i felt like me today

The new year — despite all the political crazy that comes with it — has definitely brought a shift in energy for me, and I so needed it! I’ve been slowly getting better… a lot of “two steps forward, one step back” kind of progress. Still some total meltdowns. And today, I felt unexpectedly confident, buoyant, … normal… like the me I was a year ago, before I got caught in grief’s powerful undertow. And I noticed and acknowledged this amazing feeling.

Since the new year, I’ve been reading a much-needed resource on meditation and practicing sometimes twice a day. Getting back into this self-care routine has helped. Then, a recent bout of despair led me to an entirely new insight about a story I tell myself… You see, I’m one of those children who was “an accident.” (My children, by the way, are both blessings who arrived on their own schedule — language is powerful — and I’ve always wanted two children.) So, even though my parents were and are loving and are still very much a part of my life, I must have translated this knowledge to something along the lines of feeling unwanted. That’s a painful and lonely realization — but, having had the realization, I can finally begin to do the work to let go of that baggage.

I’d already been working on releasing loneliness, aloneness and other adjacent sort of feelings that seemed relevant to the shit storm of triggers during Dec. 2015 through Feb. 2016. Probably some shame and abandonment, too, and hella anger. After hitting on the unwanted emotion and doing some meditation and tapping to release it, something shifted and I had an entirely new perspective.

Today’s positive mental health is definitely cause for celebration, but I have more work to do… Here’s something I’ve learned over the past year:

There’s no way around grief. You have to feel it, sit with it, wade through it. Even so, there comes a point where thinking about it triggers an automatic response in the body, which the body becomes addicted to, and then the chemicals in the body generate the thought and it becomes a vicious cycle. Lee’s departure was a big trigger for this pattern in me. Despite the months that have passed, it felt like a fresh wound and an ancient scar at once. My body has become addicted to feeling the heartache — and to break the addiction, I’ll have to use my brain as well as cleanse my body of these chemicals. I’m also going to check into a trauma acupuncturist who was recommended by a friend, because that’s what I’ve felt around my heart — a deep, unhealed trauma. I like the thought of asking for help in this way.

Now, I’m off for my nightly meditation.

And get ready… after being a sad sack for the better part of a year, Momma’s getting her mojo back!

besieged by emotional earthquakes

Not earthquakes, really; more like tremors. A shaking and unease where there ought to be some foundation. Anxiety about the mountains of work awaiting after the holiday, overwhelm about the housework, too much time cooped up in a house with only my children with the weather too cold to go out and enjoy it.

Seems I feel this way every year in the interim between Christmas and New Years. Not sure why, really.

This year I had insulation put into my walls — a messy proposition. The interiors of every exterior wall of our home had holes drilled every 16″ between the studs and insulation blown in. Then workers filled each of these holes with a styrofoam disk and slathered them in drywall mud.

After two days of dust, noise and workers, I was left with my belongings piled in the center of each room and covered in plastic covered with a thick layer of dust, patches that required sanding and some re-patching and sanding again, then priming, painting, cleaning and more cleaning. I’m still painting and putting things back in place.

The good news is that several consecutive ten to twelve hour days of cleaning took my mind off the existential tremors of insecurity about my work, my life, my finances, my future, etc.

Next year, remind me to go to Mexico instead.

forget the guys; I’m falling in love with myself!

It turns out that the guy I thought might be a keeper is no longer around. And that kind of surprised me, actually. I was eager to come back from spring break and take things to the next level…like stop meeting or dating other guys, go to bed together, etc… In fact, I hadn’t really written about him nor shared stories about him, because I didn’t want to jinx it.

Here’s what happened:  he broke a date with me via text with only hours to spare. I understand that the situation was out of his control but, even after learning he had to work, he had waited hours to let me know. I expressed that I wished he’d taken a moment to call, as I feel it’s more considerate and compassionate. I never heard a word back from the dude…which pretty much demonstrates that he’s not willing or able to meet my emotional needs. Thing is, I’m not tremendously needy, I’d just like for my feelings to be taken into consideration…so that doesn’t say much for him.

I’ve continued to meet other new men lately, as well, though no one I could call “special” at this point.

  • One seemed very serious and wanted me to be very interested in his work. I wasn’t. I was able to bring out his playful side and I may even give it a second chance (even though he’s a Scorpio).
  • I met another Scorpio who’s an entrepreneur, boyishly charming and irreverent and really fun! Again, not sure this will go anywhere, but I’m enjoying myself for now.
  • There’s the soft-spoken, slow-moving guy in the suburbs…I don’t know what to think about him. He’s good-looking and kind, but might not have a college degree (and, yeah, it kinda matters). I have difficulty keeping the conversation flowing and I’m trying to determine whether it’s simply because he’s shy. Not sure what will come of that…

Even while there are more guys in my inbox, I’m just not that into it…again. I’m not yet experiencing that special something that makes me want to leap, to take a risk… One grows weary after a while. So I’m thinking of taking another break to focus on falling in love with me, on putting my own feelings first, to treating myself like a princess — you know, all that self-work you’re clued into knowing you need based on the feedback you receive from the world (like not meeting anyone you really want to see again).

So if you don’t hear from me in the next few days, I’ll be reading a juicy novel, blowing out my hair, doing yoga, getting a massage, catching up with girlfriends, painting my nails or simply loving my life as it is! I believe self-love attracts love, but I’m gonna spend more time thinking about me than concerning myself with any sort of end game.

Stay tuned; coming up in the new few days, I’ll review my advance copy of Erika Lyremark’s upcoming book, “Think Like a Stripper: Business Lessons to Up Your Confidence, Attract More Clients & Rule Your Market.”

climbing up and out

Surely you’re getting tired of hearing of my recent outrage and heartache. I agree; it does make me dull. It is therefore my pleasure to inform you that I am 48 hours into taking an herbal serotonin enhancer and have, thus, begun the climb up and out of the hole I’ve been in since…hmm…maybe mid December.

I mentioned that I’m prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder. There is the lack of sunlight, holiday stress, the cold… Compound this with a January rejection and, next thing I know, I’m regularly in tears with little to no provocation. The challenge is that it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between normal, everyday malaise, sadness / grief or desire to hibernate and real, genuine depression. This time, I realized I wasn’t able to pull myself up and out on my own.

I’ve found that these are some of the clues that let me know when to get some help:

  • When there’s a part of my mind that is obsessing about something out of my control, and I seem powerless to let it go. (Normally I have a grip; really I do.)
  • When my mental acuity and focus become elusive, and it’s difficult to concentrate.
  • When more swearwords than usual come out of my lips in any given day, or my brain-to-mouth filter seems especially defective. (Given that I’m already capable of cursing like a longshoreman, this can get really, um…spectacular.)
  • When I am angry or teary three days in a row.
  • When I can’t seem to bring myself back around to gratitude or happiness from feelings of resentment or pain.
  • When a beer commercial brings me to tears.

Over the years, I’ve learned to compensate for these feelings; I’ve learned to smile in spite of them, to put forth a brave face. Probably many in my life — even close friends — wouldn’t guess what I’m going through. These days, however, I’m getting real:  I’m much more open to sharing what I’m going through with friends and, especially, talking with my children about mental health, their genetic risks, tools and strategies, and responsibility. I hope they’ll grow up understanding that we all have varying degrees of mental and physical health throughout life, with some of us more prone than others to specific types of illness, and that there should be no stigma associated with either kind of disease.

It can be difficult to see how deeply one has sunk until one begins that long climb up and can see from where one’s come. I’m already feeling marginally better, and I’m looking forward to having a much healthier perspective within a few days.

the fear

Having gone to bed the other night blissing out as love, abundance and sweetness, it was super weird to wake the next morning feeling abject fear; a fear that took a long time to shake; fear for no immediate or apparent reason.

When one wakes feeling something like that, one has to wonder:

  • What was I dreaming, just prior to having woken, to feel this way, so incredibly different from how I’d fallen asleep feeling? And, if that’s the case, I’m glad I don’t remember my dream.
  • Is it possible that, in digesting meat I’d eaten the night before, the chemicals of their fear were what I was experiencing? Not kidding, I’ve wondered about this before and it makes me contemplate eating a more vegetarian-based diet.
  • Was it my body releasing some of my own deeply buried and previously unprocessed fear, peeling back yet another layer of the proverbial onion?
  • A counselor once told me that it’s natural for us to relive the moment of our birth when we wake — could that have been it? Was I really in such terror as I exited the birth canal? Seems reasonable that I might have been.
  • Or is fear just that healthy sign, as I read in some email or blog recently (I’d link if I could find it), that I’m moving the right direction? Am I? I think so.

Whatever the case, it seemed like aeons before I was able to pull myself together emotionally. Luckily, life, children, work and even the laundry forces me to keep going, even when I’m more inclined to cower in the corner.

At some point, the feeling dissipated…but the weirdness of it all — waking up feeling so 180 from where I was just hours before — stayed with me long enough to inspire me to write about it. Do you ever feel that way?


Something subtle shifted inside me recently.

This subtle shift manifested in an external change that caught more than just me off guard. Evidently I’ve become comfortable enough in my young relationship to use a sort of shorthand. Among friends, I’ve begun referring to “the man I’ve been seeing” as simply “my boyfriend.”

A sharp girlfriend was quick to point out this slip over a glass of wine recently. I shrugged and admitted that I’m comfortable and enjoying it.

And then I had to think about it for awhile. Perhaps I hadn’t really wrapped my head around what two people in an exclusive relationship might call each other.

After I’d thought about it for awhile, I realized that this is what I’d wanted. All those first dates — meeting complete strangers through a computer screen — were about getting to where I am at this moment:  I have a boyfriend. I am in a relationship. I don’t know where this is going, but I’m enjoying getting and giving attention, being romantic, holding hands, kissing. I am happy.

Perhaps it sounds strange that I’d agreed to be exclusive awhile back and hadn’t yet thought of “the man I’ve been seeing” as “my boyfriend.” Perhaps it’s because I don’t particularly like to be called a “girlfriend” (except by my girlfriends), or perhaps it’s just taken me awhile to wrap my head around the concept of a new, positive relationship that may have some potential, or perhaps I’ve just had a lagging mental indicator based on my absolute conviction to take things slowly. At any rate, my brain finally appears to be catching up.

I have a boyfriend. And there is a smile on my face.

(And there is a part of me that is terrified to hit “publish” on the off-chance that saying so just might jinx it…)

the hundred-year cry

You’ve heard of hundred-year floods or hundred-year storms…well, today may be the day of the hundred-year cry.

A confluence of factors, including losing my favorite shades over the weekend, scaring off yet another bloke and a once-monthly flood of hormones have collided to create the ideal conditions for this sort of emotional release. In fact, it’s likely to be a necessity.

So how did I scare away the fellow you ask? Uh, not sure. I seem to be the one- or two-date queen these days (more often my choice). I suck at this dating stuff. I admit it. I haven’t dated in well over a decade. Neither did I have good relationship models  in my formative years — and my last relationship was disastrous. My ex used verbal manipulations and silence to control his environment — is it any wonder my communication skills are a little rough?

In this case, I’m not sure what it was that I said…I only meant to have a quick chat, feeling bloody awful as I did with hormone brain and allergies…my mind was too foggy for any serious discussion. And serious this gentleman is. It seemed he suddenly realized, though I said so before, that I am a mostly full-time parent…and then he was backpedaling:  I could call him when I have time, I could call him when my vibrator batteries run out (this was actually quite funny at the time, based on an earlier joke in our conversation), maybe we could be friends…after all, seems I don’t really have time to date…

What did I say? Probably too much, as usual. And probably not the right things to keep him interested. Somehow I failed to spit out:

  • That I’m willing to find babysitters or neighbors to allow me time out, especially for a man who interests me.
  • That I found him physically attractive.
  • That I was genuinely interested in getting to know him better.
  • That he seemed far too substantive to be a substitute dildo.

Perhaps more importantly, I’m not sure I conveyed a level of enthusiasm on par with his own. And then it faded…

Why? Well…I’m scared and I’m out of practice. I’ve never been in sales. My heart got broken. It’s healed bigger and more open than it was before. But it’s still a little tender and I’m still a little guarded. I am trying. And I find it difficult to show my true feelings so early. I don’t want to seem over-eager or desperate. But I am trying to be present and open and take the right kind of risks. I suppose there’s something in this that seems like game-playing, though I have neither the intent nor skill.

I know this guy’s done me a favor by opting out early. I respect and appreciate that. Still, there’s a little part of me that feels like I’ve failed…again. I wanted to get past the “interview” stage, to get to the hand-holding and tender touches, to connect, to feel a man’s soft lips touch mine, and to experience regular conversation and touch that I’ve been missing for so long. Something that seemed so natural for so much of my youth seems so elusive now, particularly in the bizarre, forced world of online dating. Another opportunity slipped away…

And that’s why this won’t be your run-of-the-mill monthly release; it’s going to be a serious cathartic experience.

the pity party’s over

Admittedly, I was feeling like a bit of a brat earlier this week. The moment I got over my bad mood, my focus turned to other tasks at hand…namely, some baking and other preparations for an event to benefit a neighborhood family whose son has cancer.

In other words, I am reminded once again that I am blessed beyond measure. My children are healthy. I am healthy. And that is enough for me to be content.

to hell in a handbasket

Mostly I’ve been feeling great lately — confident and optimistic — so it’s been frustrating for the past couple of days to full stuck in the mud, overwhelmed…as though this place is going to hell in a handbasket.

Yesterday, I came home to towels and sand everywhere and a messy kitchen (thank you, nanny!). Naturally, as I tried to clean up, the disposal crapped out. Suddenly, I felt completely overwhelmed…both tactically and financially! I don’t have the time to accomplish all I need to, nor the resources to hire it done. I’m paying for a car and a new roof for the house and the garage, full-time summer childcare, I’m trying to find a way to take the children on a road trip, and I just don’t need any more stuff to go wrong right now. Between working full-time and parenting full-time and scheduling the oil changes and dentist appointments and haircuts and planning a vacation and the weather, when in the hell am I going to cut the grass, much less fix something I don’t know how to fix?!

I hate feeling this way…and, worse, I hate myself for allowing myself to feel this way!

It is at this point (in my self-pity) that I realize that there is a part of me, deep inside, that resists trying to solve this problem. I simply expect a man to come along and fix it. That’s what my father always did. And that was certainly a part of what I expected of my mate…who is no longer my mate, of my own volition. I am a run-of-the-mill, Disney-variety damsel in distress, a caricature! (Enter more self-loathing…) It was not always entirely this way…I was all about diving in to ownership (in every sense of the word) when I bought my first condo…

I am nothing if not resourceful, I tell myself, so I reach out…My social networks tell me to try hitting the reset button on the bottom of my disposal and, if that doesn’t work, get an allen wrench and try to give it a crank to see if it gets unstuck. Reset fails. There are several sets of allen wrenches in the basement, I’m certain, yet I can’t find a single one, much less an entire one of those handy-dandy sets I know I’ve seen down there before. And I do mean plural…my father has seen to that.

And now, though I asked him to leave, this is when the anger and resentment at my ex percolates back up:  I am alone without my male rescuer. The basement is a complete mess, and he just left it that way. I can’t find anything! I don’t know what he’s left here or what he’s taken with him. I blame him for allowing the children to take over the “workshop.” I blame him for the disposal not working. I blame him for my being in this completely overwhelming project of a fixer-upper house…this was the house he wanted above all others, while I wanted to keep looking. There, I said it. Clearly, despite efforts to that end, I have not yet purged all of the baggage of “us,” and I have not entirely accepted full responsibility for my life. I am a victim. (Ewww…that feels so gross!)

Yes, the self-pity came on strong. I wanted to throw my hands in the air and say, “I can’t do this!” And then, maybe, through releasing the fear, doubt and hopelessness out into the atmosphere, it would dissipate and the fearless woman in me would prevail…

As I happens, I made a healthy dinner, got a start on the lawn, a helpful neighbor fixed my disposal and I gave the roofer a final check for his work, which will be complete tomorrow. And, while I can’t be entirely sure that check won’t bounce, my outlook is so much sunnier now!

am I over-analyzing all of this?

It was recently suggested to me (by an attractive man) that I might be over-analyzing all of this relationship stuff… I suppose that could be a fair supposition for a reader to make. Here, I’ll share part of my response…

“Indulge me as I share a story:

When I was pregnant with my daughter and began (around the 7th month) to feel the sheer panic that comes with the realization that this lovely little floaty bubble of bliss would, at some point burst, and then a head the size of a cantaloupe was going to come out of (and would likely tear to shreds) a much smaller hole / passageway…I went to the birthing classes and watched the reality birth stories on TLC. One thing I observed was that so many women would, in a moment of contraction agony, utter:  “I can’t do this.” And I remember thinking they were ridiculous! I mean, we’re women, our bodies are MADE for this! I had my doula, my (drug-free) natural birthing plan, my body had been in the best shape of my entire life when I got pregnant, and — even though I was occasionally visited by the sheer terror I mentioned earlier — I was confident that I would be champ at labor and birth.

Fast forward to several hours into labor, when the pain got ahead of me and I could no longer ride it like a wave, and I could no longer relax or rest between contractions…this is the thought that came into my head:  “I can’t do this.” And I thought it for a bit, meanwhile putting on my brave face and trying not to clamp my jaws together on the nearest arm and finally I, too, like those women on the shows, uttered those words, “I can’t do this.” Predictably, everyone around me jumped in with, “Yes you can!”s and other encouragement…but words or encouragement weren’t what I needed. What I needed was to speak my doubt aloud, release it of its power and move on…

I guess my blog is kind of like that. I don’t over-analyze everything…I think it, write it, release it and move on. Yes, there are areas of my life in which I’ve tried to be intentional…and then released those thoughts out into the universe. I’m probably more introspective and self-aware than many, likely more honest and bare…and that’s what I needed to do with this — I needed to explore being honest with myself, being completely vulnerable and to commit to writing all the time. (Frankly, I’ve had enough of this failed relationship introspection already — I’m ready to get out and live again!) Meanwhile, this space is also a great venue in which to cop a bit of a diva attitude that I rarely display in real life. So…if you’re going to read it, please try not to read too much into the very limited view it might offer…

While there are certain things that I’ve shared here that remain true — e.g. I do, at some point…maybe a few years in the future… want to be in a life-affirming, committed relationship — what I think I’m ready for has changed constantly since I began writing about it. One day, I think it would be peachy to find a lover who is willing to explore and share new heights of pleasure, and who might also be a confidante. Another day, I find I’m holding back my natural sensuality because I don’t want to lead with physical attraction, I want to find an emotional connection. And at another time, I think the most lovely thing in the world would be to enjoy a conversation, maybe hold hands, maybe smooch a little (okay, not gonna lie, a make-out session sounds spectacular!). I want adventure! Or a little candlelight and some romance! I’m making peace with all of the different aspects of myself and integrating my energy. I feel lighthearted and playful and whole in way that I can’t claim to have felt in years. It’s wonderful…I’m living in the present moment. And I feel amazing!

My entire adult life has been lived in shades of gray, sometimes with too few guard rails… After being pretty lost for a bit, grasping for anything that seemed solid, while being conscious about what I’m trying to create, I am wide open to allowing things to unfold, to “let go to the mystery”…in fact, I’d prefer to be surprised. At this moment, I have no pre-conceived notions about what my next relationship might be like or how long it will last…I can only suspect (given my parenting schedule), that it’s likely to unfold slowly. And that’s okay with me. I’m navigating moment to moment… Whatever I think I might want in the long run, the only way to move forward is to take small steps — meeting people, going out, having fun…”

Then I wrote that I have fun with him…and to please not mistake reading the blog for experiencing / knowing the woman who writes it.

What do you think of that, my kind readers?