I finally decided it was time to go back to college and make something of myself. I started in January and have had ZERO time for blogging or any sort of life it seems. I am still working on my post about the last ten years and I don't care if it's July, I will finish that sucker and post it! :-) In the meantime, Shoo Shoo suggested I post my English essays. Our first assignment was a literary essay. We were supposed to write about a book or an event that changed our lives or left some sort of impression on them. Something that made us greatful that we were able to read. I received my first essay back from the instructor on February 8 and she had given me a 100%! I was ecstatic to say the least. I decided it was probably good enough to share. SO, here it is.........
I’m Not Broken
I was devastated. How did I get here? I was everything I had always despised: pathetic, mopey, and heart-broken. We were at Barnes & Noble for my nephew, after all. It was his birthday, and he wanted to buy some Pokeman books with his birthday money. At some point I had wandered off on my own. I had been stuck in my own head, wallowing in self-pity for weeks and now here I was, standing in the self-help section like a sad, desperate woman begging for help on the Oprah show.
I knew I had to do something to make a change. I was turning into a shut-in. It had been five weeks; it was time. 35 days had passed since the world I once knew came crashing down; I lost my job and my boyfriend all in one day and it destroyed me. I didn’t even recognize the person that I had become. I didn’t want to see my friends. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. All I did was shove food in my mouth, watch sad movies and cry.
I stood there, reading through all the titles on the shelves. Then I saw it, the book I had heard so much about, “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt. I picked it up, read a few pages and decided it was worth a shot. Next to it, by the same author, a book titled “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, The Smart Girl’s Break-up Buddy.” It had a bright, eye-catching cover. The main picture was a vivid turquoise and hot pink tub of ice cream. Yes, perfect, this is SO me! It was a book Greg had co-written with his wife, Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. It seemed witty and insightful and I couldn’t wait to get home and dive in.
I read “He’s Just Not That Into You” in just a couple of hours. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. It only reassured me that I had made the right decision in leaving all of my previous boyfriends in the past, but it wasn’t all that I felt I needed to help me with my current situation. I started to read “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken” and I’m not sure that I ever put it down, except to sleep. I read it in just two days, and then I read it again. The first time through, I ignored the exercises and most of the commandments, thinking they just seemed so silly, but took almost all of their advice. The second time around, I really paid attention. I participated in all of the exercises and applied ALL of the commandments.
Greg lays out seven firm commandments. They were wonderful tools. I found a few of them to be a little more important than others. For example, Commandment No. 1: Do not see him or talk to him for 60 days, also known as “he-tox.” It seemed impossible. He called me several times a week and I would still see him once or twice a week, he just wasn’t my “boyfriend” anymore. By my second time through the book, I was ready. He-tox was the first step in getting my life back, on getting ME back. When the time came for me to break off all communication with my ex, it was actually very empowering. I immediately felt so strong when I said the words to him, “I can’t see you anymore, and I don’t want to hear from you either. You aren’t the one for me. I really do love you, but I’m learning that I love myself so much more. The only thing I can promise is that I will love you a little less every day.” That was the day my journey began!
I started to feel the transformation almost immediately. I couldn’t get enough of it. I kept going through the steps. The next major commandment that really helped me to move past a huge hurdle was Commandment No. 3: Get rid of his stuff and the things that remind you of him. This step resulted in a huge breakthrough for me. I rearranged my furniture and my bedroom. I boxed up all of his things. In doing so, I not only removed physical items, I also went through the mental process of removing him and accepting that he would no longer be there. Certain parts of this process were sad, but a larger part of it was liberating and it felt great! I was single, I had my own place and my own life. It was time to reclaim what was once mine, and that’s just what I did!
The last commandment is something that I still struggle with, on and off, in my single, everyday life. Commandment #7: It won’t work unless you are number one. That statement couldn’t be more true. It is probably the biggest key to this growing process. It not only applies to boyfriends, but to all friends. Every day we have to remember to put ourselves first, in all situations, because if we don’t, no one else will either.
I have passed this book around to at least six of my girlfriends. I know they have all loved it but they haven’t all taken it in as much as I have. The key to the success of this book in your life is to be willing and totally open to the ideas and exercises.
This book changed my life. It has been almost four years now since this transformation occurred. I no longer even have the desire to date or have a boyfriend. I realize that may not be the healthiest thing either, but I have become so focused on my wants, my needs and my dreams that I can’t even imagine making room for someone else. I spent so many years worrying about how someone else felt, what someone else needed, and how to achieve someone else’s goals that I completely lost track of my own. I realize I really had no self-worth, and I depended on my boyfriends to make me happy and to make me feel complete. Through his book, Greg showed me that I had the ability to feel happy and complete all on my own, and that is exactly how I feel today. I could never fully begin to express how much this book means to me or how much it has changed me, in every way. I do know that I count Greg Behrendt as one of my heroes, and I am eternally grateful for his wisdom and knowledge. I no longer rely on anyone else to make me feel good about myself. If I start to feel like something is wrong, I take a step back and I try to figure it out. I am now the only one who controls how I feel and what I think. I wouldn’t trade that for the world!
So...the past 10 years. I feel that so much has happened but you really have to sit back and think about it. Things don't seem to change so drastically from day to day, but until you really, really take a long, hard look, things do change dramatically in what seems to be a blink of an eye. Here's my attempt to recap the past decade...in list form -- from the important to the tragic to the ecstatic to the not-so-interesting to the very exciting to the "I can't believe I did that." In no particular order.
1. Graduated college
2. Not yet became the host of the Today Show...(I thought for SURE this was a shoe-in as soon as I landed my degree)
4. Got divorced
5. Lived alone for the very first time
6. Realized I was in love with my high school sweetheart
7. High school sweetheart got married
8. Got laid off (i.e. fired) from a job
9. Was told I resembled Heather Locklear, Tori Spelling and Mariah Carey
10. Completed dream internship in NYC at Us Weekly Magazine
11. Went to Vegas for the first time (and consequently met some great peeps who work for E! My fave!)
12. Became secure enough to go to the bar alone
12.5 Went to too many bars
13. Became an aunt of three:)
14. Fell in massive love
15. Got my heart massively broken and had a massive breakdown. But worth the lessons learned. :)
16. Turned 30
17. Daddy got cancer
18. One of my bff's got cancer
19. Three (yes! three!) of my bff's had kiddos
20. Was a bridesmaid four times in five months
21. Entered a limbo contest
22. Puked in my purse. Twice.
23. Saw Norah Jones live
24. Realized I have really, really great friends and fam
25. Started fashion freelance writing
26. Fell in love with makeup
27. Started the "say something nice about the person to the right of you" game (which, by the way, everyone bitches about playing but no one -- NO ONE -- leaves this game feeling anything but happy.)
28. Became grandparent-less
29. Went to Cali for the first time
30. Got three tattoos
31. Learning a lot about myself (I use present tense because it is an ongoing event)
32. Started a BLOG with one of my besties!
Things I'd like to work on in 2010:
1. Move to the city (not Detroit...How bouts Chicago or NYC)
2. Take control of my career
3. Take control of my finances
4. Be a better daughter, sister, aunt, friend, roommate, worker, person, mom (to my titty tats), gf (if it should present itself), Christian (first and foremost)
5. Not beat myself up so much, lose the guilty conscience, appreciate myself a bit more and think about what it is I truly want
Happiest of happy new year to you all...sending many hugs and smiles your way. May this be the year that we all find what we're looking for.
Because we'll do anything to entertain ourselves, Shoo Shoo and I decided to write our own (fictitious, albeit hilarious and maybe eversoslightly true) SWF ads, just for fun....
SWF, legal assistant, loves to travel (and has the debt to prove it), loves food (currently bordering on 200# but mama says I’m big boned so it’s all good), loves animals (so bring a lint roller when visiting my house or you just may be mistaken for a furry animal yourself when you leave), Independent (I decide which bills I pay and which ones I don’t fool!), loves concerts (and will ditch you for a rock star in two shakes of a lamb’s tail if the opportunity arises), Very neat and organized (don’t even THINK about touching my stuff and putting it back in the wrong position or you’ll lose a hand), loves photography (In a picture of the two of us, you will be cropped out every time), enjoys alone time (you will need to be penciled into my calendar), friendly (after 8 beers and 5 shots I MIGHT let you touch my leg), motivated (as long as there’s money at the end of that task…OR FOOD!), loves movies (if you say ONE word during that movie be prepared for the good ole “duct tape over the mouth” trick), enjoys true crime shows (and now knows how to pull off the perfect murder) and long walks on the beach (will ponder moving to said beach 5 times a week). If interested reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not your style, how about contestant #2.........
SWF, HR Consultant/Writer/compulsive job-hopper who is very interesting (read: weird), and ever-changing (from the on-again, off-again relationship with antidepressants -- never a dull moment!), easily jealous/envious (I want what YOU have!), has an attention span of a teeny tiny baby bird embryo (wait, what’s that over there?), loves to shop (to make myself feel happy for a split second, until I overdraw my bank account from the bad check I just wrote, then I cry again), easily annoyed (don't even THINK of scraping the side of your yogurt container so loudly...who eats that shit anyway? And seriously, could you breathe any louder?) likes to travel (from city to city, job to job, apartment to apartment, because I am convinced that it is everyone and everything around me making me unhappy, definitely not me doing it) searching for someone who is funny but not too funny (flushes easily due to my severe rosacea – but don’t worry, I spend thousands of dollars that I don’t have on IPL treatments to help fight the skin condition! Don’t forget the botox!), someone who really likes me (but not too much because once you do I hate you, then once you don’t want me I force myself into a tailspin of complete and utter depression in which I drive everyone around me crazy, along with myself, due to the fact that you were a wonderful, perfect king and I have chosen to put you on a massive pedestal while I loathe in the fact that you probably didn’t like me because I am needy, not even slightly domestic and my humungo love handles outsize my flat a$$), someone who likes to go out and have a few cocktails (read: get blackout drunk) and loves deep conversations (usually involving re-thinking my entire life).
Something profound came to me today. A fellow single friend (okay, it's Jenaroo) and I were emailing today -- as we do all day damn near every day -- and she seemed to be feeling blue. I couldn't quite put my finger on what had her feeling this way, and I don't think she could either. But for whatever reason, I was instantly reminded of a conversation that another (single) friend and I had the day before. We had been out for the night, having some cocktails, having some fun. She met a guy. He didn't particularly seem her type, nor did he seem as though he was sweeping her off her feet. However, as the night went on, she seemed more and more drawn to him -- shocking to me only because this particular friend is rather picky when it comes to the men she spends her time with. The next day we were reminiscing on the previous night's events and she said something that really hit me. She said, "You know, what got me was that at one point he grabbed my hand and he led me through the bar. So for one second, I didn't have to make the decisions, I didn't have to think."
While seemingly insignificant -- even trivial -- this really hit home. After being single for a period of time, is there a yearning inside of us that longs for someone else to be in control? Does feeling warm and fuzzy inside when a member of the opposite sex does something as simple or mediocre as walk ahead of you in a crowded bar mean we are compromising our standards? Settling? Then I realized that although, on many levels, it's great and empowering being single -- free of relationship stress/drama/etc. -- it's also very wearing to take on EVERY aspect of your life alone. It can be a LOT, even downright overwhelming, dealing with it all on your own -- bills, money, a home, family, health, your family's health, friends, stress, etc., etc. I am by no means saying that those who are in a relationship lack stress. Hell, they probably have more. And I know most gals have absolutely stellar friends with whom they can share these stresses with, however, sometimes it's just not the same as having someone call, text, email, whatever you wanting to hear how YOU are. How YOUR day was. Or simply just to hear YOUR voice. It makes you feel good. Even warm and fuzzy.
We do a lot as single gals, and we mustn't forget to give credit where credit is due. We take on the world by ourselves. Every day. So you know what, if I want to allow a dude to lead me through a bar, even if it's just so I don't have to make the executive decision of where I am going to sit, then damn it, I'm gonna do it. Every lady likes a little break. And a little chivalry. Even if it's for 30 seconds.
There are so many topics I could blog about, which makes me realize that I really do need to post more frequently, but today I am particularly stuck on the topic of givers and takers. I’ve realized over the past five years that I have an extremely high amount of “takers” in my life but it is really starting to weigh on me more and more it seems. Or maybe my tolerance for the takers is just growing extremely thin. Either way, something (or someone) has to give! (Clever, right?!) ;-)
I want to first start out by saying I’m not the type of person that gives to receive, not at all. I actually enjoy giving but there comes a point where people just flat out take advantage of you and they don’t seem to realize (or maybe they just don’t care) that yes, I’m helping them, they need my assistance but so do many other people and while I admit this is ultimately my own fault, it still gets VERY old!
I found myself faced with an extremely rare situation this past weekend – NOTHING, I had NOTHING planned all weekend! I think it’s the first time this entire year. I had blocked the weekend off due to previous discussions with my mom that we might be celebrating Christmas with my brother and nephew but as of Friday they decided to move it to next weekend, AWESOME!! I got out of work Friday with this amazing feeling of freedom. I made my TO DO list and was totally looking forward to some rest and relaxation. I started my Christmas shopping after work Friday night and as soon as I got home I realized I had SO many things to accomplish on the TO DO list and after taking a closer look realized that very few had anything to do with things thatI actually needed to work on for myself!
I don’t need to get into the specifics of each project that each friend or family member asked for my assistance on but by Saturday night I was BEYOND pissed off about it all. I mean why can’t they do anything on their own? Why is it MY problem? I sometimes think, because I don’t have a husband/boyfriend or children, people view me as the person who must have all the time in the world when actually, it’s just the opposite. I’d put money down that my life is twice as busy as any of my friends’ lives that have families to take care of. I think they’ve all just grown so dependent on me being the one to take care of all of their little projects that they don’t even think twice about it anymore. It’s really, REALLY frustrating. I realize this is a HUGE area that I need to work on and I have been doing my best to say NO and have started with invitations/commitments i.e, going out, parties, etc. But when it comes to helping someone I can’t seem to say that word and I really do need to start. I hardly sleep as it is and I was up until 3:30 last night working on something for my friend’s son. It was just ridiculous. She has no idea how time consuming and frustrating the project was/is (since I’m still not done it would be a present tense situation I suppose).
I don’t really want every single post of mine to be all out bitching and moaning but I really do feel the need to get these things off my chest and as far as my last blog, I know I walked away feeling like I could leave that issue in the past. I’m all about being honest and telling people how I really feel or what I’m thinking but the need or desire to help them outweighs all of the words I really want to say when I am approached with a project. For example:
Taker: Do you think you could help me with ***XYZ***, I don’t really know how or what to do so if you could just figure it all out, make it fabulous, and then get it back to me so I can take all the credit, that would be great. Oh, and I need it in two days, awesome-thanks!
Giver a/k/a ME: Ummm hells no!! Have you ever heard of Google? If you don’t know how to do something, type it into Google and 95% of the time it will give you step-by-step instructions and guide you through the process. I mean has it ever occurred to you that I might have a life of my own? You know, my OWN obligations and/or projects to work on? Figure it out! For the love of Pete I don’t know what to do with "XYZ" to make this person love it, they aren't MY person! AND, if I remember right, when you asked me what to buy for said person, I strongly urged you to go with the opposite model because it was easier to work with…but nooooo….you wanted to save $10 and in doing that, this f#$king project will now take me two or three DAYS! Seriously? Go F#$K yourself. I have a mountain of projects of my own to work on. Oh and Merry f#$king Christmas!!!
Yeah, that’s what I wish I would have said, instead I it was more along the lines of: Oh, ok, yeah drop it off, I can take care of it. Oh, you need it in two days? Sure, I can TOTALLY swing that…I just won’t sleep until I’m done. I can always crash and catch up next weekend…..
WTF?? UGH!!! I hate myself so much sometimes. It’s like get a brain. When will I ever learn? Apparently never!
So that’s the gist of my rant today. I’d love to vent some more and trust me, I could go on and on ….and on….and on…BUT, I must get back to this gem of an MP3 player and the fun little project that still lies ahead and hopefully I can get around to working on some of MY projects in the next three days.
On a good note: I was finally able to start Christmas shopping on Friday and I actually finished yesterday even! (Didn’t have a whole lot of $$ to work with but it was still fun). Now I get to finish my dad’s shopping for him….
Dad: Hey, could you pick up this candle and a Christmas ornament and something else you think your mom would like and then I’ll just reimburse you when I see you Tuesday?
Daughter a/k/a ME: (realizing he just told me I basically have ONE day to do this) Sure, I would LOVE to!!!
Merry Christmas…..3 days to go!!! We WILL survive! :-)
So, I awoke this morning (or I suppose it was more like, this afternoon) and had a text from my co-blogger, the lovely Shoo Shoo, informing me that she has made the first post to our blog that we’ve been trying to start since September! I knew it was just what I needed to get my a$$ in gear and do the same.
I had many thoughts throughout the day on what I could blog about. My recent trip to California, the annual Christmas party I held at my house last night, the pressure I put on myself to attend everything and my realization that no one else puts attending my shindigs on the top of their list, the mountain of debt that I am in, my fear of returning to college, my insane landlord that I’d rather strangle than ever have to talk to again...the topics were endless but I really wanted to try to write something that was somewhat upbeat and/or funny, as my dear Shoo Shoo insists that I am but I knew I was not at all feeling funny OR upbeat today. So, I decided to scan other blogs to find some inspiration and do you know what I found? Oh about 200+ blogs about moms, their awesome husbands and their children. Let me quickly say that I do not hate children. Almost ALL of my friends have one, two or three kids and I am “Aunt Jenny” 100 times over and I do love it, and I love them but this particular subject gets under my skin from time to time. When I run into friends I may not have talked to in a month or two, the friends that clearly don’t know me very well, always seem to start the conversation with – “So, are you seeing anyone?” to which I instantly reply “No! Why on earth would I be doing that?” I then also get annoyed and am reminded that they clearly don’t really know me very well even though one of the repeat offenders is supposedly one of my “best” friends. I could really go on for hours about my thoughts and feelings on this subject but I will do my best to summarize. My overall feeling on this topic is that generally, the people that seem to think a relationship with a boy is what makes life worth living, are the ones who constantly bug me about my dating – or lack thereof. I have no interest in dating at this time. Been there, done that. It always ends in heartache and I have realized that I am not going to have a successful relationship with a boy until I can fix myself. During this journey of “fixing myself” that I started over three years ago now, I’ve found that I’m actually quite happy just being me--single, free ME! The only reason I see, at this point, to want to be with someone would be to have children and when looking back on the past three to five years and all of the traveling, concerts, movies and girl time that I’ve had, I realize that not only is a relationship not really for me, motherhood probably isn’t either. I think, like any other girl, I used to have that image of being married and having a family as my future because that’s just what you are supposed to do, but I think that has all faded away for this single chick. SO, does that mean that my life is meaningless? Boring? Empty? To this I answer – HELL NO!!! Just the opposite. I can fill my life with so much happiness and adventure that most people probably can’t even wrap their heads around - and I wonder if people don’t have children just to try to fill some void that they feel? And I know I’m probably totally off base and pissing people off left and right but seriously – what is the big damn deal? Everyone that gets pregnant seems to act like they are the only person in the world to give birth to a child. Don’t get me wrong, childbirth is beautiful and it is a miracle but to all of those bloggers whose blogs I’ve scanned through I wonder, if you took the child and husband out of your life, would you have anything to write about? And if the answer is no, that just makes me very sad for YOU. So, yeah, think about that. Please stop feeling sad for me or for your other single, childless girlfriends. I know I don’t need a boy or a baby to bring me happiness and make my life complete and I’m sure they don’t either. In that realization, I feel that I have more than most people could ever dream of having. Hey, one day my life might take an unexpected, albeit DRASTIC turn and the boy and the baby may just happen (although the thought of it seems to instantly give me an overwhelming suffocating feeling) and if it does, I suppose I will then be doubly blessed. But please, stop feeling pity for me or for the token single girls in your life. I get to come and go as I please, go wherever and whenever I want and I don’t feel there is anything worth giving up that freedom for. Again, I love children, and I give you all credit for having them and raising them cuz I often wonder if I would ever even have the patience that it takes to raise a child, but it’s NOT what ultimately makes everyone’s world go round. I love pictures and I’ve had a great time looking at all the super cute pictures you, my fellow bloggers, have taken and posted. The cute little stories of the funny things that junior has said and done honestly crack me up, they really do. Heck, I’ve even decided to follow one of the blogs because I found it so appealing and the pictures were so amazing. It entertained me and captured my attention. I mean I even sat here and tried to make myself WANT that life because it seemed so beautiful and funny but it didn’t work. I can appreciate your lives and your children and how happy you are but all I’m asking is that you can switch that around and do the same for us, the single girls who are living life to the fullest. So again, just to reiterate, I am not at all hating on you or your blogs, but simply asking that you open up and realize that our lives are equally as beautiful and full of love. We just choose to live them differently. So I’m single, and I’m not a mother but it doesn’t mean my life is empty or loveless. Just the opposite! I had a whole day at home today and it felt like HEAVEN. I have so many commitments and obligations that it sometimes seems as if I’m constantly running seven days a week for months on end. My life is anything but boring. I have five cats and they are adorable and funny and full of love and that is all I need. I can also leave a dish of food on the floor and take off for a girl’s night out and not have to worry about them. It’s a wonderful life people!
So before you start your next conversation with a friend you might not have seen in a while with “So, are you dating anyone?” maybe take a minute to stop and think first, that person might not require a significant other and/or baby to bring happiness and fulfillment to her life. To each his own and this single girl is ecstatic to crawl into bed tonight and have the WHOLE thing to myself. Ahhhh…..it’s the simple things in life that I truly do cherish! ;-)
So I don't know what it is about Sundays that make me rethink my entire life. Seriously, happens every Sunday. Maybe a combination of too much drinking, depression of having the workweek start again, running into your ex and his beautiful new wife, who knows. But it feels like every week I am waiting for something BIG to happen.
I know all bullshit about not "waiting" for things to happen, but "making" them happen on your own. Fuck that. I have been attempting to "make" things happen for 30 years. But then, you also here, "Don't try to control things...they will unfold as they are supposed to." So which is it?? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
And while my life is pretty full and I do have tons to be thankful for, I can't help but always yearn for more. More money, my DREAM job, a date with a guy who actually WANTS to spend time with me other than at 2 a.m. (and this is a whole other post for another day, my friends), more clothes, loss of 10 pounds (well, if we're really wishing, how about 20), a vacation.
Not to sound superficial or greedy or spoiled, but wtf. I think I'm entitled to some of this, right? We all are!
Jenny knows this...at least once a month I text her "let's move!" although I know it's not possible right now. I know, I know...you can't run from your problems. And I wouldn't even say that I have problems. But just an urge for MORE. Do you know what I'm saying? Am I the only chick who feels this way? I know I should be satisfied with what I have and who I am, but I am not wired that way. I feel like I am never satisfied, there's always more to do, be and have.
Deep breath! For now, I suppose I'll try to be satisfied sitting on the couch in my jammies, taking a vaca in my head, writing my article for the Detroit Fashion Pages. Maybe later I'll go get a new tattoo. Or a pizza. I'll work on that 20 lbs starting tomorrow.
Jen-a-Roo~I’m a 33 yr old, SWF...and I’m loving every minute of it! I have 5 cats, a great duplex that I have just recently redecorated, have been a Legal Asst for 15 years & am currently going back to college to earn a BA in Forensic Science. I have many passions (music, movies & traveling); pet peeves (the word “ain’t”, people who cancel plans & people who chew with their mouth open); obsessions (Guns n’ Roses, Twilight and California); and quirks (I require a great deal of alone time, I can’t stand it when people touch stuff in my Inbox, & am a little OCD). I have a life list & I’m very dedicated to marking items off as often as I can!
Shoo Shoo ~ I am a 30-yr-old single working gal obtaining a PhD mastering life’s boulders, blunders & lessons. Inquisitive, empathetic & impatient by nature, & oftentimes her own worst enemy & her own biggest fan, she has a penchant for the color black, big cities, makeup & skin care, daydreaming (due to a slight case of undiagnosed ADD), & asking an absurd amount of questions. Blessed by the best family & friends around, she is also a journalist & HR consultant.