Seriously? Is It Just Me…

Posts Tagged ‘lesson

With the passing of each year, it sickens me how fast it goes by with no more than the sound of a whisper. Yet ringing loudly in my ears, are the adults’ voices from my childhood mocking my naive frustration at how slowly my life was taking at delivering the requisite milestones of youth. However, the beginning of a new year symbolizes hope, change and opportunity which are all reasons I enjoy this time of the year. (It’s certainly not for the weather, yikes).

As most bloggers are writing posts on memories from the previous year, or what they anticipate occurring in the upcoming year, I decided that I would reflect on the things I won’t do this year. More specifically, the things that I often find myself forgetting to do until I’m reminded too late that another year is gone.

Therefore, this year, I won’t forget:

1. To find time every morning to meditate, reflect and pray. The day always looks a little brighter after spending a few minutes alone with God.

2. To tell those whom I love how much they mean to me. Unfortunately, I’m not good at verbally sharing my thoughts and feelings. Maybe a text or short email to them every once in a while could be the message that makes their day survivable.

3. To remember my dreams and goals. Life is certainly meant to be enjoyed not endured, and moving towards a dream makes the valleys not as pointless and the peaks even more hopeful.

4. To spend time enjoying my own company. Interestingly enough, living alone you tend to often be alone, but I’m usually watching hours of reality TV marathons instead of journaling, taking a walk, or enjoying an afternoon latte.

5. To be more thankful. This is definitely a thought process that can change my life, and I know it first-hand and through the effects it has had on others. I’m not talking about Pollyanna-ing life, but truly finding something to be thankful for every day, even if it’s that I didn’t oversleep. I know it’s challenging to be thankful when life is throwing me a round of one-two punches, but if I can see the small things that are good, it could help me take my blows like a champ.

Recently, I read a quote by Eric Butterworth — “don’t go through life, grow through it”. Sometimes it’s just the small changes that you strive for that make it worthwhile. Life is certainly full of ups and downs, and this year, I don’t want to forget the good things when I find myself having to weather the bad times. So I hope that your 2011 will be prosperous and full of the little things you won’t forget to do.

Oh, and one more thing…

I won’t forget that I’m too old to be climbing five foot brick walls wearing six-inch heels and a tight dress. I’ll just expect to be thrown over the wall by a guy I barely know as I expose myself to the crowd, just like I did on New Year’s Eve in 2010. Seriously!

female-dogNow I’ve never been married, so I don’t know what it feels like to have a husband who works with, socializes with or finds himself in the company of single women. I’m sure if someone has trust and/or jealousy issues then this could be a big problem for their marriage. However, I do know what it’s like to find myself having to socialize with married men, mainly for professional reasons, and to be treated so poorly by their wives simply for being single. These women (bless their hearts) are clearly struggling with some issues, but it’s always in my best interest to spot them early on and then steer clear. For those who have yet to experience the chilly demeanor of a mean wife, here are a few signs:

1. You are constantly having to tell her your name. Despite having met her at more than one company function, dinner party and/or social event, your name “escapes” her memory every time.

2. You feel a sharp pain in the back of your neck from the daggers she’s shooting at you through her eyes. If I’m talking to her husband, when I feel these nasty glares darting my way, I take an extra step back away from her man and limit my laughter. I clearly will not be able to express any enjoyment while conversating with her spouse.

3. You find yourself engaged in a conversation with her where she continues to deliver back handed compliments about your outfit, shoes and/or accessories. Now, this is always so comical to me because it’s always the wives who don’t work outside the home, and spend up their husbands money who find it appropriate to play the I have more than you do game. Really?

4. You find yourself biting your tongue while she proceeds to give you unsoliciated “advice” on why you’re not married. Comments such as, you’re too picky, too independent or unapproachable seem far reaching and clearly inappropriate especially when they’ve never spent more than 15 minutes with you. You don’t even know my name, why do you care if I’m still single or not?

Now contrary to what some married women think, most single women do not want your husband. I have several married friends, who are confident in their marriages, trust their husbands and care enough to know the people he works with on a regular basis. Therefore, when the mean wives rear their ugly heads, I simply smile, nod and dish out my own dose of back handed compliments right before I say a small prayer for their husbands. Seriously.

Every year at Thanksgiving, as part of my family’s tradition, we go around the table and take turns saying one thing that we are thankful for. Then we toast each person’s statement by taking a sip of Manischewitz wine. No, we are not Jewish, but again thanks to my mother’s upbringing in the projects of New Jersey, she tends to channel a Jewish matriarch every now and again. Now, we all hate the super sweet grape wine, but the fact that it’s part of our giving thanks ritual, we refuse to give it up.

Of course, each year I’m always in such a hurry to make my required side dish that I forget to think through what I was going to be thankful for, which puts me in a panic because nothing ever seems to come to mind. When it’s my turn to give thanks, I ultimately give a general answer that involves being grateful for my family, friends and a job, which to be honest is still legitimate because without those things life can be pretty hard to manage.

However, as I’ve learned time and time again, one of the keys to finding happiness is to continuously give thanks to God for any and every thing. So this year, I started a gratitude journal where I would on a daily (er weekly) basis log the things that I was grateful for at that time. While not as consistent as I would have liked to have been, I did manage to write down quite a few things over this past year. So on this eve of Thanksgiving, I thought I would review my journal to see just how good my life has been over the past year. Here are a few things from my list that I thought would be beneficial to share:

  1. Thanking God for reminding me to be thankful.
  2. Thank You God for people who are comfortable rubbing on someone else to help relax them.
  3. Grateful that I’m not 16 anymore.
  4. Thanking God that I was able to wear my cutest shoes with no pain.
  5. Thank You God for rescuing the lost. I pray I’m next on your list.
  6. Thank You God for the incredible gift of a nephew.
  7. Thanking God for the beauty and calmness of candlelight.
  8. Thank You God for sisters!
  9. Thanking God for people who believe in me!
  10. Thankful for my mothers love, pride and encouragement.
  11. Thankful to live in a city that helps their own. Inspiring!
  12. Grateful for a Starbucks on every corner!
  13. Thanking God for the little things in life!
  14. The little things

  15. Grateful to see the light at the end of this tunnel.
  16. Thank You God for kind valets who let me park in their reserved spots.
  17. Thank You God for your confirmation message in the package of a great friend!
  18. Grateful for being able to laugh when I really want to cry.
  19. Thank You God for not getting angry at us because we don’t pray at every meal.
  20. I’m thankful for the unspoken love understood between two long time friends.
  21. Thanking God for not abandoning me when I was ready to abandon Him.

With over 250 items to choose from for this post, despite how difficult it was, I managed to end up being grateful for having so many things to be thankful for this year. May you and yours have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. 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!

Rejection Stamp

Ouch, is that necessary?

If you’re a human being then you’ve been faced with some type of rejection in your life. Whether it’s not being part of the cool crowd, or getting that job you really wanted, and of course, getting dumped by someone you really liked. Oh, the stings of life. It’s pretty amazing how much being rejected can impact your self-esteem, but what about the effects of having to reject someone.

Recently, I found myself in the situation where I had to inflict some tough love on a guy who I really cared about as a person. The problem was that he was not someone I wanted to be with in any type of relationship, other than friendship. Interestingly enough, throughout our tumultuous relationship, he’s had the opportunity to reject me but now I found myself having to reject him. Which begs the question, tis better to be rejected or to reject?

Being Rejected
We all remember a time when we were rejected by that special someone (if you haven’t then this is the wrong blog for you). Most likely he never told you he wanted out, instead he just disappeared. Perhaps you sensed his pulling away, as his calls decreased dramatically, he stop returning your text messages, and when you finally cornered (or rather stalked) him, he couldn’t seem to muster a reason other than “its me, not you”.

When you’re rejected, especially with no reason offered, it’s the not knowing that will drive you nuts. You and your girlfriends spend hours taking inventory of your insecurities as you try to analyze the demise of your relationship. Did he really like me? Maybe he was just too busy to be tied down? Could there be someone else? As you come up with zero satisfactory answers you vow to never do the same thing to anyone else.

Rejecting a Being
And then you find yourself in the situation where you’ve been involved with a guy for a while and you’ve determined that, although you like him, this is not the relationship for you. It’s now time for you to live up to your personal vow to be an adult and tell him you want out.

Most likely you start to remember how you felt when someone last rejected you, and you realize you don’t want to hurt his feelings. Then you think maybe I’ll just stop returning his phone calls and maybe he’ll get the hint, but then you remember the last time someone walked away from you and the frustration that ensued of not knowing why. You start to send a text message, but then you put your big girl panties on, call and give him the old standby line, “it’s me, not you”. After the call is over, you think that sucked and although you feel relieved you also feel guilty for breaking someone’s heart.

So which one is worse, being rejected by someone you really liked but understand they had their reasons? Or rejecting someone, knowing you’ve inflicted hurt onto someone you liked but just couldn’t make it work?

Personally, I think rejection of any kind sucks, but eventually you come to realize that it is them, not you. Seriously!

Well, we’ve finally come to the conclusion of my A Seriously Series on Who Let The Dogs In, and I’ve saved my favorite point for last.

6. Like to be alone.

Unfortunately, being single often carries a stigma that there must certainly be something wrong with you if you aren’t in a serious relationship or married. Even more so, if you are a woman all up in your 30’s and haven’t found a man yet (shame on you Society).

Bridget Jones Diary

All By Myself

I think most of us single women can’t help but reflect back on the oh so close to home scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary, where a flannel pajama wearing Miss Jones is all alone on a Saturday night drinking wine, smoking and doing a tortured rendition of Celine Dion’s “All By Myself”. (Classic scene — check it out on YouTube.) Sadly, it’s a stereotype that has become many a single girl’s nightmare.

While being alone night after night can at times feel painful, I’ve come to learn that it’s no where near has painful as staying in a relationship with someone who is not good for you. So often women will jump from one bad relationship to the next in a desperate attempt to never be single or alone. However, in my years of going solo, I’ve actually come to learn so much about myself and what I want, or more importantly need, in a relationship. You’ve got to learn to like yourself before you can expect someone else to like you.

Learning to be alone can be intimidating and frightening, but it can actually be a lot of fun. Since you really have no one to entertain you, it falls to you to figure out what you like to do. What do you want to eat? What movies or tv shows do you want to watch? What hobbies do you enjoy? What do YOU want to do?

Of course, there are different ways to be alone and I’m not talking about the depressed, bitter and angry version. This time on your own should be reflective, introspective and inspiring. Think about it, it’s quite difficult to determine how you can improve or grow as a partner if you never taken the time to truly reflect back on your past relationship. What went wrong? What role did you play? What could you have done differently?

Taking that time, and I mean time as in months not days, to be alone and come to conclusions that can benefit you and your new man going forward. Man hopping simply doesn’t accomplish that, it just takes the old habits and problems into the next relationship.

So the next time you find yourself leaving a relationship, take some time off to heal, reflect and set new goals for yourself. You’ll be refreshed and ready to give it another go when the time is right. Of course, if you’re aren’t too careful, you might end up like me and enjoy being alone so much the thought of being in a relationship makes you cringe. But that’s another series, seriously?

love triangle with two women and one man

Walk Away!

One night while channel surfing I stumbled upon a documentary that quickly caught my attention. The setting was a fairly large modern home situated in a suburban neighborhood full of other newly architected residents.

Inside the house were the cheerful sounds of laughter and chatter from a family as they cooked dinner in their spacious kitchen. Upon first glance, the show appeared to be profiling everyday family activities until I noticed that there were three women preparing the meal for the large family. Just as I was thinking, “is this those”…the husband arrives home to happily greet his children and kiss each of his wives. The documentary I had discovered was profiling the lives of the modern day polygamist family.

I sat dumbfounded as I listened to the women justify their decisions to share their husband with each other. Then one wife made the point that society really shouldn’t be judging them for their lifestyle choice when so many men in “monogamist” relationships are cheating on their wives, which really isn’t all that different from their situation. My first reaction was what a crazy polygamist lady, but then the more I thought about it I realized she actually had a valid point.

As part of my A Seriously Series on Who Let The Dogs In, the polygamists inspired me to make my third point of this series:

3. Stop Sharing

While I respected the comment above, I do not believe that polygamy is the answer to the rampant infidelity issues among relationships today. Knowing what I know from others and myself, sharing your man with someone else is damaging to the soul, regardless of which side of the affair you find yourself on.

The problem is no one, not the wives, girlfriends or the mistresses, are holding cheating men accountable for their behavior. In fact, it seems that more and more women are finding themselves in open marriages, swinging or polygamist relationships. As long as you look the other way, why would he not believe that you approve or don’t care about his behavior? There’s no reason for him to leave the other woman, when you’ve clearly let him have his cake and eat it too.

Dealing with a cheater can be tough, especially when you are so emotionally fragile. Do you forgive him? Do you kick him to the curb without a seconds thought? Do you let him go not knowing if he will ever come back? Maybe you even figure why not let him cheat, you aren’t interested any more?

Regardless of the challenges, it bugs me when I see women continue to overlook their man cheating on them by either repeatedly accepting his “apologies” or turning a blind eye to his behavior. Listen to your gut. Watch for the signs and nip it in the bud. Otherwise, you may find yourself sharing more than just your man with another woman, seriously!

One of the amazing things about children is that they have this innocent yet powerful way of reminding us adults how to live.

A few months ago, a short video of a young girl named Jessica was making its way around the web through all the major social media channels. For about 50 seconds, a golden haired four year old stands in front of her bathroom mirror excitedly telling herself how great she is and what she has to be grateful for in her young life. The average cynical adult would probably roll their eyes and think she’s just a kid, of course her life is great. But here’s the beauty of her video, this little girl is using a tactic that works at any age even when you’re feeling bad about yourself and your circumstances.

View the video:

As part of my A Seriously Series on Who Let The Dogs In, I realized that this video is a good example of what women should be doing when they find themselves seeking validation from a man instead of themselves.

2. Get Puffed Up

Unfortunately, I have to admit that I struggle with this process because it takes a lot of practice and constant reassurance from yourself. I believe that most people are moving through life searching for anyone to assure them that they are loved, worthy and acceptable. Instead of looking within or above for that approval, many of us grab on to the first person who shows us the slightest attention or affection despite whether they are a good person or not.

I continuously see women hook up with the wrong guy, and then are willing to accept his bad behavior because they truly don’t believe that they can do or deserve any better. Yes, the dating pool can get very shallow, very quickly when you realize that you aren’t willing to take crap from anyone, no matter what he looks like on paper. Of course, the lonely, am I worthy thoughts, begin to haunt you, so the validation search process begins all over again with the same bad results.

Instead of seeking that approval from some man, maybe we should take a cue from little Jessica and implement her affirmation process.

Head to your favorite mirror (we all have one), look yourself in the eye and remind yourself about all your good qualities. Remind yourself of all the good things in your life. And remind yourself that you are worthy of a good man who loves you, respects you and wants to be with you. If you have to dance and jump around while doing so, then all the more better, at least you can burn a few calories in the process too. Seriously?

As part of my new A Seriously Series on Who Let The Dogs In, I wanted to explore the first item on my list that women should remember when they find themselves in a relationship with a man who treats them poorly.

1. He Can’t Be Fixed…by you.

Most of the readers of this blog know that my beloved family dog, Nash, passed away earlier this year. (Read about Nash) However, you may not know that I had my own dog whom I loved tremendously. Several years ago, a young man who was friends with my sister brought over the cutest little red ball of furry sweetness who had been abandoned by his owners. Instantly, I fell in love with him.

A Dog Named Chewie

Chewie during his happy times!

We called him Chewbacca, or Chewie for short, and boy did he live up to his name. From the moment he realized our apartment was his new home, he began chewing on everything. Throw pillows, screen doors, furniture and even a hundred dollar bill – yes he ate up hard earned cash. His favorite trick was to make a mad dash out the front door as soon as it was cracked open and taunt you as you tearfully begged him to come inside. He burped in your face, farted on your pillow and snored all night long. On more than one occasion throughout our relationship I had my hand on the phone ready to call the Humane Society to come pick him up. No matter how much I disciplined him, took him outside to play, or loved on him, he was not going to change his ways. He was who he was, and I loved him so I dealt with it.

Often I think we find themselves in a similar situation with a man we are dating. He’s absolutely adorable, has some wonderful qualities about him and makes for great companionship but there are things about him you wish you could change. Could be that he’s bad with money, and spends it quicker than it comes in. Or perhaps he likes to go out clubbing when you like to stay in and entertain. Maybe he’s not a big family guy but you want to spend quality time with yours every chance you can get.

In these cases, most women become frustrated with the relationship thinking that eventually he’ll change or grow out of his ways. They think I just need to make him see how great my family is, or show him how staying at home is just as fun as going out. Unfortunately, all that ends up happening is resentment on both your parts.

I believe it’s critical to search your soul for the character traits you desire in a man and the ones that are deal breakers before even getting into a serious relationship. If the man you end up with falls short then it’s not a good fit no matter how cute he is. If he drinks too much and gets nasty with you, then chances are no matter what you do, he isn’t going to stop without some serious help.

Eventually, I realized that Chewie was just as unhappy as I was in our situation. I was living in a small apartment, working long hours and he had no other animals to play with. I knew I had to save us both. Thankfully, a good friend of mine and her husband ended up adopting him and he simply flourished in their care. Although, I cried for days at the loss of my dog, I knew he was in a better place. He gained weight, had a friend to play with and a large yard to run in all day. He thrived and became the pet that I knew he could be, he just needed the right owners.

I think that we need to acknowledge that the man we are with is who is he, and maybe he’s simply not a good fit for you. Instead of trying to change him and making you both miserable, accept him for who he is or let him go. Yes, it will hurt for a while, but nothing compared to the pain of trying to make him into someone he was never meant to be.

Although Chewie was much happier with his new owners, he would make every effort to test their patience with his unbelievably frustrating jail break moments. He wouldn’t have been Chewie without bringing tears to your eyes, seriously!

P.S. Chewie passed away in early 2009. I imagine him and Nash eternally playing with each other in puppy Heaven.

I’m not a big fan of man bashing since it doesn’t really solve anything, but I do have to say this…there are some low down men roaming this planet. Not all men, because I know some great men who are loving, kind and faithful. I’m not talking about them, just the ones who are continuously being disrespectful, hurtful and rude to women.

Group of Dogs

Woof! Let Us Out!

Over the years, I’ve heard many a horror story from married and single women who have found themselves romantically involved with a man who clearly doesn’t respect them, love them or even like them. Unfortunately, I hear it so often that I’m starting to believe that maybe all men are dogs and there’s no hope of ever finding a good one. But then I thought, maybe it’s not necessarily the mens fault that these awful relationships continue to happen, maybe it’s the women?

There are so many beautiful, intelligent and amazing women in this world who continue to chase after losers and ultimately accept the abuse of these men. As soon as they get rid of one jerk, they simply trade him in for another. The stories are endless.

Well, I think it’s time for women to end the madness. To step up and start loving ourselves enough in order to train men how to treat a woman. I’m not a therapist (I just play one on this blog), but I do know there are a few things that every woman can do to help right the wrong that is occurring in our relationships. Since these are some tough topics, I’ve decided to break each point out into an individual post and make it a series, if you will. Here’s what us girls need to know:

1. He Can’t Be Fixed…by you.
I believe that people can change but not because someone sacrificed themselves to make it happen.

2. Get Puffed Up.
It’s time to build up your self-esteem and stop looking for validation from someone other than yourself.

3. Stop Sharing.
If he’s got another girl on the side, then let her have him and save yourself the heartache.

4. Expect More.
If he isn’t making you feel loved, respected and secure then he’s not a good man. <— did you see the period after that statement?

5. Don’t Chase. Be Chased.
If you are running after some guy who isn’t interested, then stop, turn around and take a look at the men chasing you.

6. Like To Be Alone.
Learn to enjoy your own company. If you don’t, can you really expect anyone else to?

A few years ago, I read a book called Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov. She made several off the way, yet good points throughout her book that supported the idea that men are attracted to women who are confident, secure and don’t take any crap. Maybe if we demand that we be treated like Queens, we will stop settling for frogs, or at the very least be okay with ruling our kingdom alone.

I know this series will probably hurt some feelings, including my own, but honestly it’s time for the ladies to take back control and channel Aretha Franklin by demanding R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Showing love to someone else means giving without expecting anything in return. If you’re being treated otherwise, then it’s time to let the dog out, 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?


Read away and feel free to leave a comment -- I'd love to hear from you.

Seriously, just enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

You don't even have to remember to come by for a visit. I'm serious!

Join 18 other followers

Follow Me on Twitter

© Seriously? by M/K, 2008 -2011