Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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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.

Reader Comments (12)

Monica, I've been where you are, let me reassure you that "it gets better". Some day THIS will be in the rear view mirror, and while it will still be a huge deal, it will be a huge deal in the past tense.
As I was scrolling through the videos I was feeling very un-hip for not knowing any of the songs ... Until I came to "That's Entertainment." I had to play it (with a giant smile on my face.). So, thank you for that!

January 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVirginia

glad you are still there...
glad you are on a (somewhat) solid path...
you are stronger than you think...

January 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterfahrenheit

Just stumbled on your blog after reading one of your Babble posts. Your writing is raw and beautiful. And, the sharing of your divorce details and the vulnerabilities of your life is incredibly brave and kind. Thank you for that.

January 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Keep on keepin' on.... I'm sorry this is so hard. I like how you imagined yourself in the future when chatting with your therapist. I'm a huge proponent of therapy to get us through the rough patches. Here's to a 2015 filled with a little more joy!

January 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Wishing only the best for you and hoping your year is filled with positive discoveries. You've got a whole load of people rooting for you, here for you. xo

January 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristine from Canada

I'm a divorce attorney who is divorced herself and I've read your blog for years without commenting. In response to your beautiful post about no such thing as a positive divorce -- so many people get there but it takes a lot of time. There is rarely such thing as a positive divorce, but that doesn't mean that your future relationship with your ex won't become positive. It's a post-divorce possibility that I've seen dozens of times in some of the most improbable of circumstances. I think the most important thing is respecting boundaries. It's a hard, hard, hard thing to do but it demonstrates you respect the new autonomy of your ex and his feelings too. I wish you the very best of luck.

January 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAdilee


Congratulations. You're officially a divorced middle aged Harpie Spinster. All that's missing now is your cat, a one bedroom apartment, and a permanent online dating profile.

What's next you ask? You can call yourself a "MILF" and let the younger guys (18 and up please) take turns on you, and pretend you "still got it going on" into your 30's and beyond.

Now that you've completed your rite of passage: don't forget to extort your Ex at family court for as much child support as possible. If your lucky you might get $50 a week. Less than your EBT card and not nearly enough to get a boob job to perk up those sagging tits for the next sucker, even if you could find one.

Perhaps you can champion extremist feminist ideals in Utah. Perhaps a petition for a gay pride parade on the steps of your childhood temple, would be a good start.

Your just a stupid whore Monica. A traitor to your soul. An old photo-shopped fake. A true piece of garbage. Now hurry up and delete this comment like the ultra far-left feminist nutcase with misplaced ideals that you are, because you can't stand the truth and your a coward..


February 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Michael you obviously have NO life. Pitiful you are.

February 19, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterwhatajerkoff

Hope all is well with you. Keep checking to see if you've posted here...or anywhere. I love your writing

February 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I am so excited you and Serge are dating. I really hope it works out for you guys!!!

March 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I have just found out my wife of 15 years prefers the company of others. Yes. Others, with an "S." At least 5 times over the past 15 years. I feel what you wrote. I didn't feel like what you wrote. I actually felt the words tearing through you. They came out of your heart and ripped right through your chest, landing on the page. There are still little blood splatters if you look closely. Good luck to you. You seem like you are strong and recovering well. Unfortunately, this is my 2nd time through this, and I don't have the strength to get through it. Thank you for sharing what I am feeling. I have recently discovered that the only difference between my situation and yours, and everyone else's, is that I really love my wife more than all you put together. I know that isn't true. But that is how it feels. No one else can really know the pain. Yet, we all really know the pain.

March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

I am also saling in the boat of divorce without any mistake but I really hope that god has better plans for me in future. Before that I really wish I get justice with the help of experts advice provided by divorce lawyer Fairfax, VA so that I can move on in life.

April 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgina Ramirez

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