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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Flying Solo (Part 2): Facing fears in Bali

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I felt like I was in a movie.

I was racing with my taxi driver, Wyan, to see the sunset at the Uluwatu Temple. This temple is built at the edge of a 70 meter high cliff jutting into the sea and the views of the sunset were said to be spectacular. Not to be missed.

This was the third day of my solo trip to Bali and I most definitely did NOT want to miss this view, nor did I want to spend another day fighting traffic to try and reach the temple a second time. We were stuck in a massive traffic jam up a windy two lane road. We weren’t going to make it by car, that much was becoming clear … so we made a split second decision. A guy on a motorbike passed us (he was the motorbike equivalent of a taxi), we flagged him down, I hopped out of my taxi and onto the back of the bike, put on my helmet and he raced me to the temple, weaving in and out of cars with mere inches to spare.

He was a pro. I had nothing to worry about and yet I clung to him like a spider monkey. In short, I was TERRIFIED.

The motorbikes were the fastest way to travel in Bali as the roads are narrow and windy and there are very few street lights or stop signs … which mean traffic jams galore. A motorbike allows you the freedom to get around an major blockages quickly, but I was too afraid to drive one and had been (up till then) too afraid to hop on the back of one.

But I wasn’t gonna miss the temple. And now we were racing up up up up the cliff and the sun was just starting to set. It was absurdly breathtaking even on the back of his bike. I had a moment. Another one of those beautiful moments of supreme gratitude. And supreme pride. And supreme wonder.

I made it.

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Cliffs at Uluwatu Temple

 

And I did make it. Not just to the top of the cliff to watch the gorgeous sunset but also to this glorious time in my life where I was taking risks and saying yes and living the adventurous life I’d always wanted, but never believed I was capable of.

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Mobs, Magic and Bruno Mars

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I really really really reeeeeaaaalllly want to be in a flash mob.

This revelation came to me the other day while I was at the gym and the Bruno Mars song “Marry You” came on. I hadn’t heard it in a really long time. (Awkward fact: one of the last times I heard it was the night of my surprise bachelorette party.)

That song … well, it’s cheesy but there’s something glittery and giddy and hopelessly romantic about it. It’s about being in the moment. And trusting your gut and heart while simultaneously rebelling against traditional wisdom. It seems magical and wonderful and beautiful to me.

After I heard that song in the gym, I couldn’t get it out of my head. So later I went and tried to look up the music video. I came across one that claimed to be the ‘official music video’ though that seems doubtful. However, in it, there’s a flash mob that performs in the middle of what looks to be a crowded square. At the end of the song/dance one of the dancers proposes to his girlfriend and swoon. How incredibly, dramatically, stupidly romantic.

It was while watching the video and listening to that song that I had a sobering moment. For some reason, I couldn’t feel all the giddy feelings that song used to elicit. I heard the words, even sang them and they made me feel happy on a surface level, but deep down I couldn’t believe them.

I couldn’t swallow the romance. The hope, the fairytale belief … it was gone.

I felt like warning the girl (both the real one in the video and the figurative one the song is written for), ‘hey, it’s likely it’s not going to work out so DON’T go all in’. And it made me sad. Where has my belief gone? Where has my hopelessly romantic heart hidden itself?

I’ve never wanted to be the wounded, guarded girl who is too bruised to believe in fairytales. And it hurt me to realize that somewhere in these last four years and all the heartache it contained, I have become this woman.

Or … have I?

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Rebels and Resolutions

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One of my NY resolutions was to write a blog post every week.

Sigh. I have already failed at this.

It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been trying to write a New Years resolution/goals post for the past couple of weeks now. Had a few thoughts .. but kept getting sidetracked and distracted and then I’d go back to what I’d written and think, ugh, I don’t wanna finish this.

I’ve always struggled with this part. The discipline part of any personal project. And I recently learned why. And (hopefully) a few tricks for overcoming it.

My best friend has been reading a book called The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. Basically it breaks down the driving forces behind why we act … and why we DON’T act. We all have a natural way of responding to expectations and we all are motivated to work in different ways. Some are motivated by external forces only (Obligers), some by both external and internal forces (Upholders), some are motivated if they understand the WHY behind a course of action (Questioners) … and some (like me) aren’t motivated by anything.

We’re the Rebels.

Sounds cool, right? Let me assure you, it isn’t.

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The year of the B

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2017 was a total bitch.

(And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.)

For me, this year was particularly brutal. And littered with other B words as well. Breakups. Bar bannings. Bed-Bugs. Black eyes. Bail bonds.

Like I said …. brutal.

I follow numerology (lightly) and 2017 was a 9 year for me.  It’s the final year of a 9 year cycle and it’s theme is about endings and closings and ridding yourself of anything that might hinder the next 9 year cycle.  It can be easy, if you’re willing to let things go and accept the lessons you’ve been given over the past 9 years.

Or it can be difficult, if you’re like me and stubborn AF.

I stupidly chose the latter, refusing to let go and fighting these lessons and this year with a vengeance. And the 9 year fought back. Hard.

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The Dating Apocalypse: Or how dating in your 30s is a lot like the Walking Dead

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His face is haggard, his eyes tired, but he misses nothing. His body, though broken, is strong and poised to strike at a moment’s notice. He is sizing up this stranger to see whether or not he’s a threat.

“How many walkers have you killed?” “How many people have you killed?” “Why?”

If you’re familiar with The Walking Dead, you know that when Rick Grimes and his crew meet new people they might want to bring into their group they ask them these three questions. These questions are loaded and heavy and quickly cut to the heart of a persons character. And they MUST be answered before he’ll even consider bringing a new person into the fold. It was while watching him ask these questions on an episode recently that I had an a-ha moment.

Rick Grimes and I are basically the same person.  Yup.

His character is trying to survive the wasteland that is America after the zombie apocalypse happens.  I am trying to survive the wasteland that is the dating scene in Dallas in my mid-30’s.

IT IS BASICALLY THE SAME THING. Just kidding … but, no really … kinda the same. Let me tell you why.

Continue reading “The Dating Apocalypse: Or how dating in your 30s is a lot like the Walking Dead”

Thoughts on being brave (and my new love for Tracee Ellis Ross)

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My life is mine. Woah.

I heard these words recently when listening to Tracee Ellis Ross’ speech for Glamour’s 2017 Women of the Year Summit.  In that speech she discusses how being an incredibly successful woman in her mid-40s seems to be forever overshadowed by the fact that she is still single and childless. 

“Oh, you just haven’t found the right guy yet.” 

“What are you going to DO?” 

“Oh, you poor thing… WHY is someone like you still single?,” 

people ask her (and all single women), thinking it’s a compliment. When in fact it often undermines our entire existence. As if being single and manless/childless is our burden and our one defining factor.

Tracee went on to describe how during a particular season in her life, after breaking up with a guy she loved to date other people, she was journaling about this. About what I’m sure felt like guilt over wanting to date other people and not being in a relationship with a man she still loved (just (I’m assuming) not in the right way). She wrote down the words ‘My life is mine.’ And it stopped her in her tracks.

It stopped me in my tracks the other day while listening to that speech. My life is MINE.

What does that even mean? What does that look like when I really embrace it?

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Flying Solo (Part 1): Bali, bedbugs and break-ups

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If it weren’t for the bedbugs, I would’ve never gone to Bali.

I thought about that as I stood in the immigration line after a grueling, fairly inebriated 33 hour flight. I was tired but I had made it and I had a ‘holy shit’ moment. Me? I’m here? How did I get here? How did this small town girl wind up solo in Bali? 

Well, it all started with a song and a book (of course). 

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