Monday, December 23, 2013

Year End Wrap Up

I can honestly say I am ending the year in a better place than when it started.  It was a year of mainly solitude. More focus on myself, taking care of myself, finding enjoyment in what I’m doing. And when the end of the year came, it clicked - having love for myself in my heart. The illusive thing that has been missing for all of these years. The thing I thought impossible to have.  I don’t know how or why it just clicked, but things look so differently now.  It is still early days, still one day at a time. But the constant reminder that no matter what happens, I am ok, is a nicer undertone that I’ve ever had before.

Things with Chap are continuing well. Again, still early days, still one day at a time. It has been nice to have someone to share things with. It is hard having him so far away though.

So a few bits of exciting news. I accepted a job offer to be the head of marketing for a company!  This was my career goal since..well since before I could articulate it as a career goal. I am so excited for the new position and it feels amazing to have achieved that goal.

In the interim, I am taking 2 weeks off between my current job and the new one - and I’m going to visit Chap!

This year has been a lot of work and it’s nice to see some payoff as the year ends and the new year begins.

As for the blog...I don’t know if anyone is still out there. I started this blog so people in the same situation wouldn’t feel as isolated as I did - know there is someone else out there fighting similar battles and feeling the same way. But it may be time to wrap this up….

Monday, December 16, 2013

One Day at a Time

He came back. I was resistant, hesitant, doubtful, but he made his case - he owned up to everything that had happened and said he panicked. That once it ended, he realized what had happened and that he didn’t want to let me go. He made no promises for the future, only that what is between us is worth working toward and he wants to do the work.

I thought if I gave him another chance, my friends and family would call me a fool. I gave him so many chances to hurt me. On the other hand, if I didn’t give him a chance, would I always wonder what could have been?  And honestly, is there any girl on the planet that can say no when someone says deep things that sound like they are out of a romance movie? It is what every girl wants to hear. I am cautious that the actions need to follow.

So I cautiously said ok, that the pace needs to slow way down and the intensity needs to come down. Although he apologized for that and said it was his fault, I take ownership of part of that as well. I open up so easily and show someone the vulnerable parts of myself before they earn it. I set both my hopes and expectations high, believing things will work out, merely because you “like” someone.  That part of me needs to grow up. Being open and vulnerable certainly takes a lot of strength but I have much to offer and that should be earned through the other person’s actions.

So I’m giving it a chance. Because he is long distance and a few things are influx personally on both sides, we haven’t set a date to see each other. I’m not even sure if he can sit through the uncertainty long enough to get to the point we are ready to set a trip to visit.  I hope he can. Hopes high, but no expectations. One day at a time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How could you?

I am not going to sugar-coat, the end with Chap HURTS! It hurts bad. The night after it happened I literally couldn’t fall asleep because my heart ached so much. I laid there and mustered all of my strength not to contact him, not to tell him how much he hurt me. Because I knew there was no point, I knew I needed to let go, and I knew the ache was my heart letting go of something it had hoped so hard for.

Instead of reminiscing of the wonderful things he said to me, how amazing it felt to be together, I started thinking about how unfair all of this has been. How badly he treated me from his fears. How drained I felt providing constant reassurance that I would be true and this would work out.  How betrayed I felt during that last fight when he turned good parts of me into bad and made blanket hurtful statements about me that no one who truly cared about me would ever believe. No one who truly knew me would ever believe.

I want to shout at him:  How could you”?  How could you do this? How could you let your fears win over the connection we felt. That connection was real and strong. The “good” part of you fit so well with me. Why did you insist it was impossible this could work and then went and made it impossible - all on your own? Why couldn’t you open up and feel all of the good? Believe that it could just be good?  Believe in my feelings for you?  What an idiot!  What a waste!  Don’t ever talk to me again, you cold-hearted, twisted liar. You accused me of being capable of lying when I was nothing but true, but you told yourself lies about me and then you believed them!  How could you!!!!

If this is what I really feel then why does it hurt so badly and why do I have such an urge to reach out to him? To connect with him one more time. When I know he is capable of such single-handed hurt and destruction.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Having love in your heart for yourself

On S-day last week (my “dark day”), I took a good look at why that day is so hard for me. I’ve been carrying around three years of fears about
a) can I be a single mom? A good mom? and support Grace?  Yes!  I am doing just fine at that!  
b) will Grace carry the scars of an only child of divorce?  No - she is perfectly well adjusted, her situation is so different from my own parents’ divorce.
c) did the affair mean that I would never be loved? Was I truly unloveable?

That last question was really my only one remaining pain. And a wise person pointed out to me that I can choose to have love for myself in my heart. The only person that exists is who I am today, in this present moment. I can go back and tell past versions of me that they are loved.  But every day I can make the decision to say “I love me”.

The wise person said that what comes into our lives is a reflection of how we view ourselves. I asked if that means I brought on the affair. She said, “Do I think you drove him to the affair? No, that was his choice. But answer this honestly: if you had love for yourself in your heart, would you have married him?”  I said “No”, and she said “In that way, you allowed someone who was capable of acting that way close to you. And when you love yourself, you will not allow those people close.”

So instead of viewing it as a dark day, I realized it is really a great day of change. For so long I’ve thought “poor me, this bad situation happened and now life is so hard”. Instead, it is really “a bad situation happened and now I have the opportunity to change me to bring in more good things”.  From that day (which was just on Friday), I’ve been telling myself all sorts of things that I love about myself.

It was also during this shift in thinking that I stopped defending myself against Chap’s groundless accusations and started standing my ground, when he started apologizing.  It was also during this shift over the weekend that things with Chap ended. Is it possible that with love for myself in my heart, I knew the loving thing to do was to let this relationship go? That as the wise person said - would I allow someone close to me to treat me poorly? Because the relationship was not loving to me. It was undermining all of the work I was doing on myself - by allowing someone close to me who would make me feel badly about myself.

For my part in the Chap situation, I placed so much hope on this because it was filling a void that I have. I knew after that first week that I was taking a huge risk on someone who had already accused me of untrue things once. Someone who had deep seated issues and needed to do his own work. I stuck with it because I wanted someone to fill that void.  If I had love in my heart for myself from that first week, I would have said “Thanks, but no thanks” and left it where it was.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sometimes letting go is the most loving thing to do

Things ended with Chap. The quick and dirty version is that once again, I told him of one of my vulnerabilities (go me, that takes courage!) and he took a tiny shred of the truth and twisted it around to support his fear that I was not trustworthy. I spent an entire day defending myself and convincing him that what he was saying was not true, until finally I stopped defending and stood my ground - and then he apologized. He owned the entire thing and said he wanted to change. I was hesitant to even more forward, as the things he said to me during the time when his fear took over were really harsh. He took good things about me and twisted them around into bad. He made me feel badly about myself!  Who does that?

The next day I tried to say I was still uneasy about what happened. I was going to ask to find a time to have a good old fashioned conversation to sort out this pattern and find a way to work together to break it going forward. A way to handle things differently that would be positive for both of us. However, he latched right on to my uneasiness and used it to say that he apologized and I’m still upset with him and it is unsustainable if I won’t just accept it.

Though I reiterated over and over that I was trying to open a conversation about the cycle, not the details of what happened - he held on to his story that this is too much and it needs to be let go.

Everyone has their own truth. He constructed a story to support his fears that this couldn’t work out, he literally made it a self-fulfilling prophecy.  My truth is that I did my part WELL!  I was strong, positive, supportive. And when he says “this is too all much”, I know it is not me, it is his trust issues and the stress the distance causes him. He cannot for one minute honestly say I did anything to contribute to this not working, but he can weave his story of half truths and twisted facts to ease his conscience that he gave up on something that had a lot of potential.

It is only causing me more stress coming up with knotted explanations of why he told me last week I am everything he looks for and why this week “it is all too much and he needs to leave it”.  Here is what I know to be true: The first week we met, he told me three things: 1) he sometimes accuses girls of things that didn’t really happen 2) he cuts and runs really quickly 3) he was scared because of this he would hurt me.  He did all three of those things. And now I am hurt.

But I stayed true to myself. I didn’t bend to try to please him or make his issues better. I stood my ground and knew my worth.  I was a dreamer, I looked at who he could be and didn’t pay attention to who he was telling me he was - in his words “I am not a person who can handle distance”.  That is the truest fact of all.

We exchanged a few emails where I made it clear my hope had been to work together and grow together. But without trust, it can’t grow. And if something isn’t growing, sometimes letting go is the most loving thing to do.

Friday, December 6, 2013

“Tears hydrate the ground at our feet and who know what is going to grow”

Today is s-day = the milestone name I’ve given to the anniversary of when I kicked my husband out (aka separated). Make no mistake, me kicking him out does not mean I ended the marriage. He ended the marriage, he just wanted to continue living at home.  This PTSD effects of this day (entire week) plague me each year, and this year is no exception. So in honor of S-Day, I will share a quote that Anne Lamott wisely stated, that set my ears ringing and lifted my heart, during her Super Soul Sunday interview with Oprah: “Tears hydrate the ground at our feet and who know what is going to grow”. - Anne Lamott

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"How do you feel?"

Little Buddha asked me how I feel about Chap. Not how he feels and what he is thinking, as much of our conversations have been focused on, but how I feel.  How does she always know the exact right question to ask? Aside from being swept up, when I really stop to take stock in how I feel, I really REALLY anxious. All of the time. It is hard to focus and nearly impossible to be present anywhere. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for him to disappear. Bracing myself for the fallout and telling myself it will be fine, no matter what happens.  Because nothing good seems to stick for me. Is that true or is that just my fear talking?  Perhaps that’s why Buddhist practice non-attachment..

I'm constantly wondering if he is thinking of me, what he is thinking of me, if I think more of him than he does me, etc.  I am literally so consumed by fear that this is not real or that maybe this really is real - that it is taking up all of the space where joy should be.

Don't get me wrong, when we are talking, I'm happy as a clam. But what does that matter if I'm on edge the rest of the time, if I let that seep into my every day life with Grace and with my friends, unable to be present with them.

What is wrong with me?? Why can't I get it through my thick skull that what he is or is not thinking is irrelevant because the only truth is that I am enough. It is the only true thing and the only thing that matters.  Why doesn't that release me from the throws of the anxiety of uncertainty?

I still feel like I reach out to him too much, keep checking to see if he's there. I've done a fairly good job of not controlling, not trying to manipulate it, more just a gentle nudge of "still there?" "ok".  "Still there now?" "ok".

What is your advice for this? I feel weak. I thought I was supposed to be strong and stay grounded in who I am, and I feel like I am failing at doing that.

“I'm all over the place, up and down, scattered, withdrawing, trying to find some elusive sense of serenity. The world can't give that serenity. The world can't give us peace. We can only find it in our hearts. I hate that. I know. But the good news is that by the same token, the world can't take it away.” ― Anne Lamott

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kids Waking Up at Night and Other Annoying Habits

I’ve been fighting an ongoing battle with Grace for the last few months to get her to sleep through the night.  From birth, she was an exemplary sleeper. Others marveled at my child’s ability to be on a schedule and sleep without the least bit of fuss.  Then, right before she turned 3, Grace started waking up at night, multiple times, every night. I am sure this is tiring for every Mom. Especially working Moms. And as a single mom, I can assure you, it is downright exhausting.

So last night, as she woke up and plodded downstairs in her adorable “footy PJs” and looked at me with her head tilted slightly downward and those big sad eyes, informing me of whatever was not quite right that was prohibiting her sleep (shadows, foot hurts, bunny feel on the floor - which is about 1 ft lower than her mattress), I met her cuteness with anger. How could she continue to wake up? How is she ever going to grow strong and healthy if she doesn’t sleep? Will she ever kick the cold that is currently plaguing her? Will this stunt her growth?  Will it stunt mine? Will I ever feel rested and sane again?

What I missed altogether from this cycle of sleep deprivation is to say thank you. Thank you that Grace is here to wake me up in the middle of the night.  Thank you that I am losing my sleep to such a worth human being.  Thank you for Grace.

"Hustling for Certainty"

He is opening up. Beyond all doubt, he is moving toward me, not away. At this point, I think it is only fair that he is given a name for reference, since he has been a recurring theme over the last 5 weeks or so - so he shall be called Chap.  

I would say that I didn’t expect it because my heart did not believe Chap could just cut things off. In my heart I believed that if he opened his eyes and removed his screen of distrust, he would see me. And that is exactly what happened. He told me that he looks at me different now; I am everything he looks for. He apologized multiple times for his doubt and distrust and said that I opened my home and my life to him, made him feel a part of something.  He said he is beginning to get past his trust issues and thanked me for that (to which I replied it has nothing to do with me, only he can choose to trust).

We are talking about the future again. We agreed not to hang out with anyone else until we see each other again. There isn’t much reference past the next time we see each other but that is enough for now. I wasn’t ready for it to end, and now it is not over. I think it should be taken week by week, visit by visit and see what is really there. If it is right, we will find a way to fight for it.  At least, that is my opinion.

He is still worried about logistics if he takes a new job. It will mean less potential time together in an already very long distance relationship.  This scares me. I had nightmares last night that he got the new job and he walked away. Although I think the new job makes things a bit more challenging, I am thankful to have something wonderful to figure out.  He says that new job means we stand less of a chance. I say the new job doesn’t change how we feel, and that is what matters right now.

So I’m holding my breathe. Holding it because he has panicked many times already. He takes a step toward me and then freezes. Then opens up and moves a bit closer, then freezes again. And each time he freezes, I panic that this will be the end.  So I’m holding my breathe that the step he has taking toward me will stick. That maybe, against all odds, he will continue to move toward me.  I’m holding my breathe that even if the other job comes through, the way way we feel will win out over and distance-caused challenges.

I can’t imagine what you must be thinking, reading all of this back and forth, back and forth. My head is spinning. It is a lot to process in a short amount of time. I feel like I’m temporarily suspended in an Alice and Wonderful type dream where you aren’t really sure what is what but you are compelled to go on and figure it out.

All I can say is when a tall, dark, handsome English man sweeps you off your feet, tells you everything you have thought someone should say, puts your needs before his, you are compelled to want more, to find a way to have more.

I am literally living in uncertainty between his fears and the implications of the potential new job. And history (and this blog) is a pretty clear indicator that uncertainty makes my anxiety skyrocket and I usually begin to flail around, reaching for any control possible. So I will focus on breathing, patient, peaceful breathes that will ground me in the one thing that is certain: I am enough, just being me.

“Sometimes when I think I'm praying for clarity, I'm really hustling for certainty. It's so hard for me to remember that there's a difference”. - Brene Brown

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Where is My Happy Ending?

Things change so fast, in the blink of an eye I went from feeling like I would never meet someone I would really click with, to being swept of my feet, and not it is a mess with a question mark that looks like it is sliding me right back to where I started - alone...and scared.

I realize the posts below mainly cover the disagreements over trust and the future, because, of course, that is what naturally occupies our minds. However, let me fill in the blanks. During the last month, he made me feel incredibly special. Swept me up faster and more completley than perhaps anyone else ever has. Told me endlessly how naturally beautiful that I am & that I don’t even see it (which I still don’t!). That I’m every guy’s dream. That he liked spending time with me, in my life, with my family. He talks about how kind and generous I am. He apologized for judging me, little by little he came to see me for who I am.  So although we had 3 heated discussions about trust and the future, we came back together all 3 times.  Even as we were having the discussions and even as it would seem the end was near, I knew in my heart it wasn’t. I could feel that there was more there, that neither of us could let go.

Originally, the plan going forward was that he was going to spend time locally with me for three months as part of his job. However, some things happened at his job and as a result he is considering taking a new position which would have him travel locally to where I am twice a year but only for brief periods.  I optimistically said we could find a way to extend those visits by adding on vacation, that I could visit him twice a year and he could even come here an additional two times on vacation. He said he feels this is not sustainable. And rather than trying for a bit to see how it goes, he is inclined to let go now, before we get more attached.

In my head, I was sure I would see him again. I didn't say "goodbye" when he left, I thought it was just "bye for now". I was planning to visit over New Years and one way or another he would travel back to my area for work, old job or new job.  It never occured to me that he would say let go now before we get any deeper in. I want to shout and scream that this isn’t fair. He continues to say how much he’d like to spend more time with me but between his trust issues and the pure logistics of dating long distance, he feels it doesn’t have a chance.  I, on the other hand, maintain my fairytale mindset that if you really want something, you find a way to make it happen. It isn’t ideal and it would take work, but nothing is impossible.  But the harsh reality is that he is saying he doesn’t want to try. He won’t work at it.

Nothing has been decided yet, but I am preparing myself.  As fast as he came into my life, he might be gone just as quickly.  It is weird thinking that he hasn’t always just been a part of my daily routine even though its been such a short amount of time. And it guts me to think he may no longer be a part of my daily routine.

Although I was sure during previous disagreements that we weren’t ready to let go, I am very scared that he is ready to let go this time. And maybe letting go is right - that scares me even more - unless this works out, either way I’m going to take a fall. So I can take the fall now or add three stories to it and take a much bigger fall later. Either way it will hurt. Why does it seem not possible that things can just work out? Where is my happy ending?

Monday, November 25, 2013

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ~Jack Kornfield

I had planned to refrain from any action, as outlined in the previous blog post. I actually did this for a while. But as discussions about a potential future with “him” arose, I defaulted back into my same pattern of feeling like I’m not enough. As he was expressing his concerns about seeing things that made it appear I was hiding something, I was getting more and more defensive trying to prove I am good person, I am enough. And what do you think when someone defends themselves? That they are hiding something, so it played right back into his trust issues. Eventually this was talked out, and we both came away with a better understanding of where the other person was coming from. However, it was beyond upsetting to me that once again, I was back to the little kid inside, hurting so badly, believing she was unlovable. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t even go out of my way to prove that I’m unlovable just to see if someone will stick around.  And the fell into the same familiar cycle for beating myself up for being so weak. I can twist myself into pretzels understanding where someone else is coming from, but when it comes to me, I lack all compassion.

After that conversation, he stuck around. So did I.  Both tentative, as it was much to process and his time staying locally was drawing to a close. But we came back together….again.

Over the weekend he left, returned to his home. Though I always knew it was inevitable, I did a great job of blocking it out of my head until reality hit me over my head like a 3 ton slab of stone. Ouch!  It hurt to have him leave. An empty spot left where so many warm memories were made.

Now it is a big question mark. He lives far away.  Far, far away. And we each have our issues, so communication would be more important than ever.  Not to mention, I am still healing. (Though one thing distance is great for is time...built in time that I can use for myself!).

If you took away his trust issue, he is who I am looking for. I knew it pretty early on (obviously as this has intensified over only a month). That is hard not to fight for. That is hard to let go of. But I can’t convince him that this is worth a shot, as I know I would not be truly at peace in a relationship unless I am with someone who wants to try as much (or maybe more!) that I do.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Knotted Explanations and Learning to Refrain

As it so happens with Pema Chodron’s thoughts for the week being impeccably timed and applicable to what is unfolding in my life, so it happens at church as well. This week the Pastor spoke on fear, with the overarching message being that there is a ton of scary stuff out there but God is always there. (God, love, universal force, whatever you want to call it, I'm not trying to convert anyone).  As the Pastor was speaking, I thought about my default reaction to any situation that causes high anxiety: Panic and come up with a knotted explanation to explain exactly what is going on so I feel I have control over the unknown - except coming up with knotted explanations changes nothing, they just force and heighten the issue and resulting anxiety, as I’ve now taking an unknown and forced it into an explainable box.  The other option being waiting through the anxiety until the truth of the situation becomes known to me, and dealing with it then.  Each and every time the truth of the matter becomes known, it is always less painful to deal with than the knotted explanation that I’ve forced upon myself.

The point of sermon was that while I am busy panicking and controlling, all the while, God or Love, is there. Whatever is underlying issue is, it will come out, it will heal. The panic is unnecessary. But without that trust that Love is there (Love in yourself, for yourself, from a force, I'm not specifically assigning this externally to a deity with a white beard, I think the force of Love is in you and around you), I freak out and feel the need to control the situation by naming it and making it knowable -- except that doing that prematurely, when I really don’t know what it is yet, makes more knots instead of simplifying which was the intended goal.

In practical application:
Great weekend with "him" (from the Clandestine Affair). Now that I am clear on his issues, versus mine, the pressure is gone. His issues are a deal-breaker for me. Maybe they are for him too but it doesn't really matter, it isn't something that I choose to spend my energy on.  Definitely disappointing but when one doors closes, another always opens, this I KNOW to be true.

Even with a great weekend, I feel a lot of anxiety about him.  However, instead of sending a barrage of texts trying to explain things, to control the situation before it gets out of control, I decided to sit and wait. I don't need to explain what I'm thinking, because I don't owe an explanation to anyone. While I don't know exactly why my anxiety is so high when it comes to him, I am choosing to let the unknown anxiety flow until my truth is known. Here's what I know: I have anxiety about him. That is what it is. But I'm refraining from controlling it and giving into the fear of having the anxiety.

I hesitated when writing this blog post, as it may sound like complete nonsense. It is hard to articulate but I sense this is a major shift in paths - now thinking "hmm, there is some anxiety, time to do something for myself" instead of "there is anxiety!!!! time to take action and alleviate this feeling!!!!!!!"

Friday, November 15, 2013

Clandestine Affair Part 3

Everyone said he would hurt me. He hurt me. I am now hurt. I wondered if I have some type of self-destructive wish but the truth is the opposite, I wanted so badly for this to be real. For something good to drop out of the sky. And everyone says things do not drop out of the sky. Yet I keep wishing they do. So when something that appears good drops out of the sky, instead of being patient and waiting to see what is really there, I rush to unwrap it, sure that this is the gift that was meant for me. My reward for the hard work.

That's the flaw in the thinking though...maybe good things do drop out of the sky - but putting the expectation on them that they are the reward, that is wrong. I'm supposed to be the reward for my hard work. Whatever is in the box is ancillary. Except right now, I'm still hoping to open a box that validates that I'm enough. I haven't validated it for myself. I placed that expectation on him.

People keep saying slow down, don't get caught up in someone so fast, romance doesn't happen that way - but other people will tell you that is exactly what happened to this. But none of this has to do with that. It is placing my need for validation externally. And in doing so, I make myself vulnerable and can end up hurt (usually do).

His trust issues hurt me. But I played a part too, I put my need for validation on him. It in no way excuses how he acted, but that was not fair of me to expect someone else to validate that I’m enough and would not set a good foundation for the future.

I would still like an apology because he pushed his fears on to me and said things about me that were not true. I really would like an apology for that.  And then we can acknowledge this is not a fit. Maybe in another lifetime. But not right now.

Clandestine Affair Part 2

When we first me, I thought I had hit the jackpot. He treated me like I was worth a million dollars, the compliments were endless and the connection between us was strong.  When he came to visit locally, I opened my heart and my home to him. I knew that he had trust issues, but I naively thought that either I could live with them or he would let them go. To be really honest, we all think we are the one he will change for.  But we are not. He won’t change until he is ready to, or maybe never at all.

The first days were great. The connection was stronger than ever, it felt easy and natural to be together. And then his trust issues kicked in. He twisted things I said around to make it look like I was being less than honest or that I was capable of being devious. The more I would try to explain, the more he would twist it to support his story that I simply can not be trusted. It hurt. Actually, it gutted me. I wanted so desperately for him to see who I really am.  I thought if only he could see me, he would know that I have the strength of moral character that he is looking for and maybe we could make this work.

I didn’t realize it was not possible for him to see me. He said it himself, he sees me through a screen of mistrust. He assumes girls are not trustworthy. And when I tried to prove that I was, he twisted it around to support his story that I was not.  

I feel compassion for him. It would be awful to constantly think that no one can be trusted, to constantly question people's motives. And at a deeper level, not believe that someone could care for you enough that they would be faithful, true and loyal.  Living in constant fear of getting hurt would be exhausting.

I took a chance. I put my heart out there. And I got hurt. At least I lived.  I ended it. I told him that I can not spend time with someone who thinks less of me than who I am.

He still wants to talk, to explain how I got the bad side of his issues and how he doesn’t think I’m a bad person. I’m not sure what the point is. I can listen. I can empathize with what it is like to be scared. But I can’t validate that his fears have merit and I can’t condone pushing someone away before giving them a chance. So what is left to talk about?  I am hoping just a simple “I’m sorry” and then we will part ways.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Simple Lesson

Pema Chodron’s quote for the week comes right in the nick of time, as always. This week, Pema says:
This is an idea that seems difficult for Westerners to accept: when someone harms us, they create the cause of their own suffering. They do this by strengthening habits that imprison them in a cycle of pain and confusion. It’s not that we are responsible for what someone else does, and certainly not that we should feel guilty. But when they harm us, we unintentionally become the means of their undoing. Had they looked on us with loving-kindness, however, we’d be the cause of their gathering virtue.

What I find helpful in this teaching is that what’s true for them is also true for me. The way I regard those who hurt me today will affect how I experience the world in the future. In any encounter, we have a choice: we can strengthen our resentment or our understanding and empathy. We can widen the gap between ourselves and others or lessen it.

The lesson I learned this week is simple: If someone isn't going to believe who you are when you show yourself to them, then there is no way to win.

To Pema’s point about how we regard those who hurt us, I am trying to find compassion in the situation to understand each individual is unique, however the actions that they choose to take can be hurtful and are not acceptable in my orbit.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Clandestine Affair

I met someone. Because of the sensitive nature of how we met, I won’t publish the story right now but may want until after it plays out (no, he’s not married, there is nothing devious going on here...despite the name of the blog post which is more drama than reality).

Here is the scoop:  We met. There was an instantaneous, strong connection. It was a whirlwind.  While I was still floating on cloud 9, he informed me he has trust issues. The trust issues came out and he shut down. We both backed away. He came back and apologized. He owned his issues and didn’t try to put them on me nor wash them away. We continued to talk and the connection remained. I am going to see him again.

However, because he does not live locally, he has informed me that though at times he has considered that there is real, serious potential between us, he can not deal with the trust issues long distance. And that is enough to put a stop to this regardless of how our time together goes.

I decided I have nothing to lose. I’m not dating anyone and if anything, going through the emotional ringer with him just reinforces how much work I need to do on my own. So what is a couple of days of fun together? Seize the day, I said.

My stomach is in knots. I will see him tomorrow.  I am partly excited because the energy that runs between us is electric. I am partly sad because I know it is only energy to be enjoyed in the moment and once these moments slip away, this will be gone as well.

Part of me holds on to that stupid girl hope that I will be the one he changes for. I will be the one he decides is worth taking the risk. But it is only the tiniest sliver, and when I have that thought, I immediately remind myself - I don’t want to invest in someone who can’t see me. Really see me. And if he has trust issues and is “seeing through a screen”, then he isn’t seeing me.

So I’m going into the next few days with the door half opened and the door half closed. If I close the door the whole way, I am saying ‘if you can’t trust me enough to take a risk, then don’t waste my time now’. If I leave the door open a bit I am living...taking a risk...having some fun..and will likely have a bit of heartache in the end. But I will have a good story to tell because of it.

I haven’t blogged for the last 2 weeks because this was unfolding. I’ve been writing it down and will publish it all once the story concludes.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


It has been a rough week. There are no two ways about it: TGI Friday’s fizzled out for no discernible reason. An executive threw a 20-page document across his desk at me at work while yelling “obviously this is too complicated for you”(clearly he didn’t know who he was talking to). Topping it off, my ‘team’ at work planned a happy hour to get together with someone who recently left and conveniently forgot to invite me (ouch!!).

I have that weak feeling in your stomach that you get when you are being yourself and are still not warmly received. It may be the case that I’m just running into people who don’t jive with my vibe (that sounded a lot cooler in my head), but it doesn’t stop the sting.

Pema Chodron’s quote for this week arrived just in I am feeling ‘resentment about how it’s all working out” for me - and missing the beauty in the things that are working out wonderfully (like my beautifully re-done living room, new appointment to the township’s economic development committee, and upcoming trip to London).

Meditation begins to open up your life, so that you’re not caught in self-concern, just wanting life to go your way. In that case you no longer realize that you’re standing at the center of the world, that you’re in the middle of a sacred circle, because you’re so concerned with your worries, pains, limitations, desires, and fears that you are blind to the beauty of existence. All you feel by being caught up like this is misery, as well as enormous resentment about life in general. How strange! Life is such a miracle, and a lot of the time we feel only resentment about how it’s all working out for us.

A Simple Formula

“A mathematical formula for happiness:Reality divided by Expectations.There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations.”
- Jodi Picoult

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pulling It Together and Falling Apart

On Friday, I had enough of the Waiting Game and pushed the envelope a little with TGI Friday’s to get a better gauge of what was going on. Though he said he wanted to hang out again, he did nothing to follow up and it became clear that one way or another he isn’t up for what I was hoping for!

I deemed Friday a pajama day since I work from home every Friday and have the luxury of staying in my pajamas - I really wanted a date to mope about 3 dates come and gone and to process a semi-traumatic event at work which I won’t dive into right now.. I stayed in my PJs straight into the evening and back to bed (you may think it is gross, but once you try it, it is pretty awesome).  By Friday evening I was in my PJ’s watching Will & Grace when I texted a couple of close girlfriend announcing I must be the president of Loserville. Much to my amusement, they wrote back saying that is what they categorize as a good night and one asked what channel Will & Grace was on so she could tune in!

Sometimes I feel like I’m pulling everything together and sometimes I feel like I’m falling apart - sometimes in the same day.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Waiting Game

That unsure time after you have a first date when you aren’t sure if the other person is interested or if a second date is coming, I affectionately call “The Waiting Game”.  I was telling Little Buddha how that old familiar anxious feeling of wondering what TGI Fridays is thinking and if he wants to see me again was setting in.  Despite positive signs on the first date, I haven’t had a consistent experience after a good first date - some guys come on super strong, some guys take their time, and some randomly disappear.  I informed her I am patiently waiting for him to ask me out rather than me chasing him (as we control-freaks default to doing).  Little Buddha astutely asked the following questions, to which I answered in capitals:

“Is it that you automatically assume that it’s a dig on you? YES
They are not asking so it’s you that’s done something, it’s you that’s not appealing, it’s you that isn’t good enough??? YES
Is it not patience, but panic? YES”

I laughed out loud when I received her questions because she was dead on. I reverted back to my familiar path of thinking that it must be a reflection of me. It is amazing the amount of scenarios your mind can run in a few minute window, calculating the odds of what will happen, the effects of what has already transpired and predicting his next move.  I’m sure there is a better use of my brain than this!

Pema Chodron’s quote for this week more eloquently describes this experience:
“Not acting on our habitual patterns is only the first step toward not harming others or ourselves. The transformative process begins at a deeper level when we contact the rawness we’re left with whenever we refrain…..We allow ourselves to wait, to sit patiently with the urge to act or speak in our usual ways and feel the full force of that urge without turning away or giving in.”

So now I am catching myself and redirecting my thoughts to more positive places - though I need to do this about every 10 minutes when my patience runs out and the panic sets in!  How do you fight that panicky feeling?  How do you get through the Waiting Game?

Date Recap: Mr. Madrid

I went out with Mr. Madrid last night. We met at a hip corner bar in his very hip neighborhood.  The type of bar where people aren’t trying to be hip, they are more carefreely irreverent, though most are young professionals.  

He walked in and I had to adjust to what he looks like in real life versus what I remembered late night at a bar. He is good looking in a low maintenance, I don’t care way. He had a small -ish tattoo that was just peeking out under his button down shirt - ok that was hot stuff.

We started talking right away and the conversation was oddly intense. Maybe that is what happens when two young divorcees get together or maybe that’s what happens with two self-proclaimed weirdos hang out.  We covered a variety of personal topics in a very engaging conversation. And although it was definitely oddly intense for first drinks, it was not uncomfortable or intrusive. It was interesting to hear his stories (born overseas, moved to USA during grade school, lived overseas during college, has traveled to many, many foreign countries, including Rwanda!  What are the odds I meet a guy who has been to Rwanda?!).  He told me upfront he was a weird guy, and he was right. But I sort of get my weird girl way.

That being said, the bottom line is that he is ‘every guy I’ve ever dated in college’. Smart, interesting, and a lost soul (at least for the moment).  So he makes for good company, but not really potential dating material.

At the end of the night, he said he had a good time and we should hang out again. I agreed (even if it is as friends) but didn’t expect to hear from him again. I was surprised to get a text from him the next morning saying he will have to rent a zipcar or ride his bike out to the burbs to pay me back for making the trip into the city (of course, he doesn’t own a car...what self-respecting, city-dwelling, hip, start-up-company dude does?)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Date Recap: “TGI Fridays”

I went out with an old friend whom I recently bumped into at a bar in Philly. We worked together 13+ years ago at TGI Fridays in Towson. At that time, I remember him being the super cute host and I would think of reasons to stand near the host stand or to talk to him. Toward the end of the summer, we became better friends and kept in touch when we both went back to college (near each other in the Philly area). Shortly thereafter we lost touch and then there is a big question mark for about 13 years until I recognized him at a bar last weekend.  He lives in Philly now and we went to dinner/drinks over the weekend.

I walked into the restaurant and “TGI Fridays” was sitting at the bar, he turned to look at me and I felt myself blush - he is so handsome. He was cute. He is now somewhere past hot toward ruggedly handsome. Oh wow. I had to immediately suppress my geek-out instincts which usually get the best of me.  The line between dinner with an old friend and a date got very blurry very quickly.  I did a quick inhale to try and clear my mind and walked over with my most dazzling smile (complete with hip swagger) and greeted him (albeit with an awkward hug...he was so handsome that it made me nervous to hug him).  We proceeded to talk, eat, and drink for the next 4 hours.  We had some things in common and some differences of opinion but in a way that made it fun to talk about and catch up.  At the end of the night I was feeling pretty good from a couple of drinks and he was looking even better than when I first walked in (thanks to a killer smile which creates those really hot lines around the eyes ala Pierce Brosnan).

At the end of the evening, we walked outside and he kissed me!  I almost fell over. Again, I had to do a quick inhale and try to pull myself together - play it cool, Wonder Woman, play it cool. He walked me to my car and we discussed getting another drink but decided against it. Instead he kissed me again (this time I swear I swooned, but quickly recovered and gave him the best ‘you are damn lucky to be kissing me’ kiss that I could muster).  He asked me to text when I got home so he knew I was home safe.

I did as he requested and he replied that he was wired and we should have gotten that last drink - I took that to mean he had a good time!  I didn’t hear from him the next day but he did text yesterday to see if I was out and about (if by “out and about” he meant the symphony, then yes, I was. However, I think he was referring to watching football).  Unfortunately no asking for a second date yet.

I’ve been saying all year that I just wanted one really good date. The evening that you wish would go on forever, followed by the kiss that stays with you for days. I’m really happy to say that I had just such an evening.  Let’s raise a glass and cheers to more to come!