Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
My divorce was certainly my most difficult breakup. It was the most difficult thing I've ever been through. It was more than just the end of a relationship...it was the complete breakdown of everything I ever thought to be true, or that I thought I could count on. My whole world collapsed.
Or at least, that's how it felt.
I learned that things are often not as bad as they seem. You may have to go through something awful to get to something wonderful - but the bad is just temporary.
I learned that independence is important. Even if you don't have to handle things on your own, you should be able to do so. It makes you stronger as a person, and it makes you a better partner.
I learned that friendships are the most important relationships you can have. Family loves you because they have to. Spouses aren't always as permanent as you might hope. But friends... they will get you through the darkest times, even if they have to drag you.
I learned it's OK to need help - and it's OK to ask.
I learned that a change in a relationship doesn't necessarily mean the end of the relationship.
I learned that love comes in many forms - and is precious no matter how it's found.
I learned that what seems like the end is often the beginning to something even more wonderful. We may not always understand at the time, but things really do happen for a reason, and you really are right where you're supposed to be.
Most importantly - I learned to believe.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Since I'm pretty much an open book, there's really not a lot about me that I think surprises people. Baking Suit did once tell me that she was very surprised to learn that I was once a fan of professional wrestling (you know, WWE - Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant - all that stuff).
I guess it doesn't really go along with my girly-girl demeanor - but perhaps it would make a little more sense if I explained it all started because of a cute guy.
My uncle used to hang at my house once a week before he'd go bowling. He was there early in the afternoon, sometimes before I got home from school. Back then, wrestling was more kid-friendly, and was on cable in the afternoons. He'd put it on TV while he ate his dinner.
One day, I was watching it with him, and happened to see a wrestler named Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat.
The rest is history.
I may, or may not, have almost gotten my older cousin ejected from the Glens Falls Civic Center for throwing a stuffed bear with a fan letter pinned to it for Mr. Steamboat.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
I've written the "Letter to my sixteen year old self" post before. I think these are the kind of posts that evolve with time, though, and sometimes it's fun to revisit, and reconsider, what you might say.
In middle school, and early high school, I was bullied a bit and made fun of a lot. My self-esteem took a major hit, and I was in a very bad place. In my junior year of high school, having taken some accelerated English classes, I was able to fit a Journalism 101 class in to my course schedule. I instantly fell in love, and writing became my new passion.
By the time I was a senior, I was pretty focused on a great future. I wasn't trying to date (It helped that my major crush had become a great friend. I knew he didn't feel anything more for me than friendship, and I didn't want to ruin what we had - but no one else could compare.). I spent most of my time either studying, working, or at my after-school passion - as the Managing Editor of my school paper.
I spent time with friends, though they were never dates. I enjoyed my fun, and my independence, and everything that went along with working hard and earning a little more freedom from my dad.
I went to college fully-focused on becoming a journalist. I was on an excellent path - until I met a guy who would change my life.
He was abusive and callous and simply horrible to me. He took what self-esteem I had fought so hard for and shredded it. It would take years - decades, really, and a failed marriage - to fully realize the impact he had and begin regaining control over my own self-esteem.
So, if I could tell my high school self anything - it would be to trust my gut and stick to the path I laid out for myself - and not to let that guy get in my way.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Well... Technically, I guess I'm non-denominational Christian. At least, those are the services I attend each week. Trooper actually introduced me to the church. Prior to meeting him, I never attended church, and considered myself a Recovering Catholic.
But I don't necessarily believe everything my church believes. For example, they don't perform weddings, but if they did I suspect they would not perform same-sex ceremonies. I don't believe marriage should be restricted that way. I also don't believe that sex is just for procreation, that abortion is a sin, or that women should take a lesser role.
I'd have to say those beliefs impact my relationships far more than my church.
I really don't care if a date is Christian, nor would I care if he ever attended service with me. But I won't date a man who is not in favor of same-sex marriage. Which I know puzzles a lot of people. Why should it matter to me, right? I'm not looking to marry a woman.
But I don't look at equality and freedom as something that only matters if it affects me personally. I see threats to the freedom of others as a potential threat to my own freedoms. I believe freedom only exists when we're equal.
This is particularly true because I often date outside my race. Fifty years ago, no one discussed same-sex marriage - but there were protests everywhere against interracial marriage. If I want one freedom for myself, how can I not defend a similar freedom for someone else?
It may not sound like a deal-breaker to some, but I have found this to be an issue on which I don't want to compromise. So I have trouble dating others who don't agree. I find they either they don't respect my position, spend way too much time trying to convince my I'm wrong, or I find that they have short-sighted views of equality elsewhere, as well.
It just doesn't work.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
For those of you born after 1980, a time capsule is what we used to keep memories before everything achieved immortality through Facebook and Instagram posts.
I guess if I were to do this now, the things I'd need to collect would be (in no particular order):
- A picture of my cat
- A picture of my house
- My cell-phone (which I would need to upgrade first, obviously)
- A piece of jewelry from my current collection
- A picture of Shemar Moore
- A picture of Derek Jeter
- A picture of me with my Little
- A picture with my with my friends
- A picture of my Dad
- A picture of my Nanny, who I think about everyday.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I tried and tried this post. I really did. I thought about a conversation between me and Big. I thought about a conversation between me and Trooper. I think you always walk away from relationships with a few unanswered questions, and a few things you think you still want to say.
I even thought about narrating a conversation between me and any of the men I've met who have vanished into thin air. Obviously, there are plenty of questions, the first being - what the heck happened?!
The thing is, every time I started to narrate the conversations, I felt like I was drudging up bad feelings for no reason. After all, the relationships are where they're supposed to be at this point. Whether that means the relationship is over, or has just changed - whatever truly needed to be said, has been.
Then I started thinking about the last question in the challenge: What outcome would I hope for? Well, I suppose in any situation like this, what you want is the closure you're missing.
I have wasted too much time hoping for closure in situations where I'm just not meant to find it. Sometimes we're just not meant to have our own way, to say every little thing we're thinking, or understand what happened completely. It's taken a long time for me to realize that letting go sometimes takes a lot more strength than holding on.
I prefer to focus on what's ahead, rather than look over my shoulder.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
I'm not sure if the challenge is supposed to be when I last felt really, truly blissful in a relationship - but my memory isn't that good, so let's hope not.
I feel like blissful is how you feel when all you feel is joy. There's no worry, no little nagging thought in the back of your mind, no wondering "what if."
About the only thing that makes me feel that way is shopping. I mean, eventually, I have to suffer the financial consequences. But in that moment, when I put on my new shoes, or try on my new jewelry, or wear my cute new outfit - I'm truly blissful.
So the last moment...was probably about two weeks ago when my newest necklace from Stella & Dot arrived in the mail.
Yes I realize this means I'll be single for a while. Which is fine - my closets are full anyway.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Well, as it happens, as I write this, my last text message was to Baking Suit.
How did we meet? Twitter. I don't remember who followed who first, but I do remember finding her comment on another blog I wrote, and thinking, "Wow, that really popular blogger reads me?!"
We started tweeting back and forth. She was asking for guest-posts for her blog, and I wanted to write something inspired by my feelings for Big (this was just after our breakup). Rather than writing as myself (I had not created Girl's Got Shine yet), I guest-posted for her. This was a pretty big deal, because it was the first time I really opened up to anyone about how I felt after the whole breakup thing. I'm not sure if it was the fact that Baking Suit was still practically a stranger, or if I somehow knew we would be friends - but I knew I could trust her.
We kept emailing and commenting on each other's blogs regularly. About a month (six weeks?) later, we met in person at a mutual friend's meetup. Baking Suit greeted me with a friendly hug and the prettiest smile I've ever seen. (Seriously - she has the most beautiful smile. Her whole face lights up.)
That was three years ago - and we've texted or emailed (or commented or tweeted or facebooked - sometimes all at once) just about every single day since.
I simply adore her.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
I'm actually proud of a lot of things in my life. I have some professional achievements of which I'm quite proud. I am proud of the fact that I own my own home. I am proud of some of the fundraising efforts I've taken on in the last couple of years.
But I think I'm most proud of my independence. It was something that I lacked when I was married. When I divorced, it would have been very easy for me to give in, sell my house, and live at home. It was scary for me, having to face all of life's challenges alone.
I decided not to give in to that fear. Rather, I chose to push through it, and even in situations that were difficult for me, I figured out how to move forward.
I kept that up through my first difficult breakup (Big) and forced myself to acknowledge that I needed to get better at making friends, and get over my shyness. Once again, I chose to put myself in difficult situations (for me) so that I could learn how to overcome those fears and improve as a person.
Most people who know me today would never guess that I'm shy. Those who knew me before and know me now would tell say I'm like a completely different person.
It's what I call my shine. I lose it now and then - but I'm pretty proud that I found it, and I know how to get it back.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
For the whole story, click here and read why Trooper owes me shoes.
- He wouldn't order food, even though he took me to a restaurant and got a table - twice.
- He gave the waitress a hard time.
- He tried to explain why men sometimes need to lie.
- He laughed at me because I was afraid to fall in the snow.
- He admitted he's not completely over an ex, but that he treated her badly and lost her.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
This a little tough for me to do, because I don't ever mention my real name here. Without saying the actual name, I can tell you:
The Hebrew root for the name for the lily is derived from the root...meaning "to be joyful, bright, or cheerful", which is the basis for the word and name...meaning "joy of life".So to know me is to have found the joy in life.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Monday, October 14, 2013
- I let my cat sleep on the bed.
- I occasionally let the dishes pile up in the sink, when I don't feel like dealing with them.
- I am currently using all of the closets in my house for my clothes and shoes.
- I will happily eat dinner in front of the TV.
- I like my house to be cool - much cooler than most prefer.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
We all have a type, right? Some people want their future mate to be rich, or super-smart, or come from a good family, or a fitness buff, or adventurous, or interested in the same causes. Of course, most everyone has a physical "type" to which they're most attracted, and that tends to be who they notice first because, well - they're human.
I'm no different. I have a physical type. But none of those characteristics are deal-breakers when it comes to who I date.
Of course, it'd be nice if my future mate and I shared certain things - such as a love of movies, sarcasm, volunteerism, life and career goals, or support for certain social and/or political issues.
But the truth is, those aren't really deal-breakers, either.
I'd like my future mate to be honest. If I know he's telling me the truth, I won't have to wonder where I stand, or whether or not I can trust him.
I'd like him to be open. If I've learned one thing, it's that relationships don't work if there isn't communication, and sharing. I want him to open up to me about how he feels, and I also want him to open his life up to me - and allow me to do the same.
I'd like him to be successful - which doesn't equal being rich. By success, I mean I'd like him to have found a path in life that makes him happy, and allows him to live the life he wants. Like me, that might be through work, or through hobbies, or other interests. But a happy guy is a successful guy.
Speaking of interests - I'd like him to have some. It'd be great if we shared some, but if that's not possible, I'd love if he had his own hobbies. At the very least, it'll make him more interesting, and who knows - maybe he'll even teach me something.
Above all else, I want him to be confident. Why confidence? It shows up in several ways that are important.
- I don't ever want to have a conversation about how I don't think he's good enough - and a confident guy won't have that conversation.
- I want him to take charge - make plans for us, initiate conversations, get involved in the relationship. That takes confidence.
- I want him to respect me. I want him to listen when I have an opinion, even when it differs from his, the way only a confident guy can.
The rest is all negotiable.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
I could (and do) devote a whole blog to this very topic.
If you had asked me ten years ago where I thought I'd be at 39, I would have said I'd be happily married, loving my home, in a wonderful career. I'd have expected to be very happy in my very settled, structured life.
Which is, you know, exactly nothing like where my life is at 39.
I'm divorced, single, not even sure if I want to date, in a career I hate, and hoping to sell my house next year.
Of course, all that turmoil has forced me to fix things about myself, examine what I really want in a relationship, and find other ways to fill my time and give my life meaning, if they can't always pay my bills.
Along the way I've met amazing friends, some of whom I'd have never met if my life had stayed on that steady course. I've offered help to friends I never could have, and supported friends by understanding in a way I'd have never been able.
So...my life isn't where I thought I'd be, but it's where I'm supposed to be.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Ha. Hahaha. Ha. What a nice idea. If only it were true.
Here's the thing about people, in general, and women in particular: We always want what we don't have.
If I'm short with naturally curly brown hair, I want to be tall with straight blonde hair. If I was born smart, I want bigger boobs. If I wear a DD cup, I wish I was more graceful. If I have a lucrative career, I wish it was something that was more fulfilling.
The same is true of our love life. If I'm married, I secretly envy my single friends, if only now and then. If I'm single, I sometimes wish I could come home to a secure relationship. If I've found the love of my life, I might be just a little sad I've had my last first kiss. If I'm in a seemingly-endless string of horrible first dates, I wish it would end already.
I might absolutely adore my significant other because he's a great lover - but maybe I wish he was a little more successful, or could make me laugh a little more. Maybe I love that my husband is a wonderful provider for me and our kids - but I wish he was a little more romantic. No matter what I say on Facebook - nothing is as perfect as it seems.
The thing is, God, or cupid, or the universe, or whoever you believe is in charge of such things, isn't helping us by sending us the love that we want.
We get the love that we need, when the time is right.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Easy enough - that all single people want to be in a relationship.
When most people learn that someone is single, they immediately assume that she must be looking for a relationship. They often jump right into advice on how to find relationships, and make them last - as if this is obviously the single person's biggest dilemma.
It rarely occurs to anyone that I, as a single person, might be perfectly happy. True, I'm currently a pretty bad example, because I've made no bones about the fact that I'd like to be in a relationship. Still, as much as I want a relationship, I won't settle for one that's just "OK" - and I have spent plenty of my single time not even looking for a relationship.
This is something few seem to understand.
There are plenty of people who choose to live relationship free. Does this mean they don't date? No. Are they celibate? Hardly. Does it mean they are unlovable or afraid of commitment or just generally undatable? Of course not.
It means they are happily single - which is an absolutely amazing way to be.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
This is sort of fluid. It evolves, and devolves sometimes, based on my situation. But after some thought, I think I've nailed it down.
I'm afraid I won't find true love. I mean, I know I can find someone. That's as simple as walking into a singles event or jumping on a dating site.
I'm afraid that I won't find the one. That I blew my only chance at honest, true love with a person who really loves and appreciates me. I'm afraid that I'm not meant to find that all-consuming, inconvenient love that Carrie Bradshaw described.
Sure, I might find romantic love feelings. I mean, eventually I'm bound to go on a date with someone that goes so well, we go on a second date, then a third, and so on. That kind of romance is nice - the convenient kind, that just works and makes sense and has perfect timing.
But what if he just likes me, and I just like him? What if we settle because it does make sense, and the timing seems right?
I want more - and my biggest fear is I'll never find it.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
This was pretty easy.
I actually find something awesome about my single life pretty much every day. I mean, I just devoted a whole week worth of posts to why being single is great.
But the first moment I can remember coming to this conclusion, believe it or not, was at the first family party I went to after my separation. You'd think that would be a tough one, right? It was the first time (as an adult) I'd ever gone to a family function without a date.
I do remember being nervous. I knew everyone there would be coupled off, and I felt silly and foolish and (again) like a failure. But I'd promised my family, so off I went.
First, I realized something pretty cool... There was no argument on the way. I didn't have to fight with anyone because he was late (or because I was). I didn't have to worry that my date was angry about having to miss a game, or hang out with my family. My ride to the party was peaceful and calm, and I arrived with no stress at all.
I quickly realized the whole couple thing didn't matter, either. The women were mostly gathered to one side, the men to the other. No one cared that I didn't have a husband or boyfriend with me. In fact, they were actually more interested in hearing about my dating adventures than they were talking about their own relationships.
A little later on, I started noticing tense looks between the couples. Looks that I knew meant there would be an argument on the ride home, or before falling asleep. I realized that, also for the first time as an adult, I wouldn't have to worry about that argument.
My ride home was as peaceful as my ride out - and I remember I slept like a baby that night.
Monday, October 7, 2013
The toughest part about this is choosing just one. I managed to narrow it down to two moments. Neither is what you might expect.
Not long after my separation, I remember having to fill out a new patient form at a doctors office. I was humming along, answering all the questions the same way I had answered for years. Until...
Emergency Contact Information
Ugh. I panicked. I had never not had an answer to that question. I was engaged for three years and married for ten. For as long as I could remember, I'd entered X's name and phone number.
I suddenly realized there was no one for me to put down. I live alone, and I can't expect anyone to show up at a doctor's office just because I have an emergency. Sure, I have friends and family, but they all have lives and responsibilities. This was the first moment I realized that, as a single person, for the first time in my life, no one is responsible for me.
It was probably the most profound moment I ever had in terms of realizing how my post-divorce life would never be the same. So naturally it took place within, like, 20 seconds in front of a dozen strangers in a waiting room.
I entered my father's name, address, phone number, and relationship as 'parent' and moved on to the next question.
The second worst moment of my single life (so far) was right around my 35th birthday. It was the first birthday I spent alone. I felt old, and like I was a failure. Divorced and single was not how I envisioned my life would be at 35.
I had gone on a date with a guy months before. One date, and we'd drifted apart. At one point, we IMed and he confided that he'd met someone else, and it seemed she was pregnant, and he'd been dealing with all of that. I'd wished him well, and moved on.
This night, right around my birthday, he sent me an email. The subject line read: Great News! When I opened the message, it said: The kid's not mine. Call me sometime? ;)
I'm not even kidding.
I deleted the email and laid down on my bed and cried. I had never in my life encountered such a mess, and I couldn't believe this was my life, at 35, dealing with this kind of nonsense. It was such an overwhelming sense of failure and no hope.
In the morning I woke up, chuckled, and had a great day.
The take away from both of these stories? Being single is going to suck sometimes. So is being married (trust me, I know). But the part that sucks is never, ever permanent, and it's never as bad as it seems at that moment.
When life throws you an unexpected hurdle, and it feels like the worst thing ever, you should feel encouraged. It means things are about to start looking even better than you ever imagined.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
I freaking hate this question.
Unfortunately, I get the question in two contexts. I occasionally get it from new acquaintances. Apparently, I meet a lot of people who either lack filters, or were raised by wolves.
I also get this question from men on dating sites, who (I think) think it's a compliment.
My response is the same for every situation: I'm single because I choose to be.
Let me clarify...
I do not necessarily want to be single. I'd like to be in a relationship. Or at least find someone with whom I could go on more than one date.
Still, I maintain I am single by choice because I could be in a relationship. I'm sure if I wanted, I could have finagled a relationship out of one of the guys I've dated in the last year who were interested.
But through all my ups and downs, confusion, and missteps, I know I haven't found the right guy. I have (for better or worse) avoided actually getting into a relationship with anyone.
So I remain single.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
For the next 30 days, I'll chat about...
Thursday, October 3, 2013
I'm having a little trouble not obsessing, not worrying, and not planning. Those are the things at which I'm best, so it's tough to just throw a switch and turn them off.
I've said before, I'm so invested in my future, it's hard to be patient, waiting for things to just happen. I want to make them happen; fast forward to the end so I know how it all turns out.
What can I say? I'm impatient and nosy. Traits I get from my grandmother.
I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, if anyone has good ideas for a distraction, I'm open to suggestions. Just please don't tell me to "work on myself." That goes without saying.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
That's just a hazard of dating. Actually, it's a hazard of life. I mean, married people occasionally meet someone new...it's one of the reasons divorce attorneys are so successful. Few things in life are certain, and timing is everything.
I don't object to guys meeting new people, or even going on dates with others. If we've just met, there's really nothing to get upset about.
What I take exception to is these guys making a big deal about not dating multiple people - only to ditch me for someone else. What's worse is coming back to me after ditching me, like nothing happened!
Newsflash: You are dating multiple people. You're just not very good at it.
These guys are bent on only dating one woman, but of course after one date they're not ready to commit to one person. So rather than just go out on a few dates before choosing, they make plans, blow people off, ignore texts, cancel dates, and then come back.
I wonder if they think this means they are "one woman men" or that it's the respectful way to date, because they are only talking to one woman at a time? Or do they know that it's rude, and does nothing but prove that they are easily distracted, not really interested, and will happily vanish rather than be honest?
At least, when I think about it, it's good for me that they're someone else's problem.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
These guys keep coming back into my life (this guy made a guest appearance last week, along with another guy who recently also told me he "really liked me" after date one, scheduled date two, then disappeared.)
They say they lost my number, which I find really, really unlikely. I think it's more like they delete my
|Found it here - ironic|
I started wondering, is this a guy thing? Or a cootie thing?
So, I polled a few of the guys I know (and trust) and they all told me that when they meet (or met, in the case of Engineer who's engaged) a new woman, they do save her phone number.
I'm not sure that any of them go to the obsessive lengths that I do, to make sure their contact information is complete. I even screenshot a picture so that I can include it in the contact entry (this has more to do with helping me remember who's who than anything else).
But if the guys I'm meeting don't even go to the trouble to save my first name and ten lousy digits?
I need a new dating pool. This one is filled with cooties.