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Life is better with sprinkles! (Or: Let them eat cake!)

Life is about living. I’ve said this before. You only get this one life and if you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? I’ve also pointed out that any “diet” that doesn’t let you live isn’t sustainable. Well, we put that theory to the test this past week. My son’s father turned 38 (yeah, he’s old… but still cute) and you know what birthdays mean… cake and food. In large quantities, generally speaking.

It started Thursday with a fairly healthy dinner of homemade hamburgers on fabulous whole wheat buns. But then came the cake… four layers of chocolate death, overloaded with miniature chocolate chips and filled with whipped cream. Top that with buttercream icing and you have a sugar coma just waiting to happen. We all had a slice (well, everyone but the little man, who still staunchly refuses to eat anything “normal”) and as we were all sitting there settling into our food comas I asked “so, who votes I take the remainder of this cake to work tomorrow?”

There was an immediate consensus, so there was no repeat of chocolate overload in our household the next day. Friday is our usual cheat dinner day so we had pizza. I love pizza Fridays. But then Saturday… Oh lord.

I took the birthday boy (err… man) out to dinner. We hit up a highly reviewed local Brazilian steakhouse. If you’ve never been to one, let me explain. It’s all about the meat. It is meat, meat, meat, and more meat. There’s a salad bar, sure, but as yummy as the offerings there, the main attraction are the numerous gauchos walking around with various cuts of meat on spits, offering you everything from lamb, to filet, to rib eye steak. There are sausages and chicken legs and bacon wrapped goodness everywhere you look. You pay a flat rate for each diner and in return you get a little disk.

When you flip the disk to the green side, you’re swarmed by gauchos, all sweet and polite and bearing meaty death anyway you like it. Flip it to red and they leave you to stuff your face in peace.

Needless to say I warned the birthday boy to wear loose-fitting pants. After overdosing on meat we went back to my sister’s house for beer and board games. My brother-in-law is a game reviewer, so he gets all kinds of cool games to play for free (in addition to press passes to events like Comic-Con, where he meets people like William Shatner, Robert Downey Jr., and Nathan Fillion… he’s such an asshole – because he never invites me!!! LOL).

Anyway, the games are always new and interesting and we have a blast playing them. On the way back to my sister’s house though, I said to the birthday boy “ugh… you better hope she’s not planning cake or anything.” This earned a very heartfelt groan from the passenger seat.

Our little man had a blast running around with his cousin, until he tried to slide under the railing to the stairs feet first. We all had a heart attack when my niece started yelling for us. Mind you, we were only five feet away, but the stairs are around a small corner in my sister’s usually very child safe house. Thankfully, our little snot is a little too big to fit all the way through and no harm was done (unless you count our nerves being completely fried).

A reprimand for the little boy and huge hugs for the little girl and all was well again.

… and it was time for cake. Oh, the poor birthday boy.

When the night of fun and games was over my brother-in-law was packing up the cake. I adamantly told him “we are not taking that home”. There was a small fuss, but in the end I was brooking no argument.

So, we lived this past week. It’s a good thing exercising is a part of living as well and that over-indulgence only happens on occasion.

Enjoy life. Overeat once in a while. Try new restaurants. But know when to say no. Don’t take the cake home with you because if it’s in your house, you’ll eat it all.

But whatever you do, don’t skip the experiences just because you’re on a “diet”. After all, life is always better with a few sprinkles and a little icing.

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Magazines are Ruining Your Relationships! (a meandering and nearly unstructured musing on relationships.)

“Top 10 Tricks to Keep Your Relationship Strong!”

“Seven Secrets of Successful Couples Revealed.”

Get in line at the checkout of any store and these headlines pop out at you, challenging you to pick it up off the rack and add it to the cart full of stuff you probably don’t actually need. You thought you were happy with your relationship, but maybe those “successful couples” know something you don’t.

We’re cultivated from birth, in our culture of consumerism and vanity, to always look for the next best thing. Nothing is ever supposed to be good enough. There’s always a better version around the corner. And there are magazines, commercials, and all other forms of marketing there in the background whispering, always whispering, that you’re probably not as happy as you should be. With yourself, with your thighs, with your food, with your children, with your relationships; you don’t even realize it but as a woman everything about you is under a slow, steady, never-ending merchandising attack.

Stop at the magazine rack the next time you‘re at your local bookstore and note the difference in headlines. Ironically, the Men’s Magazines and the Women’s Magazines might feature a beautiful woman on the cover, but for completely different reasons. When was the last time you saw a Men’s Magazine that said “10 Sex Moves that Will Blow her Mind and Bind her Heart”? The sexism of the media and advertising has been much debated over the years but all you really have to do is walk through a store and pay attention to what lines the aisles; the differences between how things are labeled for men and women.

Cosmo Spoof

Women: Your wrinkles, laugh lines, cellulite, graying hair, dull uneven skin, lifeless or limp tresses, saggy arms (boobs, thighs, butt, whatever) are all HORRIBLE. You will hate yourself forever if you don’t fix them. Your children are not smart/cute/advanced/gifted/spoiled/organic/indulged/enlightened/etc.. enough and will grow up to be gang banging serial puppy murderers if you don’t catch up. Your relationship is NOT happy! You’re deluding yourself if you think it is.

Men: You need to increase your physical and sexual performance, take this supplement. Look at this half naked model on the cover; she likes puppies and her turnoffs are drama, carbs, and puffy-beer bellied men. You should work out more. You should also eat lots of meat, drink lots of beer, watch lots of sports, and be practically chained to your grill.

Yes, that was a very sexist view of the marketing strategies aimed at women and men and it represents just the two extreme sides but really… walk through a store and really look around. If you’re not offended, then I applaud you. Eventually, we’ll go into depth about the garbage that bombards women from the day they’re born and makes them so neurotic, but that day is not today.

Today I want to focus on relationships. Now, you might ask why I lead in to this subject the way I did and there are a couple of reasons for that.

1.)    American culture presents relationships and the associated value of said relationships differently to men and women.

2.)    Men and Women have been trained to view relationships differently.

3.)    There’s a good chance that something is sabotaging your relationship and you don’t even realize it.

4.)    It’s my blog and I can lead in to a topic any way I want. So Nyeh!

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way:

We’ve all be taught to look for the fairy tale. True, all consuming, match made in heaven, they lived happily ever after, love. The pieces will fall together perfectly and it will seem almost effortless. Even when you fight it will be (relatively) easily resolved. “I’m Sorry” always heals all wounds.

Wow! What a load of CRAP! You might find your perfect match and it might feel like that – for a little while. But all relationships eventually require work. They will not always be perfect. You will argue. You will fight. “I’m sorry” sometimes won’t count for shit.

Now we can move on to the real heart of the relationship issue:  

Women learn early that a relationship is essentially required in order for her to be complete. Men, however, are taught to be complete on their own. This isn’t anything new and really shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. But for some reason, I’m fairly sure I can hear the indignation of the women reading this right now.

“I don’t need a man to complete me!!!”

And you’re right. You don’t.

But, chances are, you’re still acting and thinking like you do. See, a woman secure in herself and her relationships reads that and thinks “That doesn’t apply to me.” She gives a little shrug and moves on to a different blog. She doesn’t get upset or defensive. She also doesn’t buy magazines because they have such enticing articles as”2012 – your astrological predictions for lasting love”.

If it makes you feel any better, I’m with you. I still get defensive; just not as often as I used to.

The more aware you are of yourself and your surroundings (including the little landmines that try to sabotage your relationship and self-esteem) the more you’ll be able to be like the confident woman who read that and clicked the little “x” on their browsers thinking “Wow, what a completely ridiculous thing to say. That blog totally doesn’t apply to me.”

The more aware you are, the more you’ll challenge the way you view things. Why do you think your wrinkles are ugly? Why do you think your cellulite makes you less attractive? Why do you think the stretch marks you gained while creating life are hideous? Where did you get the idea that you have to wait for someone to sweep you off your feet? Who do you think has the perfect life and why do you think so? How much airbrushing do you think that model needed?

You’ll challenge yourself so much, in fact, that you could end up viewing everything in your life differently. But you have to be willing to ask and answer the hard questions. You have to give up your current mindset (” This is wrong with me”) and adopt a new one (“this is right with me”).

In all relationships (friends, lovers, family, etc…) each person brings something to the table and needs something in return. Both parties come with baggage, surprises, and scars. But they also come with unique views and, hopefully, characteristics that can help you achieve a better personhood. See, a good partner won’t complete you (sorry, Jerry Maguire fans) but it should assist you in your personal evolvement. It should be something that you can grow with, something that gives you room to be yourself, helps you feel secure to become the person you’re supposed to be, and provides support, encouragement, and love in times of setbacks or frustration. Just don’t expect it to always be perfect. Because, there is no such thing as perfect. 

I’m not going to give you a list of the top ten things you should do to make your relationship better.

But I will tell you what I’ve observed Happy couples doing. I say happy as opposed to successful because… how do you judge success in a relationship? Longevity? A couple can be miserable but stay together for 60 years. So… let’s go with happy.

1.)    They respect each other: They might tease, joke, or play around. But they have a mutual respect for each other’s feelings, opinions, and input.

2.)    They feel secure together:  I think that a small degree of jealousy can be a good thing. You should feel protective of your relationship and partner because it holds high value to you. But at the same time, you should feel that your partner is as dedicated to your relationship as you are. You should feel completely secure in yourself and how your partner feels about you.

3.)    They’re open, honest, and accepting with each other: They have nothing to hide from each other, so nothing is hidden. They wouldn’t think twice about saying “Hon, there’s an email from my sister on my account with the address, would you mind printing it out while I finish getting ready?” They know how each other feel, they express their feelings without fear, and they’re not afraid to have detailed billing on their joint cell phone account. Usually, if someone acts like they have something to hide it’s because they’re hiding something.

4.)    They still say please and thank you to each other: In other words, they don’t take it for granted when their partner does something for them.

5.)    They’re still affectionate towards each other: even when the super passionate period cools off. Small touches, protective gestures, and loving body language are the little physical I love you’s that show in a happy couple.

6.)    They make decisions as a couple and keep each other informed: This goes hand in hand with respect. No one person has the full power to make all the decisions and no critical information is ever held back.

7.)    They have similar interests, opinions and hobbies, but they are not attached at the hip. They’re as comfortable doing their own thing as they are doing things together.

8.)    They’re both willing to work when things get difficult: It’s never a one sided relationship. No one wins, no one loses. They both win when they work things out.

9.)    The good is more valuable than the bad: These people place more value on the good times than they dwell on the bad times. The good things they share are worth more to them or are enough to make the bad times easier to get through/work out. They can go through a stretch of hell, when everything looks bleak, and it seems to last forever. But, no matter how bad it gets, they work through it together without forgetting how they feel about one another.

10.) They mean it when they say “I’m sorry” and they understand that forgiveness doesn’t come with a time-table. Little things are forgiven with a kiss while large ones are forgiven through mutual effort and willingness to forgive.

I’m sure there are many nuances to these happy relationships that I’ve missed. But those seem to be the common; underlying themes to every couple I know who is truly happy.

The world, your friends, the media, without even trying, is going to try to sabotage your happiness.  So I guess the only thing I’d add to this list is that when you feel angry, or hurt, or upset, or unhappy in your relationship; that you ask yourself “why” you feel that way and then answer honestly.  Is it a “toilet seat” issue? (the equivalent of being angry because you sat down on the cold, porcelain rim of the toilet or almost fell in – in other words, something you should let go of.)

Is it something that needs to be thought about further? Is it something that needs to be discussed?

You might learn something about yourself, what you expect/need from a relationship, and, at the very least, why you respond to things the way you do.

Do not let the media, society, your family, or even this blog tell you how to be happy. Question yourself and what you think you know. Next time you’re in a grocery line and you’re thinking you want to pick up a magazine, get the one with the collection of 30 minute meals. It’s less likely to make you dislike your body, your home, and your relationship.

And keep in mind that I’m divorced and currently single. So I probably know absolutely nothing about the actual practice of building a solid, lasting relationship. I can only try to interpret what I see, be happy with who I am, and try to implement it when I find a partner I feel is worth it (and me).

Oh, and I avoid magazines that have headlines that say “Top 10 Tricks to Keep Your Relationship Strong!. Really? 10 tricks to a strong relationship? Something about that just doesn’t sit right with me.

Assumptions

The next time someone assumes something about you that isn’t true:

Try to breathe. Take a step back. And remember not to assume something about them in return… (Mainly that they’re an a$$hole) because it’s counterproductive and only damages your own mental health. Remember: Keep Calm and Tread On.

If it’s good enough for me it’s good enough.

Smiley head happy

Smiley head happy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are our own worst enemies and, too often, nothing is ever enough. I’m five foot six inches and I weigh 140 lbs. On my medium frame this equates to a solid size six. I’m happy with that. But, to be honest, when I was a size 12, I was happy with that too. Sure, I wanted to improve my appearance and be healthy and fit, but I didn’t tear myself down over it. Now I’m active and I enjoy working out more. I want to be fit. I’m focusing on toning and eating well but not to the exclusion of everything else. Some people eat and breathe a certain obsession… I’ll never be one of those people. I don’t want to call them superficial because many of them are perfectly good, kind people in every other way. They’ve just been brainwashed to believe that looks are everything and that noone is good enough without airbrushing. I can forgive them for that.

That kind of mono-focused, zealot like obsession frustrates me. But that’s a topic for a different post. What I’d like to know is why is it that every person on the planet feels they have the right to weigh in (forgive the pun) on the subject of someone elses body?

My ex thought I was too heavy, another guy I dated just a little while ago thought I was too thin. My mother complains that I don’t eat enough, my co-workers say I’m wasting away to nothing, and still other people feel I have plenty of room for improvement. I didn’t solicit ANY of this information and, when I say I’m happy the way I am (when I was heavy, now that I’m not, etc) I get the oddest looks from people.

It’s taboo almost, in todays society, to be (oh my god!!) happy with yourself and your looks. My teeth are a little yellow, my thighs and rump have plenty of post baby saggage, there’s a little loose skin on my belly, my arms still jiggle a bit and my nose, as cute and upturned as it is, is started to show my age. How can I not want to get all of this corrected… either through some (supposed) miracle cream or plastic surgery?

The answer is simple. I love myself. Just the way I am. It’s like when you’re in love, truly in love. The person you’re in love with is the most attractive person in the world to you. If they put on a few extra pounds you don’t love them less. That’s how I feel about myself.

I have the confidence, despite my cellulite ridden thighs and saddle bags, to wear a bikini and show off my post baby body in all of it’s jiggly greatness. I know that at the resort there will be women who are horrified that I would wear a bikini,  because I’m not slender enough. I know there will be women there who look at me and think “I’d be happy to look like that”.

Someone will always have an opinion and that’s fine with me. But they can feel free to keep it to themselves. The way I see it is so many people are so unhappy with their own body image that theyhaveto project their own unhappiness by criticizing others. I feel nothing but pity for those people… because they’ll never know how truly free you feel once you’ve accepted yourself exactly as you are.

Strive for more, work for your goals, but in the meantime accept yourself for the you you are right now. And for goodness sakes, keep your misery to yourself because, honestly, if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough.

“To live is to choose…”

Tonight I felt like I had driven the same stretch of road with the same sad song and same heavy heart a million times in the last few years of my life. For a moment, I felt like time had stopped; paused in a moment that could crush the soul. Driving away from some of the most important things in my life with the vibrant light of dreams and love fading sharply in my rear view mirror.

But life is about choices. The choices we make as well as the choices that are made for us. We can make the choice not to wallow. We can make the choice to acknowledge the pain of choices that don’t make us happy and then make the choice to make new choices.  Tonight I chose to change the music, open the window, take a deep breath and let the pain of the pass float away on the evening air.

It may be trite and over stated, but you really do only get this one life. You get one chance to live. I choose not to waste my life complaining about what’s been done to me, how I’ve been wronged, or how the world has screwed me over. I choose to take responsibility for my choices, to own them and, even when I’ve been wrong, to be proud that I can acknowledge my poor choices and do something to even them out.

I’ve made choices that could have ruined my life… if I were the type to wallow or blame everyone else for my unhappiness or hardships. I’m thankful that I wasn’t raised that way. At sixteen I made the choice to drop out of high school. I own that decision. That choice was just one of many over the years that have made me who I am. It didn’t ruin my life. I didn’t let it. I’ve had horrible things happen to me. I’ve had uncontrollable events throw me into a tailspin. But I choose not to let every bad event, every broken heart, every rejection, every plan that doesn’t work out, I CHOOSE not to let those things bring me down. I choose to actively take part in my life.

I wanted to wallow the last few months. I wanted to cry and rail at the world. I wanted to blame the person who hurt me for destroying every dream I had. I wanted to sit down with pint after pint of Ben and Jerry’s and get horribly fat and complain about how it was something that was done TO me, not by me. We all have our moments. It’s how we react to the events in our life that define us.

Instead I chose to return to my adventurous roots. I put on my big girl panties and started looking for new adventures, new opportunities, new friends, and new choices that could improve my life. I chose to let go of the superficial things in my life and the repetitive stagnation of living on auto pilot. I chose to stop eating at the same old restaurants every time I wanted to go out. I chose to try new foods and new restaurants. Saturday night I ate octopus at a sushi bar… It was good!  A couple weeks ago I chose to let down my hair, trust the people I love to take care of my son, and dance. Just dance. Like no one was watching. I haven’t felt that free in a long time.

Dim Sum in China Town. Moroccan cuisine in boystown. A walk on the riverfront or training for a mud run. A painful experience with an esthetician and a bottle of wax. New events, new experiences, these are the memories I want to take with me forever. Not the misery of a broken heart or a bad economy. The knowledge that I was strong enough to make the choice to explore my own horizons. I do these things for me. I do these things and make these choices because I want my child to enjoy the world around him without fear of what others think.

People ask me how I can be so optimistic when things are going so wrong in the world. The news is horrible every evening and everything seems to be “going to hell in a handbag”. I’m not ignorant of the problems in the world. I pay attention to the news. I give it a respectable amount of thought, I mull it over, and then I choose not to let it ruin my day. I choose not to let it ruin even a minute of my life.  I meet people with different viewpoints, different beliefs, different thought processes and I accept them as they are. I don’t argue with them or try to get them to see things from my perspective. Acceptance is a powerful tool in this life and I choose to use it to make my little corner of the world a better place to live.

I choose to live every day with my heart on my sleeve, an open book whenever possible, an honest opinion and spoken truth. I’ll put myself out there every day even if it means I get wounded a million times over. Because each choice that’s made for me. Every dream that appears to be shattered. Every bad day that I cannot control… I can still control how I respond to life. I can choose to change my dreams as opposed to giving up on them. I can choose to breathe in and let go of frustration on a bad day. I can choose to accept that the choices of others will affect me but that I can also choose not to let them bring me down.

I choose to live each and every day. Because this is the only life I have to live and I would rather choose to live with upbeat music, driving towards a new future, than to box myself into the belief that my best days are behind me in the rearview mirror.

Tonight I will choose to enjoy the silence and calm. In the morning, I will choose to wake up with a smile despite the pain from my current tonsil infection and I will go to work and choose to try to brighten the lives of others by being my usual optimistic, cheerful self and hope it spreads like a virus.  (The optimism… not the tonsil infection. Just so we’re clear.  )

Pretty sure that’s not my butt that hurts.

Spin / Revolution Room

Spin / Revolution Room (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

I officially started my training program this week. Wednesday was my first spin class and I. Am. A. Moron. I was totally prepared; brought my towel, a bottle of water, and a positive attitude. What I needed to check at the door is my propensity to overdo it. It started out well, really it did. The instructor was cheerful and pleasant. She was very encouraging.

 The first ten minutes were a breeze. It was everything after that that didn’t go so well. See, the instructor tells you when to raise and lower the resistance on the bike and by how much. But I’m a rebel and when it came time to lower the resistance, I foolishly refused to take it down as low as she wanted. This is a long standing habit of mine. I put every piece of equipment I use to work out on higher levels of resistance and, for the majority of my life, left my own bicycle set on a gear that felt like slogging through mud. It’s just the way I’ve always been. I completely soaked my towel. I drank my entire bottle of water and when I stepped off the bike at the end of the 45 minute torture session (complete with arm workouts) I felt like I was going to vomit. But I survived.

 Now, she warned us that our “bottoms” would hurt. I don’t know where HER bottom begins and ends, but I don’t have an ass-vag so it’s certainly NOT my butt that hurts. Just sayin’. Thankfully, I recovered rather quickly and am completely prepared to go kill myself at boot camp class tomorrow morning… where I’m sure I’ll overdo it again. Some habits just can’t be broken I guess.

 

 

Optimistic Realism

Is the glass half empty or half full? The pess...

Is the glass half empty or half full? The pessimist would pick half empty, while the optimist would choose half full. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.”  ~Harry Truman

Yes, I always try to look on the bright side of things. I am always trying to point out an upside, even if the situation tears me apart inside. It is a rare occurrence for me to give into my misery when I’m unhappy. That doesn’t mean that I run blindly towards the good in life. My parents raised me to “hope for the best but be prepared for the worst”. It is important to see how things could go wrong. But it’s more important to focus on what could go right.

The person who focuses only on the downside, the consequences, the negative, has nothing to hold on to or strive for. They tend to develop the “this will never work” mentality and they end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if they try to be enthusiastic about something, the way they approach people or talk about it comes off differently than someone who truly believes things will be okay.  Humans can endure untold hardship and suffering and my philosophy is simple:  if you dread the outcome constantly for fear of pain; you’re likely doing more damage to yourself than any negative outcome will do.

I call myself an optimist because I see sun when there’s rain, I look for rainbows instead of pots of gold, and I know that life is short. But perhaps a more appropriate term is “Optimistic realist”. I daydream but I know they might not come true. I hope but I am not completely crushed or immobilized when something goes wrong. I have faith that the good in life will always turn back in my direction but I take the steps necessary to meet it halfway.

Our society seems to be addicted to drama. TV, reality, real life; it doesn’t matter. Drama appears to be the fuel in the tank for many people. So much so that I know a number of people (including my former self) who end up creating their own drama by complicating things needlessly, whether by accident, intent, or influence. I see too many people make their lives so much more difficult than they need to be. It makes me want to yell at them to wake up and see the havoc they’re wreaking. But the realist in me knows that I can only nudge and be patient. Optimists can’t be created instantly and people have to be free to choose their own paths in life.

There is no use in railing against those who don’t see things the way you do, who don’t share your opinions or beliefs. The best thing you can do is be yourself around them, speak from your heart and accept them as they are. I gave up trying to “bring people around” to my way of thinking a long time ago and have since learned to appreciate the wealth of diversity in my little corner of the world. After all, I’m sure there are beliefs or fears that I cling to that have made me who I am and I believe I am entitled to them. Why shouldn’t everyone else be entitled to theirs as well?

See the possibilities in every difficulty you face and it will feel like spring all year round. Spread the sunshine with those you love by being accepting and watch the unnecessary drama fade from your life.

A random musing from:

~LDd

Change is NOT a four letter word.

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Change.

You hear it all the time about relationships. I don’t know what happened, he/she changed. Too many people look at change as a bad thing. We get comfortable with our partners and we want everything to stay the same. But then we complain that there’s no excitement or passion left anymore. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is such thing as bad change. But the majority of people continue to grow and evolve throughout their lives. Hobbies, pursuits, passions, all these things change with the years. I think more likely, the problem is that your partner evolves while you stagnate. You’re comfortable and settled and, to be honest, stuck in a rut or a period of non-development, and they end up leaving you behind.

A healthy relationship, one where the couple isn’t joined at the hip and don’t have to share every little interest with each other (read: codependency) can survive; even thrive, in times of change. Change can keep you falling in love all over again for years. People need to be whole by themselves. They need hobbies and pursuits that are their own. They need to learn and grow as individuals as well as part of a couple. The unhealthy relationship, the one where people give up the core of what makes them individuals, will never survive change. Because you’re far too dependent on the other person to make you happy to ever actually be happy.

So let’s say you’re in an unhealthy relationship; can you make it healthy? That depends on whether or not you’re willing to work on yourself (ditto for your partner, because it took two of you to get there) and make changes for the better. If you two have enough in common that you enjoy, an undeniable bond, and a lot of love, you should be able to make it work. You’ll need to be supportive and encouraging of your partner and yourself. You’ll need to step outside your comfort zone and make time for personal pursuits. You’ll need to schedule time to connect with your partner as well.

Most of all, you’re going to have to be honest with your partner and yourself. You’re going to have to hash out everything that doesn’t work and then let it go so you can focus on what does work. Dwelling on what’s broken never fixes anything. By turning your focus to what does work, the things that go right, you can work to repeat that behavior and build on it. I’ve seen relationships survive change, infidelity, lying, and a whole host of other “deal breakers”. I’ve seen relationships thrive in times of chaos, because the couple is supportive of each other and honest with one another.

I’ve also seen relationships die because one partner felt they needed to hide their desire for change or the change itself, even when the other person would have been supportive. Change makes us uncertain and if you don’t feel you can trust your partner to encourage you and cheer you on, it can be a daunting thing to share with them. Sometimes you have to rip off the Band-Aid or open the book. Lay everything on the table and bare your darkest inner corner to make progress. Is it scary? Of course. Will you come out on the other side (no matter the result) better off? Absolutely.

A person should never live in fear of being who they are or who they evolve into. Someone who truly loves you will accept you, flaws and change and all. Your partner should be able to accept your deepest fears, listen to your most secret dreams and nightmares, and grab a pompom and cheer you on for your every accomplishment. And you should provide your partner with the same.

Do you remember when you fell in love, the conversations you would have. The long and involved conversations about your life, your past, and your dreams for the future? When was the last time you talked to your partner like you did when you were still dating? If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, then I’d be willing to bet either you have evolved (at least a little) or you want to.  Have a “dating” conversation again and see what happens.

Strive for that healthy relationship. Look to grow as an individual as well as a couple. Focus on what goes right, try to avoid what goes wrong, and for goodness sake, stop fearing change. Change keeps things fresh.

Just a random musing from…

~LDd

Live. Laugh. Love

Free Live Laugh Love Texture

Free Live Laugh Love Texture (Photo credit: inspire*dream*create*)

Live. Laugh. Love.

These are three words that I live by. No, it hasn’t always been easy. I remember, years ago when I was married, I had a husband who always needed more. More money, more things, more everything. He would stress over every little thing. Back then I gave great advice. “if there isn’t anything you can do about it right now, then just breathe and let it go. The solution will come to you when the time is right.”

I used to live by that advice too. The recession was more than monetarily devastating for a lot of people. For many people it was a time of uncertainty. A time that threw people into chaos and left them feeling a lack of security in their lives. People like me, who were doing everything right, still couldn’t get out from under the cloud of a bad economy. I liken what followed, the constant worry and anxiety, to post traumatic stress disorder. Once you’ve lived through a time where there was nothing you could do to make your life better or easier you worry that the bottom is going to fall out from under you again. Constantly.

It took baby steps to embrace life again, even when it’s chaotic. I used to enjoy occasional chaos because it kept me on my toes. I’m slowly getting back there. I refuse to worry about the things that I cannot control and I focus on living my life every day, laughing as much as I can, and loving with all my heart.

Just a short thought for the morning.

~LDd

Superwoman Goes Brazilian

I thought today, while starting at the ceiling above me and trying desperately not to scream, that women are just insane creatures. I paid a woman good, hard earned money to day to have me lay completely bare before her, contort me into strange positions, and rip the hair out of my most sensitive skin. In the name of beauty. Seriously.

I can understand makeup, I can understand the new desire to run miles when I’m not being chased, I can even understand wearing six inch heels that kill my feet more than the pounding from running. But there are times, that as a woman, I just don’t get the torture we put ourselves through.

My most recent long term relationship I felt like I needed to be superwoman. Don’t ask me why because I honestly don’t know. It was likely a combination of my desire to take care of my family and feel some control in chaotic times and his inability to tell me he didn’t need me to do absolutely everything for fear of unbalancing my tightly coiled balancing act. The poor man, I almost pity any guy who goes up against a woman who is in a phase of her life where she’s burning herself out trying to be superwoman.

Giving up the need to be everything for everyone all the time while still doing everything was an experience similar to today’s waxing nightmare… It was a repeated ripping off of old ideas and habits, trying not to rail against yourself for making such a stupid decision in the first place. It took practice, much gritting of teeth, and a steel resolve to get to the place I am now. To not worry about every little detail. To not have to do everything perfectly all the time.

Today, in addition to paying a stranger to torture me in incomprehensible ways, I went for a run, did some light shopping, did a home kettlebell workout, and let myself have some much needed me time. I didn’t even start my homework until 9pm (even though it’s due tonight) and, Oh My God, the world didn’t stop turning on its axis.

My brain is practically reeling at this realization. My world didn’t end, nobody died, the homework still got done, and yet… I feel refreshed. I’m not completely stressed and freaking out about work in the morning. I don’t feel guilty for putting my needs first. I don’t feel horrible for making time for myself.

And I’m still superwoman.

I’m a good mother. I’m a good friend and daughter and sister. I’m a good person. And each time I let go of the habit to do everything, I become a better person. I become a happier person, able to handle adversity and twists of fate that would have thrown my entire life into chaos in the past.

I might just start wearing a cape, with my new bikini that shows off the results of my torture… you know, for fun. Just saying.

~LDd

 

 

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Judgement Day

Warrior DashJune 17th, 2012
Judgement Day: A day to push past my limits, cavort in the mud, and celebrate with a beer!
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