Friday, September 23, 2016

A Letter to My Lover on His Birthday

‘It seems like just yesterday, at those stairs in my capris’. In that conference room, I had my 1st conversation with this handsome man who fired me and never wanted to work with me, because I was student.
I remember telling mom how my boss never puts me on the work weekly schedule because I am inexperienced.
Happiest Birthdate fiancĂ©.  As I sit here and think back on the past years, I can’t help but smile with a faint tear in my eyes.  We have had the most amazing journey so far.  The most grounded unpressurized friendship nurtured overtime. I can’t imagine my life without you.  You are my rock.  You are my Saul.  My strength when I am weak.  My encouragement!

You are my best friend,companion and joyMy other  half, always there for me, the one who strengthens my character and makes me a better person. I feel elevated in so many areas in my life.  You always tell me the truth even when it hurts.  You love me unconditionally.  You cherish your friendships and I love that.  You make the world a better place.

I love you more and more with every day that goes by.  I am so amazed at the wonderful man that you are. I am so blessed that God created you just for me and that we found each other.  I can’t wait to celebrate many many more birthdays together, and grow old in each other’s arms.  I love you sweetheart and I know you will  have a very wonderful day tonite.! 

Deep Love!

Enjoy your 24 September,2016.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

When It’s Not You, It’s Them: The Toxic People That Ruin Friendships, Families, Relationships

When It's Not You, It's Them: The Toxic People That Ruin Friendships, Families, Relationships
One of the joys of being human is that we don’t have to be perfect to be one of the good ones. At some point we’ll all make stupid decisions, hurt the people we love, say things that are hard to take back, and push too hard to get our way. None of that makes us toxic. It makes us human. We mess things up, we grow and we learn. Toxic people are different. They never learn. They never self-reflect and they don’t care who they hurt along the way.

Toxic behaviour is a habitual way of responding to the world and the people in it. Toxic people are smart but they have the emotional intelligence of a pen lid. It’s no accident that they choose those who are open-hearted, generous and willing to work hard for a relationship. With two non-toxic people this is the foundation for something wonderful, but when toxic behaviour is involved it’s only a matter of time before that open heart becomes a broken one.
If you’re in any sort of relationship with someone who is toxic, chances are you’ve been bending and flexing for a while to try to make it work. Stop. Just stop. You can only change the things that are open to your influence and toxic people will never be one of them. Here are some of the ones to watch out for.

13 Versions of Toxic People

  1. The Controller.
    Nobody should have to ask for permission or be heavily directed on what to wear, how to look, who to spend time with or how to spend their money. There’s nothing wrong with being open to the influence of the people around you, but ‘the way you do you’ is for you to decide. Your mind is strong and beautiful and shouldn’t be caged. Healthy relationships support independent thought. They don’t crush it.
  2. The Taker.
    All relationships are about give and take but if you’re with a taker, you’ll be doing all the giving and they’ll be doing all the taking. Think about what you get from the relationship. If it’s nothing, it might be time to question why you’re there. We all have a limited amount of resources (emotional energy, time) to share between our relationships. Every time you say ‘yes’ to someone who doesn’t deserve you, you’re saying ‘no’ to someone who does. Give your energy to the people who deserve it and when you’re drawing up the list of deserving ones, make sure your own name is at the top.
  3. The Absent.
    These versions of toxic people won’t return texts or phone calls and will only be available when it suits them, usually when they want something. You might find yourself wondering whether they got your message, whether they’re okay, or whether you’ve done something to upset them. No relationship should involve this much guess-work.
  4. The Manipulator.
    Manipulators will steal your joy as though you made it especially for them. They’ll tell half-truths or straight out lies and when they have enough people squabbling, they’ll be the saviour. ‘Don’t worry. I’m here for you.’ Ugh. They’ll listen, they’ll comfort, and they’ll tell you want you need to hear. And then they’ll ruin you. They’ll change the facts of a situation, take things out of context and use your words against you. They’ll calmly poke you until you crack, then they’ll poke you for cracking. They’ll ‘accidentally’ spill secrets or they’ll hint that there are secrets there to spill, whether there are or not. There’s just no reasoning with a manipulator, so forget trying to explain yourself. The argument will run in circles and there will be no resolution. It’s a black hole. Don’t get sucked in.
    You:   I feel like you’re not listening to me.
      Are you calling me a bad listener
      No, I’m just saying that you’ve taken what I said the wrong way.
      Oh. So now you’re saying I’m stupid. I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. Everyone told me to be careful of you.
    They’ll only hear things through their negative filter, so the more you talk, the more they’ll twist what you’re saying. They want power, not a relationship. They’ll use your weaknesses against you and they’ll use your strengths – your kindness, your openness, your need for stability in the relationship. If they’re showing tenderness, be careful – there’s something you have that they want. Show them the door, and lock it when they leave.
  5. The Bullshitter.
    They talk themselves up, they talk others down and they always have a reason for not doing what they say. They’ll lie outright or they’ll give you versions of the truth – not a lie, not the truth, just that feeling in your gut that something is off. You can’t believe a word they say. There’s no honesty, which means there’s no intimacy. At worst bullshitters are heartbreakers. At best they’re raving bores.
  6. The Attention Seeker.
    It’s nice to be needed. It’s also nice to eat peanut butter, but it doesn’t mean you want it all the time. The attention seeker always has a crisis going on and they always need your support. Be ready for the aggression, passive aggression, angst or a guilt trip if you don’t respond. ‘Oh. You’re going to dinner with  friends? It’s just that I’ve had the worst day and I really needed you tonight. Oh well, I suppose I can’t always expect you to be there for me. If it’s that important to you then you should go. I just want you to be happy. I’ll just stay in by myself and watch tv or something (sigh). You go and have fun with your friends. I suppose I’ll be okay.’ See how that works? When there’s always a crisis, it’s only a matter of time before you’re at the centre of one.
  7. The One Who Wants to Change You.
    It’s one thing to let you know that the adorable snort thing you do when you laugh isn’t so adorable, but when you’re constantly reminded that you aren’t smart enough, good-looking enough, skinny enough, strong enough, you have to start thinking that the only thing that isn’t good enough about you is this loser who keeps pointing these things out. You’ll never be good enough for these people because it’s not about you, it’s about control and insecurity – theirs, not yours. As long as they’re working on changing you, they don’t have to worry about themselves, and as long as they can keep you small, they’ll have a shot at shining brighter.
    These people will make you doubt yourself by slowly convincing you that they know best, and that they’re doing it all for you. ‘You’d just be so much prettier if you lost a few pounds, you know? I’m just being honest.’ Ugh. Unless you’re having to be craned through your window, or you’re seriously unhealthy, it’s nobody else’s business how luscious your curves are. If you feel heavy, start by losing the 160 pounds of idiot beside you and you won’t believe how much lighter you’ll feel. These ones aren’t looking out for you, they’re trying to manage you. The people who deserve you will love you because of who you are, not despite it.
  8. The One You Want to Change.
    People aren’t channels, hairstyles or undies. You can’t change them. Someone who snarls at the waiter will always be the kind of person who snarls at the waiter – whether they’re snarling or not. People can change, but only when they’re ready and usually only when they’ve felt enough pain.  It’s normal to fight for the things that are important, but it’s important to know when to stop. When a relationship hurts to be in, the only thing that will change will be you – a sadder, more unhappier version of the person you started out as. Before it gets to this, set a time limit in which you want to see change. Take photos of yourself every day – you’ll see it in your eyes if something isn’t right, or check in at the end of each week and write down how you feel. Have something concrete to look back on. It’s easier to let go if it’s clear over time that nothing has changed. It’s even easier if you can see that the only thing different is that the lights have gone out in you.
  9. The Abuser.
    The signs might be subtle at first but they’ll be there. Soon, there will be a clear cycle of abuse, but you may or may not recognise it for what it is but this is how it will look:
    >>  There will be rising tension. You’ll feel it. You’ll tread carefully and you’ll be scared of saying or doing the wrong thing.
    >>   Eventually, there will be an explosion. A fight. There will be physical or emotional abuse and it will be terrifying. At first you’ll make excuses – ‘I shouldn’t have said that/ did that/ gone out/ had an opinion/ said no.
    >>  Then, the honeymoon. The abuser can be wonderfully kind and loving when they need to be, but only when they need to be. You’ll be so desperate for things to get better that you’ll believe the apologies, the tenderness, the declarations of love, the promises.
    >> The tension will start to rise again. Over time, the cycle will get shorter and it will happen more often. The tension will rise quicker, the explosions will be bigger, the honeymoons will be shorter. 
    If this is familiar, you’re in a cycle of abuse. It’s not love. It’s not stress. It’s not your fault. It’s abuse. The honeymoon will be one of the things that keeps you there. The love will feel real and you’ll crave it, of course you will – that’s completely understandable – but listen to this: Love after abuse isn’t love, it’s manipulation. If the love was real, there would be mountains moved to make sure you were never hurt or scared again.
  10. The Jealous One.
    Your partner is important and so are other people in your life. If you act in a trustworthy way, you deserve to be trusted. We all get insecure now and then and sometimes we could all do with a little more loving and reassurance, but when the questions, accusations and demands are consistent and without reason, it will only be a matter of time before your phone is checked, your movements are questioned, and your friends are closed out. Misplaced jealousy isn’t love, it’s a lack of trust in you.
  11. The Worse-Off One.
    These people will always have problems that are bigger than yours. You’re sick, they’re sicker; you’re exhausted from working late every night this week, they’re shattered – from the gym; you’ve just lost your job, they’re ‘devastated because it’s really hard when you know someone who’s lost their job’. You’ll always be the supporter, never the supported. There’s only so long that you can keep drawing on your emotional well if there’s nothing coming back.
  1. The Sideways Glancer.
    Ok. So the human form is beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with admiring it, but when it’s done constantly in your company – in your face – it’s tiring, and it feels bad. You deserve to be first and you deserve to feel noticed. That doesn’t mean you have to be first all the time, but certainly you shouldn’t have to fight strangers for your share of attention. Some things will never be adorable.
  2. The Cheater.
    Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship – that depends on the circumstances and the people involved and it’s not for anyone else to judge whether or not you should stay. It’s a deeply personal decision and one you can make in strength either way, but when infidelity happens more than once, or when it happens without remorse or commitment to the future of the relationship, it will cause breakage. When people show you over and over that they aren’t capable of loving you the way you want to be loved, believe them. Move them out of the damn way so that better things can find you.
  1. The Liar.
    Let’s be realistic – little white lies happen. In fact, research has found that when lying is done for the right reasons (such as to protect someone’s feelings) it can actually strengthen a relationship. ‘So that’s the orange cocktail dress you’ve spent a month’s pay on? Wow – you weren’t kidding when you said it was bright. Oh, it has pandas on it. And they’re smiling. And the shop doesn’t take returns. And you love it. Well keep smiling gorgeous. You look amazing!’. However, when lies are told with malicious intent and for personal gain, it will always weaken relationships. Relationships are meant to be fun, but none of us are meant to be played.
  1. The One Who Laughs at Your Dreams.
    Whether it’s being a merchant banker, a belly dancer, or the inventor of tiny slippers for cats, the people who deserve you are those who support your dreams, not those who laugh at them. The people who tell you that you won’t succeed are usually the ones who are scared that you will. If they’re not cheering you on, they’re holding you back. If they’re not directly impacted by your dreams, (which, for example, your partner might be if your dream is to sell everything you both own, move to Rome, and sell fake sunglasses to the tourists) then you would have to question what they’re getting out of dampening you.
Being human is complicated. Being open to the world is a great thing to be – it’s wonderful – but when you’re open to the world you’re also open to the poison that spills from it.  One of the things that makes a difference is the people you hold close. Whether it’s one, two or squadron-sized bunch, let the people around you be ones who are worthy of you. It’s one of the greatest acts of self-love. Good people are what great lives are made of.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Superficial Friendships

If you were to look at my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, it would seem that I have lots of close friends — but the truth is, I'm one of the loneliest people I know.

I don't have a significant other, I don't have many friends, and my weekends usually consist of solo Netflix binges and gossiping with my grandma.
It isn't that I hate people or that I'm an awful person — at least I hope not; I just have a difficult time making deep, long-lasting friendships. I see people who have been best friends since birth, and it just makes me jealous. I wish I had that person in my life, but I don't know how. 
I'm actually pretty social and outgoing, and I'm able to make friends quickly and easily. I've even called some of those people my best friends in the past, but it was nothing more than a surface relationship, short-lived and generally superficial. I can have fun with them and go out with them, but it's the classic friendship-revolves-around-having-fun and let's-complain-together sort of thing. There's no deep trust or meaningful connection. There are no deepest, darkest secrets exchanged or any going to the end of the world for each other. We have fun together for a while, but the friendship eventually fizzles out and we lose touch. Back to square one.

I'm not sad or upset that they aren't in my life anymore. I'm happy to have made the memories with them that I did, and that's that. But recently, I find myself asking why more than ever before.
After talking through my issues with family members (like my grandmother) and my therapist, I've realized that my need to be independent and rely solely on myself — mixed with a pinch of trust issues — is why I'm unable to make and keep deep, meaningful friendships.
Since I was a little girl, my mother stressed the importance of independence — never relying on someone else. She always taught me to create my own happiness.
As an adult, I can appreciate her teaching me this, but I also despise it, since I think it went too far. I feel as though I'm so focused on being self-reliant that I won't allow myself to form a genuine friendship. It's twofold: I refuse to let anyone to be there for me, but I end up getting mad at the other person when it's actually my own fault.

I have trouble allowing myself to actually believe that there is anyone in the world (besides my family) who I can trust not to hurt me. Unlike family, friends choose to be in your life. The point is, I have trouble trusting that someone who chooses to love you rather than loving you by default. 
I won't allow anyone to be there for me, but I end up getting mad at the other person when it's really my own fault.
Because of these issues, I lost someone who, at one time, I considered a good friend. Our friendship grew over five years, and it was the closest I'd come to having a best friend. I knew everything about him, but there was a lot that I didn't share about myself.
As time went on, I felt as though he was using me, like I was just there for his convenience. I didn't believe that he was actually my friend and that he would actually be there for me if I needed him. I felt like he was only calling me when he needed something. A superficial friendship. 
In hindsight, I know this was actually my fault; I didn't allow him to be there for me. I didn't let him know things about me that I wanted help with, so there was no way he could help. I was blaming him for things he had no control over.

So, I went through the motions as I always do with any other "best friend" in my life. I completely stopped talking to him. I didn't return his calls or texts; I cut off access to my Hulu and Netflix accounts, and I went on about my life as if the friendship had never happened.
I didn't return his calls or texts. I cut off access to my Hulu and Netflix accounts, and I went on about my life as if the friendship had never happened.

So, by not developing a true friendship with anyone, I am avoiding any chance of being betrayed or becoming dependent upon someone else, which are two of my biggest fears in life. 
However, as I get older, I realize that I do end up being more hurt without friendships in my life. I have started to want to create beautiful friendships because I've grown tired of my loneliness and fears.
I try to reach out more to the people in my life and keep in touch, I try to let them in more, and instead of allowing the relationship to fade away, I'm trying to hold onto it and let it grow.
As for my friend, I reached out, but I had already damaged the friendship. He wasn't interested in fixing what I had broken. While I don't have him in my life anymore, I did learn from it: I learned to let people in, let them see me for who I am, and I learned to cherish friendship. 
In the end, I've got to allow myself to be vulnerable. I need to just trust that someone will have my back in a bad situation. I'll need to let them see all the things that make me me — that I'm indecisive, talk too much, and sometimes a bit selfish — and I'll hope that they choose to love me and stick around, regardless.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dogs and Shoes

Our lives change when we have kids.
But when did welcoming your little miracle into the world segue into a funeral for your relationships with childless friends?
Somewhere between up-all-night-with-a-baby-who-won’t-sleep and should-I-do-breast-milk-or-formula, some of us stopped caring what our career-minded single pals were up to.
Or maybe we were just too tired. Or too shell-shocked, or ashamed, that being home with a baby was way harder than we thought it’d be (what I call the Stay-at-Home Mom Conspiracy Theory).
Whatever it was, it’s a problem.
Because our childless friends are hurting. In fact, they’re mourning the friendships that have been lost.
My friend Marissa is a news anchor in a top five market. She is fair, dedicated and authentic. She doesn’t have kids, and she is a very intentional, quality friend. She wrote me a note about a friendship that ended after her very close friend had a baby. Here’s part of what she shared with me (posted with her permission):
I made a concerted effort to go visit her so that she didn’t have to leave her house with her daughter, a stroller, diapers, etc. Even after multiple trips to her house, I still felt something was off. She started half-listening to our conversations, even after I would listen to 35+ minutes of her debating the pros and cons of cloth diapers. (Um, really?) I don’t even know how to give advice on that, other than to go to Google. After a few different instances, I just realized that things that were, at one time, important to US, were now only important to me. She had her daughter and her new family dynamic and nothing else mattered anymore.
The thing is: I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. I know that I’d likely feel the same way: cherishing every moment; taking time for the few rare, quiet times with my husband while he was home from work; using the 30 minutes while the baby is sleeping to take a shower. I get it. But I also felt that I was mourning a friend and a friendship at the same time.
I have to tell you... after writing this to you, I feel like I’m being kind of a sap about all this stuff. I consider myself pretty independent and non-needy, but for some reason, this really bothered me. I think it’s because it’s happened with more than one friend and no one really talks about it, you know?
Dear Marissa and other single friends who have been abandoned,
Here’s the ugly truth: We suck at doing it all.
That’s right. The moment the doctor handed me my crying newborn, it all stopped. I was not just Janie. I was Janie, the Mother of Sullivan. An enormous privilege and an overwhelming responsibility. I became a mom, and for a time, I didn’t care about anything else but my kid.
And that meant I sucked at everything else.
My friends. My former career. My house. My laundry pile. My husband’s needs. My spiritual life. My weight. My personal hygiene. My own sense of self.
Yes, me. This normally-so-organized-and-in-control-of-everything woman was now so wound up with the brand-new, blindingly-amazing, dizzingly-daunting task of taking care of the round-the-clock needs of my newborn that, sometimes, I forgot to breathe.
The newborn who I made certain to feed before we left the house for the grocery store... where I realized I forgot my wallet. The newborn who wore brand-new outfits for at least the first four weeks... while I slouched around in two-day-old pajamas marked with splotches of crusty spit-up. The newborn who demanded so much attention that I could tell you when he fed, slept and pooed last... but I couldn’t take the time to look you in the eyes while you were telling me about your life.
You know what? I was being the best mother I could. And that meant that other things suffered, including our friendship.
I dropped the ball when you least deserved it.
You, who showed up to our engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, baby gender announcement parties and baby showers. And each time, you had a gift, purchased with your single-person paycheck, from our extravagant, self-indulgent registry. You, who came to the hospital to see our newborn, and then a few days later, smelled your home-cooked lasagna all day at work so you could drop it at our house exactly when we’d asked, at 5:15 p.m.. You, who comments or likes every one of my unending stream of kid-related posts on Facebook and never complains that our once-a-week phone convo has turned into a half-assed once-a-month email.
You, who genuinely loves me.
But here’s the thing: It’s not forever.
Our relationship has been on pause because of me. I’ve changed. And I’m having a tough time keeping up with the daily demands of raising babies. Like exercising properly. Like showering and having decent personal hygiene. And yes, like picking up the phone and calling you. Just to see how you’re doing.
We have a real friendship. But right now, we’re interested in different things. While you talk, I’m watching the clock because my baby needs to eat in 12 minutes. I don’t realize that you spent 30 minutes waiting on me to get here because the baby had a blowout on the way. As your hands move with your story, I’m wishing I had worn a different color shirt that wouldn’t show the baby spit-up. I don’t notice your fabulous choice of color on your new manicure (as I tooootally would have before). As you talk about things at work, I’m distracted by doubts about whether Ferbering was the right move. But I don’t see the doubt on your face about whether your contract will be renewed.
Shame on me. You deserve better. And I haven’t been there.
I’m sorry.
We had kids. And became self-focused.
Except, we actually haven’t been focused on ourselves. We’ve been focused on the tiny aliens who suck the life, milk, energy, sleep and brain power out of us. The piercing screams that are our new wake-up call every morning at 2 a.m.. The tiny hands that are so perfectly-created it brings us to tears. The bundles of soft skin that have made us realize that life is so much bigger than us. The little people who are fine-tuning our patience, grace and tolerance of others on a minute-by-minute basis.
Our children are the perfect miracles who are teaching us what love is. So that, when we get it all figured out, we can actually be a much better friend to you.
So, childless friends, I want to thank you. Thank you for being patient with us.
The other friends left a loooong time ago. They were over the boob talk and calls to voicemail. But you cared enough to stay. And you even care enough... to be hurt. Because we aren’t considering your life.
Thank you.
Thank you for loving us, even when we’re too distracted to show we care.
We do care. You are valuable to us. We need you.
We just need a minute to get this parenting thing down. And trust me; when we come up for air, we will be even better friends than we were before.
(And hey, who doesn’t need a friend who gives legit parenting advice and awesome baby gifts?!?)

Original Post;-

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Best Dating Advise

 In dating we often find ourselves in this grey area where we don’t know what to do anymore. Some examples:

    Your date is not texting back after what you thought was a great night.
    The colleague you asked to go watch a movie together tells you “Sorry, I can’t make it today, but let’s do it another time!” But she never says a word about it again.
    An interesting guy who said he’d call you but never does.
    The cute brunette that invited you to her party but didn’t even talk to you when you were there.

All of these examples show you ambiguous situations that – let’s be honest – suck. This is where “Yuck yes, or no” comes into play.

Why would you want to be with someone like that? Why would you want to be with someone who is obviously not excited to be with you? Why would you waste your time and sanity chasing after someone who clearly isn’t as into you as you are into them?

From now on, you should follow a simple rule: only pursue romantic endeavors in which everything seems to flow naturally.

    Go for the lover who calls you in the middle of the night after your date because he couldn’t stop thinking about you, opposed to the guy who barely remembers who you are.
    Go for the colleague who immediately buys those tickets for Avatar 2 instead of the one who leaves you hanging in the neverland between colleague and date.
    Go for the cute bubu who invites you to her party, welcomes you with open arms, and introduces you to everyone there.

Life is short. Spend it with people who want to be with you. To everyone else, your answer is “NO”.