Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself

I had an Arbonne business for a few years in my twenties. It was natural skin care and other health products and went into people’s homes and did skincare parties.

I learned a lot from that business. I learned a lot of skincare tips, which are fantastic. But more that anything else, I learned a lot about running a business and the importance of positive self talk.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but I have really active self-talk chatter. It is almost a constant in my brain. I have been consistently meditating for about three months now and the more I observe, the more I am in tune with the actual messages that I am saying to myself. And I need an overhaul of what I am constantly saying to myself.

I made a promise to myself if I catch myself saying “should” that whatever follows is just an obligation and I need to slow down and look at the situation. Ask myself what is compelling me to feel like I should be doing a certain thing. If I should be doing it, that means I’m not actually doing it, so why not? Why am I resisting? Why do I feel obligated?

Should is usually a spotlight on exactly what I should not be doing. Should is a silly word and usually brings guilt alongside it.

So when I was getting ready for bed last night after a date with Unexpected Date guy, I found myself will all kinds of self chatter.

“I should back off. I shouldn’t like him as much as I do.”

And immediately sirens went off. What was that all about?

And, dear reader, since I consider us to be fairly close now that you’ve seen my booty and read some of my innermost thoughts, I hope you are ok with me working through my thoughts.

Unexpected Date guy and I had just discussed that we are both ok with taking it slow, with hanging out and making out. And that’s it. He was up front about what was going on his life that made him feel like he wasn’t completely himself and he doesn’t have anything to give in a relationship. I told him where I was, and why I feel like I can’t completely bring myself to the table either.

We both felt relieved to be on the same page and to be open and honest with each other. He said he was worried about rushing into anything because he had done that before and would hate for me to “catch the Feels.” (ugh, I will be unpacking THAT phrase some other day, I really hate it)

But when I started “shoulding” at home, I realized how much I actually like this guy. Which was the opposite of “not catching the Feels.” (shudder… I need to stop writing that phrase, it really bugs me!)

Which leaves me where exactly?

One option I have would be to completely leave. To say “I like you a lot, I see where this is going. And neither of us can go down that road right now. So I’m hitting the breaks hard.”

The other option I have is to continue as we have been. I can say “I really like you. And I am willing to ride it out and be patient. Let’s be friends right now.”

But if I take a step back, that doesn’t feel true. Even just writing that I am willing to wait it out and be friends, I have a reaction in my body that tells me that I am forcing something. My body stiffens a little bit like it is bracing for an impact.

That’s not a good sign. I shouldn’t be making choices that my body is interpreting as an impact.

I suppose that leaves me with letting this fish go and throwing the bait back in the water for someone else. Which is a disappointment, yes. But I can’t blame the guy for wanting to straighten out his life. It is a bit complicated and messy and, in the end, I don’t really want to be a part of messy. So I appreciate that he is saving me from that.

And there will be someone else that is less messy and a better fit for me. I truly believe that.

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Dating Story: The Beach Hookup

There is a good chance if my mom ever reads this she may kill me. Or maybe enough time has gone by that it’s blown over.

My family has a tradition of going to the beach together, like many American families. My aunts, uncles and cousins all try to go to the beach for the same week every year or at least try to overlap for a long weekend together. For most of my adult life I just go for the weekend.

I don’t think it’s unusual to say that I can take my family in small doses so weekends are best. And even then I try to get some alone time by going for a morning run, taking time alone to read, and other things like that. My family has grown to understand that it’s just what I need so they let me have my space.

But a few years ago this was not the case and I was still trying to fight for my boundaries with my mom. She would often get frustrated when I asked for space because she perceived it was about her (it wasn’t).

One year we did dinner on the water at a restaurant that turned into a dance club later in the evening. We like to do dinner and watch the sunset and stay and dance for a little bit. This year, all of the women in my family were single- myself, my mom, my sister, and my aunt. We were all dancing and having a great time and my aunt even hit it off with some guy  and they kept dancing together. This guy’s nephew was playing wingman decided to strike up a conversation with me, even though I am sure Iw as giving off my best “This is a girl’s night, don’t interrupt us” vibe.

He was cute. He was fit. He was younger than me and he was a lot of fun. We actually had a lot in common and there was great chemistry.

The end of the night rolled around, numbers were exchanged, and I leave with my family. My mom was still very much in her over-protective mode and it was “no man left behind. We came together, we’re leaving together.” (I should note that even though I was in my mid-twenties my mom did this often. She is the biggest worrier I have ever met. You gotta love her for caring so much)

The Beach Guy and I decide to meet up for a drink someplace quieter. My mom was not having any of this, despite the fact that it was still fairly early.  So I told the guy to meet me at a bar a block away but I delayed the time by half an hour.

Like a rebellious teenager I waited for my mom to be fast asleep and plotted to sneak out. My younger sister thought I was insane but agreed to cover for me. I quietly left our rented condo with the skill of a cat burglar.

Beach Guy was sweet and smart. And he had a adventurous, rebellious side that seemed to match mine – rebellious but not too rebellious.I still felt safe with this guy.

He suggested a walk on the beach and I thought how romantic. The moon was out. I’ve always wanted a cute guy to suggest a walk on the beach together.

It was a nice stroll, but short-lived because before long we were really making out. And the way things escalate when there’s been drinking, dancing and moonlight things took a turn for steamy romance novel really fast.

Let’s just say I was able to check an item off my bucket list that night.

And that was that. We laughed at ourselves for getting so caught up in the moment but we both had fun. He walked me back to the condo where we were staying and we kissed goodnight. No promises of trying to stay in touch or get together. It was understood on both sides it was a one night kind of deal.

With far less grace I snuck back into the house. I was a little clumsier since I was still buzzing from a fun evening. But the door I had carefully rigged to not lock behind me was still unlocked, and no one woke up as I got back into bed.

I got away with it. My sister never really asked for details and my mom never found out. (I don’t think she reads this blog, but if she does I’m sorry mom!) The experience was fun mostly because I was never the kid that would sneak out of the house. I think every person should have that experience, it’s an adrenaline rush. It was probably that adrenaline and self-identifying as a rebel that night that led me down the path to a one night stand. But I have no regrets.

A New Series

Hello readers!

Yesterday I shared a story about a guy that I dated and what I learned about myself by choosing the wrong guy. The story simply fell off my fingertips as I typed. It was so easy.

I really like sharing my dating stories. I always have. I always told my friends that there is no such thing as a bad date, just a hilarious story to tell over cocktails. I’ve always entertained my friends with my disasters and dramas.

I’ve decided to ditch the drama in my dating life but there is no reason why I can’t share all the mistakes I’ve made in the past, the fun times, the dramas I created for no reason.

I hope you will enjoy reading them. And maybe you will laugh and maybe you will learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them. I think I will publish these stories on Mondays and Fridays because I can think of no better way to start and end a week than with dating stories.

If you have a story you would like to share please feel free to let me know! I would love to hear your disasters. Dating is always better when you’re sharing your lessons with friends.

5 Friends Every Single Gal Needs

Our friends are what get us through the toughest of times and also are the ones that are by your side laughing until you practically pee your pants. When you’re single you realize how vitally important these friends are. Your friends become your family, and there are certain people that make the ride even better. Here’s my list of the friends a gal needs to keep sane, keep having fun, and living life to the fullest.

1. The wiser friend that has already been there and done that. It may be a parent, it may be on older friend who has already seen the many ups and downs in life. Sometimes, it helps to have someone that can put it all in perspective. They can give you hope that where you are today is only temporary. Maybe your life will be full of adventure if you always remain single. Maybe you will find love when you least expect it. They tell it as it is, and show you honestly what their life was like, and maybe you can learn from it.

2. The friend that is up for anything, whether it is going for a wild happy hour to pick up men or to make a spontaneous road trip to Atlantic City just for kicks. This gals keeps you on your toes! Be ready for anything, and maybe be prepared with lip gloss and your contact case in your car, just in case it becomes a wild night.

3. The kind, patient friend that will listen and give advice without judgement. This buddy is the one you call first when you’re heart broken and you just need a shoulder to cry on. She is always sweet, and only gives advice when asked. She tells you what you need to hear, whether it’s a speech to make you feel better, trash talking the bastard that broke your heart, or just a quiet smile while handing you chocolate.

4. A platonic make friend. Maybe he’s straight but you have no interest in romantically or maybe it’s your gay best friend. But the make perspective is necessary. He sets you straight when you’re spinning like crazy, and shakes your senses back. Besides, sometimes the only way to understand men is to ask a man. Might as well have someone on your side.

5. The unexpected friend. It’s that person in your life that either brings out an unexpected side in you or they encourage the side that you are afraid to show other people. They are understanding and maybe just as weird as you are. They feel safe, but not in a boring way. You can trust this person. It also let’s you escape when you’re feeling blue and bummed, you can retreat into a place that feels fun.

My friends get me through think and in, and I am really lucky to have a diverse group of awesome people to stand by my side. Friends are incredibly important, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many quotes, poems and stories about the power of friendship. Thank you to all my friends that support me through it all!

“Friends, Lovers, Or Nothing”

I don’t know how people are able to be friends with an ex after they break up. I asked the question a while ago, and I decided that I’m just not ready for that, or maybe I’m just not capable of with a guy that I deeply cared about.

I have a great friend that blurs those lines all the time. Friends than lovers than back of fiends, sometimes friends with benefits sometimes just friends. She seems happy so more power to her!

I could never understand how she could do it, and keep sane all the while.

After endless nights of picking her brain over glasses of wine, I decided to chalk it up to being two extremely different people. She is excellent at compartmentalizing, and I am not (although I can fake it for a while and I can be pretty convincing).

I realize I am All or Nothing in pretty much every part of my life. I am all in or I make it pretty clear that I’m not interested.

I make quick decisions about work, people, relationships, books, wine…you name it. I continually work on developing my intuition (not that I am always wise enough to listen to it…) so that I can learn to trust my gut and go with it.

Even beyond that, when I am dating a guy I know pretty quickly what category I plan to put him in. Is there a short shelf life on this guy? Am I just going to date him as long as it’s fun? Is he worth sleeping with? Is there long term potential here?

For better or worse, I make these decisions pretty fast. Maybe I move good guys into the expiration file too fast, but if I’m not interested why fake it for a while? Life is too short to be around with people that may or may not blossom over time.

If I have put the guy in that long term potential category I am all in, fully invested, I want to make this work and give it it’s best shot. And if it doesnt work, my heart is broken for a while, but there is no crossing over into the friend zone.

I have been able to do this once, with my college sweetheart. But he left the country for a few years and we didn’t speak for probably five years, so there was plenty of time for it to transition.

But to do that transition in just a few months? Or weeks or days, like my friendship? No way, not happening.

I had this realization about myself a few days ago, and it put things into perspective. I have always wondered why I want to rush the initial dating stages with guys I really like. I just want to get to the good part, where you’re settled and in love and happy with each other. (Yes, I know, it’s all the good part with the right guy, but in the moment I sometimes just want to fast forward to the part where we know each other inside and out)

I often look at my flaws and try to find how I can improve myself. But I don’t necessarily see this as a flaw. I see it as an opportunity to be aware of myself so that I can be better person in relationships. An opportunity to be completely honest and open. I have a sneaking suspicion that this may be just who I am and it’s not going to change.

Whenever I discover something like this about myself, I get excited. I think that the more I know myself, the better I can be when I show up for the people in my life. I can be honest about my expectations of myself and others. And it helps me sort through the guys even better, because I know if I am not accepted for who I am (all of me, even the flawed parts) then I can wish the guy well as he exits from my life.

It’s why I don’t feel bad for calling a guy I’ve been dating and suggesting a date, even though I know they should always do the chasing in the beginning. I tell people how I feel, I express my opinions, and I show my vulnerabilities. If they don’t like that about me, then they are probably not someone that would fit well in my life.

Here is the video of the John Mayer song that inspired this post. It has inspired an idea for a playlist that I am currently working on, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

“F*ck this guy!”

I am a big fan of E. Jean Carroll of Elle magazine. The woman dishes out sassy advice to readers with a capital S. I’ve always enjoyed reading her column in Elle magazine, and I am a little ashamed to admit that once in a while I have caught myself asking “What would E. Jean tell me to do right now?”

So I recently read her advice to a guy that wants his ex girlfriend back. She tells him that she fully support the ways that his ex is trying to keep him away and that “girlfriend be all  ‘Fuck this guy!'”

I thought to myself, YES! That’s absolutely right. That is absolutely the attitude adjustment that I have been missing this whole time.

I can do mopey, sad and brokenhearted. What I don’t do very well after a breakup is becoming that sassy gal with an attitude that says “Next!”

What I really connected to in this article was the fact that the breakup conversation is just another breakup cliche. Even when I thought that I had a great breakup this time around, I still got the typical line of “I want to see other people, this is bad timing, blah blah blah.” In the end, there is no such thing as a “good” breakup, maybe it’s just that the breakup gave each of us the space and respect to end a relationship. And the best way for me to keep moving on and NOT look back is to remind myself that he chose to walk away.   Isn’t that the best way to move on? Seriously, it is so freeing and empowering to yell out loud in my car “F*ck this guy!” and know that there are better things ahead of me. There is no guy shortage, there are plenty of them out there!