Clean up your mess

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I have been single for 5 years now. And I haven’t lived with someone in nearly 4 years.

When I first moved out of the house I shared with my ex, I was ecstatic at the idea of living by myself. Having complete say over what kind of decor to purchase, how the house was kept up, etc etc.

At first, it was amazing. I kept my apartment fairly immaculate. I painted giant canvases for my walls with Ash. I sought out color coordinated pillows and decorations. I cleaned every weekend. I found interesting local art to hang. I made my home a place I wanted to be and hoped others would want to be as well.

However, after years of being single, my standards began to decline and I now believe I have become TOO comfortable with living on my own.

How?

Well, I let the dishes pile up. I sometimes let the housework slide a week or two before I really clean (ok .. maybe three weeks). I honestly don’t remember the last time I did the floors (omg wait … have I even done the floors ONCE?).

I live as if no one might see my home … ever. I am NOT the house maker woman with an immaculately clean home that smells of fresh baked cookies, complete with pinterest-worthy decor. That shit stopped once my dogs began to destroy my adorable color coordinated pillows.

My art hangs on the wall off centered and eclectic. Nothing matches. I have some glade air fresheners but I doubt it masks the rampant dog scent that well. When I lost my belongings last year, I settled for some hand-me-down furniture which included a worn-out teal green fabric lazyboy and an old futon. Seriously.

My home does not look like it belongs to a successful mid-30s female with aspirations of being a wife. I have lived basically like a lonely bachelor. Messy and unkempt and I have been ok with that. Until now.

I recently started dating again.

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The Hard Way

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“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.

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How to be happy single

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I have been single now for the past 4 years. During that time, I’ve had a handful of really short-lived things and one devastating little affair, but for the most part I’ve been alone and single for 4 long years.

And for the first time, maybe EVER, I am finally happy that this is true. Like … happy happy. Like my life is so full, my-cup-runneth-over type happy. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but seriously I am truly, finally enjoying my singledom. And no, not in this I’m-single-so-I’m-on-the-prowl-dating-all-the-hot-men kind of way. But in the I’m-single-and-I’m-really-happy-alone-binge-watching-old-shows-and-reading-good-books kind of way.

I’m just … happy. Going out, staying in, whatever. There are the occasional bumps, because life is bumpy, but none of them have to do with me being single really. So here are my full-proof steps for getting to a place where you’re absurdly happy being single.

(Note: Ok so these aren’t full-proof, that’s an overstatement. And absurdly is a bit of an exaggeration too. These are basically ‘My unproven steps to getting to a place of general happiness most of the time being single’. Yeah. That’s more accurate.)

 

Step 1: Have your heart broken twice, preferably by the same man.

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It doesn’t actually have to be twice, sometimes one will suffice. But get your heart good and broken. Like good and BROKEN. The more devastating the better. I mean, stop you in your tracks, staring-at-his-picture-and-his-love-notes-for-hours kind of broken. Tears, wailing, binge eating. The works. Sweat pants, no showers, serious weight gain. Like I said, the messier the better. Oh and if you can add in getting banned from his bar, then you’re well on your way to true happiness, my friend.

(Note:  A devastating breakup is not mandatory. Neither is a bar banning. If not applicable, please proceed to step 2.)

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The Big D: Dating (Part 2) – Cheers to all the ones who weren’t ‘the one’

 

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I had kind of an a-ha moment the other day.

It came after a friend asked me if I’d ever been to Uchi, this really amazing sushi restaurant. I was like, yes, I had a really great date there and the food was to die for. Then in the same day the same friend asked me if I had ever been to Meddlesome Moth and I was like, yeah, another great date, different guy. Then it hit me … a lot of the really amazing experiences I’ve had in my life have come while dating different men at different times … and I’m starting to think that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve said it before in my posts, but I have quite literally dated almost all of Dallas. It might seem like an exaggeration but I’m not so sure it is. One of the purposes of this project for me, though, is to write it all down, every good memory, every bad one. Part of that is so that I can unburden myself, put the bad parts and the baggage into words and set it free. Another reason is I want to remember the good, in detail, because this checkered past is a beautiful mess that deserves to be remembered.

When I look back at my record, sometimes I can get really discouraged. So many dates, so few true connections and even fewer have turned into anything more than a 2-3 date situation.

However, like I said, I recently had an a-ha moment.

What if all the guys I’ve dated who weren’t ‘it’, who didn’t last, who got off on the wrong foot, who had terrible timing, who for whatever reason just didn’t work out … what if they weren’t failures.

What if they were all meant to give me a unique experience that was completely necessary and special, but also singular and temporary.

So with that, I want to pay homage to the men in my single, dating experience that gave great ‘date’. The men that came in, even if just briefly, and through contact with them I learned something else about me. I grew a little bit stronger, a little more self aware and whole lot ballsier. They may have been short-lived, but man were they fun while they lasted.

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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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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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