Jennifer Lopez – “Feeling Good”

I couldn’t resist this headline: “Jennifer Lopez says she’s happy” – with a quick summary that took me to a longer article reporting that JLo says she “feels good.”

Hey, I didn’t write it, and I don’t believe it.

Do you?

But I clicked on the article all the same, and then I read, and I must admit – I get it.

Marriages end. Divorces are miserable. Something had better make us feel good when the you-know-what hits the fan and the days are dark, and the nights, darker.

Doing Versus Spewing

Besides, most of us function better when we tuck away the raw emotions and do something – throw ourselves into work, into a project, into caring for our children.

Maybe all of the above.

We take action. We don’t stew in our own juice.

Sure, we “regular” people fall into a funk and mull, weep, stomp, eat too much, drink too much, whine, sleep away the day, sleep not at all, and a dozen other destructive behaviors – preferably out of view of kids and employers. Then we cycle through these self-soothing emotional releases again.

Until we don’t.

No Pain, No Gain?

Some of us put it all away. At first. Stoically.

We may click into action mode immediately, which I liken to a post-accident instinct for survival.

Then we break down. Sometime later. When it’s over.

This becomes the moment when some of us throw ourselves into excessthe drinking, the eating, the sleeping, or maybe sex. Anything to feel better. Anything to anesthetize ourselves. And we suffer the grieving process, in whatever fashion it unfolds.

In our oblivion and our healing, we seem to balance between thinking and doing, feeling and doing, numbness and doing, flailing and doing; the constructive doing reminds us that we’re still here in some positive way. And more importantly, so is the future.

Once Upon a Time

When I read about Jennifer Lopez performing at another couple’s wedding, only a week after announcing the breakup of her 7-year marriage, I recall the stiff-upper-lip moments during my own divorce, and in the months that followed. Many of those moments involved my children. Like millions of single parents, I was fumbling through the process of helping my kids come to grips with something that I could barely understand – attempting to right the world that cannot be righted really, but with time, it takes on a new shape.

Some manageable grounding.

In our little household, once upon a time we were four. Sort of. And then we were three – and the dog, of course.

There was still homework and meal times, the drive to school and the usual nighttime routines. There were citizenship awards and cupcakes to fete an accomplishment. There was the necessity of parental presence – no doubt as reassuring for me, as for my boys.

Giving Is The Best Cure For Not Having

While I’m certainly not a JLo Wedding Performer, I once was something of a Wedding Planner; during my own acrimonious divorce I was helping a friend with the details of her nuptials. In fact, she married in an intimate ceremony in my living room, just weeks after my marital status officially changed.

Painful? Yes.

Satisfying? That, too.

Belting it out in the Ukraine at a tycoon’s matrimonial celebration?

Listen – that rumored million bucks that went with JLo’s performance is a nifty enticement! But even without handsome compensation, I get it.

It’s bittersweet to honor anyone’s marriage when yours has slammed into a wall or trickled to a close. But it’s living, it’s giving, it’s doing – and one step closer to genuinely “feeling good.”



© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. So many times it is easier to throw ourselves into “doing” over anything else. I remember standing by and watching a woman experience trauma in her marriage… and it appeared that she never stopped “doing.” I don’t think she has stopped despite two years having passed. It is easier to do than to sit and be and to come to terms with the changed situation.

  2. BigLittleWolf says:

    TE – I believe the ‘doing’ must coexist or alternate with thinking, grieving, assessing, exploring, and even making new mistakes – often the best lessons. And no one can say in what way or how long… We have to figure that one out ourselves. And maybe get a little lucky along the way.

  3. I get it. After a contentious (to say the least) marriage, when I finally got up the nerve to say “Enough!” and life now revolved around my kids and myself, I celebrated. I celebrated by refinishing cabinets, wallpapering, learning how much I could do by myself. Pain because I loved him but could not live with him, sadness because it was a failure, but the wonder of developing myself, developing my strength was absolutely amazing.

  4. I think doing is important after any painful experience. It reminds you that your are still productive and have something to contribute despite recent turmoil. And it is nice to take refuge in doing or completing a task.

  5. Everyone is different. I don’t get it. I get that this is how other people deal, but it is not how I deal, at least not when the issues are marital and home-based. I don’t compartmentalize well. Actually I plain suck at it.

    When Sweetheart dropped the divorce Bomb I fell apart at work. But when crisis happens at home is when I come together at home. Even with kids–and I hope to be able to stay home with them–I doubt I will ever be the homemaker type. I am too career-oriented and Sweetheart does all the vacuuming anyway. I can be the stay at home mom type, but I am lousy at housework and meal planning and whatever else goes with it. (I don’t even know!) But in marital crisis I thrive by not going out.

    Work did not take me away from my home problems in a way that helped me focus and forget for awhile, it took me away from them in a way that I felt I was not doing them–more neglect.

    So I lost that first job about 8 months after Bomb Drop and I was relieved. At home I could write and read to resolve–years later I have a vast collection of books on marriage/relationships, midlife crisis, maturing and aging, effects of divorce, jungian anything, forgiveness, love… I read and read and posted on the support forums. I meditated–sometimes for hours–and it felt great.

    And I did my doing at home too. I painted the interior in a series of projects. I painted a bunch of wooden furniture and redecorated–I feng shuied the house. But all of that doing was home-based.

    Had I been a celebrity the tabloids probably would have said I was hermiting myself in shame and depression. But I wasn’t. I am an introvert and I resolve by going inward and then I come out and share with the world. I embraced the crisis in order to understand it, learn from it, get through it and keep my marriage.

    But to pick my introverted self up and leave my meditation and go to work–a 1.5-2 hour commute each way–could set me to panic and I am not a panicky type of personality. But it removed me from my element where I felt not only that I was strong but also where I felt I was resolving and where I was the expert.

    I still let the house. I got involved and took classes. But the classes and groups were the sort that supported my inward sort of needs. Spiritual Development classes. I returned to church. I actually became more involved in communities. But my doing was more about being still.

    The crisis lasted a few years and had ups and downs. Three years after Bomb Drop it had another severe upswing and I fell apart at the next job…again. And again I was beyond relieved to leave. There were similarities and differences. This time Sweetheart played a bigger part in the falling apart. In the beginning it was the shock. But at the three year mark–which was just before he made the choice to come home for good–he was in Monster. He taunted me each night when I got home, he even called me at work. He used our home phone to call the alienator because he knew I could see the phone logs and that it would bother me–he admitted this was his motivation months later. And then I would go to work after having put up with a night of verbal abuse. Some would think it would be a relief to get away from him. Perhaps, but at work I had to function and yet I had not had time to deal with the abuse. I deal in solitude and then come to the world and I had not had the time in solitude. Even after a generic argument I separate myself in solitude–fortunately he gets this now. But back then I had to go from being taunted to sleep–sometimes a solitude, but not then–to work with no time between to deal with my pain.

  6. Much like Carol, when my marriage dissolved, I too focused on the children, the house and anything BUT the hurt. This was of course after a three month depression and no eating, socializing, smiling or sleeping. Divorce is tough. If Jennifer is over it and ‘feeling good’ then this divorce has been a longer process than we have been in tune with.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Really good point about the timing. Just because the word was only recently announced doesn’t mean the unraveling hasn’t been going on for some time.

  7. I don’t know that grief ever really ends when you have a divorce involving children. The wounds aren’t really ever allowed to totally heal. I felt AMAZING after we split. Seriously. I felt like I could freaking conquer the world. Now…

    Not so much. And I’m falling apart more and more. I know it. I want to stop it. But… yeah.

    It feels so cyclical… good times, bad times, good times, bad times. I’ll just ride this one out until I come back to my better place.

  8. BigLittleWolf says:

    Interesting observations, Supermodel. I can relate. I wonder if avoidance of this difficult roller coaster is one of the reasons so many (men especially?) remarry so quickly, and subsequent marriage ‘success’ ratws are even more disheartening.

  9. I love this attitude. That in giving we receive. No matter what we are going through. I totally get it and it’s a great reminder, that no matter what we are going through, wallowing only gets you so far …

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