Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Month of Me...n

The Month of Me is marching on!  It feels like such a huge weight is lifted to stop worrying about all of the periphery stuff and only worry about Grace and I, right here, right now. That being said, I have dreams of things I want to do with my newly declared “me time” and now guys are throwing themselves in the path!  Ok, maybe not exactly throwing themselves....but I had three guys asking me out on dates for next week. So many, in fact, that I’m scheduling dates two weeks out because I don’t have enough time to fit them all in.  Two are texting, one is emailing, another is asking for my number (pretty sure I need to put that one on hold for fear of getting confused). Where were all of these people in my bored weeks? How is it that once I have grand ideas of how to spend my time, others step in and ask me to spend it with them?  It definitely feels good, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t help chuckle at the irony. Remind me of this when the Month of Me has passed and I’m ‘waiting by the phone’.

Since the Month of Me is turning into the Month of Men, does that mean I can declare the Fiscal Quarter of Me? 

Affirmation update: I am feeling more like a wonderful person who deserves love (my current affirmation). But I'm still biting my fingers :(

Monday, March 25, 2013

Kicking off the Month of Me

It hit me this weekend, I use up my energy and time worrying about meeting someone, worrying what every else is doing, worrying that I’m missing an opportunity to be out and meeting new people.  There is something to be said for “putting yourself out there”. But there is also something to be said for putting the focus on you!  Therefore, I have declared this the Month of Me.  No more thinking about what boys are or are not thinking about me. No more worrying about who’s where and where should I do.  All decisions will be based on me. All energy will be spent on me.  What do I want to do? What will I enjoy doing in this moment?

In the spirit of the Month of Me, I have decided to try affirmations. That’s right, I’m bringing back Stuart Smalley!  I am reading a book that suggestions affirmations are a way to effectively reprogram negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones. With the underlying theory being that negative thoughts create a reality that reflects those thoughts. Whereas positive thoughts create a positive reality that reflects those thoughts.

This week’s affirmations:
I am enough.
I deserve love.
I will not bit my fingers.
(I’ve been a pervasive finger biter for years and years. So I figured if you are going to use affirmations to change behavior, why not start with something practical!)

According to the book, you will start to see changes very quickly after making the mental shift to the positive thought track.  If you channeled your inner Stuart Smalley, what affirmations would you use?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Match date: The Salesman

I went on a date with someone from last night. He owns his own company and is the consummate salesman. It is who he is. Not in the slimy way, as he is very genuine, but in that very extroverted, outgoing way when someone shares their enthusiasm for something and others get on board.  As a result of his natural salesman-ship he has done very well for himself, starting up two companies.  And..drumroll please...he owns his own house!  

He was very engaging and kept the conversation going when I wasn’t, so all in all it was an enjoyable night. He asked me out for a second date at the end of the first. However, there wasn’t much romance or intrigue, more just that he seems like a solid guy so I’m agreed to another date.

True is, I still miss The Runner. Maybe I need electro-shock therapy like Carrie on Homeland to get him out of my mind (although she WAS right about Brody afterall).  Do I think I’m right about The Runner? No.  Do I think I’m a little lonely and miss the comfort and especially the intrigue from the first month? Of course! So I’m holding strong on my own.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Screw 'em

I’ve been thinking about what the guy from the bar said over the weekend about his friends not dating a “girl like you who is together and doesn’t need a guy”. One word keeps coming to mind: losers.

I decided that the answer to my question from yesterday of when you do fix yourself and when you do accept yourself is this: screw ‘em!!  I’m already enough. Opinions, good job, house, car, kid, and dog - and if enough to “too much” then...well...screw ‘em!

I’m exhausted, overwhelmed and ready to pass out. New job means working in the office full time at the moment which packs everything else into a very narrow window which is currently filled with Grace’s potty training and frequent loads of laundry squeezed in the middle.  Positive mental attitude - that’s what they say, right? I’m not “overwhelmed”, I’m “highly productive”.  I’m taking this opportunity of the stress that comes with transition to practice putting a positive spin on whatever negative thought comes into my mind.  Feel free to send positive thoughts to help fill my head because the anxious thoughts are coming down like a hailstorm in March (for us Philadelphians)!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pulling yourself "together"

I went to the local bars last night to celebrate St. Patricks day with the rest of the 21 - 51 year olds wearing great.  I was out with 3 other wonderful single ladies (all divorced) who were tons of fun and each a good balance for the others.

At the bar, I met a decent guy who is a few years old than I am. He has a good job, is physically fit, seems pretty sharp.  While we were talking he commented that I really have my stuff together and went on to say that most of his friends wouldn’t date a girl like me. They’ve talked about it and his friends feel intimidated dating a girl who doesn’t “need a guy” because she already has things handled on her own. He meant it as a compliment, as he was saying he finds the “together” girls to be very attractive, but it made me realize that the more value I see in myself, the more narrow the pool of potential dating prospects becomes. (and I did acknowledge that I have been told this exact thing in the past by another guy - see post-drinks conversation with the Twinkie circa summer 2012 where he asked me why I was even hanging out with a “scrub like him” as I tried to explain that I think he’s a cool guy)

As I related this story to my mother, she took it in a different direction and said “you are a prize BUT you are very strong” and continued with a ‘talk’ (could be classified as a lecture) about how I stick to my opinions of things strongly and argue them strongly and it is hard for other people to take until they just want to yell “shut up” at me. I started crying and said “do you think I’m not aware this is a large part of why my husband had an affair?”  Geez is it painful when your own mom holds a mirror up and says “hey, here’s a reason why no guy is with you”.  She said she was trying to show me there are more constructive ways to handle a difference of opinion.  Yes, thanks for the advice.

I can’t figure out how this ties to realizing the more value you place on yourself narrows down who you might date because you start to recognize mismatches much earlier. I thought that was the goal, to pick better and better until one day, you pick right!  She said something about needing to flex with what I’m looking for, maybe she was just hitting me from all angles saying how inflexible I am.  I don’t know.

At a time when I continually struggle with that disconnected feeling that everyone experiences after a life as you knew it ends and you start to rebuild, I’m not sure it helps much to have people point out reasons why you are alone.  When I’m trying to learn to be gentler with myself, to “be ok with the consequences of being me”, it really throws me off to start wondering how much of “being ok with me” means “go fix yourself” and how much means “be kinder and gentler to yourself and everything else will follow”?

This whole process of healing keeps going back to things coming together and things falling apart. Pulling yourself together, unraveling a little more, pulling yourself together again.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

First impressions

First day on the job was a big adjustment. I spent half the day excited that I was doing something new and the other half terrified that I was doing something new. I felt awkward around new people, whom were also new to the company themselves. I couldn’t get my tall mug to fit under the hot water machine (thankfully I remembered I had my “stay calm and eat cupcakes” mug which is the perfect sized. I missed my friends at my old job.

I came home last night and thought about the adjustment pains and asked myself “WWDD” - what would Diana do? (I, Diana, am afterall, Wonder Woman!)  So I went back today and scheduled a “meet the rookies happy hour” which was very well received. I invited 2 key people I will be working with to lunches to win them over with my wit and charm before I have to start asking them for help on & deliverables for my projects. I had lunch with a few members of my team and shared laughs and fun stories.  To end the day, I was invited to join a call that was interesting & stimulating - exactly what I was looking for when I left my old company. So all in all, it was a good day. I’m glad my Wonder Woman-esque shined through.

Underneath however, I’m fighting back a wave of pressure. I can feel it bearing down, the pressure of spending enough time with Grace, of being good at my job, of not talking about my kid too much, of not being self conscious about being a single mom.  Pressure to just be me. So each day I am continuing to do something for myself to bring me back to me so I can regroup and restore my joie de vive!

Update on guys: None.

I’m going to try to keep ending with a question in case you want to share your own experiences - what do you do when you feel the pressure bearing down to get you back to being you?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring cleaning

Spring is known as the time for new growth, a time to sweep away the old and make room for the new. In this spirit, I have done some spring cleaning of my own.

I said goodbye to The Teacher. He is not ready to date. And I don’t know if I’m in a place to meet Mr. Right but I am definitely not in a place to continue to chase someone who won’t take a step forward.  

I ended my email conversation with The Runner. We’ve been sending casual, friendly emails for the past month or so but the truth is, each time it takes him a long time to write back, it sends me right back to December where I kept feeling like I was a convenience in his life, only fitting in where it was easy, not where effort was required.  If I’m going to have bad feelings about every correspondence then why continue?  So I gracefully said I am starting a new job and have some things to take care fo (read: myself!) and bid him adieu for a while (or forever because I have no plans of reopening communication).

Lastly, and most obviously, I left my old job and open a new door starting tomorrow.  

To prepare for new growth, I am spending the last day of my optional unemployment doing some physical spring cleaning of my house, starting Grace’s potty training, and putting some nurturing actions in place so that I won’t continue to run on empty. Nurturing Wonder Woman ideas include:
Yoga, running or gym once a day to take care of my body
Make a good, hot meal once a week (which covers 2 days of meals)
List out dinners for the week
More reading, less TV...except a daily episode of Homeland until I’m caught up!
Give more thought to what makes me feel warm inside

What kind of spring cleaning are you doing to make room for new growth?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Healer

As I left work yesterday and walked to my car, I thought about how I had not yet cried during this process, from submitting my resignation to saying goodbye to my colleagues (tears started to well up but I fought them back). I got in my car, backed out of the spot, and instantly burst into tears! It felt like I just cut off my right arm (or left, as it may be).  I just cut ties to so many people I care about at a time when I frequently feel disconnected!  What had I done?  In a dead panic, I raced home and started packing Grace & my bags to go home and visit my parents. I did not want to be alone for one moment.  As things go, it didn’t work out that way. By the time I packed everything, I had calmed down a bit and finally spoke with my mother who said “where would you be most comfortable during the snow storm with Grace?” and I responded “at my house”. Although I had a very strong urge to run home to not be alone, something inside of me was telling me that the right thing to do was stay, live out my day and a half of “me time” and head home Thursday as planned.

Wow, it is amazing what happens when you don’t listen to your mind & its anxious thoughts or your heart & its strong emotions but instead listen to your soul, to who you really are.  It leads you down the right path every time.

I woke up this morning to spend cuddle time with my daughter & dog, all smushed together on my pillow, which filled up my heart. After dropping her at daycare I went to the gym to do cardio while reading a good book - a happy body and mind. Then I went to the spa to get a facial and a massage (yes, I take “me” time very seriously).  This is where it gets good...the woman who gave the massage was a real healer. Not just of my aching back, but of my heart. Telling me about the courage it took her to leave her husband when she was a mother of four children. The ten years it took her to heal until she was fully ready to meet someone new. And the lovely story of how she met her now husband as he watched her all night across the room and waited for her so they could properly meet.

The Healer talked to me about allowing someone to nurture me (what she was doing at that very moment) and the need to give back to myself so I can give to Grace without constantly running on empty.  She said that I am “still forming”. What a great phrase. Not quite ready to be on the same page as someone else (in a relationship) because I’m still forming which page I am on.  And she said that once I was ready, she knew I would meet a healthy, wonderful man who would nurture me.  At the end, she concluded with a story of how she would walk down the street and see desirable men and think “they wouldn’t want me, I’m this age and I have four children” and she learned to change her story to say “I deserve love.”  It is as if this woman has known me my whole life and knew exactly what needed to be said.  A true gift.

I am finding that the more I let thoughts be thoughts and feelings be feelings and listen to my true self/soul, I choose the right path and amazing things unfold.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The end of an era - part 2: the courage to change

I’m sitting at my desk with approximately 5 working hours left at a job that feels like it has become a part of me. I’m scared to leave. Scared to shut a door that will not open again tomorrow. I haven’t even deleted my files because it is permanent (while they may say nothing is permanent in an ever-changing world, I’m fairly sure emptying the computer’s recycle bin is).  Even now, I am thinking - why isn’t the phone ringing with an offer to stay? Why didn’t they ask me to stay? But I know the truth: it is time to move on. And any offer made would only make doing that more difficult.  

Difficult is a great word, change is difficult. It is exciting year scary at the same time (because exciting/scary, hope/fear, expectation/disappointment are all two sides of the same coin. They can’t exist without the other, making things...well, difficult!)  I give myself a very big pat on the back - for recognizing what I need to be true to myself. I need more challenge, more stimulation, I need to grow. I’m made a tough decision to take a risk, knowing there are no guarantees of what to come, but sure that what exists in the present is no longer enough.

I sat next to Grace this morning as she was drinking her morning milk & watching her beloved Big Bird and said “Today is Mommy’s last day at her job. She is leaving to start something new that will help her grow, because growing is important.” I am trying to be a role-model that she will be able to look to when she is faced with tough decisions as she grows.

So much change over the last few years, none of it wanted. And here I am creating change for myself.  Wow, that takes some strength!

So I will sit here, for the next 5 hours, staring at my still-full recycle bin, working up the nerve to finally hit the delete button.

The end of an era

Today is my last day of work at the company I’ve been with for 8 years. Since I’ve worked here, I bought a house & moved in with my now-ex, got married, had a kid, got divorced, held 8 different jobs (maybe more) and have grown into an entirely new person. I was one of those lucky people who can honestly say they loved their job and loved their coworkers. Many of my coworkers are now my closest friends. Who gets to go to work and feel a part of a real family? Unfortunately the winds of change are constant and most of the family have moved on to new opportunities and I suspect the winds will soon enough sweep up the ones who still remain.  I humbly write this letter to those who I met as colleagues and leave as family:

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all of the love, support, guidance, inspiration, laughter, and friendship you have given. I am unbelievably lucky to have been a part of a family as caring and supportive as ours.  I hope it is not true, but it feels like what we experienced together was a once in a lifetime occurrence - a group of people with clear eyes and full hearts who came together to make magic happen - not just in the company projects we completed together but in the milestones we reached together as friends. I cherish each one of you. They say leaving the people is the hardest part of leaving a job but I do not feel that I am leaving any of you, as you are now a part of my heart.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy first day of March

What a week of change!  Farewell happy hour at work to say goodbye to those who have become a part of my life who are still with my company and who have left the company before me.  One of my closest friends had her beautiful twin baby boys are are miracles all on their own.  The building next to my office is being torn down. Ok, who cares about that building? No one, really. But i’ve been watching it slowly be de-constructed to prepare to be rebuilt as I have been de-constructing myself and rebuilding - the same destiny of my brick neighbor!

All that I can say is “whew”. Cue deep breathe.  Throughout all of this transition, I’ve noticed 2 important things: #1:  I have a lot of anxiety. Ok, not a shocker. But I have it ALL of the time. Not just because of change jobs or babies being born, but as a steady current in my life derived from a lack of feeling safe as a child that has stayed with me my whole life....intensified during the divorce...until now. Now the anxiety is unnecessary. I’m starting to feel safe all on my own. Which leads to #2: I don’t really feel the “need to date”. Before I registered being alone as being unlovable. But as I switched my goal from being perceived a lovable by others to purely loving myself, I have also noticed the need to date fade. Sure, I still want someone to take me out and say nice things. But lately a date with myself (gym, yoga, and a good episode of Scandal) is equally filling.

Do you know what these two changes mean? I’m ok!  This is probably the best place I’ve been in since the divorce. Although the “ok” feeling is foreign and a little unsure, I am very sure this is another step toward becoming Wonder Woman.