[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa : Season one episode, seven season finale where we are now.
Heidi: Yeah. Do we want to acknowledge that you guys are together recording this? We are cabin
Nikki: Hobbit house. We’re
Dr. Alissa : in a middle of Georgia, a cavern, a man-made cavern house
Nikki: and a girls’ weekend little Hobbit house
Dr. Alissa : does look like a little Hobbit
Heidi: Alissa. How many months has it been since Jamie told you she’s counting on her hands?
Dr. Alissa : 10.
Heidi: 10. Okay. So this is our season finale and it’s 10 months later for you. We kind of left off last episode, talking with Jeff about like the aftermath and the triaged. But I’m curious, like where, like, where are you? Like, where’s your heart? Where’s your [00:01:00] mind? Catch me up.
Dr. Alissa : Yeah. You know, I mean, it’s a grieving process.
It’s life change and you know, it changes over time and it, it certainly. You know, certain things come in waves. So I would say, you know, that immediate aftermath was so much devastation and wondering how I’ll
Heidi: ever recover,
Dr. Alissa : ever find a new normal, and then time goes on and eventually you just do. And I have, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t hard days or sad days, or, you know, missing, you know, the family that we had before or the marriage that I had.
But, you know, life isn’t sad, which is good life. Is it just, you know, it it’s it’s life, it’s got its ups and downs, but overall, I would say other than the state of the world in [00:02:00] 2020, it’s good.
Heidi: So what stage, like if you could go, do you feel like you’ve cycled through all of the stages of grief or like, do you feel like hard acceptance?
Dr. Alissa : I have some beef with the degree of the stages of grief theory.
Heidi: That’s okay. Because you have a doctorate in psychology and I don’t, but
Dr. Alissa : what I’ll say is, you know, I think that I vacillate between. Certainly accepting my situation. And then having days or moments, probably moments is fair, where I feel kind of sad about the effects of what happened on me, on Jamie, on the kids.
You know, sometimes my son has a hard time going back and forth between the two houses or wishes. He could be a one when he’s at the other and that’s sad and that sucks. You know, it’s like divorce is not, is not easy and divorce in our situation. [00:03:00] Is, you know, some things are easier because we get along so well.
And our, our situation is so unique that we can be friends, but then other parts of that are hard
Heidi: too. Now, are you dating?
Dr. Alissa : I am.
Heidi: Are you dating anyone in particular? Well, I tend
Dr. Alissa : to kind of focus on one person at a time,
Heidi: so, okay. That’s your style? Yeah. So you’re not like a hinge whore, like all over? No,
Dr. Alissa : not like
The recording of this episode, which we will not identify the date, but like, you know, you’re just going low and slow, like one w one person low dude. Okay. And just one at a time. Awesome. Alissa. Tell me about your relationship with Jamie. Like you said, you know, it’s pretty good, but like, what does that mean?
How often are you interacting?
Dr. Alissa : Pretty much every day, mostly about the kids. [00:04:00] And, you know, I would say that we are definitely still figuring out what our relationship looks like and that hasn’t been easy for either one of us.
Heidi: Are you getting divorced? Are you divorced? What is that process of actual legal separation look like for you?
Dr. Alissa : yeah. Five months after Jamie’s first coming out, we were officially legally divorced.
Heidi: Okay. So that’s really fast. And maybe because I’m, I have North Carolina laws brainwashed all over my brain, but in North Carolina, you can’t even think about filing for divorce unless you have been separated legally for 12 months.
Nikki: cow. Wow.
Heidi: Yeah, a lot. So the fact that you were able to separate and be legally divorced in Tennessee within five,
Dr. Alissa : you can, in 90 days from [00:05:00] filing to being divorced.
Heidi: Yeah. Think about the people. When you want to know where to live, how long did you live? How long do you have to live in Tennessee before that goes into a bank?
Because you have to be a legal, illegal resident. So. Can we talk a little bit about that since you’re legally divorced, like, like the day that you
Dr. Alissa : Oh, boy
Heidi: had to sign the papers, like, did you do it in person?
Dr. Alissa : So I went, yeah. I went in person to sign the papers. So we use the same lawyer because we just agreed on everything.
Signing the papers was a little bit sad, but the being in court
Dr. Alissa : was, that was kind of brutal the day that we were officially divorced.
Heidi: What do you mean brutal?
Dr. Alissa : There’s something about it now, being there in this room with, with this person that [00:06:00] you, you know, Had this wedding with and made these vows too, and like remembering where it started and like having these beautiful memories of where it started.
And also like a stark contrast
Heidi: to the cold,
Dr. Alissa : I don’t know, sterile environment of the courtroom and this judge getting to decide whether or not you can get divorced, uh, whether. The judge agrees to the things that you’ve agreed to, which seems asinine. But, you know, there were things that Jamie and I agreed to that the judge did not.
And so the judge ordered in a different way. So it’s just somebody else telling us what we should do with our relationship was kind of weird. But then also just like, it was just so clear before me the stark contrast of our wedding day. And then now here’s where it ends and I never thought it would end.
Heidi: like, um, two places I need to go with this because the [00:07:00] first is I’m confused about the judge thing. So what did you and Jamie agree to as two consenting adults that a random stranger judge disagreed to,
Dr. Alissa : we agreed to know. Child support that neither one of us would pay child support. We would just split all the childcare costs 50 50, and the judge looked at our tax returns and said, no, that’s not going to happen.
And ordered me to pay child
Heidi: support. Are you kidding me?
Dr. Alissa : I
Heidi: can’t breathe.
Dr. Alissa : Okay.
Heidi: I don’t have to put this in the podcast, but like, does Jamie just return it to you then? Yes. Okay. I’m like, this is ridiculous. So like legally, the state of Tennessee is like, you have to give your ex spouse money when they change their gender on you. [00:08:00] For child support. Um, I’m very confused. I mean, you’re, I’m going, hold on based on
Nikki: the amount that she makes versus what he makes.
Nikki: There’s a calculator.
Heidi: Okay. I have so many opinions right now and I’m just, I’m also frankly surprised because of all the news right now with Tennessee and like heaven forbid you’re gay and you can’t even adopt. In your state, but like, this seems very liberal of this judge and I’m like, as liberal as again.
Dr. Alissa : Well, it has nothing to do with the reason for the divorce.
Heidi: So what does that mean? Tennessee’s like a no fault state. Well, I don’t know.
Nikki: I don’t know,
Dr. Alissa : but what I do know is. That
Nikki: well, but your reason for divorce, isn’t transgender, it’s
Heidi: irreconcilable differences or
Dr. Alissa : fraud or whatever. Yeah. It was a reconcile irreconcilable differences.
Heidi: Oh, my reason if I get divorced would actually be. I would say, because my spouse changed, then
[00:09:00] Dr. Alissa : that’s not a
Heidi: reason. That’s not a reason.
Dr. Alissa : No, it’s
Nikki: It’s not a box.
Dr. Alissa : It’s not a fucking box. Do you know why? Because there’s only three of us on this podcast.
Nikki: We only found each other
Dr. Alissa : time to go to Washington
Nikki: and say,
Heidi: I need a box.
And on that note, I also need a box on social media because I can’t check. Divorcee is a farebox either, but, okay. So you have to cite your reconcile, I guess that is
Nikki: you can pick something else.
Heidi: How do you pronounce that word differences?
Dr. Alissa : Yeah.
Heidi: I’m just so this judge doesn’t actually know the real story, I guess, is what I’m getting at.
Yeah. We can’t really
Dr. Alissa : say that. Yeah, it’s not about, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Judges not looking at the reasons for the divorce. The judge is trying to look in the best interest of the child,
[00:10:00] Heidi: Very mature of this judge.
Dr. Alissa : That’s why you’re not a judge.
Heidi: Okay. So
Dr. Alissa : just, just be
Nikki: RBG up there.
Heidi: I would have probably like just walked out and said, Oh, I don’t know. Okay. So because you guys are two completely irrational. People then Jamie returns that to you every single
Dr. Alissa : one. Yeah. Unless there is a reason, you know, during COVID has been a little harder because Jamie couldn’t work for several months and I was working.
And so I offered. To, you know, just let her keep it. So, I mean, in unusual and strange circumstances, that certainly makes sense. And it certainly, I mean, child support does make sense in the case of where one spouse makes significantly higher than the other. But the truth was we make pretty much the same amount of money, but the reason that I have to pay child support is because Jamie has two other children.
[00:11:00] Dr. Alissa : So yeah,
Heidi: the second probably move on. Okay. The second part of this though, was. Just feeling the sadness. Like I got married, my first marriage was in a courthouse, so, and I haven’t gone down this road yet, but I’ll say you said that right now, you feel happy like aside from COVID and everything that’s going on.
But from where we were at in triaged and kind of the aftermath to now 10 months later, for most, that would be a very short journey or short curve to happiness. And so can you just share some of the, like, things that you feel like have really helped you to move towards acceptance?
Dr. Alissa : I would say one of the biggest pieces was doing therapy myself as a client.
You know, [00:12:00] immediately when Jamie came out, I booked an appointment with my therapist and then did every week until I started to feel like I could stand on solid ground again. So I think therapy was a big piece. Community was another, obviously having new guys was a big deal and some other friends, great supportive people definitely have helped me a ton in getting to a place of stability, having a, a home that I enjoy being in.
And helps. And then, you know, having some, some, some things to do so people to hang out with, you know, again, when the world is normal, I, you know, I was doing things and going places and spending time with people and going on some dates and, you know, just generally kind of like trying to move forward, make a new normal and be okay again.
Heidi: What about self care? Like, you [00:13:00] know, exercising, journaling, like what are some of the things that you do to kind of relax and let go?
Dr. Alissa : One of the biggest things in this process was not too long after Jamie came out, I started doing Krav Maga, which if you don’t know what Krav Maga is, it is Israeli guerrilla fighting.
Israeli street fighting. So it’s a martial art that is essentially like self defense with
Heidi: your body.
Dr. Alissa : So I started doing Krav Maga and it was amazing. It was really empowering. There’s something about it that I just really. Just felt like I was getting control back over my own self, over my own life, over my own body.
So that was a big one. And then, you know, talking to people when I’m having a hard time is a, is a pretty major piece of self-care for me, laying on my hammock, reading some good books, laughing with my kid, you know, those are some of my self-care things.
Heidi: I love it. So on like a [00:14:00] happiness scale. Of like, you know, the happiest times of your life.
I know you said you’re feeling happy, but do you feel like you still have some ways to go or do you feel like, like on a scale of one to 10, if 10 was like looking back on your life and it was the happiest you had ever been, like, where do you feel like you currently are? Well,
Dr. Alissa : I like to think of it more like.
Health because happiness, I mean, can certainly fluctuate in a day. And I’ve experienced that many times of being so elated and so happy and then bottoming out some awful shame spiral pit that feels like the worst
Dr. Alissa : So I think like if I were to think about it in a health way, you know, like an emotional and mental health, you know, I would say.
Like one to 10, you know, being at a 10, like the best I’ve ever been, you know, I’m probably at maybe a seven.
Heidi: That’s pretty good.
Dr. Alissa : Yeah.
Heidi: That change of [00:15:00] perspective was like very Dr. Chevy. Oh,
Dr. Alissa : wow. That’s what I bring to that. I
Heidi: feel like it’s really good because for anyone listening, I’m like, yeah, you should think of it.
Like, what is your overall health mental health score?
Dr. Alissa : Yeah.
Heidi: Yeah. Interesting. How’s your youngest son.
Dr. Alissa : He’s doing well most days he’s just a happy, happy toddler. Some days he has a hard time with the transitions of going from one house to the other, or he’ll be at my house and he’s ready to go back to the other house or he’ll be at the other house.
And he calls me he’s very compromised. So, you know, sometimes that’s hard, but overall he, I would say he’s a happy, healthy
Heidi: toddler. Tell me about the first time that he went to Jamie’s without you.
Dr. Alissa : Oh boy. So the first time I had something going on and I can’t remember now what it was, so I was [00:16:00] out and I was having fun.
And so it was fine. It was the second time. It was the second night that I didn’t have Jamison. And I didn’t have anything going on and I just sobbed.
Nikki: I think you texted me then. Yeah,
Dr. Alissa : I think I did. I maybe called you. Yeah. Yeah. I was so lonely and sad and just, I don’t know. It was, it was rough. It was hard.
It was a low,
Heidi: what advice would you have for anyone listening, who like this as a reality for them, or it’s soon to be a reality. That like sharing our children instead of being present for them a hundred percent of their lives, their growing up lives, and now being present for 50% of their lives or 60% of their lives or whatever it shakes out to be.
I know we’re each going through it in a different way, but what advice would you give for getting through [00:17:00] it?
Dr. Alissa : It’s better. It does. I mean, the truth is parenting so low. Is really freaking hard. It’s really different than having a two parent household where you can go back and forth. And so when you’re parenting solo, even if it’s 50 or 60% of the time is a lot as a lot on a person.
And so there does reach a point where you can be grateful for the space. You can be grateful. That you know, you can have time to yourself and time to figure out how to build this new life and that you can be grateful that your kid has the relationship that they have with their parent. Hopefully that’s a healthy parent and Jamie is, Jamie is an excellent parent right now.
Jamie’s with three kids, all three kids by herself at the Memphis zoo and going to get an Airbnb tonight and have all the kids there and gonna take them to a Safari tomorrow morning, like Jamie said, great. Great parent. And so I don’t ever have [00:18:00] to worry
Dr. Alissa : the kids being safe or that they’re not going to be taken care of, or that I’m allowed to enough for not going to be parented in the right way.
Like Jamie is an excellent parent. So I, I am, that is a benefit that I have knowing that like my kid is going to be really happy and healthy and have both parents equally involved. And so I think, you know, That’s not always the case. And I know that that can be hard when the other parent isn’t necessarily the healthiest person.
And so, but regardless, like, you know, being able to know that, like
Heidi: it gets better,
Dr. Alissa : it isn’t always devastating. And I think finding other things to put yourself into is important too. You can’t just sit at home and sob and be sad all the time and just feel guilty. You know, you have to try to find other things to put your time and energy and life into.
I wish, I think it’s a healthy thing. Anyway. I think putting a hundred percent of your life into your kids,
Heidi: that’s a lot of pressure on a
Dr. Alissa : kid. And so I think it’s, I think it’s [00:19:00] important that parents have their own
Heidi: lives. Yeah, I think so. Do Alissa, will you kind of walk us through how your friends and family are doing with the news
Dr. Alissa : boy?
Well, I mean, really all of my close friends have been amazing. And I’ve gathered new, amazing friends as well in this season. And I’m grateful for that too. My family has been kind of a mixed bag
Dr. Alissa : far as support. They have. Um, some of them, some of them have been having to have not been able to support me in the ways that I needed to be supported.
And that’s been disappointing
Heidi: before we move on to Nikki. I feel like I have like one other like big question for you specifically in that. You are doctor of counseling. And so I’m so curious, like when we were talking about triage and [00:20:00] all the different parts of it, I’m, I’m just so curious about how, when a counselor is going through a very traumatic event, like, what does work look like for you?
You know, like the next morning, I’m assuming like you’re at this birthday party and Jamie or James at the time is like, Hey, I’m trans. And then like the next morning you have to go to work and listen to other people’s problems. Plague. Did you take a timeout?
Dr. Alissa : I didn’t. I just kept going to work. So I saw it and it can go different ways.
Um, and I’ve had this go different ways and at other points in my life, but. I thought this is, this might be too much. I might need to take some time off, but it turned out for me that having those, those blocks of time, these, you know, five hours or seven [00:21:00] hours or eight hours that I was counseling people in a day.
That I didn’t have to think about my world crashing down around me. I could focus on someone else I could give of myself to the, this person in front of me, and then I could go home and fall apart. So it was a gift to me during that time to be able to have other people to focus on it. Hasn’t always been true during other seasons of my life.
Sometimes it has been. Where I just couldn’t think about anything else, but for some reason in the season, it was helpful.
Heidi: I was curious about your stepchildren because I’m always curious, regardless of the reason why, when someone enters into a marriage and they become a step parent, and then you are not married anymore, like, I’m just wondering what your relationship looks like with your step-children.
Dr. Alissa : That is an [00:22:00] evolving, moving piece. Yeah. You know, obviously things naturally change when you don’t live with the children that you were, that I was once parenting. There’s just a natural change that happens there in that, in that. But they’re also at the ages where like, they’d rather just sit in their rooms and play video games and not really hang out a ton together anyway.
So there’s some element of like what I’m not doing. Is telling them they really need to get to their homework or they really need to get in the shower, or they really needed to come down. You know, just the nagging stuff that parents have the fun to do, but what I am doing with them and I try to be consistent about it.
And sometimes I’m not, and go down a shame spiral, but I try to spend a little bit of time with them each time with at least one of them each time Jamie has them. So that. We can continue to have open communication and we can continue to have a relationship. And, you know, we’re figuring that out. [00:23:00] Yeah.
Heidi: Cause they’re Jamison’s brothers. Yeah.
Dr. Alissa : Um, I love them. Absolutely. And wholly, and I want them to know that they can always come to me and always want to be a safe person for them and always care about them. And so. You know, my love for them didn’t change just because I, we don’t live together anymore. So it is complicated.
It isn’t easy. And it’s something that we’re still figuring out.
Heidi: I really love and respect that about you though, because there are so like in my own life, you know, my stepdad bailed the second, he wasn’t married to my mom anymore. I’ve literally never spoken to him again. So I really respect and love what you just said.
And may that be an inspiration to. Other parents that are, you know, navigating that may have been step parents and are now navigating through divorce. Well, Dr. Alissa, thanks for catching us up. I cannot wait to hear about your dating [00:24:00] season two.
It’s going to be, it’s going to be killer. It’s going to be. It’s
Dr. Alissa : going to get mad. I don’t know if, I mean, I don’t know if I set it up that way.
Heidi: I don’t know.
Nikki: I need more time to fulfill those shoes.
Heidi: All right, Nikki, Nick, Nick, it’s your turn
Nikki: hot seat.
Heidi: I’m also excited for your dating escapades in season two.
I will say that
Heidi: hardly. Well, where we left off with Jeff is that he had kind of gotten us all the way through your divorce. How long has it been since Delana shared with you that she is trans four years. It’s been four years now. How long have you been divorced? Cause I know you stayed away.
Nikki: been about a year and a half since we’ve been divorced.
Heidi: Okay. Now tell me about your like personal life [00:25:00] and your career. I feel like we didn’t hear a lot about that. Like, so what’s a typical day for you right now.
Nikki: Typical day is I am a medical assistant at an integrative family practice, and I am a nurse for the doctor there and all day long.
I see patients with him for autism developmental and behavioral issues and chronic disease, Lyme disease, autoimmune disease patients. That’s what I do all day long.
Heidi: Now, how old are your children?
Nikki: I have one son who’s 18 and one son. Who’s 14.
Heidi: Okay. How are they doing? Okay.
Nikki: My 18 year old graduated high school, sort of in the middle of a pandemic where you can’t be around a lot of people.
So he had a pseudo graduation and we had [00:26:00] a. Family ish get together. So me, the boys,
Heidi: my ex,
Nikki: and her new wife and two family friends that we’ve known for a long time, all got together at Donna’s house. And, um, we did the best that we could.
Heidi: What was that like for you? But yeah,
Nikki: but what was, um, It was okay. So that morning I woke up at 5:00 AM, as I usually do every morning, regardless of the day.
And I sat outside and I meditated and I cried
Nikki: lot by myself in the backyard. And then I got my shit together and I picked up a cake and I brought decorations and balloons and a helium tank to their father’s house. And. We decorated their house. And then I went and got boys and we came back and did the best that we could.
And I was [00:27:00] anxious all day and had a hard time breathing and my heart palpitating and we took family photos. And that is the first time I’ve ever shared our current family photos on social media. Cause I haven’t ever announced our divorce or why. I mean, I just it’s, you know, if you know, we’re friends and if, you know, then, you know, and if you want to know, you can ask, I don’t just volunteer a lot of that information online.
Heidi: yeah, there was a lot there and I’m going to like, make you peel back layer by layer of like what you just said. The first thing I’m really curious about is like, Do you like her wife? Like how do you this new woman
Nikki: she’s kind, she’s fine. She’s very nice. She’s nice to the boys. She let my oldest use one of her cars when he first started driving until he could get his own car.
And [00:28:00] then, um, she sometimes will just hand them money for the week, you know, like she’s very kind to them and I don’t have issues at all with
Heidi: her. She’s
Nikki: we’re not Facebook friends or not. We don’t text each other. We’re not, we’re not, I mean, there’s no bad feelings, but we’re not like best friends or anything like that.
Heidi: Yeah, I
Nikki: don’t have to co-parent
Heidi: with her. So I feel it, we need to have them on the show because I have a thousand questions I need to know, like, is she a lesbian? I feel like I have all these like very inappropriate questions and like, how did they meet? And like, is she trans? I
Nikki: don’t even know
Heidi: any of them.
You know? So anyway, all these things, that’s none of my business, basically.
Nikki: Yeah. I don’t ask. I don’t even want to know it’s none of my
Heidi: business, but like, I can’t help, but have. And here’s where the healthy curiosity comes from Nikki, right. Is because you are ahead of Alissa and I, and this right. And so like, I’m projecting, like you’re talking, but I’m projecting how I [00:29:00] may feel if I had to be in your shoes, on my child’s 18th birthday at graduation and go to us.
But this is a re this is a reality for Alissa and I, right? Yeah. This is a big, big thing.
Nikki: Yeah. I will say that I had a really hard week and I think I even texted Alissa and was really upset because this is not how our family should have looked. This is not how graduation was supposed to go. And I’m sad for them.
Nikki: Not so much me. I’m I can take whatever, throw a bullet at me. I don’t even care. I’ll be fine. But then this was not, this was not our vision,
Heidi: but they persevered.
Nikki: They do. They’re awesome.
Heidi: Do they? Our friends know that their father is a trainer woman,
Nikki: each one of their best friends now. And my oldest son only told his [00:30:00] best friend this year.
They’re very, very kind and protective of that information. So I’m glad that they finally trusted someone else enough to tell them other than, you know, family members and close adult family members and things like that.
Heidi: Yeah. So that day was really hard for you. And you’ve had a million other hard days,
Nikki: but like what
Heidi: you called Alissa, but what else is your lifeline?
Like? What else do you do? You said you sat outside and meditated. You called Alissa. What else? All
Nikki: my closest circle, who I would never have made a lot of through a lot of things when I need them. And they’re always there and they always listen despite their own drama and crap that they’ve got going on.
I walk, I walk and I walk and I, um, like get anxious when I don’t walk now because it grounds me and it gets me. It lets me work it [00:31:00] all out in my head and I can turn on music. There’s always music in my earbuds and I just go and I sweat and I get home and I’m much calmer than before
Heidi: I left. One of the other things that you mentioned was about social media and this photograph.
So. Hopefully you’ll give us permission to put it on our Instagram, but I want to let you know that I we’re friends on Facebook. We’re deeper friends than just Facebook friends at this point, but I was scrolling through and I’ll be honest at the first glance, I would have never known that. That was your, it just looked like a group of women as I was scrolling through.
It didn’t even, it didn’t even catch my attention that there was a trans woman in the photograph or that this was. Delana. Meaning
Nikki: for me, you were somebody who knew us from day one, you would have caught it.
Heidi: Yeah, right? Yeah. Yeah.
Nikki: For sure. Because I got several messages catching it.
[00:32:00] Heidi: Yeah. So I, thankfully I went, I took my time to, like, I was going to comment on like a congratulations and then.
It was like that second layer of like, Oh, Oh. And then I like re then I like zoomed in. I’m like pinching on my phone fingers like now. And then I’m like, Oh, I need to know more like, are those breasts like, what’s going on? I mean, I don’t really like checked her out hardcore, but I’m really proud of you for four years later, you know?
It makes it’s an innocuous acknowledgement, I should say.
Nikki: Yeah, it is.
Heidi: And, uh,
Nikki: not being afraid of being shamed.
Heidi: Finally, not being afraid.
Nikki: Finally, not yet being afraid to just put my shit out there and, you know, owning it.
Heidi: How did it
Nikki: feel? It was still scary. Still [00:33:00] emotional, you know, thankfully I got a lot of positive comments and a lot of positive private messages after, and it’s fine.
No one has there’s. Nothing has happened since.
Heidi: Okay. I’m going to ask you the same question. I asked Alissa, that kind of goes along with that. How’s your family doing? My
Nikki: extended family.
Heidi: What don’t you have? Like, was it your sister or the first one? Yeah. Yeah,
Nikki: no, my cousin was the first one to know they’re fine.
You know, they’re my, my support
Heidi: team. So your family has been affirming yes. And supportive
Nikki: and friendly to her. When there’s interaction, but they don’t outreach to her. It’s all me. They’re my family kind of like, that’s just, maybe that’s a Filipino thing. I don’t know. But they’re like, Oh no, this is the, you know, if we’re going to fall on a side, we’re taking, we’re going with her because she’s ours.
They very much surround me and protect [00:34:00] me.
Heidi: So. Now, what is your childcare? Like? I’m Alissa walked us down this like, you know, weirdo judge that was like, Hey, you have to pay your ex child support. What did your divorce look like with separation? And did the children go back and forth? Just kind of share with us what current day or what it’s been like since you divorced.
Nikki: So we, we did our own divorce without a lawyer. You can do that. You can just go pick up the paperwork at the courthouse in Franklin, Tennessee in Williamson County and fill it all out and you pay $350 and you get a court date in three months. And as long as everything is 50 50, like we just agreed to 50 50.
We don’t own, we didn’t own anything. We didn’t own a house. Everything is paid for. So we didn’t have a house to split. He had a business. He, I let him have it divided debt. And at the time she didn’t have anywhere to live. So I, you know, most of the stuff came with me and I said, [00:35:00] whatever you need, when you do find a place, you can take it.
The kids where we decided 50, 50 split on childcare. And then knowing that she didn’t have a place of her own that obviously 50, 50 wasn’t
Nikki: They were with me a hundred percent, but going into court, that’s what we gave to the judge. She does pay child support to me. And there’s a calculator and she increased the amount to help with where we live because we live in an expensive County, but they didn’t, we don’t want to move the kids out of their schools when it was granted.
Heidi: yeah, so they stay with you a hundred percent of the time. They don’t spend the night over there,
Nikki: maybe once in a great while.
Heidi: Do you have insight into that? Is that just they’re older and they.
Nikki: In Tennessee at the age of 12, I think they can have a say on where they go. They can say, no, I don’t want to go there this week.
And you know, you can fight with them about it and drag them there, [00:36:00] kicking and screaming, but we weren’t, we didn’t want any more drama for the kids. So we just kind of, they wanted to be with me. They had a hard time in the beginning with dad. Lucas. My youngest did go over, you know, pretty frequently once a month, maybe spend the night,
Heidi: but he doesn’t do that anymore.
And they haven’t
Nikki: not since February one. And then we’ve had this whole, you know, thing. So we can’t, they don’t, you know, we’re all quarantining together, so
Heidi: they don’t go over there. Well, now, like the, this is going to be the opposite question. Then I asked Alissa. Is that it’s very, very, very difficult to be a full-time parent, a hundred percent of the time singly without the back and forth and without the help and without the breaks.
So what do you do for yourself to take care of you?
Nikki: Thankfully, we I’ve got some [00:37:00] family, friends who we were neighbors for many years and they love my youngest son. So they would take him on the weekends and. Our two boys, they stay the night over there almost that it was like they had custody of him on the weekends.
He would just go over there and leave him on Friday and pick him up on Sunday. They do still treat him like there he’s their child. So there’s, that was always helpful. Self care for me, friends, my friends, a lot of tequila and walking and my dogs. And
Heidi: do they sleep
Nikki: in your bed with you? My dogs.
Heidi: Yeah, absolutely.
Nikki: Yeah. Jackie, I have a calking bed. They get like three quarters and I get a quarter.
Heidi: I just needed to make sure you weren’t one of those like weird people that like made their dog, like sleep in a cage downstairs, you know, away from you that like that you let them snuggle you and.
Nikki: Yeah, [00:38:00] no, they sleep with me.
And what else do I do at one time I had this and I still kind of do, but once the pandemic happened, I stopped working there. I had a part-time job on the weekends at a indoor plant store and it was like the most relaxing place. No one was going to like, no one was sick, no one needed like. Blood draws and medicine and coming in like half dead, no one was, everything were like, mean, it was like the Xanax party in there.
Everyone was just
Nikki: So I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t gonna kill a plant and it was fine.
Heidi: It wasn’t marijuana. Greeno.
Nikki: No. It’s like an indoor house plant tropical plant store. Yeah. So that was actually nice to have that. And I think I wanted to keep my time busy because if there’s a lull in time, I have too much time to overthink many, many things and I get more anxiety and
[00:39:00] Heidi: freak out.
Nikki: Get upset. Yeah. So I just kept myself busy.
Heidi: Are you dating?
Nikki: Yes, I date I have dated.
Heidi: Are you like Alissa where it’s like one and one at a time, one and done, or do you a lot of
Nikki: time, one time, one time I did do a marathon weekend dating thing where I went out with a dude on Friday, and then I went out on a dude date with a dude on Saturday and then on Sunday, all three different dudes and nothing happened.
We just went out for drinks and I was like, okay. Yeah, never doing that again. That’s exhausting. And then you forget their name. You have to remember all their names
Dr. Alissa : and their stories
Nikki: and their stories. Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t know. I did that one weekend. Many months ago.
Heidi: Denver, you want to get married?
Nikki: We just had this conversation this afternoon.
I don’t feel I need to get married again. I want to be with somebody who, okay. So I’m in this part of [00:40:00] my life where my kids are growing up and I’ve got a little more freedom. And so I want to have an adventure. I want to travel. I want to be with someone who wants to laugh with me and be happy with me and have a drink with me.
And we’re we tell each other great stories and. Just live the sweeter part of life because the drama has been going on. Like the trauma has gone on long enough. I just want to be in a lighter place. You know what I mean? Yeah.
Heidi: I do know what you mean. So on that note, if you could like close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths and you were to put yourself 365 days from today.
Where, what do you see in your life a year from now? I want
Nikki: to go on a bunch of trips
Heidi: to random
Nikki: places. I want to be secure financially. I want to have a secure [00:41:00] job. I want my kids to be okay and happy and know how to take care of themselves. You know, when they go out into the world, like, I want to know that I’ve taught them how to be an adult and adult their life away.
Like I hadn’t. And I just want to not feel so heavy all the time.
Heidi: Are you still going to counseling?
Nikki: Actually, I just started counseling again in when did I start?
Heidi: Oh, is her name Dr. Alissa?
Nikki: No, that don’t count.
Dr. Alissa : asking me. Women’s when she started. It
Nikki: was probably, it
Dr. Alissa : was probably five weeks ago. Maybe
Heidi: your, you guys are really narrowing it. Alissa’s guy.
Nikki: I can’t give a month in it. Yeah. Okay. So like four or five weeks ago, and I’m preparing to start EMDR
Dr. Alissa : eye movement, [00:42:00] desensitization dissertation. Other than I messed it up, I movement desensitization reprocessing.
Heidi: I also do EMDR. Let’s go back. In time now to the divorce, like what did that divorce look like? You said you were signing the papers and you didn’t have a lawyer.
Nikki: We signed all the papers. We didn’t have a lawyer. They called us up to the front. I think the judge did a little double-take on the two of us.
And just, you know, asked if the number for child support was right and he he’ll get, he said, I’d grant, I’ll grant it and you can give her more money. But my overall takeaway from that was, you know, you spend how much of your life looking for the person you’re going to marry.
Nikki: then you spend all these months and planning and money to marry that person.
And it was done in five minutes, 23 years together. Five years together and then 18 married. And it was done in five minutes. Just like that five minutes done. [00:43:00] Granted, sign your papers over here. You’re done. Next couple of done. It was, you know, I wasn’t sad until I started driving the car, which always happens.
I’ll cry. When I drive all the time
Heidi: and drove away into your new life.
Nikki: I did drove into the sun, went back back to work.
Heidi: I am not divorced. And both of you guys are when you both drove away and, and literally, like, what I mean is like, that is a significant milestone of moving forward. Like, did you feel the weight of now, like the next part of your life was beginning?
By getting divorced. I don’t, I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say is like, but basically what I’m asking is, do you think that I’ll feel better if I get divorced
Nikki: right away?
Dr. Alissa : Yeah, no, take some time.
Nikki: That’s still the
Dr. Alissa : brain. That’s still the breaking part.
[00:44:00] Nikki: That’s just, you know, I think ours dragged on so long and yours is kind of to Heidi.
For me, it was like, okay. Yes, I can now move on. I have now got the freedom to move on with the rest of my life and I’m not being hung on to anymore, but was it still sad? Yeah, it was still sad. Didn’t instantly make it happy day. Happy day. I’m divorced. No, no, it was not that it was, it’s done in five minutes.
That’s all that kept running through my head. Five minutes, 23 years of my life done in, I
Heidi: wiped away and two genders. Done in five minutes, right? Okay. This is a question for both of you guys when you’re like, if someone were to say like, about your life and ask you a question, like, do you say this is my ex.
The husband, or do you say this is my ex wife? Or do you say like, this is my ex
Dr. Alissa : partner, right? Say ex-husband I
Nikki: say ex or I say, ex [00:45:00] wife depends on who I’m with you guys. I call like, and people at work who know my whole story, I call them, I call her the ex-wife or I call them both the ex wives. My kids, I call them, call her dad because that’s what they call
Dr. Alissa : her.
Yeah. I mean, mostly I say, Jamie, they’re mostly like, it’s not like I’m just going around being like, I act my act, my
Heidi: act, but
Nikki: if I’m talking to someone who doesn’t know me and all that, and then it’s the
Dr. Alissa : ex my
Dr. Alissa : yeah,
Nikki: I do say ex husband. I mean, I mess up all the time. I go back and forth between the old name and the new name and the him and the, her and the.
The ex-wife and the ex-husband. I do it all the time. It’s very difficult because I, I know the person that I know.
Heidi: Yeah. For 23, what is your health score that you would give yourself on a scale of one to 10? I’m just changing my language. Cause [00:46:00] Alissa is more mature than me.
Nikki: Like Alissa. There are good days and bad days.
There are days where I’m super anxious and doubting everything. And I tend to like, not believe anything good. Like, uh, yeah, we’ll see about that. Like, you know, this good things happen. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever. We’ll see. But if I were to gauge my life at this moment, it’s not so fucking bad. I am happy. I am independent.
I love my job. I love my friends. I love my kids. I love my dog. I love the little house that I rent. And it’s all a lot more okay than it’s ever
Dr. Alissa : been.
Heidi: I mean,
Nikki: short of me being 21, again in the middle of San Francisco drinking and doing things that I shouldn’t, which was pretty bad, so amazing. That was a 10, but I don’t remember a lot of it compared to now health [00:47:00] wise.
I’m not having to do all those things and I still am pretty happy.
Heidi: Yeah. If you could go back to that day at the concert where you saw him on stage and somehow you were to get a flash of what your whole life would look like, would you have chosen him again? That’s
Nikki: hard because of the kids. Would I have chosen my kids again?
Yes. Would I have chosen this life and the way it’s gone for them? No. Could I have spared myself all of this. Yes. But clearly there’s a reason that I had to go through all this. So it is what it is.
Heidi: You’re doing a great job.
Nikki: I’m still standing. I’m
Heidi: still standing. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I’m just so proud of you guys and telling your stories.
I think he, was there anything else that you wanted to share?
[00:48:00] Nikki: Nah, I’m
Nikki: Heidi, tell us where you’re at, right this minute with everything.
Heidi: Oh, well, after hearing your two stories, I feel like I’m in the, like a very different place. I would say that my health score is closer to like a two out of a 10. I do have like happy days.
Harder and harder during COVID and this like isolation. Cause I had had this like really good rhythm of the things that were helping me, like going to cycle bar and going to hot yoga and lots of dates with my girlfriends. And just when all of that sort of was stripped away from me, I took a pretty strong nose dive down the Hill and then I had to spend, no, I didn’t have to.
I mean I chose, but then I spent a month in Montana. And then just learned Kaylee’s name. So like, there’s just [00:49:00] been like, maybe I felt like I was cruising on like, Oh, I’m doing okay. And then it just was like, boom. So I feel like I’m still in the, like really thick, let’s see, it’s been about 18 months. And so I still feel like I’m in the really big thick of like these ups and downs.
Like I’m still cycling through all of the different stages of grief. Probably not denial anymore. I mean, I can probably like take that one away, but I mean, I there’s like glimmers of acceptance that come in and moving on, but yeah, I would say I’m probably not doing that great. Which is really, you know, it’s, it’s hard for me to even hear myself say that it’s also, it’s hard for me.
Here’s like another thing to even like, I’m looking at the screen on zoom. It’s hard for me to even. Look at myself and see myself in the mirror. Like sometimes I think I should just sit in the mirror all [00:50:00] day and like force myself to look at myself because I mean, I just have a, really, the depression is so thick.
Like, I mean, this is like too much information, but like, I haven’t even like brushed my teeth today. Like, I just got up at five o’clock in the morning and then I had like, you know, single mom shit all fucking day. And then I’m still, you know, we’re recording it almost 10 o’clock at night, I’m in a wet bathing suit.
I haven’t waxed my eyebrows or had Botox
Nikki: or lip filler
Heidi: or makeup or anything like that. And like six months and I gained 25 pounds since November. And so I’m so. I just, I feel like I’m the worst version of myself than I have ever been. And I don’t, and I, you know, clearly I’m in therapy and all these things, but like, it’s, I feel very, very stuck at the bottom of the mountain.
And I feel like, I just feel like I need someone or [00:51:00] something to like throw me a fucking rope so that I have like, Oh, that’s the way out you grab the rope. And I just don’t know what the rope is. So what
Dr. Alissa : do you think is holding you down?
Heidi: Well, I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is weight, but then I’m like, I guess that’s like a symptom of a deeper, you know, of a deeper issue.
I’m so, so, so sad. I mean, my heart is, my heart is just so fucking broke and like, I mean, and I’ve probably said this on seven episodes, you know, but like, hi, in many ways I’m still so in love, but I’m so in love with a fucking ghost, you know, like the, my reality is this a woman named Kaylee and she’s gone.
But like, I, you know, I dated for so many [00:52:00] years. I mean, they didn’t even get married until I was 36. And then I was like late to have. Two children. And I just, I feel hopeless and started.
Heidi: And I, and I also feel hopeless. Like I already went on 545 days and slept with blah, blah, blah. Number of people, you know, like,
Dr. Alissa : and then, Oh man.
Heidi: And then I found him. Yeah. And it was everything I ever thought. Yeah. It’s what I thought this life was supposed to be about. And so that’s what holds me down is I think I will never be able to find another him. So
Dr. Alissa : listen, listen.
Dr. Alissa : there is not only one J for you in the world. That is not the only person that you can [00:53:00] fall deeply in love with.
Heidi: There are other people
Dr. Alissa : that you can, and I think you’re right. And I already knew the answer before I asked it to be honest. Is that, of course you’re still in love with Jay. Of course you are. And that’s what holds you down because you still love him even though he’s not here anymore.
Dr. Alissa : And that’s okay.
Heidi: How long does it take to fall out of love with somewhat.
Dr. Alissa : However long it takes, you know, but I think there is a letting go
Nikki: when you’re going to fall deeply in love with Heidi. We’ll
Heidi: see. That’s the thing I was already. So I like, I was so in love with myself, like when I met Jay and all the way through our marriage, I mean, I was a pretty kick-ass person.
I had worked really hard. I had for so many years on being the best version of [00:54:00] myself, all aspects like traveled the world, played soccer internationally, volunteered in orphanages, found my relationship with bye. Spirituality. And my God like became a mom, fell in love, was financially stable achieved. My master’s degree, you know, wrote this book, started businesses like wrote poetry.
Like I could go on and on about all of the things that I really, really loved and admired about myself and that I worked really hard to listen. To like who I was and who I am. And like, and then just ran after those dreams with like huge vigor. And right now it’s like, I’ll never get to be her again. And I loved her and I don’t know who I’m now meant to [00:55:00] be.
Does that make sense?
Dr. Alissa : Yeah.
Heidi: I’m reading back. I can’t go back, but I’m now having to like reinvent who I am and what I stand for
Nikki: and what it
Heidi: actually means to be affirming rather than just like my, you know, Facebook, rainbow thing that you can put on everyone’s or whatever. But I’m learning more right now about who I don’t want to be.
I don’t want to be this overweight. I don’t want to be this anxious and depressed. I don’t want to be this mean of a mother. Who’s always tired and yelling. I don’t want to be alone, but I’m also not fully ready to say goodbye. So cock the deers,
Nikki: if anything, we’re all learning how to evolve through this.
And there are [00:56:00] fallbacks and forwards and backwards and sideways, and none of it’s perfect. All of it’s ugly.
Dr. Alissa : It’s beautiful. He sat down for the first time, Nikki, you and I, neither one of us were in a great
Dr. Alissa : that was very soon after for me, but it was awhile after for you. You were still not in a great place.
And so I think like just taking that into consideration, like. It isn’t a certain timetable, you know, but the good, the good thing is you get to choose what parts you take forward and which parts you leave behind, what things don’t work for you anymore. And what, you know, what you want to move forward with.
Like, those are things that you get to choose, but you can’t choose him because he isn’t there anymore. And I think that’s what you keep trying to do is to choose him in some way. Yeah,
Heidi: no, you are a have to, I [00:57:00] have to let go. And so Lee and I have talked about having some kind of ritual or process and uncoupling ceremony, something where we write new vows.
So if I had to sum up to our audience, like besides my debilitating sadness, Like where, what does my life look like? Or where am I now? Like Alissa, much like you, I and Nikki, really too. I dove into my work. Like something I’m really proud of is I had thought about writing a book and right before we, you know, learned this whole thing, Jay had handed me a laptop with a sticky note on it that said, write your book.
And so. One like October 21st, 2018, I find out that this is going to be my new life. And I immediately, after we got through triage, I went into like [00:58:00] action mode and I literally don’t know how, but like I have a podcast that is like in the top, like the peak position was 16, but it’s really in the top a hundred week after week for kids and family and for parenting.
And I dove head first and the work and I wrote a book and my book is launching. I mean, this is a secret podcast, so I’m not going to tell you, but my book is launching this month. And I wrote, so I wrote a 529 page book, which is crazy, but that was my coping mechanism was work. And I feel like I, I should probably be saying this out loud.
Is that part of the reason I feel like I’m crumbling is because. I was building something. I was building a company and now this month it launches and it’s more like evergreen. And so now I’m like, don’t know what I’m supposed to do in July. Yeah. For [00:59:00] 18 months I knew I had to wake up and I had to write and I had to podcasts and I had to do this and this and this.
And then like, now I’m just not sure, like.
Nikki: Well, we’re going to podcast
Heidi: right now. We’re doing this podcast.
Nikki: So this is
Heidi: podcast number two. Yeah. I mean, so I feel like that’s probably playing a little bit into my late demise right now is because I’m afraid to sit with my emotions because I ran away from them into work.
And now I really have to,
Nikki: I told Alissa I do the same thing I get like on a, an emotion kick or a pissed off kick. And I’m like, fuck it. I’m just gonna fill my entire. Calendar hour to hour with all these things I can do so that I don’t have to deal with that shit
Dr. Alissa : as a nine. I just just fall into a crumble in front of the TV.
Heidi: That’s what I do. What’s your Enneagram, the key eight
Nikki: wing. And we just realized yesterday I’m an eight week nine,
Heidi: so seven, eight, nine. I don’t know if that means anything. [01:00:00] Yeah, she’s a nine wing eight. I’m a seven winks six, but I, again, I don’t know what that means, so,
okay. I just know that I took the test one time. Okay. So anyway, I felt like it was just worth saying that like part of coping mechanism was diving into work and now I’m scared because. You know, I don’t know what to do, but Kayla and I are our friends. We see each other too much. There’s too much.
Co-parenting things we’re not divorced for a bazillions of reasons. We just came out to our family and friends like about a hundred people actually. So Kaylee is out to everyone except for work. And you know, that has been wonderful and difficult. My children are thriving. They’re clueless. I mean, they just don’t care at all about name, changes and pronouns, and at the ages of six and four.
[01:01:00] So if someone’s listening and you have young kids, like don’t worry about it. They don’t care. You’re the only one who cares. I’m the only one who cares. They didn’t care. They’re doing wonderful. I’m not smoking Marlboro lights anymore. So that was a, you know, the short-lived, you know, trauma and I’m not dating.
I’m not really thinking about, I mean, I tried hinge for like a week and then I think I like joked, I got matched with a Baptist pastor and then I kinda got like, told him my ex was trans and then I never heard from him again. So fucking
Nikki: great. So weird,
Heidi: great by hinge by dating that. Yeah. All that.
Nikki: Heidi, where do you see yourself?
In 365 days from now?
Heidi: I actually just went through this exercise with my therapist, which is why I asked you that question. And it’s a good question. Yeah, I’ve got a pretty clear vision too, because it’s, it makes me [01:02:00] really hopeful. But number one, I hope that I are, I see myself as being financially stable and independent from Kaylee because right now, Like when we split up, I was a stay at home mom and, you know, not that I don’t have like an MBA and all these businesses.
Okay. But for this little period of our breakup, it’s been very difficult for me to be financially dependent on my spouse. And so, because she’s an angel, she continues to give me, you know, basically all of her paycheck, so that. My lifestyle and my life stayed completely the same while she lived on less.
And so I, you know, hope that a year from now that the book and the podcast is monetized enough. And some of the other businesses that I do that I don’t have to do child support and alimony anymore. And ours was not like, it was like you guys in Tennessee, ours was like, [01:03:00] This is how much money I currently spend per month.
And she was like, okay, this is how much money I’ll give you per month then. So it was, you know, really big blessing, but I just want to give that back to her. And so I hope in a year I’m able to do that. And I also hope that I can buy a house again and not be in a rental. I do not see myself in a relationship, but I hope that maybe I could go on a couple of dates and just.
Open myself up to like owning my story over the next year. I hope that Kaylee comes out at work and that we are fully out of the closet because I just can’t handle being in the closet. I hope I lose 40 pounds and I hope then I tell my doctor, then I never have to have Xanax again.
Dr. Alissa : Hmm. Yeah, that’s a good, that’s a good one.
Heidi: Cheers. Can we, can we do a check-in. We should do like a check-in in a year and see how we’re doing. Yeah. Good [01:04:00] idea. I would like to hear all about Nikki’s travels a year from now.
Nikki: Me too.
Heidi: Yeah. Well, everybody that’s a wrap on season one. We’re so thankful that each of you found our podcast and listen to our stories and you know, we’re here because the three of us found each other by some crazy miracle.
But each of us was alone for a long period of time, middle period of time, and then a short period of time. And so we, this was therapy for us. We also hope that it really helps those of you listening too. Yeah. Nikki and Alissa, do you want to say anything to our audience? That’s gone through seven episodes with us.
Dr. Alissa : Thanks for hanging in with us. Yeah, I appreciate that. You’ve stuck with us and, and hopefully heard our vulnerability, [01:05:00] our honesty. This isn’t easy for us to share some of these parts of our story, but. We certainly hope that it makes an impact maybe for somebody who’s going through something similar or totally different, but just something that’s hard, you know, pain is a universal experience.
And I think that you can hear that in parts of our stories, as unique as they are, you know, whether that uniqueness is shared with you or not. I hope that we can connect on, on that, on having experienced pain and having empathy
Nikki: me. Listen, no matter how bad it is, you gotta laugh at the end of the day. And that was a big part of this podcast was.
Keep your sense of humor, because otherwise it gets real heavy. And every once in a while you got to come up and you’ve got to have a drink and you got to laugh with your girlfriends and say really ridiculous things.
Dr. Alissa : Sometimes fall down, completely
Nikki: immature and fall down on your knees in the middle of a parking [01:06:00] lot in public, like I do sober and
Dr. Alissa : that’s
Nikki: And you know what? You chalk that up to the best parts of life. [01:07:00]