A playlist for 2019

giphy (25)

I don’t wanna brag, but I have epically bad taste in music.

Well, maybe not quite that terrible. But … close.

Honestly, some of what I love is downright awful. But I’m alright with that. The thing is music moves me. Inspires me. Punches me in the gut when I need to be emotional and kicks me in the ass when I need some motivation. Add to that I LOVE to sing, so yeah, I’m a music lover with shitty taste in music.

Why do I think that? Well, I do have some music aficionado friends and anytime they post a list of their all-time favorite bands, about half of them I have to google. The other half I’ve heard of but just never took the time to listen to.

There are no Smiths on my iTunes playlist, no Cure, no Strokes, only one Stones song …. but there is an embarrassing amount of Taylor Swift and Britney Spears.

And I’ll confess this right here, right now – I know only a handful of Beatles songs.

Now music appreciation is subjective, but the truth is I don’t get into bands that way.  Well, with the exception of the Dave Matthews Band and YES, I can hear you groaning with disgust from here (I’m groaning a little myself). But it’s not entirely my fault – I was raised southern baptist in a small town in East Texas so for the longest time the only music I listened to was gospel or country. And when I started listening to (gasp) ‘secular’ music, it was mostly what I could listen to on the radio.

I choose my music based on gut feelings. I get into a particular song in a particular moment and it will move me and then that’s that. I love the band and I don’t care if it’s shameful or childish or auto-tuned or universally considered the worst song (or band) in the world. If it moves me, makes me wanna dance, makes me wanna cry or leaves me thinking about my life in a new way, I love it and will belt it out proudly.

2018 was a good but tough year in some ways. There was a lot of growth mixed with a lot of joy and some considerable pain. Ash and I recently dedicated our year 2019 to the word ‘Fuck’. It’s our mantra, our anthem, our battle cry and quite frankly, a big part of our belief system. Instead of resolutions, we set our intention for this year – the year of ‘fuck this’ and ‘fuck that’.

In addition, I recently decided I want to set a playlist for 2019. Something I will add to as I run across songs that seem to fit. Basically, I want a set of songs that move me, inspire me, make me wanna dance or sing or shout. Songs that fit ME and songs that help me set a clear vision for what I want this year. You know, kinda like your workout playlist … only with slightly fewer rap songs or AC/DC.

The music to motivate me – creatively, physically, emotionally – when I’m not feeling very motivated at all.

So here’s my work-in-progress, very brief 2019 playlist, in no particular order.

Continue reading “A playlist for 2019”

Door Number 2: Self-love Required

1AFFA412-7D62-4949-BF53-DA41B108DE3B

So I had intended to write a Valentine’s day post.

Something about how Valentine’s is BS and you should show love everyday and it’s a dumb holiday and screw all the social media posts from jerks in love, you guys are honestly the worst.

But, like funny … and slightly less bitter than that.

But I didn’t write that post. And also … this isn’t that post. Instead, I’m sharing something my best friend, Ash, wrote about love for our joint blog.

A little intro…. a few years ago, she and I were both divorced and single and happy at the same time. I was ecstatic because we were finally living our Sex and the City single life. And then … she met a great guy. Like a really great guy. Like honestly the perfect kind of guy for her, because I’ll be honest, her standards are high. Not in the ‘he has to make a million dollars and drive a BMW and have a six pack’ kind of way, but in the ‘he has to be willing to do real emotional work and be truly invested in his emotional healing’ kind of way. The real shit.

Ash is in the kind of relationship I hope to find one day. Not perfect, but very honest and beautiful. I have learned so much from watching her grow in this relationship and watching her love her guy and honestly, watching them love each other.

Without further ado, here is Ash with “DOOR NUMBER 2: SELF-LOVE REQUIRED”:

60793169-1-e1550169820461

“Do you want out of this?” He gently asked me this morning.  

“What?” I asked as I groggily sat up in bed, eyes crusted with sleep as they opened the first time for the day.

“Do you want out of this with me?  Our relationship?” he responded, head hanging low.

This morning, of all mornings… it is Valentine’s Day.

Not that, that particular detail bothered me.  I am not a sucker for these types of holidays. I find it even a little frustrating that we choose a social day to display to the person we are with, that we love, care or cherish them.  I am of the camp that in a relationship, kindness love and gratitude for that person shouldn’t need to have a dedicated day – but should be experienced almost daily within the relationship.

I understood why he was asking, though.  I already knew before he sat down at the edge of the bed to explain further.  

Continue reading “Door Number 2: Self-love Required”

Faking it

giphy (23)

I heard my upstairs neighbor faking it recently.

Well, not my upstairs neighbor exactly, but the girl he brought home.

How could I hear? Well I live on the bottom floor of a old four-plex in east Dallas. The walls are thin. But this was the only the first time in nearly a year that I’ve heard the raucous cries of a woman having sex. And I’m fairly sure the gentleman above has taken home quite a few lady friends.

How do I know she was faking? Well to be fair, I suppose I don’t know for sure. But as a woman who’s faked before (um, haven’t we all?), I feel quite sure she was faking something … maybe not the orgasm, but certainly how excited she was. Let’s just say the vocals were quite animated … like cartoon-level animated.

Why all the hullabaloo?

Maybe she’s a girl hoping that with her vocal acrobatics that she could convince the man she’s with that she’s this enthusiastic during sex, always, and therefore he should keep seeing her? Maybe she’s trying to convince herself of how good the sex is? Hell, maybe the sex really IS cartoon-voice-animated good? If so, lucky girl.

Or maybe she learned to over-exaggerate during sex a long time ago and now it’s so ingrained her that it’s just an auto response?

Whatever her reason, I (and my three glasses of wine) had a grand ole time listening.

And it got me to thinking … how much are we willing to ‘fake’ in life in order to get what we think we want? Especially with regards to relationships and dating but also our personal lives in general?

Continue reading “Faking it”

LATE: a story about alcohol, adulting and a happy ending

giphy (20) giphy (21)

My god, I am too old for this shit…, I thought as I stared at my red, splotchy face in the bathroom mirror.

It was then that I noticed one of my fake eyelashes from the night before had made it’s way to the center of my forehead and was now stuck.

Perfect.

I was still in my fancy black dress and sweater too. Apparently I had come home after a night of dancing and drinking, scarfed down two lean cuisine meals and then promptly passed out fully clothed on top of my comforter. With all the lights in the house still on.

I was hurting. I was sleep-deprived. I was going to be late for work.

I’m 36. I’m too old for this shit.

Or … am I?

This is the question I ask myself often. I’ve been warring with this idea of what version of an adult I should be at this age for quite some time now. I’m 36, I’ve been married and divorced. I don’t have any kids. I don’t own a house. I’m single. And I enjoy vodka. A lot.

I’ve written about it before, but my timid life as a child in the church was further compounded by an 8-year relationship where I never felt free to grow or discover who I was. After I ended my marriage, my previously sheltered life changed dramatically. I moved to Dallas and started making friends. I found karaoke and dancing and all the bars. And I have loved it.

These last 5 years have been complete freedom and fun. So fun. But also … quite exhausting. Physically and emotionally.

I thought I would’ve been out of this ‘phase’ by now. I figured I would eventually tire of it. Actually, if I’m being completely transparent and honest …  I naively assumed I would’ve met someone by now. I figured on one of these happy nights out I’d see him, across the bar, twinkle in his eye and he’d come over, kiss me and change my life forever. And then my lifestyle would naturally shift to complement his. I figured we’d ‘grow up’ together.

Ugh, I know … how upsettingly old-fashioned of me to wait on a fictitious significant other to inspire change in my life. I’m an independent woman who prides myself on being this way. But still, I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve been waiting on. The next chapter, the beginning of my future … signified by the person I hope to build a life with.

The happy ending.

Continue reading “LATE: a story about alcohol, adulting and a happy ending”

The Ex factor

1203ea3d-aff1-4a85-b4b3-7e7252d7f8e3

Dating in your mid-30s is a mixed bag at best and a minefield at worst.

People who are single and unmarried at this age tend to either be a) going through a divorce, b) in a state of perpetual childhood, or c) hung up on an ex. Often they are all three at once.

I wrote recently about a promising guy (let’s call him J) I had begun to date. He was cute, charming, older, 4 years divorced and very, very past that relationship. He’d had one other long term relationship in the past 4 years but that too was very over, according to him. We were attracted and had a blast every time we were together, which was quite frequently over the course of several weeks. We talked everyday and texted sweet, flirty messages non-stop. It was fun and romantic and butterflies, all the beginning good things to a relationship.

After three weeks of dating, J asked me to ‘go steady’ and date exclusively. He called me his girlfriend and while I wondered if we might be moving too fast, I was open and willing to keep exploring what we had with this level of commitment and intention. We’re both older so why not date seriously? See where this thing could go?

Then a couple of weeks later … a bomb went off. His ex showed up. The ex-girlfriend, not ex-wife. Apparently she had sensed that he was dating someone and wound up on his doorstep, begging him for another chance. Which left J with a decision … continue to take a risk with an unknown (me) or go back to what he had previously known and had loved very much at one time (her).

He opted for the latter. And while it hurt when he told me, I understood and was grateful he ended things with me swiftly and honestly. We’d only been together a short amount of time and he had a longer history with this woman… albeit a very toxic and co-dependent one (according to him). However, if someone isn’t over their past, there is no way they can ever be ready for a new future. No matter how hopeful and promising that future might look.

I was hurt and a little upset, mostly at how he had rushed things emotionally while he clearly still had lingering feelings for someone else. But then I realized … how could I be angry at him when I had been there too, the year and a half after I had my heart broken?

I have written about this many times but after I endured a painful breakup with the man I was wildly and deeply in love with, I was an absolute wreck. And I dated a lot of men.

I tried so hard to move past that breakup, but I did it in all the wrong ways. I wanted to leap into something new, with everything I had, so I could distract myself from thoughts of the relationship – and the man – that crushed my heart. It was completely unfair to anyone I dated that year. I should’ve sat with my grief for longer, I should’ve stayed single and alone until my heart had healed, and I definitely shouldn’t have dated … but I did. And because I wasn’t healed from my past, I was an emotional wrecking ball, just crashing my way through the men I attempted to build a connection with during that year.

Luckily, the men were savvy enough to see my wounds clearly for what they were. And they were gentle with me, even while I was combusting on a semi-regular basis.

I thought of this when J told me about his desire to get back with his ex. He too had done what I had done. He was rushing things with me in order to forget the pain of his previous relationship ending. He had laid it on thick with me … talking about future plans, promising things he shouldn’t or couldn’t promise … because if he’d been truly honest with himself and with me, he would’ve admitted he wasn’t over his ex.

And there it is … that elusive ticking time bomb. The ex factor.

Continue reading “The Ex factor”

The fuck is your life: Thoughts on death

giphy (13)

The other day, death stopped by.

My life wasn’t in danger, neither was the life anyone I know really well and love dearly. It was more like a chat … like one might have over afternoon tea. Only it wasn’t much of a conversation, more like a statement said in passing … and then me reeling to process it.

I was warming up my lunch in the break room of my beautiful downtown office, staring out the 9th floor-to-ceiling windows, and all of a sudden I felt heavy .. weary.

Death brushed by my shoulder. He whispered in my ear.

“One day you will die.” 

And then he was gone.

What a dick, right?

I just stood there, staring out the window at the building workers on the roof of the building next to mine. They were close to the edge and not much separated them from the vast expanse below, just a flimsy little rope fence. It would be so easy to fall.

Those words hit me and I realized that one day this will all be gone, these buildings, these streets, these men … and I won’t be here. I won’t see what the world becomes. And all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with the weight (or lack thereof) of my own existence.

As I stared at the workers, I thought about that morning and how some asshole had cut me off and I was so angry I flipped him off. I thought about how stressful my job can be at times. I thought about the men I have loved, so greatly, only to have my heart wrecked. I thought about drunken nights with my best friend and laughing so hard my face and stomach ache. I thought about how annoyed I get when my phone rings, no matter who it is that’s calling. I thought about how lonely I’ve been these last few years. I thought about how all of my friendships are important, yes, but sometimes I wonder how close we really are (well, with the exception of Ash). And then, I thought about my life … and it’s impermanence … and I wondered … does my life mean anything?

What is my life?

I thought about all of this, the good and the bad. And then I thought … I have no idea what happens to us when we die. I have faith, but I don’t know what it’s like to die. I don’t know what’s on the other side. Maybe there’s nothing at all. This life is colorful. Is death the opposite of that? Is death … just darkness?

“One day you will die.”

This is something we know, every day. We know we will die one day, even if we don’t think about that often. We know in the back of our minds that this life is temporary and impermanent. We know we will die and yet … and yet … do I ever take the time to really think on it? No. Because thinking about death is heavy. Painful. Difficult. Thinking about death can be paralyzing. That day it was.

Continue reading “The fuck is your life: Thoughts on death”

The Hard Way

51E8930A-A3CB-422F-86E0-58AE55294AC8

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”

I feel like this must’ve been what the universe (or God) asked my fresh, new soul before it sent me spiraling down to earth.

And until recently, I would say my dumb ass soul must’ve answered  ‘the hard way’.

I have often said that this is how I tend to learn things. The hard way. Not everything, but most things. Sometimes this is because while I can read about certain experiences and hear pre-emptive advice, I tend to not retain it unless I’ve gone through the same experience. I learn better through application.

Sometimes, however, learning ‘the hard way’ has been because I am STUBBORN AF and I have a rebel tendency. So even if I have a situation in which I can apply really great advice, I might not. My dumb, hopeful, rebellious heart will try to hold out for a different conclusion. It’s frustrating at times. But for me, once I learn something the hard way, I really do get it. On a soul and core level.

Here are a few truths I’ve learned the hard way.

1) It’s really important to take your car in if it makes some weird crunching noise when you turn … because if not, your tire might fly off.

2) Do NOT try to nudge a couch that is blocking your path with your vehicle … or it might dent your door and make it impossible to open it fully ever again.

3) If you have a messy, heartbreak of a situation with a guy, you shouldn’t continue to show up at his bar with your rabble-rousing friends.

4) DO NOT – I REPEAT – DO NOT DATE A BARTENDER AT YOUR FAVORITE BAR. No man is worth losing your favorite bar. NO. MAN. The bar is forever.

5) If a guy tells you he’s not ready for a relationship, listen to him and don’t try to change his mind.

Ahem. So … most of my ‘hard learned’ lessons clearly tend to deal with love and relationships.

Continue reading “The Hard Way”