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Memorandum: That Kind Of Person

I worry I'm becoming the kind of workaholic who can't go a few hours without checking her emails. I manage a team of people, including storm chasers who are out and about in severe weather, and am also responsible for a large portion of the company website so the emails are plentiful and mostly important. Except, of course, those lurking among us who get 'reply all' happy and hold the rest of us hostage with the subsequent 'reply all' email orgy. Thanks for the 43 extra emails, guys.

Thing is, I'm not interested in being the kind of person who scurries from home to work and meeting to conference call all while religiously checking my iPhone for new emails. And yet I find myself being that kind of person. Probably because I really like my job. But still, I see people who are that kind of person and have determined that some people get off on being that kind of person. These are people who happily employ jargon-y office phrases like "deliverables" and "drill-down" and "action items" and then there are other people who slowly die inside until they are mere shells of their former selves; pale, slumping against anything and everything, flasks hidden in desk drawers, haunted eyes... I am of the latter persuasion.

It's a catch-22, isn't it? Job at a place with people I really love but at what cost? It's this fine line I now find myself walking; attempting to do a job I dig while trying to remain a fun, carefree person who isn't beaten down by the officey officeness that infiltrates your soul. I suppose I'll know it's time to quit if you ever catch me bandying about phrases like "low hanging fruit" and "run it up the flagpole" and "synergy" or "circle back" or "best practices" or "value add" or... Sweet mother of god, can someone just put me in a dark basement corner and let me do my thing? We're putting cover sheets on all TPS reports before they go out now and I've got to jump on a conference call to schedule a meeting about that so we can effectively cascade the relevant information.

Also, have you seen my stapler?

The Freak Out and Other Tales

You thought I had bailed on the blog? Perhaps you hoped I had bailed on the blog? Maybe you hate-read here as much as I hate-watch The (Un)Real Housewives of wherever and my continued absence allowed you to turn your attentions to more intellectual internet pursuits? The Instagram wormhole that is #kyliejennerlipchallenge, for instance? Too bad, suckas. I'm still here. And I ain't ever gonna stop! Or I'll stop. Only thing I know for sure anymore is that I don't know. You know?

Personal blogging in this form seems to be all but dead. I already lost you after the first paragraph because it was longer than 140 characters, right? This post is like that really long Facebook status update that arm wrestles you into reading it only because you can't fathom anyone has five paragraphs of shit to say on Facebook and holy God this isn't even on Facebook it's, like, an entire click away and that's soo faaarrr and it takes tooooo long and are we there yet? This is taking forevverrrr. I have to pee again.

Which is why it makes perfect sense for me to keep writing here. It feels like pushing a reset button on personal blogging. Any blogger who could string two words together has ascended to book deal-dom or sponsored posts and trips and giveaways and there ain't but a handful of folk left just sharing stuff because they like to write. In some ways it feels like the beginning of blogging again. No ads, no sponsored posts and for godsakes no conferences and networking... Nothing but me and you. Which is how it all started. Full circle.

I like it.

I had to take a blogging breather there for a bit because shit got really heavy for me. Clearly it was heavy for most of 2014 - baby born/separation/beloved dog dies/divorce and a few other life-altering occurrences not fit for public consumption (if it happened and I don't blog about it did it really even happen?!) but somewhere around the time my divorce was finalized in January I kinda freaked out. I know, I know! MONICA, the shovel-wielding, ex-girlfriend stalking, emotional hurricane having a freak out? No way. Impossible! But yes, my internet friends, yes. Full-on nervous-breakdown-panic-attack-in-my-car-at-work mode. I couldn't breathe. Thought I was dying. The usual panic attack stuff. An ambulance may have been involved.

I thought I had it under control but control is just an illusion I was presenting to myself in a desperate attempt to keep from freaking out. Turns out, you can only keep The Freak Out at bay for so long but much like that one relative you're trying to avoid at your cousin's wedding, The Freak Out will find you. Especially if you keep giving it the finger and soldiering forward. The Freak Out loves a trooper. Makes the inevitable freak out even better. One has options during The Freak Out. One can continue to blog while in the thick of it and sometimes it's helpful but if I've learned anything over the course of ten roller coaster years of this blog and reading the blogs of others it's that, in most cases, blogging while in the thick of it often leads to regret. And sheeeeeiiit; a full-time job, freelance writing, three kids... Who has the time to share all their feels on their blog?

But life has reached a new albeit chaotic groove. Serge and I are dating. Which is... interesting. I was offered a new position at AccuWeather and am now Video Content Manager which basically means I get to keep a lookout for great video all day with the coolest crew imaginable. I also get to coordinate a bunch of storm chasing dudes and AccuWeather recently launched a network on cable so I'm involved with writing and editing stories for the channel which gets my old news junkie adrenaline pumping in all the right ways. I'm still writing for and have no plans of leaving any time soon although I've scaled back my commitment quite a bit. recently asked if Serge and I would resurrect our old He Said/She Said video series and we agreed. So I've got the internet's judgmental comments about my relationship, my appearance and my kinda-lisp to look forward to! And I just had a pap smear come back normal so there's that too! Look at that. Things are shaping up nicely.

So yeah, all in all, things are better. Which ain't saying a whole helluva lot considering where I've just been. Shit had nowhere to go but up, it's scientifical. Anyway, y'all interested in a role call? Who's still out there checking up on me? Reveal yourselves! Got any questions or comments? Lay it on me, string bean. Let's catch up and restart this thing properly.

In closing, this:

A beautiful evening wanes. #louisarmstrong

A video posted by Monica Bielanko (@monicabielanko) on


My Last Days As Someone's Wife

I optimistically thought we might head down to the courthouse together to sign the papers or some equally uniting yet unlikely scenario. Meet for coffee, scrawl signatures on whatever we need to sign and take the divorce documents to the bored government employee who pronounces the time of death on our ten years as husband and wife. Enduring the difficult day together in a nod to how it began a decade ago when just the two of us clutched shaky hands in the home of a judge willing to hitch us for $100. A tip of the hat to our past and a demonstration of our commitment to continue positively leading the family we created together.

I was naively aiming too high, I now realize.

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Soundtrack to Divorce

Our divorce will be final this Thursday. I think we'll go together to sign the papers. I hope we do, anyway. I'm dreading it. Can't really fathom it yet it feels inevitable. Has to happen. When I think really hard about all of it my mind kind of caves in on itself and I start to freak. Like trying to contemplate forever or infinity or whatever. You know what I mean. Your brain just skitzes out and shuts down. The panicky dread that infuses your body immediately upon waking up from a nightmare before you realize it was just a bad dream. That.

I get a lot of messages and emails from people urging me to reconsider the decision to divorce or asking if there's a chance Serge and I will get back together. I guess because we're trying our hardest to be as cool as two people in the middle of divorce can be, people think we should be together. The short answer to that is no, we aren't going to reconcile. We aren't right for each other, at least right now, and maybe we'll never be. I don't know. It's complicated and intimate: the reasons why people divorce are so personal it's hard to glean what's what from the outside. Even though we write candidly about a lot of it there are tangled emotions and ways we affect each other that can barely be explained, even to ourselves. At some point we just have to let it be and see what happens. I can't look back anymore. Have to look forward. I was miserable in my marriage for so long that even though every day now is challenging, I feel like I'm breathing for the first time in a long time. So. Goodbye rearview mirror. Yeah, it's really hard sometimes but in other ways it's a relief to be moving towards something better and not stagnating in a marriage Serge recently described as a "legendary omnishambles."

Aside from my kids, the thing that got me through 2014 is music. At top volume. Unless my kids were with me you can bet I had earbuds in and volume cranked to brain-numbing levels, even while at work, until my ears were constantly ringing. I want to share with you the songs that got me through. There's a good mix here. Nothing much about lost love or sadness, just solid jams that spoke to me or yelled at me and helped me keep putting one goddamn foot in front of the other when I felt like crumpling into a heap on the ground. Instead of causing tears of sadness or self-pity this stuff made me feel like a badass when I felt like anything but and stopped me from crying because I wanted to scream the lyrics to an empty car. And I did. Often until I was hoarse. Just as the songs of my teen years take me back to slow dances and boy crushes, these songs will forever be linked to my divorce and not necessarily with a bad connotation. These songs saved me. They are the soundtrack to struggling through the toughest times in my life. Ending togetherness with my husband of ten years, the father of our three children and my best friend... The music that now accompanies my wander through the wilds of learning who I am - for the first time ever, really. Me. Monica. On my own.