Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I think I'm going to enjoy this...

"Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."  ~Hans Christian Andersen

I'm not sure what happened, but I am pretty sure God has answered numerous prayers. Perhaps my pleas for strength and your prayers for my healing, I'm actually finding I feel lighter- Is that even possible?

It started on Sunday after the terrible text. (See the post before this one.)  I wonder if since in Islam it is the breaking of the covenant of your marriage, maybe symbolically and spiritually I've been released.  That night I thought I would feel super sad, and yeah.. it came and went, but it got easier.

Monday after lunch time I came home instead of going out to eat and discovered my ex's SUV at the leasing office. It is the end of the month, my concern is he is moving into my apartment complex. (How twisted is that?) It sort of rattled me, but not in the sad way... in the hey-this-is-my-territory sort of way. I think I needed that little bit of anger to sort of seal off some of that sadness.

Of course I've put away more photos and some of the "details" are not quite as painful as they were last week. Slowly.. but surely.

Then today... The first day that I have had ZERO contact, I feel fantastic. Is that normal? I actually walked through the house and sort of giggled at the freedom of it all. 

Perhaps I need to back up a bit.

So I was chatting with one of my closest friends, Telisa, last night and we were joking around about the fact that I need to just enjoy myself for a while. I told her the idea of dating or meeting people simply terrified me. I haven't really dated since I was 24 0r 25. Turning 40 sort of puts me in an interesting spot. Well, for fun I decided to put up one of those dating profile things on one of those spots- just to see if there was any potential for coffee dates or lunch or dinner.. you know.. just making friends. No sooner did I push "PUBLISH" I had like seven responses. Things like, "Hey blue eyes, let's chat." Or "I'm looking for my soul mate, after reading your profile, I think you are the one." And the worst one of all, "Hey .. let's hook up tonight." 

Excuse my lewdness... but are you fucking kidding me?

I literally jumped up from the couch, did some girlie squeal and started saying, "No.. No.. No.. No... " You would think a mouse had crossed my path. I immediately went up to the top of the page, found account settings and deleted my profile. I was simply curious. Now that I know... I think I am better off alone. First of all - there are some scary people out there. Secondly, WTF? Seriously?


This new chapter is actually hilarious. I think that's why I woke up and just felt free. It's all simply ridiculous. I can laugh... I can laugh.. oh how I can laugh at the whole situation.

Because at the end of the day, it's completely (again.. pardon, but it's appropriate,) are you effing kidding me?


And such begins my journey...


Monday, April 29, 2013

A New Path

It's hard to believe it has been 6 days since he left. I did not die. I did not lose any appendages. The world did not come to an end.

Though it felt like it should.

Divorce does not kill you, but honestly, it kills a little something inside of you.

That little glimmer of "happily ever after" gets snuffed out.

I have to move on.

And that is exactly what I am going to do.

Though the week might be rainy and bleak, my pleasure at some of the activities will not be!

For one, we finally do a post-event review of the festival. I have tons of tweaks and ideas to submit to the team. I think each year it will get better and more organized. What I learned last week were the strengths and weaknesses of my co-workers. Now that I know, I can proceed accordingly.

I also get to attend a Focus Group on the city of Macon with the Chamber of Commerce. I love getting together with a group of people to share ideas, complaints, etc and actually make some change happen.
I think being originally from here, moving away, then coming back gives me a fresh perspective.

Thursday I have another 8 hour day in Leadership Macon. This week's topic- Education. This is definitely a hot button for most participants. We begin to narrow down the project ideas also. Not 100% crazy about any of them, but since I work in Nonprofit and I get to be a part of a project EVERY SINGLE DAY.. I'm just going to ride this one out, help where my expertise can be used, and not get too personally invested in pushing my ideas. Some of these people never get to do stuff like this. Give them their moment.. right?

FRIDAY.. oh precious Friday...  I fly to Chicago. However, my dear friend, Leanne has pneumonia. I'm not sure how this is going to work. I called the company I bought the tickets through, and as it turns out, the insurance on the tickets was only if I had a medical emergency. Boo. I hope she gets wells really soon. I just feel terrible. Not sure what to do... I hope it all works out in the end. Luckily, I don't have to visit a million places, I just want my pic in front of a few key "Chicago" landmarks and I'm good.

I should be gone Friday - Sunday to visit Leanne, Laura and Peggy. I can't wait to show you all of the photos!  I think good conversation will be enough to make me have a wonderful trip.

So my new path has begun. I have a busy week... and hopefully, each day it will get a little easier. I finally pulled down the photos here at work. That was another step. Obviously, I quit wearing my beautiful ring. I registered for Tennis lessons.. just something else to do at night. I'm trying.. I really am.

He sent me a text first thing Sunday morning that read... heck... wait.. I'll show you and explain.
Basically, in Islam, you have to say I divorce you three times, and in the eyes of God you are divorced. I know that is so much a bigger deal to him than the papers, but with people like me (and probably you,) the papers are the real deal. So I wake up to this. As you can see, I responded accordingly. I just did not understand what the hurry was.... however.. I keep thinking, there MUST be something/someone that is pushing this so fast. Who knows.

Yes, I showed the text. I don't care. It doesn't matter anymore. No matter what I do, what I say.. we are over.

So... my new path begins.

PS - What an ass.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Surviving the First Weekend

If I had a choice this weekend, I probably would have crawled under my sheets and just slept. Slept it all away, until my mind had time to process and heal.

Instead, God had other plans.

My niece and sister came over Thursday night for dinner, that's the night after  Yasser left. (Yes, the egyptian's name was Yasser.)

My niece looked up at me and said, "I'm going to spend the weekend with you, Auntie Cole."


A few times I thought about cancelling on Friday. But I finally decided, this is what I needed to do. I did the final test and called my parent's house and asked if Autumn was still planning on coming over this weekend, and my mother informed me that, Yes, she was on her way.

We sort of lay low on Friday night. Watched movies, played games, we were just silly. I went to bed sad.. though I covered it up really well. Saturday was TOUGH. Here I had this happy little 7 year old, and I had to be in a good mood. I was honest about how I was feeling with her, and I tried really hard. I ended up taking 3 naps on that day. THREE naps. I think it was my body's way of healing.

I am trying really hard to be honest with myself. To be honest with people reading this. To just be honest. It's all about being self aware, and perhaps my journey will bring some peace to someone else. I realize I am not the only one experiencing heart break today. I also realize this may not be the last time for me. But I am going through it. 

My dear readers, you've followed my journey for the past 4 years. I began this blog about 3 months after Yasser arrived in the states. You know how hard I fought, you know the entire journey. Though I deleted most of the more painful posts over the years, if you have been here - you know. 

I was talking with one of my best friends, Telisa, a few days ago on the phone. I was explaining to her how the things that people are saying to me are really hateful and hurtful. Not so much toward me, but about the whole relationship. She said something that I am so grateful for, because she knew Yasser and all about us before anyone else did. She said, "Nicole, I don't think we'll ever really know why things turned out the way they did." And people, that's the truth. Things weren't always bad, but they definitely have not been good over the past 2 years or so.

I got a little scared last night when I began to think about dating. No, I'm not looking to date, but it hit me that I am single. AND 40. Eek. If you look around the city I live in, let's just say the pickings are slim. So I guess I have to learn to be with me. Be in love with me. You know?

It's just a terrifying time for me. I feel like I am starting a new school, or have moved to a new town. Just the great unknown stands before me. I have a LOT to learn to accept. I have got to learn to let go of the "what if." I have to be strong for myself.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. Thanks for the emails. Thanks for the texts, the comments, and the phone calls. This too shall pass. Honestly. But now that the house is empty.. it's a little harder. It will take time. I am probably the most resilient person I know. ;-)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Things I have learned this week

This was a week of many firsts...

1. This was probably the first time since the age of 14 that I felt my heart break into little pieces. It did not kill me physically.... but emotionally....

2. I watched the absolute LOVE of my life walk out the door, without a saying a word to me. It did not kill me either, but I felt like I would absolutely die.

3. Pain and sadness can give you super human strength. I was able to completely rearrange my apartment in a matter of 2 hours. He walked out at 7pm. I had everything the way I wanted it by 9:30pm at the latest.

4. People are incredibly insensitive. We all know this. The one time I am actually feeling vulnerable, I see just how insensitive they can be.

5. Why would you EVER say to someone, "So there has to be another woman. Right? Don't you think?"

6. Or - "I hope you now see why he married you."

7. Or - "He left? Good! I am so glad."


8. I always hated that saying, that people are "haters," but honestly, I have to interact with one about 4 times a week. She tries to cut me down quite a bit, the funny thing is, she's probably one of the least intelligent people I have ever met in my life. You can also categorize her in the insensitive group also.

9.I don't respond well to people showing concern. I tend to shut down and get a little icy with them. Sorry.. it's what I do. I'll warm up in time.

10. I don't have much patience right now.

11. I  gained 3 pounds this week. Chips and dip therapy.

12. I am genuinely sad. Did you read that? Divorce SUCKS. SUCKS. SUCKS.

13. I am being so brutally honest about this entire process. Some of you may be shaking your head, but what I say to you is - WHY ARE YOU READING THIS THEN?

14. I can tell how many people read posts. Why are the really sad ones with the highest views? People are truly morbid and incredibly nosey.

15. I'm bitchy right now.. can you tell?

16. I read something in the paper today that pissed me off. It was about our festival. WTH? I also heard one of the rednecks in town (who thinks shes connected) totally bash my place of business. She was spreading rumors that are COMPLETELY untrue. Be careful little girl... it's small town, and you represent what is wrong with this community. Thank God those type of people are quickly becoming less and less powerful.

17. Fired up... can you tell?

18. In a mood...

19. Completely heart broken...

20. This post will probably be deleted in the next 48 hours... GRRRR.. ;-)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A New Chapter Starts Now

I sort of slept last night. I woke up several times, jumping from sounds I heard or just random 1/2 awake/ 1/2 sleep dreams. 

You see... he left last night.

He packed his bags and he made 5 trips to the car and he left. Never said goodbye. I held it together and waited until I saw him pull off in his car... then the flood works began.

Later he sent me a text telling me an attorney would be in touch with me. He left everything (for the most part,) and said he only wants to be left alone. For me to not contact him... then perhaps... in time... he could be friends.

That's it.

THIS ENTIRE JOURNEY... and that's it.

That's how it ends.


So I woke up, and every muscle in my body is clenched and tense. I know I have to return to work today, and I know I am going to internally scream every time someone says something negative about him or the situation. What good does that do? I don't see the point in bashing someone. I don't. It only shows how poor of character you are. We all make mistakes, and some of us do some pretty bad stuff, but at the end of the day, holding onto anger does absolutely no one any good at all.

I wish his happiness and peace. I wish him the love that he so clearly did not find with me. I honestly do.

I just want to heal. I just want to be able to not HAVE to choke back tears when I see something that reminds me of us... not the recent us.. but the old us.

I'm okay. I really am. Last night was HARD. 

I rearranged my apartment like a mad women (which could explain the muscle tension, come to think of it.) It is me now. 100% me.

There are drops of his touch here and there. 

Luckily, I am not interested in meeting or talking to anyone for a very long time. I won't have to explain all of the Egyptian stuff to people. But one day, I'll have to say, "Yeah. I got that on my trip to Egypt. Yes, I fell madly in love there and married a beautiful man. No... we aren't in touch any more."

Que sera sera.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Melancholy Tribute

All I have to say is... And this.. And this... And finally... this.. The End.

Mornings = Fresh Start

The sun is trying so desperately to peek through the clouds this morning. It reminds me of how I am trying so hard to be happy and hopeful.

Tonight is the night, the one I can officially claim to be separated. If he has his wish, by the end of the week or the beginning of the next, we will have our papers submitted, filed and in 30/45 days I will legally become Nicole Thurston, once again.


Weird in the sense, this was never my choice and for once in my life, I could not fix something. Weird because this man was the most loving person I had ever met. Weird because I never thought it would end.

It was a brilliant love story. Truly it was. We met in Egypt. We fell in love. We got married. We had a blissful few years. Then one day, he simply checked out. Completely checked out. Now he is so far gone, I never expect him to return. I think America ended up bringing out the worst in him.

So I turn a corner. Okay. I'm ready. Last night it hit me, and I got sad again, but I would not be human if I did not.

I tried to control the few things I could last night. I selected some of the items from the living room I thought he should have, like the plate I bought him with the 99 names of Allah on it.... or the Obama calendar he put on the frig... or the quran framed piece in the living room, and few other odds and ends.

I changed my handle on Twitter to @snicolethurston and not @nicoleabdou. (Apparently nicolethurston was taken - boo.) I even changed my name on my facebook page. I made all of the albums about our wedding or the one titled "my heart" where only I could see them. I'm not deleting them, because most of the pics were taken in Egypt, and basically they were my travel pictures.

Tonight, once I know all of his stuff is gone, I'm going to go in the room he had basically claimed for his own and drag my big red chair in the there, as well as my desk, and slowly turn it into my office.

Piece by piece... section by section.. I will become whole again.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

And then he was gone...

By the time I wake up tomorrow, the absolute love of my life will have left the house. I sat on the couch this evening, watching him walk back and forth, packing his suitcase and taking random things that belong to him from the walls. He still won't talk to me.

He will leave tomorrow.

He won't tell me where he is going to be living.

And that's that.

Who does that?

I sit and watch my life just unravel.. right before me. There is nothing I can do about it. Sure, I've accepted it... but now that it is here, it is so scary. I want to walk up to him and shake him and ask, "Why???"

Part of me hopes he has found someone else, because who wants to think that people just walk away willingly.. with nothing tempting them, or pulling them.

The truth is... I will probably never know the real reason. Does it really matter?

I think the best thing I can do is just remain as calm as possible. But this is a very helpless feeling.
I am a fixer... and there is no fixing this.

He threatened this 500 times. He is finally following through on one of his threats.

I'm tired. I'm sad. I'm hopeful. I'm sick of talking about it... but can't seem to talk about anything else.

I just want to HEAL. I want to not miss him. I want to be able to let him go peacefully. I wish him happiness and love....

I'm just going through the natural state of loss. I'm grieving.

My Weekend..

Below you will find pictures of my weekend, as well as videos. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed the event.

This was the 17th Annual Pan African Festival for the Tubman African American Museum, where I am the Director of Sales & Marketing.

THIS is what I have been working so hard on for the past two months.

First.. let's set it up. Here is an interview with none other than - ME!

Thursday night students from Fort Valley State University performed spoken word with their host Y-O Latimore (third from the left.) Y-O and I went to elementary school together, that's how far back we go!

The historic Douglass Theatre

Otis Redding, Little Richard, James Brown, Lena Horne and people like this got there start on this very stage!

 Friday night we gathered at the Theatre again for a night of amazing entertainment. Here is just a small sample of acts that performed:

This video is great - it's about Downtown Macon

Saturday we gathered back on Cherry Street Plaza. Here are the highlights of Saturday.. according to me!

Our dignitaries: Dr. Fontenot, Dr. Ezekwueche and his wife, Chi, the founders of our festival, as well as the Bibb County Commission Chair, Sam Hart.

Rabbi from Temple Beth Israel, Dr. Andy Ambrose (my boss,) and the Chair of the Festival, Kay Stephens

One of my besties, her husband and his three children.

We had face painting for the kids

Lots of hands on activities in the International Children's Village

It was chilly that morning - 40ish, but noon it was 80 ish.. Welcome to Georgia.

Clay to work with... 

Mid morning with our Office Manager...

My intern, Kayla, and I.

A Nigerian Cultural Organization

Here is their performance:

Mask making

Great vendors..

Add caption


I bought dinner from these guys - Hot sausage with onions and peppers and french fries..

I bought lunch from these guys - ribs, mac & cheese and green beans..

My friends at the Optimist Club


Founder of our museum, Richard Keil and his wife, Sandra

Chair, Kay and artist, Charvis

Another one of my favorite performances, Dean Brown and the Dub Shak:

Historic moment for me - the Negro League (surviving members) from Baseball. At least one played with Jackie Robinson

Key community leaders! - Lilly, Alex (with Macon Black Pages,) Sheriff David Davis, and Chi!

My friend (and Director of Education,) Tonya and WIBB DJ Smooth

My friend Bill, his aunt and Scott

My boss, Andy and my friend Kyle (NBC Daybreak Anchor)


Kyle and Stacey

My friend Chris (in the middle) with his wife Olena, their son and a friend of theirs on the left. Chris is Dir of Public Affairs for the city

I love a good motorcycle gang!!!

It happens so fast...

In classic form, he is moving out as fast as he moved in.

Yesterday, I'm out and about, trying to enjoy my day off and suddenly I get a call. He wants me to meet him at our leasing office to remove his name from the lease.

Then today, while at lunch, he sends me a text that he wants to sign divorce papers this week.

Fast. Fast. Fast.

I hardly have enough time to process anything.

Every time the anxiety begins to bubble up, I just tell myself to breathe.

I'm good. I promise I am. It's still a little jarring.


Did it really have to come to all of this?

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Day..

I finally have a day to just.. well.. catch up! Since we had our super busy and SUPER successful Pan African Festival this past week, I was given this day to take off. Luckily, I was able to rest quite a bit yesterday. I slept to about 9:40am (which for me is sleeping in. I naturally wake up around 8ish.) I sat around and watched movies. My niece came to visit (it was her birthday - I was soooo exhausted, I did not even make it to her party. TERRIBLE AUNTIE AWARD.) 

I got so much rest, I woke up at 6:30 this morning - bright eyed and bushy tailed (as my dad used to say!)

I figure today is the perfect day to run some errands: Grocery shop, buy souvenirs for my Chicago-area friends, and possibly a little something for me. Tonight I have to meet my "small group" from Leadership Macon, we're working on a little project. 

Nothing super new to report out. Things are fairly calm here on the home front. He is minding his own business. I am minding mine. I honestly wish he would just pack his bags and go, no use dragging it out... but I have to remember, I asked the same thing of my first husband.. if he would give me time to find a place. Karma.. you know. 

I have prayed that God gives me the strength to handle all of this without completely losing my mind or slipping into the deepest of dark holes - so far, so good.

I just want to be alone - properly alone, for a while. I am not interested in getting back out on the dating scene. I could care less about "meeting" new people, and I pray my friends don't pull some little "chance meeting" with other people either. I don't want to deal with all of that mess. I. Could. Care. Less. 

This will be one of the first times in my life, (as an adult,) to just- BE. I want to BE. There is something so delicious in the idea. I get it now - the whole turning 40 and feeling completely secure in who you are and what you want. It's all going to be okay. This is not my first bar-be-que, if you know what I am saying.?

I hope the rest of you going through crazy stuff get what I am saying. People let us down. I do think it is the proper thing to forgive and to keep trying. But sometimes, you just have to say enough is enough. I am glad he finally admitted what I already knew. I am glad we are not in limbo anymore. 

Wishing each of you a beautiful week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Change of Heart

Something switched over this weekend.
I think it was my attitude.

I spent an entire weekend focused and completely free of any guilt, concern, or an once of care about that man I live with. Yep. Resilience. Done.

I am actually excited and sort of wish he would just go ahead, pack those bags and skedaddle on out the door. (He's moving out at the end of the month.)

I want to rearrange the apartment. I want to finally get some furniture I like.. and I am ready to live the rest of my life with the absolute love of my life - ME.


That's right.

Though I am physically exhausted from the festival and ever-so-slightly burned by the sun, I am in good spirits.

All will be well. As all is well with my soul.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pan African Festival

I can't imagine having so many people read this blog and NOT share what I have been working on for the past couple of months.

You may or may not know, I am the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Tubman African American Museum. We have our huge event this weekend - the Pan African Festival of Georgia. If you live within driving distance, you should totally come to the event.

Last night we kicked things off with our Poetry Theatre at the Historic Douglass Theatre. (This is the same stage Little Richard, Otis Redding, Lena Horne, James Brown, and Ray Charles either got their start on or performed on. Of course that list could be so much longer... but those are the highlights.

Tonight, do to inclement weather, we will return to the Douglass for our performances. However, tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful.

Check out my interview on NBC. I hope you plan on coming out!


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