Tom, Dick and Harry

I am thankful for Tom, Dick and Harry in my dating life. Every single one of them has taught me a valuable lesson or is going to teach me a valuable lesson and I absolutely am grateful for that.

Harry, I just wasn’t your Sally but she’s out there and I hope you find her.

Dick, you were fun…sometimes. Other times you really sting. Since one of us has to look a little deeper and I can only control my actions, it’s going to be me. Adios.

Tom , are you out there? I’m ready for you…I think.

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The Bakery Experience

Did you know that a doughnut experience or bar is a really trendy thing to do at weddings right now?  I love it!  I especially love it since it goes right along with my current train of thought.

I’ve been thinking so much about doughnuts (and not just because I have had no more than two bites of a doughnut since last April!).  My ex husband and I had a delightful conversation about donuts a couple of weeks ago and this analogy has been spinning around in my brain since then.

So…let’s take a little trip to the corner bakery shop.  (Remember that childhood song; “Well, I walked around the corner and I walked around the block, and I walked right in to a bakery shop…and I picked up a doughnut and I wiped off the grease…and I handed the lady a 5 cent piece.  Well…she looked at the nickel and she looked at me, and she said, “kind sir, can’t you plainly see?”  There’s a hole in the nickel, there’s a whole right through.  Said I, there’s a hole in the doughnut too!)  This is apparently the world’s best song, so says my brain as it hears it for the billionth time!

There is every kind of doughnut imaginable.  Iced, sprinkled, coconut flakes, powdered sugar, cookie bit toppings, even one with bacon bits.  I’m a pretty simple lady.  I just want something comforting, traditional and of course, absolutely delicious.

Countless doughnuts are before me, their tempting aromas floating through the air.  I choose what I imagine will be the most wonderful doughnut of all.  It was just set out on the cooling rack.  Warm and sticky to the touch, but not hot.  I pick it up, inhaling it’s sweet scent as I bring it closer to my lips.  My tummy rumbles and my mouth waters, I have not tasted a confection treat like this for a full year.

This particular doughnut (because it’s my chosen doughnut), is  softly round, gently iced with freshly made chocolate icing, perfectly heated and so melty that it will dissolve in my mouth.  Oh!  It is wonderful to look at, arouses my senses when I think about how exquisite it is going to be to eat every last bite of it.

I lick my lips and bring the object of desire close, I open my mouth and take the first bite.  Savoring every nibble;  I am pleased that this doughnut is every bit as magnificent as I’d hoped.  I’ve eaten about 1/2 of it when I begin to feel it’s sticky sugars coat my teeth and the roof of my mouth. I need a napkin because even though I have licked the icing off my fingers, they are still sticky.   I am quite thirsty.

Unfortunately, the water at the doughnut shop has been shut off and they are out of milk and juice.  I ask for coffee.  There is no coffee.  So, I sit down at the lone booth, all of a sudden aware that there is no one in the bakery shop other than the man serving donuts.  My thirst grows and my mouth feels pasty.  Where is the doughnut guy anyway?  It seems I am my only company.

I look at the doughnut remains in my hand, looking drastically less appetizing than before.  I am a little bit bored and unfocused…so I finish it off; not enjoying the last 1/2 nearly as much as the first.  Still, no one is here.  I am a little lonely.  Actually, my stomach kind of aches.  I don’t know if it was the sugar or something else.  I kind of wish I would’ve stopped after just a taste.  I feel bitterness rise in my throat.  I haven’t experienced acid reflux since I stopped eating sugar and now look…one little doughnut.  Why did I choose this when I knew what it would do to me?

I am alone in the bakery.  I see that the counters are a 60’s kind of bright yellow and the room all of a sudden feels too bright.  My stomach is bloated at the top and I need something to quench my thirst.  Where are the people?  My feelings of loneliness increase and I’m overcome with the feeling that I can’t leave fast enough.

I place a dollar bill on the table, in case the guy comes back and I walk out.  I feel the breeze on my skin, a little colder than when I came in.  The sun is out but it’s not warm enough.  I am reminded of the  way life used to be when I consistently chose the doughnut.  I am uncomfortable in my own skin and wish I could have a re-do.

Friends!!!

This is me talking about my dating life right now.  Let me break this down.

Physicality in a relationship…that’s the doughnut.  It’s sooooo yummy!  It’s soooooo fantastically good to a woman who loves feeling desired, giving, being close, being told she’s beautiful, ALL of the good stuff.  It’s enjoyable, phenomenal, pleasurable and fun!

The point is, the doughnut is super sweet in the beginning.  It is scintillating, intoxicating, forbidden yumminess!  Let’s be honest…kisses are fabulous, snuggles are warm, our insides are gooey goodness.  It’s all incredibly hard to resist. In spite of all this, it might be best to not indulge in the doughnut; or at least give some thought and intention before that first bite. Once you have a nibble, the cravings set in.

But, if that is all there is…the doughnut…I’m left with nothing but reminders of what I don’t have that I once (kind of) had.  I tell myself, no more doughnuts.  No more donuts!  NO MORE DOUGHNUTS!

I eat the doughnut anyway.  I get angry with myself because it was just a doughnut.  My hunger is not satisfied, I am thirsty still and I am alone.

Doughnuts aren’t bad.  Doughnuts are very, very good. They should just be ingested with a generous dose of awareness and wisdom.  There’s good stuff in that doughnut song.  There is a reason there is a hole in the doughnut.  The doughnut alone isn’t enough.  At least in my life, for me, for now.

Picture that same warm out of the oven, sticky, perfectly iced, soft doughnut.  Instead of an empty coffee shop, I am in line with many others.  I don’t really see them though, because my attention is focused on the one special person who I walked hand in hand here with.

We order a doughnut to share, because neither of us eat much sugar.  (Okay…that’s too much of a fantasy, we each get our own doughnut!) He quietly pays for our purchase and for the family behind us.  I admire and respect his heart and consider that he is worth everything I have been through to get to him.  I know he looks at me the same.

Also, we have coffee with real cream.  We sit down with our doughnuts.  The conversation is easy and the laughter is abundant.  This guy.  He is yummy, he is kind, he thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world.  We both think the doughnut is so much better when it comes with coffee and connection.  We discuss a little bit of the silliness of the doughnuts we enjoyed when we didn’t believed doughnuts were all there were.  There is deep gratitude for the now.

We agree, this is how it’s been for us…

Only the doughnut….  It’s sugary and temporarily satisfying.  But then what?  (Again, if one is in a place of only wanting the doughnut, enjoy the doughnut!)

Then, there is the whole bakery experience. Enjoying the doughnut with someone who savors it with you; someone who takes you to the bakery shop and sits with you; sips coffee; kisses and conversation are never ending.  Maybe even read the paper (or a little Anais Nin and Henry Miller to each other).

Doughnuts vs. The Bakery Shop…my preferences are a changing.

 

 

 

Loving me isn’t easy…

So…for dinner tonight we had our traditional Irish meal of freshly baked Irish soda bread, Corned beef with cabbage and potatoes and cherry cheesecake (because the one of the young leprechauns asked for it).
We aren’t Irish at all (I don’t think) but the preschool teacher inside of me will always enjoy these themed days.
Also, I should correct this to say “for dinner, I prepared” rather than “for dinner we had”.
We are a family of differing dietary preferences.  Stella enjoyed Irish soda bread with vegan chicken nuggets and cabbage (and made her own butterbeer floats for dessert). John had beef with potatoes and cheese on top, and of course bread…and I enjoyed a nibble of each.   He will probably have no problem finishing the cheesecake by himself…Stella won’t eat things containing gelatin (did you know it is made of animal bone marrow?) and it’s not on my diet…but it was fun to make.
I almost did not make this meal; the days of green eggs and ham are over and I know all about everyone’s individual needs.  Also, everytime we are around a holiday that was once celebrated as a family tradition (before divorce days), it’s a challenge for me to still celebrate.  It’s all about making a new normal, letting go of the old and building the new.  It’s hard work.
This season feels like it’s one of transition, and I must constantly tell myself to just hang in there.  Typing that out doesn’t even seem accurate.  Life, it’s all about transition and change but these days, it just feels very in my face.  I’m facing some old demons and really being given the opportunity to see who and what I am.  Simultaneously, there are new adventures and a bundle of fun.  I wonder if this is how my teenagers so often feel.
At the end of this month, my current work position will end and a new one will begin in April.  That seems like a good flow.  April is my favorite month, a time of new beginnings symbolically in now, in reality too.  My internship is getting busier and I really can’t believe that I will soon be a ‘real’ therapist.  It kind of freaks me out and I just pray that I continue to trust I’m equipped for this and step all the way into my gifts.  This part…it’s not about me.  It’s about so much more.  I can’t even express right now how grateful I am to be at this part of the journey.  My kiddos…I am catching on.  They really love each other but love looks different with teen siblings!
While this is all commencing, I am working on being the best me I can be.  I have a plethora of negative cognitions that I am trying to understand and reframe.  Why?  Because what once served to protect and serve me is now a futile energy force.  An example…
Recently, one of my dear sisters commented on how my body was so much smaller.  I immediately ‘phhhh’ed’ her and let her know I hated how slow my progress was.  She asked how much weight I had lost.  I told her I didn’t know bc  I was choosing to stay away from the scale, because it had way too much power over me.  (I keep intending to take measurements but haven’t done that yet.)  You know,  “I’ve looked at many before after photos of people who had lost weight and worked out…their scale said the same number but their bodies were completely different.”   She got exactly what I was saying….I don’t know if it’s a girl thing or a sister thing or whatever, but it’s nice to be ‘gotten’.
I didn’t (at that point) have a clue what my weight was.  I hadn’t weighed on a scale in six weeks.  What I did know…my jeans fall off of me without a belt; I’ve worked out every day for nearly 3 weeks; my energy is steady throughout the day and my skin looks good (except for a few breakouts).  That should’ve been sufficient, yes?
Nope.
I got right on that scale as soon as I got home from my sister’s house.  Guess what?  The flipping number is .07 more than it was the last time I weighed.  Guess what else?  This number sent my brain into tailspin mode. You see, it’s not just a number on the scale to me.  It’s a loud voice screaming inside my head that I will never be ‘hot’, it doesn’t matter, I should continue to seek out men who aren’t best for me because girls like me settle, etc, etc.  Ugly fucking thoughts that erased every positive thing I have noticed in the moments (hours) I spent going down that path.
It has taken me two days to begin to get into a better mode of thinking about myself.  There is so much negativity tied in a bundle for me around body image.  I am so thankful that I have strong legs, a healthy heart, a never ending ability to think and learn and so much more.  I hate that I get wrapped up in superficial shit, but I’m human, and I do.
It was not until Stella (my 14 year old daughter) was in the bedroom and she overheard me talking to myself in the mirror.  I don’t know my exact words but I know they were defeating and probably included the use of F-A-T.  She zipped into my closet and stood there with her hand on her hip; “Mom!  What do you think you are teaching me is important right now?”  There was no squirming away from the discomfort of her question.
How can I tell my children how very important self-love is and at the same time, demonstrate self-hatred at any level? I can’t, and it sucks.  Either I say what I mean and mean what I say or I don’t.
I’ve got work to do. It’s part of the transition. Maybe transformation is a better word. I don’t want to carry negativity forward.
Digging deep and learning what all of this is really about matters. There is certainly a part of me that feels more comfortable holding on to my image of a very pure, very good girl, and that girl is always wearing a mask.  Part of her mask is a cushy body.  There is another part of me that is very much enjoying my femininity, my sexuality and womanhood.  For some reason, I have it set up in my mind that she must look very different than me.  “She” must be in supreme shape in order to be worthy of those things.
I am trying to consolidate (still) that I can be very pure hearted, very good hearted, very God loving AND very authentic, womanly, sexy AND enjoy every minute of who she is.
I dream of a love story that I’ve yet to experience…it’s the one where I love myself deeply so that I can love others better.  People say loving me is easy…I am trying to find that truth for myself.

Determined

My Stella is a glorious, wise 14 year old. Being her momma is an honor, and she makes life more fun.

She and I were on the bikes at the gym this morning. It was the last 1/2 of my workout and my mind started it’s little “I don’t wanna” conversation. My legs are burning, I can’t, this is too hard, etc.

I looked over at Stella and she is peddling hard. Her expression was sheer determination. She caught my eye, took out one earbud and said, “mom, your ride is almost finished, you need to dig in and push through to beat yesterday’s mileage!

And all of a sudden, I forgot about my negative inner dialogue, dug in, pedaled hard and pushed through.

That Stella is a tough coach but a natural motivator. I was thankful for her encouragement (a little scared too!).

Tonight I’m laying in bed making a mental list of all the things I have or have not pushed through. I can’t think of one thing that didn’t have more value as a result of my pushing through the temporary discomfort or pain to get to the other side.

Just a little encouragement…remember the pain or discomfort can act to propel us to a higher level and help us learn so much.

Keep going.

Status Single

If I were to be interviewed tonight regarding my thoughts on dating, men and myself, I might be banned from opening my mouth again. Or maybe my words would reverberate a familiar tune to those walking a similar path.

There is a linguistic dance party in my brain and the words all seem to be dancing to a different tune.

I have been officially divorced for about a year and a half. I was legally separated for about a year and a half before that. To clarify, this was a first divorce after an 18 year first marriage (23 years together). I had never planned on a divorce and I am not sure what I think about another marriage. I do know that I never want another divorce. Ever.

The only reason I share this is to say that other than my ex-husband, I really had no experience dating. I had experience partying in college, but I am not of the opinion that this is the same as grown up dating. Furthermore, after an 18 year marriage, I came out knowing (mostly) how to be a wife…not how to date. Vast differences.

I find the quote in my picture quite funny. Although, in all honesty, I sleep on one side of the bed always. My side. It’s been “my side” for over half my life. I guess I’m still saving a spot for someone. I also stand under only one of my two shower heads when I shower, though I turn them both on. Again…Saving a spot. Oh the subtle ways we humans express the unspoken and maybe even unrealized is intriguing. Ironic.

I thought I wanted to date soon after our separation. My first ‘date’ was with a dear, dear long time friend. We had a lovely evening of wine, music and deep conversation. He kissed me…twice. The first time I cried. The second time I laughed uncontrollably. These were not the lips I had kissed for the last 23 years and I felt like a cheater. I have apologized to him a multitude of times.

If I remembered how to contact them, I would apologize to the men that took me out during that 3 or 4 month period of time. I would tell them that I was sorry for talking about nothing but my dissolved marriage and my children and to please not take it personal that I couldn’t wait to dash out the door after dinner. Oh…and that I appreciated them offering to walk me to my car but the thought of them trying to kiss me made me vomit in my mouth (but not to take it personal).

Obviously, I wasn’t ready to date. It just took a few dates to let that solidify.

Fast forward to post official divorce and I was in a different place. I was actually ready to explore the world of men (whom I found terrifying). Online dating was my means of exploration. I started, tentatively, soon after the papers were signed. It was not long before I went out for drinks with a really nice guy. One thing led to another and the date lasted until morning. I woke up, and I wanted him to leave. There was an obligatory kiss goodbye, a few nice little follow up texts and I’ve not spoken to him since. I think of him figuratively as the guy who broke the seal. Nothing less, nothing more.

Initially, overwhelmed with guilt, I immediately went to my best friend’s house and told her all about it. I can’t remember…I think I cried at her house that morning.

I had moved one step further away from my broken marriage and I knew it.

There was such a sense of freedom, even among the sadness. I had no regrets.

Soon after, I met the man with whom I would spend the next 9 months. I thought I loved him. I did love him. We experienced things together that I had never experienced. It was exhilarating, until it wasn’t. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a very wounded soul who would’ve destroyed me had I not gotten out when I did.

I’m thankful for my time with him…it grew me up immensely in a short amount of time. There is a broken piece inside of me that still misses him at times, but I know better than to ever delve back into that world.

I had one other relationship for about 3 months. This one was with a super special gentleman that I wronged in the end. I will always treasure those three months and hope that he finds the love of his life because he is incredibly deserving.

Lesson learned…there are titanic size differences in boys and men and age does not define manhood.

Intermittently, I have dated men that I have met online. There have been some fabulous friends made, many first dates, a few that I dated several weeks, a couple of disappearing acts and yes, one or two ickies.

I’ve listened to more Matthew Hussey and Single Smart podcasts than anyone ever should, really!

I have learned terms I never knew I’d need to know during this process.

I’ve been “breadcrumbed” And “benched”, maybe even “cushioned”. The trouble is, sometimes it takes me longer than I’d like to understand this is the case (games suck). I’ve “ghosted” (only once bc he freaked me out) and I’ve been ghosted. “Micro-cheating” feels macro and isn’t cool. “Love bombing” is real. “FWB” is fun’ish until it’s not. “Hi” is supposed to open the doors to a world of fascinating goodness but never feels sufficient.

Some people are able to convey a much broader range of emotions through emojis than they’d ever express in word and deed. For real. 😉🤔🙄😜😇😈💋🔥❤️ and I won’t even get started on the produce emojis!

Here’s a great little link if you’d rather read than experience the terms. (Or perhaps you’ll choose both. I got ya!😉) https://bestlifeonline.com/online-dating-terms-older-people-dont-know/

A bit of personal wisdom I’ve collected through my “research”…

  1. The dating culture online is fast moving and it’s not uncommon to get ‘real familiar’ with each other quickly. I think it’s something about the false safety of technology.
  2. Kissing is superfun and men are supercool. Seriously, I like them way more than I ever knew…not so terrifying after all. Also, a kiss can just be a kiss. It is not a covenant. Seriously.
  3. The range of wants is on a spectrum. Imagine one end is raw, uninhibited sex for a couple of hours and the other is deep, intimate connection for a lifetime. EVERYTHING FALLS IN BETWEEN . I must be clear about what I want in any given situation. Even better if the other party is clear you. I am learning all about what I want through an experiential training in my own life. Honestly, it’s often confusing and I don’t know what to do but feel it out and absorb the experience.
  4. Some can be intensely overwhelming the first few interactions…block them. As a matter of fact, block anyone who gives you any sense of the heebie jeebies, without regrets. No fixer uppers needed.
  5. Dating can be fun. It can also be exhausting and feel like being on a continual interview. Take a break when a break is needed and enjoy it fully when that’s what is needed.
  6. Dignity, honesty, respect, safety, boundaries, and a sense of humor…absolute necessities in my world.
  7. It’s lovely to be treated like a lady and it’s just as lovely to enjoy the company of a gentleman. I love my girlfriends but it’s simply not the same. Men smell good (hopefully), they feel good and they are just enjoyable to be around in a different way.
  8. I am a little bit old fashioned in some ways and a little bit ahead of my time in others. That’s okay. Just gotta be me.
  9. Someone does not have to be evil to not be good for me.
  10. I don’t have to be evil not to be good for someone else.

I told my best friend today, I would love to just date one person but I don’t really want a relationship yet. She asked exactly what I meant. I let her know that I wanted one someone to do fun things with; talk deeply with; someone to take me out; someone to kiss and snuggle and all the other stuff. She asked how this was not a relationship. Why? Simply because I said so.

I let another close friend know pretty much the same thing the other day. But I added that I wanted to be seen and appreciated for who I was; I wanted to see and appreciate the other person for who they are and I wanted to really love and cherish each other.

Currently, some part of me still goes toward and connects to those who likely won’t be my long term partner. I seem to unconsciously be drawn to the men that fit lots of my criteria but not the part that includes love and cherish in the intimate, forever sense. It’s tough…commitment is fleeting and vulnerability is rare.

In this arena; A grown up kid enjoying the playground and also knowing she yearns for her own “When Harry Met Sally” kind of everlasting love….that is me.

Until then…The journey is mine to embrace. Me learning to love myself fully is my assignment.

That’s a lot.❤️