Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Very Hard Way

This year has kicked my junk all over the place.   It seemed like I’d get through one test and another would be right around the corner.    I wanted to throw in the towel a few times.   Fortunately, my kids, my friends and actually many of you picked me back up.
Sharing so much of my personal life has been a lot harder than I thought.  A lot of you have thanked me for the laughter or the inspiration and that has kept me chugging away through the times people have thrown rocks at me.   
When I started writing it I felt like I had a lot to say and to contribute.    I wasn’t sure how this would go and the longer I wrote the more positive feedback came.    It was overwhelming and has mostly been a thoroughly rewarding experience.
Yet just before Christmas, I had an extremely upsetting texting fight with someone I met through the blog and briefly dated.   It escalated beyond where it should ever have and although we both were wrong, I’m upset with myself for losing control.
I apologized and I accept my responsibility.   However the meanness continued coming at me.   I very well could have taken to my blog and written my side and blasted off a nasty, bitchy post.  I didn’t want to do that at the time and I still don’t.   
What was said was already hurtful.  I cried a lot, it broke my heart and was actually a little frightening.   I didn’t want to hurt him more.  Truth is, I did care about him at one time and I didn’t want him to be hurt.  I don’t wish anything bad to happen to him or anyone really.    It was hard and has made me not want to date again, especially anyone from Twitter.    Yet, I say that and I am at least talking to men again, so I’m getting closer to being back in action.
It also made me dig deep and look at myself.  I don’t have to look at his face in the mirror, only my own.   I have to learn from my mistakes and be honest with myself about what I can improve on before I can move forward.     I lost my cool and I apologized.    His actions are his to live with; I can only take responsibility for my own.
I also don’t want my voice to be bitchy and negative.  Sometimes I am sarcastic and that’s ok but I don’t want to tear someone apart.  It’s not why I do this and furthermore not who I want to be.   Through all this I realized that I want to be healed emotionally before I really attach to someone.   I want to find someone positive and strong and I’m not sure I feel at my best to do that right now.    
Through all this hurt, something close to miraculous happened.   I got an extremely kind comment from a reader saying he was my biggest fan and that he felt honored to be able to know me.   It made me sob and was exactly what I needed to hear.   I was ready to shake off the anger, move forward and look at the big picture.   Sharing like this does touch and entertain people, so I should keep doing it.
I resolved to start a comment jar with all the positive feedback I get.    I’m going to write down the good comments on a slip of paper and put them in a jar in my office.  I can pull them out when I need them.    It’s a lesson for me and maybe one for you: hear the negative comments but don’t let them stop you from what you truly feel called to do.
I wish you an extremely happy new year!  I’m working on my list of resolutions and looking at last years (yikes).   As I near my one year anniversary of writing this blog, I thank you so much for being a part of it.  It’s been a life changing experience, mostly good and I look forward to what this new year will bring.
The Single Mom
Happy New Year From SMD (mp3)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Three Exes and The Single Mom

Of the 140 characters I had to use, I probably used less than half of them.  However, I thought about what to say for about two days.   The words were typed, I reread it a few times and I was nervous when I finally sent the cheery holiday greeting.  After I hit “send” I immediately felt lame and hope.  I didn’t expect to hear back from “Latin Lover”, our conversations trailed off this summer during a swirl of chaos in my life.   We hadn’t kept in touch, so this was a random move made possible by my friend, Jose Cuervo.
This summer, I was just starting to get attached to this extremely sexy man.  He is sophisticated, romantic, well-traveled and sensual.   He reminded me of a romantic lead in a crappy romance novel, almost to the point of being cliché.  His eyes are dark, he has thick jet black hair, and just a hint of a lingering accent.   He reads, travels and is the sexiest man I’ve ever met.  
Because I was getting attached, I became a little short with him instead of hanging back and playing it cool.   We had gone on three HOT dates and I’m sure the 2 hour distance contributed to things not going forward with us.    Sexual chemistry was off the charts, I liked him as a person, respected him and would have made every effort to have him in my life.   That was then and a lot has happened since.
So I hit send and held my breath, feeling a little angry with myself that I had actually gone through with this pathetic move.  Hey, I could always blame it on Jose Cuervo, so at least there was that.   
I walked away from my phone because I didn’t expect to hear back from him and didn’t want to sit there wallowing in my lameness.   I was surprised and happy to hear my text chime within a minute, preparing myself for it to be unrelated.   Running back to my phone, I squealed like a teenager.   It was a text from him and his words melted me to a puddle, two simple words and I was mush, “Hi gorgeous”.     
I of course played it cool and waited about 10 seconds to text him back, lol.  In just a few minutes on this cold December night, we were both transported to a sultry July evening and the thought of his kisses lit me on fire all over again.   Before long we were talking about those passionate summer nights and about getting together again now.  (his idea, not mine)   
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m taking a break from dating to put energy back into myself.   I vowed to do that until at least the beginning of 2012.  So, I’ve almost served my entire dating rehab sentence, whew.  
However, what is different about me now is that I’m able to make better choices, to see my options differently and to not rush back into a dating situation that is going to be harmful.   Honestly, I’m not in a hurry to start dating again.  I have a lot of exciting stuff going on in my life and dating just to date, isn’t in my plan.
Oddly enough, I’ve also been talking to another ex, “Freakshow”.    We have dated a couple of times both of them really intense, the most recent was this spring.   The way we came back into contact was totally accidental because I ran into him at an event downtown.  Ever since then he’s been texting me.  He’s told me that he was a dumbass for letting me go and wants another chance.   My skepticism has been preventing me from letting my guard down and I don’t really see a difference so far.   We did have a lot of history together and I did have some “L” word feelings for him, but fortunately my brain is staying ahead of my heart, well and other parts of the anatomy. (if you know what I mean, wink)
I’ve also had to draw a line in the sand with “Southerngent”.   We’ve continued to be in touch for several months as friends but he was unreliable about making plans with me and not keeping them.  One of my pet peeves is reliability.   If he’s not reliable as friends he wouldn’t just magically be so if we dated.  Unfortunately, I had to be meaner to him than I really wanted to be when I told him I didn’t want to go out with him.   If I can’t trust him to keep plans, I’m certainly not going to trust him with my heart.  Duh.
I can’t help but to feel selfish right now but it’s definitely a good thing.   Looking back on how I feel and the strength I have to say no to these less than perfect opportunities makes me feel strong.  I don’t think I’d have felt like this if I didn’t do the 30 days of “Loving Yourself First”.    Each of those 30 days I tried to see my own worth and it has paid off for me in the present.  
I’ve had times in the past where a temptation like this, a man saying something I wanted to hear would have suckered me back in right away.  Fortunately, I am doing the things I want to do for myself and not worrying about what someone may or not be feeling about me in any given moment.  Screw it.  Well, at least for now anyway.
Although having a fun, flirty texting chat with Latin Lover isn’t necessarily the healthiest use of my time, it’s a fun little escape and nothing more.    It’s been almost a year of writing about my dating tales and I feel like I’ve come to a very good place.     I see my own value now and I know I’m not going to settle for anything less than I deserve.   I’m not in any hurry to see him if it’s not something that will be good for me, so fortunately I can be objective enough now to know the difference.    
Whew, I’ve come a long way in this year of getting my ass kicked by love.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it too and I can’t wait to see what happens this next year…
The Single Mom

Friday, December 9, 2011

Facing the Fear

My heart was beating out of my chest, my pulse raced and although it was cold, I was perspiring.   I fearlessly confronted this moment and was ready to face this unknown threat.   Here I stood out on a cold, starry December night armed with nothing but my cajones and anger.    I was awakened by a noise outside and ran out to see that someone attempted to break into my car.
You have to know I live in a Mayberry like neighborhood.   It’s a quiet subdivision where the biggest controversy is over someone painting their shutters the wrong shade of burgundy.  
A few months ago I wrote a piece about emotions, that there are only two emotions, fear and love and that every other emotion we feel is rooted in either fear or love.   The more I’ve thought about it the more it makes sense and the more it makes me realize how my fear of love is my strongest fear.
I had to be fearless last week for a work event.   I work in media, we were covering a sporting event and inexplicably, a famous actress, Oscar nominated and the whole nine, happened to be there.    I walked right up to her, introduced myself and asked her if we could have an interview.  No fear. 
Yet the thought of going out with someone right now is a fear that I can’t get over.  However, the more I think about it maybe I shouldn’t.   Let me explain, although I’ve dated for 7 years, getting back up time after time and putting myself back out there without hesitation, I don’t think it was a smart decision and one that only set me up for more pain.
I truly wish I’d taken the advice of many friends to take time after my divorce before dating in the very beginning, but I foolishly didn’t.   I was hit by an attraction that I couldn’t fight.  I met him completely innocently he worked at my kids favorite restaurant and after a lot of downed chicken wings and flirting it became more.    I was vulnerable, feeling like I’d never meet anyone else and I’m convinced he saw that vulnerability.   
I literally felt butterflies when I saw him, haven’t felt that before or after him but I can still remember that flutter in my tummy when I’d see him.   Now that flutter is a turning of my stomach after what happened.    I was so naïve and what started off as a total rush to with him eventually became something very dangerous.    Unknown to me, he was an addict and I was just someone he used.   It was well over a year of a bad situation that only kept getting worse. 
It came to a head when he beat me up for money.    It happened so fast yet, I can remember every second, first he threw me to the floor, next he sat on top of me and took turns punching both sides of my jaw like a punching bag.    Next, he held me down to the floor by my neck, totally cutting off all air.   After he released my neck, I had to cough and gasp for air and could barely talk.   My face was bruised, swollen and talking was painful, so much so that I went to the emergency room to be x-rayed.  I prayed the swelling went down enough to go back to work in a couple of days.  
I never saw it coming, never saw him ever hurting me.  I was one person who always had his back through everything he faced, his family had abandoned him and yet I was the one who helped to pick him back up.    He was so possessive about me that he started several bar fights if anyone had even looked at me sideways, so to think he’d ever strike me never seemed possible.    Yet he did and he had hurt me in so many ways before this that it could be a book in itself.    It was like a really bad Lifetime movie that I somehow found myself in and it was a complicated relationship to leave.  
The feelings I had for him were so strong and I felt an odd connection with him.   So much so, if we were apart we could sense things about the other one, like if one was in danger.   It was a weird connection to say the least, and very difficult to walk away from, even after he hurt me physically.   Yet, I knew I couldn’t continue like this separated myself and stopped taking his calls.  He tried for months to call me and I forced myself to ignore him although I missed him terribly.     My friends gave me advice to meet someone else very quickly to move on. 
Although I didn’t want to, it happened.  I met someone when friends and I grabbed a beer after a PTA meeting.  He was a young (very young) good looking, firefighter who caught me in his crosshairs.  He pursued me hardcore and I gave into meeting him.    Again, this was another unhealthy relationship.  I know I wouldn’t have been so vulnerable to fall in love with him if I didn’t feel like I needed to move on from my prior boyfriend.   We were on and off for several years in a messy unhealthy, emotional, sexual train wreck.   Spoiler alert: it didn’t end well and caused me a lot of pain.
Fast forward through 7 years of one dating pile up after another, I look back thinking most of the reason I keep stepping into the same pile of dog crap is because I didn’t take the time to be ready for someone to be in my life, in the beginning.  In some ways I’ve just accepted what scraps came my way.   After a lot of pain, physical and emotional I have to realize that it’s taking too much of a toll on me.   So for now, that means to stop dating.  What I’ve been doing hasn’t been working, thank you very much Captain Obvious.
I’m not that far removed from feeling the pain of the breakup I had this fall, after what I thought was someone I’d be with for a very long time.   The pain of that betrayal and loss is still very fresh and keeps me from really getting too close to anyone, friend or lover, sadly.
Through these years, I’ve let so many good guys go and kept so many bad ones.   Truth be told, I let some men go who probably would have made me very happy but I was foolish and looking for perfection.  I still haven’t found it, only realizing now after kissing toad after toad.    
I’m optimistic and hopeful that my future still holds love in it for me, but for now I can’t have that as my focus.   I know when I do find someone who is good to me, I will appreciate every moment with him and be good to him, yet maybe this time is going to help me be able to separate the good guys from the bad ones.
The Single Mom

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Loving Yourself First

Gosh, the past two weeks have been a kick in the junk…  Yet I’m trying to look for the silver linings as always because I’m corny like that.   Writing this series, Love Yourself First has helped me keep the big picture in perspective through the stress, although ironically I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to write about it as much as I’d like to.
I was pulled to work on a project because we lost several people.    I had been doing some consulting for a tv show in my hometown  but  I got pulled into it fulltime.   It’s been a blast and I have to say I’ve enjoyed the work immensely.   However, I’ve had little time to write and I feel badly about that.  I’ve literally been working almost every day, so it’s been a challenge just keeping everything at home together.    Thank goodness for microwaves and frozen dinners or my sons would have died by now, so yay for modern technology.
The upside is that I love this work,  it’s been so rewarding and has pushed me to learn new things.   I’m also making great connections for my writing, so I can see a lot of big picture advantages down the line.   It's been a huge confidence boost and I've been able to do some assignments that have pushed me.
I’ve had a lot of life stress too compounding all of this and the one thing that has really kept me grounded is the love yourself first promise.  It’s been even more of a challenge than ever to make time to do this, but I’ve been forcing myself to do it every day.   I’ve been doing little things like take a long bath, finding something that makes me laugh, or getting a good cup of coffee.    
My plan when I had the idea for this series was to prepare you in advance for the demanding holiday season.    We are all pulled in so many directions during the season and we often put so much pressure on ourselves that we need to be able to say no to people if need be.    Although this was a grandiose expectation, I hoped that this series contributed in a small way to your positive self-image.
The thought is that if you treat yourself well, you will start to believe that you deserve it, not only helping you have higher self-esteem, but will also build you up to not accept bad treatment when you’re in a relationship.  For me this was a huge lesson and it forced me to reevaluate my life priorities.
The other self-improvement focus I’ve been working on is being less emotionally invested all the way around.  Honestly, I struggled a lot about my last date and how all that went so wrong.   I missed him and our funny exchanges.  It became obvious that I was more attached than I originally thought and it took awhile to process what happened.   
I wallowed in these emotions for awhile and just one day pulled the plug.   I just somehow forced myself to not care.   It's been working and maybe this is where I need to stay for awhile.    Staying unplugged emotionally is a smart way too of making sure that I take care of myself.   
Thank you for reading and I hope you keep loving yourself first!

The Single Mom

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Loving Yourself First: Be Cautious but not Closed off Completely

Life was imitating art because my post for this week in Loving Yourself First was about starting to let people in.  Week one was about letting  go of your past , week two was about building your self esteem, this week, week three is about being careful about letting people in and week four is going to be about finding happiness.    If you’ve been following in Facebook, my daily quotes have all been in line with these themes all through this month.
This was Monday’s quote on Facebook and it was a great quote to kick off this week, well at least for the blog.
Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up.  They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.   Samuel Johnson
It’s important that we stay true to who we are but let people in, as long as we are cautious about it.   This is definitely something that is a flaw of mine.  I’ve been through a lot, as I’ve gotten older I’ve recalibrated my date picker and changed my parameters for what I’m looking for.  I’ve written a lot about it but superficial things are very low on my list now in my forties.   I’ve honed in on before I get close to someone asking the right questions and making sure what they are looking for is what I’m looking for.  I also am honest about myself and the negatives about me so that there are no surprises. 
I also talked early on in this series about drawing two circles around yourself and only letting a chosen few get into that circle.  Truth is when people get close to us they can hurt us.   I think we as humans are happiest when we have closeness with someone else.   I’ve gotten to the time in my life where I’m ready to put aside my own ego and love someone, accept blame when it’s my fault and truly give to someone else. I’ve stood on my own for so long, I’ve found the good in all my pain and I’ve become a really strong woman.   A woman with a lot to offer, I think. 
Lately, I’ve become weary from dating after seven years of it.   I’ve always bounced back up and dusted myself off and hit the ground running again.  This year, however I’ve had a harder time bouncing back and I’m trying to make smarter decisions.  I don’t want to be a man hater and bitter.   I want to be smarter and maybe I’m fooling myself that I’m not becoming closed off, I don’t honestly know. 
I’ve gone out with men I’ve met in bars, online, the grocery store, and now even Twitter.   I wasn’t in the mindset to date, so I stopped online dating after several years of it.  I met a lot of great guys online dating, had serious relationships from it. Yet, I wasn’t ready to put myself out there.  I pulled back to love myself first and to focus on personal development.
Somewhere along the way a Twitter friend in my same city became more and we went out.  What started as me telling him I didn’t want to date over the past several weeks ended up with us eventually talking, texting and going out on a date.    At first it was hey, I’d like to meet you for a beer just to get to know you and as time passed, feelings became involved.    
I was cautious and asked a lot of important questions about what he was looking for, was honest about my weaknesses and he was still extremely eager to meet me.     After a few weeks, I gave him my number but it was several days until I could talk to him, all the while I probably turned down 3 or 4 offers to go out on a date.    I actually felt badly about rejecting him and pushing him off, yet I wasn’t excited to be hurt again and had a lot to do.    Last week we actually talked on the phone for the first time and our first call lasted about 2 hours.   
During that week, we texted 1600 times, our conversations were hilarious and if I didn’t text him back within about 10 minutes, I’d get a text from him asking if I was ok or something.    We’d seen pictures of each other and we seemed to find each other attractive.   We talked about everything and we did eventually get flirty.   We were both apparently looking for the same things and I started allowing myself to feel close to him, so it felt right.
I’m a veteran dater and I felt like I was cautious, maybe too cautious even letting my guard down to him.  Looking back now, I don’t know what more I could have possibly done except to not talk to him at all.    
So, I’ll tell you about the date and try to make sense of it.  Leading up to the date, we were both getting nervous and excited to finally meet each other.   We met at the restaurant and there were a lot of smiles when we saw each other for the first time.   It almost felt like being young again, first date nerves and the excitement of finally seeing him.    We had developed a lot of inside jokes and had fun inserting them into the conversation.   Talking to him was a breeze and we barely opened our menus.   Actually the waitress circled a few times because we just wouldn’t stop talking long enough to open the menus.
Talking with him I could feel the attraction, yet he wasn’t the typical guy who I’d have to worry about being alone with.   He promised me that he wouldn’t be like that and I could truly trust that he wouldn’t.  After dinner, which lasted over a couple hours, we went back to his house.  I felt completely comfortable and although I joked about it, it wasn’t even a second thought.   I knew he’d be a gentleman.
He gave me a tour of his home and snuck on something that he knew was a turn on of mine – a backwards baseball hat.   He had to point it out to me and did so with a boyish grin, really pleased with himself.   We started kissing in his kitchen and it was perfect.  We made a lot of eye contact even during kissing and he walked me over to the couch to get more comfortable. 
His jealous white cat kept trying to vie for his attention and it became something we laughed about.     Without giving gory details, we were obviously very attracted to each other.   It felt good to finally be with him, kissing him and in his arms after wondering what it would be like.   I honestly didn’t expect it to be so natural to be together, but it was just like our conversations leading up to the date.
We ended up falling asleep on the couch, he woke me up because I was snoring, smooth me, huh?  It was late, we said goodnight and texted when we both were home safely.   He texted me the next morning with his pet name for me and all seemed fine.   Over the next couple of days we continued texting until after a few days in a text he told me he just didn’t feel chemistry with me.    

I’ve been on a lot of dates, maybe more than a hundred.   I know when there isn’t chemistry.  That’s when you want to chew your arm off to have an excuse to get out of the date.   There’s nothing to talk about and the thought of touching the person makes you want to run the other way.  This wasn’t either one of those scenarios, so I’m puzzled about it to say the least.
Although I’d love to have a positive spin on this today, I just don’t.  Ironically, this subject is what I’ve been planning to write about when I planned out the Love Yourself First series. 
I was cautious about letting someone in, and I still ended up hurt.     I’ve had a day to digest what happened and I’m still as puzzled.    I don’t plan on getting close to anyone on Twitter anymore, it’s just one more portal to me that I’m closing off.   I enjoy writing about dating and I think that’s what my focus needs to be for now.    I guess every road to me that I close off gets me closer to Crazy Cat Lady, I just don’t need to keep being hurt, it’s just not the best use of my time.
Maybe I need to get smarter still about getting close to people, so I’ll think about that, while I love myself first.  I hope you love yourself first too!
The Single Mom 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Love Yourself First! Feeling Sexy

Love your body or at least make peace with it!

As women we give ourselves a lot of pressure about our looks and bodies.   I’ve learned something a shocking during my 7 years of dating that was contrary to what I would have ever expected.    I learned that most men I’ve met are far more attracted to a less than perfect looking woman with high confidence than a nearly perfect woman with low confidence.
I’m not sure if it’s the way we are brought up or if we do it to ourselves through our lives, but as women we are often the first ones to put ourselves down or to wave off a compliment if we receive one.    Why do we do this?  I cannot figure it out. 
I get some mean comments from women readers who knock me for my confidence.  Truth be told, I’d bet my body is not as good in comparison than most of the women who criticize me.    I’ve just learned to let a lot of my insecurities go better than a lot of people I suppose.    I’ve begun to learn to shake off criticism in the same way.
I’m not going to deny that I’d love to have a better body, but at this time in my life, I’m sick of trying to please everyone else.   Some men don’t like my body but there are a whole hell of a lot who do and those are the men I’m interested in anyway.     I feel sexy and comfortable in my own skin and I’m not going to obsess about my imperfections.  I definitely believe in eating well and exercise but there’s a whole lot about my body that isn’t going to change without some major reconstruction.  Fact.
A lot of men tell me that being with a woman who is confident is a complete turn on, much more so than a woman who is constantly unhappy with the reflection she sees in the mirror or someone constantly trying to fit into what society defines as beautiful.   It’s important to maintain physical health and yet mental health by not destroying ourselves to achieve perfection.
For me, this was the most important piece of learning for me in loving myself.  I’d grown up hating my body and myself for having it.   I was on every diet imaginable through my childhood and developed an eating disorder.   I was unhappy with my appearance to the point of making myself sick.  Looking back now it seems like such a waste.
This mindset only made me vulnerable to unhealthy relationships until just a few years ago.   It didn’t change until I began dating and had a lot of positive experiences.   I learned that men’s parameters for attractiveness were well beyond what I thought they were… most likely a perception that I formed through years of seeing women in magazines and movies.     
The result of this internal change has caused me to become more confident on the outside.   I've held onto a piece of advice that has changed the way I approach many of life’s situations, “fake it till you make it”.    I’ve learned to carry myself with confidence and it probably makes me seem like I have more self confidence than I actually do.    Yet, it’s interesting because it has had an affect on the way men respond to me which in turn feeds confidence.   Funny how that works, huh?
I encourage you today to Love Yourself First by appreciating your body... be healthy but don’t beat yourself up for your flaws - we all have them.

What’s going on in my “Love Life”?
I’ve been taking this challenge to love myself first right alongside you.  I’m working on identifying my flaws and being more careful to evaluate situations and relationships more carefully.    I’ve been incredibly busy lately and have felt pulled in too many directions.  It’s truly been a challenge to remember to do something nice for myself every day.  However, I’ve been forcing myself to do it and it has made a difference in my daily happiness. 
I’m also a little sad to tell you that “Twitterguy” and I have parted ways.   He’s a great person and I have nothing but respect for him as a man and I’m grateful I had a chance to get to know him.     He works two jobs, so that combined with the hour between us made it extremely difficult to spend time together.   I also felt like both of us weren't really ready to get close and neither one of us tried very hard to change the other person's heart.  
I have met someone new that did start as a friendship. He lives in the same city as me, has a good sense of humor and is really cute.   Very recently, it's been turning into something more and a first date is planned.   We’ve been talking for several weeks and the whole time, I’ve had a wall around me.    As I mentioned, I've also been busy and haven't had a lot of time, so it's kind of made things go more slowly than in a usual time frame.   
In the beginning, I was really careful to tell him that I didn’t think I was capable of intimacy.  However, somewhere between all the funny messages, we started to realize we have a lot in common and he’s a really great guy.   So... wish him luck and I’ll let you know more later.
The Single Mom

If you'd like to follow along on the 30 day "Love Yourself First" challenge, like this page and follow along with the thought of the day.   There's been so much positive feedback about it and I'm so grateful to be doing this with YOU! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Let It Burn

I found some closure recently with the help of a magic marker, a lighter and a piece of paper.     
A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that I was upset about the end of a relationship and that I wasn’t able to have the kind of closure I needed.   Until I could have this, I wasn’t fully able to move forward to where I needed to go and I had to find a way to do this for myself.
I couldn’t control the situation and the only way for me to make peace with it was for me to officially let it go to stop allowing it to hurt me.  Once I realized I was allowing it to continue to hurt me, I knew I had to stop it. 
I wrote his name on a piece of paper, said a few words, took a deep breath and lit the paper.   Tears fell as I watched the name of this person, who had been so important to me essentially go away before my eyes.     After the paper was completely engulfed in flames, I felt relief and it was like all the anger and sadness were lifted off of my shoulders. 
Within about a minute’s time all that remained  were ashes and some smoke.    In that moment, I promised myself I wouldn’t let him hurt me anymore and that I owed it to myself to give the effort I had been giving to feeling sadness and pain to go towards loving myself.
Here’s what happens, we love someone and give them a lot of us, which is good until it isn’t recriprocal.  We often put that person’s needs over our own and let our own needs go unmet for the sake of someone else too long.  We then come to expect this and in the process it depreciates our feelings of self -worth. 
It’s essential for us to begin to give to ourselves again for us to realize that we are worth it.   It also helps us set the standard that we shouldn’t let someone come into our lives who won’t do nice things for us, to not settle for less than what we know we deserve.    
Every day since then I’ve made an effort to do something nice for myself, even if it’s a small thing.   My budget is really tight now, so I can’t treat myself in a way like I used to be able to, but I’m still doing things that make me realize how important it is to take care of myself.   This is a lesson that is very hard for me, I take care of two boys and I often go without so that they can have what they need.   
It isn’t about the money that I need to spend to make myself happy, it can be taking a 15 minute break to go outside and get sunshine or to read something positive. 
I’m making an effort to put only positive influences in my life because I want to be able to write from a positive place.    Before I write, I light a fragrant candle in my office and play uplifting music.   The world we live in sends us so many negative messages, it’s really important for us as much as possible to control who and what we allow to infiltrate our thoughts and emotions. 
I did make an exception to buy one material thing I for myself.   I made myself a necklace that says “Love Yourself First”.  I don’t take it off and whenever I need to remind myself to keep moving forward, I touch it to remind myself to say no, or to change my thoughts, or whatever it is in that moment .  
Thank you so much for taking this journey along with me!  I thank you for sharing so much of yourselves with me.  If you have little things like this that you do to get closure or as positive reminders, I’d love to hear them!   I truly hope this series has a positive effect on your life today and into the future! 
The Single Mom 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

LoVe YoUrSelf FiRsT - 30 Day Challenge for a Better You!

LoVemBeR - 30 days of healing, self-love and moving forward
Over margaritas and chimichangas last week, my friend told me I wouldn’t see her much for the next month because she was doing a 30 Day Cleanse.  Her diet didn't allow her to eat out or drink alcohol anymore.     She explained the health benefits of eliminating certain foods and drinks from our diets and it was fascinating.  So, of course I ordered another margarita and toasted to her cleanse and wolfed down my guacamole. 
 After I got home that night, it occurred to me that maybe I needed to do some emotional housekeeping and challenged myself to share this with all of you.  Over the next 30 days I’m going to look at myself and relationships very carefully and share my process so you can do the same.
It dawned on me that there’s a similarity to removing people and situations from our lives as much as possible to make us healthier people.   Much like any diet, we can't starve ourselves, we have to instead learn to filter better.    For example: if you have to work with someone who makes you cRaZy, you just can't remove that person from your life, you have to learn how to compartamentalize them better.  
My years of dating have been much harder than I imagined.   It’s been a revolving door of hurt and disappointment.    It was obviously painful when my marriage unraveled.  We became strangers while trying to live under the same roof and parent two kids.   Looking back now, I probably should have taken time back then to do what I’m doing today.   
This whole crazy love thing hasn't worked for me and I realized I need to do some deep digging to understand why.   It finally occurred to me that I often give too much.
I’m a giver and I always want to fix everyone.  I don’t plan to completely stop because it’s part of what makes me who I am.   However, I’m going to stop and ask myself, is this person giving me the same effort  I’m giving them?  If the answer is no, I’m going to pull back.    
This idea of “Loving yourself first” is especially hard for me, I’m the kind of person who would do just about anything for someone.   Yet, I realize I often give too much and the irony of that is that it gets in the way of me being loved in return.   
Why should YOU do this?
If you are in an unhappy relationship, going through a divorce or a breakup or if you just want more happiness in your life.
Decide today that you are going to Love Yourself First!
What you need to do today to get started:
-          Clean out your emotional closet.  What’s bothering you?  Deal with any unresolvred dirty laundry that you've been putting off over the next day or two.   Write an email or a letter if you have unfinished business.  As much as possible put that relationship on hold for the next 30 days as you love up yourself.   (Example: I had a family issue that I hadn't dealt with.  I sent an email today and closed the book on it, for now anyway.

-          Promise yourself for the next 30 days to put yourself first.   This doesn’t mean to be selfish or to isolate yourself.  In fact, its almost the opposite.  If you love yourself first, you’ll have more to give and here’s the payoff, you’ll get more love if you’re in recriprocal relationships.

-          Resolve for the next 30 days that you’ll be less porous about what and who REALLY penetrates you.   It’s perfectly fine to continue to be a mother, daughter, son, friend and lover but be very careful about who you allow into your inner circle.  Envision every morning drawing two circles around yourself.  Only a very few should get to your inner circle, choose carefully. 

-          Do something nice for yourself everyday.   It can be a small thing or a big thing, a cup of coffee, using the good dishes for dinner, or lighting a candle that makes you happy.   The point is to just do one thing everyday that makes you feel good.

Meet me here on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next steps and meet me EVERY day on Facebook as I share your daily inspiration for the process.   It's gonna be an awesome journey of self discovery, laughter and fun.  I look so forward to us doing this together, thanks for sharing your progress with me.

The Single Mom

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not Drinkin The Haterade

I need to cover some negative comments and tie up a few loose ends.   This post will do that and MOVE FORWARD.   Groovy?
Last week, I found out that “The Reader” had been cheating on me.  I’m not sure exactly how long or to what degree while we were still together, but looking back now, it makes sense.  
When he started to pull away, I should have listened to my gut, but I foolishly still trusted him.    When we were breaking up, he wigged out on me and got angry when I was crying.    I was literally bawling on the phone and his reaction was to tell me he was so angry he wanted to punch a hole through a wall.  What a keeper, huh?   Now in retrospect it all makes sense, he wanted to be done with me and move on to his next thing.   I was a fool and I see that now, finally.
The betrayal I felt crushed me and made me unravel a little there, admittedly.   I was finally at a good place about the breakup and finding this out reopened those wounds in an even more painful way.   Finding out he lied to me hurt me deeply.
I should have seen it coming, because it was exactly the same scenario when we came together, he had feelings for me and we were well into our plans for the future before he officially broke up with his ex.  They hadn’t seen each other in a long time, but it wasn’t officially over. 
Last week after I found out about what he’d done, I went to him for an explanation, some resolution and closure.  In his true form, he totally ignored me and over the course of the next few days, my anger exploded.   It finally crested with me writing something nasty to him.   I questioned his character, his manhood and then I REALLY let him have it.   It wasn’t pretty.   I told him I hated him and that I totally erased him out of my memory. 
I could have done so many worse things, but I didn’t.  
The next day there was an extremely mean comment on my blog from an “anonymous” reader.   When I first read it, I was upset because it was so shockingly insulting.  Then the more I thought about it and read through the language it could only be from him.   The hate and bitterness was oozing from this comment and no casual reader could have that much of an issue about me.    It was personal and after Captain Obvious and I talked about it, we could see right through it.
Here’s what it said:  This is weird, how you're sharing all these details like bad fanfic. No offense but I started reading your blog because you talked about relationships. Now it just reads like a badly written diary of a 15 year old
The language sounded like him, the sentence structure was like his writing and it couldn’t be an accident that it happened on the very next day after I wrote him a scathing goodbye.  I’ve only had 2 anonymous comments out of the 415 comments I’ve received.   The chance of this NOT being him is staggering.   It also just so happened to be a post about me moving on and having a really great date with a hot guy.  Coincidence?   Doubtful.     
Ironically, I still have my diary from when I was 15.  It’s an old worn book with Holly Hobby on the cover and lots of steamy deets about first kisses and slow dances.  Here are some excerpts from it from this very week back then:  Today, one of Frank’s friends came up to me and called me Frank’s Girl… Donny asked me to the football game and I accepted, he is really sweet…  Cathy, Chris and I went to the haunted house… At the game, Donny put his arm around me.”     Hopefully, you get the point of what these words illustrate.  That is a bad 15 year old’s diary.   I’ve earned an intelligent audience, you wouldn’t be reading me if it didn’t have some value.   The comment about this being a badly written diary of a 15 year old is insulting to me and to you.  C’mon man.
Yet, I’m not going to say what I write is world changing, I hope it makes you laugh, entertains you and makes you think.  However, I’m not spending any time practicing my Pulitzer acceptance speech.  I’m realistic about what I’m trying to do and the fingerpainting I do sometimes.  We need to be entertained sometimes and if this is few minutes of distraction for you that provides a little smackerel of wisdom every now and then, I’m happy about that.
Truth is, the past month or so I’ve been writing more in-depth posts about life and happiness and relationships.   There’s so much momentum going for me and I’ve received so much positive feedback that something like this is laughable and isn’t even a pimple on my booty.
I welcome criticism about my writing, I want to be better.  I admit I have a lot of growing to do and I want to be good at it.  My posts are all over the board; sometimes they are silly, sexy, and sometimes deep.  If I were a painter, some of my posts would be beautiful oil paintings, others would be fingerpainted little pieces of crap, not even worthy of the refrigerator door.  But they’re real and they’re me and I’m not going to be any different.
As far as this relationship, I think it finally came down to him not wanting to live here, in the Midwest and that was a huge part of his decision.  I couldn’t have been any better to him or given him more.   However, it’s in the past and you don’t give a rat’s rectum anymore and neither do I.

In other news…
That same evening, I had another negative comment.  This one was a totally different tone and although it bothered me, I didn’t take it personally.    A reader commented that my blog sounded like soft porn lately.  Honestly, that comment took me aback and I had to really think about it.  I am a sexual person, it’s a part of my nature however, I’m not intentionally writing erotica.   The post she commented on was my last date, a date where I hinted at something physical happening, we watched football and fell asleep on the couch fully clothed.  That’s about as innocent as I get writing about a date.   
Frankly, my posts in the beginning were a lot more naughty, hell Latin Lover and I had sex in a stairwell and I wrote about that.   If anything my posts lately are vanilla in comparison, so I took the comment for the way I think she really meant it, and that was a cautionary piece of advice.   I think she was saying I rushed into physical too fast if I’m looking for love.  Truth is I don’t know for sure if I am.  I’d love to be swept off my feet and whisked off to the ball however I’m too skeptical right now after what just happened to be actively searching for love.
My writing is a way to bring some small positive change to the world and that’s what I intend to do.   Among the many things I want to change is to empower women.  For too long, women have had to hide or apologize for their sexuality.    I’m not here to intentionally offend anyone, but sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. 
I might consider labeling my posts if they are adult in nature or changing the navigation somehow, however I'm not going to change what I write.   Nothing is to be gained from that.   I appreciate you for reading and for sharing your comments with me either positive or negative. 
If my writing doesn’t challenge you to rethink something that you believe, it’s a waste of your time.   I’m grateful to have attracted a loyal and intelligent following who have told me the impact of my words on your lives.   I certainly don’t want to lose any of you, however I don’t intend to bore you either, you’re way too sophisticated to NOT be challenged.   
Although I write about dating, I’m writing more about the impact it has had on me and my perception of self.   Whether you’re actively dating or not, the life lessons apply to anyone.  Are you going to let someone come into your life and kick your ass or are you going to take back what is yours?  That person could be your boss, your landlord, your sibling, it doesn’t matter.   Are you going to settle for not having fulfillment, sexual or otherwise?  I’m not, dammit.
Although the questions I’m asking myself might be enshrouded in layers of glittery lipgloss and sporting 4 inch heels, underneath the surface they are the questions we all ask of ourselves about life and love.  I try to do it in a way that makes you laugh and tantalizes you, yet the theme is universal.   
I challenge you to empower yourself and do what you need to do to reclaim your happiness – just like I’m trying to do.    I'm hoping we can do it together because I'm working on something really cool to do just that.  
The Single Mom

Here are some of the things on my mind?  Do I get close to anyone, especially another reader?   How can I reclaim my happiness and not let it be stolen again?  I’m also working on something that is going to help me and YOU… deets coming in the next few days. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Second Date: Passion, Romance and Laughter (Part 2)

This is a second date with a man I met on Twitter, he doesn't have a real nickname, yet.

Feeling his kisses on my neck was making me crazy and he enjoyed every second knowing he was affecting me   He moved my hair to the side to kiss the back of my neck, making me shiver.   His kisses were starting to get to me and I loved having his hands touching my long hair as he kissed me.
My hands were exploring his sexy body and we were pulling each other so tightly as we kissed.  It was both passionate and romantic at the same time.  We’d take short breaks to make eye contact, smile and start kissing again.  I held his chin in my hand and I kissed him hard.  Both of us were running our hands over each other, kissing and ya that’s it nothing else happened.  Nope, not a thing nothing to see here, folks.  Ok, thanks for coming.   The end.   (Waves goodbye)
Ok, well maybe some other stuff happened, not much stuff at all or anything.  It was practically nothing, in fact I think maybe we kissed and that’s about it.   No, I’m not lying… why do you ask?  Ok, ok maybe a little, tiny white lie, but the smallest of all lies, ever. 
Something else kinda happened, I think, maybe… and then I said something funny (but I can’t tell what it was because it was a little naughty and I don’t want you to think the wrong thing about me, haha)… and he cracked up laughing.  It was one of those moments that you say something and the other person laughs so much harder than you expected.  Ya, but I still can’t exactly tell you what happened or what I said.   Don’t be mad at me, ok?  I’m sorry… the real deets will be in the director’s cut… lol. 

So, after I melted his face off, we got comfortable and he held me close to him.  We had this moment of passion, followed by laughing out loud and then it ended with a sweet cuddling session.  My head rested on his chest, his arms around me. 
It was relaxing to listen to him doze off and start to gently snore; it was surprisingly so comfortable being with him.  It was easy and fun being together and lying on him while he was falling asleep was such a sweet ending to the night.  My head rested on his chest as he breathed in and out. 
I fell asleep a few minutes later and it felt amazing to be held so close in his arms.   We were both still fully clothed and the house grew colder as we slept.  I hunted down a couple of blankets and covered us up so we could keep warm.    
We didn’t sleep all that well, sharing the couch, but it was still nice being together.   One time during the night when we woke up, I tried to take off my bra, which of course he was very willing to help.  I pulled the lacy black straps down under my shirt as he unhooked it from the back.   Isn’t he such a helpful guy?  I sure thought so.
It was another goofy moment because after I took it off, I did a silly whistle like a sound effect as I threw it across the room.   It was just a random moment that was funny for no real reason; just that it was spontaneous.   Being with him is silly, natural and probably what I need right now. 
His hands and mouth liked the wardrobe change.    We had another hot kissing session and then eventually drifted off to sleep again, tightly holding onto each other.
When we woke up in the morning, we both enjoyed the feeling of waking up in each other’s arms.  We kissed and cuddled a little more and it was time for him to get up and head home.  He made a joke as he was leaving that he was extremely relieved that I didn’t really have any cats.  We laughed and had a long kiss at the front door, just like when he arrived.   My arms wrapped around his neck and his around my waist, kissing and happy from a passionate and romantic night.


The Single Mom

Thanks for reading... still talking to him, it's just fun and flirty now, which is perfect.  I found out something about "The Reader" that broke my heart... trying to decide if I should blog about it.