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I feel like lately I’ve been treading water, in the psychological sense, as of late.  Replaying past transgressions and worrying about the future.  On my ride home from work tonight, I got on the phone with my mom and pretty much unleashed.  It brought up a new thread of thought for me…and I thought I might flesh it out here to help me…and make you maybe not feel so alone at the same time.

Though you may not know this, I have struggled over the last few years with depression and anxiety.  A lot of it was external triggers…some, admittedly, was self-imposed.  At the end of the day, I have found it harder and harder to define myself as happy.  Of course, I act it.  Anyone can keep up appearances and go with the flow.  There have definitely been moments and even moments LONGER than just “moments” of happiness and profound joy.  But I kept feeling this growing…frustration and disappointment over time.  So here.  I’ll say this the first time, out loud, for people to see/hear:

I am unhappy.

I have generous friends, a roof over my head, I pay my bills and I have a new boo-thang that can get me all butterflied in the tummy with just the tone in his voice (there they go again).

But something somewhere in me is unhappy.  Inside somewhere there is a defeated, slouching, grumbly version of me that has poked her head out more and more often.  But where is this bitch coming from?

The question….if you just don’t feel like you are as happy as you should be is……(drum roll): Where am I unhappy? WHAT THE ACTUAL LIVIN’-JESUS-in-FLIP-FLOPS is WRONG with MY LIFE?

When I thought about it, my unhappiness came from, in two words, expectation and perfection.  I’m not where I wanted to be in my career.  I expected something else out of my marriage.  I expect more out of friends and family relationships.  I expect more out of me.  And time after time – hey, lookie here; I’m disappointed. Again.  All because my expectations of all of these things are immeasurably high.

Immeasurable? That’s being hyperbolic, Ashleigh. Tone it down, you say.

No – they are immeasurable because I literally have no clue what sort of superhero-dom, chivalry, respect and generosity – – PERFECTION according to my whims – – I thought I was going to get out of people.  Immeasurable because I’m doing almost exactly what I wanted to do as a kid and I hate it.   Immeasurable because I know in my heart I’m a good person, I mean well and I try my best as a fellow human being to the rest of y’all.  Yet somehow, most everyday, I go to bed feeling inexplicably stuck, alone and disappointed.  Imperfect.

What did I REALLY think was going to happen today?  I was going to go to work and find flowers on my desk, and a raise of 20 G’s in my paycheck and a hug from my mom?  Was my boss gonna tell me to go home, pack my bags and head to the Caribbean for a month on the company dime?  Was I going to come home to Publisher’s Clearing House in my front yard with a ridiculously huge vanity check to pay all my bills and my kid’s bills..and my kid’s kids’ bills?  I mean, for real.  WHAT did I THINK would HAPPEN TODAY?!

Maybe I could make a list of the things that are disappointing in my life and next to them, right down a clear and measurable solution to each….a destination if you will, that I haven’t felt I’ve reached yet.  And then I could make a plan to GET to those destinations.

Or maybe since most every destination I’ve pushed for has disappointed me (career, marriage, my attitude toward all these things, etc…) I could fashion a list of all the ways I can enjoy the journey?

Maybe I could get flippin’ ANXIOUS about HOW I CAN BE LESS ANXIOUS!?  WHY am I so ANXIOUS, OMG I’M SORRY FOR BEING SO ANXIOUS.

(This is where I get complicated folks. This is where my crazy comes out.  Yeah, I’m a real funny, adaptable, low-maintenance chick who likes to drink beers, watch football and cook for her dude and what not. 29 days of the month.  Then I have about 36-48 hours where I am a totally insufferable, catatonic mess of illogical presumptions and stupidity. Yep.  Basically when you look back, this blog is an obnoxious love note, to you, from my ovaries.)

So, long story short, this is where I hung up with Mom (the best mom on the whole effin’ planet, if you ask me.  And you didn’t, but I told you anyways. She’s the best. Maybe even including other planets.  But that’s for another blog post).  There I was, hanging loose like a chad in a Floridian election. Where should I (and we, if you care to join, company is always nice) go from here?

Maya Angelou had many great quotes, but this one rings truest today: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”  Maybe I don’t need to make an actual Excel spreadsheet of the elements of my life I don’t like with some elaborate algorithm for certain happiness or success, as it were.  Some excruciatingly detailed timeline isn’t going to help this (*points at heart*) get like this (*spreads hands far and wide*).  Ms. Angelou simplified it by just….Making. It. Simple.  I hate math more than I hate sauerkraut or mayonnaise, but let me break it down real easy-like:

Good Attitude + Normal Life = Better Days, Better Months, Better Years (Successful relationships, greater earning potential, full self-actualization.)

Bad Attitude + Normal Life = Crappier Days, Crappier Months, Crappier Years (…and probably more than you feel comfortable admitting you’ve spent on Fireball shots and ice cream. You know I’m keeping it real.)

Soooooo, ergo (or however you use that word)……

Good Attitude + Obstacle = Happiness rooted in reality, Strength to conquer other obstacles (Success! *party horns*)

Bad Attitude + Obstacle = Sadness rooted in quicksand of more crippling sadness which zaps energy for future inevitable obstacles because we’re all humans and deal with other fallible humans (Failure *sad trombone*)

At the end of the day, we’re all confronted with some total bull-you-know-what.  If it’s at work, your ol’ man, your ol’ lady or some jerk friend that’s been around too long – we’ve all had them and can commiserate.  Take account of a) what their problem is with you and b) if you can, HOW you can fix it.  If there was a misunderstanding, fine, talk it out.  If you have some psycho being a weirdo in your life, exile ‘em.  This is YOUR SANITY we’re talking about.  If you hate your job, apply to other ones or make the business plan to get your own business off the ground.  There is NO ONE on this whole Earth that has a perfect, conflict-free life.  Stop caring what other people think of you and THINK about how your treating your one-and-only SELF!  If you were your friend, would you let yourself talk to yourself the way you do??  We only get one trip on this big sloshy, mixed-up planet….why are you wasting your time?!

And this isn’t just for you.  No no….it’s my internal monologue too.  Snap out of it, Ashleigh!  If you don’t like it, change it…and if you can’t change it, change your attitude, silly girl!  My expectations, even of myself alone, have driven me down, have put me on medical leave and tuck me into bed each night with a shrug and a “whatever” as they walk out of the room…without checking under the bed for the boogie-man.  I am NOT going to cure cancer tomorrow.  I’m not going to find 5 grand on the porch.  I’m not going to write the next Pulitzer Prize novel and I won’t be picking up my Nobel Peace Prize any time soon.  I am going to make a real effort, and I’m a woman of my word, if nothing else.  I will let GO my of my expectations of perfection.  Tomorrow is going to be a standard day in the life of Ashleigh, but I only get tomorrow this one, solitary time.  This 24 hours comes and goes but once.  I can screw it up and mope about in it or do my best to make it suck as little as possible.  I’d like to stick with the latter.

You?

Be The Boat.

“The definition of my authentic self.”  It’s a concept that’s been rattling around in my head over the last several months and I haven’t been able to connect all the pieces.  It came to me this morning that it might be a good exercise for me to go through the things I’m NOT, to get to the solid, core list of who I really am.  So here we go…stream of consciousness style.

1)  I am NOT judgmental.  No joke, y’all know I have been through the ringer this year.  But as much as I feel comfortable sharing with you guys, there is still hours upon hours of processing going on in my head that I don’t burden y’all with.  However, I say this to make this point…I don’t claim to know what is going on in other people’s corner of the world either.  Everyone’s actions or reactions, good or bad, are colored by their past experiences.  Often times, myself included, we let ourselves define who we are by other people’s judgment of us – and that is certain suicide.  Reputation is what people think of you and character is who you truly are.  It’s great if those are one in the same, but they rarely are because…again…everyone’s actions and reactions are colored by their own experiences.

2)  I am NOT logical.  I live and act according to my gut.  I wear my (bloodied) heart on my sleeve.  I get my feelings hurt and let those feelings mess with me for far too long.  I trust too easily and I fear I’m optimistic too often when it comes to my expectations of other people because I am let down.  But do I put up brick walls or leave my heart on the front porch?  Which is the best way to live?

3)  I am NOT a bad person.  I can be much too self-critical at times….my own worst enemy as they say.  I can be moody, forgetful and selfish, but I’m not into quoting Marilyn Monroe – after all, she killed herself.  Not someone we need to pattern my mental health after, right?  Everyone I come in contact with deserves my best.  The only way the world will get better is if everyone is giving all they’ve got.  The deal is, sometimes my 100% won’t look like your 100%.  My 100% might look like 83% one day after a sickness or bad news, or 110% the next after a compliment or raise. Again, the second I start comparing what I’m able to give in any specific moment to yours, I’m doomed. I have to know my intentions and effort level…and leave the rest to my fellow human beings.

4)  I am NOT patient.  Everyone falls victim to wanting things to transpire on their own timelines.  It’s always the case…with jobs, with relationships and more.  Here’s a truthbomb though: A very small fraction of a very small percentage of my 34.5 years on earth have a) happened how I wanted them to or b) happened when I wanted them to.  Why do we all FREAK out when things don’t stick with OUR PLANS?  Isn’t that the very definition of insanity?  I know I don’t speak only for myself when I say that I frequently enforce my will on the flow of life.  Why do I insist on continuing pulling up that dry bucket from that well?

So all that thinking lands me here.  If I’m not any of those things, then what am I?  I’m creative, impulsive and compulsive.  I’m introspective, extroverted and complicated.  I’m persuasive, curious and adaptable.  I’m realistic, generous and easily bored. I generally feel overwhelmed, in limbo and under-utilized.  I want to be free of the chains and definitions that constrain my brain and being.  I want to be able to better focus on one thing at a time and that “thing” to be the present.  How can I maximize my good qualities and minimize my bad qualities?

1) Stop being a people pleaser.  It might sound selfish…but there is a difference between putting myself first for my own health and being a narcissistic ass.  For years, even as a child, I have made myself literally sick with stress over pleasing others or defining myself according to their judgments and expectations, though I was giving my 100%.  Nine times out of 10, it was simply because they didn’t have the whole picture.  To help remedy this, my job will be to educate them on the pieces of the puzzle they’re missing, and put to rest their premature assumptions.  If that doesn’t work, I will know that I did what I could and I’ll take care of myself after that.  In addition, I need to take better care of myself…and that includes working out, eating better and making time to take breaks.  No client, coworker, parents, friend or stranger has to wake up or go to bed as me everyday…I need to treat my body and mind as such.

2)  Be more logical.  Long story short, make less hasty decisions.  We can all make a better effort to get fully informed on a topic before we make a decision or starting a fight.  I, for one, could count to 10 more often when faced with confrontation.  There are plenty of times when the kitchen got too hot and I should have gotten out of it.  I need this to be a conscious effort from now on.

3) Be easier on myself.  I need to continue to set goals, but realistically know that life can get in the way and my path might have a few detours.  I once read a quote; “Everyone is doing their best all the time”….and that applies to me too.

4)  Focus on the present.  My hardest challenge and obstacle to enjoying life is getting too caught up in what the future holds…and re-reading the last chapter.  God, the universe, whatever you believe, has given us each 24 hours to work with at a time because that’s all we’re expected to handle.  Truly, all we’re guaranteed is the moment we’re in.  And in this moment, all we’re asked to do is exist.  No one can travel past NOW, so we might as well take off our shoes and get comfortable.  The metaphor that best illustrates this for me…..I want to be the boat, not the anchor or the sails.

5)  Be more grateful.  Sometimes the path isn’t clear and it doesn’t seem like there is a lamp to light the way.  But powers bigger and more awesome that I are afoot and I will be happy that there are lessons and purifications by fire along the way.  The make be grow and make me even MORE grateful for the easier, happier times.

6)  I have to recognize these faults are all inherently “me” and I can use them to my advantage.  Listening to my gut, being generous with my time and holding myself to my goals are all fantastic qualities to have – if manifested in moderation.  Recognizing what is woven into the threads of your fabric and having it be a part of your life’s quilt is what is going to keep your authentic self warm when you go through life’s winters.  These qualities, good and bad, were put into this body for some reason that isn’t quite clear to me just yet…but there is no more noble a fight than trying to find out why…and in exchange, getting ever closer to my authentic self.

What do you feel defines your “authentic self”?  What is you fabric made of?  What do you need to wash out of that nasty ol’ quilt?    What could you stand to patch up?  Do you feel like the boat, the anchor or the sails?

I hate politics. And I, more specifically, hate politics since the dawn of the internet.  I legitimately saw a comment that Google didn’t do a doodle today because the democrats didn’t want to call attention and lose.

I hate either side that is that ill-informed (there was a doodle today), narrowminded (all of California is dirty hippies!) and inflammatory for no valid reason whatsoever.

The last time we were supposed to be all outraged was when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin.  Conservatives far and wide, who didn’t do ONE millisecond of research, started sending around a picture of The Game, a totally diesel rapper, saying “It was no little innocent child…this was the predator George Zimmerman protected himself from! Thank God he had a gun!”  Yeah.  No. If there was any effort to educate or debunk everything or ANYTHING one reads, the internet would be a much more tolerable place.  Same goes with politicians.

Do you think ANYONE who has been in politics for as long as most of these people aren’t influenced by fame and money and been in this business a long time?  I mean, look at South Carolina alone.  A good ol’ boy (who might be in the closet) and a reality TV cokehead who knocked up a twenty-something year old for senate.  Oh boy….which one do I choose?  And all it is, year in and year out, is mud slinging.  Who was the LEAST RIDICULOUSLY IGNORANT AND SELF SERVING over the last few years?  With these options, how does the voting public really choose who is best to represent them when money, and drugs and power are waved in our representatives’ faces?

What it really comes down to, for me, is one thing: I have a real problem with people who refuse to recognize someone else’s truth as valid; personally, religiously, politically, etc.  If you represent me in DC or work with me or want to be friends with me, respect the fact that I’m just as much of a full-blown homosapien as you are…and just because we haven’t had the exact same experiences, we won’t agree on every last thing.  I’m GLAD there are people different than me in the world, so I don’t have to do my taxes. Amirite???

You don’t have to actually perform abortions, or have sex with someone of the same sex, or worship Jesus. But in my humble opinion, you should acknowledge people’s reality.  I wouldn’t terminate a pregnancy, or marry a chick or worship Allah – but the reality is, people can/should/don’t have to and IT DOESNT AFFECT MY DAY…because I think I could handle and afford a kid, I REALLY like dudes and I believe Jesus died for my sins. AND THAT DOESN’T AFFECT YOUR DAY.

Don’t have an opinion where you have no responsibility. It just burns bridges, pisses people off and changes no one’s minds.  When was the last time you saw someone post something political on Facebook and say to yourself, “Oh wow, that really short-sighted post from a nationally-renowned one-sided news outlet sure changed MY mind!”  Never once.

Here’s how it would be if my outlook was heard and implemented: I want everyone to be able to smoke, drink, smoke weed, bear arms, bang who they want and worship whatever or whoever they want in their house.  I want people to get paid more who work for fast food restaurants and never had the opportunity of education so they can stop the cycle.  At the end of the day, YOU have to work hard, change YOUR world and treat people democratically in your own life WHERE YOU LIVE.  Open a door for an old lady, buy a biscuit for a homeless dude, whatever.  Locate your own bootstraps and start yankin’.  Go nuts.

I don’t want anyone to pay for some baby mama with 7 daddies and 8 kids’ cigarettes or Oreo cookies when they didn’t choose to have 8 kids but 7 daddies and get emphysema or COPD from lifestyle choices.  I want everyone to eat healthy food or make yourself fat, just don’t ask the country to pay the bill when you need a crane to get out of your bed when you’re 700 pounds. Kill yourself, your unborn baby or save lives.  But don’t ask strangers to foot the bill.  This is where things don’t make sense for me.  Where personal, lifestyle decision bills are pawned off on the American Public.  When your rights overlap my rights, then we have an issue, but if you want to Kevorkian yourself, sweet. Smoke weed? MY DAY IS THE SAME.

My problem is this disconnect for which I’ll share an example: Old white dudes want to make abortion against the law because the Bible says “thou shalt not kill”.  That’s not a law.  That’s a personal decision to follow the teachings of one certain ancient scripture of your choosing.  Obviously, we don’t need to go around killing each other with no retribution – I don’t think most sane people need any scripture to dictate that.  But if someone gets up to Heaven, chats up St. Peter at the pearly gates and it turns out that the Bible was the right book to read and they committed a sin such as this, the person who decided to have an abortion or the doctor who administered it will go to Hell.  Not me.  Period.

And please…that’s not being mean to anyone who has chosen to for a multitude of reasons; I certainly don’t mean it that way.  I’m not saying people who have had or will have abortions are 100% going to Hell.  But I am choosing to believe in a life after my death that will be pretty frickin’ sweet that is dependent on me accepting the god of my choice and following his commandments, one of which is not killing.  I might be taking my dirt nap 6 feet under forever and never see my iteration of Heaven, but I chose to live in hope and faith in the meantime. BECAUSE IT DOESNT AFFECT YOUR DAY.

I don’t want to vote for Republicans because they want to tell me and other women what to do with our bodies, our religions and our weed, but we need more people taking responsibility for their mistakes and pulling themselves up by their bootstraps somehow and being made accountable and changing this cycle.

I don’t want to vote for Democrats because of the entitlement so many people have with Obamaphones and welfare run rampant, letting ERRBODY and their mothers immigrate here illegally, the propensity to blame anyone but oneself for obstacles and more, but we need more done in regards to gay rights, the environment and blowing up everyone who disagrees with us.

But really honestly, do we think ANYONE black, white, purple or green that is on a ballot across this whole country in politics for decades can really even attempt to make real change when Americans are like Cleveland Browns fans?  PULL HIM!  He didn’t score 15 touchdowns in the first half!  He didn’t get EVERY last soldier out of Afghanistan!  He didn’t make America completely self-reliant for fossil fuels because he’s in bed with oil companies!  She lost over a million people’s tax records!  He was in jail for felony drug charges!  He’s a queer!  He likes to hunt big game!  Everyone on every ballot sucks.  And if I was in the business of getting votes and getting more power and some lobbyist came to me with the kind of money I couldn’t refuse, I can’t say I wouldn’t fudge on my promises either.

I’m sorry if this sounds so negative Nancy, but the only way to facilitate change in America is to go vote for people to represent me who are greedy, self-serving, power-hungry jackwagons who go to work a fraction of the year while I’m working upwards of 50 hours a week or more just to make ends meet?  I guess it trickles down because now I’M greedy and I want MYSELF served and I’d LOVE the power to be able to change my world in a lot of ways, and America in general…..but I can’t….because I am forced to vote for scraps the dog-eat-dog political world in America somehow let survive.

All I can do is open that door for the old lady, buy that homeless guy a biscuit and worship that God who gives me the  hope that assures me I AM here for a reason and that I will be rewarded a hundred fold for enduring this mortal coil.  Only I can work hard for what I want and only I can treat people around me and myself respectfully….since we can’t depend on the people who represent us to extend that courtesy to their constituency.  It’s not a democracy when you’re only option is shitting in one hand and hoping in the other, seeing which one will fill up first.

So vote today if you’re so inclined.  Or don’t.  We’ll all complain either way if we choose to complain.  It still won’t be perfect.  But sorry to break it to you, this is about as good as a country gets on earth.  If you want to wear a burqa or wait months for simple medical procedures or get shot in the head because you’re down with the JC, then pack up your bags.

In the meantime, I am going to finish my day at this (at will) job that really isn’t all that fulfilling anymore, hug my handsome man, play softball, drink some beers and be glad I live in a place were I could even blog this.  AMERICA.  F@#$ YEAH.

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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

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