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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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 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”

Chickens and Dancing: Thoughts on being single

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The greatest part of being single is the chicken. Hear me out.

When I was married (and then in subsequent relationships), I would often buy those yummy delicious rotisserie chickens from Kroger for dinner for us. They are quite literally one of my most favorite things in the world. The first time I bought one of those whole chickens as a single girl I legit rejoiced. BOTH drumsticks were mine. BOTH wings. All the best parts of the chicken. And I didn’t have to share it with ANYONE. I swear I could hear the trumpets sound.

As I sit here in the aftermath of yet another failed attempt at a thing (I mean, can we even call three months a relationship?), there are a lot of things I’m pondering. It’s easy to get caught up in the blame game. Usually this is the point when I start really beating myself up and obsessing over every little mistake and each anxious outburst, but that’s not helpful. The good news is that this time I have finally found a few resources that are helping me discern what actually happened as it relates to me. And it’s giving me tools for any future relationships. I have homework, I have some takeaways and for that I am truly grateful.

Yes, there is work to do. And yes, I am doing it. But for now … for now, I am single. And there are SO many things to rejoice about. For starters, the chicken. The WHOLE chicken.

As a woman who once broke it off with a guy who ate food off her plate (multiple times without asking AND while using his bare hands), I cannot stress the value of this enough.

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In Praise of Promiscuity (Part 1): The fuck-it list

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I was 21 before I learned to masturbate.

Up till then I hid my naked body from myself most of the time. I didn’t really even look at it when showering. 

Weird? Yes. But I was raised Southern Baptist and sexual sin was considered the greatest. Honestly, I think I was afraid of my body and what was ‘down there’. In addition, I’d taken the true love waits pledge and seriously believed I would wait to even KISS a guy until my wedding day.

My body scared me, boys scared me, all the sexual TERMS scared me. Blow job. Doggy style. Eating … I mean, what?? I had to often pretend like I knew what my friends were discussing, then run home and ask my mom which was even more embarrassing and terrifying. 

When I started to explore myself sexually, I had no clue what I was doing. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to figure ‘it’ out but from all the conversations I’d had with friends about it, it seemed like it was something I was gonna have to do eventually and I was pretty sick of being alone. I kind of felt like my V-card was becoming a burden. I thought if I figured out how to, you know, pleasure myself I’d have a higher chance of actually losing my virginity.

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Happy Anniversary to me

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It’s been a year. A whole year. Since my heart was broken for the very first time. 

It was the thing I was most petrified of my whole life. Surrendering your heart to someone and having them break it, hand it back to you and walk away. Rejection. To be quite honest, that was likely a major reason why it took me 8 years to work up the courage to leave my ex in the first place. Heartbreak was something I was petrified of, how could I possibly do that to him, even if breaking up was the best thing for both of us?

This time last year, I was 34 and heartbroken. And to make matters worse, I live in the neighborhood he works. Ugh. Needless to say, it became complicated and mired. Humiliating. People expect a woman at my age to know what to do in a situation like this, to have already gone through heartbreak and to have learned how to do it gracefully. I didn’t. I’d never had that experience. Not to say that I’d never experienced hurt or rejection – I had many times during the course of my 8 year relationship as well, little hurts and indifferences and small cruelties that sting and break your heart slowly. But this was different. This time I had truly ‘fallen’ in love. It got messy. I didn’t understand ’no contact’ and why that’s integral to moving on with some dignity. In some ways it was like I was 16 in my heart, having my high school sweetheart break up with me and it felt like I would never recover. 

I don’t know that I’m ready to talk about that relationship in great detail just yet. But I’m gonna try to unpack it, at least a little bit, because it’s the anniversary of us ending and that actually seems like something to celebrate. You see, he was an unavailable man. I warned you, I have done some very cringe-worthy shit. This is one of those things. I was the other woman. 

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Dating with Anxiety (Part 2): Or how I’m learning to give myself a break

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Last time I talked about some painful things. My anxiety and how that has really become a burden while dating and embarking on a new relationship.

One of the biggest things I’m learning is how to have compassion for myself. And to see things in a clearer perspective (vs the nagging negative voice that has repeatedly told me I’m too much of a burden for anyone, I’ll never be able to have the life or love I truly desire, etc etc). 

Four years ago I walked away from a safe space. A marriage and a home with a man who I might not have been in love with, but someone who I did care for, who cared for me (well, most of the time) and who was my partner. I shared everything with this man – my ups and downs, good and bad.  It might’ve been unhealthy, unkind, even indifferent but it was certain. I, a person with very intense anxiety, walked away from a very certain and stable future. Did I mention I walked away from a HOME? We had this beautiful home we remodeled. It had a yard. And vaulted ceilings. Sigh. I had safety and security but emotionally we were totally empty.

Walking away from the stability was GD scary. There were moments I was worried I had a brain tumor. My whole self, my entire identity (to a degree), was shifting. I was … becoming me. It was a rebirth in a sense. I knew it had to be done and yet there was a vast amount of time spent going WTF is wrong with me.

Continue reading “Dating with Anxiety (Part 2): Or how I’m learning to give myself a break”

Dating with Anxiety: How to lose a guy in 10 days … or three months

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I’ve been trying to think about what my next article should be … for about a month now. I’ve been stumped. Why? Partly because I truly want to sound cool and I want to be Carrie Bradshaw. I freaking love her. Sex and the Big D. I feel like my posts should be about single girl adventures and fun, flirty lessons … and while I do have some crazy adventures from time to time, the lessons are rarely fun and flirty and they’re really starting to beat me up.

I started this blog for me right? And I must stay true to that. To the authenticity of this project. Warts and anxiety and repeated mistakes and all.

During the past month I ended a very short-lived but promising relationship with a guy I was growing fond of … and I traveled to Bali alone. But in reverse order. Soon I will write about Bali, but for now I need to talk about that short-lived relationship.

Ok … to be honest, I’m still processing the relationship. I am sad that it has ended though I was the one who opted to call it quits. I miss him … or do I? I don’t know. The honest truth is I have overwhelming anxiety at the beginning of relationships. Oh let’s be honest, I have overwhelming anxiety throughout ALL of my romantic relationships. I have carried these deep fears of abandonment since childhood and I am only just now, at 35, starting to understand them. Starting to really see the damage NOT addressing them is doing to me and my future happiness. 

Continue reading “Dating with Anxiety: How to lose a guy in 10 days … or three months”

The Big D: Divorced

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I’ve been trying to think of a clever way to start this part of my life’s tale but I came up short. To be blunt, I’m exhausted thinking about writing this. Just as you’re likely exhausted at the thought of reading it. Divorce. Blech. What can I say about divorce that hasn’t already been said? Nothing. What advice could I give? Honestly … nothing, except be wary of who you marry but that’s been said a gazillion times already. And those of us who have been divorced were likely choosing a person because we believed they WERE it. In fact, I was married after being in a relationship for 6 years. I was very VERY wary. And still here I am … divorced.

I have no insights for you. The only ones I have are my own and they are for me and my life and I’m not sure I understand them fully either. Quite frankly, if you read this you might end up hating me by the end. But I came here to tell the truth and so the truth I will tell.

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