Saturday, October 22, 2016

Step Up

I'm trying to think of an analogy for my guy friends to understand what it feels like to be harassed by a male in a bar.  Okay, so imagine there's this guy, he's at least twice your size. As soon as you walk in to the bar, he looks you up and down, he's sizing you up.  He's got this look in his eyes, this look that says, "You and me, we'll be taking this outside later."  For some reason this guy has it out for you specifically.  You wonder if it was something you wore. Is your t-shirt offensive? But you're out with your buddies to have a good time,so you shrug it off.

You are standing at the bar waiting to order your drink, the big guy comes up behind you and stands uncomfortably close, orders a drink over your head then bumps into you with his body.  You don't turn to look at him because you know this will just invite more interaction and you just want to get your drink and sit down at the booth.

You are trying to enjoy the conversation with your friends, but this guy keeps shooting you looks.  You have to take a piss, but you are pretty sure he will follow you to the bathroom and try to start something.  So you sit in the booth uncomfortable, trying to ignore him and your bladder.

The guy starts walking towards your table. You get this sinking feeling in your gut.  He makes jokes with your friends, they seem to like him and now you feel like you have less support.  Then he leans into you and jabs you in the side, laughing.  He messes with your hair, tries to give you a bear hug. Basically he is proving to you that he can do whatever he wants to you. The whole time you are pushing against him, but you are worried if you really take a stand it will get violent and then you'd be in some serious trouble.  This guy could break you.  So you take it and try to make light of it, humiliating as it is.  Then when he finally has to take a piss you excuse yourself, pay your tab as quickly as possible and get the hell out of there.

Now add to this fear of physical pain, the knowledge that this man wants to shove his dick up your ass to pleasure himself. Welcome to the world of the average woman being harassed at the bar.  So please,  if you see a man disrespecting a woman's boundaries, instead of avoiding interfering out of fear of it becoming a nasty situation, realize it is already a nasty situation for her.  Step-up and you guys who are watching a guy step up for a woman who is being harassed, you step up too.  Because this isn't between two men fighting over a woman, this is about behaviour towards women that we should not accept in our society.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I'm Doing It!

Where to start...

I get into relationships quickly, I click with someone and I just feel this "thing".  That "thing" I feel takes over my common sense. It's like I don't hear what they are telling me,  I just interpret it to fit my imagined idea of who they must be in order to feel this "thing" I feel.   Sometimes I'm dealing with other stuff and my insecurities colour my view of what is going on.  Mostly though, I fall in love with the feeling of the "thing" and not the person themselves.  I will ignore signs that it might not work out. I will be the best girlfriend ever.  I would make that person feel like they are the most important thing in my life.  Though, really it's maintaining the feeling of the "thing" that was most important.  My partner would feel loved, adored even, but when they did something to disrupt my view of the "thing".  I would get annoyed and frustrated.  I was in love with the feeling of love. Not the person themselves.  This didn't happen in all of my relationships, mostly just the ones I entered not feeling whole.  Sometimes it started out with me loving the "thing" then moved past into loving the person, but not without struggle. I have a great imagination, and who I imagine people to be can be very hard to live up to.

I love romance and dating.  I love the idea of going out with someone and knowing there is something there still not acted on.  However, I rarely make it past the second date.  I need spark.  I look for the "thing".  I've come to realize the "thing" is a mixture of hormones and traits I find sexually attractive and don't necessarily make for good long term relationships.  The "thing" is further intensified by every fantasy I choose to focus on about this person when we are not around each other. In other words it's not truly reality, and it's not fair to the person I am dating.  Lust is a large part of the "thing" and lust is a good thing, but I recently found that when I take that aspect out, it's easier for me to truly love someone.  By that I mean unconditionally love them.  To want them to do what they feel is best for themselves because there is no "thing" for their choices to interfere with.

I met this woman.  She is beautiful and cool and smart and... I want to hang out with her.  I want to get to know her slowly. For the first time in a while I really understand that the feeling I have around someone, is not necessarily who they are. When she texts I feel a genuine warmth in my chest, when she doesn't I'm not disappointed.  I don't hesitate to contact her if I have something I want to share, there are no communication games or rules that I'm basing that on. There's no pressure on either of us. The urgency of the "thing" isn't there.  I'm in no rush.  In fact, tonight as I planned what I was going to buy for food to bring to her house on Wednesday night, I paused and asked myself:  Do I want more than friendship?


Am I ready though?

I didn't ask myself this because I was afraid of getting hurt (which is my usual motive behind that question). It was because I didn't want to hurt her.  I didn't want to start something with her that I couldn't emotionally commit to and create something negative in the future for us both (Some of my readers who are also close friends will see the dual lesson in this).  This time it's not about me, or the "thing" or loneliness.  This time it's about the opportunity to  build something worthwhile, there's potential for an actual healthy relationship with interdependence vs co-dependence. This is territory I haven't explored for a long time.  I may just stand at the edge for a while.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fear Dressed In Wisdom's Clothing

I have this friend, we meet for coffee and talk for hours.  I always always leave those conversations with massive lessons.  This one was huge.  I wrote a blog post months ago about being a lone parent. I was very much in the mindframe of never wanting a romantic partner involved with my children. I thought this stance was practical and pragmatic....Funny, how we can dress fear in a costume we call wisdom.

I was scared, angry and devoid of hope.  I'd rather go without the warm feelings of sharing my family with someone I care about romantically then risk letting someone in who could hurt them.  I never thought of how fucking selfish it would be to not let this person be involved in such a huge part of my life.  To expect them to forgo the hope of feeling like a family with me, to keep them at a distance and to only share the small part of me that exists between bedtimes, wake times and mommy days.  I didn't realize that this is only a partial relationship, a stepping stone with nowhere further for my partner to step.  Even the word "partner" can't apply.  I couldn't see that.  I couldn't see a future with anything beyond a boyfriend/girlfriend in it and with that, I couldn't see the true validity of their concerns for the future.  I simply didn't see my children as a factor in my relationships, because I didn't want the worlds to mix.  Yeah, they may run into each other occasionally, but no plans together, no dinners or outings.  My children were MINE and my ex's, no one else need be involved.

I'm still not looking for a co-parent, but I'm no longer closed to the idea of someone I care about becoming involved with my children (slowly) after a substantial amount of time seeing each other. I can see now how this mindframe held me back in many ways.  Here I am, nearly six months from a point at which I thought I was ready for a relationship, realizing how much I wasn't.  I feel like I'm ready for one now... We'll see if the woman I am in 6 months agrees.

Monday, September 26, 2016


I got the family iPad when I left. My mother paid for half, we paid for the other.  I took a dive financially for it, but whatever, I needed it for business and communication. Problem is it's in my ex's name and iTunes account.  Although I can get into my iTunes for music, I can't update a damn thing without his password.  Every time an update would pop up I'd see his Apple id and I'd feel nauseous and/or anxious.

So today I am transferring my favourite photos, videos and documents to a new computer, then wiping this one clean and staring fresh on my iTunes account.  This is pretty much the last tie between us, and I would have done it earlier but my little computer is dying and couldn't take the load.  Thankfully, my mother and father gave me a gently used lap top with plenty of memory space.

So here's to a fresh start.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Love: It's Not About You

Pain and discomfort after a break-up is usually due to the feeling that you can't have what you want.  It's selfish and all encompassing, but with time and space it wanes.  Soon you are less melodramatic and your friends aren't rolling their eyes at your Facebook posts anymore.  Then you run into the ex and that little bit of sadness creeps back in.  Perhaps you spend the afternoon imagining that s/he pulls you off to the side, pins you against the wall with their body and explains between passionate kisses how they've realized how perfect you are together... Ahem... or something like that.

You know you are torturing yourself.  You wish you could just get over it.  You wish you didn't still want them.

Here's the deal though, if you truly love someone, it shouldn't be about what you want from them.  Wanting them to love you/want to be with you, is essentially asking for them not to feel the way they feel, so that you can feel good.  That's not love.  If you truly want them to follow their heart, do what they think is best for themselves, then it is impossible to want them to be with you at the same time.

Want to know the best way to get over someone? Love them. Fully, unconditionally, love them.  Wish the best for them and the rest of their journey wether or not you will be a part of it.

Love isn't about you, it's about the other person.

Friday, September 16, 2016

I've Been Selfish (an exercise in compassion)

Something shifts when you feel the need to protect yourself emotionally all the time.  Your self-worth disintegrates and it takes a while to get it back.  You have to fight the voices in your head telling you that you are selfish and even delusional for believing you deserve better.  Like you are not being grateful for what you do have by wanting something different.  Most of the time those voices are not your own...

So you do it.  Every morning you get up and you tell yourself that you are worthy of wearing your favourite clothes.  You deserve to enjoy your breakfast, you remind yourself just as you were about to stuff something in your mouth in order to be there for someone else.  Next thing you know, you are taking the time to fix your coffee just right and buying jeans that fit.  You are letting go of conflicts and letting go of the people who always seem to be in the middle of them.  You are beginning to do more than just dream of the things that bring you joy; you are doing them.  You surround yourself with people who make you feel good.

Then you look around one day and ask yourself, do I make the people around me feel good too?

Because for so long you focused on just you, that you forgot how to think of others.  Maybe you thought that it would come naturally.  Maybe you thought that if you were happy you'd simply bring others joy... And you do.  But are you kind? Are you considerate? Can you now turn back on that part of yourself who thought about other's feelings before you said or did something?

Because to leave, you had to turn that off didn't you?  You had to put yourself first, you had to ignore the pleas, the explanations, the tears of those you knew  would only bring you harm.

You also know that this loving part of you is what got you so stuck to begin with.  You feel like your empathy betrayed you, your compassion made you a target. You blame your naivety for this last traumatic disaster.

Maybe it's time.  Maybe it's okay to look back into another person's heart, to care about how they would feel about your actions.  It's okay that you turned cold to get out of a hot mess.  It's okay that you built this wall of ice. Now try to remember: you chose these people carefully, let them in and care about them.

Trust yourself.

Trust your heart.

The last step in complete worthiness is knowing you are worthy of the joy of giving without fear.

You are safe now.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I Didn't Mess Her Up

One of the heaviest things I have carried about my unhealthy relationship was how it affected my kids.  The common belief is that you and your partner teach your children how to treat their partners or what to expect as treatment from their partners.  Well on the first day of school, my 10 year old girl was asked "out".  She came home and told me this boy wanted to be her boyfriend.  I took a deep cleansing breath and asked:
"What did you say?"
"I said I'd think about it tonight and tell him tomorrow."
That was promising.
"Do you like him?" I asked.
"Yeah, he's kind and compassionate. He showed me around, introduced me to his friends and played with me at recess."
I liked her criteria for liking him.
"Well, what do you think you are going to say?"
"I think I'll say 'yes'. "
And so it begins, I thought.

I walked into the kitchen tonight and she was writing a letter. It was a break up letter.  I asked her why she wanted to break up with him.  She described a scenario where she felt her personal boundaries were violated. She said:
"I didn't feel like he respected me."
"Do you want to talk to him about it, and see if it gets better?" I asked.
"No. I want to break up with him.  I don't want to hurt his feelings because I know he really likes me... but..." She looked lost for words.
"...But your boundaries are important and you need to do what you know is right for you." I answered.
She nodded emphatically.
I told her I was proud of her and managed to hold back the tears of relief until I got into my room.

Tonight I was going to click "publish" on my first sex blog and toast myself with a glass of wine.
Instead, I shall raise a glass to myself as a mother and woman.  She did learn how a relationship should be, the relationship with herself.  She learned that her boundaries are to be respected and how to uphold them even when it's tough and the amazing thing is...

She learned it from me.

She's going to be alright. I didn't fuck her up.

 I think I'll be sleeping a lot easier now.