And I Quote

Divorce is kind of like the story of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. One day you’re married. The next day you awaken sleeping next to a cockroach. Who is this creature beside you, you wonder, and what ever happened to the person you married?

Illustration for the book cover, "The Metamorphosis," for the Simon and Schuster classic series. Selected for the 2009 CA Illustration Annual.

It’s a time of upheaval and massive change. You’re being wrenched in so many directions, wondering how you’ll get through it, drawing on all your coping mechanisms and figuring out where you go from here. You may wonder about the future and what’s in store for you, and how you’re going to take the reigns of your life, once and for all. Divorce is the time for all these things, and at the other end of the divorce spectrum is the discovery of who you really are.

I’ve written about some of my coping mechanisms, which helped me through the process. Like talking to strangers, finding comfort in music, and fighting my ex’s perception that I would never amount to anything.

Well, here’s something else I did. I started collecting quotes. At first, the quotes related specifically to divorce and love and being single again. But then I started expanding (which was a good sign that I was healing), and pretty soon I had a journal of quotes. Many of these quotes are from famous people. A few are from ordinary citizens.

And, all of them provide something to think about, whether or not you’ve ever experienced divorce.

Here’s a sample:

“How many torments lie in the small circle of a wedding ring?” – Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker’s longtime friend and writer

“Find your blessings every day because none of us is going to get out of this life alive.” – Capt. Harry Jenkins, who died in a small plane crash, August 2, 1995.

“Lick it, put a stamp on it and mail it to someone who cares.” – Kyra Sedgwick’s character in the film, Something to Talk About.

“Being alone. There’s a certain dignity to it.” – Bridget Fonda’s character in the film, Singles.”

“You seem so different, yet the same. It’s as if someone turned the light on inside of you. Why wasn’t it me?” – Timothy Hutton to Meg Ryan, after he had broken off their engagement in the film, French Kiss (My ex actually said something like this to me around the same time, which gave me no small satisfaction.)

“One of the things that needs to happen after a divorce, it seems to me, is to let go of the bitterness and anger or disappointment about what happened in your marriage and turn the page. You can’t do that if you keep rereading the old chapters.” – From an article about single mothers in Redbook magazine, October 1996 issue.

“I spent too many of my younger years looking for guys, trying to be in love—and therefore ignoring the things that I needed to do for me, such as reading, learning, and opening up to new places I wanted to find in myself.” – Sally Field

“I think life is a series of difficult choices and then life throws the inevitable curve ball. I think more and more, getting through life is finding a sense of humor and being this wise person who laughs at everything.” – Glenn Close

“People, like angels, come when they are loved, wanted and expected.” – Deborah Tadman, my son’s art teacher when he was nine. I didn’t really know her, but one day, when I arrived to pick him up, she could see that I was in need of an angel.

“There’s absolutely no point in sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. The great power you have is to let it go, and allow it just to be their crap. You focus on what you have, not what has been meanly, or unkindly, removed.” – Minnie Driver, discussing her then recent breakup with Matt Damon.

“If everyone has someone who is perfect for them, then perhaps everyone has someone that they are drawn to like a moth to a flame who is all wrong for them.”—From an article about a bigamist in Entertainment Weekly, circa 1997.

“I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, traveling. Looking for something what can it be? Oh, I hate you some, I hate you some, I love you some. Oh, I love you, why not forget about me?” – From one of my favorite Joni Mitchell songs, All I Want

“We women need to stop taking ourselves so seriously 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We need to put our foot in our mouth more…Listen with our hearts. So what if they get broken? We are resilient. We always have been able to pick ourselves up and keep right on steppin’.” – Author Terry McMillan, in an interview for Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year, 1996.

And one more:

“I can’t believe I’m making moral choices based on a B-movie.” – Phil Hartman’s character, Bill McNeal, speaking to Dave Nelson (played by Dave Foley) in one of my favorite shows, News Radio, referring to Dave’s favorite film, Logan’s Run.

So, tell me. What’s your favorite quote?

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41 thoughts on “And I Quote

  1. Pingback: And I Quote, Part 2 « Monica's Tangled Web

  2. Lady, back in the day when I had the memory of an elephant, I used to memorize quotes. I thought it made me seem both witty and smart to spew them out like I was worldly. Now, I’m lucky if I remember old adages. My sister loves quotes and also has a notebook filled to the brim. My favorite is: “Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train!” bwhahaha! That’s how I feel right about now! 🙂

  3. This is on my Facebook page as my “favorite quote.” I only wish I knew who said it (first), because I’d love to give credit where credit is due!

    “The best revenge against a woman who steals your husband is to let her keep him.”
    –Unknown

    🙂

  4. Wow…what amazing quotes. I particularly liked your first one by Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker’s buddy. Yes, divorce does cause you to collect things that make you feel like you are somehow restoring yourself again. Beautiful post, Monica.

    • I had a feeling that’s what you meant. Excellent, thoughtful writer. I didn’t discover him until college when I had to read him for an English class. Fascinating to say the least.

  5. Monica.
    Oooo, I loved Metamorphosis. I have a heart of poor Mr. Kafka.

    “”Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.””
    —-Gwyneth Paltrow

    xx Kisssssssssssss.

  6. One of my favorite quotes is rather random and not really fitting here, but I just think it’s so funny/smart:

    “I have 6 locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking 3.”

    ––Elaine Boosler

    Great post, Monica!

    • Nate, Of course this quote is fitting. Humor is always fitting here, and I just love this quote. Hadn’t heard it before, but makes total sense. Will have to try it myself. 😉

      Glad you stopped by!

  7. “I left me long before you did.” ~ a Holly Hunter line in the film, Living Out Loud.

    Thanks for sharing your favorite divorce quotes and giving us the opportunity to share ours.

  8. I loved that you did this.. It’s the smallest things were we find our grace, were we find the strength, the love in ourselves we always knew was there, but we forget. I hate stories of men telling women ” you won’t amount … ” seriously, when I hear those words, I think it’s the men that are the ones with the issue. Anyway ( and I didn’t meant to ramble, but you pricked a nerve :-). I do think you are wonderful).. my favorite quote is

    “You live but once, you might as well be amusing.”

    -Coco Chanel

  9. Comes the Dawn

    After a while you learn
    the subtle difference

    Between holding a hand and
    chaining a soul

    And you learn that love
    doesn’t mean leaning

    And company doesn’t mean
    security,

    And you begin to
    understand

    that kisses aren’t contracts

    And presents aren’t
    promises

    And you begin to accept
    your defeats

    With your head held high
    and your eyes open

    With the grace of a woman,
    not the grief of a child.

    You learn to build your
    roads on today

    because tomorrow’s ground
    is too uncertain for plans,

    and futures have a way of
    falling down in mid-flight.

    After a while you learn that
    even sunshine burns if you get too much,

    So you plant your garden
    and decorate your own soul,
    instead of waiting for
    someone to bring you flowers.

    And you learn that you
    really can endure, that
    you really are strong

    And you really do have worth.

    — Anonymous

  10. Love this! I’m often inspired by quotes but haven’t taken the time to write them down. Too often, like a good joke, I forget the punchline. You have inspired me to start writing down the ones that inspire or support me. Thanks!

    Also now feeling a bit nostalgic for News Radio. I’m going to see if it is on Netflix. Man I loved that show.

    Thanks again for the inspiration and to all the people who have left comments with their favorite comments.

    • Trisha, I’m so glad I’ve inspired you. Feel free to take any of these to start your collection. I get a residual, but we can talk about that later. 😉 And, as for News Radio, I think I’m going to start watching it again, too. It never gets old!

  11. “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”
    ― Erma Bombeck

    I also [now] appreciate the one from Sally Field.

    Great post – thank you for sharing these!

    BTW, I’ve bestowed upon you the Versatile Blogger award. I am sure you have had it delivered unto you numerous times but your deserve a repeat !!

    • OMG, I remember Erma! Talk about blast from the past! My mother LOVED her wit and humor. That is a great quote. Thanks for sharing it.

      And thank you so much for the Versatile Blogger award. I thank you so much for the honor, and am thrilled you like my blog. 🙂

  12. Pingback: I’m a Wiener! « the dust bunny chronicles

  13. I like quotes, too, and keep a folder full of them. Odd, but I didn’t collect them when I was going through my divorce. I think what Carl said was wise and wonderful — we’re programmed to become couples, yet not everyone should be married. I’ve known people who just can’t get past their divorces, and to me that’s sad. I can’t live with all that anger and hatred and regret. What’s done is done. Move on and trust the Good Lord to guide your steps! Yes, there’s “a certain dignity” to being alone!

    • Debbie, Sounds like you and I are in the same boat, and I’m glad to be here, in good company. 🙂

      Yes, I think there’s a lot of wisdom in what Carl says, too. I don’t like all this pressure to be coupled up. So in general, I ignore it, and am happier for it.

  14. What a great coping mechanism Monica. My favorite quote has always been “life is an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved,” but I don’t know where I got it.

  15. I had a notebook of quotes once. Did I lose it in a relocation? I need to find that again. I love the ones about laughing and letting go. One of my favorite quotes… Life is too important to be taken seriously. – Oscar Wilde.

    • Shary, I do hope you find the notebook soon, then maybe you can share some quotes on your blog. Would love to see which ones you’ve collected. I like your Oscar Wilde quote. He is one of my favorites. He has some very delicious lines in the play, “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

  16. “I think life is a series of difficult choices and then life throws the inevitable curve ball. I think more and more, getting through life is finding a sense of humor and being this wise person who laughs at everything.” – Glenn Close . I am with Glen Close if we’d go through life with out a laugh, then we would cry all the time!

    • Ariana, you are so right. Really, it’s humor that helped me get through my divorce. If I hadn’t been able to laugh at my situation as often as I did, then I probably would have been constantly in tears. As it is, I cried enough times to fill a small lake. 😉

  17. Divorce is tough. It’s seem even moreso for women, us being emotional creatures and many times, not the breadwinners. We have to reinvent our lives; a lot of mending and patching until we find something like happiness again. I’m a lover of quotes and especially like the one about the light being turned on.

    • Why, thanks, Totsy! I’m so glad you like that one. It’s one of my favorites. In fact, French Kiss is one of my all time favorite movies. I’ve seen it so many times. So much so, that I often am doing chores, or flipping through a magazine while watching. But when the scene comes up in which this line is said, toward the end, I have to stop and watch and then, I cheer.

  18. The need to be married has been imprinted on us as individuals and as a condition expected by society. It is not for everyone. We need to understand that people fall in or out of love, abusiveness may occur and that people moving in opposite directions should not remain married. If our marriage fails it does not mean we are failures. Too often we define ourselves as husband or wife while there are so many other things that define who we are and we should never define ourselves contingent on a relationship with another or others as well. An irony is that my parents 67th anniversary was in Sept and most of mine lasted about 67 days.

    • I feel like I am perpetually living on Noah’s Ark. There’s an assumption that there’s always two of you. Well, this old gal is traveling solo, thank you very much. I love your last line about your parents marriage versus yours. Congrats on making it that long! 😉

  19. “Find your blessings every day because none of us is going to get out of this life alive.” – Capt. Harry Jenkins, who died in a small plane crash, August 2, 1995.
    Love this one!

  20. I wish I’d seen that quote from Phil Hartman a couple decades ago before I chose to live my life according to the principles of Logan’s Run.

    Thanks for sharing these quotes; I especially enjoyed the insight on ‘why wasn’t I the person to awaken this light in you?’ I think it’s easy to fall into a certain pattern of how we interact in some relationships and we didn’t even realize we were acting in an unhealthy or unattractive way.

    • Is there an actual manual on the principles of Logan’s Run? Because I may need to get me a copy. I don’t know if you ever watched “News Radio,” but that film actually worked itself into several plots/episodes. It’s like a running joke.

      Thanks for stopping by, Oh Great, Good Greatsby!

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