What’s Up With The Broken Heart?

So, I posted yesterday’s post and a bunch of peeps contacted me today wondering if and why I had a broken heart. 

Just to clarify…no…I am not currently experiencing Broken Heart Syndrome.

Yes, I have experienced it many times in the course of my life, with 2009 being a record-breaking year in the relationship department since being single. Contrary to popular belief, a broken heart doesn’t get easier to deal with as one gets older.  I think it gets worse. I don’t know why this is.

As for last night’s post, I just wrote and what came out is what came out.  Were there any events that triggered that post?  That’s a great question!

In all honesty, I’d have to say yes there were incidents that led up to me writing a post on the broken hearted, but it wasn’t my broken heart that started me down that path. 

Nor was it the sense of any dying dream that I was coming to grips with having to give up. 

In reality, I was just tired.

I was bone weary tired to be exact.  It’s been a long, grueling, exhilarating six weeks.  The adventure of doing new things, the excitement of opportunity, the hope of what can be possible is both energizing and exhausting.  The most difficult element is that when the demanding pace slows, and the seeds that were planted lay momentarily dormant before bursting into full bloom, there is a season of waiting.  This waiting can be somewhat anticlimactic.

I know this because I’ve been there in that place of let down after a great experience.

I am not there now.  I don’t feel any let down or disappointment or anything other than a sense that something really exciting is just around the corner.  Even if the most exciting thing that is around the corner is Spring Break, I still am feeling nowhere near sad, lovelorn or despairing because things somewhere in my life are less than I desire.

The reality is that some things in my life are less than I desire (except where the scale is concerned and then…well…let’s not go there in this post), but I’m not broken up over them.  Well, at least, not today.  The reality is also that some things in my life are better than I ever could have imagined at this point.  It’s also true that there are many, many things in my life that are still unwritten, untold, unimagined.  These are the things yet to be which are not now. It’s life.  It’s my life.  It’s everyone’s life to some degree, I think.  The good, the bad, the becoming, the yet to be. The happy, the sad, the exciting, the disappointing…the ever so daily.

Life is just moving along and I like it…at least most of it, most of the time.

No broken heart here, though I’ve had my share of experiences with the Broken Heart Syndrome.  No thwarted dreams, though I have a few of those too. The reason I wrote what I wrote yesterday is simply because I sat down to write last night and that post is what came out.

I liked it.

I posted it.

That’s all.   

About Those New Year’s Resolutions

j0402319Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year?  Did you set any goals that you’d like to work on for yourself?  If you did, how are they coming along?  Have you kept at it or have you, like so many others, found your enthusiasm waning as the year progresses and the gloomy, dark days of winter (sans the celebrations and plus the bills of the previous celebrations) drag on? If you’ve let up on pursuing your New Year’s Resolutions, it’s not to late to get back on track. 

Numbers, Measurements & A New Scale

The other day a friend of mine and I were chatting on Facebook and he asked me about my New Year’s Resolutions.  This person is one of those friends who lives quite a distance away and checks in about every couple of weeks or so.  This was the check in, I suppose.  During that conversation he mentioned that he still reads my blog and wondered if I was keeping up on my New Year’s Resolutions.  I was pleased to be able to report that not only have I kept up on them, I’ve lost 5.5 inches.  That was Wednesday.

Today is Saturday and Saturday for me is weigh in day.  I’m pleased to announce those numbers have again changed. 

But before I reveal the numbers, I have decided that I must get a different scale.  I have a cheap one and I am absolutely certain the number it registers is not accurate.  The reason I know this is because I cannot get the needle to stay on zero with no weight on it.  I also can’t read the thing when I am standing on it and any shift of my feet sends the needle spiraling around the dial.  Squatting on the thing to get a better read doesn’t seem to work either. I often fall off before getting an accurate read.  Not a good look.  So, today, at some point I will go out and get a more accurate (aka. more expensive, I think) scale. Till then I’m not reporting my weight loss because I don’t know what it is.  I think it’s a pound or two, but like I said, I can’t be sure and I just don’t want to fudge those numbers.  If I get the new scale and I’ve been off, it could be psychologically depressing.

The good news is my measurements continue to drop.  As of today, I’ve lost a total of 7.75 inches! That’s a combined total of all the measurements, of course.  Separately, in inches, that’s 1.5 off the hips, 2.5 off the chest (good-bye back flab), 1 from the waist and 2.5 off my thighs (I only measure the right one), and my bicep showed a one-inch gain this week (muscle definition, gotta love it) for an overall loss of  three quarters of an inch on the bicep.

j0441048 Looking Better Naked, Feeling Better Clothed

What’s even better is when I look in the mirror, I’m beginning to see the me I used to know.  I’m not there yet, but I’m looking better naked.  I’m definitely feeling a lot better clothed.  I have more energy and the very, very best part of it all is that I no longer feel as though I’m one step away from the assisted living facility or grave.  I’m beginning to think that paintball with my daughter and her boyfriend might be a possibility this summer as well as actually running again.  Yes, you heard me.  Running.  I hate running.  I look like a hippo running.  I’m graceful in the water, but like the penguin, walrus or many other amphibious creatures I’m somewhat awkward on land especially at high speeds.  But, I’ve already made plans to go running this spring with one of the women I work with.  Yeah, she’s ten years younger than I and will kick my butt, but I’m competitive enough that I’ll work to try to keep up.  That can’t be bad.  I’m pretty certain I’ll never see my 7 minute miles from my triathlon training days again, but I don’t care, just to be moving at something more than a walk and not falling will be a good thing.  What is it I really want to do with all this?  Whatever I feel like.  It is going to be so good to be strong and more agile again.  These thoughts keep me plugging away.

Smooth Sailing, Not Exactly

I have to say, it hasn’t been easy or perfectly smooth this month by any means.  As expected, the schedule is crazy tough to keep routine so I can fit my workout in at the same time every day.  This isn’t going to improve either as I have seven consulting events lined up between now and April which take place in the evenings, in addition to my day job.  Further, my social life is pretty full and I like it that way.  (It also explains a bit why you haven’t seen me here as much.)  I’ve also had my moments of discouragement, stuffing my face with the Bugles and chips the kids brought from their other house and simply, as I mentioned in my last post, throwing the rope on all of it .  In spite of it all, I’m pretty pleased that I haven’t given up on myself and I keep on plugging away.   I’m really successful on some fronts (watching portion size, eating healthier, no drinking during the week, lots of water, consistent exercise) and I’ve failed in some areas momentarily (the binge snacking one week and missing exercise for four days in a row the same week…not good!).  It’s a mixed bag.  The really positive thing about this is that I’m continuing to force myself after every slip, to get back up and get on track. j0442363I’m staying with it this time.  Because of that, I will be successful.

Refuse To Give Up

On a larger level, I think this is what so much of life is really like. Life itself is one big mixed bag.  The good is mixed in with the bad. The successes are intertwined with the defeats. We hit bumps in the road, we derail, we get back up, we keep moving on.  We do it because we must.  We do it because the alternative is less pleasant that the current pain or discouragement.  We keep trying.  We keep working.  We keep hoping.  We keep living. We derail.  We cry.  We hurt.  We heal.  We move on.  It is life.  If we are very lucky, we find others along the way who, though the specifics of their journey differ from ours, the lessons are similar or, if not similar, interesting.  We find friendship.  We connect.  We experience kindness and caring.  We find love in all its many forms in smiles of friends, the hugs of children, the laughter of companions, the conversations with those we care about and enjoy being with. 

The journey to fitness for me, has been far deeper than obtaining physical results, though, let’s be clear, I’m not going to mind looking and feeling better pushing 50 than I did when I was ten years younger.  It’s also been a very internal journey as well.  As my Facebook Friend said so well, “It’s a process of clearing out the junk, both externally and internally.”  I’d have to agree.  That’s exactly what it has been for me.

If you made resolutions this year and you find your enthusiasm and determination faltering, it isn’t too late to try again. Join me.  We can do it together you and I.  Whatever your goal, your dream, your hope.  It can happen, as long as you simply refuse to give up on yourself.  I’m not going to.  Don’t you either.

The Wild Mind

Conversations With Men…and Some Women Too

Christmas Day, 6:00 a.m. 

j0440978 I wake up, stumble through the house turning on the Christmas lights on my way to let the dog out for her morning romp in the back yard.  It is a frosty, cold, foggy 28 degrees in Southern Oregon.  I change the laundry, start another load of the eternal never ending chore and move back into the kitchen automatically, thoughtlessly, still somewhat groggily to begin the task of brewing coffee. 

My house is silent except for the soft sound of heat being forced out through the furnace and the low rumbling purr of my cats who float ethereally in and out of rooms.  Noiseless vapors appearing and disappearing of their own catlike determination. Once the coffee is brewed I pour a cup, add a bit of cream and a touch of the homemade peppermint schnapps a colleague gave me for Christmas.  I pad silently to the living room couch where I plant myself, laptop on lap, facing the tree centered in front of the large picture window which looks out onto my quiet street. My mind and my heart are filled with thoughts and feelings. You would think that these thoughts and feelings would center on the fact that I am alone this Christmas without my children to share in the traditional holiday festivities.  Such is not the case, because I know I am not alone in my being alone on this day.  All over this country there are many men home alone without their children or families with them.  This is the ugly sad side of divorce.

Men are often denounced and disparaged as being focused on sex over relationship.  Women on the other hand place relationship as a higher priority than sex.  These are broad generalizations and there are many exceptions to every rule, but just go with me here.  Men, in general, are often villanized for being so very sexually oriented. 

I’d like to suggest a different idea.  I’d like to suggest the idea that men are every bit as interested in relationship (that deep, emotionally gratifying connected relationship) that women are touted as desiring.  I just think they go about it differently.  I don’t think that the differences in approach necessarily presume a difference in desire or ultimate goal.

j0402650I’ve been divorced exactly two years and four days now.  In that time, I’ve had the freedom to meet, have coffee with, have drinks with and converse with many members of the opposite sex.  I’ve had more freedom to engage in these conversations than I would have had I not been single even though many of these conversations have been completely platonic. I’ve learned a lot in these conversations with men.  While most of them have been single, some of these conversations have occurred with men in relationships with other women, while the woman was there of course, and other conversations have occurred with men who are still married but separated (a definite indicator that the relationship will never be anything more than platonic where I am concerned) and still others have been casual encounters at Christmas parties or social gatherings with husbands of my colleagues and friends.  These particular conversations all have one thing in common.  They have at the core of them the question, “What is it that men really want?”

One thing becomes clearer to me, as I have these conversations.  We really do all want the same thing.  Some of us are fortunate, we’ve found it, we enjoy it, we are grateful for it.  Others continue to look and wait and hope that someday we too will experience it or will experience it again.  Still others of us have given up hope that this reality will occur for us and some of us might even now be in the process of giving up hope that we will ever experience anything like it. 

What is it?  What is this thing we all want?  I suspect it is the same for men as for women though the sexes have very different and often opposing ways to go about getting what they want. This thing is love.  This thing is trust.  This thing is relationship.  It is relationship that is deeply, emotionally intimate and fulfilling.  The relationship that continues to be such after time, and change, and aging have taken their toll. 

j0440312 So as I sip my morning coffee and think about all the conversations I’ve had over the last two years and specifically some of the conversations I’ve had recently I want to extend a big hug to all my dear friends, male and female, married or single who’ve walked part or all of this journey with me these last two years.  Thank you for conversing with me.  Thank you for sharing your lives and your hearts with me. You’ve certainly enriched me.  I wish you all the love you seek and all the joy that comes with that love.  If you’ve found that in your life I wish for you a lifetime of experiencing it with that one special other. May you always be grateful for what you have in each other.  If you still await that experience then I hope, dear friend, that 2010 is your year! 

Merry Christmas!

The Wild Mind

“When the world says give up, hope whispers try it one more time” ~ Author unknown.

Old Maids and Fairy Tales

This post originally appeared on my MySpace blog in 2007 back in the day when I actually maintained a MySpace page.  That was in the pre-FB days.  My, how things have changed!  I migrated this piece over to CABsPlace when I originally started blogging.  I’m moving it here now, because it is vintage Wild Mind thinking…with some minor updates. Let me know what you think. 

cinderella-stories-with-the-disney-princesses-8236784-800-600I was one of those misguided people who grew up with the idea that somehow the right way, or the good way or the proper way to do the "fairy tale" was to go to college, meet Mr.. Prince Charming, upon graduation get married and then begin doing life.  I was also under the misguided impression that if I wasn’t engaged by the time I graduated, my odds of ever getting married were rapidly declining and I was running the risk of dying an "old maid". 

Now, I have no idea where I came up with these absolutely ludicrous ideas.  I mean, my mother certainly didn’t instill those into me.  In fact, she was the one who constantly admonished me to spend time figuring out who I was, what I wanted and what I was about before even entering into marriage.  It was her voice that encouraged me to spend a few years after college being single and on my own so I could learn whatever I needed to learn to be able to stand on my own two feet.  My father agreed with my mother on that score and together they actually taught me to reason logically, value education and intelligence and to stand my ground in the face of adversity. 

Their relationship, at least from my perspective, didn’t look at all like the fairy tale I envisioned.  They got married after being divorced twice in front of the justice of the peace, for crying out loud!  No, white horse drawn glittery carriage for them.  Though, I have to admit that my dad, who was an amateur rock hound and who cut and polished his own semi-precious stones as a hobby, did all right where the ring came into play.  He cut, polished and had set the most beautiful blue sapphire I have to this date ever seen.  It was huge.  It was sparkly. It was some serious bling! It was gorgeous and it had fairy tale written all over it.  Come to think of it, it was probably as big as Cinderella’s carriage…but I digress.

My parents were practical, responsible, intelligent people.  They’d lived long enough to have the fairy tale beaten out of them. Or maybe they had learned along the way that the fairy tale exists, it just doesn’t always look the way the storybooks and Disney portray it.  Hmmm.

But…being young, headstrong and unwilling to consider (at least at that age) that my parents even had a clue about how to do life, much less that they actually made good choices in the romance department, I did not listen.  Instead, I forged ahead, dreaming of the day when my own fairy tale would be realized. 

Anyone who spoke to me of enjoying being single and seeking my own life independent of any man was received by me with the same response most folks would give Dracula.  I didn’t exactly pay them any heed.  In fact, I smiled nicely and avoided them like the plague.

Fast forward, two marriages, four children, and a quarter of a century later and I’m thinking my parents and all those well intentioned advisors may have had it right all along.  No, not may have, they did have it right all along.  Instead of seriously considering spending my 20’s discovering me and learning to be comfortable with me, which would have then later helped me to recognize Mr.. Prince Charming and make a more informed marital decision, I jumped into marriage.  I didn’t know him, I didn’t know me, I had no experience with which to make decisions and I was very miserable for many many years and it spiraled out of control less than 20 years in.  When I self-destructed as the result of my own self designed disaster, my "fairy tale" self-destructed.  You’d think I’d have learned from my mistake.  You’d think. But no, I tried to fix the first wrong, by committing a second one.  I married a second time only a brief two months after the ink was dry on my first divorce.  As you might imagine, thus began the nightmare from which I couldn’t awaken and it lasted for six long and terrifying years.

My parents had it mostly right all along. I should have taken my twenties to just get to know me as I am.  I should have taken the time, as my mother advised, to figure out what my likes and dislikes are…apart from parental admonitions.  Apart from a significant other’s overbearing demands.  Apart. Alone.  Me.  Unedited.

Now, today, here I am, a lifetime later (it seems), taking their advice.  I am, at 40+,  doing what I should have done 25 years ago.  I am a slow learner.  In the education world we call that the student who needs more time.  I guess, that’s me.  I needed more time…and now I’m taking it.  But, to be honest, it’s really not easy at this stage of the game. 

You see, when I was twenty, I had better odds of having more time.  In my mid-40’s, it’s likely, I don’t have that kind of time left.  There is the sense, in some ways, that time is running out, and, to be honest that worries me occasionally.  But it only worries me sometimes, not all the time.  I don’t dwell on it ever.  In fact, I have reached the point where I mostly don’t care.  I am no longer afraid of being the "old maid", because simply stated, the old maid doesn’t exist, and even if she does and even if I were her, after what I’ve been through, I can confidently say there are fates worse than that.  I’ve lived one of them already.  I’m not soon going to sign up for it again.

Young people today are waiting longer to get married and that, in my mind is wise.  Some, no many, are choosing never to marry, even though they could.  People are living longer, women even older than me are far more active for far many years than in past generations.  I look around and see many women who are single, divorced, widowed and I don’t see a single old maid among them.  I see people choosing life, enjoying life and making choices that work for them, because they know themselves well enough to say yes to the options that they know they can live with and enjoy.  They easily and without apology say no to the options or choices that would be unhealthy or damaging for them.  They do this because they know who they are and what their limits are.  This is a very good thing.

So, as the mother of three daughters and one son, I’ve worked hard to debunk the Old Maid myth and rewrite the fairy tale.  I’ve worked hard to encourage my children to be themselves and get to know themselves.  This requires some detachment at times as a parent.  It also requires skill in listening, accepting and keeping lines of communication open.  Critical, judgmental and harsh evaluations cannot be entertained.

Do I always enjoy hearing about my daughter’s latest agony with a guy she likes, a catty girlfriend who just betrayed her, or the relational stresses any of them might at any time be experiencing? Hmmm, no, sometimes it’s just too much information, but I’d rather she discuss it with me than not.  It also gives us the opportunity to practice taking a look at who she is, what she’s about, what her personal goals are and how all the noise around her fits into that.  In the end, I can’t walk with her into her fairy tale, but I can give her the tools to write it for herself in whatever manner she chooses. And, I can help free her from the Disney image of what that fairy tale must look like.  This is what I am doing with her and each of her siblings in turn.

As for me?

Well…sigh. 

I often think my chance at love, romance and enjoying life with Prince Charming may be well past.  I hope not.  As a realist, I have to entertain the idea that this just might be my reality.  I have to move on. I have to deal with me.

cameron_diaz_mike_myers_shrek_001If he does appear…my Prince Charming doesn’t have to fight any dragons or wake me with a kiss from an endless, enchanted sleep.  In fact, he doesn’t have to do anything. He just has to be honestly, to the core, himself.  No apologies.  I imagine when he finally rides onto the scene, I will be busy ruling my kingdom, he will be busy ruling his, and we will know ourselves well enough to recognize that what we have together has all the makings of a very fine fairy tail. It won’t look like Disney.  At this point, it might not even look as good as my parents’ fairy tale, but, then, it might look a whole lot better too. It won’t matter, with any luck we’ll recognize each other when we cross paths and we’ll know the fairy tale we want to create and we won’t hesitate to set about making it happen.

Until then, I’m defeating the scary dragons that threaten on occasion to consume my castle and my kingdom on my own, doing quite well at it and enjoying, well, almost every minute of it.

After reading that, I realize, it is probably geared mostly toward my female audience.  I’ve been doing some thinking though lately and my hunch is that men aren’t so “undesirous” of the fairy tale as we might be led to believe.  It might look different to a guy.  I don’t know. It’d be nice to hear what some men out there think about the fairy tale.  I think maybe we are all closer to being on the same page than we think about what we want and hope for in relationship.  What do you think?

Post Breakup Part ‘Em Depression and Booty Calls

886706_88791559 “Have you experienced The Insane Weekend yet?”  he asked.  He was a person I’d brushed digital shoulders with some time back, nearly two years now, on a social networking (not dating) site.  While he lives locally, sort of, we’ve never met. We chat online every now and then. this was one of those now-and-then times.  Over the last two years, I’d become his outlet to rant about his latest relationship that didn’t pan out.  Since he’s also an FB friend, he knew something of the demise of the romance between Oz and I. He was trying to be helpful and commiserate.  Seems he’d just broken up with someone he’d intended to marry.  His situation, like my own, began in a gradual downward spiral and ended up plummeting to a disastrous end.

“The Insane Weekend?”  I typed back.  We’ve also never talked on the phone, only IM’d sporadically. 

“Yeah, the weekend where you cry your eyes out, want to die, don’t want the end of the relationship to be reality but it is.  I wept for two days and even prayed on my knees to a God I don’t believe in that He would take this reality from me. You act insane and you feel you’re going out of your mind with pain. You know, the insane weekend.”

I sighed.  Yeah, I thought.  Since 20 of October I’ve had plenty of those. 

“Yeah, I’ve had a few of those, I think,” I messaged.

We went on to talk about the breakup and healing process.  The pain when you finally realize conclusively that the someone you’d painted into your present and your future is erasing themselves out.  Decisively.  Finally. 

The pain that comes in spite of the fact that you also had very real concerns about the other person and their “stick-ability”, especially after the recent events.

The sense of rejection you feel.  The sense of loss.  The very real experiences associated with the death of anything, anyone significant, important, cherished. 

The fear that comes with envisioning a future by yourself, when it only days ago appeared to be filled with incredibly fulfilling companionship, love and hope.

The realization and the sickening dread that your current loneliness may well be your lot in life.

All these feelings we IM’d about and shared. 

He related the pain and confusion of breakup sex and the back and forth situation he was still dealing with. 

I was grateful that option is not possible for me, especially not now, since, as suspected The Wizard magically disappeared in a way that is convenient to do when you are 12,000 miles away and can simply unfriend a person, delete a contact and refuse to answer any email.  At least I am not in the place where the breakup sex and the subsequent delay of the inevitable is possible. I’m realizing, as I usually do in situations like this, that things are working out, or they eventually will, for the better.  In the meantime I’ve learned a lot about myself.  Good to know. The Insane Weekends are over.  Moving on.

Eventually, the IMing evolved to texting, since I had to get off the computer.  Still battling a cold/flu and feeling very weak after my first week back to work I really could only take so much sitting up and squinting at the small computer print.

By this time our conversation had turned from dealing with what we regretted and had lost, to thinking about the present and the future.  We both recognize that though our pain now seems to overwhelm us at points, it is not a permanent thing.  We began bantering about his upcoming plans to spend some time eating sushi on his brother’s dime the next weekend.  The conversation was gradually tapering to an end.

125199_4068 In the midst of this, I received a booty call. Well, it really was a booty text.

“You still up?”  the text said.

“Yeah, just heading to bed.”  It was almost nine o’clock.

“I’m not one to beat around the bush,” the Booty Texter replied.  “Want company?”

I almost laughed out loud. 

“I think I just got a booty text”, I texted to my other friend.

“I am in my pj’s, look like bat guano and can’t breathe.  I won’t be great company,” I texted Booty Texter.  “Wait!”  I went on, “Was that a booty call and I just missed it?”

Booty Texter didn’t deny it and he wasn’t giving up that easily.  He went on to mention that he was was also in his p.j.’s and could just slip on his slippers and come over.  He then mentioned his CPR skills. 

Really?!  Are you kidding me?!  What part of any of this is supposed to make me feel special, desirable and like he’s really into me? (None of it, that’s my point!) This also from a guy in earlier exchanges who said “he really liked me, but didn’t know about getting involved with someone with kids”.  Yeah, he should have just said, “Let’s be f*** buddies”, after all, he wasn’t “one to beat around the bush”.   As far as Booty Texter is concerned all I can say is, “Good to know his real intentions now rather than later”.  He’s clearly into no one but himself.  Good to know.

This booty call strategy must work for guys because they try it.  Apparently they’re getting rewarded for it enough to make it worth the effort.  Seems like a completely degrading place to go for a few seconds of gratification…if you could call it that.

The guy had to be totally desperate to want to get it on with an ill, snot oozing, barely breathing babe like me.  Add to this that I’d already470334_41429338 refused to go out with him once that evening when he invited me “over to his place for dinner”.  Right.  He was hard up enough to take rejection twice from the same person?  And don’t even tell me any of that is because “maybe he really likes you”.  Excuse me while the tears from my recent breakup turn into gales of hilarious laughter. 

This is my future?  I wondered. Wasting time with freaks like this to find out what?  They hope to get something for nothing? 

“Yep” I texted to my first friend.  “It’s a booty call and he’s not giving up easily.”

I texted a firm no to Booty Texter and he, like all the others before him, who’ve tried the same futile tact, ended the conversation in a huff but not before he’d put in his last “you’re really missing out” digs.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never hear from him again. 

I’m pretty sure I don’t care.

I let my friend know that the booty text episode had ended and shortly after that we concluded our own lighthearted and delightfully non-sexual banter and said our own good-byes, encouraging each other to keep our proverbial relational chins up.

It is times like these, that I am grateful, for the humor of life.  It is these times tlolhat make me wonder what I was so worried about a future alone for?  It is times like these that sitting at home alone by the fire with my one guard dog and two cats is really all I want or need.  No demands.  No pressure.  No pain.  Just lots of good old fashioned contentment mixed in with a bit of joy because I know I’m going to be okay, come what may. It is also at these times, interestingly enough, that my own internal focus and vision for my future become much clearer and more defined.

I’m done with The Insane Weekends. I’m done with online dating. I’m actually even feeling like I might be done with being sick. That’s the best part. 

I might even be done with “dating” per se for a while.  I just am really tired of the games, the dance, the eventual disappointment.  Not that there would always be a disappointment, but quite honestly, more and more I’m becoming convinced that if I just go about my life…if there even is someone out there for me…then he’ll appear when the time is right.  It will be more authentic and less artificial and staged.  I’m not saying I won’t ever date, but I’m not going to worry about filling my weekend social calendar either.  It somehow seems to do that anyway without much effort on my part. 

In the meantime, I have better things to do with my emotional energy than waste my sorrows on those who clearly are uninterested and unworthy.  I have far better things to with my time than sort through Booty Call Boys and Disappearing Acts in the hopes of finding Prince Charming. 

After all, in every scenario, Prince Charming went seeking Cinderella, not the other way around. 

Cinderella mourned the loss of her shoe but went on dusting in her rags till the dude showed up. And if he hadn’t shown up, something else interesting and magnificent would have happened to Cinderella. I’m certain of it. 

I have far more interesting things to do than read fake profiles, go out for coffee only to find it’s a no, go back to the drawing board again, and so on. 

Besides, it is far more likely I’m probably going to  bump into him at one of those classes I’ll be taking at The Home Depot on how to install sprinkler systems, lay tile, concrete walkways, or prune my trees because that is where I’m going to be spending my time anyway. 

KH_PG_LftHeader

Tickled…Tickled Pink…Actually!

Not sure quite why I chose that particular title for this post…. 

I haven’t done a Google Ad Words search on it to see if it is SEO or anything.

In fact, over the last several weeks, what with the exit of the Oz and all, I’ve kind of done some thinking.  Amazing what you can get accomplished when you aren’t spending your time texting or talking to  or IMing someone on the other side of the world.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished with all the extra freed up time:

I’ve done some thinking, as I mentioned.  More about this later.

I have cleaned my house (not that it was dirty to begin with, but I actually can see the bottom of the laundry pile now…in fact…there is no laundry pile).

I’ve cleaned out my refrigerators.  Oh, and they really needed it!

I’ve gotten myself sick. Yeah, that’s what happens when you try to be the single mom of four kids and hold down not one, not two but three jobs to make ends meet.

I’ve read two whole books in the last week.  Amazing what you can do when you are sick…and can’t really read but you can’t sleep either so…what else do you do other than just stare at the ceiling and let your thoughts make you crazy.

I’ve actually folded and hung all my clothes from the laundry (j/k…I do that anyway).

I’ve gotten caught up on some work projects, na, scratch that.  I haven’t.

I’ve done some thinking. (Here it comes…really…it’s nothing really monumental or anything!)

I’ve made some decisions.

I decided, I’m not going to write unless I want to…meaning…writing under pressure (unless it is fun pressure) is so not for me. Well, at least not until I get a book deal (hahahahahahaha!) and then I will write, I will sign autographs and books, I will talk under pressure no problem…but until then…it’s going to be all about what catches my writing fancy.  So there! 😉

This also means, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus less here on how many search terms might be in my blog posts and just write what I love and do the best at that, that I can do.  Hopefully the masses, or a few of them, will like it enough to tell someone else to come visit.  I know this is probably the death knell to the blogger who wants a book deal and a movie deal out of it, but face it…I’m just not Julia and Julia right now.  Even so, I hope some of you will decide to comment, because that’s where I get my best ideas for further writing.

I’ve also decided that while I am really super sad that things with the Oz and I didn’t work out and I am super sad for my part in the demise of the whole thing, I am not going to let this make me even more bitter and untrusting…and for me…that wouldn’t be a hard thing to accomplish because I could go there.  But I won’t.  Instead of shutting myself down (which I might do at times to just sort stuff out but not forever) I’m going to work on really taking this opportunity to refocus. 

Some quotes that have helped me lately:

To the Oz….

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.  I miss you like hell.  ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

To The Wild Mind…

[A] final comfort that is small, but not cold:  The heart is the only broken instrument that works.  ~T.E. Kalem

To Everyone Out There…

Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.  ~Lamartine

And again To Everyone Out There…

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

To The Wild Mind and To Everyone Else Out There With A Broken Heart….

Love is like a puzzle.  When you’re in love, all the pieces fit but when your heart gets broken, it takes a while to get everything back together.  ~Author Unknown

And this…

Don’t worry about losing.  If it is right, it happens – The Main thing is not to hurry.  Nothing good gets away.  ~John Steinbeck, 10 November 1958

And for all who would, like The Wild Mind, attempt love, fail and dare to try again…these words…

“Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.” — Robert H. Schuller

I’m not a Robert Schuller fan per se, but if the shoe fits….

Anyway, I’m tickled pink that I’m not sick, tickled pink to be returning to work tomorrow although it will not be easy after being out sick for a week, and I’m tickled pink that, well, it just isn’t worse than it is.  Seriously.  As a friend recently told me, “Chin up, girl.  You own your own home, your bills are paid, you have food on the table, transportation to work and a job to go to…in fact…more than one of them!  And…you’re an intelligent woman…you can actually learn to cook!  How bad can life be?”

Okay, yeah, that from a guy who is happily married and gets it whenever he wants but, okay, we’ll go with the intent there.

Anyway…can’t really put a finger on it, but I’m just feeling a little tickled pink and I kinda don’t really have any reason to be except that I’m alive and healthy and, well, I guess I’m grateful for all that and considering that Thanksgiving is just around the corner I guess that’s a good thing.

So, given that every ending is the opportunity for a new beginning….that when a relationship ends it can be a great opportunity for reinventing oneself, I have these questions for peeps out there…

What have  you done that helped you overcome a breakup?

Breakups aside, have you ever gotten to the place where you felt you wanted to reinvent yourself?  Did you?  How is it going?

Heads Up! Seven Up!

lrg-32-valentine_082I remember it well.  The childhood game where seven children in the class are chosen to go to the front of the room.  On the directive, “Heads down thumbs up”, the seven students travel around the room, one by one touching the thumb of one of their classmates and returning to the front of the room. When all seven are back in their places the invitation, “Heads up, seven up” is issued and those seven students whose thumbs where chosen get to stand and try to guess who picked them.  If guessed accurately, they replace their classmate at the front of the room and then enjoy the privilege of getting to “touch a thumb” during the next round.  If not, the chosen student remains in their seat for another round. In this game, as in many such childhood games, there are the choosers, the chosen and those on the sidelines. 

As a teacher, I am amazed at how much kids still really enjoy this game.  As an adult, I am intrigued with the parallels which exist between this childhood game and life, particularly the life of those who find themselves, for whatever reason, single after 40. 

In Heads Up, Seven Up there are the choosers, the chosen and those who get sidelined.  The choosers in life, as in this childhood game, have the most fun or so it seems.  They are up front, making choices, determining by their decisions who gets to play and who does not.  The chosen, are given an opportunity to get in the game, but if they don’t make an effective choice, a perceptive determination, they remain as chosen or worse, they can be sidelined during the next round of play.  The sideliners are those un-chosen ones deemed by their peers as those who will not participate during a round of play. 

During the dating process, we all play each of these parts.  We can be the chooser, determining who we will select or who we won’t.  We invite some to play and sideline others.  We are confident.  We are in control.  We are choosing and shaping our destinies.  Most of us like this place.

Bikes and babes 3There are times in our lives, however, when the choices of others sideline us.  The partner who goes back on a commitment, the infidelity of a spouse, the unreliability or abandonment of the person you planned to spend the rest of your life with but who ended up choosing someone or something else instead of you.  Being served divorce papers, the death of a spouse, the pain of that precious connection going silent without explanation or, worse, just fizzling.  At these times, we find ourselves sidelined, inactive, unable to play, maybe by our own choice…for a time.  Often because of the choices of others or another who simply did not choose us.

Love and Relationship is one game everyone wants to play.  It is the one game that we all want to be involved in either as the chooser or the chosen.  We all dread the sidelines in the game of Love and Relationship.  We want someone to touch our emotional thumb and say, “I pick you!”  WeImage_0023 want someone to tell us they noticed us.  They noticed those things about us that make us special.  They appreciated those unique qualities in us enough to want to be around us and interact with us more often than not.  We want the opportunity to choose and be chosen.  When the words “Heads up, seven up” are called in the game of love we all hope we get to stand at least during one round of play. We hope our guess is right and that we can aptly match the feel of the touch to the owner of the hand.

None of us like the sideline position where we simply watch others play the game that we so deeply desire to be part of ourselves.  This sideline position can be a healthy respite for a time, as we heal from an especially disappointing round of play, but as a permanent state of existence it is simply not ideal.  For some it is even painful. 

Just as in the game Heads Up! Seven Up!  everyone eventually gets to play at least once, so it seems is the case for most people in The Game Of Love.  How long each of us play or how often varies, but it seems that at one time or another we all get the chance to stand on cue and take a whack at making a choice. 

Where are you these days? 

  • Are you in the place of choosing? 
  • Are you there with your head down and your thumb up, hoping you will be tapped for the next romantic encounter?
  • Have you by your choice or the choices of others been sidelined? 
  • Where are you?  How do you feel about it?
  • If you don’t like your current place in the game, what, if anything, will you do to place yourself so that you are happier with your level of participation?

Authenticity vs. Cosmetic Surgery: Which One Wins Out in the Battle for Real Love and Lasting Relationship?

I was over at one of my favorite bloggy friends homesites today checking up on what she was thinking about things and she wrote a bit about cosmetic surgery and a better sex life.  Okay, I wanted to comment…but I totally didn’t want to take center stage with it.  Instead, I left some smart ass tongue-in-cheek comment that, hopefully, made people think but didn’t take over the conversation. My response as posted was:

Geez,
All those 80-year-old people in the retirement homes who are getting married these days are sunk without plastic surgery. How can they possibly have a fulfilling, rewarding sex life if they simply just don’t look the part of our plastic, superficial, Hollywood driven, hedonistic, entertainment oriented culture? Sucks to be them I guess!


I was responding more to the other commenters than to BigLittleWolf’s post.  My friend, BigLittleWolf, has some great things to say…and she’s way more diplomatic than I am. She said some really important things here and posed some great questions…in a far more diplomatic way that I would have.  I so wanted to call bullshit on some of the people leaving comments. You’ll just have to go there and read her post and make your own decision.   Her post clearly touched a few nerves with me because here I am, posting a response.

First off the issue of visual stimulation being a male phenomenon was presented.  I wanted to call bullshit on that because nothing could be further from the truth.  I can’t tell you the number of times my panties have gotten wet because the fireman on duty down at Fire Station #4 a block away decided to flex his muscle during a presentation to the school children.  Men don’t have a corner on the visual stimulation market.  They just have better marketing and a bigger market share at this time. Women get turned on my a guy’s good looks too.  If you want me to do the research I can, but, seriously, you can do your own and come to the same conclusions.

Second, the reason women don’t have the reputation for getting turned on by the visual in quite the same way that men do is because it simply takes a bit more for us to jizz in our pants than a pretty smile, some big biceps and a bulging set of boxer briefs. We are, after all, the ones being penetrated and encroached upon.  A deposit is often left and sometimes that deposit develops into an account that requires regular deposits and close supervision until it matures. If Mr. Bulging Boxer Brief decides to take his leave of what is now not just me but us, then who’s going to be left taking the responsibility for this new account?  She is. It behooves us to be extremely picky about those we allow to make deposits in our bank.  Looks simply can’t be the be all end all in relationship…for a woman. We need more than just a nice “vision” to make sex the best it can be.  (Note: how many men are getting penis extensions these days?) We need old school things like trust, connection, intellect, respect, loyalty and responsibility in order to feel safe enough to give up our most vunerable self to another for the long haul.

Finally, the entire cosmetic surgery and the whole recreate yourself from the outside out  trend is conspiring to undo authenticity and relationship in our country. Nothing is real anymore and most of us don’t even have our original teeth let alone our original body parts. This preoccupation with how things appear at the expense of seeing things and people as they really are concerns me.  After all, I still believe what my mama told me, “Beauty is only skin deep.”  I don’t care how big the price tag that beauty has on it.  Ten  years after those implants have been implanted and I’m going to have to be looking at further surgery am I going to be any better person for it?  Will my relationships be better because I have size 38 DD boobs in spite of the fact that I abuse my lover and mistreat the waitresses when we go out?  Will my life be greatly improved over the long haul because my muffin top over my size 3 pants is less that it would be hanging over a size 10 pair of American Eagle jeans?  Do I really need to have that reconstructive foot surgery to make my feet a size 6 from their original size 9.5 just because little feet are prettier?  Really?  Are my smaller feet going to make me more sensual, more considerate, more giving and more kind in bed or anywhere else? 

I don’t know.  The whole preoccupation with our physical appearance at the expense of becoming really quality people worth knowing bothers me just a bit.

Can you tell?  

Dating Over 40: Lessons Learned

Last night I was talking to a friend.  She’s been dating a man for about a year and a half now.  She is frustrated.  She called me for help.  Well, to more accurately state it she called for encouragement, support and to have a safe place to rant.

In the last 12 days, they’ve seen each other once.  They live in the same town.

He didn’t spend the 4th of July with her, though he indicated he would and then never called.  She and her two kids spent the 4th with me and my youngest.

He routinely tells her he wants to get together with her then goes silent for days on end.

He was scheduled to move in with her in May.  It is now July and no further progress toward that end has occurred.

She called me wanting to know what she should do.

Like I would know.

In the last two years, I have dated a lot of people.  I have learned a lot.  I guess it shows.  Even though she’s been part of this journey all the way along she called me to hear again the journey and to get her head on straight.  She already knew what I was going to tell her.

I didn’t let her down.  I told her to kick the guy to the curb.

But…before I did that, I told her some other things that were helpful for me as I struggled through exactly the same fears, insecurities, and pain she is now going through.  What follows are some of those thoughts.

1.  First things first.  Figure out what you are all about.  It is imperative that you know what your must haves, and deal breakers are.  If necessary write them down.  Continue to revisit the list.  I know it sounds ooey gooey touchy feely but getting to know yourself and accepting yourself as you are (a work in progress and a mighty fine and unique work at that) is critical to your success not just in dating, but in life.  I personally also think that it is a good idea to know what areas you are not clear about or what areas or behaviors or qualities you are unsure if you can accept or not.  These are what I call gray areas.  For example, I know that I could not handle living with a chain smoker.  But, in the last two years I have dated several men who on occasion had a cigar with scotch outside in the evening or while playing darts out in the garage.  While, I have issues with smoking anything from a health perspective, if I found Mr. Right and he enjoyed a cigar on occasion, I think I could live with that. Cigars were a gray area for me.

I told my friend that before she could really make any decisions she had to decide what she wanted for herself and in relationship.  I also reminded her about the following:  She’s let the guy know that his on again off again behavior is not working for her.  He’s done nothing to change.  News flash for her:  He is not going to change.  She now has a decision to make.  Can she accept this relationship, his treatment of her and all that she is currently experiencing as it is and be content or not?  She can’t make those decisions till she knows what works for her and what doesn’t.  She admitted, that this current situation does not work for her.

2.  Expect to be made a priority.  I’ve said this more times than I care to recall, but when a man is crazy about a woman he goes to the wall for her.  The Taj Mahal was built for a woman.  All sorts of love songs, poems, and efforts are expended on the part of men to woo that one particular lady that captures his imagination and his heart.  She doesn’t have to drop hints, call him, stalk him or do any relational heavy lifting. If he’s broke and he’s into her he’ll do what he can, get a second job if need be to make life happen with her.  While I am currently speaking from experience on this one for myself, I would know this reality were true even if I did not.  How would I know because many, many, many men have personally told me this.  They simply won’t let the phone grow cold, nor will they leave any doubt in her mind (or anyone else’s for that matter) how they feel about her.  They even humiliate themselves by dressing up in silly knight costumes to propose in front of a crowd or they go to insane lengths to skywrite love messages and proposals for all including and especially her to see. 

Message here?  Expect him to expend some significant effort in order to make being with you a priority.  If he’s not doing this it is because he’s just not feeling it.

3.  Expect to be treated with respect and consideration.  This, my friends, goes both ways. Men and women both should have this as a core relational value.  For me, this reigns supreme and is an underpinning for any successful relationship. For my friend last night, thinking about this was the real eye opener.  When a person says they’ll do something and doesn’t come through on their word and especially when there is a consistent pattern of doing this with no real explanation (and sorry, my phone went dead just doesn’t cut it) the person is being disrespectful and inconsiderate.  Does he listen to you?  Does he value your input when making decisions?  Does he make good on his agreements with you? Is he respectful of your life, your activities and your family obligations or do you somehow end up feeling like what matters to you is just somehow not that important to him?  How does he pay attention to you when you are out with a group of people or does he disappear till the end of the evening when it is time to leave?  Does he indicate that he cares about your happiness and well being (however that’s demonstrated)?  Hopefully this is one area that is definitely reciprocal. 

What’s the logic behind this one?  Think about it. Relationships and habits of interacting do not necessarily improve over time, unless two people are working at it and committed to it.  It is generally the case that two people will begin to grow more comfortable with each other, they will tend to assume the feelings are known, and things get more casual and more is taken for granted.  Establishing patterns of interacting respectfully from the get go is critical.  It is much more difficult to insist on this after the relationship is established if it hasn’t been an expectation from the beginning.  If you start out allowing a guy to treat you badly, he’s probably not going to improve much.

4.  Value yourself.  Here’s the deal.  If you don’t think you are worthy of respect, consideration or that you are worth expending some effort on to connect with, no one else is going to think so either.  It will be difficult for you to proactively chart your happiness course if you don’t first see yourself as just as valuable and worthy of good treatment as the next person.  If you come at this relationship thing from the perspective that you can’t do any better, this is better than nothing or that you have to make exceptions due to your age, weight, income or number of children or whatever you will always sell yourself short. 

I can’t tell you how many times men and women alike told me all along this journey that my biggest difficulty in finding a quality person or developing a quality relationship was going to be the fact that I have four children.  While, my children are a huge consideration and something any prospective beau must be willing to accept, I never bought that excuse.  All it meant for mewas that anyone who found the fact that I have four children and two ex’s a problem, wasn’t the guy for me.  After all, I’m not looking for a father replacement for any of them.  I’m not even looking for any parental assistance.  I’m looking for good quality connection and companionship for me.  Yes, he’s got to be an excellent role model, but he would be if I chose him based on his innate character anyway.  I simply refused to allow myself to sink into despair based on what so many other people told me about this one.  I determined that no relationship was better than something that just kinda sorta worked and it was far superior to a bad relationship. And, funny how life is, seems just the person may have wandered in who is a great fit for me and who is confident and competent enough that he’s not in the least intimidated or alarmed by four kids and two ex’s.

I don’t know what decisions my friend will arrive at for herself.  She’s feeling pretty blue about her current relational realities right now and she’s having a tough time facing facts.  I understand her angst.  I’ve been there.  She’s a wonderful person with so much to offer but before she can really offer any of it, she’s got to believe it about herself first.  So do the rest of us. This is all sometimes easier said than done.

Best Excuse Ever?

Okay, this post is only partially poking fun. 

Why is it we find it so difficult to be direct and honest with each other.  Somehow, the act of saying, “No thanks” or “I’m really not interested” or “I’d really rather not, thank-you” without cushioning it with some fabrication or white lie is difficult for us. Okay, let me narrow it down.  It seems to be difficult for us in the U.S. on the West Coast (since I have no other frame of reference culturally, let’s go with it for the sake of dialogue).  When someone wants to be with us or invites us out, it is difficult to say, “No thanks.”  Instead we say we are busy, we make up excuses we uncomfortably fabricate some prior commitment. We also do this (c’mon, you know you have, I have too) when we are in a relationship and don’t know quite how to end it.

What’s more, we buy into these excuses when others use them to escape us.   While these excuses may sometimes be valid and legit, many are excuses people give each other when they are just not into the other person and are too wimpy to simply say so.  Because they could be legit, it is often tough to tell when they aren’t really legit.  So we give the partner or our date the benefit of the doubt.  This is probably reasonable to do one or two times.  The problem is we give them the benefit of the doubt again and again and again and…you get my drift.  Before we know it, we’ve wasted a year or two or seven of our lives.  Here are a few of the more common excuses I’ve heard since entering the dating scene two years ago and hanging with other single women/men and hearing about their dating woes.

“I’m not feeling well.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t.  I have family coming in from out of town.”

“I have to work.” 

“I’m too tired after working.”

“I’m helping a friend move.”

….and so on and so on.  I’m sure you can come up with a few yourself.

Just yesterday, I heard the greatest excuse ever though.  From a healthy man  who was telling his girlfriend of nearly two years why he couldn’t get together with her (for now the 6th evening in a row).  Here’s the excuse, ready? 

“I couldn’t call or come over because I was having chest pains due to stress.”  (The stress of not dealing straight with your girlfriend, maybe?)

Okay, excuse me for just a moment while I wipe up the mess I caused by choking with laughter and spewing my drink all over the table when I heard this.  Seriously? 

Her response? Even better.  But first you have to know that she introduced the whole topic to me by saying, “He had a really good excuse for not coming over or calling last night.”

“Oh?” I asked.  Seriously, no excuse is good.  Either you want to be with me or you don’t.  It’s that simple.  If you do, you will.  If you don’t,  you won’t.  If you aren’t I’m not spending any time wondering about it. My friend clearly doesn’t share my perspective.

“Yeah,” she said, “I mean, I could see that.  That happens to me too.”  Really?!  Okay, then!  We’ll go with that. 

I seriously don’t think I need to even mention it, but because there are morons out there who will actually attempt to convince me that there is a medical condition (I’m sure they’re right) that has these symptoms, let me just say this:  Whether there is a medical condition or not is not even the freaking point.

T he point is this: This is someone you supposedly love who supposedly loves you.  You are in pain and you don’t even tell them about it  until after the fact?  You don’t give them the opportunity to comfort and care about you in your time of need.  What’s more you don’t even call to say “here’s why I can’t come over?”  If it is that serious, you should have been over at the ER getting it checked out and even so, significant other should have (out of consideration and respect at the very least) have been notified.

I’m sorry.  I just don’t buy it.  On so many levels it just smacks of  just not being able to say the truth. 

If my friend is okay with that, then I wish her the best.  She is, after all, the one who will have to live with herself and her choices and his behavior.  I just know that what she is experiencing would not work for me, for so many reasons.  I simply desire something more and better than all that.