Jan 19, 2018
Jan 16, 2018
That was me...up until the end of October.
At seven months in, this is the longest I’ve ever been single. Imagine being in a relationship for all of your adult life, then bam! The unexpected happens, and there you are. A grown woman, and mother who has never dated. Suddenly, I am in unchartered territory...this including online dating. Women friends close in age who are happily married hear this, and clutch their husbands a little tighter. Horrified, they tell me they could never imagine being in my position, and couldn't possibly do it. I get it. I had the same reaction to stories of the unthinkable over the years.
I can totally remember hearing about something called match.com for the first time close to a decade or so ago. This was a place where you looked for a partner online! I thought that if people had to resort to this, then they must be totally and completely desperate. How sad for them. I also felt very lucky, if not a bit smug, because I would never need that sort of thing.
But here we are. And you better believe I had residual judgement coming with me into this new chapter of my life. But at almost three months into online dating, my thoughts about it are completely different than what I ever could have imagined.
I quickly learned that in 2018, having tinder and bumble is hardly different from having snapchat and instagram. Everybody's doing it. I've heard complaints of "hook-up culture", and the confusion of "hanging out" rather than legit dates. I'd gone out on a few set-ups which were complete duds (and ghosters). So, despite my nervousness about it, I knew I would need to take matters into my own hands. One night, I poured a glass of champagne and downloaded the first of the two.
I'm constantly learning more about what I do, and don't want. As I've gained experience and can compare, it's easy for me to see who I'm drawn to, and why. The why is important to me, as I want to be as smart as I can about this. I'm also able to learn and practice new skills that I hadn't had to before. It's been nice for me to build my confidence with dating, after feeling so low this summer. I don't know that I'm back at 100%, but I'm coming "back" more every day. And the only way to ensure this keeps happening, is forward momentum, and moving on with my life.
I first experienced this in my early 20’s. It would not be my last. I encountered men who tried to make me feel small, and question my own WORTH using fear tactics, threats...among other things.
I’ve thought SO much about what a terribly sad disservice it’s been to these men, to have been brought up in a world where this behavior (and view of what a woman is in relation to them) is OKAY. In a household where this is OKAY. These days, as I move forward with a little man by my side, I’m constantly thinking about how I can make sure he is an integral part of this NEW wave. The new movement, and a part of the solution. My biggest hope is to preserve the softness, and sensitivities I see in him. To raise him to VALUE equality, empathy, compassion, and communication. To teach him that these things don’t make him less of a man, but a bigger and better person. To have respect for his fellow man/woman/human. And to know the inherent difference between right and wrong.
The unity and the POWER of women right now is palpable. I can almost reach right out and touch the momentum. It has reminded me I am not alone. I am not small. And makes the ground under me feel a little more solid on days I still may wobble.
. . . . . .
"Part of what keeps you sitting in that chair in that room enduring harassment or abuse from a man in power is that, as a woman, you have rarely seen another end for yourself. In the novels you’ve read, in the films you’ve seen, in the stories you’ve been told since birth, the women so frequently meet disastrous ends."
- The economics of consent by Brit Marling
Dec 7, 2017
Oct 29, 2017
Oct 24, 2017
I’ve been a mama for a little over 19 months.
Today I was remembering how I felt physically after giving birth. I’d never felt more •in• my body. Internally, I could feel every last inch, down into my toes. I was alive, and buzzing. I’d never felt that way before, or since. It lasted awhile, and then it was gone. The transformation into a new species was complete. One thing that’s never left me is a new level of comfort in the skin I’m in, and love for it. I still can’t believe I lived so long without the person I love most even in my life. This body was the vessel that brought him to me. It carried his weight, and his bones, and his soul. Being a human is weird, and has never really felt all that natural to me most of the time. Cramming our big souls and starstuff into temporary housing, full of mortal coil. But when I reflect on the day it brought me my Little Prince, I kinda don’t mind it at all.
And I know for certain there is magic at work out there, beyond this plane...
Oct 19, 2017
Oct 13, 2017
When asked what I’ll look for in a future partner, an image immediately pops into my brain. Not of a person, a type, or a look. No. I picture a strong, vibrant tree. Straight lines, fleshed out, and beautiful. The roots traveling deep, reaching into the earth. I can smell the soil. Above the leaves, sunshine, and clouds. But above that, are planets and nebula. Swirling deep purples and blues. I can hear the motion. Boundless expansion. This is what I will hold out for, and there’s no time frame. A wise soul, endlessly growing in both directions. Feet firmly planted. Mind blown open. A man of both earth, and the infinite.
Sep 30, 2017
For me it happened slowly...then all at once.
In four months time:
Life as I knew it changed completely.
I underwent the most radical inward journey.
My thinking rewired.
I ended up in a place I didn't think I'd get to for years.
In four months time I deeply grasped:
People can only meet you as deeply as they've met themselves.
I am responsible for what I say, not for what you hear.
Hurt people hurt people.
I am responsible for my own happiness.
It costs nothing to be kind.
My biggest takeaway from the above, is that I AM OKAY. Not only am I okay, but I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN OKAY. I will ALWAYS BE OKAY. And NOBODY CAN EVER TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME. Let me explain. I recently delved into what MY responsibility was in various situations, and relationships from past. I've been digging through the why's. Why I've chosen the romantic partners that I have over the years of my life, the friendships, why I've experienced certain situations as hardships. What was I believing to be true about both these trials, and various connections that kept me there? What was I believing to be true that sent me away? That made me sad? That made me mad? I looked at blame. If I blamed anyone through the years for letting me down, for breaking my heart, for ruining my life, for diminishing my sense of self, for disappointing me, I started to examine. I was a part of the experience. I brought something to it. My energy. Myself. My time. Me. When I look at me, what could I take responsibility for?
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Byron Katie workshop. I was introduced to her teachings, The Work years ago by one of my best friends. I thought I grasped the concept, and I did...simply. The in-person crashed course CHANGED MY LIFE. I do not say that lightly. I will NEVER be the same. In the smallest nutshell, The Work boiled down asks 4 questions. When we're in distress, having anxiety, sadness, surrounding a disturbing thought, you ask: 1.) Is it true? 2.) Can I absolutely know that it's true? 3.) How do you react -what happens- when you believe that thought? 4.) Who would you be without that thought?
Through meditation on stressful situations, and inquiry of the thoughts we are believing to be true, we can begin to break it down and see things as they really are.
I am who you believe me to be.
No person has ever hurt another.
We are believers. It's innocent. A trick of the mind. It's impossible to change your mind from what you are believing in that moment when you're in the throes. But everything ends, and then you can begin to question. You place yourself back in that stressful situation. You may be surprised at what you find. What you're believing to be true you still may find is true for you. You may find it is not true for you. When you examine who you are without that thought about the situation, or person, you see them in your minds-eye completely differently. They may not look malicious, or cruel, or arrogant. They may in fact look scared, confused, hurt.
There is SO much more to it, and a process of turning what you have believed to be true about another back onto yourself, and an examination of your role. For example, you say of someone: "they're a coward". You say, "I'm a coward." You then find ways this is true of yourself in that situation.
Through this, I've realized many of my romantic attachments in the past were based out of my own fear. Fear time was running out. Fear there was no one better suited for me. Fear options were slim.
Fear I couldn't do better.
Lifelong issues have rushed to the surface, and I can pinpoint and articulate them for once. There are old "truths" for me to now confront:
That I need a man to be happy.
That I can't take care of myself financially without a man's help.
That if a relationship is easy, something must be wrong.
That romance is tragic.
That there must be struggle.
Romantic relationships have been a glaring want/need/priority through my life, as long as I can remember. Maybe because I never saw my parents in one. I can't imagine what it would have been like to see parents kiss, sleep in the same bed, go on a date, or say I love you. I wanted what I never had, desperately. I also feared I wouldn't have it. I feared divorce. Never, ever was I going to get a divorce. Well, I've got two (drastically different) divorces under my belt, and surprisingly, I am okay. I fully do accept my life. It's mine. It's what happened, it's all in, it's made me me.
No person has ever made me do anything! I have left when I thought I should leave. No one pushed me away. I have stayed when I thought I should stay. I could have walked out the door at any time.
I have wrongly and selfishly loved versions of men I've been with other than the version that was right in front of me. I've loved past versions, and future versions. Because of this, I've poked and prodded and wished for them to be things they are not, and I have experienced being poked and prodded and wished to be what I am not.
You can't teach a cat to bark. Some people spend a lifetime trying, and at the end of their lives the cat looks at them and says...meow.
Of her now husband, BK says, "he can't move me. I'll keep going with or without him." Imagine this said in the most loving, and grounded way. It makes all the sense in the world, right?! Why should anyone want anything less of me? Why should I want anything less of the partner I love?
But we blame each other for not living up to our visions. How could we? How could someone live up to my vision? It's MY vision! How could I live up to their vision? It's THEIR vision! Blame. The blamers, BK says are the most important people in our lives. They are the ones who wake us up. Those who agree with us don't teach us anything. We become the people we don't like. We ARE them. We see ourselves in others, and we become self-righteous. Advice you give to others is always advice for yourself.
I (you) am the problem. If I am the problem, I can take care of it. It's JUST ME. It's user-friendly. Everything that happens is FOR me (you).
BK said, "The more work you do, the more you fall in love with a beautiful mind. The clearer you get, you'll fall in love with a beautiful mind. It's a match. Like you thought [previous relationships] were a match. It shows you the distance you have to travel." This was one of the most comforting takeaways. No relationship yet has been it. The end all, be all. I have so far to travel! I am only at the beginning. I am aware of the gap of what I've experienced, and what is yet to be. The gap is vast, the growth has begun, and the end result can be nothing other than the truth. HOW. EXCITING. IS. THAT?!
Learning and beginning to practice this new way of thinking brings this image to mind:
I undserand far deeper than ever before how much we trip ourselves up. WE do that. By what we think, and believe to be true. I have literally not been able to walk out of a door before because of what I believed?! I have been this horse?! Amazing. I have felt a new lightness, a new compassion.
Learning that I am okay has been nothing short of transformative...
I had the power all along...
The best BK bit was this. "You've just been told a bomb will go off in 30 seconds and will end the world. Despite what you are thinking and believing...are you okay? [PAUSE] Yes. Now 15 seconds. Despite what you are thinking and believing...are you okay? [PAUSE] Yes. But the minute you start focusing, thinking, and believing the scary or terrible thoughts upon hearing that news...you've already blown up your world."
Lightbulb, on. I get it.
A few more nuggets:
-There is no hell so dark you can't go in and clear it all up.
-Love is the power. (Love by our own definition)
-There is no one not worth listening to. You can always walk away. Do you walk away with anger or peace?
-If you didn't compare yourself with anything else in the world, aren't you perfect?
-It's just an experience. It doesn't mean you ever need to experience it again.
Sep 12, 2017
Sep 4, 2017
Aug 23, 2017
I am working through feelings when the flashes of hurt hit, and it feels so good to get them out here. I love the art of it, that the simplest flash sometimes spins into the best blog. I love the writings, and the musings that come. I love that they are coming, and that I feel connected to myself so deeply these days. Emotionally, and artistically.
Aug 20, 2017
Aug 15, 2017
I may never be able to have another baby again, and you took it all away from me.
Aug 12, 2017
By Athena Staik, Ph.D
Copied and pasted in it's entirety below (original link here)
I've put in bold and labeled with an * the most personally impactful parts.
Dear Codependent Partner,
What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all-game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship.
And that’s the whole point.
When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.
I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.
I love the feeling it gives me thinking of you as weak, vulnerable, emotionally fluffy, and I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility, as weakness.
I love the way I feel knowing that, through the use of gaslighting, what you want to discuss or address will never happen, and I love this “power” to train you to feel “crazy” for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me, effectively, ever lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I up mine of you.
I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough, appreciated enough, and so on. (Misery loves company.)
(It’s not about the closeness, empathy, emotional connection you want, or what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children, and so on. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain, focused on feeling my pain, blocking you from feeling valued in relation to me. I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting between us, remember?)
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when you are with me, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property I own, my possession. Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.
I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to “prove” your loyalty.
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing; thus, I love that I can love myself through you, and also love hating you for my “neediness” of having to rely on you or anyone for anything.
I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this “neediness”; feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit, that I feel totally dependent on you to “feed” my sense of superiority and entitlement, and to keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.
(Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status, such as when you question “how” I treat you, as if you still don’t understand that getting you to accept yourself as an object for my pleasure, happy regardless of how I treat you, or the children — is key proof of my superiority, to the world. You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those “crazy” things that only “weak” people need, such as “closeness” and “emotional stuff;” and by the way, I know this “works” because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.)
It makes me light up with pleasure (more proof of my superiority) that I can easily get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things that you’ll later hate yourself for (because of your “niceness”!). Everything you say, any hurts or complaints you share, you can be sure, I’ll taunt you with later, to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself and confused, trying to figure out why I don’t “get” it.
(There’s nothing to get! To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours! It’s my job to show complete disinterest in your emotional needs, hurts, wants, and to train, dismiss and punish accordingly, until you learn your “lesson,” that is: To take your place as a voiceless object, a possession has no desire except to serve my pleasure and comfort, and never an opinion on how it’s treated!)
(That you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority. In my playbook, those with superior genes are never kind, except to lure and snare their victims!)
I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women (perhaps also others in general, friends, family members, children, etc. … the list is endless). What power this gives me to put a display of what you don’t get from me, to taunt and make you beg for what I easily give to others, wondering why it’s so easy to give what you want to others, to express feelings or affection, to give compliments, that is, when it serves my pleasure (in this case, to watch you squirm).
***I love the power I have to get you back whenever you threaten to leave, by throwing a few crumbs your way, and watching how quickly I can talk you into trusting me when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.
"I love you” means I need you because, due to the self-loathing I carry inside, I need someone who won’t abandon me that I can use as a punching bag, to make myself feel good by making them feel bad about themselves. (This is how I pleasure myself, and the way I numb, deny the scary feelings I carry inside that I hope to never admit, ever. I hate any signs of weakness in me, which is why I hate you, and all the “nice” weaklings I view as inferior, stupid, feeble, and so on.)
“I love you” means that I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, being in control of your mind, so that you think of me as your miracle and savior, a source of life and sustenance you depend on, and bouncing back to, like gravity, no matter how high you try to fly away or jump.
I love that this makes me feel like a god, to keep you so focused (obsessed…) with making me feel worshiped and adored, sacrificing everything for me to prove yourself so that I don’t condemn or disapprove of you, seeking to please none other, and inherently, with sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.
I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you (instead of realizing that … you cannot make someone “happy” who derives their sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for the weaklings who let me take advantage of them … like you!).
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes, that you’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer, and so on. Training you to look up to me, never question me, and bow down with pleasure to serve me as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my end-goal — my drug of choice.
(You may have noticed how touchy I am at any sign that you would question me; I hate how fragile I feel in such moments, worried that failing to train you in silent submission could tarnish my image in the world, something I care about more than anything else, even life itself!)
And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration, to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control. Why would I let it, when I’m hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would make you feel worthwhile, be wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me? Besides, it gives me great pleasure to give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, “I’m no fool.”
***I love that I can control your attempts to get “through” to me, by controlling your mind, in particular, by shifting the focus of any “discussion” onto what is wrong with you, your failure to appreciate and make me feel loved, good enough, etc. — and of course, reminding you of all I’ve done for you, and how ungrateful you are.
I love how skillfully I manipulate others’ opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy, and side against you as the “bad” guy, portraying you as incapable of making me happy or manly — or as needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish and controlling, and the like.***
I love how easy it is for me to say “No!” to what may give you credit, or increase your sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses; and that instead, I return your focus to my unfulfilled needs and wants, my discomforts or pain.
I love feeling that I own your thoughts, your ambitions, and ensuring the only wants and needs you focus on are ones that serve my pleasure and comfort.
***I love being a drug of choice you “have to” have, regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me is draining the energy from your life, and that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you most value and hold dear, to include those you love and love and support you in return.
I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell of thinking they ever loved you; I love making you mistrust them, so that you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you, but me.
I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing a few crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me is in constant need of sucking the life and breath and vitality you, and your determination to be kind, brings to my life, which I crave like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.
While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps. (I could never appreciate or value you for this, how could I? I hate myself for needing these caring, yet unmanly gestures, which disgust me.)
***I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you, not knowing that, to me, this is like a free marketing report. It lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken (control) me with your love- and emotional-closeness stuff.
In short, when I say “I love you,” I love the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know (and refuse to believe), that: the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game is the one who knows “the rules.” My sense of power rests on ensuring you never succeed at persuading me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because, in my worldview, being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic, innocent are signs of weakness, proof of inferiority.
Thanks, but no thanks, I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground, ever in competition for the prize, seeing you as my fiercest competitor, gloating in my narcissistic ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating … and proud, to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn’t hampered.
PS: I really, really need help — but you CANNOT do this work for me (not without making things worse for both of us!). Remember, we’re co-addicted to each other, so we’d never go to an addict to get help, right?
Only a therapist, with experience in this, stands a chance, and even then, only if I choose to really, really, really let him/her! (That’s because I’d have to face my greatest fear that, not only am I not superior to those I regard as inferior, and thus not entitled to make and break rules as I please, but I’d also have to own — that my own actions, thoughts and beliefs about myself and others — are THE main cause of the suffering in my life … and changing them, THE solution. I could not would not ever want to do this for the sole reason that, from my worldview, only the feeble-minded and weak do such things! Death is better, than losing.)