Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Can't Tell If The Growling Is Coming From My Stomach, Or My Head

I can't sleep. 

It could be because I'm trying to fall asleep at 10:00 at night, something I haven't done in a very long time. Unless, of course, it's Thanksgiving and I've been enjoying Bloody Marys and turkey all day… otherwise, I've always been a bit of a night owl. 

But that's not it. My mind is restless. I have that feeling in my stomach that I used to get when I worked a nine to five job. I would get off on Friday, celebrate the weekend and then starting early Sunday evening, the nerves would begin creeping in and taking over. By the time I was getting ready for bed, my mind was already into the next day. I was thinking about my in-box and my unanswered emails. I was thinking about the sales calls I needed to make, the proposals I hadn't finished and if I had any pantyhose left without a run in them. I was contemplating all I needed to have finished so I could enjoy the following weekend. What do I need to do to get through the next five days with my sanity? 
Even when I thought I liked my job, this is what my Sunday nights felt like. 

I never really felt this way when I was a server. Even if I had to get up early to open the bar or take a liquor order, it wasn't any earlier than 9:00am. Besides, I could always get high before that job which almost made me look forward to it. I do remember a few days I would be stressed out - Valentine's Day, for example. Mother's Day isn't so bad for a bartender. Too many families and no one wants to sit at the bar. But for the most part, there was no stress involved on a Sunday night. 

I haven't felt this way in a very long time. My stomach is uneasy and my brain has gone back to work. See, I decided to send my brain on a vacation. This is why I went to California. I just wanted to get in the car and drive. I wanted to keep driving until I hit a group of friends or the water, whichever came first. And then, I just bounced back and forth between the two. It was really an awesome trip. I did everything I wanted to do and was always on my own schedule. I saw a lot of friends that I hadn't seen in a long time and some others that I've seen recently, but still miss incredibly. It was an extremely rewarding week. 

When I got back, I didn't have time to slow down. I immediately went to the grocery store and got everything I needed for the next day - Thanksgiving. I cooked and cleaned for hours and got everything organized. By the time I was done, I was pooped and slept hard until 8:00am when I had to be up to get everything ready and head to the other side of town. 

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I had a very good time with my friends and the food was absolutely amazing. I ended up staying at my friend's house for close to ten hours. Once again, when I got home, I was exhausted and went straight to bed. 

I woke up the next day feeling very lethargic and, well, fat. Not an uncommon feeling for the morning after Thanksgiving. Jeremy wasn't back until Monday so I decided to do a bit of detoxing with my diet since I didn't really have anything else to do. I had just spent over a week rushing from place to place, socializing, eating out a LOT, writing quite a bit and overall, really enjoying myself. My brain has been quite silent as I've asked it to be. 

The last three days have been a bit taxing. My detox diet consists of 72 hours of the following: a 900 calorie diet that is made up of just the basics (small breakfast, mid morning snack, small lunch, mid afternoon snack, small dinner), 1,000 calories burned each day with a variety of cardiovascular exercises and a minimum of 16 ounces of water with each meal and snack. The water is either loaded up with lemon juice and just a dash or two of tabasco or a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (all for cleansing and internal ph balancing purposes). In the morning and evening, I also have one or two cups of a detox tea that Yogi makes. Oh, and my regular vitamins twice a day. 

What I like about this "mini-cleanse" is that it's not harsh on the body. I'm getting all the nutrients I need and never feel weak or light headed. After three days of this and with my particular body type, I usually drop around five pounds. Not a crazy amount, but certainly enough to kick start my body into monitoring it's caloric intake better throughout the week. More importantly, it boosts my confidence after spending over a week eating everything I want and then not being able to get into any of my new clothes. 

What I don't like about this detox diet is that while I may physically feel fine, there is one major side effect. I am hungry. And all I think about is food. I watch the clock all day to see when I can eat again and am trying to go to sleep at 10:00 at night because my food is done for the day. I know that if I stay up and watch yet another movie to try and take my mind off of how hungry I am, I'll sneak into the freezer and devour the Caramel Cone Skinny Cow ice cream I have in their that has been taunting me since Friday. 

But alas, it is only three days. The second day is by far the absolute worst… but knowing that I've made it through and feel great (even though still hungry), is worth it. 

The other really positive side effect is that for three days, my brain has something to do other than think about all the things I need to be or should be doing with my life. This is definitely a relief. 

However, like I said… it seems as if I am suffering from Sunday night disease again after all these years. 

I think a lot about that mean email Jeremy wrote. I know that he and I have moved past the emotions that caused the email, but I still think about his words. He told me that he knew I would work really hard with my writing which is why he gave me the money. I'm still trying to figure out what this looks like. All I want to do all day is go to the gym, eat good food, watch a good movie or read a good book, write this blog and have fun with him. Generally speaking, of course… I mean, there are lots of things to fill my day… but when I start thinking about everything I should be doing, that feeling creeps up all over again. 

For example… 

I moved my blog to Wordpress because that's the more "professional" site for online blogs. But after importing everything, I can't figure out how to format it to make it look nice. It's all one big chunk of text. I have sources to ask for help, but feel like I should be able to figure something that simple out. I am pretty good with computers, after all. My blog here is so comfortable… but "they" say that Wordpress is better. I know I'll get it worked out, but in the meantime, it's a source of stress. 

What am I doing with my writing? My friend Whitney has faith that all of these blogs can be pulled together to make some sort of interesting story. She continues to tell me to simply keep writing as I need lots and lots of content before it can start taking shape. This isn't good for my patience… but I know she is right. And obviously, putting all of these blogs into book form is the number one thing I want to do with this time I have to focus on my writing. 

So what do I do in the meantime? 

I've sent a few feelers out there to magazines but haven't heard anything back. Admittedly, I haven't put forth a serious effort because I want them to go to the Wordpress blog instead of this one. Although, sometimes I think I am just in resistance because writing for someone else is not what I want to do. Jeremy tells me that if he had a magazine, he would publish my blogs as is, with no changes whatsoever and just keep them coming in each issue. Unfortunately, he doesn't own a magazine so this isn't good for anything except my ego. 

I keep feeling like if I just continue writing, it will all come together. But… book deals don't just fall out of the sky. And while I appreciate each and every reader I have and all of the valuable feedback you each give me, "they" say I need to have a lot more attention and a much larger audience before I can think about getting any publishers interested. 

I think there is another part of me - the cynic perhaps - that knows what a nice opportunity I have right now… to be able to spend my days doing what I wish and come and go as I please. To write when I feel like it, and not because I'm under some deadline. To buy groceries all the time and take a trip to California just because I want to. To take my friends who are down on their finances out to dinner and see their gratitude. The cynic whispers that this time could very possibly be short-lived and to enjoy it while I can. 

The part of me, however, that holds a cup that is half full tells me to go back to my beliefs. The idea of Be, Do, Have. If I am already BEing the person I want to be, then I can DO the things I want and eventually HAVE everything I've ever wished for. Not unlike the idea of the regular sales guy who wants to be the CEO of his company. So, he starts dressing, talking and acting like he already IS the CEO. One day, he walks in and finds his name on the big door. It's kind of like that. Although, try telling someone that you are doing "nothing" in order to have "everything". Based on experience, this conversation doesn't always go over well. 

It's been so nice having the last week and a half off from my brain and it's pressuring thoughts. But, it's the Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend and Monday woes must be in the air. 

As usual, I have no answers - only my thoughts and this wonderful forum on which to lay them. Perhaps I'll sleep tonight and wake up feeling refreshed, ready to take on the day and that damn Wordpress. 

If nothing else, at least I have a real meal to look forward to tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The President Pardoned "Apple" and "Cider" This Year... Two More Things I Am Grateful For

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on all that I am thankful for at this time in my life. Well, I take that back… knowing how easy it is for me to go on and on, perhaps I'll just stick with my top ten. 

My health 
My first afternoon in California, I decided to go for a little jog in Griffith Park. It was a beautifully overcast day with just a sprinkle of rain. It was brisk without being too cold and the air smelled clean, a difficult thing for Los Angeles air to do. I walked around the park for a while and found a trail that headed upwards into the hills. I thought I would take the trail for twenty minutes or so and then head back down. I started up, alternating between walking and jogging. Twenty minutes passed but I felt so great that I kept going. It was quiet and peaceful. I had worked up a steady sweat and was feeling exceptionally energized. Twenty more minutes went by and I was still climbing. 

A little over an hour later, I found myself at one of the highest points in Griffith Park. I had a 360 degree view of the city. I was actually looking down on the Griffith Park Observatory which, until then, had been as high as I'd ever gone in the park. It was a breathtaking view. I sat and meditated for a while and went to stretch my legs. As I did so, I realized how they weren't that tight. I felt great. No, I felt fantastic. I had just made an aggressive and intense climb for over an hour and was ready to do it all over again. 

I am no saint when it comes to what I eat and drink. I like a cheeseburger and beer just as much as I do a green tea and tofu salad. But even though my weight is in a constant state of fluctuation, I can look at myself without a doubt in my mind and know that if challenged, I could get up tomorrow and run a marathon. Okay, maybe a half marathon… either way, I take care of my body physically and am rewarded with almost no illnesses or injuries. Finding out about my dad's diabetes has made me even more aware of the things I put into my body and looking at my health in a long-term fashion has become automatic. I can certainly still make improvements and, as many of you know, I'm always trying to improve… but in the meantime, I am very grateful and thankful for the condition of my health. 

On December 6th, it will be six months without a cigarette. On December 2nd, it will be five months without smoking marijuana. My lungs love me. 

My family 
As I've mentioned before, my father is the oldest of eleven. My mom didn't really have a chance to get very close to her siblings because of drama with her own mom. As a result, the four of us (mom, dad, brother and me) have always been a pretty solid unit. As I've mentioned many times, my brother and I are very different souls and don't often see eye to eye on things. However, I honestly wouldn't trade my family for anything in the world. 

My dad is the kindest man I know. He works as a property manager for a series of lower income apartments in the area of Naked City which is what the locals call the neighborhoods behind the Stratosphere Hotel. My dad is the kind of person that gives people a chance when no one else would dream of it. Even he will admit that sometimes, this doesn't work in his favor (for example, one of his tenants got angry and tried to burn down her apartment last week). However, I know that for all the people that don't work out, there is one or two that are able to start their life over with the opportunity given to them by my dad. I wonder if he truly knows the difference he makes for people. He certainly makes a difference for me. 

My mother is one of the most resilient women I've ever known. I have made the awful mistake in the past of confusing her fear of change with an inability to move forward and grow. In fact, no one has done more growing in their lifetime than my mother has. While we all have issues to deal with, my mother was dealt a hand that most people would just fold and give up. Instead, my mom has proven time and time again what a winner she truly is. Every once in a while, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I see how much I am becoming my mom. And this makes me smile. 

My brother… well, I think I covered my overall feelings about my brother in my previous blog about forgiveness. The year my brother kicked his meth habit was the same year that he received an award in our bowling league for Most Improved. Obviously, this was for his overall bowling average throughout the 33 weeks that we bowled… but I knew in my heart as he walked up to received his prize money that it meant much more than that. I thought I was going to lose my brother to the streets and eventually, to death. Every day he is alive is a day he has given himself. If that's not Most Improved, I simply don't know what is. What a lucky son he has to have such a strong father. And on that note, an even luckier son to have such a wonderful mother as my sister in law is equally amazing. No wonder they found each other. 

My satellite radio 
I love to drive. I love my Corolla because it is comfortable, reliable and is named after Phil Mickelson (I bought it the weekend he won the Masters). But what tops it off is my Sirius XM Satellite Radio that my parents gave me as a birthday gift this year. In all seriousness, I would pay the full amount that it costs to have satellite radio to only have Alt Nation as it is the best radio station I've experienced. I've been introduced to some of the greatest alternative music I've ever heard - and I grew up in Seattle! In addition, I have an entire station dedicated to Mystery Theatre. Nothing makes the 15 freeway more exciting than being read a murder mystery thriller from the 1940s. Awesomeness. 

My Smart Phone's navigation 
Truthfully, I'm thankful for my Smart Phone in general. I'm one of those people who thought that I would never have a use for a Smart Phone and now that I have one, I can't imagine NOT having it. As someone with absolutely no sense of direction, I often have a lot of frustration trying to get around a new area. For example, my trip to California included visiting friends in North Hollywood, trips to Griffith Park and Malibu, hanging with a friend in Costa Mesa, chilling with another friend in Ventura and then partying with even more friends in Long Beach. Oh, and endless trips to groovy coffee houses. 

Normally, I would be all stressed out, trying to Mapquest my trip and then read my terribly written directions while attempting to keep my car from veering into oncoming traffic. Now, all I have to do is type or speak my destination and let the phone tell me the rest. Perfect. If only someone would create an app so I can personalize the voice that gives me the directions, then my life would be complete. My choice? Christopher Walken. 

My belly 
This is a tough one for me but I am insisting on being thankful for my belly. To say I obsess over the size of my stomach is just shy of a monstrous understatement. I admit, it's completely vain of me. I mean, we've already established that I am a healthy person. Unfortunately, I tend to equate physical beauty with a flat stomach. While there are many lucky people out there who could eat an entire box of jelly filled donuts and not gain a pound, I can't seem to dream about lasagna without waking up heavier than when I fell asleep. However, in looking at my "vacation belly" today in the mirror, I had to smile and be grateful. 

This is not an ideal economy to be in and while it is obvious that the U.S. is struggling as a nation, I know that there are many other countries out there who are having a worse time than we are. Lots of unemployment, lots of sickness and lots of sadness. My belly is a reminder that I have money to buy groceries, a home to cook in and a boyfriend who takes me out to eat whenever I feel like indulging. In fact, tomorrow, there will be so much food and libations to enjoy with my friends that my belly will be more thankful than it has been in a long time. And while it will most likely take the good part of next week to get back into my skinny jeans, I am extremely grateful for all the food I get to enjoy. 

My brain 
Yes, it's overworked. Yes, it's useful when someone needs the correct spelling of a word. No, it doesn't remember historical dates and no, it didn't do very well on the SATs. But I love my brain. I love that I was blessed with an intellect that allows me to have deep, stimulating conversations with a multitude of people. I love that I can rap about football for hours at a time. I love that when I sit down with my colored pencils and the intention of creating something beautiful… I do. I love that I can sit and pour my heart out and it makes sense. I love that I can have a conversation with just about anyone on just about anything because of all that me and my brain have experienced. I'm grateful that I was given the gift of smarts. I'm by no means the most intelligent person I know, but my brain comes up with some pretty cool shit sometimes. For this, I am extremely thankful. 

My MacBook 
I get to be a writer everywhere I go. I used to carry around a voice recorder and a journal so when something popped up in my head that I didn't want to forget, I could make a note of it. Now, all I have to do is open up my laptop and write away. The mobility I now have gives me the opportunity to capture how I feel right when I feel it. I can post blogs from everywhere, I can travel and still stay connected at all times and I feel super cool when I whip out my Mac and get the job done. I feel lucky, grateful and give thanks every time I hit the "on" button. And, as my friend Laurel said when I first bought my computer "Once you go Mac, you never go back." 

My friends 
It's been very recent that I've realized how many amazing people I have in my life. I fully admit that historically, I have taken my friends for granted. I have abused their friendship and taken from them without giving anything in return. My trip to California reminded me how many amazing people I have in my life and how they still love me, even though I haven't always been lovable. I get to spend tomorrow with some great friends who have always been there for me and have some of the biggest hearts around. 

As I've written about numerous times, my friend Nancy is the most unbelievable person I know. It is such a privilege to call her my friend. And she is just one of many people that I have in my space that I love, adore, respect and cherish. It's important for me to let my friends know how much they mean to me. I spend a lot of time alone, but no longer do I feel lonely. Kyle, Chris, Nancy, Greg, Brendan, Erin, Dan, Brian, Danny, Robert, Brandy, Kelly, Laurel, Rex, my adorable and wonderful "Jeremy", Tara, Beau, Justin, Whitney, James, Cory, Alana, Maryann, Travis, Matt, Rodney, Rhonda, Shannon, Scootr, Julia, Nick, Karrie, Ariana, Jess, Koreena and many others that have come into my life and simply gifted me with their presence. Thank you and I love you for all that you are to me and to the world. 

My apartment 
I've had a lot of apartments over the years. However, there is something very special about my apartment now because it's the first time since I moved to Las Vegas that I've had a place to call my own. I spent the first few months painting the walls and slowly furnishing it the way I wanted to. It's cute, it's cozy and it's mine. There is definitely something to be said about having my own space. I have a friend who has been staying with me off and on for the last nine months or so, and being able to have a spot that I can give to someone else who needs it is also something I am extremely grateful for. As I sit here and look around at all I have, I am endlessly thankful. 

My readers 
And finally… I am thankful for my readers. Blogging is something that I really enjoy. I don't have the "typical blog", whatever that is… my blog has turned out to be more of an online journal. However, it is so fulfilling and satisfying knowing that my words reach people and are relatable. That was my intention from the very beginning. All I need is one person to read something I write and feel a little less isolated and I am full of a joy and satisfaction that nothing else I've done has ever been able to do for me. I am excited for the day that I walk by Borders and see my name on the cover of the next New Released book. 

On that note… I couldn't be completely finished without expressing my thanks and gratitude to Jeremy who has reminded me what dreaming big feels like and why it is so important to continue doing so. I am absolutely, incredibly and undoubtedly in love with you. Your belief in me is something that still amazes me. Thank you for barreling into my life with your positive attitude and winning mentality. If it is okay with you, I would be very happy taking on the world by your side. 

See? Could you imagine if I kept going? And I could! Because there is so much that I'm grateful for. And as I finish writing this post, I see that it is 12:03am - officially Thanksgiving Day. There is one more thing to be thankful for as I close this up for the night… 

Sleep. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Guessing Ghandi Never Had An Affair

Typically, after a break-up, I like to get out of town. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that getting away from all of the things that remind me of that person helps in the healing process. So, after Jeremy and I decided to call it quits (and before we reinstated our relationship a week later), I planned a trip out to California to see some friends. Even though we have breathed some new life into the relationship, I still decided to go ahead with the trip as I was able to connect with a few different groups of friends all over Southern California. And actually, this has worked out much better. 

Normally, these getaways are filled with self pity and contemplation on "what the hell am I going to do now?" This time, since I have nothing but good things to come home to, I have been able to really enjoy myself and this time away. 

Something happened last week with my energy. I shifted into a state of calm that I haven't been in for quite some time. I'm usually so caught up in the rat race and the "what's next". I get myself so worked up sometimes. Even Jeremy noticed it - he told me that I seem so much more relaxed than he's ever seen me. Is this what they mean when they talk about surrendering? Perhaps… all I know is that I'm really feeling like I'm moving in a new direction and am not afraid of it. At the same time, I'm not trying to force anything to happen or set any kind of expectations. The image in my head of how I want my life to look is getting clearer every day. 

Interestingly enough, with the clarity comes the realization that so much of what I want, I already have. I am being the person that I have always wanted to be. Honest, authentic and impeccable with my word. With this in mind, I have been reflecting on how destructive I have been in the past when it comes to withholding and being dishonest. Plus, a few things have happened this week that have reminded me of my past behavior and shown me how far I've come. 

A friend of mine wrote a blog about cheating. She is married now and uber faithful of course, but talked about her past when she snuck around behind her boyfriend's back to sleep with her old boyfriend. I appreciated the vulnerability of the blog as it did what I try to achieve with my writing. It made me think. 

I started to think about my cheating days and the kind of person I was back then. I thought about people in general and why we feel the need to bring other people into our life to fill a void. Sometimes we cheat for emotional reasons, sometimes physical. For me, I just loved it when someone paid attention to me and didn't want it to stop. So even though I had a man in my life who loved me to death and stimulated me both physically and emotionally, it wasn't enough for me. I've always been a bit of a flirt because flirting is fun. And since I never want the fun to stop, I've taken it too far on a few different occasions. 

About three years into my relationship with my ex, Eric, I went on a business trip to St. Louis. I was there with a bunch of other hotel Sales Managers. There was one that I had met before and knew fairly well. We had always flirted with each other but since he worked at a completely different property, our teasing was very safe. 

One night, after a day of meetings, a group of us decided to hit up the gambling scene in St. Louis. We had a lot to drink and I gambled pretty much all of my spending money for the whole trip. I was having fun though and kept the drinks coming. He and I started to get cozy and before I knew it, we were up in his hotel room having drunken, semi-conscious sex. I don't remember if we used a condom. The next morning, I woke up and looked over at this naked man next to me, passed out and sleeping soundly. I gathered my things, put on my clothes and proceeded to do the walk of shame back to my hotel room. 

He and his fiance were married less than six months later. I never told Eric about what happened. In fact, I never told anyone… except maybe Nancy. 

Last night, I was hanging out with my friend who lives in Costa Mesa. There is this bar that he talks about all the time and I told him to take me there so I would understand his constant Facebook references and bar jokes. The name of the bar is the Goat Hill Tavern. When he first told me about it, I felt a twinge of familiarity but wasn't sure why. The minute we walked into the bar, I remembered. The memories came rushing back to me as if they were yesterday. 

I had a crush on this guy I worked with at the hotel. To be on the safe side, any other details about who he was needs to stay with me as he has a family and who knows where this writing could end up one day… anyhow, we had a thing for each other. Once again, there was a lot of fun in the flirting because it was safe. He was married with three kids and I was happily involved with Eric. It went on for months. 

One night, a few of us from work went out for drinks and he and I ended up kissing. And not drunken, semi-conscious kissing either. I spent days afterwards thinking about his lips. My stomach flipped every time he passed my office. I closed my eyes and pictured his. We wasted entire workdays emailing each other back and forth. We took as many smoke breaks as we could without our bosses getting angry just to spend five more minutes together. 

One day, we lied to our respective partners about what we were doing and spent the day together. We went golfing all day and afterwards, decided to have a couple of drinks at a nearby bar. That bar was the Goat Hill Tavern. We drank beer, held hands underneath the table and snuck in a few kisses when we thought no one was looking. I was enjoying a very happy day for all the wrong reasons. 

Things at home were not going well. I was starting to disconnect from Eric and he knew it. He didn't know why but was trying everything he could to make me happy. Finally, I couldn't handle the guilt anymore and decided to tell him about this guy. I knew that I needed to end the relationship. I wasn't realistically thinking that this other guy and I could actually be a couple, but I knew that based on how strongly I felt about him, I was clearly not in the same place with Eric as I was when we first got together and fell in love. 

The conversation did not go well. He was so angry - rightfully so - and I ended up chickening out at the last minute. I told him I had made a huge mistake and that I wanted to make it right between us. I told him that it didn't mean anything and that I was drunk when I kissed him. I talked him into giving me a second chance. 

Things went okay for another month or so but my feelings hadn't changed. So, I did what I used to do best at the time when I was too much of a coward to tell someone how I was really feeling. I sabotaged the relationship. 

I told him I was going to a hockey game. I went to a bar and met this guy. We drank a lot. I told Eric I was going out afterwards with my girlfriend. Instead, he and I went down to the beach and had drunk, sloppy, uncomfortable and unprotected sex on the cold, hard sand. While in the process, someone snuck up on us and stole my purse. Keys, phone, wallet… gone. When I went home, Eric was awake and waiting for me. 

My face was a mess from the crying and panicking I'd been doing over my stolen items. He asked me where I had been. I made up some lame story about being with my girlfriend at a bar and having my purse stolen when I went to the bathroom. He didn't say anything for a minute… then he said that he had gotten worried about me and called my girlfriend to check in when I wouldn't answer my phone. Having not set up the lie properly, she told him she wasn't with me that night. He knew right away where I was. 

That was easily one of the worst nights of my entire life. We fought all night. He had the locks changed because someone had my keys and my I.D. and he was expecting a burglary. He told me I would need to move out. He told me he was going to call the hotel and let them know what happened so this guy's wife could be informed. At one point, just to get out of the house, I went back down to the beach to search one more time for the purse, in the hopes that someone took the money and dumped everything else. I felt like I was in a massive downward spiral. I sat on the beach and cried. Some homeless guy asked me if I was okay. I was a disaster. 

I would like to say that after that night, I realized the error of my ways and made a change. Unfortunately, this isn't true. Like an addict, I kept trying to feel better by filling my life with artificial happiness. I actually tried to have a relationship with this other guy for a while. Talk about a disaster… then I just started hopping from one bed to the next. I didn't really care who I was sleeping with. Single, married, it didn't matter. If they were into me, that's all it took. After about six months of this behavior, I knew I needed to make a drastic change in my life. At the time, I wasn't yet at a level of awareness where making a choice to be a better human being was an option. So, I did what I was second best at during that time: I bailed. 

I moved to Las Vegas and started over. I got involved with that leadership program shortly after moving here and the rest is pretty much history. Every day in Las Vegas has been an improvement over the one before. Yes, I still have my bad days, of course. But I am no longer a bad person. I have gotten to a point where I would never again get into a situation where my temporary happiness takes precedence over doing right by myself and others. Sitting at The Goat last night and remembering the "Bad Tina" was difficult. But, remembering how awful it felt to have put myself and Eric through that was actually a good thing as it also reminded me of how far I've come and how good I feel about myself now and what I have to offer others. 

I remember during that time being very preachy about how monogamy wasn't natural for human beings and that I was the kind of person that needed to be in an open relationship. I needed options to cover all the bases and fulfill the hundreds of different needs that I had on a daily basis. I talked about how I could never be married and that my way of thinking was all "new age" and junk. While some people may agree with how I felt back then, I knew that I was just trying to cover up the fact that I didn't know how to be the kind of person that attracts the ultimate partner - the one that fulfills all my needs and more. 

Insert famous Ghandi quote here: "Be the change you want to see in the world." 

It's not about taking what you need from different people in your life. It's about giving all you can to those around you. At least, that's what I realized it meant for me. And not in the physical and superficial sense. My body is my temple, not someone else's playground. It should be treated as such. 

I don't find it fun or easy to relive these dark parts of my past. But, I do like the learning that happens because of the reflection. 

So thank you, Maryann, for writing that very open and honest post and creating a space for me to share my own story. 

I am happy to say that I have found the person who does fulfill all of these needs and more. I tell this person every morning and every night how much I love them and how amazing they are. I am grateful for who this person is and the gifts they give every day. 

This person is me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yes, I Am Tall Enough To Get On This Ride

This blog must begin with a very open and public acknowledgment of Jeremy and his ability to restrain from taking action when under the influence of emotions. Had he not exercised this trait, you all would've gotten one hell of a show after my last blog. 

Of course I thought he would find my last piece of writing… interesting. I thought there was a chance that it might even be a little bothersome given the newness of our breakup. What I didn't think he would do was craft the most hurtful, degrading and insulting response in the form of a blog comment that, thankfully, he decided at the last minute not to post. He also decided not to email it to me, which was his follow up reaction. Instead, after being tormented by my words and the implications of what I was attempting to convey, he decided to take some time to sleep on things and take action in the morning. 

I am very thankful that he did this. Because although he has since read me the email, he did it from a different place emotionally. It still hurt. I was still angry. However, before I could completely fly off the handle, hang up the phone, cry for three hours and make the commitment never to speak to him again, he explained himself. 

I love Jeremy for so many reasons. One of the biggest being his fearlessness to look at himself and ask questions about what's going on inside his head and heart that makes him do something. This is how I approach pretty much everything. I, too, often respond emotionally at first, but the time it takes me to go into reflection mode and take responsible action continues to become less and less. 

Something I have learned and taken to heart in the past few years is how to look at my emotional responses as an educational tool. If something someone says makes me angry, I find it very important to look at why it was so upsetting. I find that the things that people say that affect us the most are the things that we, either consciously or subconsciously. have issues with ourselves. For example, if someone told me that they thought I was a bad driver, it wouldn't really bother me because I know it's not true. (Besides, I like the term "aggressive" when it comes to my driving. And I don't speed… I simply "drive with intention.") Seriously, I am a good driver, very aware and confident in my abilities behind the wheel. So, this kind of insult wouldn't really "land" with me. 

However, if someone were to call me fat and/or awkward, I'd be ready to draw blood. An insult like this would affect me greatly because I have deep rooted insecurities that I'm never thin enough and that I must have been home sick on the day that they taught feminine grace in school. It lands because I either believe it to be true or it's an issue that has been problematic in the past and I'm still working on getting over it. 

I explained this to Jeremy one time and he took it very seriously. So seriously in fact, that he didn't send the email he wrote. Instead, he slept on it and tried to figure out what it was about my blog that bothered him so much. 

I know, I know… you are all dying to read his comment. Well, I don't really want to relive it at the moment. I'm sure it will make it in the book form of these blogs so you'll just have to wait until then. 

I'm happy to paraphrase, however… he insulted the perfect day I described, making me feel as if I was an idiot to be so delighted about finding beauty in the every day occurrences that truly make me happy. He went on to defend himself about how hard he has worked his whole life and how broke he has been up until just recently. He implied that he has earned the right to do whatever he wants to do now while I have become spoiled without work in the last two months and have lost sight on reality. He suggested that my happiness now comes in the form of searching for the next schmuck to pony up the money to keep me a kept woman. He told me that I should track down the book that my mom gave me and reread the highlighted portions about narcissism. When he finished reading the email to me, I felt as if I had basically been called a trite, gold-digging super bimbo with nothing to contribute to anyone or anything. 

And this was just the paraphrased version. 

Now, not everything about this landed with me. I know my true intentions behind that last blog and what I was hoping to get out of it. I was concerned with how some people might take it but as my friend Dan commented, why am I so worried about what other people think of me and what I want out of life? It is MY life, after all and at the end of the day, the only person I have to answer to is me. 

My heart does not belong to a trite, gold-digging super bimbo. This I know for sure. What bothered me the most about Jeremy's email is how much he misunderstood me. If there is one thing I could always count on, it was that Jeremy "got" me. We have always connected so strongly when it comes to communication. It is what has bonded us together from the very first time we emailed each other. So to realize that he completely misinterpreted my revelation about the importance of embracing the "nothingness" that creates a sense of peace and happiness was hard for me. To think that he thought I was just trying to find my next meal ticket was devastating. For just a minute, I was convinced we were having our last conversation. 

And then, as he has done time and time again, Jeremy amazed me. 

He told me that my blog had reminded him of times in his life that he wasn't proud of. It made him reflect on the past when he was looking for a free ride without willing to give back in return. He told me that after taking some time to think, he saw that I wasn't at all coming from the same place he had been all those years ago. However, having to relive some of the horrible decisions he made and the people he had hurt had put him in a place of anger and frustration, which is exactly where his words to me came from. 

In addition, he told me that something else had come up for him as he read the description of my perfect relationship. He was angry at himself for not being able to provide me with what I wanted. He told me he was being so hard on himself about losing me, saying that he had messed up yet another relationship. He said that he knew he had taken a lot of his anger out on me when he wrote that email. 

The beautiful part about someone taking responsibility for their actions is how quickly it makes me look at myself and take responsibility for mine. I suddenly realized that I wasn't at all surprised by Jeremy's reactions. In fact, I have since discovered that I wanted to upset him. I wanted him to be angry with me. I brought up what I wanted in a relationship with the hope that he might rethink his role in my life. I went back and reread my description of the perfect relationship and saw that all I was really doing was describing the kind of partnership Jeremy and I had talked about since day one. 

I was mad at myself that I had become so attached to how things needed to look that I didn't see I had already attracted what I have been asking for. All this time I wanted to be chased without realizing that sometimes, it's me that needs to do the chasing. 

We spent the entire afternoon discussing these things. By the end of the day, we decided that it would be in both of our best interests to give our relationship another try, but not worry so much about defining it. I think both of us see the value in taking things on a day by day basis and know that as long as we keep our communication on the level in which we are accustomed, the Universe will, in due time, show us the roles we are to play in each other's lives. 

I learned something very important about myself this week. When it comes to certain things, I tend to take a very inflexible approach. As I mentioned, I get a very clear picture of how I think something should look and I let it take over. I start to see a situation in a very logical, black and white way. If it doesn't go how I think it should be going, I'm quick to give up, thinking that if it doesn't match that picture in my head, it must not be right. 

Well, life is not black and white and love is not logical. The Universe doesn't see things in either of those terms - it simply responds to what we ask for. Instead of being grateful for what the Universe gives me in response to my requests, I keep hoping that a gift receipt was included in case I change my mind. As I am reminded time and again, that's not exactly how it works. 

I love this new opportunity that I have with Jeremy. I feel very positive about how we are approaching things this time around and am thankful that we made the decisions we did to get to this point. I'm excited for what is in store for both of us and I must say, it's been pretty nice to simply relax in his presence and allow our collective energies to enjoy themselves. 

We can't be afraid to stop learning and evolving. For me, putting too much stock into how something should look doesn't work. What's more important is to keep my eye on the prize and in the meantime, enjoy the ride. Because a double loop on a rollercoaster might look intimidating, but it sure is a blast. And more often than not, I get right back in line. 

Thank you, Jeremy. Your honesty and willingness to get vulnerable with me is what snaps me out of my head and into my heart. 

And I have a feeling that happiness might just be found in the gray area.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Saw a T-Shirt Once That Read "Do Nothing When Nothing Works"

You might want to get cozy for this one. 

As many of you know, I believe very much in the law of attraction. It's something that I sometimes wish I didn't have so much faith in - but, as I imagine it is with people of other faiths, when you believe in something so strongly, there's not much you can do about it. The general idea is to clearly intend something and have it brought into your life. I've done it time after time throughout the years on a variety of levels. Lately, however, I've been very careful about my thoughts and the subjects of my meditation. I am actually… on the fence about what I am intending to come into my life because I want to be sure it's the right thing for me. You know that question, what do you want? That's a tough one. 

Oh, me and my brain… 

Here's something I haven't discussed in detail yet that you might be interested in… money. When I tell people that Jeremy and I broke up, I can see the question forming in their head before they even ask it. Some of them bring it up, some of them don't. But I think pretty much everyone is wondering. "Um… didn't he like… give you $20,000?" Yeah… he so totally did. And I think about it every single day. We have, of course, had many, many conversations about the money. We had a lot of conversations before I even took it. I didn't even accept the money until a month after the offer was made. I was afraid of it. I was afraid of it's implications. I was - and remain - very confident in Jeremy's intentions. He came into a lot of money and is finally living the kind of life he always wanted to live. Something about me made him want the same for my life. From the very beginning, he said that the money was separate from the relationship. If I'm being honest, I didn't fully believe him. But, it didn't matter because we were in a relationship. Now that we are no longer together, I realize that he actually meant it. I even offered to give him the rest of the money back and he said that he absolutely wouldn't touch a penny of it. As with so many other bets he has made in his life, he knew that the minute he gave that money away, he might not see it ever again. This is what a gambler does. 

He has told me from the very beginning that the money was not meant to put additional pressure on me. It was simply to act as a reason to finally do what I want to do. He wanted me to be able to focus fully on my writing because I love doing it. And I do. So, I went to that blogging convention and I research blogging almost every day. I am trying to become as much of an expert in social networking as I can. I bought a book on how to Twitter for pete's sake. I've considered going back to school so I can have some "official" education in writing. I've written some practice blogs for an online publication to test out my versatility as a blogger. I've even upgraded my blog from Blogger to WordPress (stay tuned - still a work in progress). I've considered starting a new blog doing reviews of Las Vegas locations in an attempt to monetize my writing. I'm trying to make something out of myself. 

Well… I have a confession to make. The only kind of writing I like to do is this kind. Sitting at Buffalo Wild Wings, drinking a Bloody Mary, watching football and pouring my heart out onto my super cool Macbook. This is the kind of writing that makes me happy. I don't want to do any of that other stuff. I don't want to write under other people's guidelines. I started writing for two big reasons; I wanted and needed a creative outlet and I also had a desire to connect with others who might feel the same way I do. I wanted to feel… less alone. I was perfectly happy with my crappy job at Chili's. Honestly. It wasn't until I was presented with another option that I realized I wanted something bigger. But alas… being a blogger is not it. 

Jeremy has never made me feel like I need to make a decision on what to do with my life. Or writing. Or the money for that matter. He just wants me to be happy. So much so, that he agreed breaking up was the best thing to do. He knew I was unhappy. He's quite amazing. I actually am a bit frustrated in our lack of compatibility. If only everyone could be as understanding and compassionate as he is. He knew that I could live a life bigger than the one I was living. More importantly, he knew that deep down, I wanted to. 

I have what my leadership program would call a "looking good" conversation. Also known as an "image" issue. I often do or say things not because I feel it's the right thing to do, but because other people think it's the right thing to do. I'm certainly not afraid of offending people or speaking my mind… I just truly think that I'll be more successful in life if I do what people think I'm "supposed" to do. Example? Someone gives me $20,000 to focus on my writing full time so I… well, see paragraph above. I do all the things that I think someone who wants to break into writing would do.Why? Because it seems like the "right" thing to do. 

Well, earlier in the week, I came to the conclusion that I don't want to rely on being a writer to have a sustainable income. I think there is a very good possibility that my writing can take me somewhere one day, but the amount of effort that I want to put into it is being exhausted right now. Football, Bloody Mary… you get the point. 

So, along with this realization, I carefully thought about Jeremy's intentions. He gave me the money to be happy. Okay… so… what would make me happy? Ask yourself this - if someone walked into your life today, handed you $20,000 cash and said "take this money and with it, find happiness", where would you start? What would you do? 

I think of the movie Office Space a lot these days - when Peter gets asked what he would do if he had a million dollars, he says "I would do nothing." For me, $20,000 might as well be a million. Therefore, I've been asking myself the same question - especially since I know that putting effort into become a writer is not the answer. Well, you know what? I have the same exact answer as Peter. 

I've never liked to work. When I tell people this, they laugh at me and say "Well, duh - no one likes to work." This is completely false. I've met countless people that not only love their jobs, but can't imagine doing anything other than what they are doing. Police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, professional athletes, horse trainers, veterinarians, bartenders, editors, artists, mechanics, musicians. To name a few. I'm not saying that everyone in these professions love their jobs - I'm saying that I've met someone in each of these industries that has a passion for what they are doing and who feels grateful every day that they are paid to do what they love. 

So… what do I love? 

Horses. Cars. Football. (All sports, really. But mostly football.) Beer. Sleep. Sex. Food. Writing. Grocery Shopping. Dancing. Working out. Any and all bar games. Kissing. A good view. Movies. Happy hour. Nice forearms. Chivalry. Hmm… how do I make a career out of being a lush… 

Be patient - I do have a point somewhere… 

They call alcohol the truth serum. I tend to agree. I think it's very important to remember the weird things we do and say when we've been on the sauce. Me, for example… when I've had a bit to drink, I start getting weepy. I tend to feel sorry for myself which is not something that I am proud of… but it happens. I wonder why no one wants to be with me. I wonder why no one fights for me when I'm trying to leave. I wonder why I don't get chased down the street when my bags are packed. I look at my list above and think that most men would be pretty excited to have a girl like me around. Yes, I'm emotional. Yes, I think too much. Yes, I have self image issues. But come on… I've met girls just like me that manage to find true love. 

My teeth aren't THAT bad, are they? 

The truth is, inside, I know exactly what I have to offer a person. I am a caring and compassionate woman. I am in tune with people's energy and have a genuine desire to support their dreams and passions. I love taking care of people I love. 

The other day, I woke up questioning the Universe. I asked it to please give me some sort of indication as to what I'm supposed to be doing. I asked for it to give me a sign of hope. Give me somewhere to start. I made myself some cereal and read a little bit while I ate. My brian continued to work. I watered my two plants, did some dishes and tidied up the kitchen. I made my bed (a new habit, actually) and opened all the blinds so my little apartment could get some light. I stepped onto my balcony and took a deep breath of the cool, clean air. I remember being grateful that I have a space to call my own. I continued asking the Universe for a sign. What will make me happy? What do I do next? 

I got into my car and drove to the gym, still asking for direction in my life. I had a nice gym session, did some heavy cardio to try and clear my head out a little. It felt great. My head was still a bit heavy… after the gym, I went to Trader Joe's and did some grocery shopping. I bought a bunch of things to make a beautiful salad for myself when I got home. I find grocery shopping to be extremely therapeutic. Whenever I have extra money, I spend it at the grocery store. Funny, huh? 

I drove home, listening to Alt Nation on my Satellite radio and was thrilled that my current favorite song was number one on the weekly countdown. I sang loudly with my window down as I cruised down the freeway. 

When I got home, I spent an hour washing and cutting my vegetables and putting everything in it's appropriate Tupperware container. I listened to one of my favorite CDs and put together a colorful and healthy salad. I curled up on my couch and watched a movie while I ate my food and tried to quiet down my mind. I logged on to my laptop and connected with my virtual friends and surfed my favorite social networking sites. I stressed out a little as I looked through my latest "how to be a killer blogger" tips as none of them were consistent with how I like to write (such as… the ideal blog is between 500-700 words - ha!!!). I touched based with my buddies on Facebook and wrote some emails to people I don't see very often. I ran through everyone's status updates and smiled… baby pictures, relationship updates, silly posts and links… I love Facebook because at any given time, I can step into someone else's life and see what's up. Greatest invention ever. 

After the movie ended and my surfing was done, I took a shower and put on some new clothes. I reminded myself that I was pretty and that I deserve wonderful things. And then I asked again… what's next for me? What will make me smile? How can I turn this money into happiness before it runs out? Please… give me something to work with. 

I got back into the car and headed to a nearby bar to watch football. I brought my laptop with me to keep me company. While I was driving, I tried to picture myself doing a multitude of jobs. I thought about trying to get some articles published. I thought about getting a job with the union and bartending on the strip. I thought about shoveling horse manure for minimum wage in an effort to get my food in the door. I thought about going back to hotel sales (then I almost threw up). I literally shook my head side to side - trying to give my brain a break. 

I got to the bar, set up my laptop and watched an amazing football game. I ate chicken wings and drank good beer. I texted some friends and made some plans for later in the week. All the while, I kept asking… happiness? Where is it? 

After the game, I drove back home. I made myself a margarita, trying out a new recipe, and put on my pajamas. I curled up in bed and watched a few episodes of last season's Bones. As I lay in bed, I thought about why the Universe was taking so long to respond. I mean… can I at least get a hint? 

It wasn't until the next day when it hit me. Probably because our brains don't stop working while we sleep… I woke up and the sun was shining. There was no alarm… no where for me to be. I woke up because I was ready to wake up. Before I could start my questioning process all over again, I realized that I already felt different. I was about to spend another day doing exactly what I wanted. With this in mind, I woke up… happy. All of a sudden, a coolness rushed down my face. I thought about the day before and how happy I was all day doing the things I loved to do. Here I thought I was in a state of limbo, waiting for some magical answer to all my problems come floating into my space. Instead, I just did everything I wanted to do and was happy doing it. 

I was happy… doing nothing. I am Peter from Office Space. 

Everything kind of snowballed from there. I started thinking about all of the other things I loved to do that were part of my "nothingness" and realized that the only thing that was missing from my life was someone to take care of. No, no, no… I'm not talking about a baby. That's a whole other blog! I'm talking about a person who appreciates all that I am and all that I want to be. Which is… nothing. 

Okay, that's not completely accurate - of course I want to be something. But it's not employee of the month or this week's featured article. I don't want a blue ribbon for best in show and I sure as hell don't want to be known as an expert in an industry I could give a shit about. What I want is to be someone who is important and valuable to someone else. 

My childhood dream of finding that perfect partner to have a life with is glowing brighter than ever. But perhaps my idea of a power couple has been wrong this whole time. I'm starting to think that there is a man out there who is waiting for a woman like me to support and love him for all he is doing. Perhaps he only needs the perfect woman in his life to complete his idea of a power couple as well. 

I can see this man (on the treadmill at the gym ideally)… he is beautiful and smart - he loves his job and is completely committed to it. He is up to big things in life. Most likely, he's a workaholic. He wishes that he had someone waiting for him when he got home. He wishes he had someone to take vacations with when he needed some time off. He wants to eat and be healthy, but there's just no time to shop and make good food. He wishes his house was a home, but doesn't have a clue as to what cozy means. He wants to watch football on Sundays without having to worry about anything else going on in the world. He just wishes he had someone to open the door for. 

See where I'm going with this? 

I am always going to write. It's what I love. In fact, blogging is just right now - I have at least one book inside me. Perhaps I'm writing it as we speak! I am also a wonderful artist who has turned her back on it because I don't see a point in it. I'm starting to feel differently about that… my art is extremely meticulous and time consuming. As of lately, I have just seen it as a waste of time. What if it wasn't? What if it became something else that completed my day? Just the thought makes me smile. 

In the meantime, is it really that unrealistic to think that being someone's support system would be the greatest job ever? Everyone knows someone who is a stay at home mom or "professional housewife". Why not me? I mean, I'm not sold on the children aspect… but I'm not closed off to it either. If Mr. Absolutely Perfect came into my life and wanted children, I think it would most definitely be up for discussion. Especially if I could be their primary caretaker instead of having to worry about going to work every day.  

For the first time in a very, very, VERY long time… I have a clear picture of what I want in life that would truly make me happy. I now have something to meditate on and focus on attracting. I am excited for myself but nervous about what everyone else is going to think when they read this. I mean, do I really seem like the kind of woman that wishes to be a housewife? It may sound strange… but I have so much to offer the right person. I really want to make someone happy. So… doesn't that mean I should be focusing all of my attention on this? 

I mean… if someone had a dream of always being in the Olympics, wouldn't they practice every day, make healthy decisions all the time and take advantage of whatever opportunity came their way that would further their progress? If someone wanted to be a paralegal more than anything, wouldn't they take the proper steps in education, prepare a perfect resume and do whatever it took to secure a position? 

So, other than wishing and asking for it… what does one do if they really, really want to find Mr. Right and create the life of their dreams? Don't the same rules apply? 


(and please… none of this "as soon as you stop looking, you'll find it" advice… I'm over it)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Do Sticks and Stones and Pieces of Shit Have in Common? All Three Hurt When Thrown

My day yesterday started with that amazing comment that Jeremy left me on my last blog. It ended with an old friend calling me a piece of shit. Today, I was given the task of deciding which of these two occurrences I was going to let define my character. 

One of the things I really disliked about working behind the bar at Chili's was waiting on the regulars that came in. I admit, it is my judgmental nature that makes me so frustrated with many of these people. I'm not talking about the regular couple who really loves Chili's and, therefore, would come in once or twice a week for dinner. I'm talking about the ones that come in almost every single day - sometimes multiple times in one day - sit at the bar by themselves and get wasted. I admit… I am a fan of getting my drink on and have had some dark times in my past where this kind of behavior was not uncommon for me. Perhaps this is why it irritates me so much. 

A while back, I made the mistake of dating one of these regulars. Cory and I had just broken up for the first time and this guy had recently ended things with his long time girlfriend as well. We were perfect rebound candidates for each other. I enjoyed talking to him - while he had a difficult time communicating his thoughts at times, it was clear that his heart was big and he really cared about the people in his life. While I wasn't attracted to him physically, I loved that we could share our feelings about romance and life in a way that I hadn't been able to do with Cory. Plus, he smoked weed. He smoked a lot of weed. He was high all the time and always had more waiting for him. At the time, I was smoking heavily as well. Therefore, we made a good match. 

He had had his big heart broken by his ex-girlfriend and needed someone to make him feel like a man again. I thought it was a pretty good job for me. In retrospect, that was a very selfish and arrogant approach to our relationship. Note to self… no one needs saving. Thinking that I could make him feel better about himself ended up being the worst thing I could have done for our relationship. I wasn't honest with my feelings towards him and led him to believe that I was some sort of savior - exactly what he needed to pull him through this bad period in his life. Plus, at a time when I was feeling vulnerable due to my recently ended relationship, having someone look at me like I was a queen fed my very hungry ego. 

We didn't date for that long. It was clear to me early on that we weren't compatible as a couple. He drank way too much and our equally righteous belief systems knocked heads quite a bit. However, like so many of my other relationships where I felt it wasn't going to work, I still legitimately enjoyed hanging out with him and so, I stuck around. 

While we were dating, I was promoted to management and was moved to a restaurant across town. I got my own apartment (I had been living with my parents prior to this) and he and I started seeing each other less and less. We didn't really have a "break-up", we simply stopped seeing each other. Literally. I was up to my neck in the whole management thing and wasn't as drawn to him as I was when we first started going out. So… the relationship basically fizzled. Fine with me, of course, I had plenty to occupy my time. 

I sort of sound like a piece of shit, don't I? 

When I quit management and went back behind the bar at my original Chili's, I had to pretend that things were cool between us. In reality, I was a little disappointed that he was still coming in so frequently, drinking more than usual and always glassy-eye stoned. I wanted to see him in a different light but I just saw a sad little boy who wasn't making good decisions. I hadn't made an impact on him at all. In fact, he was spending more time with a few other employees that I didn't care for at all for the same reasons. Bad decisions. Knowing my own bad decisions hadn't worked for me, I decided that I really just didn't want anything to do with him anymore. I told him to quit asking me to hang out and that we would need to keep our relationship within the walls of Chili's. He wasn't happy about this and we didn't talk much after that. 

Last night, I went to Chili's to watch football and hang out with one of my best friends. As usual, there was Mr. Regular, hanging out at the bar, throwing back Hennessey and Cokes. We chatted it up for a bit and I invited him to come and hang out with me and my friend at our table. One thing led to another and he decided to join us after the football game down on Fremont Street. It could easily have been the alcohol… but we got onto a touchy subject where we strongly disagreed about how we felt in regards to a person that we know… and out of nowhere, he stood up and told me that the girl we were discussing was a much better person than me, cared about him more than I ever did and then shouted out the words that I haven't been able to let go. "You are a piece of shit." 

It was a long night for me. I was furious about the escalation of our argument and that he said something so horrible to me. I convinced myself that he was the one with the problem and that he was a disrespectful and terrible person. I blew him off as a drunk who was naive about the subject we were discussing to begin with. I insulted him in my head and out loud all night long, trying to make myself feel better. 

It didn't work. 

Today became a day of reflection for me which, as you can see, has resulted in this blog. How can someone see such amazing qualities in me and leave the most beautiful comment about the kind of person I am in the morning and then someone else say something so awful about me later that same day? Who is right? 

Well, what I discovered after my day of pondering was this; they were both right. The carelessness in which I handled the relationship with this guy resulted in the comment that he gave me last night. Just like the open and honest way in which I handled my relationship with Jeremy resulted in his purifying and brilliant feedback towards me. While I also question our compatibility as a couple, I did not continue playing with Jeremy's emotions like I did in the past with this other guy. I think that what happened last night was a good reminder of how far I've come. I'm not there yet… wherever "there" is - but my lessons continue to guide me. I want to make a difference in people's lives and while I may have failed miserably for one person, I managed to make enough of a difference in another's to welcome yesterday's lovely blog comment. 

I find that it's always easier to believe the bad things that people say about me. A lot of the time, it's because I've already had those negative conversations about myself and therefore, hearing it from someone else is simply validating it's authenticity. But… that's not a fun way to live, is it? Besides, it's not as easy, but much more rewarding to believe the good things people say about me. I've made mistakes and have more to make. As always, it's what we take away and learn that means the most.  

I learned that the heart is a delicate organ and needs to be handled carefully. I definitely want more comments like the one Jeremy left me and less comments about being a piece of shit. 

So, thank you, Universe, for this very valuable lesson. It has been noted. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Yes, I Am Looking For A Support Group... What Kind? Um... Can I Send You Some Pictures?"

Tina Verde has changed her relationship status to Single

Nowadays, this is the common way of letting our friends and family know that we are no longer involved with the person we have been dating. We log on to Facebook and edit our profile - giving everyone who is connected on there a one sentence synopsis indicating that "it didn't work out". I suppose for some it seems a sad way to break the news… however, is there really a good way to make this announcement? 

The last two relationships that have ended for me were done so in such a mutual and mature way that I'm convinced I have finally grown up. But you know what? I still cried. I'm torn between feeling like a failure and feeling strong enough to see that things were not as they should have been. Jeremy saw it too. He knew that as much as we loved each other, the relationship we were in was not making either of us happy. I think we both realized how much growth there is still left to do before we are ready to make the kind of commitment necessary to build the sort of future that we both want. 

After reading my last blog, he said he finally understood my desire for a year long celibacy period. He had thought it was some sort of self-torture or a way to punish myself for wrongdoings in the past. However, when he read that it was truly about being with me and only me, it made him feel differently about the two of us being together. I'm sort of paraphrasing… but that was basically how the conversation went. And given our previous discussions about my self image and why I started this writing project and The Rules to begin with, it became very clear to us that, well… perhaps I was on to something back in July. 

There are no regrets in the relationship - and no sure sign that it is destined to fail. At this point, we are both looking at it as a "not right now" kind of situation. There is something in my head and heart that tells me our relationship was probably meant to look differently… but it's hard to say or put into words what I think it should look like. I don't really think I need to. This is a very good exercise for me in learning how to be unattached to the outcome of a situation. 

All logic and vocabulary aside… I am sad. And making that click on the profile part of my Facebook page just makes me… sadder. As I've learned time and time again, the mourning period for the loss of a lover and partner varies - but is never taken lightly. My future is, yet again, a blank canvas. While my desire to put The Rules back in place is most definitely NOT there, I do think it's important to look in the mirror every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to sleep and say "I Love You" to the person I've been neglecting the most all these years. I realize that I have been in a mourning period for the loss of that love for a lot longer than anyone should be. 

I'm going to try something different this time around. Normally, I would make myself right about how alone I am by being alone as much as possible. This doesn't seem like the right path to me anymore. I've discovered that the value of family and friendship is much more substantial than I ever gave it credit for. This time, I want to be right about having a support system. Because knowing a bra is supportive doesn't matter unless you actually put it on and experience it yourself. 

Travis, I'm really happy you are back sharing space with me. Your feedback is invaluable. 

Ari, thank you for your absolutely lovely and vulnerable message. Our time together was way too short and I feel cheated that I didn't get to know you better when you were in Vegas. 

Cory, I am grateful for your patience while I came around. It's fantastic to have your energy back in my life. 

Brandy, how wonderful to make the upgrade from "acquaintance" to "friend"! I see adventures in store for us… 

Alana, I appreciate that you always stay connected. It means more than I think I let on. 

Nancy, what can I say? I have entire paragraphs written on how much I love you and it's still not expressive enough. Every minute I spend with you is one that enriches my life.

Mom… that was by far, the best, most open and honest conversation that you and I have ever had. There's no going back now and nothing… nothing makes me happier to know that. I love you so much. 

And this was just the last few days. 

I feel as if my time of running in a one-man wolf pack is coming to an end. And here I thought I needed a lover to make me feel like I was a part of something special or a support group full of people that I don't know to remind me that I am important and worthy. As it seems, I don't need to look that far to find a group of amazing individuals after all. I just need to call, text, email or go into my living room. I guess I had an Easy Button this whole time. 

Tina Verde has changed her relationship status to… Winning.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Can I Get a One-Way Ticket to Anywhere But Here?

Ever feel like no matter where you are, you should be somewhere else? 

That pretty much sums up what it's like to be me. This is a frustrating state to be in - especially when I tell people that things are happening as they should and that the Universe doesn't make any mistakes. We are exactly where we need to be all the time. People of all faiths and belief systems will probably agree with this statement. However, it seems like no matter what I'm doing, I feel like I should be doing something different. 

In addition to the many relationships I've been in, I've also moved so many times that I can't really remember. I've been in Las Vegas for a little over six years and have already moved seven times. I've also had just over twenty jobs since I started working at fifteen years old. It seems very difficult to find happiness, but I still continue the pursuit. When something goes wrong or if I don't feel right, I make drastic changes to shift things with the hope that my next decision will be The One. 

Unfortunately, no matter where I move, who I'm with, what job I have, what clothes I'm wearing, what kind of car I'm driving, what my current hobbies are, I find that there is one common denominator that keeps following me everywhere I go. 


So, what exactly does one do when they realize that THEY are the problem? 

A lot of people have many different opinions and advice for me. Perhaps I should find a therapist or a support group. Maybe I should get involved in a very spiritual yoga experience. Go to church. Hit the gym - twice a day if I need to in order to burn the excess negative energy. I should pick up a new hobby to keep my mind occupied or focus on my meditative practices. It could help to combat my negative thoughts about myself with positive affirmations. Write more. Write all the time. Write until everything that is inside of me is out. Become more social to lift my spirits. Or simply lift up some spirits and pour them down my throat. 

I do realize now why people choose to take drugs as a way to seek happiness. It just seems easier. I don't do easy, though. It's just not my style. 

Jeremy and I are facing a challenging decision. Being a very aware individual, he knows I am unhappy. And since I have always associated happiness with finding the right partner, it would seem as if the most logical answer is that he doesn't make me happy. In discussing this over the last week, it has been brought to the surface that the main source of my unhappiness appears to be my self image. I do remember a time when I thought I was a "hottie" and wasn't obsessed with what my scale said or how my skin looked. I never worried about my teeth. I was hit on frequently, had many choices for suitors and laughed. A lot. I do remember this time, but it's not recent. 

People dig me because I'm cool. Jeremy loves my writing and I fear that it is his primary source of attraction to me. I'm flattered by this, but sometimes a girl needs a man to tell her she's beautiful. But, speaking from responsibility, it's hard to attract comments on my physical beauty when I simply don't see it anymore. 

I do not miss working at Chili's. In fact, I decided that even if I end up going back to a jobbie-job, I don't think serving will be my choice. However, one great aspect of working at a job that required me to be moving all the time was the extra exercise. It was definitely good for my issues with weight. Since I quit, I've put on twelve pounds. I still go to the gym almost every day and have maintained a pretty consistent diet. I know that losing those eight precious hours of calorie-burning time has really taken it's toll on me. All of my beautiful new clothes are now uncomfortably tight and I find myself not wanting to dress up nice to avoid feeling "fat." When I look in the mirror, I see a fat girl. 

Big deal, right? Go on a diet, hit the gym a little harder and I'll be back in shape in no time, right? Well, here is where the REAL issue lies… twelve pounds ago, I looked in the mirror and still saw a fat girl. Twelve pounds ago, I still wasn't happy with my weight and was determined to drop another clothing size. 

When will it ever be enough? 

I worked at a chiropractor's office for a while and there was a running joke that the doctor made about me that I never thought I was good enough. When I would get frustrated or make a comment that related to this feeling, he would stomp his feet and roll his eyes and say "Ugh! Never GOOD enough!" It was only a little funny. Mostly it hurt because I knew it was true. I thought that it was okay to feel this way - I mean, what's wrong with being an overachiever, right? Well, it's only good if there is a goal in mind, I think. And I never really had a goal. I just knew that whatever I was doing, I wanted to be doing it better. Or differently. Or differently better. Sigh. 

Jeremy feels as if he has some personal issues of his own that he wants to take a look at that could be preventing him from being a good boyfriend. He thinks that it might be better for us to do some soul searching separately and for me in particular, to find a way to be happy and in love with myself so that I can find a way to be happy and in love with another person. While I am afraid of losing him, I can't help but wonder if he is right. I was immediately brought back to The Rules and why I wanted to remain celibate for a year. I really wanted to spend my 30th year hanging out and falling in love with… me. 

It's just that we had painted such a pretty picture of what our life could look like. Perhaps I got a little swept up in… getting swept up. I want someone to come into my life and make everything better. But if love, support and $20,000 to follow my dreams didn't put a smile on my face, there has got to be something wrong. I fear that I won't find what it is that will make me happy. 

I don't necessarily need to jump out of bed in the morning and start to sing like the opening credits of American Dad, but I sure wish I could wake up and just be happy to be alive. 

As always, I'm just going to keep trying. Perhaps I'll take one or two suggestions from my friends and give them a go. Perhaps I'll take them all. As far as Jeremy is concerned, I don't have the answers. He's pretty damn intelligent, though so this time, I might just let him make the decision. I want to feel compelled to convince him to give me a chance and to work through this with me. I want to feel this way… but I just don't. I feel like I have spent so much time in my relationships talking people in and out of things. This time around, I just feel like letting things unfold naturally. 

Because… the Universe makes no mistakes, right? Maybe it's time to start having some faith in my own beliefs.