Sex and the Big D

Good right now: Or how I found my bench in the sun

It is amazing what can happen in a month.

At the end of March, I moved to a new home, started a new job and embarked on a new chapter in my life. I saw these moves as really positive … and a way to start cultivating better habits. Out with the old, in with the new, right?

What I didn’t take into account was how much the change would actually have on my emotional state. Though the new place was bigger and in a better neighborhood, though my new job is exactly like something I would’ve killed to have been in for the past few years, all this change was draining on my heart. My routine was different, my patterns all off. Most of this was for my good. But even though I might know that on a head level, it didn’t stop my heart from silently panicking and getting overwhelmed. I forget that change … even good change … is really hard for me to handle.

Recently all this change came to a head while I was on a trip in Mexico. I had one of those ‘dark nights of the soul’. Are you familiar? Maybe you’ve had them too. It was, of course, spurred on by alcohol. But every fearful, anxious thought I’ve been trying to squash with talk of positivity and how great and promising this new chapter in my life would be, finally came rushing to the surface. And it brought me to my knees in anguish and tears and a feeling of utter hopelessness.

Memories of my ex, guilt over every loss that was my fault, deep feelings of loneliness and unworthiness, fears that every new good thing will also be taken because so much has, heart ache over unrequited love. A deep pervasive sadness in my soul that seemed too unbearable to overcome. A weight in my chest so heavy it was hard to breathe.

When these dark nights happen (and they don’t happen all that often), they are quite terrifying. I know it’s an emotional response. I know it’s likely sheer emotional exhaustion. It’s temporary. I know this truth on a deep level and yet when I’m in the middle of it it feels as if there is a wall between my heart and this truth. And all there is is swirling darkness and an abyss so deep I can’t fathom ever being able to climb out. And nothing I can do or say seems to soothe me. My only choice is to survive it.

And I did.

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March is for ‘Moving Forward’: Or how I learned to let go in my way

Let It Go Dog GIF-source

I’ve always struggled with letting go. It’s a really strange and difficult concept for me. I think partly because it seems like … so sad in a way to me. Rose should’ve NEVER let go of Jack, just saying.

My struggle with this concept of letting go (which incidentally means I also struggle with acceptance, but that’s another post for another day) keeps me holding on to the past well past it’s expiration date. This makes it really hard to live in the present. I end up spending the bulk of my time either reliving the past or trying to envision a brighter future versus just being right where I am in that exact moment. My friends have all noticed this, counselors too. The advice? Let go. Let go of the past. Stay in the present.

But … how?

Seriously.

No one really has an answer for that. It’s unique to everyone I suppose.

Letting go of the emotions attached to a previous experience is especially difficult for me as I am a deeply feeling personality type. This means when I do relive the past, I relive every emotion associated with an experience. If it’s a pleasant one, then that’s great! If it’s a painful one (which, let’s be honest … the painful ones are the ones most people struggle to let go of), I am basically recreating the exact same awful emotions I felt the first time. It’s a cycle of repeated suffering and torture and it’s mostly self-inflicted.

There’s the ick part. The good part is I may have found a way to stop the cycle.

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Single and the Sickness: Or how I’m learning to ‘adult’ my way

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The movie ‘How to be Single’ starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson was sadly pretty forgettable … with the exception of one incredibly relatable part. The scene where Dakota Johnson is trying to get dolled up for a girls night and is literally throwing her shoulder out of socket to zip up her sexy dress. A small moment, but so so relatable.

Later that evening she returns home drunk and exhausted and attempts to again twist her arm all sorts of ways to unzip the dress. She eventually gives up and falls asleep fully clothed. Again, super relatable.

I have been this girl. (Although when this has happened to me at the end of the night, I am usually eating a donut and/or slice of pizza and wake up to crumbs/sauce all over my ‘sexy’ outfit.)

Much like Dakota’s character in the movie, I had also chosen to end a long term relationship to finally experience what it is to TRULY be single (well, that and the fact that he was kind of a jerk). And I too had taken for granted how nice it is to have someone to reach your unreachable parts. Of all the things in a relationship I miss, I’d actually forgotten this little thing until recently.

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The icing on the cake: What I’ve learned after the first month of my happiness project

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So .. it’s been a month since I officially began my own ‘Happiness Project’. What is a happiness project, you ask? Well, tbh I’m still kind of figuring it out. It was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s own book ‘The Happiness Project’ and for me, it’s basically a year long project dedicated to discovering what things really, truly make me happy and how I can restructure my life to include more of those things. It’s also dedicated to figuring out what types of things I might THINK make me happy, but in fact really do not.

Ultimately my happiness project is teaching me to be more mindful.

Each month I’m trying to focus on one or two specific areas and dedicate my time and energy to discovering ways to amplify my overall happiness in these areas. February was dedicated to friendships, relationships and self-love. (March is dedicated to moving forward and letting go. I’ll write more on that later, but March is set up to be a pretty transformative month.)

For February, I wanted to really focus on the people and relationships (including my own) in my life who really are so key to my overall happiness. I know that for me at least, it’s ridiculously easy to get focused on lack, especially on the tail end of a heart break. ESPECIALLY when almost every couple in February seems hell bent on reminding everyone that they’re in a relationship and it is beautiful and omg all the love. Which .. yes I am happy for them! For sure! I want real happiness and love for everyone!

However, when romantic love isn’t in the cards at the moment for oneself, February can kind of be a raw deal.

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A love letter to the woman I am now

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The other day I decided to unload all the photos off my iPhone onto my computer because I was running out of space.

After they’d all imported, I started to look back at pics from three and four years ago in my iPhoto library. Photos taken in the year after I left my ex.

It’s strange. In so many ways I felt like the 8 years I spent with Jay were basically … just the same. Day in, day out. It was like for 8 years I stopped … growing. Stopped evolving. Or maybe it was just … slowed? I don’t know. That time in my life feels sluggish and half lived.

But looking back on the images from four years ago, when I finally left, it’s shocking to me. The things I went through, the lessons I learned. So so many in such a short amount of time. And I watched them all unfold again while looking through my pictures. I remembered each moment and what it felt like to be experience these things for the first time.

I looked back at that version of me, all full of hope and excitement and just sheer creative power .. finally feeling like a beautiful, desired woman. But also … if you really looked in her eyes … full of such deep rooted fears and insecurities and self doubt. I wanted to hug her and tell her to hold on, this ‘becoming who you’re meant to be’ is going to be a long, painful, thrilling and heartbreaking process but it will be for your good. I promise.

It’s amazing to me too because at that time, I was in the best shape of my life. My face was thinner, my arms were toned and defined. And yet .. the sad truth is? I have many pics that I took simply to look at the parts of my body I didn’t like and shame myself for them. I have a serious amount of sexy pics too (which I’m glad I took because GD I looked good), but to see me struggle and obsess over that last bit of roundness and softness just breaks my heart. For the girl that I was.

So … as much as this month is dedicated to loving friends and building relationships, I also want to dedicate it to loving myself. To loving the woman I am now.

Because to be the woman I want to be in the future, the woman I KNOW I can be … I need to love all that I was before and all that I am now.

So here goes … I am 35, single and I love myself.

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Galentine’s and girls night: Thoughts on friendship, love and happiness

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February. Valentine’s Day. Ugh.

The day (and month) every singleton dreads because it is basically a celebration of everything we’re not. And for those who are yearning for a relationship, the build up to the day and the day itself are just salt on an open wound. Double ugh.

This year I’m quite happy at being single. Genuinely. Maybe for the very first time in my life EVER I feel at peace and excited about facing this next year alone.

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve dedicated the remainder of this year to my own ‘Happiness Project’ and that my theme for 2018 is ‘Discovery’. I’ve also decided that, similar to Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, I intend to dedicate each month to a subject. Something to explore and experiment with and discover something new about myself.

So .. it’s fitting, even if cliché, that I should dedicate February to relationships and love.

Triple ugh. Just kidding.

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Experiments in Happiness

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I had ice cream for breakfast recently. (gasp)

Someone left a pint of chocolate ice cream at my house and normally this would throw me into a borderline existential conflict. I would struggle with the decision to either throw the pint out without eating it (because of my never ceasing ‘diet’) … or binge eat it all in one sitting, only to feel great shame and berate myself afterwards, vowing to never eat that crap again.

That morning, after an early workout, I decided to take a different approach. I added a little protein powder and ate a proper serving size. Then threw the rest away. This, for me, was an experiment.

Typically I would feel great remorse even having something sweet AT ALL, let alone for breakfast. I mean I’m still trying to lose 10 pounds which my mind never lets me forget. So how did I feel after? I felt ok. I hadn’t binged, I’d had a proper serving size. I felt … happy.

I’ve written about how my 2017 was a particularly difficult season. I feel like with the turn of the new year, however, that the clouds have finally lifted and are allowing some perspective to shine through.  Along with a very positive, very energetic desire for change. (*Cue angels singing in harmony*)

Though last year was rough, I’m a naturally positive, happy person and I feel like I’m finally shaking off the ashes of the years before and getting super motivated to learn and to conquer the whole wide world. Or at least my own.

First step? I’m starting a year-long Happiness Project.

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