My name is Mandi and I am, among many other things, a blogger. I swore off blogging some few months ago, but like most bloggers who at some point swear off blogging for good, I couldn’t stay away. The previous version of this blog may not have felt like home anymore, but I still have so much to say and so many things about my life I’d like to share. So here I am with my reintroduction.
For nearly six years, I have called Riyadh, Saudi Arabia home. Riyadh and I haven’t always gotten along. We’ve spent years hating one another, but I’ve slowly learned how to love my life here because I’ve come to believe that as long as I’m blessed with breath in my lungs I should do whatever it takes to love my life. It won’t last forever and I plan to enjoy it while it lasts.
I’m the mother of a vibrant, witty, intelligent almost-eleven-year-old girl. Her father is of Palestinian/Lebanese origin with Saudi nationality, so combined with my mixed European heritage, she’s an international mix of sorts who manages to thrive and fit in while standing out wherever her parents happen to take her. She lives mostly with her dad and we spend time doing girly stuff whenever we can.
Her father and I are the most functional divorced couple either of us have ever known, but it hasn’t always been that way. We spent years fighting tooth and nail over our relationship, our living arrangements, and our parenting styles. Truthfully, I’m the one who fought. I fought because not many things here in Saudi have ever gone my way. I haven’t had a say in much of how my life in Saudi would go. My parenting life in particular. But I slowly realized that fighting doesn’t get me anywhere beneficial and that quietly letting go of control is what would ultimately lead me to having the most control over my own life. Letting go of control is also what allowed him to loosen his grip in return. And now I’m happy and we’re functioning.
I never thought that “divorced” would be a word that would define me. And maybe it sounds a bit like accepting defeat to those who have never been through divorce, but for me, embracing this word and all that the process of divorce has taught me is a victory. This word is a reminder that I have been through something equal parts terrible and beautiful. Divorce tore me to pieces and gave me the opportunity to gather up those pieces and put them back together in the way that I wanted to rather than in the way a relationship required me to. I found myself in the process of losing my marriage. And as twisted as it may sound, I am grateful that it happened.
So…that’s me and this is where I’m at right now. And I’m ready to share again, I think. A little bit. I’m ready to share as much as I can to help others—women in particular—to remember that, yes, sometimes words define us. And sometimes situations and circumstances define us. But we have the power to choose exactly how they do so.