, especially with so much at stake. That’s clearly not my style, and it hasn’t been my style since I was about 6 years old and in Mrs. Campbell’s kindergarten class, when Mean Ramona told the teacher I had eaten the entire ear of Indian Corn from the Thanksgiving cornucopia.

Did not!

(And for the record: It was merely a tiny nibble, and it was neither tasty nor corn-like. Thus I was innocent of her accusation, and I made sure Mrs. Campbell knew it. So Mean Ramona had to clean Bugsy-the-gerbil’s cage in penance. Which was totally awesome to watch…)

Anyhow, back to my point: I’m a quiet person, but I also know my rights. I know that just because they don’t like that I’m blogging, this doesn’t mean I must cease and desist.

So just for grins, let’s examine a few of the roles I fill in life, all of which easily could serve as loud and clear signs about how I would respond to their legal motion:

1. Mom (and they know that — certainly no mystery there.)

2. Writer (and they know that, too. I’ve been a writer for longer than I was married. And I was married for almost 1/3 of my life, so you do the math on that one.)

3. Journalist (and they know that. In fact, my ex used to sit with me on the couch, quizzing me on case law from my Media Law text book while I was studying for my master’s degree.)

4. Hoarder (and they know that. They’ve seen the cards left behind by my ex, after all.)

5. Blogger (and they definitely know that. They kinda tipped their hands the moment Marilyn wrote a blog in response to my blog in which she attempted to mock my blog  – in a textbook case of blogger envy.)

So taken together, the combination of these individual signs looks like this:

Mom + Writer + Journalist + Hoarder + Blogger =
I’m not going to shut the fuck up without a fight.

And really, they should have known better. I mean, I’m the exact same girl I’ve always been – well, perhaps a little more jaded, a little less trusting, a little more leery of bricks and alarmingly gender-ambiguous rock stars. But deep down, I’m still me — and they should have seen the signs.

I’m not going to sit back. I’m going to continue to write, talk, inspire, share and relate. I’m moving on, moving up and healing in the best way I know how, surrounded by awesome friends, incredible family and a virtual blogging community that is telling me to NOT shut the fuck up.

Now, I know I’ve been quiet for over a week. And if you’re back, reading this happy little post, I want to say thank you kindly for returning. I plan on making my voice heard loud and clear for as long as I can, and in large part the strength of my voice is inspired by your vocal and numerous comments of support.

So you wanna know why I’ve been so quiet?

Because I’ve been working on the most important piece of writing of my entire life. And the end result looked like this:

Their 27-page motion is in my right hand; my 277-page response to their motion — and my very own counter-motion — is in my left. While size doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law, I felt passionately about fully and accurately explaining my positions regarding their “requests.”
Translation: I did not shut the fuck up.

Didn’t they see the signs?

Wrong way: You see a happy, loving, Mama Bear courageously caring for her cute and cuddly cubs. You run up to the babies, greedily snatch them up in your paws, stick your tongue out at Mama Bear, shove a gag down her throat and go running at break-neck speed toward — oh I don’t know, let’s say — Oregon.

Right way: Back away from the Mama Bear, her big teeth and beautiful babies. Slowly. Gently. Respectfully.

So, as it always is at this part of the post, it’s your turn: Tell me about a Right Way or a Wrong Way you’ve found yourself heading in response to a break-up, separation or divorce. Or tell me if, in your opinion, I seem to be heading in a good direction.

As a woman with zero internal compass, I may need your help identifying if I am, indeed, on the right path.