Seriously? Is It Just Me…

This past week, I was in the fabulous city of Chicago attending a compensation event sponsored by my former/new employer, Bank Director magazine. My job was to blog and tweet on the various sessions, record a few video interviews, and conduct some low level market research on the use of smart phones in the banking industry. I know, sounds like a ton of fun, but I have to admit that I did learn a lot which I know will make my banker friends proud.

Of course, one can not fly the hour and a half to Chicago, stay in a four star hotel on Michigan avenue, and find themselves with a few hours to spare without doing some shopping. Oh, I was just giddy with excitement at the possibility of walking up and down the Magnificent Mile visiting my favorite stores including Aldo, Coach, and Burberry.”

Unfortunately, the shopping gods were not smiling on me this brisk November afternoon, as I was having no luck falling in love with that must have item (sounds a lot like my love life, maybe my ticker is broken). Nonetheless, I pressed on with my co-worker, who by the way was walking out of every store with an adorable handbag, before hitting our last stop, the go to store for all things shoes — MACYS!

As I was circling the tables loaded with the season’s latest open-toed boots and stiletto heels, I found myself face to face with a middle-aged black man who had apparently just bounced off the escalator. “Hey there”, he starts as I try to move past him. “You’re the size that I wish my fiance was.” I freeze in my tracks as I brace myself for the conversation that had nowhere to go but down from there. With a quizzical look on my face, all I could manage to do was nod once and raise my eyebrows in anticipation.

question marks

Seriously Confused!

Ignoring my look of concern, he continues. “We just got engaged and I told her I was going to have a hard time carrying her across the threshold.” He snickers as my look goes from concern to mortified. But he continues, “she’s about 40 pounds heavier than you, and she complains that I just want her to be the fun size”. At that point, it was very clear that this guy was full of nonsense. The fun size? I immediately turn around and walk off in the other direction never once uttering a single word at this guys ridiculous attempt at…what?

As I began checking out the sales rack, I wondered what was his motivation for those bizarre comments. Was he trying to compliment me by acknowledging that I had a nice figure, which seems odd to me since I have nothing in the way of curves? Was he trying to hit on me, but why start off acknowledging that he had a fiance? Was he trying to make fun of me by using his girlfriends snide remarks about skinny girls?

Just as I was giving up on my shoe search, I came to the conclusion that he was just an idiot who had suckered some poor girl into marrying him and she had no idea he was talking badly about her to other women. Mystery solved. Now if I could just find a pair of fun shoes in my size, seriously?

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About a week ago while getting my weekly entertainment news fix, I came across an article revealing that the young pop-country “songstress” (and I use that term loosely), Taylor Swift had indeed written a song about her now shattered love affair with John Mayer. My first reaction was, is she old enough to be dating him, but then without really caring what the answer was to that question I wondered what is the attraction to this guy?

Love Notes

La La Lie to Me Meee

If you know anything about celebrity gossip you are all to aware that while John is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and says incredibly ignorant and incoherent things to the media on a regular basis, he has a ex-girlfriend roster that reads like an all-star female cast movie blockbuster. From Jessica Simpson to Jennifer Anniston, to rumored attempts with Kim Kardashian and now the young Taylor Swift. If I’m being honest, I’m quite baffled.

Unfortunately, Americans tend to idolize their celebrities to the point where if they wobble or (gasp), actually fall of their star-studded pedestals, everyone cries in astonishment at their imperfections. However, I like to think of celebrities more like a snapshot of society’s gene pool as they tend to be just as wounded, scared and rejected as the rest of us. So when I think of John Mayer and his continuous move from relationship to relationship, I can’t help but attempt to find the parrallels of his issues with the rest of ours. Despite not knowing anything about him or his lady friends, a few things do stand out to me:

1. The saying that women fall in love with their ears and not their eyes is certainly true in this case. Clearly, the awkwardly shaped John is not the hottest male celebrity on the market, which tells me he must be doing a dynamite job serenading these beautiful blonde bombshells with the lyrics from his poetic songs.

2. That he must actually treat their bodies as a wonderland, which in layman terms means, he’s getting the job done in the bedroom. Let’s face it, a woman that is being treated right in the sack tends to stick like glue.

3. Even though recent girlfriends have witnessed John’s track record of breaking hearts, they still continue to go out with him against their better judgement and end up being sweep away in some lyrical emotional trap. My only guess is that these starlets also suffer from a bad case of “I’m special enough to tame this bad boy” syndrome. How’s that working for you, Taylor?

Sadly, it seems that this is simply just a celebrity version of the same scenarios regular folks go through on a daily basis; a man who is afraid of commitment seducing beautiful women who don’t think they are worthy of a good honest man doing the gut wrenching dating dance.

Of course, in this particular case my black sisters don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of by this Yahoo, after he so inarticulately informed us all that he can’t bring himself to sleep with black women even though he thinks they’re hot (and I’m putting it mildly). I’m betting all the celebrity blondes who fell in his snare were wishing they were as lucky, seriously?

Ah, birthdays! The one time of year where your loved ones take the time to celebrate your life through parties, sweet treats, and let’s not forget, gifts. This past Friday was my 36th birthday, and not to be outdone by my family and friends, my own body decided to bestow upon me a few presents just to say here’s to another year:

  1. The gift of a rash, apparently from the mixture of firming lotion and my previous year’s gift of having to now wear Spandx. FYI: Lotion + Spandx = Rash!
  2. The gift of an even lower tolerance for dairy products. I’ll spare you the details of this surprise present, but apparently each year, I should expect my lactose tolerance to significantly go down.
  3. The gift of required napping. I’ve rarely required an afternoon nap to finish out the day but apparently I’m now able to fall asleep with sunlight streaming through the windows, the TV on full blast, and sirens blaring in the background.

While I’ve had a wonderful birthday weekend celebrating with family and friends, it seems my body simply wasn’t going to let me forget that I am indeed another year older. Seriously!

Halloween Pumpkin

Gimme Some Candy!

It’s certainly difficult to believe that another month from the year 2010 is almost over. With the approach of the cold winter months upon us and a time change that returns us back into darkness looming, you can’t help but anticipate the arrival of Halloween.

To be honest, I’ve always struggled internally with this spook-tacular holiday as it was a mere two days after my birthday and most people wanted to just make it a two-for-one celebration. I grew up believing my birthday was all about me (truth be told, still do), so sharing it with a holiday that focused on pumping out sweets to everyone who formed three little words made it feel…not so special. But it sure was fun!

While I’m no longer a big fan of holiday celebrations, the fact that one of the most controversial holiday’s high points, trick or treating, is dying a slow death has been weighing heavily on my mind. As I reminisce upon the Halloween’s of my childhood, I realized that long gone are the days:

  • when kids would dress up in a hand-made costume designed by a creative mom with very little extra spending money;
  • when no one thought twice about letting a group of 8-10 year olds in masks roam the streets after dark begging random strangers for candy, baked goods and sodas;
  • when everyone celebrated the holiday on the same day and afterwards we all retired to our homes high on sugar and fructose syrup without being paranoid that it would later give us some form of cancer.

Maybe it’s just me, but the biggest tradition of Halloween feels lost and instead we now have:

  • parents choice on when to take children trick or treating. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me why the rest of us are expected to have enough candy for the weekend instead of just one night;
  • advertising directed at kids that suggests hand-made costumes are embarrassing and that Mommy should buy an expensive plastic one instead of using her creativity to make you an outfit;
  • to worry that the wares you so skillfully acquired during your trick or treating hour will apparently kill you and if not, at least stain your teeth badly.

Boo! No pun intended, but Halloween seems unfamiliar without the trick or treating. I’m sad for my nephew who may never truly know how much fun this holiday was when the world was not trying to harm you or make a profit off you.

I guess this Hallowed Eve is best left to the adults as we dress up in our most scantily clad outfits, throw back a few alcoholic beverages and wake up the next day actually feeling like a zombie instead of just playing one. Seriously?

Have a safe and fun Halloween! Boo Ya’ll!

I’m probably dating myself here, but does anyone remember the movie When Harry Met Sally? If you haven’t seen it, you should rent it on NetFlix, if for no other reason then to see how cute Meg Ryan was before she let a plastic surgeon butcher her face. Tragic.

The movie is most famous for the classic scene where Sally proves to Harry in a public restaurant that women do indeed fake it, and do it very well. But the movie wasn’t about the big O, it was actually about the changing face of a friendship between a man and a woman. The following is part of a dialogue from the movie:

Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Whenever I hear a woman who has been spending a lot of quality time with a guy say, “but we’re just friends”, I automatically think of this movie and shake my head. It may just be me, but I’m simply not convinced that it’s possible to truly be friends with a man — no strings attached. So can a man and a woman be nothing more than friends without someone wanting more? I’m not a dating guru, although after 20 years you would think I at least had a degree in it, but I have seen these scenarios all to often:

yes-no-maybe

What do you think?

1. You like him – he no like you. Painful! You hang on as “friends” in hopes that he will one day recognize that you are the woman of his dreams. You spend so much time trying to convince yourself that you are okay with being friends that you actually forget to be his friend.

2. He likes you – you no like him. Even more painful. You have to endure the puppy dog I love you eyes every time you hang out with him. He continually reminds you that you are just friends, but you can tell he he’s really just trying to convince himself.

3. After years of friendship, you decide that there’s “something there” so you take it to the next level. If you can get past the incredibly awkward period, you may stand a chance. But that interim period where you can’t figure out if this is a good idea or not makes it very difficult on all parties involved.

Maybe I’ve just had bad experiences, but it doesn’t seem possible to be friends with someone of the opposite sex without the awkwardness of attraction flying around the relationship. In my opinion, men are for “dating” and women are for friendships. If you truly want to be friends with a man, may I suggest a good gay one with a great fashion sense, seriously?

If you know me personally, then you are all to aware that I’ve decided to redecorate my master bathroom and, truth be told, it’s been the project from hell. First of all, I’m not skilled at interior designing and typically flounder when it comes to deciding what I want to do to a room. In fact, for this project, I literally stood in the paint department at Home Depot for 30 minutes staring at four paint chips that in hindsight all looked the same. I usually let my sister do my decorating for me, but given that she’s trying to raise a child, I figured it was time to do it on my own.

I did end up choosing a color, solely based on which one had the best name, and was convinced that over the next 48 hours, I could remove the wallpaper, paint the walls, and change out some hardware. I would hire professionals to install the new lighting the following weekend, and then I would be crowned Diva Decorator Extraordinaire. Watch out now!

As I bounded out of bed early Saturday morning, I was full of optimism and anticipation at the transformation from gold-leafed floral patterned wall covering to my hand selected smooth chocolate brown wall color. Full of energy, I get out my wallpaper removal tools which I have on hand because this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. My other painting projects went very smoothly so I had no reason to expect anything different for this room. Oh, but my life can’t be that easy.

(Take note for those who need a lesson in wallpaper removal.)

I start by scoring the walls, then spray on my blue chemical remover, pop on my Show tunes station on Pandora, and prepare to rid my walls of paper. I used my finger to peel off the first piece but it didn’t budge. Okay, so I try another area, no luck. Stubborn paper I see, so I use more spray, get out my scraper to pull up a corner, and only a tiny piece tears off. This is when the panic starts to creep in. Why won’t it come off? Spray, scrap, pull….tiny piece. Repeat. Spray, scrap, pull….tiny piece. What the (bleep)?

 

Wallpaper Madness

The Bane of my Existence

 

After numerous attempts, it dawns on me that the previous homeowners decided that hanging wallpaper directly on drywall was the best way to tackle their weekend project. I bang my head against the saturated blue wall fighting off the tears at the realization that this most definitely was not going to be a weekend project.

Over the past four weeks, I’ve been spending my precious free time cooped up in my bathroom pulling off tiny strips of wet paper and ruining my already fragile nails. Not surprisingly, I’ve had lots of time to pontificate about what the life lesson was in this situation. I was fully prepared to draft a post on how removing old stuck on wallpaper is similar to:

  • Going through the process of a personal life change. You want something better for yourself but it takes patience, endurance and dedication to take your life to the next step.
  • All good things are worth working hard for, and that sweat and perseverance are the backbone of achieving your goals and reaching your dreams.
  • Don’t take any shortcuts. Leave things and people in a better state than when you found them.

However, after over 40 hours of pulling gooey pieces of paper off my freakin’ walls all while trying not to leave large holes in the drywall and having only 3/4 of the room complete, I’ve decided that the real life lesson here is…this is what hell is like, so be on your best behavior and do what it takes to make it to heaven where this is no wallpaper. Seriously!

Women with falling leaves

See? Isn't this fun?

I love the fall, it’s actually my favorite time of the year. There is just something about the cool breezes and the emerging brown hues on the trees that makes my heart warm and giddy with anticipation. With the arrival of any season, you can’t help but sense the transformation of the landscape about to descend upon you. However the start of this fall season feels even more evident to me as it happens to coincide with a series of changes occurring in my own life.

When I was a young adult I loved change. In fact, I would continuously seek it out, whether it would be finding a new job for the summer, discovering new friends, or even just trying out a new hair style. The idea of something new to experience would create butterflies of excitement along with waves of hope that would wash over me as I looked forward to my future. I thought of myself as a young woman ready to take on the world — on my terms, of course.

And then I was forced to face a dramatic change that knocked me over so hard I wasn’t sure I would ever recover. I was 24 and thoroughly engrossed in the process of building the life of every young girl’s dreams. I was on the verge of marrying a good guy, focused on climbing my career ladder, and looking forward to starting a family. Just as they had told me, I was working hard to achieve my goals so that I could be rewarded accordingly.

Unfortunately, the man I chose wasn’t interested in building that life with me. Instead he left me heartbroken, bewildered and dumbfounded clutching on to the engagement ring that symbolized his broken promise of great changes never to come. At that moment, I found myself forced to transform my home, my heart and my future. In hindsight, my mistake was that instead of embracing this transition, I instead chose stagnation over risk, despair over hope, and anger over love. As a result, I resented change and since then avoided it at all costs.

As I find myself about to embark on this upcoming period of change, I’ve been reflecting back on the days when I thrived on it. And how now it feels more like a burden, a process that I must endure in order to settle back into a life without waves.

While change is never easy, it is inevitable. It happens whether you actively seek it out or whether it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. But more importantly, change is a good thing, a natural thing and a process that ensures that I continue to grow and become a wiser person with so much more to offer today than I did yesterday.

So as the fall season begins to change our surroundings and my life begins to experience some new found adjustments, I’m determined this time to dig deep inside and remember to embrace what life has to offer me. To once again thrive on the excitement and hope of the good that is yet to come…a season of change for the better. Seriously!

Soapbox Diaries from an Unplanned Single Life!

I hope you enjoy the random thoughts, observations and life lessons that I've learned along the way. It's called Seriously? because some days I just shake my head and say seriously, is this my life?


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