Why You Shouldn’t Waste Money On eHarmony Or Match.com

After almost four month of bliss, I’m ready for the “This Is Why I’m Not Single” post.  I’ve been extremely busy being absolutely swept off of my feet.  You know the movie romance where the guy surprises you with tickets to all of your favorite outings, wines and dines you, sends you roses, and calls you, “beautiful?”  That’s right, I’m talking about the fairy tale that you gave up on because everyone told you to be your own white knight and only rely on yourself because your vision was completely unrealistic.  WELL, GUESS WHAT?!  Those people were WRONG!  That DOES exist.  I’ve been living it since late September and I don’t see any end to it.

Everyone wants to know how we met.  Surprisingly enough, it was a combination of Twitter and Instagram.  Darrin has followed me on Twitter for several years.  We had a few interactions, but since his avatar was of a Wings graphic, I never followed him back.  I thought, “why’s this Wings fan following me?”  To be frank, usually when a guy doesn’t have a photo of himself, it’s a pretty big red flag.  Anyone who knows me well can vouch that I’m not all about looks, but I’ve never really been into couch potatoes.  Therefore, when guys without pictures of themselves talk to me online, I pretty much dismiss them as someone I don’t want to follow back.  It’s sort of the “what are they hiding” mentality.  Are they insecure about the way they look?  Are they married?  With cameras being attached to many of our electronic devices, there isn’t a good excuse for not having a photo.  I replied back to Darrin when he tweeted me, but since I didn’t know he was adorable and a Kings season ticket holder, I never followed him back.  When I created an Instagram account, he liked and commented on some of my photos.  I looked at his Instagram account and thought, “Oh, it’s that guy from Twitter. He has amazing, artistic photos!”  So I followed him on Instagram.  He tweeted me to ask me for a drink after a game a few times, but it didn’t work out.  I either ran out of battery, was seeing someone, already had plans, or was just plain too tired.  Thank goodness he was persistent!  Eventually, he asked me to go see M83 in a box with friends which was a great idea because it was no pressure.  I agreed thinking, “I know he likes hockey, concerts, long walks, and hiking from his Instagram posts so at least we’ll have stuff to talk about.”  I went through his Instagram photos again looking for a picture of him.  No dice.  I went through all of his Twitter photos and finally found a photo of him in a fluffy coat and hat with his dad.  With Darrin all bundled up, it was hard to see exactly what he looked like, but what stood out in the picture was that he shined as a super nice guy who was taking his senior citizen father to an Airborne Toxic Event concert.  That alone spoke volumes of his character.  When the date for the M83 concert struck, we met at a parking deck close to the venue.  He got out of his car with a big smile on his face and I thought, “Oh my god, he’s CUTE!”  We had a good time at the show.  His friends were awesome!  I kept thinking, “Cute nerds!  I’ve found my people!”  After the show, he took me back to my car.  I could tell he was shy and nervous so I didn’t even give him a chance to say anything, I blurted out, “This was really awesome!  We should do something fun again sometime soon!”  He smiled and agreed.  Since then, we’ve been together more nights than not.  He is absolutely a dream come true.

I’ve always been a huge advocate for meeting people online, whether it be for friends or a date.  Although I’ve found MeetUp.com events tend to yield a lot of socially inept members, there are good people to connect with there if you join the right groups.  I’m not saying everyone who shows up for an outing is going to be a winner, but I’ve actually made a few really good friends through hiking and hockey groups.  When it comes to dating, I advocate OKCupid.com because it’s free, user friendly, and I had the most amounts of dates from that site.  I could literally send out a “who’s watching the xyz game tonight” message and my in-box would flood with notes from guys who wanted to watch the game with me.  Even without a broadcast, I got a fair amount of messages each week and quite a few dates.  I met my previous boyfriend on there so I can say that it has quality users.

Match.com and eHarmony.com were a complete and total waste of money for me.  Not only did I not receive a lot of messages, but the men they “chose for me” were completely incompatible 9 out of 10 times (or more).  The sites ask you numerous questions to find a good match for you, but then send mostly people who are “just outside” of your requested qualities.  That’s not what people are paying you for, eHarmony and Match!  As an example of what’s found out there, here’s a screen shot of my matches from eHarmony.  A page of men with no picture (likely dormant accounts) and a WOMAN.  Yes, eHarmony sent me a WOMAN.  When I emailed eHarmony to complain and asked for a refund, they refused, but removed the woman.

I paid for this?!

eHarmony was a colossal failure.  I’m an atheist with asthma.  My settings were placed so that I would only be matched with people who were not religious and were not smokers.  Yet, match after match, they sent me Christians and smokers.  So when they advertise that they’ll send you matches based on compatibility, they are LYING.  They will send you matches “just outside” of your settings and expect you to be just fine with that even though THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU PAID FOR.  I tried a Match Stir event, but found a lot of men lied about their age.  There were quite a few men over the age of 45 at the mixer.  At least I got a free drink and some food at the Match event.  On the actual Match.com site, I saw a lot the same guys who had free profiles on OKCupid.  Bottom line, word to the wise, avoid wasting your money on these sites.  I ended up cancelling the accounts before my pre-paid subscriptions ended.  Shame on you, eHarmony.  You don’t give people what they bought and you don’t give apologies or refunds when you’ve blatantly screwed up.

I wrote eHarmony and didn’t get a response, so I Tweeted them. THEN they wrote me. We bounced a few emails back and forth, but they kept saying the same thing. Here is an example of their remedy. They didn’t fix the issues. They just gave me an extra month free. When I said I didn’t want free time, I wanted better matches, THEY TOOK THE FREE MONTH AWAY. Here is a sample of our correspondence.

In this new year, I encourage you to get out there, if you’re single.  There is much less stigma in meeting people online, whether it be through a friend on Facebook or on a HowAboutWe.com date.  Of course, meet out in public the first time or two, don’t leave your drink unattended with strangers, and remember, it’s just a date.  If it doesn’t go well, no big deal.  There will be more and you will find the right person for you.  Never settle.

This Is Why I’m Single

Dating site after dating site, guy after guy, I get the same question, “I don’t get it.  You seem great.  Why are you single?”  Then, I’m forced to make the, “I just haven’t met the right guy yet,” statement.  That’s usually met with a look by the guy like, “Yeah… there’s something wrong with you and I’m going to find out what that is.”  So I ask, “Would you like for me to tell you about what happened with the last couple of guys I dated in LA?”  More times than not, the men want to know.  So I tell them.  In turn, they apologize for the behavior of all men.  As I get older, I see the red flags coming as opposed to having to wait for them to slap me in the face and knock me over before I’m willing to stop giving someone the benefit of the doubt.  At this point in my life, I want to say my willingness to allow for excessive “imperfections” has been curtailed, but I’m still incredibly easy going when it comes to dating.

So for those guys who Google me before going out with me, I’ll tell you why I’m single.  The last few guys I’ve gone out with have turned out to be douchebags.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s the sad truth, my dating life would rival an HBO comedy series.

This past fall, I met a guy who claimed to like hockey, worked in media, had blue eyes and dimples, and lived on the westside.  Sounds great, right?!  However, as weeks went on, he didn’t have time for any activity dates.  There was always a little time to get together after 9pm, but you know, you can’t build a relationship on sex.  I invited him out for all kinds of dates.  These were things men like such as movies, hockey games, concerts, and media exhibits.  It seemed like money was a bit tight for him, but I already had tickets for these activities so you’d think he’d be on board.  Nope.  Only time for the occasional late evening rendezvous.  The last straw was what he did when I went to pick him up to take him to the airport for his Christmas flight back to the midwest.  We hadn’t had any kind of exclusivity chat yet, but since we were talking on an almost daily basis, I got him a small gift.  Upon giving it to him, he opened it, said how much he liked it and then put it down.  He looked to the side and said, “Would you believe I didn’t have time to get you anything?”  I was thinking, “No, since you said you were out shopping for gifts all weekend.”  I didn’t say anything.  I looked at him like, “No, I wouldn’t BELIEVE that. Nice choice of words, buddy.”  He said, “I know what I’m going to get you though. I just have to order it.”  I looked around and said, “Ok… I don’t see any bags.  Are you packed…?”  He said, “No, but it won’t take long.”  I said, “You’re leaving for two weeks.  That’s a lot to pack.  We need to leave for the airport in forty-five minutes.  I guess we’re not going to make dinner like we planned.”  His response, “I can pack real quick and then we can stop by McDonald’s on the way to the airport.”  Oh?  McDonald’s? Well.  That makes everything all better then.  Must be his favorite place since this was the second time he was taking me there in six weeks.  Guys, here’s a tip.  Maybe wait until you’ve been with someone for a few months before you start taking them to fast food chains for dinner.  I’m not a gold digger, but come on.  If you only make time to see someone once a week, you can at least spring for Chipotle.  As I pulled up to his terminal, I went to park in the deck.  He exclaimed, “Oh, you can just drop me at the curb. You don’t have to come in.”  “I’d like to go in to see you off,” I said.  He said, “Nah, just drop me here.”  Great.  So I’m a taxi.  We decided on a time for him to call me in two days during the layover for my flight home to Virginia.  During the time in which he was supposed to call me, I received a written message from him on the dating site where we met saying that he hoped I didn’t mind, but that one spot opened up on a ski trip with some friends so he was going to do that on New Year’s Eve instead of spending time with me.  He ended the message by saying he would call me the next day.  My response, “That’s okay.  You don’t have to call.”  This was followed by a few messages and several texts sent by him to me at midnight spread out over the next month trying to get me to continue to see him.  I mean really guys, don’t send text messages when someone is trying to sleep.  If you honestly want to apologize for being a jerk, man up, pick up the phone and CALL at a decent hour.  He never did, but continues to cyber stalk my online dating profiles.  Yes, I see you visited my profile.  Still not gonna go out with you again.  I can buy my own Happy Meal.

A few months ago, I met a guy who I was SURE was going to lead to a relationship.  He was tall, had blue eyes, dimples, a stable job, is a huge Flyers fan, and plays goalie for a beer league.  Other than his cigarette smoking and what I thought was occasional weed usage, he seemed wonderful.  Our first date was to a Kings playoff game.  There was TONS of chemistry between us in person.  Phone calls and texts turned out to be a bit of a struggle.  Pretty soon, I started getting the push/pull from him.  There was the “I’ve only been out of a six year relationship for six months so I don’t want to jump into anything right now.”  Then I got the, “I haven’t been this excited about anyone in ten years.”  After that, he’d cancel on a date on short notice or show up hours late without warning.  There was no thought as to how his actions made me feel.  He seemed to think that telling me that I was the only person he was seeing would make it okay.  When we were together everything was amazing, but when we were apart, something just wasn’t right.  I thought I had put two and two together with the pot smoking and came to the conclusion that he was ditching me, awkward on the phone, or dropped out of text conversations because he was high.  My reaction to that was ok, dude.  You wanna choose that instead?  Go ahead.  Eventually, after not hearing from him for a while, I got a text that apologized for his absence and said that his heart just wasn’t where it needed to be to continue.  Again, men of the world, MAN UP. Pick up the phone and speak to a woman LIVE when you want to end something.  A month later, I received a long text message from him again apologizing in detail; saying how much I deserve someone special and that he regrets that he probably threw away something beautiful.  I hope that clears his conscience because obviously it didn’t do anything for me.  If an apology is offered, there should be a change in behavior to accompany it showing sincerity.  Sending a text is not a change.  I already know I deserve better than the way he treated me.  The challenge is finding a guy in LA who is worth his salt.

Like thistle along a hiking trail, another beer league goalie latched onto me and wouldn’t let go.  At first, I thought he was sweet and funny.  Never mind his lack of a real career because you know, the job market is still recovering and he’s only twenty-eight.  It’s kinda cute that he wants to spend almost every evening together.  He’ll grow up… one day.  It didn’t bother me paying for half of the cheap dates we went on.  I can easily make fun out of a twenty dollar night.  Bubble hockey and two beers? Awesome!  Free DJ set at the Hammer Museum?  I’m all over it!  Picnic date?  OH YEAH!  Life doesn’t have to be about how much money you spend; just be thoughtful in the planning.  You can spend the same money buying two drinks and going for a long walk as getting McDonalds.  Always opt for the drinks and walk over the Big Mac.  Life should be about how considerately you treat people.  That’s why when the drama started, I was outta there.  I don’t mind dating a younger man, but if he’s still drinking more than four beers a night four or more nights a week, even on nights when he has to get up at 6am the next morning to go work with kids, that’s a pretty big red flag.  Six beers-

This is what he sent me after I broke up with him. We dated for THREE WEEKS and I do NOT go by “Beth.”

GIANT red flag.  Guys, if a girl repeatedly says she doesn’t want to be physically picked up, don’t rush at her and try to forcefully lift her.  Especially don’t do that in front of a police car… they will follow the both of you home.  Also guys, if you’re in the parking lot of a grocery store where you just bought beer and you decide you need to use the restroom, go back into the store and use their toilet.  Don’t tell your girl you’re going to pee in a dark corner nearby.  It’s gross.  And weird.  Seriously, if you’ve only been seeing someone a matter of weeks, it’s not a good idea to whip out your penis and start peeing all over the place in public after your girl has repeatedly said you should go into the store or hold it for the ten minute walk home.  Not to mention, it’s illegal.  Speaking of unlawful practices, wait until you get home to open your beer and start drinking it.  Even if you’re on foot, you’re still not allowed to drink in public in most cities.  It also might look a bit ghetto to your date if you go strolling down the sidewalk, sipping on a Smithwick’s.  If she says she’s uncomfortable with your behavior that night, starting a big, obnoxious, drunken fight probably won’t win her over at 11:30PM.  When she tells you that it’s over, don’t continue to email/text/call day after day.  It’s creepy.  Calling 17 times in one hour and then showing up on her doorstep? That’s psychotic.  (Did I mention he’s a Sharks fan?  Yeah.  So take your liquid drama and pour it into your… oh… you don’t have a cup to put it in.  That must suck.)

A few weeks after Sharks Fan Boy finally got the hint, the other goalie (the Flyers fan) called.  First, he texted, “Can I call you?  I read your blog.”  I have to say, that’s one of the best things anyone has ever texted me.  I thought, “Ok, he sees that he needs to change his actions and communication.  This is good!”  We talked.  He told me he freaked out because he was falling in love with me and wasn’t ready then, but that he wanted to see me now.  We briefly dated again, at which time many serious discussions were had.  We talked about having children, moving to Philly to be with his family, how hard he had fallen so quickly and why.  He seemed very serious about me.  Then, out of nowhere, he backed up again.  I got the whole, “I’m not ready for a commitment” speech.  Well, I’m not ready to date someone who says one thing one week and something else the next.  It doesn’t make any sense to tell someone you’re falling in love with them and then less than two weeks later say you only want to go out casually.  So I pulled the plug.  My heart isn’t a toy.  You can’t shelf it when you feel like being selfish.

There have been a few other dates that threw me for a loop.  I went out with someone with whom I have mutual friends.  Before going out, he said something to the effect of, “where have you been all my life” as we were planning the date.  Of course, he was joking, and the word date was never used, but I assumed it was a date.  It didn’t sound like we were just going to hang out.  When I got there, it was clear that I had dressed up for the occasion a lot more than he had so I started wondering if it was just a plutonic thing.  Later in the evening, I said, “you know, I wasn’t sure it was a date.”  He said, “I wasn’t either.”  So I said, “would you like it to be?”  He said, “I don’t know, I mean, I’m fine with it.”  I’M FINE WITH IT?!  Guys, don’t ever say anything like that to a girl.  You’re “FINE” with going out on a date with her?  At least pretend to be excited.  He sent a few texts after the date, but never called.  I wasn’t heartbroken because the guy spent the ENTIRE three hour date talking about himself.  Another guy I went out with twice back in the spring asked me out again.  We went out, had a nice time, he has texted, but again, no phone calls.  Both guys said they wanted to spend time with me in the future, but there was no follow through.  I assume they aren’t ready for something special with someone or decided that I’m just not what they’re looking for.

Then, the Flyers fan started messaging again.  We had another heart-to-heart talk and started dating immediately.  He lasted less than a week.  Six days after telling me he was “all in,” I got a text at 10am on a Friday (while I was at work) saying he ran into his ex the night before, they kissed, and he was feeling confused.  So.  Let’s go over this again guys.  YOU DO NOT TEXT THINGS LIKE THIS.  Man up.  Call.  My real problem with the whole situation wasn’t that he talked to his ex or even that he kissed her, it was that he wasn’t sure what to do and didn’t know if he still wanted to see me.  Add to that the fact that he texted me this.  On a work day.  He finally called during his lunch, at which time I flat out told him I deserve better and that I will never trust him again.  He will not be getting another chance.  Hopefully he’ll take some time to grow up, see a therapist, and meet someone else when he’s ready.

Here’s what a guy would get with me; a girl who loves hockey, likes cooking, is a licensed massage therapist, digs rock music, craves being outdoors, is a passionate Leo, adores animals, doesn’t fill space with unnecessary chatter, is frugal, can dress up or dress down, enjoys making breakfast in bed for her guy, and industriously works two jobs.  I even know how to sew!  Plus, have you seen my curves?  They’re real.  Supposedly, I’m “the jackpot,” but I can’t find a guy to give my gold away to.  Four online dating sites, attempts at forgiving exes for being idiots, willingness to work on problems, and yet, I’m still single.  Any new dating sites out there?  I think I’ve bled the existing online dating hockey market dry.  Maybe I’ll meet someone at Frozen Fury?  I’ll be there alone, so let’s all cross our fingers.

Sometimes, I feel like I need to send out Taylor Swift videos to these guys because we are never, ever, ever, getting back together.  Like, ever.

We Need To Chat

Communication.  It’s essential for all healthy relationships with friends, family, lovers, and coworkers.  We all have our own unique way of relaying our feelings and thoughts to one another and in the end, we all hope that the other person has understood what we intended.  For the past seven months, I’ve been assessing my own methods and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned.

This past winter and spring, I ran out of time to write to you guys.  I’ve gotten a good amount of direct messages asking if I’m okay and where I’ve been.  I’m sincerely sorry for my lack of blog posts, tweets, and instagrams during that period.  I wish I could have found the time to make this more of a priority, but I was focused on what I needed at the time.  My priority was on submitting for other employment opportunities, working out, dating, and self improvement.  That meant trade-offs.  No time for Twitter, because I was checking job boards.  No time to blog because on was on Skype to freaking Germany every morning/night or out on a date.  No time to take pictures because I had to clean, re-organize, and get my cardio on.  Any quiet moments I had, I reflected on how I felt my self-growth work was going.  I felt on top of my short term goals, but I really did miss interaction with my Twitter followers and I felt creatively stifled.  Ironically, I couldn’t find time to communicate what I learned about communication.

So let’s get into it!  We’ll start with that whole trying to date someone who lives in Germany business.  You might remember me mentioning an ex-boyfriend wanting to fly me out to Frankfurt for the holidays, but I basically gave him the brush off.  Ever since we broke up, he emails me a few times a year, usually when he’s moved to a new place and is feeling lonely.  I typically say my peace about how I don’t think it’s a good idea to rehash things and he goes away for a few months.  This time, he persisted.  He contacted me every day.  This kept on for six weeks.  I thought, you know, maybe he’s changed.  It looks like he’s finally decided what he wants.  We had an understanding about the situation.  We were Skyping when we had time and he knew if a nice guy in LA asked me out, I was going to go.  However, the more we talked, the less I had time to answer online dating emails from other men.  Eventually, he asked me to meet him in San Fran while he was in town for a convention.  I went up and spent a few days with him, but unfortunately, the magic dynamic between us was gone.  To make matters worse, he didn’t want to discuss it.  When I left, he stopped messaging me.  I’m trying not to let the old adage, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me,” get to me.   All I can do is say, hey, let’s talk about this to see if we can fix it and if he puts his head in the sand, not much I can do except for not trust him or be open to him again.  What have I learned from this?  Well don’t speak to him again for one thing.  One person can’t solve two people’s problem.

My real grandparents died when I was very young.  Our neighbors adopted me as their first granddaughter.  I spent many afternoons at their house, playing in the creek, feeding the horses, visiting the kittens in the barn, and playing on their tree swing.  They are the kindest people I’ve ever known.  I feel extremely lucky to have them in my life.  There weren’t any hugs in the house I grew up in, but my adopted grandparents (Nancy and Lee) always hugged me, told me they loved me, and were proud of me for even the smallest of academic accomplishments.  They took me to see the local baseball team play at least a few times a year and always brought me to their family reunions where they introduced me to everyone as their first granddaughter.  My own family rarely gets together so the time I spent with the Trent family is full of cherished memories.  This past February, my Papa Lee passed away from a sudden, massive stroke.  I found out about this from an email sent by my father.  AN EMAIL.  Imagine waking up to that.  It was awful.  I immediately rang his daughter, my “Aunt Pooh,” who was grief stricken.  I tried to get a bereavement fare to the funeral, but the best Delta could offer me was an $800 dollar flight that would get me to an airport a three hour drive away… at midnight.  So in addition to a five hour flight, I’d have to pay an extra $100 for the rental car for the three hour drive.  I flat out could not afford it.  Sure, I could charge it, but it would take me a year to pay that off.  I called my Aunt Pooh to give her the bad news and apologized, but I couldn’t see Lee wanting me to spend that much money to travel back to Virginia for two days.  I told my parents that I could not go and their response (via email) was “you were not expected to go.”  The following week, my mother went into the hospital to have her hip operated on.  I found that out through my Aunt Pooh.  No one bothered to tell me prior to the procedure.  It is the strangest thing to me that I work so hard to be in touch and get nothing in return.  I do the best I can to have a relationship with my real parents, but honestly, the lack of communication from them makes it nearly impossible to succeed.  What have I learned from this?  Be warm, be kind, because you never know when your loved ones will leave you.  Let go of the people who don’t try- even if they’re your own flesh and blood.

Included in letting go of people has sadly been a lot of my friends.  I finally realized I was surrounded by people who communicate poorly.  The people I sought relationship advice from are just as (if not more than) bad at figuring out the right thing to say and non-verbal clues as I have been.  Many of them have recently gone through break-ups.  Some want to talk about it, others are internalizing and isolating themselves.  I check in with them every now and then to see how they’re doing, but they dodge discussing their emotions.  I spent a lot more time with my hockey buddies in the last year than these friends I’ve known for ten plus years.  I think that’s best for my growth and journey.  I do recognize that I’m the kind of person who wants to figure out issues, discuss them, and solve them when possible.  Not everyone is like that, nor is it possible to work things out with people who have certain types of misanthropic, manipulative, or antagonizing personalities.

In short, I feel a great deal stronger as a person after these seven months of self-help.  I have had quite a few phone interviews, a handful of in person meetings, and a couple of  job offers, but I haven’t found the right fit for a new career yet.  I’m not a job-hopper so when I transition to somewhere new, I want it to be a company I’m excited about.  In such a tough job market, it feels tremendous to get out there.  I feel like the right position at a marketing firm or entertainment company is just around the corner.  I dropped the six pounds I gained when I hurt my knee and couldn’t work out last year.  My apartment still needs some purging, but I’m happy with its boho style.  The dating scene… well… there are always plenty of dates to be had in LA, just not a lot of men I want to give my heart to.  You’ll find out about that in my next blog post.  Thanks for sticking with me.

Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela, a man who was never afraid of expressing himself and made the world better because of it.

“Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.”

“Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.”  That’s a quote from one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump.  I identify with so many of the characters in that film, especially Jenny.  She could never shake the nightmares of her past.  Although Jenny tried to find salvation in many forms such as school, humanitarian causes, and singing, she ended up struggling to escape her childhood memories by abandoning responsibilities, using alcohol, drugs, and through sex.  While she tried to put the past behind her, she found herself lost in the world; facing living situations that were the same which from she ran.  She was searching for what we all want when it comes to resolution for tragic circumstance- closure.

For those who haven’t lived through childhood abuse or domestic violence, it’s hard to help them understand that a remedy is not as simple as “leaving the past behind.”  Simple and routine events that occur in a normal day can trigger memories of devastating past incidents.  There is no way to forget what happened and no way to live life without reminders.  This time of year is particularly difficult for me.  Everyone asks if I’m going home for the holidays and if I’m excited.  I have to make the choice of whether to tell the truth or to give an abstract answer like, “It will be good to see my adopted Grandmother.  We always have eggnog and cookies at her sister’s house just after midnight on Christmas eve.”  Distracting people with that usually works.  When people dig deeper, that’s when it gets awkward.  What should I do?  How much information do I need to give them about my parents?  I usually try to dodge it and ask them questions about what they do when they visit family.  However, I find sometimes that makes me feel worse.  Hearing all of the traditions and loving moments they share with their family makes me sad that I never had that with my own.  Every year, I find myself having more to drink than usual during December, crying alone more than laughing with friends, and wishing I had my own family; a husband and maybe children to celebrate with.

This holiday season, I am dating someone.  I think it’s been seven years since I had a boyfriend at Christmas, not that we’ve put labels on things.  We have only been dating about a month.  He seems to be a good guy.  I’m not sure how serious he is about me so I’m just taking it one day at a time.  Since the time he and I met, I’ve had a few ex-boyfriends crawl out of the woodwork.  Some of you who have been following me on Twitter for three years will remember “The Canadian.”  Shortly after sweeping me off of my feet, his work transferred him back to Vancouver and he abruptly ended our relationship.  A year and a half later, he went to work in Montreal.  We reconnected last spring and I was supposed to go up to spend time with him when he up and vanished on me again with no explanation.  Last month, (out of the blue) he emailed to say he was sorry and asked if he could fly me out to where he’s currently working in Germany.  He wanted to spend Christmas with me.  Well, it’s a day late and a dollar short, but it was nice to have an apology from him for the way he acted in the past.  I also received an email and a phone call from “The Producer” I was deeply in love with for most of my mid to late twenties.  When we dated, he told me for years that he never wanted to be monogamous or get married.  I wasn’t famous enough for him to take to events he went to and it took him three and a half years to tell me he loved me which really did a number on my self-esteem.  One year at Christmas, my mother told me that maybe I just needed to “give him time to find himself.”  My answer was, “Oh, I think he’s found himself, Mom.  I think he’s found himself in many, many women.”  It took me more than a few years to get over him, especially since he married the next woman he was involved with.  When he called last month, he beat around the bush for a while and then finally said he just wanted to apologize for the way he treated me and that I was amazing and deserved an equally amazing guy.  I can’t tell you how badly I needed to hear him say that.  I honestly don’t have a clue what prompted him to call, but it was exactly what I wanted for so many years.

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that ex-boyfriends can call to try to make amends, but my own flesh and blood can’t.   My mother has phoned me once in eleven years.  ONCE.  Not when my father almost died, not on my birthday, not to say hello.  She rang in the middle of the night because she thought a Tsunami was headed for California.  “No, Mom.  We have bluffs in Santa Monica.  We’re not going to flood.” I wanted to add, “You’d know that if you ever came to visit.”  I ring my parents on their birthdays and all holidays.  I email pictures a few times a year.  Is it so much to want the same in return?

I struggle to not end up like Jenny; to not fall into patterns of behavior that put me in situations which make me feel the way I felt when I was a child.  I try to not to let the scars hinder my movement forward or lead to my demise.  Although I have tried to be strong, they have definitely left me damaged.  Having sought out and undergone therapy, different terms have been thrown around.  Chronic depression, Type Two Bi-Polar Disorder, and Anxiety are all things we tried treating.  None of the medication worked the way it was supposed to.  I believe that’s because I don’t have any of those illnesses.  I think I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which no one seems to know the exact correct treatment for and also seems to be very difficult to diagnose and cure.  I can’t help but wonder, if I simply got an apology, would that give me what I need?  Is closure the only answer?

Each year when I go home for the holidays, I hope that my parents will make some sort of amends for how they treated me when I was a minor.  It never happens.  I only want to hear, “I’m sorry.”  It’s a short, two word sentence, but it’s the biggest thing a person can say.  I don’t know for sure if it can repair the damage, but I’d like to find out.

Midnight Clear contains one of my favorite scenes ever written. Two characters, mother and son, simultaneously, yet unbeknownst to each other are contemplating suicide.  The son says to his mother, “I need you to wish me a Merry Christmas.”  In my opinion, it’s one of the most poignant moments in a holiday film.  Below, I am posting the trailer.  If you’re having the same kind of difficulties I am, I suggest buying or renting it this season.

 

 

 

 

Let’s Laugh At My Dates

I had a lot of unexpected feedback from my last post.  I appreciate everyone writing, texting, Facebooking, and commenting.  What was really surprising was that it was mostly by people I never expected to hear from.  So I wanted to thank everyone again for your support.  It truly means more to me than I can say.  I haven’t been on my social networks as much as usual lately because what little time I could scrape together in the day has been used for applying for new jobs.  I had an interview yesterday for a great company.  I don’t have experience in that particular field, so I’ll just have to hope they call me in for a second interview.  I’m supposed to have a phone interview with another company this week, but the salary wasn’t listed on their job post… so we’ll see how that goes.

I’ve had a few brief dating encounters in the past few months that I thought we could all laugh at.  Everyone knows I’m open to meeting new people and I date frequently, but the times I have second or third dates are few and far between.  Over the summer, I met three guys I enjoyed meeting so much on the first date that I thought surely it would lead to something.  However, they all ended up pulling douchebag moves.  People have told me I expect too much or my standards might be too high so I’m going to tell you what happened because I want you to fully understand what I’m up against here.  The following is what’s out there in the wonderful world of LA dating.

I thought I had hit the jackpot.  I found a tall, blue eyed, bald, Canadian, hockey loving, indie rock show supporting, mountain hiking, CUTE atheist who drove a Jeep.  I mean, hello SEXYPANTS!  Perfect for me, right?!  Yeah.  That’s what I thought.  We had a great time talking and relaxing on the first date at an art show and a quiet pool bar.  Our second date was a silly movie a fun make-out session.  Nothing was rushed.  There was about a week or two between dates.  We texted a little while he was at rock shows or out of town for work in between dates, but there were no phone calls between dates.  Personally, I like to hear the guy’s voice and prefer to chat live than through text.  When he got back in town he invited me over.  Here’s where things head south quickly.  He lives in a part of LA where sections are a bit sketchy.  I pulled over at a nearby gas station and texted asking for tips on parking since I couldn’t find anything close to his building and the street was very dark.  No response.  I called him.  No answer.  Five minutes later, I found the closest street parking I could, which was a good 1500 feet away.  Just then a text came in from him saying to park on the street and if I had to park on the opposite side of the street to cross carefully.  Thanks, Captain Obvious.  As I was parking, he called to ask if I had found a spot.  I said, “yeah, but it’s really far away.  I can’t even see your building from here.  I’m behind an RV and there’s very little street lighting.  I’m beside a lot of bushes and trees.”  His response was “Oh, there’s usually something closer.”  I responded, “No, there’s nothing closer.”  Pause.  Silence.  “So I guess I’ll just get out my hot pepper spray.”  He asked, “your what?”  I answered, “My hot pepper spray.  You know, since it’s dark out here and I’m wearing a skirt and I’m parked really far away.”  He said, “Oh. Okay.”  Pause.  I slowly said, “So I guess I’ll just find your building now… in the dark.”  His response was, “Okay.”  Pause.  I said, “Okay, bye,” and hung up.  I sat there for a second.  I looked around again.  This street was serial rapist heaven.  I put my hot pepper spray back in my bag and got my phone out.  I texted, “This is not a street that a woman should walk on alone.  I’m going home.”  I pulled out and drove away.  While driving, I got three missed calls from him and a text that read, “Where are you?  Did you leave?”  Then I got another phone call which I didn’t answer since I was in line at the drugstore buying greeting cards.  When I settled in at home, I listened to a voicemail he left asking me to please call him and let him know I was safe.  I texted back saying that I sent him a text letting him know I was going home and that in the future he should offer to walk ladies in.  He wrote back, “Thanks, have a good evening.”  That was the end of that.

A month went by and I met another guy who sounded interesting, but admittedly was too young for me.  I don’t know why I thought going out with a 25 year old was a good idea.  My bad on that.  He was really good looking.  Dark hair, blue eyes, dimples, loved hiking and going to concerts, had a great job and didn’t dress like a hipster.  He even shared my love for Nightmare Before Christmas.  We had great conversation at the eclectic bar he chose.  Finally, he walked me to my car and asked me out for a second date straight away.  That was impressive.  I agreed.  We went out for dinner and again had a fun time talking.  I think we were both surprised by how much we had in common.  Afterwards he drove me home and I asked if he wanted to come in for a drink.  He agreed.  We watched the Olympics and cheered for the USA even though it was on time delay.  It was fun.  Hot kissing ensued.  Eventually, we called it a night and he asked me out again.  We talked a few more nights and then he invited me over.  Take out, movie, chatting, kissing, and then, oh, what the heck we’re half naked let’s go in the bedroom.  I remember being 25 and that’s the typical speed so life is short let’s roll with this.  That was a decision I quickly regretted.  This guy’s idea of sex was to show me every position he knows in 25 second intervals.  Men, WOMEN HATE THAT.  Don’t do that!  EVER!  That is bad sex.  I mean REALLY UNENJOYABLE.  Women can’t orgasm from that.  Okay?  So chew on that information if you’ve been trying to show off in bed that way.  Anyway, before I knew it he was done and I was speechless.  I mean part of me wanted to say, “Dude, who told you to do that to a woman?” and part of me was in shock.  We hung out in bed for a few minutes and he started to get up and get dressed.  I said, “What are you doing?”  He said, “Getting dressed.”  I said, “No, sir!  This is a no pants party.  Get back in bed.”  He laughed and laid back down.  I was thinking, “Where is round two,” but round two never came.  Eventually he got up and said he was getting dressed.  It was midnight.  I knew what that meant.  That meant he was going to ask me to leave.  I sat up in bed and sure enough, he gathered up my clothes and handed them to me.  Great.  Just freaking great.  I went into the bathroom and got dressed.  I came out and he said, “I found this,” as he handed me my cardigan.  I took it and replied, “Yeah, that’s my modesty sweater to wear over my boobs with my sundress,” and put it on.  He said, “Well, you don’t have to put that on,” while trying to be cute.  Quietly I said, “Clearly I do, since it looks like you’re kicking me out.”  I walked into the living room to put my jewelry and shoes on.  He followed and blurted out, “I just realized this is kind of a dick move.  I’m sorry, it’s just that I have to get up early.”  I didn’t say anything.  He said, “Silence….”  I softly responded, “What do you want me to say?  This isn’t nice.  This isn’t something I would do to someone.”  He sat down next to me and said, “Really, I’m sorry, I should have told you I have to get up early.  (Pause.) You’re silent again.”  I looked up at him and said, “I really don’t know what to say.  Dinner was nice.  The movie was nice.  Hanging out was nice, but this… this is not nice.  Do you know what my guy friends would say?  They would say, ‘are you effing kidding me, he kicked you out?!’  I mean, this is not a good sign.  This is very telling of what’s to come.”  He stood up and said, “I guess I should have told you about the early morning hike I’m going on.  Well, let me walk you to your car so that I don’t come off like a complete douchebag.”  Yeah, buddy.  Too late.  He walked me to the car and said he had a really busy week coming up but that he’d call me and we could make plans for next weekend.  I looked at him with scrunched eyebrows and a look of disbelief and left.  A week later, he texted asking what my plans were for the weekend.  I wrote back, “Actually, I don’t think we should see each other again.  Best of luck to you.”  So gentlemen of the world, let me teach you something.  If you have to get up early, YOU GIVE THE GIRL THE OPTION TO STAY AND GET UP EARLY WITH YOU.  This is not rocket science.  If the girl lives a few miles away, it’s not a big deal for her to get up early and drive home.  She can go back to bed and there’s no harm done.  Also when you have sex, you should make sure the girl orgasms too.  It’s only fair.

Recently I went on a date with someone who isn’t my usual type, but sounded like a solid guy.  He was very handsome and clearly did well for himself.  We met for drinks at one of my favorite lounges.  He seemed really interested in my silly stories and our conversation flowed like fine wine.  Eventually, we called it a night.  The very next day he sent a cute text.  Later in the day, he asked if I wanted to come over, even though it was early, but he promised to be on good behavior.  Normally, I would say “no,” but my friends told me to say “yes.”  So I agreed to meet him at his place.  He went all out with the dinner he ordered.  It was super fancy delivery.  We chatted about our day and attempted to watch a movie, but homeboy clearly had no interest in the film.  Sir Speedy pushed for third base while I tried to slow the pace, yet he got a little too excited in the moment and OOOPS.  Yeah.  Um, okay… um… yeah.  He was obviously embarrassed so I tried to make him feel better by saying it was a compliment.  We basically pretended that it had not just happened.  He got out a slice of cake, we split it, and then he asked if I wanted to stay over.  Nnnnnnnno.  In order to get out in a somewhat classy manner, I said I’d stay over next time.  All the while thinking, “Dude, I don’t even know your last name.”  The next day I was offered some box seats for a Blues event.  I texted him to ask if he’d like to join me at the concert the following week.  He said he had plans that night, but would call me in two days to let me know if he could move them.  Well, two days came and went.  On the third, he texted a little, but didn’t mention the show.  On the fourth, nothing.  The fifth day he called to again thank me for the offer and said he was sorry he didn’t get back to me sooner.  Then he wanted to know if I found someone to go with me.  I said, “Yeah, I’m going with close friends.”  Upon that information he said he had cancelled his plans for that night and might buy tickets to go.  Um, okay.  Then he asked if I would send him a text or video from the concert.  Oooookay.  Sure, if I could.  The night of the show, for whatever reason, I wasn’t getting very good cell reception at the venue so I didn’t send a picture and it was very late when I got home, so I sent him pictures the next day in the morning.  We texted a little about the show.  That has been it.  I haven’t heard from him since.  I don’t chase guys, especially ones who are in a rush for the bedroom and don’t call when they say they will.

So I ask you, am I requiring too much?  Are manners lost?  And whatever happened to going out and doing things together to get to know one another before jumping in the sack?  I’m a Leo.  I love sex, but come on guys.  Slow it down.

 

This time, it was right. Thanks for your kind words, everyone.

It’s Not My Party, But I’ll Cry Because I Want To

This isn’t a post about strength, nor self-discovery, and we’re not going to laugh about my dating woes.  It’s a mess, much like my life right now.  So if you’re looking for something you can learn from, flip to another blog.  This is one of those posts where I’m seeking help.  If anyone has advice for me, please, write back.  I spent much of the summer in tears and I don’t know how to fix it.  Jokes aren’t helping.  Random acts of kindness by me to other people are mere distraction.  Time isn’t “easing it for me.”  I can’t seem to climb out of this dip.

How do you “get happy?”  There’s little so condescending as someone who has never experienced depression as someone who tells you to “get in a good mood.”  It simply doesn’t work that way.  I try to focus on the things I’m fortunate enough to have and that I’ve lived an interesting life, but most of it just hasn’t been happy.  I have momentary spurts of contentment.  When I’m in a loving or new relationship, I’m very high-spirited, but when I’m not, I have to fight to find reasons to go on.  Is it truly a way of thinking or is it based on what a person has lived through?  Can the glass half-empty mentality be changed?

For those of you who don’t know, I turned 35 at the end of July.  I didn’t mention my birthday to many people for two reasons.  Number one, I knew I was having a really bad dip and I wouldn’t feel like throwing myself a party and second, I wanted to see if anyone would remember and ask me if I wanted to do anything.  It was strange to let it pass, but I didn’t know how to otherwise handle it.  Hardly anyone remembered.  People for whom I drove over an hour to their birthday parties to bring them a gift and celebrate with them didn’t even do as little as offer to take me out for a drink.  Even the “party” they threw at work for the June/July birthdays was lame.  Bad pizza and no cake.  I walked into the front door of the get together and out the back door, then I left work for an hour.  I wasn’t going to eat that crap, especially considering the number of parties at work I planned and bought for where I carefully choose a cake, napkins, plates, cookies, etc. that I knew the birthday men & women liked.  They couldn’t even get me a cupcake?  Screw those people.

My birthday was on a Saturday.  That day, I checked my phone for messages every now and then.  Nothing from my parents, of course.  I went to the butterfly pavilion at the Natural History Museum and then into the building to look at the geology wing.  It’s filled with rocks that took hundreds of years to form, but will be beautiful forever.  I wish as humans we had that same amount of time on earth.  Why didn’t I major in geology or botany in college?  Anyway, there’s nothing like a building full of screaming children to make you reconsider that whole “I want to be a parent someday” idea.  That was oddly comforting to me.  I came home and got ready for a friend’s party.  Lucky for me, a good buddy and his wife were having a “We Won The Cup” party at their home that evening and were kind enough to invite me.  Throughout the day I checked my voicemail, twitter, and texts hoping my perfect hockey guy would write, but he never did.  I received a few text from friends.  Oddly enough, Vegas guy messaged me, but perhaps that’s because his birthday is a few days before mine and I publically wished him well so maybe he felt obliged.  I kept hoping someone would ask if I wanted to do anything.  Somebody.  Anybody.  Nothing from anyone on that front.

The hockey party was a really cool experience for me and a welcomed diversion of my attention.  I met a lot of people I’ve wanted to chat with for a long time and my friend’s wife even got me to dance to some pop songs I’ve never heard.  The party ended.  I checked my phone again, nothing.  After the party I stopped by the grocery store to buy myself a piece of cake.  I couldn’t make up my mind between cheese cake and carrot cake so I bought both.  The clerks at the check out chatted with me about it and I told them it was my birthday.  They were appalled that I had to buy my own cake and told me I needed new friends.  Yeah… ya think?

Even some of my twitter friends went out of their way more than my “real life” friends.  A guy I talked to for a half hour at ComicCon sent me a dozen red roses.  I mean, people who are strangers showed more kindness than people I’ve known for years.  My best friend and I had been fighting, but she called me to chat for a little bit.  Our relationship has been a bit strained by distance lately.  Her O-1 Visa hasn’t come through yet.  She got the approval papers for it months ago, but the embassy won’t stamp her passport.  No one seems to be able to give a valid reason for that.  I haven’t seen her in four years.  I miss her terribly.  Last winter we talked about going to go to Hawaii or Lake Tahoe for my birthday.  So much for that idea.  When I got to work the following Monday after, my very good friend Matt went WAY above and beyond by giving me the Kings’ Stanley Cup DVD and two enormous batches of delicious homemade cookies.  That excited me more than anything I’d seen since the big win by my favorite NHL team.  There was a card in the mail from my parents.  Ok, better late than never.  A week later, another friend took me out to lunch, but took a call at the table and talked on his phone for half of lunch.  I mean, he’s like a brother to me, but it’s just not something I would do.

It was a weird birthday.  Am I a horrible person to feel disappointed?  Should I focus on the good that happened and forget the rest?  Is it wrong of me to want other people to be as thoughtful as I have been?  I do place more importance on that day of the year than most.  I never had birthday parties growing up.  One year, I was allowed to take a friend to Pizza Hut for lunch (the location was my mother’s idea), but that was it until I turned 21.  The year of my 21st was amazing.  I was working summer stock theatre and people I had only known for six weeks all took me out to get me wasted.  That was before people had cell phones or social networking sites.  You could go streaking and not worry about shots of it ending up on a website.  Those were the days…

So here I am at 35.  Lost.  I never thought I would be here.  When I gave up acting it was hard, but I always told myself it was okay because I could focus on having my ultimate dream- a family.  Now I have to give up that dream as well.  Let’s be real, the chances of me finding an awesome guy and adopting children before age 40 are slim to none.  Five years go by in a flash.  I have to do a whole life overhaul with new friends, new job, and new goals.  It’s daunting.

I’m not saying I want to be one of those people who pretends to be perpetually upbeat.  I mean, what is wrong with them?  A giant fake smile and false laugh is their response to everything.  When I meet people like that, I run in the opposite direction.  I mean, I find them annoying as crap!  Have they never opened their eyes and looked around?  There are millions of people dying of disease, starving children, war-torn nations in devastation, what is their response to THAT?  I prefer to be real.  However, it would be nice to feel more zealous.  Does anyone have any tips?  Advice?  Anything?

This video has always been a source to center myself:

 

How many lives have guns saved?

It’s no secret the room I grew up in contained a gun cabinet.  It was locked, but I knew where the keys were.  Being a small child, there wasn’t much that interested me inside of it.  My father’s 9mm was loaded and kept out in the open in his bedroom.  The handgun issued to him for work was usually resting on the kitchen counter inside of his gun belt.  I never touched them, unless told to.  They weren’t mine and in our household, you didn’t mess with things that didn’t belong to you, or else.

As kid, I was picked on all the time.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to make fun of the chunky nerd with the crooked teeth, bottle-glass thick glasses, big nose, and out of date clothing on?  I was an easy target.  I rarely talked back.  Growing up, I learned that if I talked back to my parents, I’d end up with a split lip.  So I generally kept quiet and pretended it didn’t bother me.  I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it.  Couldn’t talk to my parents, didn’t have any other relatives I could lean on, and if my friends wanted to earn points with the cool crowd, they’d chime in with the laughter and insults.  Some friends, eh?  They would usually apologize a week or so later and I so desperately wanted and needed human companionship that I always forgave my “friends.”  Still, I always felt like more of a loner with no one I could really trust.

Around age fifteen, I started to find myself and in doing so, found my real friends.  You know, that group of outcasts who dressed in mostly dark colors and listened to music that wasn’t played on the radio.  I got into The Cure, Morrissey, and anything produced by 4AD.  Many of my friends were into punk and soon grunge came along.  We hung out, listened to music, bitched about our families and teachers.  All those things teenagers do.  One of the guys in our group of friends got signed over to the state by his mother.  She didn’t want to deal with him anymore.  I felt compassion for him; I knew what it was like to not be wanted.  We started hanging out while his social worker was looking for housing for him.  Soon, he became my first boyfriend.  I did my best to help him out.  Brought him food, polished his shoes, did his laundry; I even brought him a Christmas tree.  However, nothing I did ever made him happy.  He frequently lashed out at me over the smallest gestures.  Strangely, he told me many times that I needed to lose weight and cut my hair.  At the time, I was a size 8 with a 36DD chest.  My braces had been taken off, I wore contact lenses, and although my skin wasn’t great, I was a pretty attractive girl.  There was no need for me to change the way I looked.

No matter how nice I was to him, he was always angry.  I couldn’t win.  Because I grew up in a household where people flew off the handle over nothing, at first I didn’t see how inappropriately he was acting towards me.  However, soon the rumors of him cheating on me started and I had enough.  We broke up.  Weeks later, he apologized and we got back together.  Then it happened again.  We broke up and got back together several more times.  The last time, he had become so out of control with his violent aggression that I was becoming afraid of him.  Some of my teachers saw him yelling at me in the hallway at school and were worried about me.  I told them I had broken up with him for good so there was nothing more to be concerned about.  Little did anyone know what was to come.

Every time I turned a corner, there he was.  I told him over and over I didn’t want to talk to him anymore and to leave me alone.  When I drove home from school, he followed me.  Eventually, he started trying to run me off of the road.  My friends were frightened for me.  They started driving me to and from school when they could.  One day at school he grabbed my best friend, threw her up against her locker and told her that she better see to it that I went to the prom with him or she would be sorry.  In the same week, during my French class, he came up and beat on the door.  My teacher asked me what that was all about in front of the class.  I said, “I don’t know.  He’s crazy.”  She said, “Well, you need to go out there and tell him that if he does that again, I’m going to write him up.”  Although I didn’t want to go out there, I did what I was told.  Out in the hallway, I repeated her words and he said, “I’ll write HER up.”  I came back into class and sat down.  He walked up to the door and hit it again.  My teacher looked at me and said, “Did you tell him?!”  I said, “Yeah, he said he’d write you up.”  She started to storm out into the hallway, paused, and then came back in and shut the door.  Perhaps she did that because he was over six feet tall and built like a football player.  She wrote something on her desk and then proceeded with class.  Well, French teacher, you sure showed him.  And thanks for having my back.

A few days after that, as he and I were exchanging words next to my locker, I took his stuff out of my locker, placed it on the floor and said, “I asked you to take this stuff out of here a month ago.  Don’t put anything in my locker.  I don’t want anything to do with you.”  Later that day, the VP called me into his office and basically blamed me for my ex-boyfriend’s outbursts saying I needed to “get it worked out.”  I asked why he hadn’t been placed at the alternative school for teens with discipline problems.  The VP took some sort of offense to that, as if I was telling him how to do his job, and told me to “just to worry about my own actions” and to go back to class.  Great.  Good to know I can go to the administration for help for a guy making threats against me and my friends.

It was spring time and the weather was nice, so after school one afternoon, my best friend decided to put the top down on her convertible as she drove me home.  Of course, there my ex-boyfriend was, following us.  He pulled up beside her car and started throwing things at us.  A cup, coins, a slice of pizza, and I don’t know what else because he began swerving his car at us to run her off of the road.  We pulled off, put the top up on the car, took some back roads and she dropped me off, obviously rattled.   A week later, he did the same thing, except this time, he had heavier artillery.  He got in front of her car with his car and tossed the items back at us.  He threw nuts and bolts and then a bottle that came straight for my best friend’s head.  These items are potentially deadly when propelling at you at 55 miles per hour.  We pulled off at her aunt’s house and called her father.  Her dad called the police.  We filed a report.  It turns out, what my ex-boyfriend did is a felony offense.  The police came to the school to arrest him the next day and the VP lied and said he wasn’t at school.  He skipped school for a few days, but when he came back, my best friend and I called the police from the payphone in the school lobby and told them where they could find him.  He was led out in handcuffs and never returned to school.

A couple of months later, I went to the trial with my best friend and her parents.  Where were my parents, you ask?  Why weren’t they concerned about their sixteen year old daughter?  Well, clearly they didn’t give a shit.  So I relied on the victim’s advocate who had been assigned to our case to help me out.  At the hearing, he told us that my ex-boyfriend wanted to make a plea agreement.  They wanted us to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor of assault and battery in exchange for asking the sentence to be six months in county jail.  If we didn’t agree to that, he was facing a minimum of five years in state prison.  My attorney said that if I sent him away for five years when he was just 18, that when he was released, there was a good chance he would come after me to punish me for putting him away for so long.  So we agreed to let him make the deal.  Before I knew it, the judge suspended five months of the six month sentence and said that if my ex-boyfriend came into contact with either of us, he would be sent back to county jail for the remainder of the time.  I looked at my victim’s advocate who looked away from me.  My ex-boyfriend was taken away and we walked back to our bench.  I said, “That’s not what I agreed to.  He was supposed to go away for six months.  That would take him through most of my senior year in school.  He’s going to be out before we know it.  He’s going to come after me again.”  My attorney said there wasn’t anything he could do about it, but not to worry, that the restraining order would keep me safe and to call him or the police if he approached me again.

Ten days later, my ex-boyfriend called me on the phone.  I said, “You’re not allowed to contact me.  It’s in the restraining order. How are you even calling me?  You’re supposed to be in jail.”  He laughed and said, “They let me out on good behavior.  I’ll see you soon.”  I hung up the phone and collapsed on the floor crying.  This is never going to end.  He’s going to kill me, I thought.

He began stalking me again.  He drove past our house multiple times a week.  Turned up at parties where my friends were and made threats with a smile on his face.  It got to the point of where I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere because I was too afraid.  There it was my senior year in high school and I couldn’t have any fun.  My best friend stopped hanging out with me.  I suspect her parents told her not to because they were afraid of what might happen to her if he showed up.  Other than seeing my friends at school between classes, I was pretty much alone again.  My brother (who had recently moved back into the house) set me up on a date with a friend of his.  Who turned up while I was out at the movies on my date, but my ex-boyfriend, of course.  I went to the security guard and told him what had happened.  He told me to call the police.  “You can’t help me,” I asked.  “No, I’m just here to look threatening.  I can’t actually arrest anyone.  Go call the police,” and he walked away.  In tears, I went to a payphone and called the police.  They claimed they couldn’t do anything because the case and restraining order had been taken out in the neighboring county and to call that police precinct.  So I called them.  They told me they couldn’t cross county lines into Lynchburg.  I thought, you’re the police!  Help me!  Talk to one another and send someone to arrest this guy!  But they wouldn’t.  They each told me to call the other district.  So there I was, seventeen, afraid, and the people who were supposed to protect me, couldn’t lift a finger.  I asked my date to take me home.  Needless to say, we never went out again.

One day, my ex-boyfriend showed up at my parents’ house when I was there alone.  I heard the distinctive putter of his crappy car in the driveway.  I grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen and went into the hallway.  He started trying to break in.  I ran into my parents’ bedroom and grabbed the loaded 9mm.  I walked into the living room where he could see me and I took the safety off of the gun.  He swiftly turned and left.

I didn’t hear from him again for a long time.  Friends told me he moved away.  After I graduated from college, he tracked me down online.  He found where I was listed as an employee on my company’s website.  He called the office, told them his name and said he was an old friend.  He’d like my phone number so that he could give me a call.  They told him they couldn’t give out my phone number, but gave him my personal email address.  He started emailing me about every other month for a few months.  I never wrote back.  During that time, I was frightened by everything.  Any little noise outside my window at night flooded my bloodstream with adrenaline and caused me to shake.  I walked to and from my car at work with hot pepper spray in my hand.  I always checked around and under my car before getting in it.  I would go into the laundry room at my apartment complex thinking, if he comes in here, no one will hear me screaming above the sound of the dryers.  I was even afraid to go the mailbox.  Eventually, the emails stopped.  Then, a couple of years later, they started up again.  He said he was dying and he just wanted to apologize.  I knew he was a sociopath and not to trust his words, but I hoped he was in fact dying.

I moved into the bottom half of a house which had a motion sensor light outside of my door.  When I got close to it, about ten feet from my door at the back of the house, it came on.  After work one night, the sensor had been kicked up so the light wouldn’t come on.  It was very dark without it and pitch black in the woods just feet from the rear house entrance.  As I unlocked my door, I heard footsteps in the woods.  I rushed inside and locked the door.  I grabbed the kitchen table and threw it up against the door.  I called my landlord who lived in the top half of the house and he came home.  He tried to console me, set the sensor back to the right position and said it was probably all just a squirrel.  The next night, I didn’t go straight home, I ran errands just in case someone was stalking me again and came home later than usual.  The sensor was in place so I felt a little silly.  The night after that, I came home and the sensor was kicked out again.  Just as I reached the place where it was supposed to trip and come on, there were footsteps in the woods again.  I ran back to my car and drove all the way to my friend Rick’s house.  Rick was my ex-boyfriend from a few years back, but we were still good friends.  He came over and looked around.  He told me to call the police.  Of course, I didn’t because I knew they wouldn’t help me.  We set the sensor back to where it was supposed to be.  For the next few nights, I ran unnecessary errands after work because I was afraid to go home.  I came home late and the sensor had been kicked out again so I went upstairs to my landlord and he put it back for me.  All the time, assuring me it was just squirrels.  The next night I came home, the light didn’t come on, but still I proceeded towards my door, and the footsteps came toward me from the woods.  After not sleeping much for a week, and being afraid for years, I was fed up.  I looked into the darkness where the steps were coming from, put my hand into my purse, and said with strength and conviction, “If you take one more step towards me, I will blow your fucking brains out.”  Whomever, or whatever it was, stopped in its tracks.  I went inside, locked and barricaded the door and called Rick.  He came over, set the light sensor back, and stayed with me for a bit.  I didn’t have any more problems with the light or hear any more footsteps after that night.

Years went by and I didn’t hear from my ex-boyfriend.  Eventually, I received a few more emails.  Well, I guess you didn’t die after all.  I ignored them, but went back to carrying hot pepper spray in my hand at all times; checked under my car every time I walked to it, the whole nine yards.  The emails stopped and I didn’t hear from him again for over five years.  I felt safe.  I changed all of my online social media accounts to my real name and created a LinkedIn account listing my workplace.  Before, I had everything in initials or in code.  Mostly, because I didn’t want fans of a TV show I used to be on finding me online and bugging me, but in the back of my mind, the fact that I didn’t want him finding me again was always there.  Three weeks after I changed my accounts to my name, sixteen years after putting my ex-boyfriend in jail, he sent me a note on Skype.  Again, he said he just wanted to talk to me.  Immediately after I received it, my best friend Skyped me and I went into hysterics.  Eventually she calmed me down and I formed a plan of what to do if he shows up again.  That was two years ago.  I still expect to hear from him again.  He’s probably reading my blog and tweets and planning another way to contact me, like the creep he is.

So all of you out there who have never been afraid of anyone, never been stalked, never been threatened, you can frown on guns all you want.  It must be nice to have lived your life in a dream world full of supportive family, love, hugs, and puppy dogs.  Some of us need to have the right to bear arms because sometimes justice isn’t served.  When we call the police, they don’t come.  If no one else is going to protect us from psychopaths, we have to protect ourselves.  Should people be able to buy semi-automatic weapons and tear gas?  NO.  But don’t take away my right to own arms.  I truly feel terrible for anyone who has lost a loved one to a violent gun attack.  Guns should be to protect, not to assail.  I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t had direct access to one when I needed it.  To the first ex-boyfriend I ever had, if you’re reading this, don’t.  Just go away.  You don’t frighten me anymore.

I have better aim when I close my left eye. 2008

Don't worry, I was only shooting a box & a bottle. 2008

Can you see the target? Two bright orange dots.

 

The aftermath. I'm a good shot.

Loneliness is no reason to put up with bullshit.

“Loneliness is no reason to put up with bullshit.”  That’s something my longtime friend Jay Louis (author of Hot Chicks With Douchebags) once said to me.  I don’t think he meant for it to stick with me the way it has, but over the years, I’ve often gone back to that quote when contemplating staying with a guy who has been acting like a monumental jerk.  I’m often told by my friends that maybe I’m expecting too much.  You know what?  THAT’S bullshit.  We should all treat others as we would like to be treated and that includes in dating.  If I go out with a guy and I don’t want to go out with him again, when he asks if I’d like to see him again, I’m honest with him.  I say something to the effect of, “I really enjoyed meeting you and you’re a great guy, but I didn’t feel we made a connection.  Thank you so much for the date though.”  I don’t say, “sure, call me” and then not answer when he calls.  That’s rude and simply put, unkind.  I find it disturbing that so many people don’t use etiquette in dating anymore.  We’ve become such a self-centered society that no one thinks of other people’s feelings anymore.  I won’t be a part of that.

Does this post stem from not hearing much out of my perfect guy since my Kings took the cup?  Yeah.  It does. (See my previous blog post if you’re lost right now.)  Clearly he isn’t the perfect man if he doesn’t think enough of me to say hi every now and then.  Sure I understand that we live in different parts of the country and we honestly are only casual friends, but after the amazing time we had together, I thought I’d hear more out of him.  Am I hoping for too much?  I don’t think so.   I’ll never understand those few and far between perfect dates where the guy drops the ball afterwards.  Men and women of the world, please don’t do this.  If you’re not into someone, be compassionate enough to say to the person, “I’m sorry, but I don’t see it working out between us.”  It’s the right thing to do and that person will not end up thinking of you as a dick.  However, if you distance yourself, they will always remember you as that cold jerk that didn’t have the balls to express his or herself.

So because it’s July, I have to get back out onto the dating scene again.  There are already a few prospects.  One guy I actually wouldn’t go out with a year ago because he’s so freaking gorgeous I thought he’d end up leaving me broken hearted in the dust.  We recently ran into each other online and decided to hang out.  So there’s one date scheduled.  Again, the guy looks like a freaking Ken doll, so I don’t think I’m in the right league with him, but he seems to think I’m hot so I’m just going to go with it.

Already, I have a bunch of emails in my online dating box.  It’s very apparent that a lot of men don’t know how to write women an introductory email.  So, let’s take a moment to go over this.  If you’re not interested in learning about online dating, you should stop reading and go troll twitter or something.  However, I encourage you to stick with this because some real-life, hilarious examples of what NOT to do are coming later in the post.

First, don’t say something to the girl that you wouldn’t be able to say in front of your mother.  Second, start with a “Hi,” at the beginning of your note.  Third, even though most of us curse on occasion, don’t do this until after you’ve met the girl and certainly not in the first email to her.  Fourth, keep it brief.  Four or five sentences are enough.  Fifth, ask her a question in the note that makes it look like you read her whole profile.  Sixth, use correct punctuation and grammar.  If we don’t think you can write a decent letter, we’re not going to trust you to help our possible future children with their homework.  This means capitalizing “I” and not writing in all caps or all lowercase.  Nothing says lazy like disregarding to hit the shift key a few times.  Lastly, sign the note with your name or at least the first letter of your name.  We like to know what your friends and parents call you.  It’s an important part of the process.

Speaking of important parts of the process, let’s discuss pictures.  You want a few shots of you that look like you on a good day, NOT the best photos ever taken of you within the past ten years.  Keep it recent, as in the last two or three years.  If you’ve gained or lost 15 or more pounds than when those photos were taken, well, you’re just going to have to get your friends or coworkers to take a few pics of you.  Tell them it’s for your parents’ family tree or your college alumni reunion or a new LinkedIn profile picture if you’re embarrassed to say that you’re doing it for online dating.  You should be smiling or at least having a good time in these photos.  Also, unless you’re on the beach or in a pool/river/lake, you should have your clothes on.  Nothing says douche like a guy taking a topless picture of himself in his bathroom and posting that shot on a dating site.  I don’t care if you have great abs and want to show off your hard work.  I have great boobs and I don’t do that.  Understand?  Good.

Let’s not forget we’re talking about first impressions here.  So if your profile name is something like “JackDaniels,” I’m going to assume you have a serious drinking problem.  If it’s “FreakyDoggie” well, that could go so many places that I’m not sure it’s legal to write about it in a blog.  Don’t go with “LookingAroundSoCal” because that says you have no idea of what you’re doing.  Zero confidence is a turn off.  Pick a screen name that relates to a hobby or a cute nickname.  Make it inviting, not something for which your Grandma would scold you.  What do you talk about in your profile?  List some hobbies and activities you like to do.  Write about the kind of person you’re looking for.  Don’t know what those are?  Then you need to find yourself before looking for a partner.  Do not put down things that make you sound like the person you want to be.  Simply be yourself.  Someone will love you for who you are.

That said, you should never EVER write any of the following things to anyone.  This is just a sample of the notes I’ve gotten in the past few days.  Below are the kinds of things that make women cringe.  I am transcribing the whole message from beginning to end.  My reaction to each is in parenthesis under their note.  I did not write my reaction to these guys, this only reflects my thoughts.

“I get turn on just by looking at your pics, mami.”

(Gross.  And who the heck is “mami?”  Did he mean Mommy?  Delete.)

“wow ur perfect. i want u. sorry   562.xxx.xxxx       kevin”

(This is a 16 year old, right?  Delete.)

“hi there lovely neighbour”

(I’m not going to respond.  Delete.  Wait, he sent another note?)

“???”

(Why would he send that five minutes after I didn’t respond?  Whatever.  Delete.)

“I love your comments on your questions-lol! I’m also in love with your chest but I’m sure I’m not the only guy that is ;)   Anyway, your profile totally rocks!  Cheers, Kevin”

(Are all of the gross guys on here named Kevin?  Delete.)

“Wow. I just love your curves… Mamacita. Every woman should look like you… Plus, you’re a Leo!”

(Flattering, but no thank you.  Delete.)”

“WOW, VERY NICE :) cool pics and profile! i’d love to meet you sometime… what are you up to next week”

(I’m not in college anymore.  Delete.)

“I’d love to come over and hangout with you sometime. Text me.    818.xxx.xxxx”

(Again, I’m not in college anymore.  Delete.)

“What’s Drew Daughty doing wearing a blue Jays hat? — Nice picture!”

(His name is Drew Doughty.  Learn to google.)

“Well ill be honest i didnt really much of ur profile. After the first line and the fact your a hockey fan and even better a Kings fan i had to send you this message. How awesome is it that they won the cup? Well i hope to hear from ya  Jesse”

(Is that English?  Were you not born in America like your profile says?)

“Wow your so hot…. I really like your profile. Lets get to know better. Wow your so sexy;)  How was the weekend? Tamari”

(I’m going to log off now.  Delete.)

So fellas, if you’re wondering why you’re not getting responses to your letters on dating sites maybe I’ve shed some light on that for you.  If you find yourself in the position of getting a nicely written note from someone whom you don’t feel you would like to go out with, be kind enough to write back.  You can say, “I appreciate the thoughtful message, but unfortunately, we’re just not a good match.  I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”  I use it regularly.  It’s simple and to the point.  If they are a person (like me) who values honesty and integrity, they will be thankful.

Here a few pictures.  One illustrates a special moment of the kindness of strangers.  Another is me at a party inside of Jay Louis’ pad.  The last is a snapshot I took while hiking.  Lastly, I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my use of curse words in today’s post.  Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Complete strangers making sure I had a great 30th Birthday in Ireland 5 years ago.

 

I know exactly how the guy in Jay's painting feels. 2008

 

I always manage to find the snakes in the grass. Kern County 2010

I took a break from dating and wrecked my heart.

How could this happen?  Only I can take a break from dating and wind up having my heart trampled on.  Of all the things I have a knack for, getting my little feelings hurt by men is pretty high up on the list.  I decided back in early May that I wasn’t going to date until after June.  I was “talking” to someone and he invited me to take a little getaway with him to Vegas for a special event in mid-June.  No strings, just fun.  I kind of needed it.  Actually, I really needed it.  I haven’t had a boyfriend in over a year and letting my hair down was exactly what I needed.  Add to that the increasing loathing I have for my job… I just needed to get out of LA and forget reality for a few days.  I quit dating.  I wrote an “on hold until after June” note at the top of my online dating profile and stopped logging in.

The very next day, while on a hike, I met an extremely nice, cute, successful twenty-four year old who likes hockey.  I haven’t met a good guy organically (not from online) in years.  “He’s too young for me,” I thought, “He’ll forget about me next week.  Besides, he’s Catholic and he’ll flip out when he realizes that I’m a staunch atheist.”  However, he didn’t.  He texted me every day.  He wanted to hang out all the time.  He opened doors for me, played with my hair, complimented me, and was always attentive to my needs.  I told him that I couldn’t date because I had a trip planned with a flirty friend and it wouldn’t be fair to anyone to start something special and then go off with someone else.  He said he knew what he wanted and he would wait.  So we hung out as friends.  We did some of the most romantic things I’ve ever done with a man.  Star gazed on the beach, shared ice cream at midnight, went for walks… kayaked.  It was awesome.  As weeks went by, I realized I was making a huge mistake by not letting our times together turn into dates.  Just as soon as I felt that way, he met someone else.  I lost him.  He was the first guy to treat me like gold and I squandered it.

I tried not to get down about it.  My LA Kings clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Final and I found out my flirty friend who I was going to Vegas with would be coming to town for the games.  Much to my surprise, when he got here, he forgot about me.  He told me, “I’ll message you when I get to the hotel” and then I waited by the phone all day like a chump.  No message.  Days went by and I never heard from him, but I got to see all of his fun Los Angeles posts on his social networks along with the rest of the world.  My Kings were kicking ass and taking names so I focused on the joy I got from that and cancelled the days off I took from work for the upcoming trip to Vegas.  My friends all said he was a player and were very supportive, but I couldn’t help feeling like I screwed up by trying to do the right thing with the twenty-four year old.  Somehow, while not dating, I lost not one, but two guys.

Someone whom I’ve had an online crush on for many, many months also came to town for the Final.  Even though I thought he was way out of my league, I took a stab at asking if he’d like to get together.  To my delight, he did.  We met up and had the best first date I’ve ever had.  You never know what someone is going to be like when you meet in person.  Many times, the chemistry simply isn’t there.  I was admittedly very nervous, but oddly enough, completely myself.  He was sweeter and kinder in person.  Looking into his blue eyes and seeing his dimple when he smiled melted me.  His cutting humor was still there and we laughed and flirted all night.  Seven hours of bliss.  I don’t remember the last time I had such a wonderful time with a guy right off the bat.  Other than being allergic to cats, he was my dream man.  Everything I could ever ask for: a tall, funny, cute, sexy, smart, talented, hockey loving atheist.  I mean, does it get any better than that?  So he’s allergic to cats, I would drop Freckle off at my parents’ house in a heartbeat for him.  We had such an amazing time that we both hoped my team would lose the next game so that he could come back and we could do it all over again.  I wanted my team to win, but I wanted them to lose the next game more.  So when they lost that game, I was happy.  Not only would they come back to win the Stanley Cup on home ice, but I’d get to see my perfect guy again.

He was tied up with work when he got back into town, but we made plans to see each other again after game six.  A friend sold me a ticket and I went to the game.  While getting in line for security at Staples Center, who did I walk into, but Vegas guy, of course.  I mean, RIGHT INTO HIM.  We pretended to make small talk and he gave a half-hearted excuse about running into an ex-girlfriend and sort of apologized, but none of it mattered to me anymore.  Although I don’t believe in fate, I kind of felt like everything had happened for a reason.  It all led me to the right guy and allowed me to have a perfect date.  I couldn’t wait for my Kings to win so that we could get the second date started.  The game was more incredible than any of us thought it would be.  LA Kings won game six by a landslide and I cried tears of joy for about an hour.  I celebrated with friends until ushers kicked us out of our section following the game.  Afterwards I rushed home to get ready, but all of our plans went to hell in a hand basket.  At about three in the morning, I got a very long, heart-felt message saying he was sorry we couldn’t get together.  It’s one of the nicest messages a guy has ever sent to me and I know he meant every word of it.  I thought, ok, he’s exhausted.  After he flies back east, I’ll send him a cute note and maybe he’ll invite me to come see him.  A few days later, I sent a little text.  No reply.  Nothing.

So in the course of six weeks, I lost not one, not two, but THREE guys.  To rub salt into the wound, I also lost being treated like I was special, a vacation, and the perfect guy.  How does anyone do that?

I have yet to log back into my online dating profile.  I mean, why bother?  I can still manage to have my heart broken while “taking a break from dating.”  In the words of Until June, “Oh my god, what went wrong?”  As someone who communicates very well, I don’t understand guys who don’t and it seems those are the only men I meet.  I’m turning 35 next month.  The thought of it brings me to tears.  I realize that means I’m almost out of time in being able to give anyone children.  I’ve always wanted to adopt, but men have some sort of biological need to have their own kids.  Freezing my eggs is not an option as paying off my ER bill from Kidney Stones last year drained my savings account.  There are lots of messages in my dating account from men congratulating me on my Kings winning.  I get an email with a small blurb of what they wrote in their note every time one lands in my online dating inbox.  So I could have a date tomorrow, if I wanted it.  The problem is that I don’t want to go out.  Dating is something I’ve always enjoyed.  I can make pleasant conversation with anyone and I love getting dressed up and exploring new places, but right now, I’d rather be stuck in line at the DMV than go back out there.  With three relationships that didn’t work out in the past five years and no one I’ve dated in the past year turning into a boyfriend added to my recently met perfect guy turning his back on me, I feel like I’ve had enough heartache to last a lifetime.  I don’t need any more of that right now.  I’d rather revel in the happiness of my Kings winning the cup (with record breaking stats!!!!).

Here are a couple of videos that sum up my current feelings.  One is tragic and one is amusing.  Enjoy and have a great weekend.

“Oh my god, what went wrong?”

“There’s nobody left, I’m all alone.”

A photo I took after the rally. Very proud of my boys!

The Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup for the first time in history.

What Are You Worth?

What are you worth?

I’m redecorating at home.  Actually, I’m taking the time decorate, rather than throwing up whatever is left lying around, which is what I’ve done for most of my life.  After staring at bare walls for a year and half and constantly making excuses of “I haven’t had time to get to it,” I am owning up to what has really been going on.  I didn’t think I deserved it.  I didn’t think I should spend the money on myself.  Also, I’m not used to having my comfort thought of on account that I didn’t have a nice room growing up.  When you spend the first 15 years of your life sleeping on two mattresses lying on the floor in an old dining room, you’re thankful to just have bedroom furniture.  I honestly don’t know what my parents were thinking with that.  When I turned 5, they ordered a nice bed frame for me and then when it arrived via UPS, the box was set in the basement where it remained for the rest of my childhood.  My mother wouldn’t let me take the store plastic covering off of the mattresses so every time I rolled over in bed, there was the distinct sound of “you don’t deserve a decent bed” plastic crinkling under my sheets.  Blame it on bad parenting or on thoughtlessness; the way my parents treated me when I was a child and teenager caused me to struggle with self-worth for the rest of my life.  Most people who know me and the extent of the emotional and physical abuse I incurred think I’m incredibly well adjusted, but I recognize I have so much farther left to grow as a person when I wake up to realize, “Oh, I deserve to buy nice pillows for my couch and bed and a little art for my walls” at age 34.

I thought I was doing fairly well with providing for myself.  I always vowed I’d have bedroom furniture that I liked and that I would have nice trunks to keep my possessions in.  When I lived in my parents’ house, I had cardboard boxes and old, broken laundry baskets to hold my clothes and toys.  Again, I don’t know what my parents were thinking with that.  It’s not like they couldn’t have afforded some decent bins.  My conception was an accident.  I was not wanted in their life and they basically punished me for being alive.  (We’ll get more into that another day.)  My brother and I once tried talking to our parents about the abuse and my mother didn’t seem to understand that what she had done was wrong.  After many years of trying to understand it and knowing that she grew up with very little, I no longer try to find the answers for why it happened.  I look to help myself in creating a better life for me in the present and hopefully one day for a family of my own.

Why am I talking about this on a blog and not with a therapist?  First of all, I have seen a therapist. It was a wonderful year of self-discovery and helped me free myself of many harmful patterns of behavior I had become accustomed to.  Second of all, I feel that many of us who lived through abuse hide it to our detriment.  We are fearful that if we talk about it, our friends won’t know what to say or worse, they will feel awkward and sorry for us.  It is always a frightening thing to admit to a partner.  Many people who didn’t grow up in abusive homes don’t understand that a person can break the cycle; it just takes mountains of work.  When we hide problems, we can’t overcome them.  Eventually the pain of it all builds up inside of us which can literally be lethal.

This holiday weekend, I’ll be working to improve my home and in return, that improves me.  I will love myself enough to know that I need to repaint and hang pictures.  Hopefully seeing what I’ve accomplished on a material level will be a daily reminder to me that I can continue my growth.  I deserve to have a space that is inspiring and cozy.  I am not going to be thoughtless in regards to my comfort.  I am worth new, fancy pillows and so are you.  Happy Memorial Day Sales, everyone.

Cheerful new additions.