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Where Do You Get Your Mighty?

Authentic Chump, whose leave-a-cheater, gain a career and new home, story was featured in Tuesday’s column, had a suggestion for a Friday Challenge.

I was going to send along this picture of my reading room in my new house.  I have always loved to read, and when the FW moved out he took the shelves out of my bookshelves, not the full shelving units, just the shelf parts. (Fuckwits are petty.)

I never had a cozy reading space in the home we shared because it was a cheap house built by his parents on their property.  It was never a space I would have chosen for myself. When I was buying a house, I knew I wanted a space of my own for my books, and of course, better shelves.

This space holds symbolic significance of my mightiness. This could be a Friday question: What do you return to as a symbol of your mightiness?

It’s a neat question. We do Tell Me How You’re Mighty challenges, but where do you go when your mightiness is flagging? What gives you that can-do boost? What inspires you?

I love the pictures of her reading room and her reading material! And what kind of FW takes the shelves out of your furniture? Way to rise above, Authentic Chump!


P.S. I’m honored to be on the shelf with Margaret Atwood and Nancy Drew.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • The beach!
    Always went there to recharge and reset.
    Eastern shore of Long Island.
    Miles and miles of wide, empty beach ????

    Really wanted to post the photo but couldn’t. Is that possible?

  • After FW left for the last time and I properly got up off the floor and back to the business of living it slowly dawned on me that I was free for the first time in my life. I wasn’t living with my parents anymore and I wasn’t living with a husband anymore. I had two kids under my wing and for the first time in my whole life *I was the head of the household!* Me.

    A lot of mighty, in babysteps, followed after that. I could decorate how I wanted, buy the food I wanted, watch the movies that I wanted, heck, I even spent a year as a vegatarian because I wanted to see what that was like and that never could have happened with FW.

    The freedom was and still is intoxicating. I’ll never go back.

    • Fourleaf, I absolutely agree freedom is the way to be. I lived alone or in colocations for 12 years before wedding. I entered marriage with the expectation to be co-chief of the household. It now dawns on me that I had less authority than in any of my colocations, including with ex-FW. Damn. Why on earth did I spackle for 15 years and 2 kids?!!

    • I LOVE those seemingly simple freedoms!

      I can make my own decisions without having to justify them to anyone. I can make my own mistakes without judgment. I can have the kind of fun I want, with who I want, or not. I can watch my own shows, I can make dinner, or not. I can spend money and travel and not have to worry about anyone else’s needs.

    • The freedom for me too. I followed a similar path from living with parents to living with husband. At that transition time, I knew I was missing out on an experience of living alone and I def regret it. And I feel like it would have helped with my sense of independence and defining boundaries so I would be better equipped for representing myself in a relationship.

      After my divorce, the freedom was the biggest surprise. I could leave the house whenever I wanted? I could have friends over? I could buy whatever groceries I wanted? I could travel wherever I wanted? I could have a duvet cover that wasn’t an image of a real octopus? Don’t ask about that last one. I realized my marriage wasn’t one of compromise; it was one where I gave in to whatever he wanted. And yes, there were a lot more responsibilities on my plate being single, but between family, friends, google and YouTube, I was able to solve all of them. And even though the household income dropped by over 60%, I still have more money left over every month because I wasn’t living with a spendaholic. One being that I was always way better with money and budgeting and two, I was able to focus on my career to the end result of a massive promotion.

      • Yes, it’s amazing how much money is leftover at the end of the month even after the primary income earner has left!

  • I lost both of my parents in the same year my divorce was final. I’m an only child so I was left alone to settle the estate and sell the house they had lived in for 40 years.
    I decided to use the opportunity to do something I had always wanted to do – flip a house. I just hadn’t ever expect it would be my childhood home.
    It took me almost a year – and when I later said that there was blood, sweat, and tears in that project it was certainly true. I cried and cried when stripping the layers of wallpaper from my memories. I bled when laying tile and installing recessed lights. And I sweated everything out in every single detail of that project – the past, the aloneness in the moment, and every fear for the future.
    When it was done, the house sold in 5 days and broke a price ceiling in a market that the realtors had told me wouldn’t support it. I then took just the surplus that I had created and paid cash for a brand new luxury car. ????
    It’s only now, in looking back, that I truly realize just how mighty I was. That’s the strange thing about mightiness. You don’t know what’s in you – until it’s called upon. And while you’re in the midst of it, you don’t fully realize how mighty you are. It’s only when you are on the other side when you can look back back and fully see it.

    • For me, mightiness starts with aspects of character–as Jammy says, the default is doing what needs to be done in spite of obstacles, including the emotional ones I bring to the situation. Mightiness is a decision about how I want to live. I get support from my friends and family, from what I read and watch. As Jammy says, we see that best in retrospect. When we are being mighty, we are often just doing the thing in front of us.

      • Eleanor Roosevelt’s dictum, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” is one I often return to. She is so right that every hard thing you do makes the doing of the next hard thing more do-able.

  • I started travelling with solos groups and got to go to so many of the places I had always wanted to visit without a drunken FW to ruin it. Peru, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Turkey to name just a few of the 12 trips I did before Covid. And I had the money because I no longer had a FW buying his boys toys with my money!

      • I’ve written about this before so here you go. Hope it helps!

        I did my first trip with “” (Turkey), then Peru and then Cuba with “”. I went to Morocco totally on my own (but didn’t enjoy it), BUT I went to Costa Rica and Sri Lanka with “”. The last one isn’t a solos group but there are always solos on the trips anyway. In Costa Rica we were just 6 and in Sri Lanka 13. The advantage of the latter is you can book the trip and make your own travel arrangements so meet up with the group wherever. We had a Canadian couple and a South African with us in Sri Lanka. (The Explore trips move – as the name suggests). Once you do a trip you get chatting to others and they give you other suggestions. You can just google “solo travelling” and you’ll probably find enough travel groups there, especially if you’re in north America. As I say, the UK-based ones just mean it’s English language trips but are open to everyone. You always get a couple of weirdos that everyone avoids like the plague but for the most part they are great. I’ve made good friends on these trips. If you’re going to Greece, Spain, France etc. (i.e. not long haul for me – I’m in France) they tend to break up into age groups, but for the more exotic trips (Peru) it was all age groups mixed together in one trip. When they say “solos” they could be singles, divorced (like me), there are quite a few older widows (I LOVE them – ask me about the widowed English lady who tried all 16 different rums in the rum factory in St. Lucia) and then you sometimes have a married person but their spouse can’t or doesn’t want to travel. Give it a shot. I LOVE it!

  • When we had the “talk” with our three kids and my FW told our kids that she was moving out because she was in a new relationship, my kids were devastated. (I told my ex I wasn’t going to lie to our kids about what was really going on with her and her cheater.) The first thing my 17 year old son said after screaming blasting her with a profanity-laced tirade was, “Are you going to take all the family pictures off the wall?” That deeply affected me, and I felt obliged to, for a time, keep the wedding pictures, and family pictures of all of us on the walls as we transitioned. Over time, I started replacing them with new pictures of the four of us minus my EX. But, the mightiest moment came recently when I dusted off an old set of shelves that used to hold all of those painful photos from before, and filled it with old photos of my parents, and grandparents (first generation immigrants from Ireland and Lithuania) and later pictures of my father’s friends, all WWII veterans. Their radiant smiles give me power and inspiration every time I walk by. I often stop and just stare in awe at the love and loyalty radiating from those old photos, and they always seem to be staring right into my soul, reminding me that they have my back, even from beyond. This is one simple act that has contributed to the mightiness I feel growing within me.

    • Same here. I was the one who usually took the family photos, so there were very few of my grandson with me. This was my ex’s image management; if he was there, he wanted to be in the pictures. I also arranged the annual photos of the three of us, or extended family when we were together. Grandson, then 10, asked me to take the photos down; I delayed, because I was afraid removal would be used as evidence of (grand)parental alienation. So he did something about it. When he was younger, he put stickers of the presidents’ heads over his dad’s face in the small family pictures. Now he put larger sticky notes over my now ex-husband’s face. This was at the start of COVID, and we gradually replaced them with photos of the two of us by using a tripod. We were extra lucky that during COVID, a local photographer offered free “Front Porch Photos” for adoptive, foster and kinship families like ours. He came to the house and took portraits of us outside, then emailed the files so we could print the size we wanted. It was a relief not to have reminders of ex in every room.

      • You managed that very well and this is the most difficult thing I’ve found in this whole process. We’re dealing with our own grief and anger while supporting our kids. Good on you.

      • I love the stickers! While I only had one photo of ‘us’ to take down at my house, while my Dad, across the country and staring at his compilation of family photos, took an Exacto knife and removed STbX’s face from every one of them. He was so pleased telling me that 😉

      • This makes me think of a wedding photo that my parents have at their house. In it, FW and I are sitting in the foreground in our wedding attire with my big Irish- American family standing behind us. When I first let my parents know that I would be leaving the marriage, my mom hid the picture away to protect my feelings. After a time, after I met my second husband, I told her she didn’t need to keep it hidden, as it doesn’t bother either of us. I saw it yesterday, and I smiled at the photo – a nice snapshot of my family that included people we’ve since lost. It’s simply a happy memory with an one annoying idiot holding a beer bottle in the front. I don’t know whether that’s mightiness or meh, but it feels pretty good.

    • The family picture wall always gives me pause for this very reason. Mightiness from the past, pouring forward into the newer generations. Love it.

      • Photos, this is a trigger for me don’t get me wrong I love family photos , however my ex took it upon himself to take all photos, even the ones long before him and I , and rearrange them all into new albums and order. If I try to find a certain photo’s, it is a huge effort to find it! I’ve finally adapted to being single. I’d wanted to stay married forever but not with allowing for cheating lying stealing and who knows what else! After a long marriage it is a step progression to be alone. So I just do what I choose when I choose how I choose . It has not been an easy road but my life has always been a bit of a bumpy . I’m enjoying live theater /music ,again ( yes I like drama on stage) ha! Wondering if I should try to become more active with meeting people instead of a hermit. The ones here who can travel or have activities close by are very fortunate .

        • Don’t put pressure on yourself. You’ll know when it’s time for dating. There is no timeline and for good reason.

  • When we bought our first home 20+ years ago (which thank the lord and my family for the financial support) I am still in with my youngest two, he said: “You have the front garden, I’ll have the back”.
    I was confused, isn’t all of it OUR garden?
    Response: “I don’t work like that.”

    As became apparent. Not good at teamwork or togetherness, the cheater.

    I now have a front AND a back garden that are pretty fantastic. I sit with my coffee, on either my front or back verandah, and delight in them both.

    (Don’t start me on symbolic pruning!)

  • I wish I had a glorious achievement or seven, but I feel my mighty in many, many small ways. I repaint a room without months of negotiation about when it will be convenient enough for him only to be set back again when something comes up and it isn’t convenient. Now, I just look at colors, buy paint, and do the job in a day. I can clean out the garage without someone complaining that I moved something he never used and still doesn’t want to use. (Do normal people complain when you do work that benefits them?) I invite friends over for coffee or dinner (he was so unpredictable in his unpleasantness that I gradually stopped doing this over the years without realizing it). I make plans with friends and I show up, instead of having to cancel because he is too tired or sick to get the kids dinner or pick them up from a sports practice as we agreed. I sit up straight and applaud for my kids at their events instead of slouching and cringing due to his loutish behavior (yep, he was “that” dad–the one that got kicked out of the sporting event by the refs). I take credit for and pleasure in my household rather than having to justify or apologize for or explain it.

    • E, you are adorable. Describing your wins as small. Scoring an apartment in Manhattan is the opposite of small. Heck, it’s a lot of people’s bucket list. Good for you. Enjoy your spa. You are so mighty!

    • Wow, how do people like him find someone who will put up with them?

      Reading some of these comments confirms what I decided years ago: there are worse things than being alone.

    • God, I feel this one. The repainting one — in retrospect, I am amazed at how much I was walking on eggshells more than I realized when we first painted parts of this house. I helped paint *his* basement room, but he refused to help paint my office. I just finished painting over his basement room by myself last week, and there was no one here criticizing when it dripped a little here or there on the plastic protective sheet.

      (yes, my username is a reference to how he was never satisfied, it seemed, no matter what I did)

      • AYS, to a good extent, that was my FW XW, too. I couldn’t load the dishwasher properly, among other things.???? Then said FW wondered why I stopped trying to do it much.????‍♂️

      • I believe the never ending commentary on what one did wrong is a manipulation tactic used by controlling people over those ‘givers’ in their lives. (I have a few in my family so subsequently dated many as well.) And when the giver gets tired and stops giving, the manipulator is surprised. Every. Single. Time.

  • After the breakup, I didn’t want the house — it was too remote and too expensive for me to grow old in. My husband had kept his premarital co-op apartment in Manhattan, and he gave me that in exchange for my share of the house. He was a real hoarder, and over the years this apartment had gotten jammed full of oversize, dark pieces of furniture that I honestly hated. I called it his “little old lady” furniture; he called them “antiques”. I insisted that he had to empty every last stick of furniture out.

    The apartment feels twice as large as the house ever felt to me, because it’s so clean and beautiful now. I bought simple furniture, using earth tones and natural surfaces. I’m most proud of the bathroom — I call it my “spa” — I took away all the filthy brass shower rings, the sagging moldy shower curtain, and the decades-old bath mat on the floor. There was an ancient cracked toilet seat with cigarette burns … took that right off as well. Then, I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and spent $19 whole dollars on a beautiful new padded seat, and installed it myself. I bought baskets to organize towels, laundry, etc. I bought a beautiful beige bath curtain and white liner set, and brand new curtain rings (that might have set me back all of $40). I got a beige floor mat, to compliment the curtains and baskets. My favorite part was when I found a large wood bowl, which I filled with bath salts and set next to the tub with a beautiful scoop. I threw out ALL the old towels and started over with matching white spa towels. The bathroom has a large and beautiful window overlooking the Hudson River, and it’s so bright and sunny I hardly need to use the lights except at night.

    Now when my daughter comes to visit, the first thing she does is make a beeline for the bathroom, announcing she needs a bath, where she will lounge for at least 45 minutes reading and relaxing.

    • W, you are adorable. Describing your wins as small. Scoring an apartment in Manhattan is the opposite of small. Heck, it’s a lot of people’s bucket list. Good for you. Enjoy your spa. You are so mighty!

    • Happy for you but sad because when we moved to in TN 18 years ago we kept our one bedroom on 12th between 5th and 6th. Great building. S15 loved that we would go back and forth. He would say he had the best of both worlds.
      I guess FW did as well because she was going up there and cheating on me.

  • I get my mighty from finishing an advanced degree & getting a great paying job that I look forward to going to! .…after my FW scoffed at me & had all his flying monkeys thinking I was lazy or crazy or too much of a loser to do it!!! If I do nothing more in life, I’m happy that I proved them all wrong ????

  • I am on SSDI for the last 10 years. I am permanently disabled. My ex wife said that I couldn’t make it without her. Not only did I make it, I remarried, bought a new house, making new friends, rebuilding my self esteem and have learned to love myself.

  • My backyard fence!
    When I moved to this new house, settled a bit with my kids, I started planning how to improve the little backyard.

    So I built a cool wood privacy fence. Myself. I hadn’t done this before.

    It’s not straight, more “straightish”.
    But it is over-built and I love the design.

    I’m very proud of it.

  • My ex FW hated two things…the color red and Jeeps. Once the property settlement was finalized I traded the GMC he bought and traded it for you guessed it; a red Jeep Wrangler. I loved Chelsea and drove her until she couldn’t be driven any more. My boys and I had such adventures in it. Now they are grown, I now bought my first “adult car” a black BMW, also thumbing my nose to the ex. Beamy is my symbol to him: I have been successful…without you. ????

    • Aha! I did the exact opposite! My x was automotive hotshot, so I had a new car every two years, as part of his work agreement. After divorce, (Man! My last GM car was an expensive lemon!), I bought an “emergency” vehicle while waiting on my Jeep. At MAX, I’d drive it 2 weeks, give it to my nephew. Seven days after buying that rusted 2007 Town & Country, the Jeep was totaled.
      The 15 year old Town& Country has run better, cheaper and more dependable than last car.
      I now make 6 figures, so I could buy anything I wanted … I happily drive my “hoopty” around.
      I never actually see my x, complete block out since divorce, but I consider it a huge “F you”.
      No constant stress of car in shop, next to free insurance, mostly, that vehicle has given me a year – or years to decide what kind of car is next.
      It is my status symbol.

  • I remember being perplexed that I had to mow the lawn. It’s a bloody great big petrol mower that is a pain to start and manoeuvre. But I did it. I cried as I did it too ????. Then a hundred and one ‘blue’ jobs needed doing. So I done them too. Again each one was achieved through gritted teeth and lots of tears and some bigger jobs with the help of YouTube. But I did them all. That was my mighty to begin with. Now the divorce is final, I own what is (and always was) rightfully mine, my mighty is with me pretty much most of the time. I’m amazed at just how mighty I am. If I ever wobble I simply come back to the moment, come back to the here and now. I am surrounded by love and beautiful souls for which I am truly grateful. I didn’t realise just how unhappy I was. Cutting that driftwood has helped me float. I’m riding those waves like an aussie surfer and life is damn great. In the early days I had a grateful book and would only focus on the positive and nice. One day it was as simple as being able to hear the birdsong as dawn broke…. All chumps know that time, it becomes our friend and shows us we have survived another night of rumination and self criticism. I will never again take life for granted. I find the friendly people, always. I find the beauty in everyday, no matter how moody that day may be.

    It really does get better. You do heal. Keep going.

    Hugs to all❤️

  • When FW unexpectedly walked out, we were at the doorstep of retirement and stepping into the twilight years. Specifically, we had been looking at land (already put in a couple of offers) with plans to build our dream home. Overnight, that was all gone and I had to focus on getting back into the work field after an almost 15 year hiatus – and now bumping almost 50.
    I couldn’t imagine ANY kind of future I had wanted – or, worse, would want.
    Five years later, I’ve built a new *career* in a brand new industry…and I just met with an architect last week to discuss a remodel on my current house that will create my dream home. I would have never guessed that my ex would have left…and I would have never guessed that I could still be where I am now. AND I’m genuinely happy to boot!!
    Life can work things out in ways you could have never imagined. I think that’s the best thing I have learned through this whole experience. Nothing is as important as it once was – and nothing is as scary either. And THAT is what has given me the most freedom of all. If you’re going through a dark time, just remember – the cookies ain’t done yet. ❤️

  • Sitting in MY backyard reflecting on how I feel just being me with the grass under my feet not trying to be someone or impress anyone.

    On my MTN bike killing a trail.

    In my garden encouraging my herbs and not having “black thumb”

    At yoga for dummies/runners where I practice something I am terrible at with encouragement and a sense of humor

    Everytime I interact w other kids parents who only know FW and howorker – and I see the wheels turning as they try to reconcile things now that they ve seen and interacted w me.

  • My porch is my mighty place (and it’s been great for socially distant pandemic meet-ups)!

    It’s a good-sized porch on the back of my apartment that’s in an 1890 Victorian home in a city about 100 miles from where I lived with FW. I chose to move here to be near my kids and grandkids.

    On the porch railing, I strung market lights, the ones x hated. I have planters–one with Dahlias and sweet potato vine and another with a tomato plant, dill, basil, and mint. My 3-yo granddaughter likes to help me water this modest “garden.” Yesterday she said, “We’ll water the tomatoes today and eat them tomorrow.” I like her attitude.

    There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

  • I cook and eat whatever I want. I no longer diet. It’s nice to have that freedom in the kitchen. I had such a small list of recipes I was allowed to cook.

    Back before I was married and even after being married and the first year after I had our son, I never dieted. I’m a pretty healthy, active person. I lost all the baby weight easily. But my stomach didn’t look exactly the same. I was never good enough in his eyes. I remember I gave up soda, then I started cutting carbs. Eventually I was always dieting. If we went for ice cream, I looked up the calories to make the “best choice.” I looked at all food labels. I would look up restaurants before we went to decide what I could eat. I never just got to eat what I wanted. After getting rid of him and looking back at photos of myself looking fantastic and remembering things he said to me during those times, I realized how disordered my eating was. And for what? To try to get some scrawny, but still has a gut, wimp to approve of me?

    I now eat whatever I want. I buy ice cream based on what flavor looks good, not the nutritional content. I try any recipe I want. And my jeans still fit so I haven’t ballooned like I always feared I would. I’m just going back to being the healthy person I was before he started shitting on me. It’s nice.

    • It’s awful the way we cut ourselves down to size to fit their vision of our worth. I’m glad you are treating yourself well now.

    • This! I’ve lost almost 60 pounds since the divorce, and I cook and eat whatever I want whenever I want it. (Mostly I don’t cook! I love going to or picking up something from one of the hundreds of restaurants he refused to try.)
      The second thing I’ve done that feels damned mighty is launching myself into a routine of self-care I would have never dared spent the money on while married to Cheating bastard ex. Facials, mani-pedis, an e-bike which I ride often, walking trails, trauma therapy, body contouring, girl’s night out, and on and on.

      I love sleeping on clean sheets under the coverlet that is exactly the right weight in a room that is the perfect sleeping temperature! (Don’t get me started on the daily thermostat wars I endured over the years!) I love that I’m not cleaning up piss from the front of the toliet, having to deal with spunky hand towels he had ejaculated into, or seeing another little blue pill lying on the bathroom counter just waiting for another night of porn and Webcams.

      Mighty comes in many packages just waiting to be unwrapped…

  • That the books are arranged by color is my favorite part! My FW simply HAD to have everything alphabetized and I may never alphabetize anything ever again. It just looks so beautiful!

    My mighty is more of a mental space than a physical one at the moment. I’m reclaiming things that I’m good at. I’m not sure if what my FW had was a superiority complex or an inferiority one, but it no longer matters, except that he constantly made me doubt my abilities. I’m reclaiming those spaces and it’s thrilling!

  • Vacationing/travel! I always wanted to take vacations and go places but FW would always say “it’s too much money. And I don’t have that kind of money.” (He would guilt trip me into buying majority of our things and ultimately out be in credit card debt.)

    But in the last 1.5 since his ass is out of my life, I’ve gone on 6 vacations (many just a weekend long) but still! And now he will never vacation because he has the OW who can’t pay for her own stuff and they have a baby together. And he is probably still working his dead end job and racking up debt like his parents taught he so well to do. #chumpsultimatelywin

    • I went to visit friends and family a lot the first couple of years. Always felt like I couldn’t do that for the same reasons. Now I don’t have to worry about some FW sapping money from our joint account to spend on his dick while pooh-poohing my travel plans.

    • Ahhh, travel! My ex hated traveling – mostly being away from his comforts and preferred to spend his vacation time on his solo hobbies. For our honeymoon, I wanted Europe, he wanted Hawaii. So he won that one. He said he would give me Europe the second year of the marriage. It took over 10 years to get to Europe and that trip only happened because my therapist told me to go without him. He begrudgingly joined me.

      We split just a few months after that Europe trip ironically. Since then, I have been travelling non-stop. Sometimes a weekender, sometimes a week or more. Sometimes solo, sometimes with friends. I’ve even developed a small group of friends that call ourselves “the travel family.”

      I would never give up this new life.

  • I own a piano that once belonged to my grandmother. She bought it with some of the life insurance money when my grandfather died in a car accident. Mom says that’s how she worked through her grief, by playing on that piano. On top of it are many pictures of my grandparents, my parents, my nieces, pets that currently reside in Heaven.
    I also have a crystal candy dish that belonged to my other grandmother — during Easter she kept plenty of Reese’s peanut butter eggs in it, and I keep up the tradition even though it’s usually just me who eats them.
    So sometimes if I feel down, I look at the piano/altar at my mighty ancestors, and knowing that they’d look at how I stuck the landing and be proud of me.

  • My mighty place was the front porch of my house that I moved into after D-Day. With lots of financial and physical help from my family and friends I was able to buy it. I also managed to save money and in 2020 upgraded my house with 20% down payment and more space. Enough that when DS graduated college and came home for a year he/we were very comfortable and not on top of each other. I want to ask FW why we never had any money? Oh that’s right, he blamed it on the cable bill! SMH

  • Oh Authentic Chump! I love everything about your reading room, but I will dream about your awesome window seat tonight! Just perfect.

  • Three things have always sustained me: nature, books, and movement. For a while after I moved out (I made the choice to have him buy me out of the house), I lost contact with books and movement. (That I am an English professor and former semi-professional dancer tells you how knocked over I was.) I have them all back now, and have even written an essay about my experience with my ex that is to be published.

    As for a challenge I met that shows my mighty, I think I have to say money management. My now-ex was the money manager in our marriage, in that he balanced the checkbook and organized documents to take to the tax preparer. He did not, however, ever do any long term planning (we did each have a retirement account). So when I divorced, and retired less than a year later, I was worried about money and my ability to manage it. The first summer after I moved into my apartment I was anxious over spending a couple of hundred dollars to buy a little Weber gas grill I wanted, as it wasn’t a strictly necessary expense, and over the years I had grown used to justifying every expense and feeling guilty for every purchase. But I have managed my money well and live below the level I can afford without pinching pennies. Not only that, but I have become the FPOA for my mother, and manage her expenses as well.

    • Another POA for her mother, here. C#1 always liked to tell me I couldn’t manage money and C#2 always said I was a spend thrift. I have managed my mother’s sizeable assets, which were scattered across multiple accounts and even though she is in very expensive skilled nursing care, should have funds until she passes. The CFP that helps me manage her accounts has commented on my ability to handle these accounts and get them organized. It is such a compliment after being told I was incompetent for so long. Amazing what others see in us that our FuckWits either miss, or deliberately target out of their own insecurities.

      • “Deliberately target,” indeed. In addition to making their own insecurities, I think the carping about our “defects” can be a diversionary tactic, too. When I was still married but getting my ducks in a row, after I started looking at our accounts I understood just how much money my now-ex spent compared to me, even though he made me feel like I had to account for every penny.

  • This is a gorgeous reading room (I am a librarian chump, if that makes this endorsement any more ringing, ha). I too find solace in home projects, which I do whenever I want, however I want. No longer have to ask for help or encourage someone to take pride in their home and nest alongside me. It was hard for FW to nest when he wasn’t particularly present in our lives. Didn’t know that until I did. Ugh. So happy to be free of that ambiguity and doubt. I love my new home and truly feel at peace here — both my daughter and I do.

    • Chump On It, he complained that I love books. My books were in boxes in the garage loft for ages. He would not even build or get bookshelves. I finally got some Stickley-style bookcases at the annual sale at the furniture mart in San Francisco….hard to find seven feet tall. They look like built-ins all lined up. I can drown happily in books now.

      I love all the “library porn” Instagram pages. (Traitor McScrooge and I have radically different taste in porn).

      On my bucket list is the Easton press leather bound set of the Little House books, which I hope to acquire someday and will be able to do so without feeling like a criminal.

      Library and book chicks rule!

  • Love that you are nestled next to Nancy Drew & Goddesses and Heroines❤️❤️❤️. For me, it’s soaking up the outdoors and getting back to nature. It has always been and always will be my place of freedom and inspiration.

  • The examples are many, so I will stick to recent.

    Basically it boils down to being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, for as long as I want, in ways large and small. No one criticizing, judging, forbidding, micromanaging, controlling.
    I was very controlled and repressed, and it happened so gradually over time I did not realize it. The irony of that repressive, oppressive control freak fuckface doing whatever he wanted with whoever behind my back for who knows how long is the the thing that makes me furious furious furious.

    My daughter and I drove down to Monterey last weekend. We went to the aquarium, where I renewed our membership at the Ocean Advocate level, something that Scrooge would not support. We poked around the shops in Carmel, something I actually never have done, as I was with Scrooge from age 27-54. On kayaking trips there in years past, I always wanted to be one of the couples enjoying Ocean Avenue in Carmel, walking down the street with our ice creams and poking around in the shops and galleries. I can do that now.

    Last night I took my daughter to the De Young museum in San Francisco to see the Bouquets to Art exhibit. I also recently renewed my membership at the donor level. Something else impossible married to Scrooge, who doesn’t believe in giving a dime away no matter how much money he has.

    So I can GIVE now. And DO and BE and HAVE and ENJOY without Scrooge McKilljoy raining on the parade.

    I did not realize how small the box of my life with him was until I got out of it. The world is so big now I get overwhelmed with all the possibilities and sometimes it makes me anxious, like an institutionalized prisoner when they are set free.

    • “I was very controlled and repressed, and it happened so gradually over time I did not realize it. The irony of that repressive, oppressive control freak fuckface doing whatever he wanted with whoever behind my back for who knows how long is the the thing that makes me furious furious furious.”

      Same here.

      While I was working, doing all the house chores (though never to his satisfaction), all the cooking laundry, ironing (yes ironing); he was out fucking randos on a regular basis until he met up with his tru wuv (his direct report). Though I suspect she had his nuts wrapped around the office auger, more than tru wuv.

      I also worked endlessly in the community and later on in politics to get him his opportunities. He threw it all in my clueless face.

    • So relatable VH. After the initial shock and grief when FW declared he wanted a divorce, I literally felt like I was getting out of prison. I am still anxious 4 years later whenever I set out to do something new by myself, but it is getting better everyday.

      To freedom!

    • VH,

      Yay you!!

      And I feel the same way. I was also small and in a box. I accommodated his needs, did his hobbies, soothed his ego, and tip-toed around this moods.

      And. like you, “I was very controlled and repressed, and it happened so gradually over time I did not realize it.” It makes me sad to acknowledge this.

      Here’s to our unboxing! ????

    • I’d just like to share my enthusiasm for the Bay Area & FAMSF (museum membership)! I joined when my kids were in high school and between them, their friends and myself+friends, we used the heck out of it! Saw so many exhibits!! Membership is much cheaper than buying individual tickets IF you use it even a few times per year. It makes it easy, accessible, and a joy to share with others who might not otherwise. My DD went to college in SF and treated her roomies to many of them. My DS even took dates there! There’s a great ‘young singles’ program at De Young with cocktails & special evening events.

      As for Carmel, my parents were one of those lovely couples walking hand in hand down Ocean Avenue, as often as they could. They both passed in 2020 and we finally did a ‘burial at sea’ from Monterey harbor a few months ago. Private charter boat, Zoomed live so family all over the country could attend and speak. It was so appropriate for them, and I plan on making the same final arrangements for myself when that time comes so I will join them, eventually. My kids will have a list of beautiful restaurants to toast me from! (The Inn at Spanish Bay is one, waiting for the bagpiper out by the firepits at sunset. Very fine indeed!)

      ExFW liked to put forth an artsy image because his father was a talented pastel artist, although his work never made it out of the basement studio, always too self-critical. Knowing this history, I thought EX would enjoy the SF art world too. He never attended even ONE exhibit over the years. He was so critical of the artists being showcased, compared to his innate talents(?) that (surprise!) never saw a brush hit a canvas. Pfffft. What a douche he was.

      Glad you’re embracing all those experiences VH! I don’t live there anymore, don’t miss much, but do miss those places. Splendid.

  • I threw a freedom bash to celebrate both leaving a toxic work environment and becoming free of the cheater.

    As part of the decor I bought freedom balloons. After the celebration I put the balloons in my room and somehow they are still inflated. So every morning I wake up, see my balloons, and remember that I am free indeed.

  • I can have flowers from my garden in my house again, and I have had masses of lilacs all over my house for weeks. I told my son, who said “Who doesn’t like flowers??” According to FW, flowers are “smelly.”

  • Margaret Atwood, one of my favorites. Your reading room, CL, looks cozy , sunlit and all-around wonderful.

    Today’s challenge response: Cheater #1 always told me I had no handy skills. I left him with a six month old baby and what I could fit in my car, the abuse, drinking and all around crap had gotten so bad. I went out to Cost Plus (no Ikea back then) and bought a butcher block cart and a bench for the entrance hall. Assembled them both myself with my newly purchased tools. Both pieces of furniture are still looking good and in use at the house that I bought him out of and have lived in for the last 18 years since the divorce was final.

    Bonus karma story: C#1 took the cash from the house buy out, approximately $450,000, and bought a new house (CA real estate prices here). Then didn’t make the payments on it and it was foreclosed on in less than two years. Was auctioned on the courthouse steps for non-payment of taxes. Yep, FW C#1 lost almost half a million dollars in less two years. Moron.

  • My mightiness is odd, but it means mightiness to me. I’ve shared it here before so a million apologies to those who’ve read this before.
    It’s toilet paper. My FW outright refused to buy toilet paper. Wouldn’t let me buy it either. Why? Because he stole it from his employer. You know that thin, nasty institutional stuff that feels so nasty on your lady bits. I’d fuss that stealing from one’s employer wasn’t the thing to do to keep on said employers good side. He’d just laugh at me. Because he’s a FW in all things. D*ckhead.

    When we separated and I moved into my cute apartment, I bought every roll of Charmin the store had. I piled them into a large, pretty basket in the bathroom. Mounds and mounds of soft, white rolls of Charmin.

    I left that cute apartment behind many years ago but still have my mountains of Charmin in my two bathrooms. No toilet roll holders for me. No need when you have lovely baskets.

    No idea if he still steals from his employer. Don’t care.

    • What a FW indeed! Imagine possibly losing your job over ‘employee theft’…of toilet paper. ????‍♀️ Embarrassingly stupid, oh my.

    • Love this! Charmin !So wonderful ! ! My ex stole all the time from employers ugh! Exasperating ! Glad the dealing with that and other things is now gone!

  • For me it’s always nature. I grew up camping with my family, but serial cheater had no interest. I should have married a fellow nature lover! So, when I finally got divorced (32 yrs), I moved back to my home area, and after a while, met another outdoors lover. He and I remodeled a vintage camper, and went all over in it, it was heaven! We’ve now drifted apart, but that’s ok, things change, and I know that from all these experiences, and the awesome stories of CN.
    Last week I went hiking in the mountains twice, and my garden is looking gorgeous (perennials are coming into their own this year). My soul is happy ???? ⛰ ⛰

    • Me too FreeWoman. Just came back from four days canoe camping in a High Sierra lake just me, the wife and our dog. The fishing was good too! My happy place is in the mountains…

  • Sitting at my desk, balancing my checkbook and financial accounts!

    I got prepared for alimony to run out in 2020 (after five years) by doing two things. 1. With the services of a handyman and electrical contractor, I built a rental apartment from part of my home. 2. More importantly, I upgraded my career. As a result of those two things, my 2021 AGI was 10% higher than it was before the alimony ran out. I’ve completely replaced the alimony and plus some. I am massively pleased about it.

    Several other great things have happened too—which never would’ve happened had I continued a bad marriage to an alcoholic spendthrift… My credit score has risen above 800, my retirement savings are on track again, and (as I finagled into my divorce agreement) savings accounts for the kids’ futures are well and healthy and mostly funded by FW.

    The thing was… in addition to cheating and lying, FW had lots of other self-entitled, shortsighted habits—like abusing my credit cards and putting off the nest eggs. It is such a relief to be rid of him. It was (and is) one of the greatest ironies… FW made a lot of money, and yet I constantly felt stressed out about the money and finances because FW would spend it ALL and then use the credit cards! These days, my household income is one-third what it was when I was married to a FW… and yet only now do I finally have plenty of money for all my needs, plus some left over for a few wants.

    It’s crazy! FW’s income has shot up even faster than mine, and yet every year he poormouths when it’s time to make the kids savings deposits—which is hilarious when he has a brand new E Tron on the driveway and a brand new boat parked at the dock of his brand new $3 million home and has freshly returned from a $50,000 vacation in Hawaii. I’m just like, “Whatever, dude—pay up.”

      • Bingo, Adelante! And also consider that the payment obligation is calculated only as a fraction of any excess income that is left over after subtracting personal income taxes and after subtracting a generous, inflation-adjusted baseline amount. If he wasn’t making wads of money handover fist, he wouldn’t have to pay anything… And what he does pay, is only a fraction of his net. it should be easy to plan for and easy to afford.

  • After about seven years of historic home remodeling, (and the years and projects could still go on and on), I have decided to take a break, and enjoy all the effort. So, as I stroll out onto my 20′ x 20′ “Covid deck” that I tore out the old, dug all new postholes *1800 pounds of cement moved – 2x*, I am currently firing up the fancy wood pellet fed smoker I bought myself as a reward.
    I made a wonderful piece of Waygu beef, just for giggles, and enjoyed my evening.
    I’m hoping that I have many, many MANY more relaxing nights like this.

  • Post D-Day I found my tribe. A group of men from a couple of different churches that created a support group. They got me through a lot. Every year there was a Yosemite backpacking trip that culminated in climbing Half Dome. I have been a backpacker all my adult life, but not keen on heights and exposure. When I found myself at the bottom of the infamous cables up the sheer granite I had second thoughts. But then I saw my compatriots ascending and realized, “If they can do it so can I!”
    This is what the Chump Nation is all about!
    I no longer climb Half Dome, but the highlight of the summer is our family canoe camping trip at a High Sierra lake. 20+ years of loading kids, dogs and gear into canoes and paddling out to our own island. Swimming, fishing, paddling, cooking over a campfire and ending the evening with outrageous games of liars dice. It is heaven. We always look for “stragglers”, people in need of a tribe, to come along.
    These trips remind me of how good life can be.

  • I lived a terrible wreckonsillyation that lasted YEARS. At the start of it, Cheater bought a house (that I didnt want) and mortgaged us up to our eyeballs. He (of course) didnt actively participating in selling the first house. I painted it, arranged for new carpet, marketed, sold it, and closed on it without a realtor to prevent financial disaster that he ignored. This was 2007 and in the big real estate crash that followed, the new house lost ~ $120,000 in value (all our equity). It was only in the last few years the the house regained its value and appreciated past what we paid.

    During the 5 years Cheater lived here, he griped about it every day and blamed me for “making him” live here. Leave it to a Cheater to make a unilateral decision and STILL blame the Chump for it.

    I have considered selling it a zillion times but it was never the right time. There was surely a “this was cheaters house, ditch it” temptation, yet its lovely and on a stunning lot on a street with more expensive homes. I also loathe moving more than I hate any aspect of this house.

    My mightiness came in form of how I made this house mine. It has been mine alone for nearly 10 years and I have made decisions about nearly every square inch of house and yard. I have maintained, changed, remodeled, painted, designed etc everything.

    I could never have afforded to stay here (even with life in$urance) because it is a huge expense, but new husband moved in and he rents-out his paid-for house for more than it costs us to keep this place spiffy. I also worked with a lawyer to put the house in a trust for my kids if I die.

    For me, mindfully deciding what was best for me (even though it didn’t fit the normal Mighty Life Redesign) was mighty in itself.

    Cheater had a big office in the front of the house with high ceilings, crown moulding and French doors to it. I was not welcome in it and was not to decorate it or mess with it in any way. I found crap from OW in it after he died and I was pissed as shit. Every last molecule of his stuff is gone from this room. I painted the walls a dreamy jewel blue and the linen curtains go ceiling to floor. New hub bought me beautiful antique office pieces that each have wonderful stories and he gave me a room-size hand-made Persian rug from his travels.

    When I do work/school zoom calls from my office, Im almost tempted to apologize but I dont.

  • FW#1 always belittled me from my looks to my intelligence. When we separated, I applied for a Master’s program at an impressive university, and was not only accepted, but received a full scholarship. Oh, and I did runway modeling on the side.
    FW#2 insisted I become vegetarian, because he was a pretend environmentalist. He made a big deal to our neighbors about how he would only put out one small sack of trash per week. And then I found where he was hoarding the rest of the trash, which was made of primarily of cardboard/plastic containers of ice cream which only he ate. I mean, it was huge and disgusting. BTW, he claimed to be vegan.
    I get that there are many excellent reasons for vegetarianism, but one of the first things I did after fleeing that relationship was to order Prime Rib at a very nice restaurant.

    • Runway model with an Ivy League Masters degree…you rock and the FWs were too insecure to make a real life with you. Fuck them.

  • My garden. It’s my quiet, my happy place, where I work through my frustrations with my ex and my parents by tearing through weeds, and joy to see cultivated plants growing. What satisfaction to take it from seed to fruits! And to know that even though my old life was utterly decimated into ashes, just like in my garden those ashes can be used as fertilizer to create a new and thriving life.

  • I have never been afraid of taking risks and starting over. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve moved since leaving my parents’ house at age 19.
    One move was across the world, from Sweden to the U.S. One was out of the house I shared with my cheating ex husband – a house I’d found, fixed up, and decorated for our family.
    But 2018 was my banner year for new beginnings. In May, I kicked the sociopathic Lying Cheating Loser out after four miserable years. In September, I turned 50. And on Christmas Eve, I won the online auction and became the owner in spe of an 1,800 sqft brick Tudor Revival from 1930, in a town 100 miles away – a town I had visited exactly once.
    In the 3+ years of living here, I have tackled many projects big and small, but there are two areas in particular that always boost my mighty: my sunroom turned art studio, and my detached one-car garage (too small for my pickup truck) turned workshop.
    Both in my marriage and subsequent relationship, taking up space with my creative pursuits was always an issue. Notwithstanding the fact that my custom furniture painting, furniture flips, and art commissions contributed significantly to the household income.
    Living mortgage free has allowed me to essentially retire from two decades as a housepainter and support myself as an artist and craftswoman. I build most of my art blanks in my workshop, often framing them in fabulous reclaimed wood. I had a work sink installed in my studio (repurposed from elsewhere in the house), and on principle, I never clean out the paint splatters. I waited my whole life to have a dedicated workspace with a sink, and I want it to look like a work sink. Every time I wash my brushes out, I look at the sediments of paint, and I feel mighty af.

  • I go to stately homes, art galleries, weekend city breaks. I take local community language classes. I do a bit of retail therapy.

    I suppose I see these things as me giving myself permission to be who I am instead of the highly edited version that was never good enough. I’ve learned that when I’m not carrying the weight of a million problems that aren’t mine, that I’m a person who strives for self improvement and I don’t particularly feel like being told otherwise by a video game/meme culture addicted fuckwit anymore.

  • Anyplace just a little bit busy has been where I’ve regained mightiness. I can’t tell you how many weekends me and FW avoided going anywhere at all because he hated crowds. Now I go grocery shopping whenever I need to, even if its on Sunday during the after church rush. I live in a mountain town and take my daughter to the swimming holes and hiking trails up here all the time now too, and its because I truly don’t care if I have to share a shoreline with another family or let another group of people pass me on a trail. The entitlement with my FW extended to the entire world…he wanted it all to himself and didn’t even want to inhabit the same space as other people.

  • I got back into my sales career after being a SAHM mom for 10 years and FW laughed in my face that no one would want me anymore. And I jumped right back as a senior sales executive.

    I did it while managing the craziest contentious divorce from FW… AND being the only sane parent to a 9 year old boy with autism who was as traumatized as I was.

    Where did I get the boost I needed to be mighty? Completely from my son and the support of AMAZING friends (awesome network from my past work too) and a few family members. Therapy helped too. Every time I was falling apart, I remembered that I had to do this for my son. There was no failing allowed.

    • I’m a dork and totally mis-read this challenge! WHERE do I get mighty? I get mighty cuddled up in my chair in the morning watching the tv silliness I enjoy (Food Network) with a cup of hot tea and drawing in my Reverse Coloring Book (or creating real art)… with my dog next to me.

      Why? Because with FW I never had the real space to relax and be myself. I never got to do my art. He hates tea. And he wouldn’t let my son get a dog.

      I feel mighty every time I do whatever the heck I want… and with my dog next to me 🙂

        • The reverse coloring book I have was given to me as a gift. It’s this one by Kendra Norton:
          The Reverse Coloring Book™: The Book Has the Colors, You Draw the Lines!

          Highly recommended. You can just trace around in pen … or get very creative and draw anything. Colors are there… I just use black and white ink. If you have Instagram, check out #thereversecoloringbook to see the creativity!

          I’m an artist but anyone can do this! I find it very zen.

      • I totally get what you are saying as I read these posts in bed with my lovely cat. Ex hated me having a weekend lie in, hated me reading anything on my phone at any time rather than giving him my full attention, and was allergic to cats. (I think my cat believes I am mighty.)

  • I love this reading room! I’m so glad CL posted a photo. I did not wake up this morning feeling mighty, and I haven’t for several days. This brought back some hope!

    I’m almost 1 year out from divorce, 1.5 years out from moving into a rental home, which I was able to purchase after the divorce was final. I live there with my 28 year old son, who’s on the autistic spectrum, fairly high functioning but unlikely to be independent.
    I find myself returning to & rereading CL blogposts & book when something stressful comes up in my life. This week it is the anticipation of a visit by my other son’s in-laws. Neither my son & his family nor his in-laws live in my state anymore. But we were close acquaintances with his in-laws. Our families used to get together several times a year before they moved out of town 3 years ago to be geographically closer to all their married daughters. They are coming back in town for a wedding of their long time friends’ daughter.
    I’m stressing out because even though I am happy to have my own home in a safe neighborhood, it’s quite a bit different than the neighborhood we both lived in before, & it’s a bit of a fixer upper that will always have just one bathroom. I think it was also difficult for this couple to see us divorce, and the husband told me last summer during the first visit afterwards to my son, “I don’t know what went on, but I love you both!” I haven’t had occasion to see them in person since although I chitchat with his wife on the phone occasionally.
    The reading room gave me just enough hope that I can still plan to make the home updated, and more like some of my dreams of a home, which have always included a library room! The house I rented, then purchased, is really almost everything opposite any of the homes of my dreams: it’s a MCM ranch. I grew up in the 60’s/70’s & I disliked the modern decor back then! But it has provided freedom, and safety, and I can walk by the river every day & be healed by sighting some kind of wild life: deer, chipmunks, geese, ducks, jumping catfish, nesting birds.

    I don’t have a symbol that I return to yet….other than my old journal that I have not written in since 6/1/21. Once the divorce agreements were done & I was just waiting for the court date, almost all contact with XH stopped. I did not need to pour out all my angst, confusion, disappointment, and frustration into journal pages. I didn’t even realize that until I started using it for a notepad, months later, since I kept it in my purse.
    Having a definite symbol would be very powerful. Right away I pictured my little extra bedroom as a reading room, with a great armchair instead of a twin bed. The other kids (adults now!) only stay 1-2 nights at a time, or rent Airbnb’s if they want more space than I can provide.

    • I moved a lot because of my ex FW. I had to live in some shitty places in the early days, and even later because the FW was cheap and stealing money from us for hookers, etc. You know what I learned? You can make any place feel wonderful if you put love into it. Doesn’t take much ????

  • I look at my wall of classes. I’ve been in grad school for the last 4 years and starting in January I began prerequisite courses for nursing school. I wrote all of my classes (CRN numbers) in big letters on index cards and taped them to a wall that I see first thing every morning and last thing when I go to bed. I am crossing out those classes one by one (getting As in all of them) and when I’m done I will have a graduate degree finished and only 4 core nursing classes left to tackle (the hardest of all). I love learning new things and taking these classes has saved me.

  • I had my house before him and had already done a lot to make it my cozy little sanctuary. Not much has changed since dday, though I’m always doing little repairs and tweaks, but it makes me feel very mighty to look around at my place, my yard and gardens, etc and see that what I’ve built for myself has endured. Despite his best efforts to destroy me, the life I built is still there holding me up and always will be.

  • I started climbing mountains. Literally. So far I’ve been on trips to Utah, Maine, Costa Rica and Peru. Currently planning for Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa.

  • I bought a horse. My last horse died when kids were small, so I put this part of myself (and most others) on hold -but after I extracted myself from the “House of Horrors,” the kids were grown and launched and it was my turn. Next thing you know, I’m driving a truck pulling my horse trailer (VERY empowering!), hauling my horse all around the upper midwest to horsemanship clinics with a great group of women I met through my horse. Then, when my divorce came through last year, I bought another horse – I call him my “divorce horse.” I’m now hauling TWO horses in my truck and trailer, learning a new style of riding (which at my age feels GREAT), and have a wonderful group of strong women friends. I wish we could upload pictures for this response!

  • It has been a long time ago, but for me the most thing I remember that helped me was to continue college classes and devote myself to my job. It was pretty much my life line.

    Both paid off, so I am glad I did it. I got several promotions and now my husband and I enjoy the fruits of our labor together in our golden years.

    Had I stayed with the fw he would have gambled away my entire life’s work, as he did his own.

  • My favorite way I feel mighty is by lighting candles and incense. FW hated them. He would never let me light candles (god forbid incense!) and I could never open the windows. Now I love to have all the windows open with the smell of patchouli wafting through! It makes me know that he’s not here and doesn’t belong here anymore.

  • I have a nonprofit that I started with my best friend years before meeting my ex and continued while dating him. We inspire the next generation of women to take control over their lives and one of the the things we consider ourselves experts on is dating and relationships.

    When DDay hit I felt so conflicted bc I wanted so bad to believe he was sorry but in my heart I felt, how can I tell girls and young women to leave situations where they aren’t valued and I’m still in mine? That feeling plus me stumbling across CL/CN 2 months later gave me the power to leave that situation for good.

    So my nonprofit is my symbol of mightiness. It’s easy to talk about it and when faced with the ultimate test, I passed it! I can proudly hold my head up and know that my organization really operates on the principals we preach.

  • Definitely nature, it’s my go to happy place, keeps me balanced.
    I just love your reading room! Looks very inviting. I’m an avid reader myself, but have limited space in my tiny one bedroom right now, which still hasn’t prevented me from buying books, just don’t look as organized as yours does!
    Someday when I feel up to the hassle of moving, I’ll will buy a house with a yard that I can get a great garden going in and some amazing tree I can compliment for its awesomeness and hopefully close to some nature trails, bike paths or body of water to enjoy. I’d like that very much.
    I walk 6-12 miles most every day( stroller for my Yorkie with the temps over 100 degrees now, he’s a great buddy and a crazy good walker when the heat isn’t cooking him, he never wants to go home and can always walk longer and farther than me.)
    I’ll prob wait till late Sept to open my back deck door and leave it open 24 hours a day, without even a screen in. ( amazing to me it is not buggy at all even though there’s lots of wildlife around here too, maybe because I’m on the third floor, the bugs aren’t an issue, I don’t really know why.)
    Love hearing the birds bright and early, my hummers at the 5 feeders I have( a little overkill for sure!) and the sounds of coyotes or owls throughout the night or a perfect bonus rainstorm, yes!
    Love my nature! ????????

  • For me it’s my bed. It feels safe because I have a blanket crocheted by a volunteer at Womens Refuge. When I got referred there, they gave me that blanket even though I wasn’t as needy as other women there. It’s beautiful! I put it on me every night like a protective cloak. It means so much to me.

    • I am so glad you still have your blanket. There is a knitting group at my church that makes small blankets (rather like shawls) for a local shelter. When they found out I was showing up on Sunday mornings weepy because of now-ex’s infidelity and the separation/divorce process, they quietly handed me a beautiful gift bag with a blanket and a card inside to let me know they were looking out for me. And I still wrap up in that blanket on tough days. That doesn’t make me feel mighty exactly, but it does remind me of how much love there is in the world.

      • Exactly. I use my blanket when I don’t feel mighty! My blanket feels so full of the love of strangers. It’s like someone’s precious hands are hugging me. I wish I knew the lovely person who crocheted it. They’d be pleased to know how much it means ❤️

  • Authentic Chump, just reading this post. Your reading room is a paradise!
    Good for you!
    Just wanted to tell you, before I even read any further, that you make my heart sing.
    ( that a cheater could be so mean to you in the past, and now, look at this room you have created).
    Obviously, there is no spot for a cheater to ever set foot in here, let alone sit his sorry ass down and be so lucky as to choose a wonderful book to read).
    YOU ARE MIGHTY! ????

  • I always need to have access to nature to be at peace. I turn to it to recharge and to remind myself that in spite of everything, the world is still incredibly beautiful.
    When I left FW I moved to a place with a network of nature trails in hundreds of acres of woods, plus a river.
    There are some downsides, though. It’s isolated and there is no access to public transportation. So right now, since chipmunks chewed up the wires in my car, I have to wait months for the parts to come in, and my insurance policy only allows $1500 in car rental, I have to let the FW deliver me groceries and take me to appointments. There is nobody else. I haven’t seen him and I don’t want to, but there’s nothing else I can do. It sucks!
    However, I am getting strength from reading all your posts. CN is a wonderful source of mightiness inspiration.

  • My FW took the living room furniture and television when he departed, among other things. He generously left behind a broken couch and a few broken chairs.

    For over a decade, he had been pushing me to sell my pre-marital VersaClimber.

    When I dared request he end his daily tv binge after a paltry 8 hours of non-stop viewing, so I might drag my climber out for a peaceful (our house is open-plan) work-out before midnight, he would declare he couldn’t possibly shut down the idiot box and find something else to do. Thus, he would say I never use it…

    His exit allowed me to ditch the broken furniture. And turn the space into a gym. I feel great, I look great, and I finally have peace and the freedom to work-out when I please.

  • Went I left my ex, who was fucking our neighbor, I only took some bare essentials and the dog. I wasn’t in any danger, I just knew I had leverage to make him give me everything I wanted from the house, and pack it up for me, because he was good at that. I moved in with my parents. They couldn’t believe I left everything behind, I told them I had a plan, but my dad kept saying “he got the goldmine, you got the shaft” Ex also changed the locks on the house. Tax season rolls around about a month later. Ex calls asking where all his doc are. Ha! I have them. I told him I will return them as soon as you pack up everything on my list, properly labeled for storage. He laughed at me. I said, “ok, if it’s not ready by friday, you papers will be on your porch……on fire, covered in dog shit” and hung up. Thursday night he called and left a message. I picked it all up, perfectly packed, and left his papers. When my dad saw all my stuff for storage inside ” see dad? That’s the gold mine, and didnt have to lift a finger to do it, I used leverage”

    • Can’t most paper documents be accessed digitally? Good it worked out for you but that could have really gone sideways. A call to the tax guy, a call to an employer for W-2s, downloading last year’s tax returns, copies of stock certificates, wills (the attorney who drafted them), birth certificates. They can all be replaced. You could have been shit out of luck. I don’t think withholding documentation (extortion) is the best way to get your personal items packed. You would have had to open all the boxes to make sure it was done correctly anyway. (You said it was perfectly packed, but couldn’t really know all your stuff was in there.) I’m all for success stories but not risky ones that could get you in a lot of trouble. You could have just as easily said, set up cameras if you like to monitor me, but I need 8 hours to pack my personal items, and when that is done without fanfare, I will be able to find the documents you are seeking.

  • I took 29000 off the joint savings account before he restricted access to the bank accounts and used some of the money to buy a converted camper van. I have been getting so much pleasure from setting off on weekends for discovery tours!

  • The home I bought just before Dday I had picked out with It’s needs in mind. A room for his music studio, another for his gaming. I didn’t have any dedicated rooms besides my office. After Dday, I turned them into more guest rooms for the company I could finally have over without feeling guilty. But I hated that house. Too many bad memories. A few years down the line, I started looking for a new place. I was just about to buy a new one when I quit my toxic job. Since I was free to live anywhere, I picked up stakes and moved to an entirely new city. That’s where I finally got my mighty back. I have a lovely place filled with light and amazing views. And the only person I thought of when I bought it and decorated it was me. I lived in right before COVID hit so I spent 2 years feathering my nest and enjoying the solitude. So I’m lucky enough to say my whole damn house is my mighty place. Thanks, Chumplady, I wouldn’t be there without you!

  • I turned my entire house upside down and purged everything that was the cheater- everything from his grandmothers apple pie recipe to Xmas ornaments to furniture!
    It started with the closet in the master bedroom. That was the first place I cleaned out.
    Then I repainted it a really warm lovely yellow. It was the closet that I used to go in to cry when he was on the phone in the other room talking to his mistress. (He was pushing for an open marriage- and paraded her around in front of me and the kids like a trophy until, thankfully, he moved out.)
    So the closet became symbolic. No more hiding in the closet. No grief in the closet. That yellow meant the sun with shining in.
    It’s been five years. I’m solidly at meh!!!

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