This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

Community

So, hey. Yeah. How are you guys doing?

There is a conference going on in Salt Lake City this week and I’m hosting a few people at my house, so when I think of words like chaos and disorder I wonder why there aren’t more passionate words to describe what it’s like up in here.

Here.

I’m being pulled in several directions right now and don’t feel like I have the time to write about what is going on in my life with the respect that it demands. But here in this thirty-minute block of time that I have I want to share a few things with you.

I am no longer suffering thoughts of suicide. I shared that detail with you to underscore the amount of desperation that lead to this transformation in my life. Because this wasn’t just some silly thought I had. Like, I know! Let’s disrupt all of our lives! It’ll be a fun crazy party! Especially the part where hundreds of thousands of people get to weigh in on how insane I am, and whoa! Did they ever see this coming!

It is very strange to see my face on the local news as an anchor talks about my marital problems. And to read about it in the local paper. And to see news organizations in other countries speculating about what went wrong. Strange. That’s it. I’m not angry about it because I know I’m a public figure or persona or whatever it is you want to call me. I don’t expect anyone to afford me privacy at this time. Would it be nice? Yes, of course, but I understand human nature. I’ve been writing openly about my life for almost eleven years, so people are going to talk about this. And awful things will be written. That’s just reality. And I accept it.

But you guys have reinforced that all of that doesn’t really matter. I’m so incredibly touched by your words of encouragement and sympathy. Yes, I am a stranger. I don’t know you, but that’s the amazing thing about this medium. We reach out there into the void, find each other’s hands and know we are not alone.

So, yeah. I found myself in very dark place. But those who know me, and those who really understand what I stand for know that I don’t like to be in those dark places. I actively try to claw my way out of them, and today, here, right now, I am in the light. In fact, I’ve been in the light for some time now. I have hope. Change had to happen, so I made it happen.

Jon sees the girls every day. He helps Leta practice piano, spends time with Marlo making shapes out of clay, and then after we have dinner together he helps me put them to bed. There are no salacious details to uncover. There is no fighting or scheming or attempts to seize power. We’re two very level-headed adults making our way through this maze.

Is there a lot of crying? Hell, yes. But I can talk about that later.

Thank you again for your comments, your email, your tweets, and your thoughts. I hope you’ll hold my hand a little longer.

  • LegosnEggos

    Sounds like you’re handling things so well. 🙂 It reminds me of how Stacy Morrison and her husband handled things in her book “Falling Apart in One Piece.” The home that remains open despite separation is such a good thing for the kids, the sign of superb parenting — way more selfless and loving than I can say I am being myself right now in the same situation. I think your attitude is honest and wise.

  • virtualcarly

    Still thinking about you and sending positive energy up into the void, hoping it will make its way to you all. That was beautiful and touching imagery; hands finding each other in the darkness. I am glad you are in the light today, and hoping it shines on you abundantly in the inevitable times of struggle.

  • George

    Two more hands for you here, Heather. And lots of love to you all.

  • Vihra

    I just feel that you’ll be alright. Although it’s such a cliche’ to write it down like this but I feel connected and think of you as my friend. And you’ll sure be alright, my friend. 🙂 We’re the same age, different culture, different histories but I’ve learnt so much from you over the past 5 years since I’ve been following your blog that I just needed to say it out loud. You’re an amazing person, Heather. Thank you for sharing yourself.

  • velocitygrl

    I am so sorry that you are going through this, and I wish you all the strength and comfort in the world right now.

    You do not know me, but because you have always been brave, funny, smart, snarky, and honest I think of you as a friend and it makes me so sad that you and your family are hurting. Know that we are all rooting for you.

    I don’t know what is in store for you, but I hope that whatever happens you both come out of it stronger and happier.

  • becaru

    Painful is the word. I’ve been through a spouse dying, and a divorce. The divorce was much tougher.
    Say or don’t say what you want in public. You’re entitled.
    Peace.

  • meganroth

    xoxo

  • 2Infiniti

    I have been reading your blog for years, but had not read it in a while. . . I am so sorry to hear about your situation. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Jon and the girls. I LOVE your blog!

  • Lividviv

    Been thinking about you all week. Virtual hands in yours, right here.
    Love from Ottawa, Canada

  • karynmassey

    Yep. Holding your hand and keeping you all in my heart. I really hope you and Jon can find your way back to each other, but regardless, I know you will continue to do what is best for your family.

    I’m happy to hear you’re not in that dark place right now, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Hugs to you all…

  • Plano Mom

    Told ya. I’ve got the snorkel mask. Looking forward to handing you sunscreen and awesome shades.

  • RudeAwakening

    Lots of love and positive thoughts from my family to yours. I wish you the best.

  • The Bold Soul

    It’s really true, you know, that sometimes out of the darkest, most desperate moments of our lives can come our greatest strength and the things we are most proud of about ourselves.

    Your critics can bite themselves. They don’t know you and Jon. They’re not in your lives, nor am I. What I see, as an outsider peeking through your virtual living room window, is two people who genuinely care about and respect each other and who have loved each other enough to create a life and two daughters. If in time you can work out whatever is going on in your marriage, fabulous. And if not, then your lives will be different, but “different” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “worse”. People CAN divorce and co-parent as friends. It doesn’t happen often enough (and it sure didn’t happen in MY parents’ divorce, unfortunately), but it can work. Seems to me that you are both doing everything right at the moment. Bravo. And stay strong, Armstrongs.

  • Marinka

    Some people will say terrible things. But I hope that you can block out that noise. Because people who are not schadenfreuding all over the place wish you well. Wish you, Jon and the girls well. And Chuck. And sometimes even Coco.

  • Ellen

    Oh, I guess this won’t be popular, but I want you back together. Damnit.

  • JustLinda

    I was divorced just over 20 years ago (gah! that makes me feel old just saying that). My first two daughters were young then but slightly older than yours. The first question my youngest asked was “Does this mean I will get presents from both of you when it’s my birthday?”

    I don’t mean to diminish the impact on kids… there is one. Sounds like you and Jon are taking a thinking and collaborative approach to things. I applaud you.

    Those two daughters of mine are now 26 and 28 and they are fantastic women. Incredible, smart, talented, funny, beautiful, strong. I always say it’s in spite of me and not because of me, but I hope I had a little sumpin’ to do with it.

    Life is hard. Just do your best to find your way through it. That’s all any of us can do.

  • LisaAR

    So glad to hear you are in the light…I am continuing to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers–for strength, healing, peace, joy, comfort…and love.

    Thank you for sharing. I’m glad the hands reaching out mean something to you, because what you’ve done with your blog and your sharing means something to me.

  • JasmineStar

    You spoke and presented phenomenally this past week…you possess inner light and in spite of your pain, we love to see you shine.

  • shestumbledin

    Hang in there, momma!

    I referred to myself as the valedictorian of Angry Birds the other day, and then I (internally) gave you credit.

    I started reading you a few years ago because I found you hilarious. I kept reading because of your spirit.

    I wish only the best for you, Jon and the girls… and the dogs. My dear friends who separated 6 years ago recently shared that their sweet dog who had been extremely high strung, had adjusted to shared custody without a hitch. And in fact had lost so many of his nervous tics that it became evident that their unhappy marriage was the cause of so many of his issues.

  • dezignr93

    Consider it held!! My thoughts are with you!

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    one day at a time, h.
    i mean, without the teetotalling. 😉

  • Twinkie

    I’ve read your blog for a long time, Heather. I could tell something was different about your writing, but in no way could did I anticipate this shoe dropping.

    I have thought of you and your family frequently, and I am so sorry that it has been hard.

    Thinking good thoughts for you, always.

  • ciaobella

    Dear Heather – I have been reading your blog forever. I have never logged onto the community (except once to try to win an xbox). I usually keep my comments to myself. Today, I wanted to write you to commend you on that strength of yours that is with you wherever you go, whatever you do, and always so inspiring to others. It is so clear that you will use every fiber in you to get you and your family to a good place, even when life seems impossibly hard. The truth is that the “good place” can change. I am certain that you will find your way there. Your children will be the brilliant, beautiful creatures that you and Jon created, and all the stronger themselves for being able to understand the complexities of emotional health, able to empathize with others along their own paths. Just continue to be your strong self. When it is too much, use one of your lifelines (you know your “ask the audience” will never let you down). xoxo

  • suesheeme

    I’ll be here as long as you are, pulling for you and your family and believing in you no matter what. I do know you are a fighter. It’s just one of the many things to love about you, Heather. Love and hugs to you from So Cal.

  • Karyn

    I wrote about you here, http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/is-everyone-breaking-up/
    and me and everyone, really. I’m proud of you guys for being mature adults about this, especially under the watchful eye of the media, and I think that the least we all owe each other is mature separations and/or breakups or whatever they are. I hope that your friendship remains in tact for the rest of your lives because you made two people together, and they seem pretty great. You and Jon, of course, as usual, also seem pretty great.
    The internet loves you and so do I.

  • mrs_black

    Just another stranger here who has read you for years and felt compelled to finally leave you a comment…

    Like so many others, I have so enjoyed and appreciated your frankness, honesty, and openness, never mind your hysterical sense of humor. And even though I don’t know you personally and have no right to comment on your personal life, it was devastating to hear about the unimaginably difficult time you and your family are going through right now. I can’t imagine how anyone with a shred of human decency could feel otherwise.

    Please know how so many people out here, there, and everywhere are thinking of you, sending you much love, and wishing the best for you and all of your family. You’ve done so much to help others by sharing your life with us, it’s the very least we can do to reach back out to you and offer our support!

  • inward facing girl

    Heather, I’m so glad I got to meet and hug you at Alt Summit. Remember you have a ton of people who love you, many whom you’ve never even met. We’re here for you and thinking of you and your family. xoxo

  • filmgoerjuan

    So sorry to hear this, Heather. Stay strong and I wish you, Jon, Leta and Marlo nothing but the best as you face this challenge in your lives.

  • mistyws

    My ex husband and I separated at the end of 2010..even when it’s the right thing for both of you (and even when you are both amicable) other people react as if its their lives you are wrecking. Some people are wonderful about it..and some are just rude and or love to imagine a “reason” or think they need to choose a ‘side’…Even someone not in the public eye, faces scrutiny and gossip..and its a hard time for all. My thoughts are with you.

  • tonya

    My heart has been so heavy for all of you, strangers, but……not. I find myself wanting to say to my real life peeps, “Isn’t it so sad that Heather and Jon are separated?” but then I remember that in my little corner of the world they’d have no idea what I was talking about. Anyway, I know you aren’t the praying type, but I am, and so many are being said for all of you. And amongst those prayers is one that you and Jon keep doing things as you are. If your marriage is not able to be saved, at least you are acting as adults should act. I’ve witnessed first-hand what divorcing parents who hate each other do to children, and it’s sickening. Props to both of you for putting those beautiful girls first. As they should be.

  • Teresa W

    Wow, when I read that your separation made the news, I was shocked. Having been separated myself, I know it is hard enough without it being on the NEWS. Like many others, I have thought of you often and am glad that you are in the light right now. I love reading your blog and appreciate the fact that you are honest with your readers. And you are honest in a way that even if I don’t agree with you, I can respect your opinion. Please know that this Midwestern retired teacher feels for you and your family. However, things turn out, I will be rooting for you! BTW, walking is cool too. Not quite as much fun as running, but when we get the message from our knees that we shouldn’t run, we should listen. Walking gives you a chance to scope things out and lets you think.

  • SweetPhyl

    Geesh, I don’t know what to say…I’ve been reading your blog since your pregnancy with Leta and your earlier post regarding your separation really hit me hard. This cyber community is full of “friends” who occupy our thoughts daily and, hell, you know all this crap. Just please know that I am wishing you and Jon good spaces and I would hug you if I could. I know it will get better for you. Let go, Let God, Breathe and be kind to yourself.

  • JenSBrooks

    My former husband of 15 years and the Father of my 8 and 10 year old children chose to violently end his life 5 months ago (on my 40th Birthday).

    How many times have I wondered, if he could see them now, if he would make the same choice…

    How many times have I listened to my daughter cry and say she would give up all of her Christmas presents just to see her Daddy one more time…

    How many times will I silently observe while my son sits in his room and listens to Eleanor Rigby and Viva La Vida (Coldplay) while claiming he has “put what happened behind him”…

    How long will I grieve for the young man I fell in love with and who turns out was lost not only to me but to himself, as well…

    Divorce sucks! Yes it does.

    And the fact that you are willing to go through with, and have your children deal with, this painful life event should show people HOW BAD IT REALLY IS.

    Divorce is not something women with children take lightly. It means they have tried everything else they could think of first. It means they have hidden their unhappiness from their friends and family and, in some cases, the public eye.

    You worry about being judged, ruining your children’s lives, how you will survive financially and second guess yourself all the time.

    You are a great mother and your kids will get through this – just as you will.

    I signed up for Dooce today just to tell you that I truly believe my children’s father regrets what he did and can’t take it back. He gave up.

    You won’t give up ever will you?

  • AlliD

    My heart breaks for you. May you realize how truly strong you are. Those little girls need their momma to be the best that you can be. I wish you peace & brighter days.

  • JenHalo

    Instead of something witty, I will share my story.

    My husband and I split in January 2004, but it was vicious. A lot of words that we didn’t mean, actions that were just not who we were.

    We stayed apart for just over a year, in different states.

    It was kind of like a light bulb going off. I woke up one morning, and instinctively rolled over to tell him about a dream, but the spot was empty. In that moment, I knew I didn’t want anymore mornings like that. My life is better with him in it.

    So, I called, we talked and cautiously made plans for my return (there were many talks before this one). I got back to him in April 2005, and we have been better and stronger since then.

    It isn’t all wine and roses, there are still rough patches. Personally, I don’t think that so called “perfect” relationships are normal.

    Stay strong Heather. I really hope you guys can work it out.

  • seven2seven8

    As a family-law attorney, I’m very happy to read that you’re both working together as a team, and I hope with everything I have that this time apart gives you both the space, tools, and ability to come back together. If such a resolution is not in the cards, I have great faith that you’ll both make it work in a way that is respectful and deserving of what you had and what your children deserve. Wishing you all the best as you work through this difficult time.

  • Mom Gone Mad

    Heather, you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. You will get through this and I’m confident you will emerge even stronger. Even though it may seem like things will never be ok again, they will. I’ve been through what you’re going through and it’s one of the hardest things an adult can go through. Just take it one moment at a time. And, keep lots of your favorite foods around -the separation diet is a killer. I credit twinkies and Luna bars for keeping me from wasting away.
    Good luck – we are all pulling for you and your family.
    -Valerie

  • shelliack

    I have to google “dooce” to get to your blog. I know I could add it to my favorites & it would be right there, but I kind of love typing dooce… So when I googled & up popped news reports about your separation– UGH! Really?!! I’m still coming out to people about having left my daughter’s father and every time they want salacious stories and juicy details and are convinced that there was some crazy, illegal stuff that must have been going down for me to leave and then I have to reassure them that we are all JUST FUCKING FINE, thank you. I am so sorry your life is being used by other people to sell ads. You, (and maybe Jon) alone, should hold that exclusive right. I think you once monetized the haters, can you come up with a clever way to deal with/make $$ from the gossip mongers? That would be awesome… I look forward to your journey, as you tell it. Sending virtual hugs!

  • pxlchk1

    When I decided that my ex-husband and I should divorce, you would have thought that I would be elated.

    I spent days…weeks…MONTHS sobbing. Crying as hard as I would as if a close family member had died. Because a family member had died. My family as I knew and planned had ceased to exist. Everything I thought my future would be was gone.

    It is legitimate and appropriate to mourn this, you know? Of course it hurts. It sucks. It shouldn’t have to.

    But I will tell you, I promise, I swear to God, that one day you will look back and think that this was the hardest decision with the greatest payoff. I am happier now than I have ever been. My kids are happy. There is more room for happiness without the enclosure of a less-than-optimal relationship. I went through a very long living hell to get to the wonderful life I have now.

    I just could not imagine a day when I wouldn’t cry anymore. I mean, UGLY CRY. Full on Sicilian widow cry. It was exhausting.

    But it lets up little by little, then one day you realize it’s been a week, a month, a year. You’ll be peaceful.

    Stay strong. Keep moving.

    -Alana
    http://www.kitschykitten.com

  • hands that heal

    Reading about your current struggle is both helping me and allowing me to crumble at the same time. As my marriage has been slowly falling apart while I watch my husband be steamrolled once again by his depression and anxiety, I’ve isolated and insulated myself against the experience of happiness and joy in other people’s seemingly wonderful, perfect, and yes- enviable- lives. I’ve stayed away from your blog because as you say those well wishing, happy holiday, happy me, happy us, happy family feelings surround me and make me feel broken when I look only from the outside in. As my husband and I work out the details of our separation and try to put our two young children first, I compartmentalize the task oriented routine of being their mother and wait. I wait for the space apart from fetching sippy cups, snacks, shoes and backpacks. I wait for the space where my own nine year old who survived her parents divorce punches me in the gut and I cry and cry and cry for her.

    Something dies in this process- your fantasy as a child of divorce– the legacy you refused to pass on to your children the day you made your wedding vows. The day you gave birth to the most beautiful creatures on earth, the day you looked at your partner and knew they were the one you were meant to be with no matter what. The fantasy that I knew would heal the little girl in me is dying.

    So after many weeks of staying away, I don’t know what made me stop by on Wednesday. It was a punch in the face and hug all at once.

    I am so, so very sorry for your pain and I hope you can feel the collective of hands holding yours. I will be pulling for you, Heather. Your blog has seen me through some tough times before and I think now will be no exception. Dig your heels in and hold on, just hold on. We are all doing it with you now.

  • 911 Doc

    I can hardly imagine the hell you are in right now, with nearly every aspect of your private life visible for much of the world to see, comment about, critique, and judge (without knowing any of the relevant details, of course). Given that, when I saw this quote on pinterest, I thought it might bear sharing and repeating for those difficult public moments:

    “While you were busy judging others, you left your closet open and your skeletons fell out.”

    I am one of your silent readers, one who looks forward to your humorous stories and poignant moments, and loves seeing the joy on your two daughters’ faces when you share their pics with us. Thanks so much for all you do to brighten our days, and I hope in some small measure you feel the community here giving back to you a little strength and a whole lotta support.

    Know we’re out here rootin’ for the 4 of you (especially in those moments you feel most alone).

  • jolene278

    Sorry to hear that some folks are being cruel. It sounds like the situation is hard enough as it is.

    Sending you all strength and peace, however the future unfolds.