Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inner Goddess

I hesitated to title this post "Inner Goddess" in fear that what will immediately be drawn to mind is 50 Shades of Grey.  As the thought of that makes me want to throw up in my mouth (yup, that bad), I assure you this post is not about that book,  and for any of you fans out there, no offense ;).  Actually, I did read the first book and only the first book.  So basing my comparison to what this post is really about, to only the first book, Anastasia's "inner goddess" doesn't compare in my view. 

Since this new phase of my life is about embracing myself I am excited that at this point I feel myself focusing on the feminine part of me.  Women are amazing and I think I am going to have lots of fun exploring femininity (not feminism) but the simple beauty of being a woman.  And where better to start than with our inner goddess. 

 And what better place to start a little research than Google (blush, blush).  But I did, I Googled "Inner Goddess" and after pushing away the 50 Shades like spiderwebs, I came across an author, Anita Revel (Wikipedia) and I loved how she defined the term inner goddess... "When a woman is able to transcend inhibitive social expectations or perceived behavioral requirements and instead act in a way that is right for her, she is said be honoring her inner goddess. Anita defines the inner goddess as "... the beautiful, sassy, intuitive, lovable, sacred and authentic Self that we were born to be."

She has also wrote a list of 7 guidelines to help us all find and embrace our inner goddess.  Our inner goddess...
  • Celebrates her physical body and her connection to Earth, family and humanity
  • Is comfortable with infinite abundance, emotional flow and creative freedom
  • Is proud of her Self and her actions in all her aspects
  • Fosters mutually fulfilling relationships at all levels
  • Speaks her truth with diplomacy and shares her learnings with grace
  • Clearly knows what is right for her, and acts in honour of her innate wisdom and intuition
  • Revels in her divine purpose/work with gratitude, dignity and generosity

I like these guidelines so much, they might just help inspire upcoming posts!

Okay, so I wanted to end this post with some kind of inspirational feminine quote or poem, but in my search, I found this...

“My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five year old.”

Guess where that came from?  Really Anastasia, a five year old?  Point made.!.  ;)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Catcher in the Rye

My junior year in high school, I selected The Catcher in the Rye to do a deep thorough analysis of.  I remember enjoying reading the book so much and I remember pouring my heart out in writing my thoughts and findings after reading it.  I also remember what my teacher wrote on my paper after grading it... I had completely missed the point of the book. 

The theme of the Catcher and the Rye was the loss of innocence.  I couldn't relate to that book in that way or make connections because at the age of 16, I still had my innocence.  I was very fortunate to be raised and to grow up with a family and within a community that made it easy to preserve innocence.  I wouldn't argue with anyone who would say that in many ways I was raised in a bubble.  That is not necessarily a good thing, but as a teacher now myself, I am exposed to far too many children whose innocence has been torn away from them at much too early of an age and between the two, I'd choose the bubble in a heartbeat.  

As I grew older and went off to college, met and married my first love, moved away, lost a child, had a child and everything in between... I made many choices to expand my bubble, but never enough to make that bubble pop.  First I was a professional, then I became a wife, and finally a mother... and I saw many trials and tribulations along the way, but I was always able to maintain an overall feeling of innocence.  And in many ways I never felt like I truly grew up no matter how old I was and what life threw at me. 

There are traits that I possess both interior and exterior that have made it easy for me to keep that bubble from popping.  On the outside, I am very petite.  I haven't changed or grown much since my late high school/college days.  I am also "cute."   On the inside, I can be very gullible.  My natural instinct is to believe someone first and give them the benefit of the doubt.  I also have a hard time lying.  That doesn't mean I never attempt, I'm just not that good at it.  Those traits allow people to treat me in a certain way, not necessarily always in a bad or negative way, but in a way that does make me feel more like a girl than a woman.  Let me rephrase, I have allowed myself to be treated like a girl rather than a woman. 

Even after Dale's death, I still held onto whatever shreds of innocence that were left.  Fear?  Perhaps I feared getting old (or feeling old).  Perhaps it was for protection.  Perhaps it was the fear of the unknown.  I am not sure why I clung to that false illusion of innocence.  But that is exactly what it was.  I cannot sit here as a 34 year old woman and share the story of my life and claim innocence.  I have lived too much, I have seen too much, and I have lost too much to still be able to fit under the bubble of innocence. 

This was the Imagine Dragons song that I mentioned in my last post.  This was the one that made me feel that part of what's next for me is to embrace my whole self.  Demons... that's what Dale used to call them.  I don't have demons inside of me, but I know darkness.  I lived under the cloud of depression with Dale for many, many years.  But I know of an even deeper darkness than that.  There are many horrific things that happen to people.  Unfathomably horrific.  Watching the person you love above all others becoming consumed by his demons is unfathomably horrific.  So, I know what hell is as I was living in my own. 

Just yesterday I was in Manhattan.  I was all dressed up and feeling pretty.  It was gorgeous day.  I couldn't help but to walk down the street with a smile as I was just... happy.  At one point this song did come on my MP3 and as I walked down the street and looked at the people I passed I couldn't help but to think that not one of those people would probably have guessed that my past was my past.  Just like the video shows, you never know the life that someone lives.  That's a whole post in and of itself.  But, my past is my past.  And the reason that I can walk down the street with a genuine glow of happiness is because I have faced life head on with the strength and grace of a woman, not an innocent girl. 

Perhaps its time now to reread The Catcher in the Rye... ;).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's Time

Before I begin sharing my adventures of Part VI, I thought this song would be a great way to kick it off...

It was actually this song that led me to another Imagine Dragons song that made me think more about this new phase of my life.  I most definitely need to let go, relax, and have fun.  I also think too that at this point in my life I need to embrace myself.  I need to embrace myself and step back into the world.  I was hidden for a long time.  I began to come out of my shell in the past two years, but I am still very introverted.  For me, having more confidence in myself and the desire to let go and have more fun is going to lead me to become more extroverted.  And I need that.  I need to to feel more connected and part of society.  I have lots to gain... and contribute. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Part IV

I am at a crossroad.

If my life were a book I would say that Part I would consist of my childhood days.  Part II would have begun when I went off to college.  That's where I met my husband and my life with him began.  Part III began the day he died.  Just moments ago when I began to write this, I was thinking that I was about to turn to a new chapter in Part III, but that doesn't feel quite right.  I think these past two years have been huge.  They have been so significant that a part of my life dedicated to them would not be unjustified.  So now I am at a crossroad.  I feel that it is time to move on to the next part of my life.

I would have thought that the next part of my life would have begun when I had someone to begin it with.  That's not true.  And as I have shared in my last post, that is what I desire most.  However, that doesn't mean that meeting someone is more significant than anything else in my life.  I knew that Part III was going to be all about healing.  It was going to be about self discovery and finding myself.  I feel that I have done that.  I have found my core and I have confidence it in.  It's time to move on. 

What is both equally exhilarating and frightening about Part IV is that I have absolutely no idea what it is all about.  I can't give this part a title... it will have to wait until the end to be named.  I am hoping though that this time is going to dance around what I wrote in my last post... "Let go.  Be light.  Enjoy life.  Have fun."  Even though I am happy and I do enjoy life, I have been dealing with very heavy issues.  It really is time to let them go.  I need to release them from my head and my heart.

Moving on... its a scary thing, whether or not you know what you are moving on to.  When I look back at these past 2+ years of my life, especially through this blog, I realize that one thing that I needed was reassurance.  I needed a place to express myself, but I also needed to reassure myself of my thoughts and feelings.  I can see that when I remember and feel myself repeat certain things over (and over) again.  But I needed that.  I needed to feel the comfort of hearing things repeatedly.  There were times more recently when I feel like my posts were pulling away, that they didn't belong in Part III, but I would try and balance them out by writing another post to offset it.

What do I mean by that?  One post in particular that comes to mind is "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen."   When I think about it, I am kind of embarrassed by it.  I have wanted to remove it, but I haven't for this reason... It is childish, it is silly... It was light.  Even though what inspired it was an event that didn't make me happy and I had plenty of analytical thoughts (I just can't get rid of those!), my behavior was just different.  It was as if I had let my hair out... does that make any sense?  It felt good.

I have often felt guilty when I would write post after post and it seemed that mentioning my husband or that I missed him or I don't even know was left out and it made me feel guilty.  Guilty that I could write about more trivial things.  But I need to let go of that.  It has been over two years.  I know that things will pop up and I will want to mention something in relation to him or my past.  But... I feel now that its okay if long spans of time pass without doing so.  That doesn't mean that I don't think about him or that I don't miss him or that I don't love him... It means that I have finally, finally been able to sort through everything and have been able to put all that I need to in a special place and contain it.  It does not need to leak into or feed into every part of my life.  It does not define me.   I am comfortable with that now and it is time to move on to the next part of my life. And one thing that I need to stop doing is stop calling him my husband.  He was and I will remember him as, but I have to let that go too.  Part of my being anonymous for this entire time was to preserve privacy and honor, mainly for him and for my son.  However, if I no longer will be referring to him as my husband, I feel its dishonorable to call him anything other than his name.  Dale.  My husband's name was Dale.  A name lives on and that is what I will from now on call him. 

Without even realizing it, I have already moved into it somewhat with some of my latest posts.  I can't say that I am entirely happy to be looking back now at Part III, but I am looking forward to what Part IV has in store for me.  It is time.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hope... Faith... Love

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.” 
Emily Dickinson

My husband could never tell me why he loved me.  What he could tell me was that he saw a light within me.  He could see my light.  I think that light was hope.  Hope is something that I always carried with me.  Hope is what allowed me to love, marry, and have a child with a man whom I knew to be suicidal.  Hope is what I clung to during the darkest times and the only thing that I had when I needed to step away from him.  My husband believed that he didn't possess his own light.  I believe that when the thought that he was losing me, he also believed that he was losing our son as well and with that his hope was gone.  What he failed to ever see was that hope lives within each of us.  He couldn't find his.  But it was there.  He shined from within, I could see his light.  Everyone could.  Everyone except him.  

On May 17, 2011 my world was shattered.  I was left with very little, but one thing that I didn't lose was hope.  Hope is what has taken on me on this journey from that dark, silent day in May to today.  Perhaps the greatest gift that hope has given to me is faith.  Faith that has been drawn from within.  A faith that I cannot express in words as a description but if you have been reading, I hope that you can find it in my experiences, my stories, my perspectives... my beliefs.  

Last month I wrote a few posts about hope.  I even wrote about adding on a new charm to my bracelet that signified hope.  When I wrote that post, I had yet to purchase that charm, which is something that I had never done.  I had not bought it yet because I didn't have the money to, but I posted it anyways because I planned on buying it this month.

It was about two weeks ago when I began to think more about hope.  Hope was not a lesson that I learned.  It was something that I always possessed and although it is significant, it didn't belong on my bracelet.  In its place I wanted one to represent faith or to believe, which stemmed from my having hope.  Initially, I had a difficult time deciding which bead would signify faith, but when I saw it, I just knew...

A mosiac... an art of creating a larger images from smaller pieces... a beautiful masterpiece.  It is what I have been trying to do with my life.  I have been gathering the old with the new and have been trying to create my own masterpiece in me.  Green... life, balance, nature, energy... my color to represent faith, the key to holding all of the pieces together... believing in what I have taken with me as lessons learned to help me along the way.


Faith, hope, and love... It is said that the greatest of these three is that of love.  I have faith and hope.  I also have love that I cannot discount.  I have the love of my son, my family, and my friends.  But there is a significant piece of love missing.  That is what I desire most for myself.  Because I know with that it will also fill what I want so much so for my son as well.

Love is what this has always been about.  I most often referred to it as my amazing.  That's why this process has been one of self discovery and improvement.  I know that I must be and feel my most amazing self to find the kind of love that I am searching for.  I have not yet found it, but... my head is heavy.  I have been thinking too much.  The pieces are in place, its time to let it all play out and in the meantime... let go.  Be light.  Enjoy life.  And have fun.  It's time...


Friday, July 19, 2013


"Mine is no longer center stage.  It is a part of me.  It has shaped me.  But it does not define me."
This is what I wrote yesterday in reference to my thoughts on where I stand and how I feel about the tragic ending to my marriage and to my husband's life.  To come to a point where I can say that it is no longer center stage is a huge step forward.  It used to be all that I thought about.  It used to be the driving force for decisions that I made and thoughts that I had.  It used to be something that I thought defined me... a woman whose husband committed suicide who was left alone with their child and the wounds and scares that come from not only that loss but from the life that she lived leading up to his death. 

I remember when Jesse first became a regular in my life and it came to the point where I had wanted to tell him about what happened to my husband and to explain how he died.  I felt that I needed to spill it all and tell him who I really was. Thankfully I didn't go that far because who I was was not the person sitting before him telling this story.  At the time though, I didn't recognize that.  Others did.  My friends and my therapist all told me to reveal bits and pieces when they seem appropriate to be shared.  I, on the other hand, wanted to "come clean" and let him know who I was so that if he was scared or didn't like me he could just move along now before later.  

I can see now how I really wasn't ready at that time for him or for a relationship.  There were definitely kinks that needed to be worked out and I definitely needed someone to bring them out because I was unaware of what they all were going to be.  But the person that I was, the person that I had to forgive is not who I was that day I did tell Jesse, just as I am no longer the same person who told him.  I have changed and grown since the time of my marriage and I have continued to do that every day ever since.  

I would never minimize my husband's life nor the life we shared together.  If anything my husband has been the most influencial person in my life.  And at this moment in time,  I cannot say that there is anything that I do not like about myself that was caused by any negative experience with him.  He has actually helped me to find peace and happiness within myself.  And that is how he lives on in  me.

Experiences shape us, but they do not define us... only if we let it.  What defines us?  "It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do."  (Jane Austin, Sense and Sensibility)  


Thursday, July 18, 2013

We All Have It

It comes in all shapes and sizes, but it is something that we all have.  Some of us acquire it at far too young of an age.  But if you are one who feels that you don't to have it, then what have you been doing with your life?

Throwback Thursday #4 comes from March 2012 and what we all have is... Baggage.  I actually think a better term may be shit.  We all have or have had some kind of shit going on in our lives.  It varies and can vary tremendously.  It becomes baggage only when we cannot handle it to the best of our abilities and it weighs us down.  I actually still agree with what I wrote about baggage.  But, when I wrote this post over a year ago, I was still so traumatized that even though I knew other people had tragedies and hardships in their lives and some people live in that world on a day to day basis, my own was still center stage. 

When I look around at just the small circle of people that I know in this giant world I see people who fight and struggle with their "shit" just like me.  I work with an energetic woman who enjoys life and wants to experience it all, but she is slowed down by multiple sclerosis.  She has to battle that everyday and as hard as she fights, it is slowing her down.  I also worked with another woman whose daughter was born with cystic fibrosis and has had countless operations before the age of one.  This child requires special medical care and medications daily and that is something that will never change.  This woman seems to be upbeat and positive.  She walks and runs for CF charities and I think that this experience with her daughter has given her a deeper understanding of how beautiful and precious life is.  When I lived in VA my neighbors were a military family.  The father was a Navy Seal and was deployed constantly. The mother had four children.  One was mildly autistic and another had Down's Syndrome.  She was the sweetest woman and she never gave off the impression of how tiring and lonely her job as a military mom must have been.  I thought she was incredible.  These are just three examples, but I know of other friends and family members that have their own issues that they are dealing with as well too.  And I am sure that there is just as many, if not more that are kept private and I have no idea about.  We all have it and it certainly does come in all shapes and sizes. 

My story is very different from anyone that I know.  All of our stories are different.  It can be very lonely when no one can truly understand the road we have walked on unless they have walked it themselves.  It is not comforting to know that other people suffer too, but it is a comfort knowing that you are not alone in knowing what heartache is and what struggles are and how to fight from the depths of your soul.

Mine is no longer center stage.  It is a part of me.  It has shaped me.  But it does not define me.

So as I have revised my throwback post just a bit... I also have another version of "We Move Lightly" to share as well.  Enjoy!  And P.S.  That man had a heartbreaking story.  Devastating.  I think that he was a man of great character and strength.  We never did go out, but I think that was actually a good thing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Secret

I first heard about this from Oprah years ago.  But it was never a book that I sought out when I began my soul searching, spiritual journey last year.  I read The Alchemist and The Four Agreements and they both made an impression that helped me to better define my beliefs.  So even though I had heard of The Secret and I knew that people were reading and believing, I didn't take that route.  Perhaps that is the reason why I didn't take that route.  It seemed more of a fad and I tend to veer in the opposite direction of fads. 

However, when I was in Maine, the one and only book that was in the house we rented was The Secret.  Since I didn't bring anything more than a few Cosmo magazines to read, not only was I in need of a book, but I was drawn in by temptation as well.  What is the secret?

The secret is The Law of Attraction.  Essentially, it is the power of positive thinking over negative thinking.  And when I began to read this book, I could make so many connections with what I believed and what I have experienced myself. 

I believe in the power of positive thinking.  I believe that the perspective it gives to us (or that we attract) allows us to see opportunities and blessings that we may have otherwise overlooked.  I also believe that once you are on this path and you experienced this first hand, it starts to build in you a faith that good things/ a silver lining/ call it what you will, can be found.  And you start to look for more and before you know it, it seems as if you don't have to really look for it, it has always been right there.  Everything that you needed was really there all along. 

The Law of Attraction is about energies.  That is something that I also believe in and something that I will one day devote a whole post too (I've been working this one in my head for some time now).  We all have an energy.  We all give off an energy.  We can even pick up on other people's energies and can be either attracted or not attracted to a person based solely on their energy.  It's that powerful.  It's actually more powerful that that.  This is what drives our thinking... our positive or negative thinking.  That thinking is what takes us on our individual paths in life. 

As I read deeper into the first few chapters, I felt pretty good.  I felt good in that I wasn't some delusional woman (or atleast I'm not alone, lol) who believes in the power of her thoughts.  It hasn't always been easy to maintain and sometimes I repeat myself repeatedly, especially on this blog, but I have told myself what I needed to in order to get through the very tough times and bumps in the road along the way.  There are times when pieces just seem to fall into place and like the book said you can attract what you need, even the smallest of things that most wouldn't give a second thought about.  I remember when I posted about The Alchemist and how I felt that I found and read it at a perfect time.  I have posted about my situation with my apartment and my job and my son's day care location, etc.  many times and how it all has worked out to make my life and adjustment alone all the easier.  There have been countless songs, movies, and people that have passed through my life that seemed to have done so at precisely the right moment to make the most impression onto me.  So like my posting The Scientist and what I just wrote in paragraph #4, these pieces seem to be all around.  

Sometimes though I do think that I am that delusional woman who does just tell herself what she needs to hear to make it through the moment, the day, even life.  But then I ask myself what's wrong with that? I am not rocking in a chair staring out the window, I am not drowning my sorrows in drugs or alcohol, and I am not projecting or forcing my beliefs onto anyone else.  It's just for me and for me it makes life seem more meaningful, magical, and purposeful... beautiful despite all the ugliness and darkness. 

I never finished the book.  I didn't like that alot of what I thought was in a fad book like that.  I also didn't believe in alot that was in it too.  Like... if you think about becoming rich and send all of your positive energies into the universe... you will in fact become rich.  I do believe coincidences.    I also believe its the actions that your thoughts bring you to do that will cause a desire outcome, like working hard and smart and being dedicated.  Another example was with bills.  I cannot think my bills away.  My debts are my debts and if I continue to spend more than I have, I will forever be in debt.  I can make different choices to not acquire more debt, but I cannot wish a bill away that has already been created by my choices.  Or maybe I missed some of the points about these examples because by the 4th chapter I was content in just reading the summaries at the end.

The Secret... I can't say it added to my thoughts or beliefs, but it did make me think more about them.  I need them... my beliefs. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stuck in Love

I had my babysitter tonight, the first night in over a month.  It was a much anticipated and needed night out.  So what's a girl to do with a free night off?  Go out with girlfriends?  Noooo, no one was available.  Go on a date?  Nooo, no prospects just yet.  A single gal all on her own goes to a wine bar, sits next to a cute guy whose date arrives only minutes later, and gets a sangria on this blazing hot summer night.  Then she goes to a movie to keep cool and sees... Stuck in Love. 

There's an indie cinema in the city that I love.  It's right off of my subway line, it's in a cool spot, and it plays some really great films that I never would have heard about otherwise.  So when I checked out the listings for my "big" night out, "Stuck in Love" is what stuck with me. 

The movie opened with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes' song "Home" and I was hooked.  I thought I was going to see a film about moving on after being stuck.  But it was not that.  It was quite the opposite.  There were many story lines within the plot, but the main story was that of Greg Kinnear's character.  He had been divorced for three years following his wife's infidelity and he was stuck, stuck in love with her.  His wife, Jennifer Connelly, played a secondary role and because of that her character never truly develops so it leaves the space open to wonder why he is so stuck on her, especially since there was no back story on their love or relationship... or so I thought.  It wasn't until close to the end that it's revealed that he cheated on her in the very beginning of their marriage.  She waited six months for him to find his way back to her and she took him back.  When she did, she asks him, that if she ever is a stupid as he was, to wait for her to find her way back.  And he does.  Even when she tells him not to, that he is released from the promise (mentioned earlier in the movie, I thought it was their wedding vows), he still does.  He believes down to the very core that she will come back.  Does she!?!  I won't tell.  ;)

There is so much judgement placed on couples as a couple and as individuals when infidelity occurs.  Everyone has an opinion on what what each one should do and who is the victim and who is to blame and names are thrown all over the place.  It doesn't matter what actions they end up taking, there is criticism lurking at each and every angle.  I do not condone infidelity, but I do believe that there is worse that one can do to another in a marriage.  In this case, everyone told this man that she was not coming back and that he needs to move on.  Three years is a long time and I almost wanted him to as well.  Almost...

Because this character possessed was something that I wanted to see play out.  What did he possess?  Faith.  He didn't wish or hope for his wife to return.  He believed that she would.  He believed in her.  People have a difficult time believing in themselves let alone to believe in another where you are essentially left powerless.  I guess that's what is meant by putting your faith into another's hand.  And I wanted to see it play out because I wasn't so confident, I didn't believe, but I hoped that she would come back.  I wanted to see a happy ending play out.  

It helps to fill your own faith when what you desire can be found all around you.  A happy ending... even if it may just come from a movie. 


Monday, July 15, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

My post from yesterday was pretty bleak.  I don't wish time away and I certainly wouldn't wish a vacation away, but I must admit that it did feel nice to come home Saturday.  I addressed some of the things that had put me "out of sorts" and I have to admit, I am feeling so much better!

As soon as my son went to sleep Saturday night, I popped in Tony Horton and did a little p90x stretch and it felt so good.  Physically and mentally.

After that workout I took at shower picked out some killer outfits and got all dressed and dolled up... Date?  No.  Remember how I posted that I didn't feel pretty in Maine?  Well all those pictures my sister took of my for my dating profile reflected that, so... my nifty camera with a self-timer (shhh) did wonders!  Honestly, I am actually really happy with more than one picture!  And it was actually fun (in a sad sort of way).  I had 4 different outfits, I changed my jewelry, my hair and my makeup with each outfit.  I'm only using 3 pics from this photo shoot, lol... I'm actually not that pathetic and I did have some other good ones to use. 

I changed my profile write up with my new perspective, added updated pics, and voila!  Back online!  For some reason, I have this feeling that I'm not going to actually meet the one online.  But... I am often wrong and that isn't going to stop me from trying as if I will meet him online.  But it's time... find me already!  Even my horoscope says so...

    " Your love life should soon be hotter than July, Sagittarius.  If you've felt like you've been left out in the cold recently in the romance department, don't despair.  Your animal magnetism will soon reach an all-time high, and you will set hearts a-fluttering!  Your true spirit is shining now, and any potential romantic partners or your significant other, if you have one, will be drawn to your inner grace - not just our outer sexiness.   Use this time to build stronger bonds with an existing partner, or to go out into the world looking for Miss or Mister Right."  (According to My Daily Horoscope App)

Woo hoo!  No wonder my pictures came out surprisingly well.  There's no time to be bleak, it's time to let my true spirit shine!  That sounds so cheesy, but you know what, it helps.  And I'm happy to be back... in more ways than one.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Out of Sorts

I just returned yesterday from my week's vacation in Maine.  It was a great getaway.  My son and I had a great time and it was so nice to spend time with my sister and her family.  But I have to admit that this week, I felt out of sorts.  For as nice as a time I had, I couldn't help but to feel... not myself.  I had this constant unsettled/anxious feeling that I just couldn't kick.

I am a person who relies heavily on routines.  Some routines were easy to let go this week, especially when it revolved around my son and letting him spend time playing with his cousins!  Some routines I realized how much I rely on and even though I had access to them, I didn't seek them out and it left me feeling not so good.  Blogging and working out are two of my biggest therapies and I did neither.  It's not only that I didn't do them, but it's often what is going on at the time when I do do them.  Night time.  The quiet, lonely time.  Those have become my fillers.  Now, you'd think I wouldn't have needed any fillers of any sorts staying with a family of 6 for a week.  I always had company and I always enjoyed it.  But...

It seemed easier to handle the loneliness alone at my home than it did this past week.  Sitting here alone right now I can say, it is easier to handle the loneliness alone.  That doesn't seem to make sense does it?  I can only describe it almost as a habit that I know how to deal with on my own turf.  But taken somewhere else... I had a difficult time.  Being with my sister and her family all week also made me feel like my little family  is incomplete.  And it is.  I saw how my son gravitated to his uncle and ventured out into the ocean with him and hugged him and loved rubbing his scruff.  Now that my son is getting older, I can truly see how he does need a father figure in his life.  He doesn't see my father or his uncles often enough to fill that void for him.  And as for me, I truly miss having a companion.  It doesn't matter which friend or family member I may be texting, talking to, or sitting next to... there is a loneliness that only a significant other can quench.  I miss that and it hurts.

There were some other factors that didn't help in my state of mind this past week.  One, was the weather.  It was rainy, cloudy, and/or overcast for 5 of the 7 days we were there.  We also stayed in a very small town.  It was a very touristy town, but very small.  We (the adults) went out a couple of nights for drinks, but it was dead at night.  We had our own fun, but it was just so quiet.  We were basically the only ones in the bars.  I didn't pack well.  It had been so hot and humid, even in Maine!  But the week turned cool and I had but one pair of jeans which I wore for 3 days straight.  Not that there was anyone there to impress (lol), but I just didn't feel good about myself or pretty for that matter. At first, I felt like a sister wife (5 kids, 2 women, 1 man... ugh, I know, but kind of funny too, right?) but as the week went on, I realized how organized and routine oriented my sister is (she has to be with 4 kids!) and I soon began to feel like one of them.  She planned dinners and activities and at first I thought it was great that I didn't have to do it and it made sense made it easier to go along with it all, but it truly did make me feel like I wasn't my own family domain.  I even shared a room with my son and my niece. 

Probably what was the worst is that I was hoping to have some alone time with my sister.  I had mentioned that I'd stay at the house one night and watch all the kids so that she and her husband could go out alone and that hopefully he'd do the same so that we could go out alone.  That didn't happen as all three of us went out together.  We did have some time together and we had some good chats.  But, I noticed that she didn't ask me about dating.  (This is something that I had noticed prior to this vacation).  I talked about it a bit.  I told her about the hair bit and hoped she'd have some older sister words of encouragement like "a great guy will look beyond that" or "you are pretty enough with short hair."  But she agreed and told me not to cut it.  I did ask her to take some pictures of me this weekend so that I could update my profile and rejoin the online dating world and she did.  But something just seemed off.  And no, I didn't address it or question it.  It didn't seem to be the best or most appropriate time. 

Finally, in the spirit of being in Maine, I was reminded of the guy that I met when I went to Maine about a year and a half ago.  Interested in that story?   Click here and here.  Since I have been known to "browse" Facebook and since we were once FB friends, I decided to look him up just out of curiosity.  Well, he just got married!  Good for him, honestly.  For me, it just made me realize how quickly time passes.  I had met him only a few months after my husband's death and was not even close to being ready to date, I couldn't barely talk to the guy.  But,  I can remember that weekend getaway with my son and meeting him and it seems like it was just yesterday.  And now he's married.  Heck, my sister married her husband only 7 months after meeting him.  A year and a half is more than enough time!  Even though I had/have no feelings for this guy, I couldn't help this from contributing too.  Perhaps combining it with what I found on FB just days before my trip was what made it effect me.  Who knows?

This was not a vacation from hell by any means.  I truly and honestly had a great time.  I wasn't mopey.  I had lots of genuine smiles and laughs.  There were some great memories made!  And that is my silver lining.  If I can feel out of sorts yet at the same time, have all that I just mentioned, that's nothing to complain about and that's not what this post is.  It's just what was.  

Old Orchard Beach, Maine

We went on a lobster boat, caught this guy, walked him over to a nearby restaurant that cooked him right up. 

Footprints... Me and my son

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Outer Shell

Ok, I can't do this... but it would be awesome if I could!
This post is a follow up to Wednesday's post, An Acquired Taste.  It  comes at a very timely time as I have just completed the p90x home fitness program this past week!  So let me start from there.  p90x consisted of 12 CD's and worked everything.  Shoulders, back, chest, triceps, biceps, abs, and legs were all addressed through push ups, pull ups, free weights, yoga, kickboxing, stretching, and cardio.  It was a complete workout and I loved it.  I loved it despite the fact that I have lost 1 pound (I didn't follow the diet) and a half an inch in my waist... that's it!  But I am in such great shape now and I feel amazing.  I can do pull ups, push ups, and my flexibility is the best its been since I was in my athletic prime in high school.

This program did take me more than 90 days to complete.  But I was completely dedicated to it and the fact that it took me longer is because I made up the workouts I missed due to sicknesses, visitors, and a funeral.  I started way back in March and I am just proud of myself for sticking with it for so long and seeing it through to the end.  I've worked so hard and feel so great that I don't want to lose that.  I feel like I can even kick up (my physique) a notch by continuing this during the summer (I'm cutting down from 6 to 4 days a week though) and by going to an actual kickboxing class (my favorite workout besides yoga) which I am planning to start in September. 

I started this program back in March because I felt that I came to a point where I had worked on my insides so much that I felt I was truly happy with myself, confident in myself, and didn't need all my focus on finding and defining myself any longer.  It was time to work on my outside and make that match my insides.  :) 

So back to the focus for this post and the connection that it has with my post from the other day, the outer shell, my outer shell.  Like it or not, it is what gives off the first impression and it's important. And it should be, not more so than the insides, but physical attraction is extremely relevant.  For me, who does rely heavily on online dating, my appearance matters all the more.  And I have to kick in living in NYC too.  There are SO many people here.  There are SO many options.  There are SO many beautiful people here.  The competition is heavy.  Now I know it only takes one, but the more people I attract, the more choices I have.

So in that post I keep referring too, I listed the top three things that made a woman attractive... being fit, facial structure, and hair.  Here's what I am going to do about them.  But, before I do, let me just point out that these are decisions that I am making about myself.  I am going to stay true to myself and only enhance what I already have to make me feel more feminine and sexy.  Grrrr (lol... I had some rum tonight.)

1.  Being physically fit... Well, I already addressed this one above.  The only thing I need to add on is that even though I feel that I am well dressed and don't really need to improve in that area... I do need to look for a few dresses/outfits that I can "show off" my body better while still remaining classic, sophisticated, and fun!

2.  Facial structure... Well, I am not going to have any kind of surgery, lol.  But I did play with the camera last night.  I took a head shot, cut my face in half, duplicated that half and found... that I still looked pretty much like me still.  Verdict... I am pretty symmetrical!  Yay!  I was thinking though that to improve this area, perhaps I have to focus on makeup (which is its own category).  I am not very good with make up but I do want to have three looks.  I want to find a look where I use less makeup.  I am very fair.  My eyebrows and eyelashes are super blond and barely noticeable.  So, I use an eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, and mascara everyday because otherwise I feel there is no focus on my face... nowhere for the eye to grab on to.   I have been forgoing the eyeliner these past few days of summer and I've felt good.  I have some color from the son and with mascara... I still feel like my eyes can be catching.  The second look I want is to have those big three (brows, liner, and mascara) alongside with a more natural eye shadow and lip gloss... This would be my main, "go to" face.  Finally, I want to learn how to do something fun.  I don't know what colors are best for me, etc.  So yes, I am a makeup wearer, but I don't think I over do it.  I just want to learn how to do it better!

3.  Hair... ugh.  I get it, long hair.  I am so far from having long hair, it would probably take me 2 years to have "long" hair, which would equate to perhaps the shoulder, just a tad.  One thing that I won't do is extensions.  I will wear makeup, I will color my hair, heck... I have under wire and padding (but not the ones that make you 2 cups sizes larger than I really am!), but I do have a limit on how far from my natural self I will go.   I don't wear false eyelashes and I won't get extensions.  I could see putting some fun colors, etc. in my hair as is now, but I can't bring myself to add on 6 inches of hair.  That's just too much for me.  If I did that it would be to impress men, entirely and that's not what this is all about.  It's about pushing my limits and changing myself in ways that I feel comfortable and are true to me.  I think that if a guy cared so much about the length of my hair, he wouldn't be the one for me anyways.

So having said all of that, I have decided to seek help.  I have a friend, a gay guy friend, who is a hair and makeup stylist.  I just messaged him today asking for his help in making me hot!  Maybe he can bump me up to a 7.5... and if he's really good, an 8!?!.. I don't know about that, but maybe to someone I could be :).  I'm excited about playing around with makeup and changing my look with different colors, etc.  I'm also excited about his opinion on what I can do to make the most of my short hair.  I have no problems growing it out, or attempting to... it would give me a fresh look, but I desperately need help in doing that so that it looks a way in which doesn't make me feel self conscious about, because that's definitely not what this is all about.

More than anything, I just want to have fun working on my outer shell.  I feel like I have been so intense lately.  And I can be intense and serious, but I really am laid back and yes, I can be lots of fun too!  Time to show that off! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

Throwback Thursday #3... This was not the throwback post I was planning on going back to, but well I had to do something today that sparked the need to change direction.  The throwback post goes all the way back to February of 2012 and it's titled, 500 Days of Summer.  I wish I was going back here to tell you I found a sweet and cute guy like Tom or that I wanted to chat about Zooey Deschanel in The New Girl (love that show, so funny!).  But I'm not.  I'm going back here because I need to listen to and chew on my own words that I wrote unbiasedly and purely before I ever stepped back into the dating realm.  

So what did I do to bring this all upon myself?  I was bored this morning, uh oh... So I went on to Facebook to see what everyone else was up to... and I decided to visit a particular guy's Facebook page.  Admittedly, I have done this before.  But since we are not friends and his settings are private, I cannot see a whole heck of a lot.  However, today I saw something interesting.  A photo.  A photo of himself and a chick all dressed up and standing close.  Safe to assume... you got it.

So these are all the thoughts that passed through my head today...
  • Initially, I honestly was happy to see it.  Finally, some sort of truth.  Yes, I know he never called back.  I know he's not into me.  But I just wanted something.  And this was it.  Finally.
  • The picture was posted about 2 weeks ago.  So it made me wonder, when did this thing start up?  It doesn't seem like it would have 5 months ago in February when it all went down.  But, maybe it did around the time that I contacted him again in late April.?.  
  • But then why did he respond?  And if he felt that was the decent thing to do then why didn't he recognize that saying such great things back to me wasn't the decent thing to do?  If he's so decent, why would he say that we will definitely talk and then... nothing
  • Admittedly, I call what we had a "relationship."  But perhaps it was even less than that.  I have not one picture of us together.  Heck, I don't even have a picture of just him.  I sent him a couple, but he never took one of me himself.  And we never made it to Facebook friends.
  • Was I the rebound girl?  When he said that I had always meant something and he enjoyed me and made him feel amazing, did he really mean that?  Or was it an empty "relationship?"
  • I am not Isabella Swan... I do not need to go through any sort of human right passages of dating (as I am sure something similar has happened to most of you).  
  • This chick... She had on sunglasses so I couldn't see her whole face, but she was cute.  I wouldn't say she was gorgeous, but she did have longer hair than me (ugh... see yesterday's post, lol)  Her outfit was cute and she seemed to have a similar shape to me.  However, she was much darker than me.   I'm was glad to have seen that we were somewhat similar. 
  • The thought, "I hope he's happy" crossed my head.
  • But because I am not completely nice, I couldn't help but to see the comments.   There were only a few and they were generic like great picture.  But none said, "Congratulations" or "You're such a hot couple."  You know anything disgusting like that.  
  • I also thought... He was the asshole who couldn't man up and tell me anything.  I even made it easy on him and he still said nothing concrete to me.  I didn't do anything wrong or mean or misleading, etc. yet, I am the one that is still all alone.  :(
  • And finally, the tiny part of me that still thinks that there is something special about him was also happy that he is with someone.  That's growth.  We all learn and change and grow in relationships.  If our paths ever crossed again, I would want him different.  I'd want him to have grown up with his shit together and to realize he was a complete idiot with me.   Another relationship would help that process and that is the exact reason why I didn't skip a beat to get back out there again.  I wanted to learn and change and experience what I could from another too.  I had hoped that I would meet someone who stuck, but that wasn't the case for me, atleast not yet.  
So... I am 34 years old and I feel like a teenager.  I'm a Facebook stalker.  WTF!?!  But... the sad thing is that this whole dating process isn't very mature in many aspects.  (Atleast when you are meeting the wrong people.)  There's so many games and BS.  So if my actions and reactions today are a bit dramatic, then well... I'm playing the game today too.  But... it's embarrassing.  This is an
 embarrassing post.  But I'm putting it out there so I can let it go. 

Taking a more mature standpoint now...  What's my deal?  Why am I still writing about this guy?  It's more about me than it is of him.  I put a lot of my faith in him, in the beginning and even when I reached out to him.  I put what I believed about people, relationships, and the life lessons that I have learned all to the test for him because I believed in what I felt.  And that feeling came from my gut.  I don't feel as if I put him on a pedestal, I just believed in what he told me and even his actions (in the beginning) and thought that he was worth it.  He could have salvaged a bit, just by being honest with me.  My faith didn't require that he must fall in love with me, only to be true and honest.  And I didn't get that and it shook me.  But what I think it all means is that, like what I wrote about in "500 Days of Summer" he really isn't the right person for me.  But the right one is out there... somewhere. ;)

I think this song is the perfect way to end this post... and it even comes from the album Teenage Dream, lol...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

An Acquired Taste

I've always considered myself an acquired taste.  Even now, when I feel like my overall appearance is at its best, I still consider myself an acquired taste.  If I had to rate myself on an overall appearance scale (face, hair, figure, and clothes combined) I'd say that I am a solid 7.  I think that's a fair number and I think the average person would agree with me (atleast that I am not rating myself too highly).  ;)However, despite the fact that I am in good shape, I'm well put together, and am decent on the eye... I am still an acquired taste.  What do I mean by that?  I am not a person that has now or has ever been one to get hit on (often).  I am not the one that guys gravitate towards when I am out at a bar or other social place.  I know there are other factors like body language, confidence, and flirtation that play a role, but for the purpose of this post I am focusing mainly on the outside.

The outside... it plays such a crucial role and I say that with all sincerity of not being shallow.  Even in The Beauty Inside there's a line where Alex says (I'm paraphrasing here) how important looks are how it opens up so many doors.  It can be hard to look past the outer shell to find the beauty within and that doesn't necessarily make that other person shallow (especially if you are unknown to them).  This connects strongly with online dating, where you are meeting virtual strangers who are mainly basing you on your photos, so not only are you being judged on your outer shell, but also on your ability to take good pictures, which are not one in the same.  

I have to admit that I have been reading lots about dating.  I've recently read He's Just Not that Into You and I have now moved on to blogs.  Actually its one blog in particular, which like the book I just mentioned, it is also written by a man for women.  It's called The Rules Revisited and I have found it to be really interested and eye opening.  It inspired this very post which is basically all about what do men find attractive and the author of the blog, Andrew, has written many posts on this topic. 

One post that was very interesting is one that rates different aspects (and not all bodily) that men find attractive and then it also lists how much control we as women have over those areas (see Feminine Beauty is Highly Controllable).  Just to summarize that, the top 3 most important, {drum roll}...
  1. Weight and Fitness (30%)
  2. Facial Structure  (20%)
  3. Hair  (7%)
Let's explore them a bit more, starting with weight and fitness.  I was happy to see that this was #1 because (damnit, I just worked my ass off for the last 3 months doing p90x, lol) it is one that women have (some) control over.  And, it's not all about the number, as is weight number.  It's about looking fit and healthy and being a size 0 doesn't necessarily work to your advantage (Wait... what!?! I'm a size 0, seriously I am).  It's also about your curves and where you have them and how you work them and dress them, etc.  How do I measure up here?  Even though I am a size 0, I am not a complete banana shape.  Having my son has helped make be feel like I have a more feminine figure and I am completely happy with not ever making back to my pre-baby weight.  I am about 7 pounds heavier, and I like it.  I definitely carry more curves in the derriere than in the chest (B cup here, lol), but I am so over that insecurity.  So overall, I think I fair pretty well here, thank God for the 30%!

Facial structure... uh, what?  I know that a symmetrical face is more attractive to the eye, but I am not sure how symmetrical or non-symmetrical I am, perhaps I need to play with the camera tonight, lol.  As far as anything else, I am most insecure about the dark circles under my eyes.  I have always had them.  I have tried a million different types of makeup and creams, but they are just there.  They are just me. I try my best to cover them and to choose makeup colors that will distract from them, but I sometimes I feel that I am more hard on myself about them than they are actually noticed by others, because... what I get commented on the most... my eyes and lips.  Funny, because those are two the the features my husband downplayed to me.  But I have been told that my eyes look honest and innocent (maybe that's not a compliment.?.) and I've heard a variety of things about my lips/smile.  How do I measure up here?  Honestly, I have no idea.  I think this area is more subjective than #1.

The Rachel
Finally, hair.  Oh my.  What did I do after things ended with Jesse?  I got my hair restyled which equates to cut!  (Hmmm, perhaps my Turkish Tom Cruise wasn't flirting!) My hair is already short, like above the shoulders short.  I have never had long hair and when it was long (like shoulder length) it was nasty.  My hair is fine and so when it gets long it get straggly.  My hair is naturally curly which also mean when it gets long it gets frizzy, no matter the products used.  So short hair it is and I have to admit it works on me.  It fits me, my facial structure (lol), and my petite size.  I have asked plenty of beauticians about this and they all agree.  But in another post from Andrew, short hair is an "inspite of" rather than a "because of."  And its true... I saw a post where there were about 8 photos of the same woman but in each one her hair and/or makeup were done differently (all head shots).  Guess where she was rated the highest (and you could see each man that voted and his rankings)?  The photo of her with long hair that looked unkept... but it was long!  Ugh.  How do I measure up?  I fall as short as my hair does here.  I'd like to say well, it's only 7%, but it is #3!

Guess what else I read last night?  I read an article from an online site that I actually use, OK Cupid and it was about who gets the most messages (and this didn't go into what the message entailed and who was sending them, it was all about quantity, not quality of the messages).  Well, ranking woman from 1-4, (1 = ugly, 2 = ok, 3 = very attractive, 4 = hot) obviously, the hot ones got the most messages.  The second most, the "ugly" women!  Apparently, the 3's were overlooked because they weren't the "hot" ones that a guy might just try and take a stab at, but ones that were thought of as very attractive but more attainable therefore making the competition greater (in the male's mind) however, they were seeing the least amount of messages!  This article said that if you are cute, then forget it.  It works against you.

Ugh.. guys, I am cute (I cannot escape that word no matter how old I get!) and I have short hair!!!!!!!

I truly am an acquired taste.  I said that about myself without even realizing how true that really is.  Now there is always the exception.  The guy who truly finds cute and short hair attractive.  Or there are some that will find me attractive "despite" the cuteness and short hair.

Now this post is not intended to objectify women or myself for that matter.  But I do agree first of all that physical attraction is very important.  I have to admit also that I do the same thing online.  Eight out of ten times, I look at the pictures first and there have been many times when I haven't made it to what the man wrote about himself based solely on his outer appearance.  We can't deny the importance of the outer shell.  What I realized from reading the blog mentioned today is that there are so many other features that we all posses that can help balance ourselves out.  (Do I need another 3 months of p90x to make up for my short hair?!? lol).

I just thought that all of this information was fascinating.  What am I going to do with it all?  Well, that's for another post :).  For now, I am going to take with me that when a man tells me that he is attracted to me or that he finds me pretty or beautiful or hot... I think I am actually going to believe him.  That doesn't mean we are in love or that he is my amazing.  It just means that since I am an acquired taste and that girl that gets overlooked, he happened to notice me because he genuinely thinks I am all that... atleast on the outside.