because I think you should know what you’re getting in to

I love the story in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed in which she talks about making a list of her greatest faults for her beloved, to ensure he knows what he’s getting in to. And so, below, I think I’ll give it a crack…because…

In the case that you were the one, I’d want you to know some things about me. I mean, I’m far from perfect. And I think you should have a clear idea of what you’re getting in to before we talk commitment:

  • I like a lot of attention. A lot! And when I don’t get it, I have been known to become sulky and surly and childish and petulant. And I behave like a brat. And the best thing you can do at this point is hold me in your arms and tell me (and the little girl inside) that you love me and don’t mean to neglect me and ask for forgiveness.
  • I am impatient. I want it done yesterday…or several months ago. When I want something, I’m not particularly good at waiting for it. So if I ask you for something, it means I’ve been thinking about it and analyzing this desire inside and finally determining that I really do want it and, by this time, I’ve wanted it for quite some time and the likelihood of my having any patience is slim. Act decisively!
  • I’m vain. If you don’t tell me that I’m beautiful or that I look nice or that you like my figure every so often, I’m going to feel hurt.
  • I am opinionated and vocal. I will state my opinions as fact, as though they are the very word of God. And you will not want to touch that statement with a ten foot pole, you will want the conversation to be over, to let me have the last word. And the truth is that, the more strongly I state an opinion, the more desirable your challenge is. I want you to ask me to open my mind, to see another perspective…I want intellectual discussion and banter — it’s a huge turn on. This is not to say that I enjoy fighting or to create tension…I’m just looking for a man who can “stand up to me” intellectually, is willing to call my smart chick bluff and can read the playfulness through the serious tone. Our life together would be so incredibly dull if you simply agreed with me all the time!
  • Yes, there is a “tone.” I don’t mean to nag or scold; yet, when I’m feeling misunderstood, I slow my speech and enunciate extremely clearly and this is most often interpreted as a cold or harsh tone that means something which does not at all match my intention…which is only to be heard and understood.
  • I can be inappropriate. The filter between my brain and mouth is either malfunctioning or non-existent. And I’m okay with that, because I like blurting out what everyone’s thinking, but no one has the gonads to say aloud.
  • I can curse a blue streak. I am genuinely kind and loving to the humans in my life and around me, unless you are the a$$h*le who can’t step on the gas as I race to pick my children up by 6pm. When tired, irritated or stressed, the string of expletives that can come out of my mouth would shock a longshoreman. The subjects of my rated R rants are typically inanimate objects (misplaced/hiding theatre tickets for the show that begins in 30 minutes, for example) or traffic (let’s be frank, I’m talking about other drivers here…slow and/or bad drivers — and aren’t they really the same thing, after all?). And sometimes these expletives make appearances in front of little ears, and my children know better than to use that sort of language anyway and they make me put money in a piggy bank for it, which they think will one day pay for a fabulous vacation. We should all be so lucky!
  • I’ve been known to judge a book by its cover…or, rather, a man by his looks. In my defense, I shall once again blame the stars and offer that, as a Libra, I am drawn to beauty. I wish that I could simply look into a man’s heart and feel love for the way he treats me. Those things are incredibly important, but he also has to earn a decent living and be attractive to me. And spend quality time with me and touch a lot and give gifts…
  • I hate dishonesty! I think it is perhaps one of the very worst shortcomings a human can have. And because I feel so strongly, I am positively sure there must be some mirror effect at play and that there is an element of dishonesty in me. It sucks to even have to consider or confess it. And then I would swear that, if it’s true, I would only ever be dishonest to protect another…which is probably also bullshit.
I’m sure I could go on, but I’m already exhausted!
Who could put up with a woman like this? Actually, I see a lot of men every day who are putting up with much worse…and that gives me hope. Still, I continue to try to evolve. I truly do desire only to love and do good in the world…but I’m hoping I can do that and retain a little bit of my edgy wit!

my eyes are on the prize

The theme for the past week or so is keeping my eyes on the prize. It’s popped up in dialogue with friends, in horoscopes, on the radio…

So what is the prize?

Well…it’s not any of the men I’ve written about here, regardless of how much I’m intrigued by or adore them. It’s not my current day job.

The prize is enjoying life now.

The prize is spending quality time with my children.

The prize is good health.

The prize is a healthy, loving relationship.

The prize is fulfilling work that shares something positive with the world.

how to write goals with feeling

Awhile ago, I read a great article in O about goals and creating.

Author Martha Beck advises writing down what you think you want. For example, “I want to lose 30 pounds.” Or, “I want to start a business.”

Then ask yourself how you think you’ll feel when you’ve accomplished your goal. For the first it may be, “I’ll feel fit, energetic, confident” and for the second it may be “I’ll finally feel in control of my life, freedom.”

Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what we think we want and the way we want to feel. For instance, many people who start a business feel anything but free or in control — in fact, they may feel as though they’re always working and that life is more stressful than it was before. And for some, a weight loss goal may seem overly daunting.

So the author recommends using adjectives to help you re-write your goals, beginning with how you want to feel. If you want to feel “fit, energetic and confident,” your goal may seem more specific and achievable, and you can support your goal with smaller and achievable steps like “eat more vegetables, exercise regularly, take a pole dancing or burlesque class.” And, if you manage to take those small, manageable steps toward feeling the way you want, you may find yourself on your way to losing 30 pounds after all.

So when it comes to feeling more in control of my work-life balance, income and freedom…well, I haven’t figured that one out quite yet.

…and what are you up to?

So if you’re sensing that I haven’t been as full-on committed to the quality of posts or storytelling in this blog recently, you’d be right. Thus, I’m going to give you a little glimpse into what I’ve been up to:

  • I wrote a children’s book (obviously much cleaner than what I write about here), I’m working with an illustrator and raising the funds to get it published on I hope you’ll support the project!
  • I began a new gig that has me commuting across town, working all day and racing back after work to try and pick the children up before I have to pay a late penalty.
  • I signed up for an online course to brush up on some new media skills.
  • I wrote a down-and-dirty business plan for a statewide entrepreneurial competition. (I’ve been feeling overwhelmed enough so that, when I asked myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” and arrived at being selected for the next round, because then I’d have to commit to further work on it…well, I figured I have nothing to lose.)
  • I’m exploring the possibility of buying a business that I’ve admired from afar for some time.

Additionally, I’ve been working on summer arrangements for my children, car shopping, getting a new roof, trying to keep up with the house and yard work, and failing miserably at maintaining my exercise and meditation routines. And, while I’ve taken a break from the online dating game, I’m actually checking in to other sites that might prove more fruitful, either because of sheer volume or who knows? There are some cool concepts out there that I want to try…which you may hear about if I find I’m inspired to write about them.

After a few-month period of shedding and releasing just about anything “extra,” it seems I’m now doing my damnedest to bite off way more than I can chew. You know me by now:  always trying to find my balance, I struggle with wondering whether I’m genuinely pursuing multiple passions or if I’m just throwing a bunch of shit at various walls to see what will stick. I am, in fact, a bit overwhelmed, and yet I’m managing my stress much better than when I was in the social pressure cooker of my old work life. I’m just plugging away, step by step, working toward my passions, knowing that the “right” things will fall in to line naturally.

And, with that, I’m gonna go and get my “om” on, and follow it with some zzzzz. Dream sweetly!

can’t wait to get me some Chi-guy (part 4)

About 8 months ago…

All this flirting with Chi-guy was beginning to show some promise. I had finally made up my mind on the sex question and the answer was Yes! I was definitely excited by the thought of getting physical with him, and I was beginning to think that he might actually be ready to go there, too.

Thus, my texts, emails and conversations with him, while entirely genuine and from my heart, were definitely directional in nature. I wanted to feel confident, when I next traveled to Chicago, that we were on the same page. I was leading the conversation, looking for proof positive that he was thinking the same thing.

Meanwhile, the work I was doing this trip would require a day of running around, doing errands. I asked Chi-guy to spend the day with me; I needed a local with a car to assist, I argued. He would be compensated, and it would be a win-win, costing less than the car rental, parking and lost time if I were doing it all myself. I would take him out that night — off the clock, of course — to celebrate his upcoming birthday over dinner. He agreed.

I made flight arrangements, thinking ahead to fly in early Friday and fly out mid-day Monday, so that I (we) would have the opportunity sleep in that final morning.

Things were going well. I was feeling confident. He texted things like:  “Good morning, Goddess. What are you up to?”

And I:  “Oh, the usual Goddess stuff…listening to a little Kate Bush, dancing in the kitchen, saving the world, etc…”

We had even exchanged some suggestive (though less risqué than prime time television) photos, which is how I know the specific brand of boxer briefs he wears.

The week before my trip, I took a road-trip with my children. As we drove through the countryside, I saw an exit sign for a town with Chi-guy’s last name on it. I texted him a photo.

He shot back:  “Oh, yeah, I’m also the Mayor there in my spare time.”

I texted:  “Well, your Honor, what do I have to do to get into your CKs?”

Him:  “Nothing. You don’t even have to say ‘please.'”

Even writing about it today, I can feel the joy flood through my body. I was immediately relaxed, happy and confident that things were going my way. As a matter of fact, when my girlfriends asked about my prospects in Chicago, I smiled coyly and used the words “locked and loaded.”

The few days before my trip, I coasted on this confident knowing. Chi-guy was silent. Finally, two days before I flew, I texted him:  “SO EXCITED to see you this Friday!”

He texted:  “Oh, sorry, change of plans. Can’t make it.”

After an initial moment of shock, I thought it must be a joke…still, I couldn’t be sure. I didn’t know him that well…

Me:  “Bummer!”

Him:  “Just kidding. Looking forward to seeing you, too.”

This is what I call douchebag humor. Douchebag humor is when a man has a perfectly decent opportunity to pay an amazing compliment and, instead, chooses to try to be funny because it’s more satisfying to his own ego. In other words, if you are the woman on the receiving end of douchebag humor, you know how un-funny it is!

And, even though he had paid me a half-assed compliment in the end, “looking forward to seeing you” was stiff and formal compared to my “SO EXCITED” gushiness. He was running hot and cold, sending mixed messages…something was going on with him…

I decided to stay positive. After all, what single guy — after more than a decade of married sex — would turn down the opportunity to go to bed with a long-time crush?!


vacation planning

About a year ago…

I was SO stressed out! The children knew we were getting a divorce and I was counting the days until my husband would vacate our home. Winter was raging. I needed a break!

With some trepidation, I approached my boss:  “I’m thinking of taking a two-week vacation with the children while my husband moves out.”

To my surprise, she was very supportive. “Do what you need to do,” she said.

So it was decided. I looked for and bought airline tickets, made plans with the children’s teachers, reached out to friends and relatives on the coast and began to form a plan. Max, of course, was among my friends in the region we’d be visiting.

To my surprise, he was the first to respond with an email, “I think you need to come and stay with us. We have an extra room for you.”

Wow! I was intrigued, titillated, flattered and VERY hesitant.

I confessed the news of Max’s offer to my coworkers in the morning as we met for coffee. “Absolutely not,” my boss advised. “That is a horrible idea!” The other gals agreed that it was quite sweet for him to offer, but sympathized with how difficult it might be for me.

My life was turning into one big swirl of crazy:  one of my girlfriends was leaving her husband for another man, another married girlfriend was exploring her sexuality outside of her marriage, and yet another friend suggested, “Maybe Max and his wife are in to threesomes.”

All this weirdness drove me straight to my counsellor’s office, where I told her every last detail about what was going on in my life and all around me and, of course, about Max…with whom I was pondering staying for part of my family vacation.

Finally she remarked, “It sounds as though you and Max have developed a good friendship. Staying with him and his wife could be very good for you. Being around the example of a healthy, loving relationship may be just what you need.”

Whew! Finally I could confess that I had come to the same conclusion. It would be good to spend time with Max and his wife and children. And having my children there as well would provide remarkably solid guard rails against any temptation I might have.

Still, I felt I had to call Max to discuss:

“Thank you for your generous offer to let us stay with you,” I began. “Have you discussed with your wife?”

“Of course,” he said. “She’s looking forward to seeing you.”

“I hope you’ll understand if I take some time to think about it,” I went on. “It might be kind of difficult for me emotionally, and I’m not sure I’m feeling that strong.”

“Okay,” he said doubtfully, as though he couldn’t possibly understand how this might be an emotional dilemma for me. “We’d love to have you. And the children are eager to make love new friends.”

“I’ll let you know, ” I said and said good-bye.

I suspect men have a lot more practice being friends with women who they find attractive. Personally, I don’t recall having much experience having platonic relationships with men I’ve been drawn to physically and emotionally. Determining how to just be friends with Max was a new challenge for me. And I had no confidence that I’d be any good at it.

telling the children

about a year ago…

We sat down in the living room on a snowy Saturday morning to tell the children that we didn’t want to be together anymore, and that Daddy would be moving out. It should have been obvious to me that he would throw me under the bus:  he clarified, “this is what Mommy wants.”

My younger was emotional; my older merely shrugged. The discussion was over almost before it began, and I later wondered why I had held so much fear about this moment. It was certainly something I had never wanted to do. I never wanted to have to tell my children that what they knew as a family could no longer remain intact. And yet somehow, at least my oldest, had known it was coming.

The children and I put on our wraps and went out to play in the snow. My older child, my daughter, was met at the playground by her best friend who, upon hearing the news, lamented, “That is so sad. My parents promised never to get a divorce.”

“Yes,” I said. “It is very sad.” I explained that I never would have wanted this for my children nor for myself. “You see the way your parents treat one another:  they talk with each other, touch and laugh together. Your parents are best friends. I would have loved that kind of partnership. But, as you’ve seen, we didn’t have that.”

Children have such a beautiful and authentic way of expressing themselves. I did my best to match that authenticity in sharing with my daughter’s friend, and on a level that all three children might hear and understand. In so doing, I was immediately reassured that the three of us, my children and I, would be all right after all.

I knew there would be difficult conversations, hurt and pointed questions from my children. What I did not anticipate was my own confidence and clarity in speaking to them. My own honesty and directness in this and other teaching moments has been a pleasant door open to trust and dialogue.

the right way to do it

A male work colleague and I have a standing bi-monthly lunch date. He is probably as familiar with my failed marriage saga as anyone, having lent a sympathetic ear along the way.

The last time we met, he asked me about the back-end logistics, the shared parenting, the legal details. And then he confessed that he and his wife had been deep in crisis, had discussed divorce and had gone so far as to sit down and develop their plan:

She would get the house, they would share parenting time, etc. It was then that she told him that he would have to find a place nearby, that they should still cooperate and share children’s birthdays, spend holidays together and more. He balked at being told where he had to live, and he was even more flabbergasted that she would think they could transition smoothly from marriage to best friends. Ultimately, they both realized that, even as a divorced couple, their expectations were going to be vastly different.

…which may be how they realized that they could just as easily work through those differing expectations within their marriage, because life wasn’t going to be easier or better outside of it. In planning every last detail of their landscape, they realized the grass really wasn’t going to get any greener. They acted maturely and decided to recommit to their marriage.

Although it may not work for everyone, I applaud their approach and maturity. And I congratulate them on developing their plans early enough for the possibility of staying together to occur as a viable choice for them both.

visualizing change

My 2011 Vision Board

I have some pretty major transformations planned for the coming year, as I mentioned earlier. So I thought creating a vision board would be a smart way to begin my New Year, a visual reminder of all the goals and dreams and desires I’ve been jotting down for myself. So many of us, myself included, often respond more deeply to a combination of words and imagery. Also, for an impatient soul like myself, for whom changes cannot come quickly enough, I’m hoping it will help me manifest more quickly and effortlessly. I plan to hang this board in my room as a daily reminder of the new energy I’m welcoming.

I’ve included imagery to reflect changes I’d like to make in my career and income, relationships, health (more vegetables and more yoga!), home, experiences, friendships and romantic relationships. I’ve included words to describe the best of my qualities, those I’d like to emphasize — such as savvy, resilient, optimistic, authentic, soft, irreverent, confident and captivating. Yeah, I like that last one, too!

Creating this vision board was a time-consuming process and a labor of love. I spent literally hours cutting words and images from old magazines and catalogs, focusing on those that evoke feelings I want more than actual things. I would like to remodel my bathroom, but rather than spell it out, I simply included a photo of a sleek, modern bathroom. I used words like “warm” and “comfort” for my home. I allowed myself to include photos of two very specific wants:  and iPad and new car, in part because I feel certain and confident in wanting these. For some of my less tangible desires — socialization and community — it resonates more to use aspirational words, combined with my heartfelt intent, to ask for the universe’s help in welcoming what’s right into my life.

For relationships, I cut out a wide swath of material — even including diamonds and diamond rings, and the words “engagement” and “commitment.” When it came time to paste these to my poster, I realized that words like “romance,” “unforgettable moments” and “touch” resonated the most with what I feel comfortable welcoming into my life for the coming year, along with the words “trust, thoughtful, kindness and good humor” to describe the qualities in a man I’d love to invite into my life. I left off the diamonds for now.

Right in the middle of my collage, I placed two key themes:  “choose wisely” to keep myself focused and “receive more than you imagined possible” to remind myself to be open to the divine plan.

When I awoke that first morning and went to visually absorb my work, I had to take several deep breaths to process through some fear. Why? Well… I want a lot! Having suppressed so many of my desires for so long while in my dysfunctional marriage, it feels a little scary to let myself want again. I’ll have to erase a few scripts — e.g. “to want things is materialistic” — that came with the relationship and release my fears as I go.

I have enough left over verbiage clipped from magazines to craft several crude ransom notes — some of it stronger, bolder language than I felt comfortable using just now.  I think I’ll keep these for next year’s vision board. I might feel better about opening myself to even more abundance and possibility next year — maybe even those words and images that welcome and invite a partner into my life.

what to do with the ring?

About six month ago…

While traveling together, a co-worker asked, “Can I ask you a personal question?”

“Sure,” I said, “but I may decline to answer…”

“What will you do with your ring?”

Without hesitation (I’ve thought about this before), I replied, “I’m going to have the stones re-set into a new, ‘Let Freedom Ring’ for my right hand.”

“That is so awesome!” she exclaimed. “And unexpected. The second I blurted it out, I regretted asking in the first place. And your answer makes me so glad I did. Good for you!”

It may be awhile before the “Let Freedom Ring” becomes a priority (or a financial possibility). But my ring meant a lot to me when I wore it. It was difficult to make the decision to take it off. I invested a lot of love and tears into the commitment those diamonds symbolized, and I intend to continue wearing them — but, going forward, they will symbolize my commitment to myself.