Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why It’s Ok to Have a Crazy Girl Quota

If you have to endure the trials, tribulations and insane emotional rollercoaster of online dating then you are entitled to a ‘crazy girl quota’ - i.e. a certain amount of actions that guys may view as crazy that you are allotted for the year.  I believe this amount is equal to two mildly crazy actions per six-month time period. The reason this crazy quota is acceptable is because dating will actually drive you crazy, and occasionally you will need to get it out of your system.

For example, I texted The Soccer Player last night.  Why would I text this Weak A** Man, you ask? Well for the last month I have felt shame and humiliation for buying what he was selling. He was practically interviewing to be a boyfriend and moving things faster that I was comfortable with - but in trying to be a cool girl, I went along with it.

Here’s what happens when you try to be a cool girl and go along with something you aren’t comfortable with: it makes you crazy!

So I sent him a long-winded text in a not-so-veiled attempt to find out if anything he said was real or if I bought into yet another emotional con artist - and he didn’t write back.  Was one text enough to get the crazy out of my system? Nope! I sent a second saying that I don’t have a thick skin & I take things to heart - I was just wondering if I was mistaken about what had happened and that if he chose not to respond then it would be a lesson learned for me.  Obviously he chose not to respond.

Here’s why you will likely not receive a response to your crazy girl texts (i.e. texts that are holding a mirror up to a Weak A** Man):  Unreasonable people don’t like to admit they are unreasonable, so frequently they just shut down and walk away - it’s easier to avoid facing the reality that you are, in fact, a Weak A** Man, if you avoid looking in a mirror.

My best piece of advice about girls or guys: It is futile to ask unreasonable people (i.e. those who have acted in an unreasonable or illogical fashion) to be reasonable. You are trying to ask for a reasonable answer out of someone who isn’t wired that way!

So I used up my crazy girl quota last night, and he never replied. This could sound like a disaster of a situation - but it is actually a victory. Why? Because now I’ve confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Soccer Player is a Weak A** Man and I will be wiser next time around when someone tries to push me out of my dating comfort zone.

Monday, November 24, 2014

"The truth will set you free and there is so little in the popular culture".

I saw Anne Lamott speak on a tour to promote her new book, Small Victories: Spotting Moments of Improbable Grace.  In her usual style, Anne had so many eloquent one-liners that perfectly express various experiences in our lives.  

A few of my favorites included:
“Letting go and forgiveness are just not my strong suits and are of course the Christian traditions - I need the tradition that is to sulk.”

“Grace will meet you exactly where it finds you and it won't leave you there.”
“Laughter is carbonated holiness.”

“When I get my sense of humor back I know I've been touched by grace."

"The truth will set you free and there is so little in the popular culture."

That last one is why I write this blog.  I apologize because my potential readers (i.e. my best friend, occasionally my mother and hopefully a few others out there) are getting my rough first drafts that I quickly try to get out while the thoughts are still in my head. I did learn from Anne that I should go back and remove, remove, remove the details - so thank you for bearing with me through the imperfect, unpolished versions that you see.

Many people have described me as a truth-sayer -- and have meant it only in a half positive light. As in ‘you are a truth-sayer and that can make some people uncomfortable’.  I don’t know how to be anything else, I don’t know how to lie or sugar-coat. I don’t understand sweeping experiences and related emotions under the table. So I’m giving you the raw version as it unfolds, as lost and then found, then lost again and then found again as this path goes….

The last quote that I brought home from Anne Lamott was this, "The great medicine words of our culture - 'me too'." - I hope this blog brings you a big of connection and compassion so that you can see it is ‘me too’ who has these struggles, whether they be the same or result in the same challenges, this journey is hard, exciting, challenging, fearful, frustrating and joyful for ‘me too’.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Five Empowering Affirmations To Live By

This week on Super Soul Sunday, Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson discussed their new book Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life.  Their book contains 6 affirmations that I found to
be useful for anyone who is trying to increase their awareness, accountability and empowerment.  However, somehow I only managed to record 5 of the 6, so if you want to learn more, read the book or watch the episode!
  1. Something needs to change and it's probably me.
  2. I don't know how to do this but something inside me does.
  3. I will learn from my mistakes and not defend them.
  4. I will right the wrongs where ever possible. “Your life changes when you shift your paradigm to service for anything.” (Oprah)
  5. I will live my life in love and service, gratitude and trust.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Must Read Article on How Compassion Can Heal Shame

I found this amazing article on Psychology today entitled, “How Compassion Can Heal Childhood Shame” - if you’ve ever struggled with feeling less-than, this is a must-read article!

In addition to articulate the uncomfortable experience of shame - even how our brains process shame but we have the ability to re-wire them:

And there has been a lot of research recently on the connection between shame and compassion. What was particularly of interest to me was the most recent research in the neurobiology of compassion as it relates to shame—namely that we now know some of the neurobiological correlates of feeling unlovable and how shame gets stuck in our neural circuitry. Moreover, I discovered that due to what we now know about the neural plasticity of the brain—the capacity of our brains to grow new neurons and new synaptic connections—we can proactively repair (and re-pair) the old shame memory with new experiences of self-empathy and self-compassion.

The article goes on to suggest a remedy that literally helps rewire your brain so to repair the shame memory:

In essence, in order to heal your shame (past and present) you need to provide for yourself nurturing, encouraging words to counter the typically self-critical words you normally tell yourself whenever you make a mistake, disappoint yourself or someone else, or in some way fall short of your own or someone else’s expectations. Self-compassion involves telling yourself what you most need to hear at the moment—words of understanding and encouragement.

There are many other aspects of self-compassion. For now, just know that practicing self-compassion can help you:

• Begin to generate compassionate feelings toward yourself and self-soothe yourself in positive ways
• Begin to replace self-criticism with self-kindness
• Begin to create a nurturing inner voice to replace your cold, critical, bullying inner voice
• Begin to generate alternatives to your self-attacking thoughts, including stimulating underdeveloped pathways of the brain—pathways that stimulate inner support and warmth
• Help you to develop appreciation for yourself, including feeling pride in your accomplishments--pride is the opposite emotion from shame
• Encourage you to practice accountability versus self-blame, self-correction versus self-criticism.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Admit It, I'm Addicted to Dating!

I admit it - I’m addicted to dating. I don’t mean in the way that you want to go out wiht lots of guys, but I mean in the way that I can’t stop looking for someone...for ‘the one’.  I constantly look around in bars and public places, just to see if he is possibly around the corner. I check Tinder more often than is healthy and I get excited with my Match.com app has a little number badge, telling me someone has reached out.

Yet when I’m actually engaging in conversation with these people, I lose interest right away. I find a small reason why it isn’t worth my time to continue to invest energy in them. Sometimes I even feel resentful that the are taking up my precious energy in the first place.

And then it happens...one who seems to have potential comes up. And I get excited - that maybe this one might go somewhere. And I meet him...and go out on 1, 2 or 3 dates and then the inevitable factor of why he is not a fit arises - not ready to date, stuck on himself, is a player (#1 reason by far!)  And then my hopes are crushed, because I was sure that after all of my hard work both on myself and on my search, that someone was bound to land right in front of me at any moment...and maybe this one would be that guy. But he isn’t.

Each time I end up feeling let down.  But I keep putting myself back out there. Furiously swiping right and left, hoping someone who is on the same page as me may connect.

I’ve told myself and anyone who will listen that I’m done. I don’t have the energy or the motivation. I would love to find Mr. Right but not at the expense of all of my free time and attention.  Yet I haven’t stopped. I’ve probably checked Tinder 10 times already today to see if there is a new message.

So what happens if I just stop. If I stop pursuing finding someone else and start just being me.  Does the universe work in a way that that someone ends up in my path?  Does it doom me to being alone for the rest of my earthly existence?  Will the feeling of isolation that is so painful to me grow to unimaginable depths or will it receed as I see that life is full already?

I’m scared to unplug. Should I take the plunge?  The closest I’ve gotten is to tipping my toe into this proverbial pool of cold water shock - only responding to people when they reach out, rather than messaging them first to see if there is a bite….see if someone is excited to hear from this hot single momma!

Tinder Date 14 & Revising 1st, 2nd and 3rd Date Criteria

I went out with a college professor on a first date which seemed promising, but thereafter he seemed to be ‘mailing it in’ - lacked ambition - not really making an effort. I agreed to a second date but while I was driving there I realized he hadn’t met my criteria for a second date, I accepted merely on his credentials alone!  He hadn’t made me laugh - not even once!

As I sat across the fancy table from him drinking a nice glass of wine, I noticed he didn’t even take his suit jacket off, he looked stiff and he seemed completely uninterested in me - yet very interested in talking about him.

Revisiting my criteria, I realized I left off two key points - acknowledging my daughter & asking questions about me!:
Must have for a 1st date:
  • Smart
  • Educated
  • Makes me laugh before meeting him
  • Has varied interests outside of sports and drinking
  • New: Acknowledges the existence of my daughter (asks how old, etc)

Must have for a 2nd date:
  • Intelligent
  • Made me laugh on the 1st date
  • Career oriented
  • Kind
  • Has some opinion about musical tastes (for some reason guys who don’t care about music tend to not care about much else either)
  • New: Makes some reference to my daughter
  • New: Asked questions about me on the 1st date, didn’t just talk about himself

Must have to move past the 2nd date:
  • Caring
  • Generous
  • Is continually seeking to learn more/grow
  • Can hold a conversation that dips below surface level topics
  • New: Asked questions about me on the 2nd date, didn’t just talk about himself

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When In Doubt, Make a List - Or Better Yet Have Someone Make One For You

I had my chimney cleaned last friday. The chimney sweep informed me that there is much work that needs to be done and he gave me a quote of around $2k but then added a discount. He said that because I looked young and must just be starting out, he felt bad and added his angie's list discount.  I promptly replied, “Oh, I’m 35!” to which he responded, “In that case I should remove the discount!”.  I informed him I’m a single mom and the discount would help to which he responded again, “Well that is your fault”. I blurted out that my husband chose a girlfriend and not to work on the marriage and the chimney sweep persisted, informing me it is my fault that I’m a single mom and he should take the discount back.  Clearly, my 4 year old has more brain power than this man and obviously he will not be getting my business.

But lately its felt like I’m getting pushed on from all sides and I’ve been feeling a bit worn down.  I lose focus very easily on what is and spend time ruminating over what is not - where I am falling short, where I don’t feel that I am enough.

Unprovoked, my mom sent me an email offering me a better perspective in my most favorite of all structures - a list!

I know you are not giving yourself the credit you deserve.  It doesn't hurt Grace but does hurt you. You:

  • Loves unconditionally ( that does not mean you want to be with Grace all of the time)
  • Forgives, as Grace is learning
  • Cuddles
  • Kisses
  • Laughter
  • Faith training for life - choosing a healthy church
  • Does not bad mouth her father, even though he hurt her and deprived her of her dream. A**hole
  • Provides fresh food and clothing - good foods she enjoys
  • Teaches her manners so she will be successful with others
  • Demonstrates responsibility
  • Demonstrates loving all family members
  • Same with friends
  • Demonstrates love
  • Goes out of her way to provide new experiences
  • Safe, clean, warm home
  • Demonstrates organization
  • Teaches sounds, letters, music
  • Uses positive behavior techniques but firm
  • Gives her baths even though she doesn't always want to
  • Does laundry when totally exhausted
  • Provides dinner when totally exhausted
  • Is an advocate for her- helmet, school, etc
  • Provides transportation to events/classes
  • Demonstrates/ teaches appropriate clothing use
  • Makes holidays and birthdays special with gifts, cake, important family and friends
  • Dead tired and still takes her to library
  • Only introduces her to good people
  • Cares globally but has Grace well taken care of when gone
  • Works to bring out the best in everyone
  • As example to Grace
  • And so much more

My advice - next time you feel like you are falling short, make a list!  Or better yet, have someone else make one for you. It’s amazing how the shift in perspective shifts your soul.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lessons from Single Mom Lifeclass: The Golden Rule of Single Parenting

Iyanla Vanzant said this on Oprah’s Lifeclass for Single Moms - and I can not tell you how many times I’ve given the same advice to a woman who is considering leaving her marriage or a mom who is at the end of her rope, feeling burnt out - "You can not give what you do not have."

I believe this to be the golden role of single parenting. You can’t afford to lose yourself in the role of a parent because if you can not give what you do not have!  You can’t afford to not take care of yourself. You can’t afford to settle for less than what you deserve. You can’t afford to not pursue your dreams. Because you can not give what you do not have.  

Go fill up - on the life you have, the love that is around you and the dreams of what you want to do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lessons from Single Mom Lifeclass: You Are Not A Victim

During the Single Mom Lifeclass on Oprah, Iyanla Vanzant said what is one of the most powerful statements ever made about being a single parent: We were not victimized that we were left with children - as opposed to being blessed that God trusted us enough to be given a life to guide and raise.

A blessing...not once did I stop to consider that I have been entrusted with this value life. To be her guide and her rock. That I’m strong enough to take that burden on myself and to surround her with a community that will support her on her journey.  I have been blessed.

Iyanla also went on to explore guilt, stating that: all guilt requires punishment, so if you are holding guilt, you are going to punish yourself. Figure out how you are punishing yourself from your guilt.

How true is this?  I know some of the choices I have made, I did so knowing that they would hurt me in the end. I hadn’t considered that maybe I was punishing myself - by not holding myself as a higher value. By selling myself short, not believing that I deserved more.  My hope for single mom’s everywhere is that you can release the guilt and own your value, own your worthiness so that every decision you make takes you down the path you were meant to walk, along with your children.

I love that Iyanla said when those inevitable feelings of feelings of guilt and negative self-talk come up, bless them and send them out into the world.  Don’t hold on to them, you don’t need them anymore.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lessons from Single Mom Lifeclass: Judgement

As I spent the weekend in bed sick, I also had a chance to watch the Single Mom Lifeclass that Oprah hosted.  The following blog posts are notes and my thoughts from the discussion.

was moved to tears just seeing an audience filled with all single moms. And when the first question was asked - what is your number one concern - all of the mom’s answered the same - judgement - it hit right to my core.

I feel judged all of the time - the most when I’m at “married people” events such as baby showers, house parties, dinners - where it is all married couples and me. I think they look at me like an alien who has come down and may contain a contagious disease that would result in their banishment to my isolated planet.  I also feel judged in the grocery store, in the mall, at restaurants, pretty much anywhere that someone sees my daughter and no wedding ring on my finger.

Iyanla Vanzant, one of the hosts, stated loud and clear that if you are feeling judged, it is because you are judging yourself. 99% of what we experience starts with what we perceive in our own minds.  And it is true - I’m judging myself. For picking the wrong partner. For not having the foresight to pick a stronger, grounded father who has integrity as a co-parent to my daughter. For saddling her with a man who will surely hurt her unless he does a lot of work himself.  How could I be so blind? So needy? So stupid as to allow him into my life - and then have a child with him?  Those are my judgements. So I assume the rest of the world is judging me too - for not picking a happy healthy relationship like those we all see on Facebook!

Iyanla said a prayer which I believe we should all say to ourselves twice a day, just for being human, single mom or not: "I forgive myself for judging myself as less than. I forgive myself for judging that I'm not doing it right." She added, “If God will allow it, you must accept it.”

I have not yet forgiven myself. I know there was nothing I could do to have changed what happened. But I haven’t forgiven myself….yet...and it’s about time I did!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Hero's Journey - Notes from Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert was interviewed on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday talking about the ‘hero’s journey’.  Gilbert made many eye-opening points, of which I took notes and included below:

  • You own your dignity, your grace, your gratitude. You can keep them if you want to. - knowing things will change but not fearing the change. Enjoying what is happening right now.
  • Failure, disaster, shame, suffering and pain do not necessarily make you a better person unless you participate in turning it into something good.
  • Use your thinking to turn suffering into grace. If you don't transform your pain you suffered for nothing.
  • Become an adult enough to take care of the child that is inside.  Learning that no matter what you are going to be ok.
  • At the end of the hero's journey you come back home and share what you learned.
  • “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live a perfect imitation of someone else's life.” -Bhavagad Gita
  • There is no happiness with self accountability. You can't expect everything to change with doing anything, you have to do it.
  • Who are you going to blame your life on today? You are in charge of you. There is only weakness in waiting for external circumstances to change.  Freedom is in self accountability - I'm in charge of this person, whatever happens out there is none off business. I am 100% accountable for this soul.

I love that saying, “I am 100% accountable for this soul.”  When I want to turn to blame or fear and curl up and hide, it is a good reminder that it is on me to make my life what I want. To be who I am, who I want to be….to be accountable for me.