Join Club Momme for exclusive access to giveaways, discounts and more!

Sign up

Other People Are Not Medicine

The other day I was having a good ugly cry about I-can’t-remember-what divorce-related fallout—a swift kick to the guts I receive on a daily basis—and I decided to take myself to Barnes & Noble.

Large buildings stuffed with books have always comforted me. I used to spend recesses stealing books from my library in elementary because the one check-out we were allowed per week was never enough; I escaped the chaos of my home as a teenager by studying at the library. No Internet then, my time was spent equally between causing trouble with friends and writing reports from heavy, thick encyclopedia volumes that I loved paging through. Nothing pleased me more than being given a topic to research. I was fired from a high-paying producer position at WABC in Manhattan once and, instead of going home, immediately walked across the street to the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble because it felt right. It was right as I happened upon a book reading and signing by one of my favorite authors at the time. Buildings with books were the magic kingdoms of my childhood and remain so now. They offer comfort and safety and stories and information and advice and there is probably even a book in there somewhere called "Divorce for Dummies" with a chapter called “Stop Writing About Your Divorce” that would obviously never find its way into my tall stack of purchases.

Buildings with books were the magic kingdoms of my childhood and remain so now.

So I wiped off mascara-streaked cheeks and got myself to the bookstore. Upon entering that comforting whoosh of warm air at the entrance, the wafting scent of brewing Starbucks coffee, smooth jazz on speaker and the occasional hushed coughs of customers is always an immediate balm to my itchy soul. Once inside, I immediately gravitated toward Amy Poehler’s new book “Yes Please,” like it was what I set out to purchase. I’ve now been reading it for the past few days. Being the badass broad that she is, doling words of wisdom for women is Amy’s oeuvre, but the one sentence that keeps echoing around my mind is this:

"OTHER PEOPLE ARE NOT MEDICINE."

I have been attempting to plug the holes in my personality with other people for my entire life. It’s high time for that to be over. I need to accept myself for who I am and really be OK with that or else decide what I can’t be OK with and work on fixing it. I’ve had a negative monologue about myself running through my head for so long I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t anymore. But I need to stop seeking others to counterpoint the negativity and do it myself. Be my own best friend. Accept myself and fix myself, if I can.

RELATED: I Folded First

In the wake of my separation I could (and can) feel myself thrashing around uncomfortably in the silence of having no one there. Flailing mindlessly against the fear of wondering if I’ll end up old and alone. Sometimes the voices in my head are angry and loud and mostly negative; like enduring nonstop verbal abuse from someone who hates you. It can be hard to sit alone with them. But I’m learning. Learning to hush them or listen to them and yes, even have conversations with them. I might be losing my mind. Sometimes it feels like I am. And then I try and write from an honest place but sometimes it feels like my writing is holding me hostage, keeping me from moving on. Other times it feels like it’s my salvation, the only way I’ll be able to move on. Do you see how messed in the head I am?

I have been attempting to plug the holes in my personality with other people for my entire life. It’s high time for that to be over.

But I am forcing myself to live in the pain now, each and every excruciating minute of it, instead of wadding it up and stuffing it down, because each minute lived through is another lesson learned, a minute closer to the other side, whatever that is. I don’t know what the future holds, don’t know that there is such a thing as true love, don’t know if I I’m capable of it or if I even believe in traditional marriage anymore but even if I’m alone forever there has got to be better than Here, squirming uncomfortably under the microscope of my own judgmental eyes, perpetual victim of my own negative monologue.

"When you are a person going through a divorce, you feel incredibly alone, yet you are constantly reminded by society of how frequently divorce happens and how common it has become," Poehler says in her memoir. "You aren't allowed to feel special, but no one knows the specific ways you are in pain."

Specific pain and no one to share it with: Yes. I get that millions of people have gone through divorce and each and every one of them struggled mightily with their particular set of troubles and heartache but not a single one of them shares the specific pain that is the result of dealing with the dissolution of my marriage with my personality. So, while high numbers of people have experienced divorce it can still be extremely lonely dealing with the circumstances of your own particular situation. But I suppose even that notion is comforting. We’re all dealing with our own very specific set of troubles but there is comfort in our mutual loneliness.

In the wake of my separation I could and can feel myself thrashing around uncomfortably in the silence of having no one there. Flailing mindlessly against the fear of wondering if I’ll end up old and alone

Thoughts about my ex, thoughts about our children—they slice through my mind at the strangest moments and can reduce me to tears in seconds. I don’t think a single day of 2014 has passed that I haven’t cried at some point. Not a statistic I’m proud of, but my loneliness and neediness has me constantly reminding myself of Poehler’s stellar advice: "Other people are not medicine."

That’s not to say that friends can’t be a great source of comfort—they can and mine have. I wouldn’t have made it through this dark season of my life if not for a specific set of sassy women who are funny and insightful and get me. What it means to me is that I have to sit with my pain, understand it and learn from it, instead of flapping crazily around and searching for someone to fill the void. It’s tempting to accept attention from those giving it but thus far I have kept myself removed from situations that felt as if I was only using someone to fill the hole in my life left behind by the divorce explosion.

RELATED: Sending My Ex a Shirtless Selfie

Like I told my therapist today: I want to be whole, I want to be healthy and happy before I consider any kind of relationship. I want to be content alone before I welcome anyone else into my world.

Other people are not medicine. Only I have the power to fix me.

Explore More: Separating, Together
More from kids