All Signs Point to Paris: How I Learned to Let Go After Divorce
Divorce can be one of those times in life when it seems like absolutely nothing’s going right, like you’re never going to catch a break again.
My divorce certainly felt like that at first. Almost everything blew up at once: my marriage, my fiances, my career. Nice house traded for the tiniest of not-cute apartments. My beloved dog died suddenly. The vet said this just happened sometimes to very big dogs and that it wasn’t anyone’s fault, but I couldn’t help wondering if all the stress in our lives had somehow contributed. Just two things kept me going back then: my kids and my family.
As I struggled to put my life back together, I dreamt of better days. My older sister, Tara, promised me they would come. That I would move past this dumpster fire stage and move on. I just had to be practical about it all, make lists and take things step by step like she did. And then I’d see. Everything would work out.
My best friend, Nicole, who had recently been through a divorce herself, said the same. Except she was more woo-woo and dreamy about it all, as is her way. “Tash,” she’d say, “When you find your center, that’s when your path becomes clear” Did I mention I live in LA?
And then my ex-husband started dating a totally gorgeous movie star. A blonde who’d once had a famous role predicated on how hot she was.
And how funny. Because did I mention she was also a comedic genius? Yup. While I seemed stuck in a post-divorce sinkhole no matter what I did, my ex had very definitely moved on—and in a public way that nobody in this city that’s more like a small town could miss.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I felt all the bad feelings. I only wanted my ex to be happy and successful if I too was experiencing those exact things—or, ideally, better things—in my own life. Of course, that’s ridiculous. What would that have even looked like? I’d win the lotto the same day that Colin Firth fell in love with me at Trader Joe’s?
Needless to say, I did not ever bump into Colin over the avocado bin at Trader Joe’s. I also didn’t win the lotto.
Instead, I got a job. As a real estate agent, something I didn’t know how to do at first but that I eventually became good at, one unfamiliar step at a time.
Just like Tara said would happen. True, I no longer attended glamorous red carpet events as my ex’s plus one, and I still lived in a glorified shoebox, but that was okay. Being a plus one gets old sometimes and while nice houses really are very nice, they aren’t necessary for a home.
Little by little, I felt better about my ability to support myself (as many divorced people know, this can take real time) and create a cozy and stable haven for my kids. Feeling even a smidge of earned confidence in myself made me able to see other people more clearly. Maybe the best way to put it is that I could finally see people and their situations as separate from me and my situation.
I didn’t always automatically need to compare myself to others (why do we do that when the chips are down?).
My ex’s new partner was actually a good person. Full stop. Also, her funny, sweet self was her real self. It wasn’t just an act for the cameras. One day I realized: I liked her. She was totally great. And I had also become, almost without noticing it, deeply and truly happy for my ex.
But that didn’t mean I wasn’t still hoping for my own romantic happily ever after. I most certainly was, big time.
In fact, you could say that for a while it became an absolute obsession. Because a celebrity astrologer—one who Nicole insisted I consult even though I did not believe in astrology—had given me a shining clue about who and where my future soulmate might be: a man born on November 2, 1968 in Paris. All I needed to do was decide how far I was willing to go to find him.
And that’s the story I tell in my new memoir, ALL SIGNS POINT TO PARIS, which is out now from Mariner Books. Yes, you’ll hear more about my ex and his Hollywood ending. But also about sisters and best friends, hot hookups and big disappointments (there’s dating involved—what can I say?), and Paris. I hope you’ll read it and come find me at @natashasizlo.
DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.