Monday, 31 December 2012

The Dream Lives

"Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." - Anne of Green Gables

Nails, done. Candles, lit. Taylor Swift on the stereo, check. Called my dad. New Years Eve is on track. I have a hot date tonight (and no, it's not my brother). Although you weren't crazy to think that. It's Lindsay. She made me promise weeks ago to be her date, apparently she wants to kiss me at midnight.

It's been quite the week. Christmas parties, spa day, birthdays. Surprise visit from the American. Old friends in town. A date with my mother...I brought flowers. I'm not all that attached to 2012, not really sad to see it go. Although I am another year older, I guess we all are. But we didn't die in a Mayan Apocalypse, so that's good.

I went to see Les Mis today with Linda. She's been Linda to me for a long time, but we're both working on getting back to her being my mom. I love Les Mis. Saw it twice on stage. It's super depressing, don't go see it if you're feeling sad.

For the longest time, all the words to all the songs were true. After everything I did in my past life, I didn't understand how God had been so unforgiving to me and I hated him for it. I used to think it was better if there wasn't a God at all, because if he was there, he was an asshole. "I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I'm living"...that line was so familiar I can't understand how I'm not the one who wrote it in the first place. But I know I'm not the only one who understands such deep pain. Lately, the little hell seems to be gone. And the dream lives.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Happiness Project

Side point - is anybody else sick of all my catchy titles stolen from songs and movies? For some reason I have a problem coming up with my own titles.

The rest of my content? Original.

My cat is sleeping in the sun. It's a beautiful day in Toronto. Sun is shining, snow on the ground. I woke up this morning with two other girls in my bed, another one on the couch. I rolled over and cuddled Linnea, before I realized who it was sleeping beside me. Monique is here, and somehow, that makes life better. My mother wants to go to a movie with me tonight. I have no idea how I got here.

But I did. And I think it's so so so so important that people out there know how happy and at peace I feel today. I won't lie. It's been three years of pain, tears, hard work, fear, anxiety, loneliness.

Taking the road less travelled is never the easy option. I had to work very, very hard at becoming happy again. The Happiness Project was a long, tedious chore. And I got scarred and bloody and felt like giving up so many times and just going back to the safe and familiar. It was literally hell on earth. But it's over. This "new beginnings" junkie is going into the new year happier than she's ever been. If you want to change your life, you can. It's not easy, but it's completely worth it...I love my family. I have the best friends. It's a success story.

Even with Travis getting married. Even with Adam at home having Christmas with his wife. I'm happy for both of them. They were such an important part of the journey that brought me here. Tapping into those memories from the past will always be part of my future. But the future, although sometimes it seems it will never arrive, is here. Today, tomorrow. Always. There will always be a chance to heal old wounds, make things right, fix relationships, show more love and kindness. Be a better person.

In my monster list of new year's resolutions, I am going to detox, finish school, figure out how to be a real writer. Life is a series of hills and valleys, but I'll try to hold on to this feeling of happiness as long as possible. Happy New Year!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago...

I had a lovely boyfriend. Despite what some people may think, I've actually been very lucky with love. The American is a good guy, honest, respectable, smart, well-adjusted. He always talked about getting me my green card, so I could come to the states and marry a lawyer. He wants to have kids.

So of course I messed it up. Long distance relationships are hard, even if you're not an ex-cult kid who was abandoned by almost everyone and has severe trust issues. I met an Irish and broke up with The American. The Irish lasted all of two minutes, and I was alone again. Not that it was a bad thing, I think being alone is probably all I'm good for right now.

Last night I was home having a girls night with Red, eating dinner, drinking wine, listening to music, and someone knocked at my door. And there he was. With flowers. After all this time. He drove to Canada in a snow storm to see me. After making fun of his outfit, Red left us alone and The American, who is deathly allergic to my cat, took 3 Benadryl and passed out.

I texted my mom and said you wouldn't believe who just showed up here. She said "Even though I hope it was Kevin, I'm guessing it was Irish or Adam, one of the asshole players." But it wasn't. :)

So I guess now I believe in second chances, redemption, all that stuff. Usually, I just wait for it to end, and if it doesn't quick enough, I help the process along by being crazy. But I'm not crazy. Even with all the shit that I've had to wade through, the broken hopes and dreams and aspirations...truth is, I'm surprisingly normal. It was great to see Kevin.

I didn't have to lose myself to love him. He took me "as is" and never expected anything more than what I was capable of giving. Even though I was damaged goods. I was fine, just the way I am. To be honest, "just the way I am" is good enough for me right now too.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

The Story Girl

I do like a road because you can always be wondering what is at the end of it.

This girl has been having a hard time lately. The anniversary of some difficult times last year is not happy. It's not just hard for me. My whole family worries. How could they not?

But it's Christmas. We have so much to be grateful for. Thoughtful friends. Loving family. Good times of cheer and laughter. My brother came over last night. It was just us, starting our own new traditions with gifts and panzerottis and mass. He laughed a lot telling stories of so many midnight masses over the years with his brothers, the singing and music and family, while I had a slight panic attack over actually being in a church again after all this time. Michael held my hand though and we had a lovely evening.

Reflecting back on the past year, it's gone by so fast. The days are long, but the years are short. So much has changed, yet again this year. I could really go for a nice long dose of boring familiarity. But I'm not there, yet.

Starting new traditions is a good way to bring the normality back into your life. This was my second Christmas with my brother, my cousin Tara and her fiancee Chris, with Liz and Steve, with my other Chris' family. Three years ago I was home for my aunt and uncle's Christmas tradition - a walk along the beach with the dogs. We almost died, but that's another story...

People complain that Christmas is too commercial, but I think it's a great time of year. People telling each other how much they love and appreciate them, thoughtful gifts (someone actually painted me a portrait of a Blackbird this year!), a time out from work to focus on family and friends - the important relationships we sometimes neglect when we're too busy.

I've seen exceptional kindness and care for others who might be alone, "orphans" who will band together so someone else feels love and community. Going into the New Year, I have a list that's pretty long again of all the ways I hope to change and become better. Again. It's a constant process of self-reflection, self-improvement and if we're very lucky...eventually self-love.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! May you be filled with Faith, Hope and Love. And Ken, where ever you are, we love you, we miss you and wish you Peace.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Being Brave

Re-post! I would rather be a coward than brave because people hurt you when you are brave.
- E. M. Forster

Courage is a quality that is difficult to develop, because it forces you to look in the mirror and realize who you are, and then have the balls to go out there and be better than that.

I know many courageous people. And being brave doesn't mean we always succeed. Sometimes it just means we take on a task, not knowing if we'll be good at it or not. Not knowing the outcome. Maybe we even think we will fail. But we show up and try.

This happens in careers, in families, in relationships, in finding peace of mind, in overcoming addictions, in marrying someone with three messed up kids, in ending a relationship that's not working and being alone again, in confronting an important ex, in applying for a job you know you won't get, in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and meeting someone new, in telling your family the truth about who you are, in going to your very good friend's wedding and facing 200 people who have labeled you in a negative way. In being true to yourself.

But we find courage and bravery in that part of ourselves that we didn't know we had.

And if we were never brave, no one would make friends, become lovers, get married, have children, follow their dreams, because we could fail. Sometimes it's our mistakes that shape our future and, in the end, make us successful.

And hey, at the end of the day, if our attempt at being courageous doesn't work, we have a friend who will give us a hug, a cat who will sleep at our feet, and maybe even a glass of wine to sip as we look out the window of our fabulous but very expensive apartment, and think about how to wake up tomorrow and try to be brave all over again.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Coming full circle, ending up somewhere completely different....

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." - T. S. Eliot

I've never been big on exploration. I love routine, I had the same friends since I was in elementary school. I liked doing the same things, with the same people all week and every weekend. I had never even quit a job until I was 32. (There were a great many things I had never tried at 32.) I would just stay until the company downsized, or my position was no longer necessary, and I'd move on then. Not before. I liked going to the same restaurant for a weekend date, ordering the same thing I always got there. I stayed with my first real boyfriend almost 10 years. I married him, even though we were never really in love. Change terrified me.

There were a certain set of beliefs thrust upon me at an early age, and I bought into that one hundred percent. I accepted what I was told at face value, and worked as hard as I could to make a success of that lifestyle. I did everything I possibly could to further the cause, to the point of breakdown, exhaustion and disillusionment.

Once I rejected those beliefs, and ended up broke, homeless, jobless, friendless and divorced, it was a shock. I had no idea who I was anymore. What was I without my friends, the group, my special position within it? So reluctantly, I started exploring. I'll be the first to admit a lot of that "exploration" was actually just self-destructive behaviour. Once you leave an established way of life, with a rule for everything, and you realize you don't believe it anymore, all of a sudden there are no rules.

So you try new things. I'm probably lucky I didn't end up dead (or worse). It wasn't for lack of trying.

But for all my pushing myself outside my comfort zone, within the past year, I've come almost full circle. No, I'm not back at exactly the same place I started. I make the rules now for what is "good" and "acceptable" for my life. But it does feel familiar, a lot more like the old me than the "interim" me I'd been exploring. My moral compass is not pointing in exactly the same direction it used to, but it's pretty close.

I watched a movie yesterday about a girl that went through the same experience I did, being shunned by her family and friends for deciding she loved someone who had a different faith and belief system. It was so familiar, yet the whole story seemed so crazy, so controlling, so completely against every fiber of my morality today that I almost couldn't believe I used to be one of those people. Not bad people, just so completely misled.

I understand those who have a deep devotion to God. But it's sad that so many people who say they love Him, live a life so completely opposite to all the values history tells us Jesus taught and lived by. He never shunned anyone, but spent his time with the sinners and downtrodden.

I don't know how this post became about Jesus. It wasn't my intention. :) I'm not even sure I believe in him anymore. I just know that despite how drastically life has changed, I'm happy I made it through the fire and managed to land on my feet. It helped having a few people who believed I would. And Eliot is right, once we come full circle, we are back at the same place we started, but it looks entirely different. And different is good. :)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Miracle

Something wants to come out tonight, not sure what it is. I keep coming back to this page, closing it, re-opening it. It was my last class for one of the classes I'm taking, so I went, did a presentation, came home and worked on the paper I have due for tomorrow night's class. The last last class of this year.

Part of me is a little sad, I really liked this term, the teachers, the classes. Part of me knows I really need a time-out, so this is a good thing. I bet y'all wish I'd go back to writing sappy blogs about silly guys I'm dating, this can't be all that interesting to read. The truth of the matter is - I've become boring. Not so boring that I probably couldn't shock you with a couple of recent stories, but boring enough that most of my life is just work and school and the odd date with my brother or my ex-boyfriend.

I do spend enough time at the downstairs bar with Krista that I won a football t-shirt the other night. So did she. We're fabulous, so we're never gonna wear those, except to bed.

Going into the holidays alone is a little scary. I wish my family lived closer and I could go home. I haven't been home in a long time. And this exact time last year, I was locked up for trying to kill myself. Not the best holiday memories.

But I've come a long way since then, and life will never seem that desperate again. To be honest, I could probably still take it or leave it. But it's getting better day by day. It feels like a shame not to get a tree this year, so I think I'll go for it. Decorating it is always fun (for the whole one year I did it), and I still have all the decorations that Steve got me last year and the xmas music cd.

I may still be in repair, even now. But since last December, I made peace with Adam. I have plans to see my mother. I have friends that I really like. No one has made it into the love category yet, except maybe Liz, who this time last year, tried to save my life. But I'll get there. I managed to keep my job (both of them), get straight As (in both classes), and although I might not really be in love with life, I'm extremely grateful for all the good things.

It still sucks to be home alone when you're sick, or walk through the grocery store and watch all the happy couples (I love grocery shopping, there's something about a grocery store that just calms me), but I almost don't remember what it was like being married and going to bed with the same person every night and waking up with them every morning.

Waking up with a few strangers is enough to convince you that's not who you are or what you want. I don't think I know what I want yet, but at least I know what I don't want. And that's half the battle.

At the end of the day, all of us are in survivor mode. The good times come and go, like waves on the sea. The storms will crash and beat you down, but if you know you will always survive them, there's nothing to be scared of anymore. And not being scared anymore, that's a miracle.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Spin, spin, spin

Last night was our company xmas party. After 3 years, I've accepted that I'll always be the strange girl who brings her brother as her date. Joke's on you, people with real boyfriends though, because my brother is awesome. And he's more handsome than your boyfriend.

One of the highlights of our childhood was going to the ex at the end of every summer. They have this ride, called the Tornado. I always went on it, always threw up. Needless to say, when we realized it was there last night, it was a challenge to be conquered. I almost felt like we were kids again, Michael trying his best to make me sick, spinning it as fast as it could go. I pulled through.

I've become pretty adept at living inside a tornado. I still feel a bit off this am, but I didn't throw up. And I did it wearing super high heels and a very pretty dress.

I think there's some part of us that never grows up, I could see Michael and I doing that when we're 70. I'm sure we'll still be together, but hopefully not alone together the way we are now. I know right now it's by choice, for both of us.

Part of me wants to call Travis. I want to yell at him, tell him we were together for 10 years, to not get married and seperate us forever. But the part of me that wants him to just be happy is stronger.

I was looking at the two pictures I still have of Travis in my bedroom. No wonder no one else who actually makes it in there ever stays. There's no room. Between him and Adam and the crowd of ghosts who follow me everywhere, I will always be single. But with all that company, I am never alone.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Let it go.

Relax.

The word relax in Latin literally means to "let go".

Easier said than done. Here I am at 4 am, doing relaxation exercises dictated to me by some guy on the internet referred to me by my naturopath. He does have a soothing voice.

Another technique I read about is to try to count to 10 without thinking of anything. Each time you let a thought come in, start over again at 1. It's not easy. So I'm trying not to think about the fact that I've been up since 3, or that I need to be at work at 8:30. Or that I have a paper due on Wednesday night that I haven't started yet. Instead, I'm trying to think about the good news - it's actually December 4th, and classes are finished on the 12th. 8 days. And I'm off work soon, supposedly on the 20th, but I think I'll leave on the 18th. That's only 2 weeks from now. Take a full couple of weeks of vacation, turn off my BlackBerry, watch movies, sleep in, paint my nails. I give it 3 days before I'm completely bored.

My job is driving me slightly crazy. I know, I know, I'm so lucky. But accordingly to the relaxating guru I'm listening to, Type A personalities are more successful in life, but they also get 90% of all heart attacks. I did his "Type A" test, and apparently anything over a 50 is "you need to chill out immediately" (my words, not his). I got 282.

It's hardly a surprise though, I knew I had a problem with this already. It's not new, I was never chilled out as a J-dub either. I envy the people who can come in late, leave work early and take an entire lunch break.

It's only in North America that we see this epidemic, in many cultures work/life balance is the norm, not the exception to the rule. And I do think, although many of those cultures have less than us, they are happier. They make more time for friends and family, they have more kids than we do here. My girlfriend said yesterday that teaching wasn't a great profession to get into, because there are less and less kids. Geriatric care on the other hand, you can make some real money there. That's sad.

Well, my boss is no doubt on his way to the airport, heading to the office for a busy week. I'd better try to get another hour of sleep. I've listened to this guy three times now, and I am feeling a bit more relaxed.

It's 5:30 am on a Tuesday. Let the countdown to Christmas holidays begin...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The non-boyfriend phenomenon

Do you ever feel lonely? Of course you do, we all do, if we are honest.

Do you ever wish he would come over, stroke you hair, cuddle, hold your hand, listen to City and Colour with you? Well not to worry. I've come up with the perfect solution. It's called the non-boyfriend boyfriend. Let's face it. I don't want you to be my boyfriend. I'm too busy to try to wrangle non-committal guys into a "relationship".

You probably don't want to be my boyfriend either. I'm too complicated. Then you'd have to really listen to me, and be supportive, try to understand where I've been and where I'm coming from, and we all know you don't want to do that either.

But you do want that connection, to feel like someone out there will answer you text messages, a warm body to cushion the fall from a hard week. You want to have dinner at our favorite bar, or go for a walk with someone you care about. Someone to fall asleep with on the couch watching our favorite show.

And I want that too. It's sweet and innocent and familiar. I'm not going to take you to my company's Christmas party. Every year, I take my brother. Sorry, he's earned it and you haven't. Plus, he's much more handsome than any of you.

But keep calling me when you want to cuddle.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Snowbird

It's snowing in Toronto. The kind of snow that actually sticks to the ground and stays. It's pretty.

After the week from hell, where I was at work at least 10 hours a day, went to all my classes, wrote a paper, went to a work dinner last night and had two days of all day meetings...it wasn't so bad. In fact, I kind of had fun.

In all my bitching about past lives and lost loves, the Universe has actually taken very good care of me. Yes, my job is stressful. But I'm surrounded by good people, who care about me, my development and career path. I don't think everyone out there can say that.

I am exhausted though. I went over to Krista's tonight, had one glass of wine, cuddled with the cats, and...fell asleep while watching Ellen. Woke up at 3 am with pillow marks on my face. Good thing she only lives across the hall. (By the way, Ellen, Hello!! I have more than 6,000 reads on my blog. When are you going to call me? Don't make me go to Oprah.)

I keep trying to figure out what I can cut out of life to make it more manageable. It appears...the answer is nothing. The only two things I could do without is the volunteer work and the weekend job. And they both make me oh so happy.

It was birthday week at work. Apparently half the CMO team is Sagittarius. After a season of Libras and Scorpios, this is a change. So on top of everything else, I had fun running around, buying presents and cakes and writing cards. Next is Krista, the Capricorn, then I guess, us Pisces.

I don't know who out there keeps reading this. Some random thoughts strung together by a girl who just had to tell her story. But if you are reading me, know this. Robert Frost wrote a poem about the road not taken. Two roads diverged. I shall be telling this with a sigh...familiar? He left the first one for another day. But knowing how way leads to way...you never come back. You are forever committed to the one you chose. Adam said to me the other day, why don't you just go back? I could, tomorrow if I wanted to.

Because Adam, and everyone else, I made a choice. It was my choice and I own it. It was the right choice. Will I always miss the ones I left behind? Who feel they can't have anything to do with me unless I come back to the group? Absolutely. Will I cry, write sappy blogs about them, get down at times? Yes. Will I ever meet someone who can handle all of this and love me anyway? Doubtful.

But I have some amazing friends. A great job. Good family. And I made my own family. People who I never really knew, but now we're all connected in the best way. And I can walk down the street knowing every single day, that I didn't take the easy road. Nothing wrong with those who do. It must be the right path for a lot of us, or else it wouldn't be so popular. And I'm happy for those who find it works. But this complicated, romantic, idealistic girl needs something different. She was stuck in a little hell for a long time, but has mostly found her way out.

As Oscar Wilde said, we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

PS - Ellen, call me!! (I realize my campaign to get on The Ellen Degeneres show is mostly crazy, but hey, once I do, everyone will read my blog, I'll get a book deal and I can go live on the coast in Italy and write the follow-up. Wait for it...)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Walking Dead

As I walked home from class tonight, with my third "A" project of the past week in my bag, I felt a little happy, a little proud, but mostly like a zombie. This is the worst week of our quarter at the job, with the whole marketing leadership team flying in from all over the country, 2 solid days of meetings, and a cross-country video conference for all of marketing. No wonder these weeks give me panic attacks.

Had I not missed so much school/work from my 6 week bout of bronchitis, I would have stayed home and chilled out tonight, but no can do. I thought about skipping our little team dinner on Thursday night (because of course I have class tomorrow, so Wednesday is out as a chill-out evening), but we always get private dining rooms in fabulous restaurants with copious amounts of yummy wine, so this is definitely one of the perks of the quarterly week from hell. Plus, four of our little group of 12 have birthdays this week, including Jersey Shore, so I imagine if I skip our celebratory dinner, I'll be canned.

And I wouldn't want to skip out anyways. We have a great group. One of the business development guys who we invited to present at our last meeting commented on how strange it was to walk into a meeting room where everyone was greeting each other with a hug and a kiss (one of our guys is French). Imagine if that were normal in the corporate world...people might just be a little less jaded.

Of course to top it all off, there's Christmas market in the Distillery these next 2 weeks, which I hear is insane, so I'll be working my ass off at the restaurant instead of the usual easy 6 or 7 hours on a Saturday. Christmas Market is non-negotiable. If I survive this week it will be a miracle. (I'm still sick by the way. It's possible I'm already a zombie.) Upon making it to Sunday, I have girls day at the spa to look forward to - yay!

Feeling much better regardless of all that, I've added nightly baths and morning yoga to my daily routine and it seems to be helping. Keeping the panic attacks down. I think if everyone was able to have a hot bath every night and do yoga every morning we could solve most of the world's problems.

On another note, realizing that Communications is more of a passion for me than marketing, my amazing manager has asked our Comms Director to let me in a little bit, shadow some of their people, get involved in a few projects with them as opposed to just the CMO projects I work on now. And she said yes. So that's a little victory. Not sure how I'll find time for it, do zombies need to sleep? If so, I'd rather continue in my course to-date as a vampire.

I also ran into Adam today. I swear I can feel him walking down the street before we ever see each other. I was running around in the freezing cold with no coat (not smart for bronchitis-girl) desperately looking for a bakery that sells birthday cakes so I could get one for Jersey Shore. (All the cake shops in Toronto have been turned into cupcake shops, no joke.) It was ok. Adam and I now, it is what it is. I was happy with a hi and a smile. We've come a long way.

My little brother is turning 25 tomorrow. He's getting married in the summer. Such a sweet guy. Happy Birthday Matty! Love you.

So those are my random thoughts for Tuesday night. Imagine how many times in the past week I could have written that paper if I'd just stay off the internet. All in all, good day, crazy week, fun times. Life really is what you make it. It's been hard to feel optomistic being so sick, although I continue to believe I thrive on the insanity. But...if you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything! So take your vitamins, get enough sleep, quit smoking.

Sullivan out.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Chat Noir

Ok. I've been holding off on blogging about my cat, because I don't want to be that crazy cat lady girl. But something's wrong.

As cuddly as she is, she's never been a lap cat. Until recently. She always wants to be on my lap now. She cries for her treat food all the time when she used to be ok with it being a "treat", drives me insane. My friend Krista had a dream about her the other night and texted me in the morning "How's Cat?". Ominous.

I swear to...hmmm. I almost wrote God. Nope. Um, the Universe? If my cat dies I will lose it. I get it, she's very old, it might happen. But not yet. Please.

My old friend and roomate Monique, thought the Cat was plotting to kill us. Just because she used to chew through our phone cords. (Yes, phones used to have cords. I am very old.) Monique is slightly paranoid. She usually hates men (the Cat not Monique), but that's probably just because she got pulled into being married to Travis with me, and he hated her. And me, apparently.(Exceptions to the rule of who Cat hates being my boyfriend from last summer, Terry, the Cat Whisperer. And of course, Steve. *Footnote* to the men I've dated: you're wondering why some guys get actual names and you were always a nickname? You have to stick around long enough to earn it.)

I call her "Chat Noir" and speak to her mostly in French, but sometimes in Vietnamese. She's a very talented Cat.

Ok, so you're probably wondering why the Cat doesn't have a name. Ever seen Breakfast at Tiffany's? She's a lost girl who decides she'll give the Cat a name once she settles down. Well, I did and I still never named the Cat. I guess, deep down inside, I knew it wouldn't stick. So. In the end, she's the only one who's been here with me through everything. Through being single and married, and alone again. But never completely alone, because I have her. So please don't die.

The Dark Side

If you were lucky enough to grow up when Star Wars was big, you might remember drinking ginger ale and eating popcorn while watching one of the best movies ever. The problem with Star Wars though, is that there are only two sides.

Life, as it turns out, is much more complicated than that. It's not Deathstar vs. Jedi. It's not black and white, good and bad, dark and light. As it turns out, most of us have a dark side. Stuart called me yesterday (I still (heart) him), he knew me when I was dark. My new boss, Jersey, calls me "Sunshine". Both of them know the truth.

Like the Universe, most of us are made up of both elements. The darkness and the sunlight. Try as we may, to be happy and upbeat and wonderful all the time, that's impossible. We can pretend the unpretty places don't exist, and never show them to anyone. But...diamonds come from coal, don't they?

So my current line of thought on this is maybe we should embrace the darkness, after all, it's part of who we are, isn't it? Accepting and embracing the dark side, means we are even more at peace in the sunlight. We're not ignoring or pretending the other side of life doesn't exist.

The real challenge here is to find people who won't run away when you show that to them. Because to be completely honest means to expose that side, along with the good side. Most of us, are more sun than dark. Will you love the imperfect person with the dark side? We're worth it, don't run away.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

It's a Beautiful Day

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot

I took the day off. Planned it about a week ago, but it turned out just perfectly - it's a beautiful, sunny, warm day in Toronto. I have BIG plans for today. Got my teeth cleaned. That's a little strange now that I've become good friends with Lindsay, the dental hygenist. Nothing like a good gossip catch up with your friends hands in your mouth scraping guck off your teeth. Life is so funny sometimes.

I went shopping in Yorkville. Now I'm listening to Taylor Swift, burning candles, getting geared up to take a bubble bath. Also on the agenda: yoga, write a paper for school tonight, clean my apartment. I might not get around to the last one. That's the best thing about living alone, it really doesn't matter all that much if your place is a mess. :)

So I've been a little stuck lately, and am working on turning things around. Unsticking means asking the right questions. So what can I cut out to make life less stressful? It's hard to find the right balance between working hard and not going too far. I saw a naturopath yesterday, as, like a lot of people right now, I've let my stress level get out of hand. Now, I've got crazy high blood pressure to compliment the insomnia and constant panice attacks. She's concerned.

The amount of tasks we juggle between career, education, friends, family, diet, exercise...it's hard to prioritize. Obviously work is a non-negotiable. Perhaps I should find a less stressful job. But I love my job. And it's a fabulous opportunity for growth. So, the hours and the stress are part of that package. On the other hand, I work with some amazing people right now, you don't always find that out there. So we'll stick with the job for now. Just to put it out into the Universe though - corporate is really not my dream. Ideally, I'd like to be a writer with my own flower shop. Yup, a writer/florist (I'm actually quite talented at floral arrangment). I'd also like to have a job someday where I can wear yoga pants and tshirts. But that's for when I grow up.

What about school? I might cut down to one course next term instead of the two I've been taking the last two terms. But whether this takes me a couple of years or a dozen, I believe this is absolutely essential to my growth and future career asperations. (What you've never seen a florist with a degree in Communications? Don't be crazy.)

So I guess I could cut out my social life, which would include my precious Saturdays spent at my restaurant. Not! It's widely acknowledged by doctors that people with good friends live longer. I recently spent 2 years without any, so I'm already gonna die young. Are you trying to kill me?

So where do we land on this? My new doctor has suggested some diet changes, some supplements, a guided meditation program that I can do when I'm pacing around in the middle of the night that will apparently calm me down and lead me back into some kind of spirituality. Sounds good to me. All I need to do is lower my stress and get back to being healthy so I can handle the chaos. The chaotic life is not the problem here, the problem is how I've been handling it. And allowing it to completely stress me out. According to Jersey Shore, stress kills so I need to be smart here.

Shakespeare said there's a destiny that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we may. So if we're brave and honest and hardworking, destiny and the Universe will guide us to where we need to go. I truly believe that. So I'm not worried.

In the meantime, I scored a $55 bottle of bubble bath today. Not being a princess or a rock star, I've never had one of those. Got it on sale at Anthropologie for $10. It smells like heaven. And I like my baths scalding hot. So I gotta go. I hope everyone I love out there is having a fabulous day. How could you not? It's beautiful out there.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sad, Beautiful, Tragic

So Friday I was a bit down. I think it's just a combination of being sick forever, overtired, overworked. I just needed a weekend like this one.

Hanging out with the Cat, going to work at the restaurant, catching up with Tara, going to the downstairs bar, Betty's...I made a conscious decision not to do any homework, not to read my work emails. Just disconnect. It will all be there on Monday, waiting to get done. In the meantime, I made a lasagna, bought myself flowers and saw my friends.

I brought Julie flowers too yesterday. Sometimes, tiny little things can make a girl so happy. Like a lot of people in my life now, she'll probably never realize how absolutely essential she has been in my recovery. Ok, as I typed that, I knew it was the right word. Recovery. I'm currently in repair. But I'm getting there.

There are these people out there, like Chris' family, and Julie, and my "new" friends, who will pick up a broken girl and love her for who she is. Which is crazy, because the people who knew me my whole life, when I tried so hard and worked so hard to be perfect, will walk away from you overnight, and never talk to you again, just because someone else told them to. And I was so much "better" then than I am now.

I'll probably never understand it, and that's ok. That's what they need to do. I'm just happy I don't have to be one of them anymore. And I pledge to always, always, appreciate the people who are here now. And try my best to get over my issues and accept that they love me and not expect them to leave. I still believe, deep down inside, that everyone is going to leave. I've become really good at being alone. But that's my own fault.

In my last post, when I talked about never feeling anything, I know that's because if I felt anything, I'd have to admit that I love people again. And if I decided to love anyone, I might get hurt. And I'm not being self-indulgent or anything, but I've had my heart broken so badly, by do many people, I don't think I could survive anymore heartbreak. But the survival mode I'm living in just doesn't make me happy enough. Because I can't live this way. It's not the way this sad, beautiful, tragic girl is programmed.

So I'm going to change. Starting with yesterday, with Tara, Julie, Hilda, Jay, Krista. It was a great day. I am very, very, very lucky. And it's a beautiful, sunny day in Toronto. It feels like hope.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Girl, Interrupted

Another Friday night blog. I worked from home this afternoon, after going to the doctor and finding out I have bronchitis. No wonder I can't get better. Even after 5 weeks.

Yet, I soldier on. Going out with Red tonight, haven't seen her in awhile. It's Adam's birthday, so I need to suppress the urge to stay home and cry alone. I might cry tonight, but at least not alone. (To be honest, I did cry already tonight while watching the Walking Dead. Usually I watch all my shows at my ex's place, but I missed TV night last weekend and had to catch up.)

So we're not living in a post-Apocalyptic zombie-infested world (yet). But in some ways, I am. I don't fight zombies, but I fight ghosts of my past life. I think I'd prefer zombies. At least then it's not personal, they just want to eat your brain. And you can kill them. :)

Been feeling a little sad lately. Not sorry for myself or anything, life is great. I'm a lucky girl and I know that. I have great people who somehow have decided to love me.

For the longest time, in my own personal life interruption, the fight was all about survival. So much so, that I just don't know what matters now. I have a great job and a boss who loves me. That makes me happy. I like my volunteer work. I like school. I like my friends. I really can't think of anything that's missing.

But sometimes I wish, like in the movie, they would just take the girl who tried to kill herself and lock her up for a year or so until she had a chance to figure things out. I've put so much effort into rebuilding a life, a real life with everything I want in it, and I have it now. But it feels weird. It doesn't fit. It's by turns exciting, scary, lovely, fun...almost like an amusement park. I hate amusement parks. I like the ordinary. But I can't go back.

So we'll stay the course. And hope that someday we'll feel the way we used to. The passion and excitement and feeling. That's my problem. I don't feel anything anymore. Hopefully it's just a 3.5 year interruption. And it will come back. It was such a big part of who I always was, I miss that part of me. Come back.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Twilight

Either I've got my second wind tonight, or I've become a vampire. Last night I was up until sometime around midnight working on a 10 minute oral presentation I had to give in class tonight. I finally went to bed and slept until about 3:30 am. Then...I was up. Drank a lot of coffee and went to work today, wrote a list of my must-do to-dos, it was 15 items. I accomplished about 6 of them between 8:30 am and 6 pm. Damn big corporations and their incessant need for meetings. I could get so much more work done if I didn't have to go to so many meetings.

But I didn't really even make a dent in my list and that's what I was stressing about last night. That, and the presentation tonight, and the two papers I have due tomorrow. I've decided to rebel against them and go to bed instead. I'm tired. Working all the time, carrying an A average...the presentation went well though, and I even got a laugh out of the audience when the Prof played back the recording and asked me what I thought of it, and I said I thought my hair looked fabulous.

Joking aside, I might take a break from school this next term. I don't sleep anymore, I'm back on the panic attacks, my blood pressure is extremely elevated...and I'm too young to have a heart attack. And I've been sick for over a month now. And it's getting cold. Do I really want to be walking to Ryerson through the snow and the slush for the January-April months? I took a different route home from school tonight, because the homeless people are getting hostile. Better to be safe then sorry. Maybe it's because they are cold.

I had dinner with Chris' parents and Temperance on Sunday night. She wanted me to stay and play, but I said I had to get home to finish my homework. She had a big project due and so did I (hers was on Tigers) so I said, you'll have to let me know how it goes and she took my hand and said, you'll have to let me know how yours goes. I looked at her. She's 9. And here we are.

Something I realized on Sunday, as I was going to see them, after the work week, after the school projects, after the restaurant job, after seeing a few of my girlfriends is...this is my life now. It's become full-sized, it takes turns being stressful and busy and happy and fun. I have more than enough friends. I can't go to the bar downstairs from my apartment without meeting some cute guy who wants to buy me drinks and hang out all evening. (I secretly think my friend Raquel who owns it is using me as a marketing technique. Everytime she invites me to come down for a glass of wine, there's always, magically some really cute guy who wants to buy me drinks. I'm either a marketing ploy or she's trying to set me up...)

This life, my life, still feels weird, almost like trying on something you like, and it looks ok on you, but it doesn't quite fit and you're not sure why. Or a new haircut that's so dramatically different you sometimes don't recognize yourself when you walk past a mirror until you get used to it.(Sidepoint: I'm still not really used to my bangs. I think I might grow them out.)

I went through a ton of old stuff the other day looking for the appraisal on my wedding rings (after I put my dress up for sale, I thought why not?). I went through boxes and boxes of letters, cards, pictures of my old life. It wasn't better or worse than this one, it was just very, very different. Those people though, whatever has happened since I left, loved me in their own strange way. And I still love them. Especially Travis, I'm dying a little on the inside right now, but I wish him every happiness. I hope he finds what he is looking for in his new marriage.

And I hope someday, somehow, I can finally sleep.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

My blackbirds are bluebirds now

I know I say this a lot lately, but I'm exhausted. Working a full day on the weekend is slightly brutal after the week I just had. I know, however, I won't be able to give up my restaurant job addiction, because I love it. Where else in the world can I walk into a place at 10 am on a Saturday and get 4 consecutive hugs? It's a slightly disfuncitonal little family of people you love, you can tell anything to and you can occasionally have a great fight with over who sat who were and whose table is that anyways. I love opening in the morning, four of five of you in sweatpants, drinking coffee, listening to Michael Jackson while getting the place in shape for open.

I love all my 20-something year old little sisters, my gay boys and especially our manager, Julie. She's awesome. Honest, smart, always interested in how school is going, ready to listen to your boy problems and give you a hug. Most of the time, we need it.

There are so many amazing people in the world, and things are so much more interesting being able to be free to bring whoever you like into your life. I feel like I've finally hit the right balance in my Universe, between the job, the school, the volunteer work, the friends, the second job. It all fills some part of a need. I read once that the more aspects that make up your life, the less threatened your happiness is if one of them goes away. I can attest to that being completely accurate. When I was a JW, that was my entire identity, the only people I knew, the only thing that mattered. When it went away, or rather, I walked away, I was lost and alone. Not so much anymore.

Now, if I lost my job, or the boy I like decides he likes someone else, or a friend stops calling, or all 6,000 people stop reading this blog...I'll be disappointed, no doubt. But nothing in my life now that goes away will ever have the power to completely destroy me like the j-dubs did. Because all those things are just slices of life now, not the whole pie.

I know I still need to work a bit on getting things a little better balanced out. Everyone I meet who I explain my life to thinks I'm insane. Probably heading for a burnout again if I don't cut back a bit and take a little more time to relax. But I'll figure it out. We pay a price for everything we get or take in this world, and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement. And then, if we're lucky, success.

Interestingly, I found this song on the internet when I got home from work: (click the link)

My blackbirds are bluebirds now

Blackbirds to Bluebirds? Is it possible? Yes. Lately, I believe that more and more. I think I'm probably partway there already. And now, it's Saturday night. Time to get ready to go see the girls and the gays. I have to spend all day tomorrow doing homework, so might as well have a little fun first. I should probably stay home and go to bed instead, but that's not gonna happen. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Politics & Religion

Allow me to vent for just one moment, before I tell you what an awesome day it was today. Since when have Canadians become so interested in American politics? I can't get over how 99% of the past 24 hours of Facebook has been all about the election. From my experience, most Canadians don't even care about Canadian politics. Now, all of sudden, it's all about Obama.

Y'all feel strongly about him winning. But why? Don't get me wrong, I'd vote for him too. Cause he's cool, he's funny, his wife is a snappy dresser. But I don't know anything about his values, what he's accomplished in the last 4 years or hopes to in the next 4. (Except for the occasional rant from my sweet friend, The American. He proudly voted for Romney.)

Actually, I think most of the reason I'd vote for Obama is that Romney is a *(cult-that-shall-remain-nameless)* and I'm very anti-cult now. Can't be helped, that's just the way it is! Although, what I've learned over the past year and a half is, even though I don't go to church, I'm still a church girl at heart. I'm happier living closer to the safe zone than living on the edge. And that's ok.

Second rant of the night: Didn't we just start TV season? Why are all the shows on a 3 week hiatus? What's a girl going to do if she desperately needs a 22 minute study break? Write on her blog, apparently.

Tonight, much like last night, I dragged my tired ass off to school, after a long day at work, not wanting to go there at all. And, like last night at school and Monday night volunteering, I walked home feeling great. Nike is right, you know. "Just do it." If just doing it is, in fact, doing the right thing, you won't regret it. I actually love school almost as much as I love being back into volunteer work, I just wish I was 20 and that was the only thing I had to do in life, school and homework, instead of work and the restaurant and school and homework. I tried to get this sweet 20 year old Scottish boy to switch assignments with me the other night, since his is scheduled for the week after mine. He was like, I'm so slammed right now. I thought, Really? What do you do? Oh you go to school. I also do that. And work 60-70 hours a week. And volunteer. Oh well. That's not his fault. He's just a sweet kid with a cool accent, I'll find some way to bring it next Tuesday in class.

So from the list of projects I have due over the next month, I am definitely going underground from the social scene and doing nothing but studying until mid-December. But it's ok because I love it. Tonight, much like last night but in a different class, we got stuck with another group assignment. I sighed. The only 20 year old friends I have are at the restaurant. But, once again, I got a look from the girl sitting across from me and found a partner. Very cool girl. Strangest thing - she's friends with two of the girls from Pure that I know. Out of everyone in the class, it was an odd coincidence.

I love the professor too, he's been genuinely concerned for me as I lived through the cold from hell, and has been completely understanding as I've fallen behind on assignments and missed classes.

And I was happy at the real job today. Jersey Shore has finally, finally made it out of Jersey after a terrible bout with a Hurricane. I'm happy he's back. He's sick, probably a by-product of terrible weather and no water, electricity or heat for the last week and a half.

Between what he's been through recently and walking home from school, through a neighbourhood of hookers, homeless people and drug addicts, I feel very grateful. To have a lovely roof over my head, a job that I love, being able to go to school, have good friends, a loving family and all the opportunities ahead of me in life right now. And that I can come home, light candles and have a hot bath. Finally, I'm happy that I make it home from school alive twice a week. A homeless man actually tried to attack me the other night on the way back from class (not cool dude), but Toronto is essentially good at the heart of it, and I am fine.

Exhausted though, time for bed. If I can make it to yoga this week, I'll be having the best week ever. Nameste.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Is it the weekend yet?

I am exhausted. And it's only Tuesday, that's not very reassuring. (Is it Tuesday? I'm not even sure about that.)

It's funny how sometimes, in a very busy life, the things you feel like blowing off end up making you the happiest. I was tired after work last night, but I volunteer on Monday nights. It was hard leaving my apartment, to go out in the cold, to volunteer. But I walked home feeling so, so, so much better. As usual, this gig is bringing me so much more than I am bringing to it.

Tonight, same thing. Came home from work exhausted (that's my fault and I'll get to that), and I did NOT want to go to class. But I did. It was a strange experience. For this Communications program, one of the classes I'm taking (and thoroughly enjoying) is in public speaking. So tonight, the teacher put us in groups for an assignment, we had 45 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to speak. I haven't felt this way in forever, but when he told us to make our own groups, I panicked. I felt like that kid who is going to get picked last for a team in elementary school. I'm so much older than most of these people and I don't really know any of them.

It's hilarious how easily that childhood insecurity can flare up. To my relief, the cute girl sitting across from me gave me the look and I knew I was ok. She's good too, I've seen her present in the past. We ended up in a group of 5 and actually had to turn extra people away. The assignments went well, our professor even said we were the best group he's seen in the past 5 years. Not too shabby.

The other thing I did last night, not as responsible. I went to a party (damn Linnea's 3 day birthday extravaganza!). It's been fun and yes she should definitely celebrate turning 21. Only happens once after all, unlike all the times I've turned 29. Actually, it seems like almost everyone I know has been having a birthday lately. So many Libras and Scorpios out there! Or maybe that's just who I attract.

It's funny. With my new warm winter coat, a few good friends and 6,000 people reading this blog, I have almost everything I've ever wanted. And I'm only a year and a half out of the cult. I'm not a published author yet and I haven't married George Clooney, but we know these things will come. I thought to myself as I walked to class this evening, "I'm too old for this shit". So I think, for the rest of the week, I'll just lay low. I have homework to do after all and I still need to clean up an apartment full of balloons and streamers. But give me a few days to get my strength back and who know what next weekend will bring. :)

Monday, 29 October 2012

November Rain

Ok, not quite November yet. But just a few days away.

Anyone remember how beautiful it was on Friday? Since then, not so much. We seem to be experiencing the effects of the Hurricane. It never really stops raining.

Personally, I don't mind the rain all that much. I find it romantic. I remember one night when it was pouring and I actually convinced Travis to go for a walk with me. No umbrellas. We got soaked. Not sure that he ever really appreciated that carefree, crazy side of me, but he used to put up with it at least.

Another time, as I was saying goodbye to Adam for the millionth time, it started to rain just as we kissed. We stood there laughing instead of running for shelter.

And then there was that one night in the Bahamas, when it was literally a downpour, and the square was completely flooded and it all just turned into a crazy dance party. I'm pretty sure Chris lost his shoes that night.

It seems official. The optomist is back. These memories make me smile *big smile*, not cry. A manicure helps (a lot actually), as does finally starting to feel a little better and of course, not listening to quite as much City and Colour. Going a little bit stir crazy from studying all the time. Monique texted me tonight, she's experiencing the same thing. It's almost comic, a couple of 30-something ex-dubs trying to work full-time at demanding corporate jobs and go to school at night and write papers in our spare time.

Summer was fun, but since then, I've pretty much become...boring. All I do is go to work, go to school, study. Have the odd Dexter/Walking Dead catch-up with pizza night.

As stressful as it's been though, no panic attacks. I think that's the result of my wise decision to stop dating. (I have exceptional insight. I'd use it on myself, only I don't have any problems. Ha ha.) Not that the guys haven't been for the most part awesome. But there always is that one, once in awhile, who shakes you up and makes you feel bad about yourself. Those ones can come back, even months later and with a few nasty messages tear you apart all over again.

Ugh, my girlfriend is currently in her ex's apartment building contemplating knocking on his door. And I have 3 more chapters to go before I'm ready for school tomorrow night. I have to go. But take a few minutes tonight and watch the rain. As melancholy as it is, it's one of my favorite things. :)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Little Hell

"There's a degree of difficulty in dealing with me. From my haunted past comes a daunting task of living through memories."

It's raining again. It seems appropriate. Still trying unsuccessfully to do schoolwork while sick.

I've been deathly ill. My ex-boyfriend took on the task of taking care of me the other day. He is a great person. Kind, generous, thoughtful, creative and smart. He always has my favorite music and tv shows ready to go, dinner, a nice bottle of wine. He loves to cuddle, thinks I'm beautiful. Maybe I'm an idiot to want to stay single right now. I understand though, the crazy that I've brought to all my recent relationships, and I'm trying to keep anyone else from getting caught up in that. This is my cross to bear, and I have to do that alone.

Yes, I am much better these days. Reconnecting recently with my mom and sister has been good for me. It's not like at this point, after three and a half years, we're going to be anything special to each other. Although having something there is better than nothing at all.

But...I still feel lost. And with Travis getting re-married, I know the next couple of months with me would not be great. I need to figure out how to deal with that before I try dating anyone again.

I wouldn't want anyone (Dad) to think I'm not grateful that life has been so kind to me lately. Things are great at work. I'm doing well at school. I have amazing friends. But I can't help but shake the feeling that the little hell that is my past life in the back of my mind, that always pops up again in dreams/nightmares, may never go away. And that I may always be somewhat lost and alone.

Sometimes, I write here when I'm feeling sad, or sorry for myself. That's really not the case tonight. I had a great Saturday evening with my "Toronto family", dinner with my ex's parents and kid, we ate, we played, we watched baseball. I love them.

I went out last night to a Halloween party, dressed as a vampire with a bunch of awesome friends. (That's another one of those things I never got to do growing up.) Actually a friend of mine was shocked when I told him that the other day, he feels strongly that all cults should make the "fun stuff" mandatory. :)

And life continues to improve as more and more old friends wake up and walk away from the JWs and back into my life. People I've met try their best to understand it all, but these guys REALLY get me.

It's not easy. The year of being shunned, I accomplished nothing. Unless you count incessant crying and drinking copious amounts of wine. Then I went back. It's really only been a year and half since I truly left them. It does feel sometimes like I've survived a war and got out alone, leaving the people I loved behind. The post-traumatic stress lingers.

But don't feel sorry for me. That was a choice I made, knowing the consequences, and I own it. I could have gone back, I still can, anytime I want. I'm sure everyone out there has their own "little hell" that they are trying desperately to forget about, or heal from, wishing it was just a bad dream they could shake off in the morning.

I have been so lucky on the "other side". Sometimes I just wish I was a little bit younger, a little less damaged, a little more optomistic. But it's only been a year and a half. I won't always be a fragile bird who always flies away from anyone who gets too close. And someday the blackbird will become some happier color.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Mad Men

Break-ups, especially Divorce (sorry, I have to capitalize it for some reason) usually give women a welcome excuse to indulge a little (or a lot) in something we all do from time to time (be honest!) - complaining about men.

They're insensitive, or they don't get us, or they never want to talk about "feelings", or they just want to give solutions, not really hear our problems...this is how many women feel. Personally though, despite getting Divorced, I feel this entire process has made me appreciate men MORE than I ever have before.

Truth be told, there is The Asshole who started all this. He's mean and he lies, and he's a huge part of the reason I feel like I need to wrap myself up in bubble wrap and stick on a label that says "Fragile" before leaving the house most days. (NOT talking about my ex-husband. He's a good person and I love him a lot.) But besides that guy, I've been really lucky.

Not to discount the women in my life who have been fiercely loyal...

But one of my best friends showed up last night, with pizza and red wine, which he picked out because the store didn't have any of my favorites and this one had a happy pink label, and it made me think. My whole life I've put so much emphasis on girlfriends. And they are great to have. But when the chips are down, and I've stood on the precipice of completely losing myself trying to deal with all this loss, more often than not, it's been a man who grabbed me and pulled me back.

And they are sensitive. They do get us. They talk about feelings. They can listen empathetically without just giving you a solution.

Over the past few years, the men in my life have spent literally hundreds of hours listening to me talk about my feelings. They've stood by my side when I was alone and held my hand when I cried. They've lived with me, loaned me money, been my date for important events when I didn't have one, given me honest advice when I was getting derailed and needed to be readjusted, hugged me, sat with me without talking, put up with me when I wasn't me at all, let me sleep on their couches, brought me food when I was sick, remembered my birthday, cheered me up when I was sad.

In Jerry Maguire (best movie ever by the way) she says "Maybe men are the enemy. But I still love the enemy."

So yes, I'm Divorced. But I don't believe men are the enemy. I think they are trying just as hard as we are, sometimes harder. I think men are great, just the way they are. :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Winter of Grace

"By "guts" I mean grace under pressure." - Hemingway

Let's face it. Last winter was terrible. I was feeling a little sad on the weekend, in part because one of my ex-best friends was getting married, in part because my ex-husband was there with his fiancee, in part because my estranged sister was there with her new boyfriend.

A whole room full of people I used to be very, very important to, who now are no part of my life in any way. Not because we don't still love each other, but simply because of religious belief differences.

But there was another part to the feeling. It's starting to feel like winter (what happened to enjoying a little bit of fall weather?) and last winter was very, very bad. We watched a wonderful person we love very much slowly waste away from the monster that is cancer. (See Faith, Hope and Love.) I was able to push it aside in the nicer weather and have a recklessly fun summer, trying to forget about everything that happened, but now that it's getting cold, it's getting harder and harder to get that out of my mind.

Reckless summer and winter's arrival aside, I'm trying to be optomistic. I already know the melancholy and infinite sadness winter 2012/2013 will bring. Travis is getting remarried in January. Still seems too soon. And Nicole? Really? I don't see it, as nice of a person as she is.

Maybe he likes her because she is the exact opposite of me. She's dark, I'm fair. She's tall, I'm short. She's quiet and compliant. I'm emotional, outspoken and independant. Travis is not coming back. After all, it my choice to leave. My choice not to stay in a marriage where I would be forced to live a certain way of life, tied to a set of religious beliefs that I no longer had any faith in.

Well, don't worry. I'm not going to pull a Taylor Swift video moment and show up and try to break up the wedding. This is the Winter of Grace, after all. Instead, I had lunch with my mother. And then with my sister. It seems possible that's it's finally time, and I'm hopeful, we will all find a way to co-exist peacefully after three and a half years apart.

I've spent all night trying to write a paper for school, and here I am, on here instead. It's due tomorrow. I worked until 8:30 last night. Morale is low in the office of the CMO.

Even though it's almost winter, there may be good things ahead. But first, I need to stop listening to Freebird and get some sleep. The paper is almost done, will finish it tomorrow. And tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Man in the Mirror

Did you know Michael Jackson was raised JW too? Probably not.

Random fun fact. (I do love this song.) I'm not saying that's the whole reason he was slightly crazy.

One of my best friends got married yesterday. Ex-best friends. It looks like Travis is next. Then my sister. Yes, I'm happy this way. Things are really good and I have a lot to be grateful for. I can't help but worry that I may never look in the mirror and actually know who I really am.

Margaux today is so polar opposite to the person I always was. I've tried almost everything trying to figure out who I want to be now. I still have no idea.

I ran into Adam on Friday. I don't know who he is anymore either. But here in Toronto, he's the only person who really knew who I was before my old life went away.

The work thing is going great. But corporate? I'm good at it, but it's not really me. I spent 13 years working part-time and doing 100 hours a month of volunteer work. I started a new volunteer gig last week. It makes me re-evaluate everything else.

We don't live in a world where single girls living in a big city can just quit their jobs and go do volunteer work. The JW in me is hard to kill though. I'm sick of partying, sick of dating. Tired of working for a big corporation with a bunch of people who care about their jobs more than anything else.

Most nights now, I just come home and put on my pjs by 7 pm. Two of my ex-boyfriends called me last night. If I wanted to pick a normal happy ending, I'm sure I could. But I've already got one divorce under my belt, not gonna do that again.

I wish I could do something to make the world a better place. Make a difference. And it would be nice to not be alone anymore. It's been a long time. Find a way to reconcile who I was with who I want to be. Look in the mirror and recognize myself. But I guess I just have to be patient. Victor Hugo said in Les Mis, "Will the future ever arrive?...Should we continue to look upwards? Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished? The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depths, small isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threaten on all sides by the dark forces that surround it; nevertheless, no more in danger than the star in the jaws of the clouds". I hope so.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cold Effects

Ok, it's official. I'm sick and I've run out of snappy titles. Please feel free to delete my blog address from your favorites bar and find someone else to read.

I've been thinking about it all day and "Margaux vs the Common Cold" is not an exciting read. But there's something about being home sick that sucks up all your optimism and makes you feel really, really single.

Today, I started to understand why people stay in mediocre/unhappy relationships. It's probably mostly just to have someone around who will make you soup and get you another blanket when you are sick. Let's face it. Only someone who actually loves you will put up with the coughing, the Kleenex piles, the unshowered, sweatpant wearing you that wants to die.

There's something about the cold season starting again that I think makes people want to nest. Being single in the summer is oh so much fun, but come wintertime you want someone to come home to and snuggle up with. I've heard from FOUR ex's in the past few days. Mostly I've been letting it hit voicemail. Getting back together with an ex is an easy way out of being alone, but I'm at the point where I want to find real love, not a fill-in until springtime.

In an effort to move forward with the one goal I haven't accomplished (see Goal Setting) I pulled out my book today. It was with horror that I realized out of 72 pages, at least 62 of them were about Adam. I haven't touched this book in over two years, but I thought I was on my way. I realize now, I'm basically starting from scratch.

Because 62 pages of Adam is not a realistic perspective on my entire life. I have a new friend from NYC with contacts in publishing who said he would try to help me, but only once I finished it.

So here we go. I'm still not sure how it ends, but I know how it begins. And I'm hoping for a happy ending.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Giving Thanks

I've been excited about this one all week.

Another re-post, Giving Thanks is one of my favorites. This Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for a loving family; fun, loyal friends; a great job where I've had consecutively the best bosses ever; being back in school; my awesome apartment; the Cat; all the new people and experiences that have come into my life over the past year; and, of course, turkey!

I'm also grateful to all the people who are reading this blog, all over the world, everyday. Humbled and thankful.

I'd like to give a shout out to my best friend Liz on her birthday. I couldn't have made it through this past year without you. Looking forward to celebrating today with you! (heart)

Sending lots of love to Liz and everyone else this weekend. Try to take a moment to meditate on all the things each and every one of you have to be grateful for. Sometimes life can seem hard, unfair, stressful. But if each of us gathered up all our problems, and put them in a pile and then walked around assessing everyone else's pile of problems, I'm pretty sure most of us would choose to stick with what we've got.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here we go:

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving. Being lucky enough to live in Canada and have a job, for most of the people I know, this particular long weekend means turkey dinners, drinking wine, washing dishes, spending time with family and friends. I'm actually trying to fit in three separate Thanksgiving dinners this weekend if you can believe that. Two years ago I would have laughed at the idea that life could come so full circle.

There are so many things we have to be grateful for, not just this weekend, but every day. Family, friends, health, home, money, the list goes on and on. We are very lucky.

But this year the thing I am most grateful for is Freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom of speech. Things that people have fought for over the centuries, but I never really understood how absolutely necessary these things are to true happiness until recently.

I ran into a friend from a past life yesterday. She still lives the way I used to, being told how to think, what to say, who to be friends with, who she can talk to, who she can date, who she can love. She's not a very happy person.

But, because of how she's conditioned to think, she looked at me with a mixture of pity and condescencion. When she asked how I was, I thought for a second about all the things I wanted to say.

I wanted to tell her that with the barriers that kept me at arms length from my family removed, I have a closer relationship with them that I ever would have. I wanted to tell her that now that I no longer have to go through life secretly judging and trying to change people, people like me so much better. I wanted to tell her I finally have true, loyal friends who I know would never walk away from me just because someone else told them they had to. I wanted to tell her that I don't have to live in fear of that ever happening to me again.

I thought briefly about the fact that I don't have to be eternally single like her, because I can date whoever I want, instead of being forced to choose a romantic partner from a tiny pool of people who are "acceptable" to the group.

Thoughts ran through my head about how much I love my job, my apartment, my friends, my complete freedom to choose to live the life I want to live, not the life someone else is dictating for me. And how much more interesting it is to be able to bring anyone into your life that you want, just based on who they are as a person and not their religious views or lifestyle choices.

I wanted to tell her how strong I felt having been able to make those changes to my life and move on. But she never would have believed me anyway. So I just smiled and said "I'm great". And I am.

With a worried look that showed clearly she thought I was hiding my internal pain and suffering under a brave external smile, and a hug, we walked away from each other.

This Thanksgiving, I feel like the war I've been fighting the past couple of years is finally over. There are still a few battle wounds that will take a little longer to heal, but thank the universe, I am free. :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sex and the City

So I never realized this before, but life really is a lot like SATC.

Here we are Ladies, in our 30s. My girlfriends are all successful, intelligent, (did I mention beautiful?), kind, FUN.

We have interests, talents, abilities. We do not have to compete with the 22 years olds in short skirts. We can still pull off a pretty mean short skirt ourselves. And we have the confidence which comes with experience and feeling good in our own skin.

So why are we still putting all our self-worth into how we are treated by men? We live (gratefully) in an age where we literally don't need them. Not to say a nice boyfriend wouldn't be great. Love is the greatest thing in the world. But putting up with bad behaviour just for the chance that some guy is gonna change and appreciate us for who we are?

Not to say I am any better than anyone else out there. A couple of my recent blog postings were about the Scorpions who managed to hurt me. Obviously I still think about them, it still affects me.

But we're just as good as them now. Our jobs are equivalent (or almost), we have nice apartments, we can COOK. And the best kept secret? We hold ALL the power.

A man can walk into a bar, and put up his hand and say "Who wants to go home with me?" Nine times out of ten, no response. A woman on the other hand, will get a different reaction. The problem is, we don't recognize that we're actually in control. So we try too hard, make too many allowances, to make them like us. We don't have to. A good guy will be willing to work for you, to show up on time, (or at all), to wait for you to trust he is sincere.

One of my girlfriends spent our last few conversations crying about the guy she's dating. I don't blame her, if I put that much time and energy into someone who turned out to be such a loser, I'd cry too. I have cried, not that long ago, and one of my girlfriends spent that night, holding my hand saying he wasn't worth it. That's what friends do. Another good friend is still constantly thinking about THE question: why was her ex such an a*hole, when she was so good to him? Sometimes we just need to accept there is no answer, we will never get that closure we so desperately want to be able to understand what went wrong. Maybe the only answer is, because he is an asshole!

I just feel that all of us have spent way too much time lately mourning these guys who are JUST NOT WORTH IT. So let's make a decision to be strong, be alone (together), and wait for the one who is worth your time, energy, all the cute, thoughtful things you will do for him, your love and the *very* occasional tears. If we do it together, maybe we can change things.

In the meantime, it's Thanksgiving this weekend, so we will all eat my fabulous turkey, drink wine and talk about something other than the boys.

Please read me: You complete me...?

Monday, 1 October 2012

I'm Doing What I'd Rather Be Doing

My new boss, Jersey, (who by the way is officially my boss as of today, it was announced to the Firm) loaned me a great book today. (See link.)

It's all about the power of personal choice, setting realistic expectations, knowing who you are and what you want (and don't want) out of life.

Reality, drama, truth, the importance of accepting and feeling your emotions and...breathing.

All things that I buy into and have wrote about on this blog, but recounted oh, so much more eloquently. If you pick it up and have a read, you will not be disappointed.

Once we become brave enough to make our own choices (not those dictated to us by others), it's important to accept the implications that come with choosing. That whatever choice we make, we are comfortable with it. You know what you will lose and what it will cost.

I think I did that when I walked away from my past life, but no matter how hard you try to count the cost of a choice, sometimes it will be harder than you ever imagined. But to me, that is better than living a life of mediocracy, feeling sorry for ourselves that we don't have what we want, but part of the reason (or maybe the whole reason) is that we just won't even try to go for it.

Being true to ourselves means we are honest about what we want, we push ourselves outside our comfort and go for it. Even though our choices are always only ever half-chance, just like everyone else's.

At the end of the day, we shouldn't congratulate ourselves too much or berate ourselves too much either. Listening to that voice inside of us and doing what we need to do will bring less regrets in the end, than if we had never tried at all.

And you never know, maybe we'll end up being able to spend our lives doing what we'd rather be doing. :)

PS - If anyone in the GTA knows anyone who is looking to take a trip down the aisle and is searching for a bargain, check out this link. For Sale: time to clean out my closet...:

The prettiest wedding dress in the world.

Goal Setting

*This is repost from last fall. As goal setting is back in progress, I thought I would share.*

I haven't posted anything on here since June. (Not that I think anyone has noticed.) It was a wonderfully self-indulgent, lazy summer with lots of patios after work (yay!), dating (ugh!), suntanning at the pool, spending time with friends and even having the best trip back home.

In all my hedonistic activity, I was under the impression that I hadn't accomplished much at all this year. That was, until I discovered scrunched up in a drawer the other night a list of goals I had written at New Years. Of the 13 things listed, I've actually, almost accidentally, accomplished more than half of them.

And as for the things that I didn't accomplish - like getting back into volunteering or working on my book or losing weight or deciding how/when I am ever going to get back to school...those are things I started working on over the last couple of weeks even before I found my list. I'll get there. :)

At work, we are all required to write up our goals at the beginning of each new fiscal year. We're in the process of "goal-setting" right now. Over the year, we're measured and assessed by our progress on those goals, then given a performance rating, which ties into how much of a bonus we get.

I think life, like work, can be very similar. Discovering that list of goals this week taught me that although you can't really chart a course to attain happiness, setting goals to positively gauge your progress in the pursuit of it is important. Your performance rating measured against those goals will give you a feeling of accomplishment where you've done well, as well as point out areas for improvement going forward. At the end of the day, the "bonus" is that you actually notice the progress you've made and appreciate the happiness that you've gained, whereas without goals how do you measure your success?

It was a great summer, but I'm happy it's almost fall. I don't know why, but to me fall feels like somewhat of a new beginning. And once you've made peace with your past, the future can seem so much more exciting! Bring it on.

Fall 2012 Update: well, I did manage to lose some weight, got a volunteer gig, and I've been back in school since April. Looks like it's time to make some new goals. :)

Friday, 28 September 2012

The One that Got Away

Is it scorpion season?

Just a couple of days after my last blog (see Sting of the Scorpion) I decided to work from home. Best thing in the world is a sunny Friday afternoon, working in your living room. (Not really the best thing, the best thing would be not working and napping instead. But it's a pretty good gig.)

I decided to go for a walk at lunch. I am in desperate need to do laundry, I had nothing to wear. So I put on a pretty party dress and a pair of heels and headed out. I walked right into my first Scorpion, having lunch on a patio with my ex-boss. I haven't seen him in months.

In spite of the inconvenience that comes with accidentally running into the only man who has ever completely shattered your heart, I think the Universe knew I needed a check-in with someone who knew me before everything fell apart. I was happy to see him. The panic attacks went away.

I sat down with them and chatted. It took me right back through time to a place where everything used to feel ok. Not strange and lonely and scary.

Eventually Doug left and here I was, alone having lunch with Adam. He looks a little different. A little older. He's obviously had a haircut recently. He shared his lunch, I shared my life.

It was easy, natural and real. It was like we hadn't just gone years being apart. The challenging thing about having a soulmate out there, who you've already met, is knowing about Him. Knowing that he may have been your only chance at real happiness.

I'm happy now. But not the way I was with him. I have never felt that before or after. After all the hurt, the pain, the tears, the insomnia, the anxiety, I'm not angry. There is only love.

I told him my wine throwing story, he thought it was definitely in character. I told him about work and school and friends, all the things I've managed to accomplish since he left me.

I read once (oh gawd, I think it was in Eat, Pray, Love - I hate that book):

A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever. Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.

I will always be grateful to Adam. He let me love him enough to be brave enough to leave an entire life for him. Marriage, family, community, friends. It was the hardest thing I ever did. But it was the right thing. And I couldn't have done it without him.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sting of the Scorpion

"A fish may love a bird, but where would they live?"

I have nothing new to report, so let's tell a story.

Once upon a time, a cute, blonde fish met a tall, red-headed scorpion. She fell madly in love with him, so blinded by passion and romance, that she completely forgot about his tail. It wasn't until he almost killed her that she finally learned her lesson. (She didn't learn her lesson.)

She dated a few Leos (because a fish and a lion is such a better idea), but they mostly ate her for dinner.

Then she met another scorpion. Apparently, on their first date, she moved her chair back away from him a whole foot after she asked him his sign.

Pisces and Scorpios are an ideal love match.

This is what "they" say:

"The bond they create lasts a lifetime, even if they go their separate ways. Each returns in dreams, though they may never see each other physically again. It's just too deeply embedded in the heart and soul to ever forget."

Despite not being an idiot and completely knowing better, she fell for him, pretty hard and fast. He was a charmer, no doubt about it. Cute (but short) and seemingly completely enthralled with her, she gave away a good chunk of her heart. Willingly.

It was the first time since Adam, who was the first time she did that. The new Scorpion was an even better bullshitter.

After a few failed attempts at making something out of this, she wrote him off. Of course, eventually they ended up back in the same room they met. She decided to be nice. With a smile and a hug, things seemed ok.

That was, until he was sitting three feet away from her and started making out with some random stranger who showed up.

The sensitive Pisces tried to be a big girl for the first 15 minutes or so, until the Irish in her came out. She got up, threw her drink at him and went upstairs to cry.

I won't lie. First time I ever tried it, but throwing your drink at someone is ridiculously fun. Unless you are half-drunk and have bad aim to begin with and accidentally mostly hit the wrong person. Then you spend the next day wracked with guilt having panic attacks. Just sayin'.

Their dating season was cursed anyways, with her spending weeks and weeks thinking she was knocked up. (Sorry Daddy, I'll be more careful in the future.)

I actually thought the whole thing out very thoroughly. I couldn't raise my hypothetical Irish baby alone, so I'd have to move in with my best friend. The JWs would love that. Margaux's Complete Fall from Grace: Starring: Being a Single Mom and Living with Lesbians.

Mum probably wouldn't even send her bi-monthly "You're going to die at Armageddon" emails, she would just give up.

As it turned out, everything was ok. I'm getting older and the chances of having kids is decreasing. It's a two-edged sword. And as for the Scorpion? He's still free to go sting somebody else.

A very good lesson to learn though is the importance of trusting your gut. With the Scorpion, I had a crazy, instant connection. But I couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't OUR connection, it was probably the connection he has with every girl he ever meets. Makes you feel special, understood, desirable. He was very good at that. Too good.

And as for the fish? She's a little busy with school, work, the other work, a few friends. We're putting the boys on hold for now. But we're happy. :)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Hey I just met you and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe?

Last night at the restaurant, a guy came in on a date with a pretty blonde. Pretty common occurence.

But I knew him. It took a few extra, trying, but not really accomplishing, "discreet" glances, before I figured it out.

I dated him. About a year ago. We had a great connection. Not really sure what happened there. But he looks EXACTLY like someone else I dated not that long ago. At first glance, I thought it was him. I couldn't believe it was HIM, knowing where I worked and bringing in a hot blonde and all. This guy, who shall for the first and ONLY time, remain nameless, I was crazy about. The kind of crazy I didn't think I could do anymore. We had all of two dates before it fizzled.

Gawd, I think this means I have a type. But that's ok. You never end up with your type, at least in my experience. But then again, marrying not your type seems to lead to divorce so maybe we should just go with it.

Thoughts?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Big girls don't cry

The weekend after I got home from New York, I got some BIG news. It looks like my ex-husband is getting remarried. As I have literally no JW connections anymore, I found out from my girlfriend, who happens to clean his teeth. I guess we still go to the same dentist. Actually, that's one of the reasons I hate going to the dentist. It's right across the street from his work. I'm always afraid to run into him, and have him walk right by without acknowledging me. That would hurt.

We all know I've been trying to move on as well. I've had a few boyfriends this past year. But getting remarried? Just a little over a year after we cried when we signed our divorce papers? After being together for 10 years? It seems much too soon.

So I cancelled my plans for the day, stayed home and cried for 7 or 8 hours. I couldn't stop. I got out the wedding pictures and cried over them.

I cried about everything we had together, everything we lost. I cried because when I got married, I thought it would be forever. I never envisioned getting divorced. I cried because I still miss Travis. Not every day anymore, but often. I spent a third of my life talking to him, dancing with him at weddings, going on dates, watching tv, having our friends over for dinner parties. Going to cottages. Travelling.

We learned to speak Vietnamese together, travelled to Asia. We got MARRIED. We went to every Blue Rodeo concert there ever was. We laughed. We picked out furniture. He was the first man I ever slept with. He was the best friend I ever had. In the end, leaving him was so much harder than leaving every other JW I had ever loved combined.

Growing up with divorced parents, I never learned how to feel secure in relationships. I could never say no to anyone, because I was always afraid someone else would leave. Travis was as close as I got to finding that kind of security.

Being completely alone for a couple of years has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. As much as we look for someone else to trust in, to take care of us, if we don't take the time to make things right with ourselves, to love ourselves and trust ourselves, even falling in love and getting married will never make us feel complete.

I always had the ability to find someone who would love me unconditionally, like me for who I was, in all my imperfection. Someone who would be there for me every day, through the good times and the bad times. I just didn't like her, didn't trust her, didn't listen to her and didn't take care of her.

Margaux and I took a couple of years to straighten things out between us. But we're in a good place now. We still miss Travis, but we know that walking down a different path, alone together, was the right choice.

I don't regret marrying Travis. At the time, in the life I was in, that was the right choice for me. And I will always have a million memories that make me smile. I was sad when I heard this news. I know it means we will never get back together. But that wasn't going to happen regardless. I know it means we will never be able to be friends. And that makes me sad too.

I had a beautiful, perfect wedding. Most girls want that at some point. As much as I hope to someday be with someone, I don't necessarily need to have that experience again. We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, I'm happy for Travis. I can continue moving on, guilt-free now, knowing he's found happiness again. I will always love him and if this is what he wants, now, at this point in his life, I'm so happy he's found it.

So I guess it's not true that big girls don't cry. It was only right for me to spend that Sunday mourning this new development in life. I felt horrible the next day. (And looked horrible. I'm an ugly crier.) But I got up, dragged myself to work and back into reality. And reality means fairy tales don't always have happy endings. Not all loves last forever. Some aren't meant to. Being a short story instead of a complete novel doesn't make a love any less significant.

This chapter of my life is definitely closed now. But all that means is...you get to turn the page. :)

Hmmm. Guess I'm not just Blackbird anymore. Freebird:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHx7vaa9Fwo

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Young Adult

I say this a lot lately, but it feels like fall. I was cold today. Currently accepting applications for strong men who would like to come over and help me close my windows. They are so heavy!

I woke up at 2 am to a 22 year old hostess from the restaurant sleeping next to me in my bed. Then this morning, to a 25 year old busser on my couch. I seriously have to consider the possibility of starting to lock my door.

I came home for lunch at 1:30 pm to kick them both out, he was still asleep. I didn't have the heart to wake him up. I'm not sure right now that he has a home to go to.

Since when am I in University?

Ok that was a bridge. I am back in school, and finally enjoying it. I'm taking two more courses, which is a lot to take on when you work seven days a week and go to school at night.

But unlike the courses I took last term, this first one seems really fun. I'm taking two again, so we'll see how the other one is tomorrow night. I know I already really like the teacher, so that's half the battle.

I walked in and sat down in the back next to 2 20-year old jocks. It was our second class. I got called out in the first 20 minutes for not having some documents, so I had to say I missed last week's class. The teacher asked me why, so I panicked and said, in front of everyone, I was on a business trip to NYC. It's kinda true, I did have lunch with my ex-boss.

My new boss, Jersey Shore, says I turn three different shades of red, really fast when I'm embarrassed. I'm sure that happened immediately tonight.

After turning red and picking up my documents, I had a really fun night. The teacher wanted us to get a sense of what we'd be dealing with in a course that's all about public speaking. So he called out person after person, giving each a seperate topic, one minute to gather your thoughts, one minute to speak. It was hilarious.

Everything from "What's your biggest fear?" to "What should the opposite sex know about you?" to my personal favorite, "Pigeons".

I think this class will be a lot of fun. And after the last one I did, I was almost ready to give up. But we don't give up, us Irish-Pisces.

One thing the teacher said tonight, was to never forget the "CON" in confidence. He said the most successful and talented baseball players have a 70% strikeout rate. So they go up there, knowing absolutely, that even if they are the best of the best, they will strikeout 70% of the time. Fail, 70% of the time.

It's the training they go through, from a young age, that keeps them grounded. You concentrate on the things you can control: preparation, mental attitude, skill. You don't think about failure, past experiences, what you can never control. You stay within yourself, think about what you KNOW you can do, focus entirely on the present.

And that's what "con" means, doesn't it? No one is entirely secure, so we fake it. We have to be real so people like us. But there's still an element of con. And no one is ever going to trust us if we don't trust ourselves.

I've worked hard on this, having lost every inch of confidence after being dumped by my whole life. And I know I'm still a psycho in relationships who pushes people away so I won't get hurt again.

But maybe I'll do ok in school. Work is going well. Jersey said he had some interesting projects lined up for me, so it should be a good week.

Be strong, focus on the present and do what you know you need to do. And at the end of the day, remember to BREATHE. (see "Being Brave")

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Third Date Rule

Dating in the real world is still a new concept to me.

It's complicated. You have to factor in the good on paper aspects, do you get along? Have fun together? Does he have a good job? Similar values? Once you get to a certain age you wonder...would he be a good father? Can you imagine still being with this person when you're old and he's bald?

Then there's the sex. A friend of mine told me that if you aren't sleeping together by the third date, what the H are you doing? Another friend said she didn't sleep with her (now) boyfriend for months. She said when you start dating someone new, it's better to just date them, and have someone else you're sleeping with. Takes the pressure off.

For girls, this may be the way to go. I can't speak for everyone, but for some of us, the sex factor seems to make us slightly insane. I think it builds a false sense of intimacy, a more disappointing let down when they leave.

I can't help but wonder, is sex ever safe?

And as much as we try, can we diffrienciate that aspect of the relationship from falling in love with someone?

Besides the obvious dangers: disease, waking up pregnant, etc. is it possible to share your bed with someone without consequences?

For me, the best part is when you wake up in the morning, he rolls over and puts his arms around you. The worst part is when they get up and leave, and you never know if you'll see them again. Maybe I just haven't slept with enough men.

It seems that, by now, in my 30s, there are people out there who have slept around so much, it's not even special anymore. For others, it still means something.

Someone else I know told me the only way to get over someone, is to go out, meet someone new and bring them home. But I doubt that's the magic cure, although I'm sure it dulls the pain at least temporarily.

It would be nice if we all met that person, The One, while we were young and unjaded and it lasted forever. For most of us, on our second or third time around, that's not the case. We've been hurt, we know better, we build walls around our hearts and then cover them with barbed wire. Maybe for some of us, that morning cuddle with someone we barely know is as close as we'll get for now to love and intimacy.

But hopefully that will change. I don't judge anyone anymore, but I don't want to be the girl who won't sleep with her boyfriend, to keep him on the hook, while I sleep with someone else to pass the time.

But perhaps we should all wait for at least the third date. Sometimes, even if you really like someone, the third date just doesn't happen, and then you know better.:)