Read the Opening Letters from Married to Me, by coauthors Dayanara Torres and Jeannette Torres-Alvarez
OPENING LETTER FROM DAYANARA
I remember thinking, over and over again, what a shame it was that I wasted that dress. I know it was a silly thing to mourn, but it was so much easier than mourning the heavy things, my marriage, for instance. But it was a great dress. It was exactly the kind of dress I used to describe to my sister, Jeannette Torres-Alvarez, whom I refer to as Jinny, all of those afternoons after school when we spent countless teenage hours discussing weddings, boys, and bridesmaids. Of course, we never discussed breakups, divorces, or what to wear to a settlement hearing, but Lord knows we have spent countless adult hours discussing these very topics.
Jinny is a mental-health counselor with several degrees and years of practice under her belt, and don't think I didn't take advantage of all of this. Throughout my divorce, she was my stability, my best friend, and my on-hand therapist. Luckily for me, she wasn't chargingmy Lord, that would have been a huge bill. Jinny is the one with all of the experience, and she has read all of the books. Me, I never made it past the first few pages. I tried, I promise you. I went to every bookstore in the neighborhood and sought out that small, sad "divorce section." Even though the last thing I wanted was to read a book about divorce, I stood there, leafing through each cold, boring, depressing book. I bought a few anyway, to show that I was making an effort, I guess. I added them to my bookshelf and then never opened them again.
All I wanted was a book that was warm, conversational, even a little funny. Something that would help lighten all the pain I was feeling. The last thing I wanted to do was open up a textbook on divorce. I needed a sort of "girlfriends' guide to divorce," that would give me mantras, anecdotes, and some personal insight as to what I would be going through...but it didn't exist. So I decided to write it. I pulled Jinny into the fray (as usual). She is the one with the degrees, and I am the one with the divorce paperstogether we make a good writing team. Throughout this book, I will present you with personal situations and advice, and Jinny will give you the professional lowdown. I have also peppered the text with my favorite quotes, which I collected in a notebook throughout my divorce. We hope that through our advice, anecdotes, stories, and quotes, we can both guide and inspire you. This is not a book about encouraging divorce. It is a book about encouraging your relationship with yourself (whether that self is divorced or not). This is the book I would have loved to find between the self-help and the sociology sections! It would have been a lot more helpful and constructive than all of the countless Lifetime movies I sulked through. Ultimately, I should be grateful I didn't find that perfect book because that is what inspired me to write my own. God knows, this book was not easy for me to write. It has taken years of sorrow and triumph for me to share with you and hopefully inspire you to take control of your life, commit to yourself, and become your truest, happiest self.
A NOTE FROM JINNY
Balance...Isn't that what all women want to achieve? I have felt the frustrations of not being able to find my balance, and I know that every woman I know has had similar frustrations. Achieving balance and living in harmony with our family, friends, partner, and those around us are not easy tasks. Writing this book has given me the opportunity to explore and discover what balance is all about.
There is a point in our lives when we start to juggle those glass ballsthe aspects in our life that we hold valuable and do not want to let fall to the floor. We often find it hard to keep them all up in the air at the same time. For many of us, we are constantly juggling:
MotherhoodWe are trying to be perfect mothers! We play with the smelly Pla-Doh. We come up with silly songs and dances so the children will eat their dinners. We make sure they don't eat too much sugar so they will fall asleep easily and give us a few minutes to relax while we take a shower. And still, at the end of day, we often wonder, "Am I doing a good job?"
RelationshipWe are constantly trying to keep the flame alive. But after eight hours of work, two hours of traffic (at least for some of us), three hours of doing homework with the kids, cooking dinner (at least some of us), and trying to keep the house in order, sometimes we don't have the energy. When we finally sit down for a few moments, or at the end of the day, we often want to say, "I just want to be left alone."
WorkWe are constantly trying to keep our careers moving forward. We get up early, stay up late, and skip lunch, but it seems that no matter what, the piles of paper and laundry never dwindle. And at the end of the day, we often want to say, "Am I doing enough?"
In Yari's case, these are definitely three of the balls that she is constantly keeping up in the air, but for a while, it is true, she let her career fall by the wayside. When she was first married, it was beautiful and refreshing to see my sister so in love; it was definitely a type of love we don't see every day. As her sister, I supported the fact that she dedicated herself so completely to her relationship and family; however, I was also concerned that she decided not to pursue her career at the same time. I knew it was a passion of hers and it was very valuable to her happiness. At first, it did not seem to affect her all that much. She seemed happy to focus on motherhood and her marriage. However, after a while, she came to realize that her life was not in total harmony and balance. She had let that third glass ball drop.
Today, I am so happy to see with my own eyes how my sister, my best friend, has achieved her balance again. I am extremely proud to see that Yari is an amazing mother, giving Cristian and baby Ryan no less than the best of herself. She is a successful and inspirational professional, once again committed to her work and her passion. And she has once again been able to enter into a happy and healthy relationship, because she has taken the time to establish a happy and healthy relationship with herself. The fact that my sister has found the balance she was looking for for so long means the world to me!
While I was spending hours on this project, my husband asked me about the audience for this book. I deeply believe this book is directly targeted to all women. Whether you are single, married, divorced, or separated, this book is aimed at you. You may be juggling different priorities, but the message is the same for each and every one of you: BALANCE.
I wish all of you, by reading this book, can move toward finding your own BALANCE in life.