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Too Many Times I’ve Held On

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I know the mood has been a little… saccharine up in here. One of my biggest fears in starting this blog was knowing my Pollyanna tendencies, and my reticence to explore the darker sides of the world we live in. It’s not that I’m ignorant of it or intend to deceive but that dark side is something I struggle with. I can acknowledge that we all have one; but as an empath, as someone who has suffered a great deal; as someone who has spent her whole life reaching out to others, wanting to help healing, wanting to see the good in people, wanting to breathe life into that… talking about the ugliness around me is hard. I don’t really know what to say. That’s just not my wheelhouse.

I knew from the get-go there’s no authenticity here if I avoid it entirely. But avoid it is exactly what I’ve done.

But the one theme I keep bumping up against, is why do so many people immerse themselves in gossip, small mindedness, and judgmental attitudes, and then complain when those very same things come back to bite them in the ass?

I have a saying: if someone will be ugly with you, eventually they will be ugly to you.

I’ve recognized that for years, it’s as simple as “cheaters gonna cheat, liars gonna lie”, etc. So why do people live like this isn’t a thing?

I get that sometimes people need to be alerted to the fact that a wolf is lingering in their midst (although most actively reject this knowledge, which I’ll save for another post). That’s not gossip though, it’s not being ugly. But unsubstantiated musings? Unfounded hypothesis? Talking about someone else’s dirty laundry without getting their side of the story or attempting to verify actual facts? Or worse, laughing and taking pleasure in someone else’s misery?

I don’t get it. I don’t experience any pleasure at someone else’s misfortune. It pains me greatly. I don’t like to see anyone suffer.

I’m not sure if it’s fear of loneliness, or insecurity? I’m not sure if people feel so bad about themselves that diminishing others is the only way they can feel ok for a moment? Or if they think their unwillingness to participate will leave them marginalized?

I don’t know, but I’m always a little relieved when those people walk out of my life. I don’t really know constructive ways to handle the conflict and on some level there’s a part of me that feels like I’m being judgy. But there are some real world costs for the whole mean girls bit. I’m not okay with that, at all. Ever. So when those people walk out of my life, I’m not in any way diminished.

I’m grateful.

 

 

You’ve Got To Get Up And Try

About a week after my marriage ended, a new singles group sprouted in our community. The timing was in many ways a lifesaver for me, I was barely among the living, and I’ve met so many truly amazing people and had so many wonderful experiences. Some I almost wish I could skip, and yet, I needed them to remember what living even is. What can I say, every cherry has a pit. You just need to pay attention to the reality, not avoid the experience entirely.

Being a romantic at heart/incurable empath, I love watching new couples happen. It fills my heart to see love blossoming, and gives me hope that good things are still real, still possible.

But it’s not an uncomplicated road, not even during the best of circumstances. I remember meeting some friends at a happy hour, being my typically oblivious self, and I happened to notice two friends, who share a passion that completely informs their very clear vision for their future. I noticed him squaring up to her, his arm protectively around the back of her chair, and the unmistakeable look of admiration on his face, and I thought, wow, how often do two people who want so many of the same things in life even meet? Clearly he’s interested.

So I in my one-drink (Denver strong) addled state tried in my never subtle way to throw them together. And she, being badass and perceptive and as blunt as I am ripped me a new one the next morning. I told her what my thinking was. Unbeknownst to me, she had already expressed an interest in him, but she had every reason in the world not to trust love. We talked a bit and a few weeks later I learned they were a couple. My heart soared. Falling in love with someone who is that kind of kindred spirit doesn’t happen every day. Few people get to experience it.

Sometimes I worry that the realities of life and the world around them with destroy something so incredibly precious and beautiful. I hope not. Because love is nothing but growth opportunities interspersed with reality and occasional moments of unspeakable bliss.

This weekend I’ve been helping a new friend of mine navigate the heartache of missed opportunities with an old friend of mine. This new friend knows mistakes were made, and they are sincerely regretted. But sometimes you’ve gone too far and you can’t rebuild what’s lost.

So today I’ve been sobbing my way through one hell of an emotional hangover, because he fills a need for her that ordinary never will, and she inspires him to new heights. But we live in a world where if it doesn’t work we throw it away and move on. And I’m surrounded now by so many people who want love, but chase everything else.

My heart is breaking.

Sometimes I just want to grab people by the shoulders and make them face  what they keep choosing to turn away from.

‘Cause I’m Broken

Sometimes, realizing the magnitude to which you are imperfect can be the most freeing experience.

I have struggled with my weight since puberty, a progressive issue that grew worse every year, no matter what I did.

At a young age I struggled with cognitive issues that also grew worse.

It wasn’t until my 30s I had an explanation for those two (seemingly) disparate issues.

I spent so many years feeling ashamed of the ways I was different, like a failure for not being able to be less different, afraid of the price I might pay for my failure to conform.

Once I knew that these issues weren’t my fault, and that I could positively impact, but never remediate them, I was almost instantly freed from so many burdens they brought along for the ride.

I speak so often, and in such glowing terms, of the many women I admire. I always longed to be more like them. Learning why I struggled the way I did set me free to learn to be fierce in my own way. I no longer had to keep trying to live to someone else’s standard, I was free to be the best me I could be.

It changed my life for the better. It granted me such peace of mind. It gave me the drive to serve others in any way I could manage.

Thing is, I know I’m not the only person to have this experience. So it begs the question, why do people feel such intense pressure to be something they aren’t? Why aren’t we encouraged to accept and love ourselves as we are? I know some of it is marketing, some of it is old ghosts, some of it is peer pressure. But many of those are influences we can avoid if we wish, and certainly we are capable of ignoring them.

Why don’t we?

Why do we buy the lie that we aren’t ok? Aren’t good enough? Aren’t worthy?

And how do we stop the madness?

That’s What People Say

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“Why don’t the beautiful people know they’re beautiful?”

“I don’t know.”

“I want to slap them and tell them to knock that shit off, and then I want to find the people who convinced them they aren’t beautiful and throat punch them.”

“Mmmhmmm”.

One of the hardest things for me to accept in this world is how many of us are so broken; carrying around old words, old scars, old wounds that still somehow bleed a little too much a little too often. Being wounded happens. I get that, but why is it so hard to shake it off? Why does that nonsense linger like old fish?

It’s it a cultural thing? Is it a fear of seeming too narcissistic? Why do we carry the legacy of this pain with us years into the future, in spite of evidence to the contrary?

And why do we not call out the people who do this? Some people do, and those people are the reason I’m not more jaded. There are everyday heroes around every corner. Modern psychology tells us our options are fight, flight or freeze. Most of us  flee or freeze, another lingering remnant of past abuse.

We need to start being kinder to ourselves, we need to be willing to risk it all and just be loving in appropriate ways, and we need to correct the record, wherever it goes astray.

Life is too short to believe all these hurtful, ugly, bullshit lies.

Hold Me Down Like No One Else

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As my marriage was falling apart, I became friends with a good friend of my high school boyfriend. He was in recovery, rebuilding his life like an utter badass, the likes of which I’d never seen before. He’s smart, charismatic, educated and so very smooth.

He’s also honest and genuine and open and has a heart bigger than the Grand Canyon. He loves his kids with a ferocity I can’t really put into words, and he speaks with such fondness, respect, and grief about his parents. He’s also probably the coolest cat I’ve ever “met” in my life.

I needed his guidance as my world crumbled, his steady hand on my shoulder. I needed his shoulder to cry on, and it was there, whenever I reached out. I needed regular doses of clarity about the nature of addiction, and more than the occasional truth bomb. He provided all that and more; unfailingly.

As my ex and I neared the end, I was so utterly shattered, I barely felt human. I was lost, broken, out of fuel. I didn’t feel real, I didn’t know where to go, what steps to take, and I was sure they were bigger than I could ever manage. Every time I thought I was a lost cause, he breathed life into me again. Sometimes simply by turning to me when he needed a friend, but mostly by giving me hope to cling to when I could find none.

I’ve tried in vain to tell him how grateful I am, how much I admire him, the debt I owe him and can never repay. I try to find words for the immense respect I have him, how much he restores my faith, enriches my life, makes me laugh, cry, think, dream. Words fail. There’s really no encompassing or describing what he’s meant to me.

It’s not hyperbole to say that I’m not sure I could have survived it all without him.

I often feel like I can never measure up as a friend. I’m juggling too much and dropping too many balls, and I lean on the people I’m closest to a little too much. They’ve saved me from certain destruction more times than I can count, and for someone I barely knew, he stepped up in a most remarkable way.

What could I ever offer him to show the magnitude of my gratitude?

Simply offering my friendship in return feels like a feeble effort.

You’re One Of My Kind

I always joke my type never asks me out.

This is my type (my apologies to his lovely fiancee, and best wishes for their future).

I’m usually asked out by this type.

Which, cool, how someone looks is pretty darn close to the bottom of my list.

But I know there must be the male equivalent of me out there, who’s list of priorities is a lot more about the quality of time we spend together and a lot less about conventional ideals of beauty.

At least in theory.

The thing is, where exactly would one find such a person? Tinder? Right. Pretty much all dating apps are out, and they are a narcissist playground anyway. Speed dating? Probably not, for many of the same reasons. Our singles group has been a great blessing, but Denver has all the image/body consciousness LA gets accused of, and little of the diversity or body positivity. I love watching love blossom all around me, I’m open to finding it for me, and yet it’s highly unlikely in that group.

At least not the kind of relationship I’m holding out for.

I had been caught up in this cycle of dating just to keep honing my “be more social” skills but I just can’t anymore. I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think the benefits outweigh the costs.

But it begs the question, in a world where so many of us are average, why is it that most resources are directed toward the already extraordinary? Why do the rest of us feel the need to sideline ourselves as if we don’t belong? As if we don’t have just as much right to pursue happiness?

What nonsense.

Be loud and proud, folks. Whatever your quirks.

Everyone has them.

I Will Try To Fix You

There are moments when I look at all the incredible women in our group and I feel so confused. I’m not sure why they are single. If I were a man, there really isn’t a one I wouldn’t find remarkable and want to get to know better, so why? Why are there so many men who just sit on the sidelines?

In those more jaded moments I’ve joked that I should create an app called trophy wife rehab. Maybe all we need is a man with the means and a high novelty seeking quotient to get us back on track. We’re badass, cute as hell, maybe a little nip/tuck, a personal trainer and a chef to come in a couple of times a week to shop and prep healthy meals, and we’d be set. And if the guy moves onto the next woman, who cares! We’re already right where we want to be.

Yes, it’s ridiculous and a little sexist and highly offensive. But I’d probably jump at it (or better yet, a marriage proposal from a nice Canadian gentleman, because appropriate health care is really all I’m after). Every woman I’ve mentioned it to laughs and says “sign me up!”.

It lifts my spirits in the moment. It’s always good for a laugh.

But there’s an undercurrent there that I’m very uncomfortable with, and terribly confused by.

I wonder, in a world where all anyone wants is to be loved just for who they are, why do we chase such superficial relationships?

Why do we demand for ourselves what we refuse to offer to others?

Am I the only person flummoxed by this dichotomy?

Miss Independent

There’s a woman in our singles group that I can’t quite figure out.

I don’t get why she’s single.

It’s as if a winning Powerball ticket were alive and walking around in the world and nobody stopped to claim it.

It baffles me. It’s confusing as hell. And it’s the surest proof that everything we are told about relationships, desirability, and being loved is bullshit.

I think we’ve all known that woman, right? Unspeakably beautiful, successful, intelligent, fun, caring, truly the total package. And sometimes women will talk about men being intimidated by them and I know a lot of people think that’s just ego talking, but I don’t know how else to explain it.

Are men truly that threatened by a woman who knows her own worth? Who insists on being treated like the Queen she is? And if that’s the case, where have we gone so horribly wrong? Because she’s exactly the perfect embodiment of what every man claims to want. And there she is. Still single, (and not upset about it at all, BTW. Because she is a Queen).

Some part of me wants to shake every man within a certain radius and tell them to wake the hell up, your dreams are waiting; right.over.there! so why aren’t you talking to her? Part of me instinctively knows the futility of this.

I don’t know what else to do so I pray. I hope. I wish. I want to believe. And I wish her to have all the happiness she spreads to others so effortlessly.

But on a fundamental level, this whole phenomenon just challenges my concepts of life and love in some really difficult ways.

I don’t know where to go with that, or how to make peace with it.

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