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Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  I’ve said this 150 times if I have said it once, but I’m hoping I mean it this time.

I am done not taking care of myself.  I’m done feeling sorry for myself.  Over the last ten months, there is no denying that what I’ve been through could stop a full-grown rhino in its tracks.  But somehow, by some divine intervention, I have managed to survive.

I’m scared.  I’m exhausted. I’m lost.  I’m 33 in a career that isn’t what I had hoped, a few months out of a failed marriage, making less than I ever have during more hours, here I am.  I weigh more than I ever have.  They say that “Not all who wander, are lost,” but I am the first to admit I am up the proverbial creek without a paddle, a map, a compass or a clue.  I’ve been wandering for far too long.

But I’d like to proclaim that this stops today.  Worry and projection and pity are a supreme waste of time.  One may argue the finite specifics that constitute a “sufficient amount of time” to mourn and admittedly, I have milked that teat of self-pity to it’s barren, fruitless end.

As I lay in bed (with an insatiable urge to have someone next to me, maybe kissing on my neck a little, and fixing my coffee just the way I like it), it came to me.

Not the coffee or the kisses.  Bummer.

I realized that through trial and tribulation, hardship and heartache, self-medication and self- pity I have completely forgotten about every last ounce of my credibility, confidence, creativity and frankly, my cojones.  Struggle had come like a storm through my life and today, not tomorrow, not Monday, I needed to start rummaging through the rubble, collecting bricks and rebuilding the proverbial house that protects my soul.

I decided my strategy would be this:  the bricks I collect will be each success; if it’s a weekly goal of working out, building up my freelance work or getting the dogs to the dog park. I will rebuild my confidence with tangible attainable goals as bricks with happiness, satisfaction and most importantly PEACE filling in the cracks as my mortar.

Now about these goals. I’d have to write down these goals to make them “real”.  I’d have to write them down the check them off and to be accountable to myself.  If I wrote them down, certainly the universe would see them and keep me on track, right?

Then comes the ultimate question – what does one make in the way of GOALS when perceived failure has been lurking around the corner for as long as one can remember; When finishing your laundry seems like too harrowing a task, much less folding it and putting it away? What goal can one set that one can feel good about when it’s all one can do to do the minimum life requires because you at LEAST have to keep your electricity on?  What can one possibly “accomplish” if even these tasks, at times, feel so futile and exhausting?

I tried to make a list of criteria that my goals need to accomplish.  Before I even got down to what my goals were, I had to set forth what I was most disappointed or frustrated with.  My weight, my job and my relationship with myself are my biggest obstacles.  These are the questions I asked myself.

  • Will it make me happier/less stressed?
  • Will it make me healthier, more well-rounded, make me feel good or help me blow off steam?
  • Will it get me back in touch with my authentic self?
  • Will it get me closer to another task/goal that will take me further into my self-discovery and love?

I tried to look objectively at my daily life and ask these questions of each activity I do.  Plain and simple:  Is this good for my body? Good for my soul?  If any of these answers were NO, then I had to stop it and do something else…or make a plan to do something else if it didn’t make sense to hastily cut bait.  I had to consciously decided to not make goals or act because this way was easier than the hard way, because I wanted to impress anyone, because Iwas forced to against my gut or because someone was rushing me.  My mother, the genius she is, always told me, if you don’t know what decision to make, don’t make one….yet.  And she has always been right.  Doing the right things for your reasons isn’t always easy or agreeable by all parties. But RIGHT is RIGHT when you can be objective, positive and confident….and when you have the time to get all the facts straight.

Now, the right reasons may change as the world keeps turning (can’t it just flippin’ STOP for a minute!).  Things happen that aren’t in our control.  People, jobs, rain clouds and possessions pass away or move on all the time.  Certainly, what was right for me at 13 or 23 is MUCH different than what I need right now at 33.  Goals and paths can and will change because we do…and the world does.  However, this is not an opportunity to fall back into old, unproductive thought processes and habits.

If anything, its another opportunity to prove to yourself that you ARE capable of exponentially more….whatever it was before that was holding you back was just that, an anchor, when you were meant to sail to open seas.  Ask yourself the hard questions again….scratch some obsolete stuff off your list and add new action items.  Dance on the grave of what has passed and back up to see the joys, blessings and rebirth you’ve been awarded.  It takes time, but the failure you feel can be broken down time and tine again, into a new you.  Its not fun but it’s inevitable and necessary over and over again, for everyone.

This is what I know to be true, and what I have to repeat to myself about 57 times a day.

Now the next step is redefining my authentic self……and making those goals….

That’s for another blog.

So I haven’t written since I’ve been technically, really, legally single. Sorry about that.  As you can imagine, there’s been a lot on my mind, a lot to focus on…and one wasn’t this blog.  I hope to be able to share more here as I can….as it comes to me.  I have a few ideas for blog posts.

On my mind today?  What I’m tired of.

Yeah, I’m PMSy.  Yeah, I’ve been through a lot.  And yeah, homegirl’s gonna talk about it.  Let me preface this all by saying that I might make a few generalizations here – there are exceptions to every rule.  Just hear me out.

I am inundated everyday with guys…..and friend’s guys……and friends of friends’ of guys who some how got this notion in their thick, pretty heads that they can be arrogant, narcissistic, selfish idiots who make terrible, self-serving decisions and all of us girls should be OK with it.

I am DONE with:

  • half truths
  • lies
  • arrogance
  • playing the victim/self-pity
  • guys falling off the face of the earth because a female has feelings or opinions and want to talk about them out loud to another human
  • “you’re so awesome…..it’s not you, it’s me”/”You deserve better than me”
  • the notion that your girl won’t know you’re cheating/lying
  • the notion that girls are naive and stupid
  • the notion that girls are that are so weak that we have to have a guy to make us feel worthwhile

Here’s how it is:  We’re strong. We’re independent.  We’re smarter than you give us credit for.  We KNOW it’s YOU.  Your sorry ass (or educated, thoughtful) choices made your station in life.  If you’re a victim, its falling prey to your own selfish, self-preserving, conscious decisions.  We all have feelings….not something to invalidate and ignore.  They don’t go away.  We aren’t going to be OK barefoot in the kitchen and be at your beck and call and never disagree with you.  Vulnerability and sharing is a STRENGTH…and when you put up walls and laugh about being hurtful and choose careless actions, we KNOW it’s an excuse, a manipulation and an easy way out.  We can handle the truth.  We prefer the truth.  We DESERVE the truth.

The reason there are relationships and just not a free-for-all, 100% transactional mating extravaganza with the human race is because of women.  It’s biological.  Men spread their seed.  Women are nurturers.  Why God thought it was a good idea for us all to get together is beyond me, but somehow we all post up at bars and on online dating sites and the melon area of the produce section to try to find someone that will complete us.  Sorry to break it to you – No one ever will.  Perfect completion shouldn’t be the goal because perfection isn’t possible….short of what God can do (and maybe Brad Pitt’s ass in “Troy”.  Dayummmm).  The only thing we can even HOPE for when we’re trying to co-habitate with a stranger is honesty, vulnerability and patience.  Which guys don’t have much of….and women have TOO much of.

Now THAT’S a social thing.  Men are looked at as whipped or effeminate if they share their feelings freely.  Women are QUICK to be labeled bitches if they have vocalized, well-articulated opinions different from men’s.

BUT GUYS – I have a legitimate question for you:  Think of Lou Gehrig when he announced to the world that he couldn’t play baseball anymore due to ALS.  His career, his dream and essentially his life was over.  If Back To The Future is more your thing, think about what Michael J. Fox had to admit and open up about when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  Same with Robert Downey Jr. who has been incredibly candid about his drug abuse and recovery.

Do you consider these men huge p&#@$es?

Are they wussy idiots because they were candid and forthcoming with their struggles?

Are they weak, sorry LOSERS?

If you have any brain left in your thick, pretty skull then you know that QUITE the opposite is considered of these men.  They have built foundations and raised more money for diseases and causes than you and I may ever see.  They have heightened awareness of serious issues facing regular people everyday.  They are living PROOF of the human spirit’s capacity to overcome literally DEADLY obstacles to be happy, successful and inspiring.

They were vulnerable at the most difficult times in their lives.  And they were and are respected and loved.

So meanwhile, you…..in the midst of your well-furnished pity party….YOU want to not return texts or calls when a girl shares her feelings to a level that made you uncomfortable…..or you want to bail when there is upheaval in your life…..or you want to cheat when you’re life is just SO MISERABLE with who you’re with, despite the commitment you made to them both in front of God and the law.

God FORBID you humble yourself to the fact that no one is perfect, everyone has baggage and we all just want to feel loved and validated….but love and validation isn’t given, it’s earned. And nothing good and LASTING is easy.

Really…it’s pretty simple when you break it down:

Quit getting defensive, we know it’s a cover.

Quit lying, we know it’s self-preservation.

Quit putting walls up, we know it’s fear.

Quit playing the victim, we aren’t babysitters.

Quit feeding us excuses, we’re smarter than that.

Quit with “keeping a line in the water”, we deserve better.

Quit making us an option, we should be a priority if you choose, consciously, to invite us into your life.

We aren’t meat, we aren’t a daycare, we aren’t a ego boost, we aren’t a convenience, we aren’t arm candy, we aren’t therapists or doctors or robots or housekeepers or c@m dumpsters.

We’re a mirror; a direct reflection of how you treat us is how you see yourself and what kind of man you are.  The level of depth, the superficiality of our relationships, the respect (or lack there of) you show us is categorically derivative of your inner monologue.

We’re on to you. One accepts the precedent you set…so in turn, we’re raising the bar.

Now there are going to be guys out there who can’t believe I’m spouting such heresy.  I’m a great guy…and I’m so thoughtful…and on and on.  And I’m sure there are guys who “get it”.  But I haven’t come in contact with ONE in the last 9 months….or 10 years for that matter.  Sorry.  Y’all been suckin’.

I am the first to say that I’m screwed up and sensitive.  And, with my hand on the Bible, I promise I’m gonna emote more than you’re going to be comfortable with at some point.  I have this treasured, magical, elusive thing called a VAGINA that I was born with that pretty healthily dictates that I am going to have some feelings eventually.   Yeah, I know…breaking news, right?  As they say with feelings and farts, there is more space outside than inside.  And I am OK with that.  But I’m not OK with being a convenience or the other woman or a robot with no feelings.  I’m human.

I’ve had people keep important stuff from me that was incredibly hurtful.

I’ve had people email me about how great I am but it’d never work because I deserved better.

I’ve gotten Facebook messages saying “we should f@#$” or, if i was REAL “lucky”,  just a picture of a gentleman’s “cash and prizes”. (More than once. Seriously.)

I’ve had to bail people out of JAIL because of their irresponsibility.

I’ve had people spend a LOT of money on me to get me drunk enough to consider sleeping with them.

I’ve had someone’s mother tell me I was a bad person because I stole her son (her words) and he verbally backed his mother.

I’ve had a divorce over someone who went on ahead and got another girl pregnant before we had filled out one shred of paperwork.

There is literally NOT a person on Earth right now that is going to convince me that I need to worry about finding the right guy and sacrificing myself and compromising to fit into a relationship right now.  I feel used and lied to and flabbergasted and exhausted.  As much as I want to give to someone, and as badly as I want to have a true partner to share time with, there is NO ONE I’m willing budge an INCH with when it comes how I deserve to be treated and respected.  I’m not your side bitch.  I’m a full time bitch….I am not working these mental hours for a part time salary of being on call on your whim.  And girls, neither should you.

Love yourself….it’s the best company most of the time anyways.  Take back what we deserve!

Letting Go.

I have another friend who is also going through a divorce and I wanted to jot down some of the stuff we talked about today because I feel like people who have been through a similar thing could relate….or might need to hear it.

Your character, not your reputation is what needs to stay in tact.  Don’t confuse the two.  Your reputation is what other people think of you…what other people have put together about your story, of which they are privy to only part of.  Your character is what you have to stay true to.  Don’t become a bitter, mean, resentful person.  The high road always looks better in court and in the Big Book Upstairs (and in texts you have made screenshots of to show the divorce attorney).

Your circumstances do not define you.  Because the money part might be getting hairy…or the label of “divorced” is scary, rise above.  Do you know anyone who hasn’t been through some hard times?  Didn’t think so.

They aren’t getting away with being mean, terrible people if you back off, stay to the high road and stop engaging them.  Validate that what they are going through is their reality, and very real to them….and confirm that it has been in stone now that it is now a legal transaction and that the bed one sleeps in, the fleas one gets, will come out in the wash.  Period and paragraph.  Shut your phone off, put it away or plug it in in the other room.  there is no rationalizing with someone who you feel is crazy.

In order to make someone truly feel terrible about themselves (or at least attempt to), the aggressor has to hate themselves.  They have to hate their decisions, hate their station in life and be miserable.  Think of anyone you have ever known who is happy and put-together. They make other people feel good and put-together around them.  No one treats someone they SAY they love without respect, compassion or patience.  Don’t let anyone treat you that way.  Don’t sacrifice it all for someone else….give to yourself a little bit (or a lot for a while).

You have spent months, years or decades of energy on trying to help and fix and change this person.  We’re all broken and can be better people for sure. But trying to fight illogical arguments or semantically argue against someone who is so caught up in their own bad decisions and self-hatred doesn’t work.  It didn’t work for (months/years/decades).  Try another strategy.  They got your energy, time and patience for all that time.  Spend it on yourself…building other relationships, growing in your career or learning more about yourself.  They are thinking primarily about how to preserve themselves and come out “right” or looking like their on top or not as in much trouble as they are.  They aren’t thinking 1/10 of the time about your feelings or how this is affecting you. Quit giving them 100% of your time.

Last but not least, know in your heart you did all you could.  You tried the solutions you thought would help.  You cried, you yelled, you ignored and you fought.  Maybe you tried therapy and drugs and more.  Whatever that last straw is, don’t regret it.  You won’t understand for a long time why it couldn’t end differently.  You’ll be angry and sad and confused.  But it comes down to this: you know EXACTLY what that past would hold, and as scary as the unpredictable future might be, it’s a much better option than your motherf#$%in’ past.  Work on the forgiveness, work on the forgetting….but move on and try a new thought process for YOU.  Don’t let them live rent-free in your head and consume anymore time or energy that you could be spending on making yourself, and the RIGHT people, in your life happy and satisfied.

You aren’t alone. The fear and confusion and frustration is something we all feel and will go through for longer than we want.  But it’s a real grieving process.  A person with whom you spent a lot of time with, is gone. Erased.  They are no longer on the other end of the couch or on their side of the bed.  That’s it.  Let go.

Slowly, but surely, let go.

You are BLESSED to have the self-awareness that you were destined for something more meaningful and happy.  Now you just have the freedom to go out and FIND IT.

Proverbs 31:25.

c;othed

Valentine’s Day.

Today, I had to run downtown for a work errand. While I waited to get picked up, I sat on a nice stone bench near a fountain in Marion Square.  As I waited in the sunshine with my caramel non-fat latte, a “girl” (22 year old) sat down next to me on the bench, and asked if it was OK that she have a seat.  I said of course, of course, and moved my purse so she’d have space.  We waited momentarily and she asked, “Who are you waiting for?

Now this kind of question asked to anyone wouldn’t spark much of anything.  You exchange answers and move on to avoiding each other.  If you know me, you know that is never the case.  I always get everyone’s life stories.  It’s a blessing in a way……but it never fails.  On a bus, waiting at a store, flying on a plane, I always get the talkers.

“Just waiting for a coworker to pick me up.  I work for a radio station and we had to bring our station vans down for SEWE weekend.”

“That’s cool……” (Here we go…)

“Who are you waiting for?”

Well, she was meeting her boyfriend…well, ex-boyfriend, to talk about some things.  They were both Christians and he felt he wasn’t giving his faith the right amount of due diligence (noble reasoning enough).  He said he wasn’t getting her text messages, giving her the run around, etc.  As she was waiting.  Again.  At this fountain, for them to talk.  She had skipped class specifically to have this conversation with him.

I, of course, immediately went into defense mode.  Drove the bus right down to Cynicism Town….in my head.  She was so nervous, she was shaking, before he was even close or before she even KNEW he’d show up.

I asked a few questions….are you SURE he’s not getting your texts?  Did he know to meet HERE and at this time?

Every answer sounded like something I have told myself over the last 33 years.  Some excuse.  Some dilly-dallying.  Some vagueness.

A firetruck went by and we couldn’t hear each other for a moment.  It just hit me.  This was her bells and whistles.  I was her sign.  I had to say something.

Not just because I was her sign…but because she was mine.  I met myself 11 years before.  It was finally time to rectify the situation.

Maybe it was because it was on Valentine’s Day that their purported meeting was scheduled.  Maybe he isn’t interested but feels bad.  Maybe he’s a nice guy that really doesn’t have the words quite yet.  Long story short, he wasn’t there.  She frowned.  She asked me if she should call him.  I said, yes (because she would regardless)….but only once.  Don’t leave a message if he doesn’t answer.  He’ll know he missed the meeting.  Her hand shook as she dialed.  I stopped her.

“Sister…..what is the worst that can happen right now?  You’re already dumped.  It sounds coarse, but you have nothing to lose here.  You skipped class to get stuff straight…and he stood you up.”

She laughed and untightened her grip on her phone.  “You’re right.”  She took a breath and finished dialing.  I stared off into traffic to give her some “privacy”.

“Hey….where are you?”

“Well you SAID…..”

“No…it’s ok, I understand…no, that’s fine.”

*insert big sigh here*

I turned back her direction.  “What did he say?”

“He said he didn’t know when we were meeting because he didn’t get my text and he’s on another street, and….”

I stopped her right there.  “I hate to say it, but he’s giving you the run around.  Maybe it’s Valentine’s Day and he’s squeamish, maybe he’s a good guy without the right words right now, but he knew damn well where and when he was supposed to meet you and he isn’t here.  Guys don’t waste their time.  Girls shouldn’t either.  You seem very smart, you’re graduating college and you have your head on right.  I’m just speaking from 11 years in the future. Don’t let this ruin your Valentine’s Day.  Don’t let this dictate how you feel about yourself.  You said you were Christian?  Read Proverbs 31:25.  Its the wallpaper on my phone and having been with someone for 7 years, 2 of them married, more than half of one in divorce proceedings, it’s gotten me to wake up the next morning when I felt like I couldn’t.”

My ride pulled up.

“We have a Bitterness Bash starting at 8 tonight at Bay St. Biergarten. Right down on East Bay.  Get your girlfriends together…its a free cover.  We’re having great music, drinks, food, party games and more.  Don’t sit at home by your phone.  You’re going to be OK.  This guy can’t dictate that.”

We hugged and I left.

I realized how I had felt about Valentine’s Day and love in general at that age….and how in a lot of ways, I wish I knew how what I know how.  I saw the nervousness in her eyes, the twitch in her hand as she dialed.  I’ve been that girl who put her life aside for some guy’s affections. Time and time again.

Now I know better than to give those butterflies and my heart on my sleeve to anyone who doesn’t deserve it.

If you’re in a relationship and you’re happy and everything is grand on V-Day, good for you.  This post isn’t for you.

If you’re sad and alone and wondering what to do today and how to define yourself on days centered around “loooooove”, then listen up, ’cause I’m only going to say this once.

F@#$ING QUIT IT.

You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you.  There is no way they’ll ever live up to your “expectations” and you won’t convince them to like you.  I promise.  Think of a time in your life when a breakup was looming for you or one of your girlfriends and it was the other way around.  You and your friends both were like, “Ugh…just cut the dead weight already….”  That’s what he’s thinking.  That’s what his buddies are telling him when you call him drunk and horny at 2:15 am after the bars close.  STOP IT.

Alone doesn’t have to be lonely.

Single doesn’t have to be sad.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  You don’t have to; that’s not a frickin’ rule.  It’s human nature to mourn what has passed, but you need to have a good, cathartic cry and move on.  It doesn’t do any good.  You’re spending valuable seconds with friends or finding a guy that WILL treat you right…crying in your overly large glass of pinot you spent too much on and checking your phone…again.  Look at you, Bitchy Resting Face at the bar.  Congrats…you won at SAD tonight.  Want a cookie?

Being sad and pitiful isn’t working…why not try being open and positive…and being yourself for once? Have you really got anything to lose?  What’s the worst case…someone will see you loose and happy and free and find you attractive?

I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t just alone on Valentine’s Day.  You’re alone every day. Stop. IT.

I was committed to someone for a fourth (A FOURTH) of my life, who as soon as one thread was cut, went out and got someone pregnant who was not me. I went through some wine and I went through some Oreos and nachos.  But the last thing I’m looking for tonight, candy and roses, romance and chivalry Valentine’s Day, is a slump buster, a pity party or a man-bashing shitshow that ends with me face down in a toilet.  Tonight of all nights, I will be celebrating the fact that we aren’t bitching at each other as we wait for a table because he waited too long to make a reservation.

Long story short….Tonight, you’re doing whatever YOU WANT, whether it’s pouting….or having a good time with people who care about you, even if they aren’t of the opposite sex.  Let loose, have fun,  let your hair down and drink that expensive pinot because you’re independent and can afford it and LIKE IT and you don’t have to explain your bar tab or curfew to anyone else tonight.

HAPPY Valentine’s Day (the emphasis on HAPPY) to all the single people out there!

Manifest Destiny.

Love this movie and love this scene.  I can’t wait to move on to my manifest destiny.  Swingers for life baby.  I’m money and I don’t even know it.

The Jam Today.

himms

The Himms.  From The Beach House  in Columbia, Tennessee. If you know where that is, you know why I’m inclined to share this.  Click on the photo above.  Listen to “I Will Be Stronger Still” (I couldn’t get the embed widget to behave).  Enjoy.

Been kicked around
and I’ve been cheated
and I have been held against my will…

I’ve been been broken and defeated
but I will be stronger still…

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