Sharing is Caring…Literally

I grew up in a household with five other siblings, three being younger than me, and I can recall despising the concept of sharing. I would look at the adults and think, none of THEM are sharing – why do I have to? I would go to school and balk at the kids wanting to borrow my crayons, asking for my loose-leaf paper, eating my candy. I had to share my time, sometimes my bedroom, even my money when I was old enough to get a summer job. I relished in the times I had to myself, the moments I could open up a pack of Now and Laters without a hungry glance from a younger sibling, the moments when I could sit in a park and write uninterrupted (save for the attacking pigeons). I detested the concept so much that I carried my disdain over into adulthood, even in my friendships and unfortunately, in my marriage.

angry-teddy

Now, don’t get wrong. I was a very giving person, and I still am. But that giving was always on my terms, under my control. I love nothing more than to help someone in need, to donate to a cause, to give my time and energy to something I believe in. However, when I was younger, if you told me you needed my sharing, my stubbornness and deep-rooted aversion to it would take hold. Even if I succumbed, it would probably be half-heartedly or with resentment. The more I was faced with compromise, the more I stood my ground, feeling that if I bended and shared, it would be akin to weakness. Nothing exemplified this rigidness more than my marriage.

Fence.jpg

 

We were married as teenagers, a time where you are still trying to find your way in the world, when you’re still trying to understand who you are as a person. And no one (NO ONE ) is more selfish than a teenager. Without the guidance of those who had been on that ride before, we fumbled through the relationship, without a clear path in mind. If he wanted to go left, I would probably go right. If I wanted to criss, he would probably want to cross. Compromise (the biggest form of sharing in a relationship) was a constant battle, and one that neither of us seemed to ever win. Instead of actually sharing, we would find ways to ensure our independence was intact, behaving in ways that destroyed the purpose and beauty of marriage. Even when it was breaking, it still wasn’t enough for us to attempt to mend it, because you see, we were both still viewing ourselves and our relationship from a selfish teenaged point of view.

boxer

 

For me, it wasn’t until after I was far removed from the relationship that I could clearly see that the cracks were really breaks. Hindsight is always 20/20, and knowing that a lot of the issues could have been solved, had the intention to actually share and compromise been at the forefront, was eye-opening. Some say people never change, and I believe that to be true. You should never change who you are at your core, because your uniqueness is what makes you, and you should never compromise your moral standards. But experiences – those should push you to grow, to evolve, to elevate yourself to a higher standard. I’ve learned that sharing isn’t a bad thing, and when done correctly, and bring the most amazing people, experiences and most importantly – love – into your life. I realize now that maybe – just maybe – our kindergarten teachers had the right mindset.

 

(All photos courtesy of gratisography.com)

The Happiness Factor

The other day, I had the most amazing discussion with an older woman, in her early 80s, named Joyce M. I met her at an alteration shop, and she watched as I tried on my bridesmaid dress, waiting to be pinned. She told me how beautiful it was, and we chatted about her wedding, and the colors she made her bridesmaids wear. I joked and told her that I already knew what colors I’d have for mine, and that I couldn’t wait to get married again (this is actually true, even though I currently don’t have a boyfriend nor actual prospects). After I was all changed and ready to go, we stepped outside, and continued to converse by our cars in the sweltering July sun. I told her that, although marriage would be great, I was currently focusing on myself, and how to become more like myself everyday. She indicated that my focus was coincidental, as she had attended a family reunion the previous weekend, and her nephew had given a presentation on the pursuit of happiness.

Pancakes

He discussed a study, the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which is considered the longest study ever (75 years and counting). The study follows 724 adult men throughout their life, examining their experiences and quality of life, but the crux of the study essentially investigates what happiness is and was for each of those men. What was coincidental on my end is that just a couple of hours prior, I had a great discussion with a friend on this very topic, about what happiness is and what it looked like for us. Many times, people comment on the way you live your life, and interject their feelings of disapproval, because they aren’t in your specific situation. They find it mind-boggling that your version of happiness isn’t reflective of THEIR version of happiness. The thing is…your happiness is your responsibility, and no one else’s. You aren’t responsible for their happiness, their relationships, their careers – that is something they ultimately have control over. What we make of our lives is a direct result of our own decisions, and in those decisions, practicing mindfulness and self-guidance.

Kitty Mail Slot

The discussion was so timely, because although I consider myself fairly content, I’m not sure if I’ve yet attained that goal of ultimate happiness. It was as if the Universe was speaking to me, and causing me to be mindful of my present, instead of focusing too heavily on my past or future. Joyce mentioned that her nephew presented a book during his presentation, by Dr. Seuss, entitled, “Oh The Places You’ll Go!”. How many of us have not even bothered to glance at that book, because it appears to be a children’s book? But oh, it’s definitely not, and it’s filled with a variety of advice on how life’s ups and downs will halt us, spin us around, even bring us to extreme moments of despair, but we have to keep moving. We can’t let past failures cloud our futures and our pursuits.I’m learning to be open to new situations and people, and to be careful to not close myself off because I think I already know better. Sometimes we have to start giving new and different experiences a chance, because we won’t know unless we actually try.

Droopy Flowers.jpg

I would often talk about finding love, and wanting to be in love, but at the first sign of viable interest, I would close my heart’s windows and shut the blinds. After a failed marriage, there was nothing in me that could even consider trusting another human again. If once upon a time I had a love so deep and intense, but one we both could ultimately dispose of so callously, what hope was there for something equal or better? There were days and nights that I could do nothing but cry in emotional and spiritual pain, unable to verbalize the exact cause of my hurt. As a result, I made sure that my walls were reinforced with iron and industrial grade concrete, and every once in a while I would make sure there was a steel gate to slide across that wall too!

Fire Hydrant.jpg

In the past couple of years of self-reflection and self-actualization, I’ve learned that while it’s quite alright to be cautious, sometimes you have to make space in that wall for a door too. I realized I was only going to receive the joy I longed for, the spiritual and mental peace I craved, if I took the risk of being open to change. Of course, the catch-22 is that no one else can determine what those risks will entail, because they can’t define what my happiness looks like. I’ve had to make the conscious decision to search for and create my own contentment. It has been difficult, because it has taken a lot of effort, and extreme soul-searching, but it is possible. I’m now living by the words of the famous Seuss, every day I wake up: “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!”

 

 

 

It’s Better to Heal…Than to Hurt

It’s very easy to run away from and avoid the reality of our lives. It’s even easier to harbor hatred and feigned indifference, than it is to examine ourselves and determine the role we’ve played in the demise of something that was once deemed important and beautiful. Hatred is not a clear-cut emotion, but is typically a mask for something deeper, usually deep-seated pain and hurt. When people hate, it is because they are too emotionally immature to deal with the heartache they’re experiencing, the hurt they believe is caused by another person or situation. In actuality, no one can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel. Your emotions are your responsibility, and you ultimately have the control over how they are expressed. But how do we wade through our insecurities and elevate ourselves in a way that causes anger and hatred to be fleeting emotions, that aren’t allowed to take up residence in our souls?

Pinata Murderer

Practice self-love. This sounds so simple, yet so many people don’t know how to accomplish this. I sometimes blame it on our modern society and the new cultural expectations we seem to have. We are so dependent on the acceptance and love of others that when we don’t have it, we feel empty inside. We constantly seek the approval, the love…the admiration of others, and when it’s not reciprocated, we tumble down the rabbit hole of despair. You, and only you, have the power to create and manifest your own happiness. How much you love yourself should not be contingent upon how much someone loves you.

Self Love

Do NOT mirror emotions. This is a difficult one for me, personally, because I am an empath by nature – meaning I sense and feel the emotions of those around me quite easily. If I walk into a room and there are people being jovial and lighthearted, my first inclination is to do the same. On the flip side, if I’m sitting next to you, and you are angry, chances are, I will find myself slowly getting angry as well. My soul tends to be a little emotional sponge that wants to share in the experiences of others, even when those experiences are detrimental to my well-being and alter my mood. You have to be extremely cognizant of this in yourself, which I am still learning to be. It takes a LOT of extra work, but if I’m being attacked with negativity, I actively remind myself that I have control over my feelings and cannot allow infiltration by the hurt party. Count to ten if you have to, but do NOT match their emotional level. Your spirit will thank you.

Twin Horses

Be aware of your feelings. Pain can be a confusing place. Someone says or does something we perceive to be cruel, and the first thought an emotionally immature person has is to “get back” at them. Did you know that the more supposed revenge you seek, the more negative energy you bring on yourself, and the more horrible you feel (Unless of course, you are a completely narcissistic person who is incapable of taking responsibility for your actions and their resulting consequences)? There’s supposedly a very thin line between love and hate, but that’s because the line is a fallacy. Hatred does not exist without love, period. It is just the level that reveals itself when you are unable to cope with the pain that occurred within that love. Instead of dealing with the underlying feeling that is making you lash out, you instead blame any and everything in your life on the person you thought caused it, and you try to hurt them to match what YOU feel inside. Meanwhile, because they’ve matured and actively practice the art of self-love, they’re just deflecting all of your attacks with grace while continuously praying for your peace. Stop attacking and become aware of what you’re really feeling. If necessary, see a therapist.

Bloody Radishes

I realize that a lot of this may seem simpler than it is, because the level of passion behind the emotion you’re feeling may seem larger than life. Unfortunately, the truth is, you can’t run from your feelings, no matter how far you try to escape. Continuing to try to cause hurt to others, instead of focusing on your own healing, tends to hurt you more in the long run. Or, in some cases, you end up causing residual hurt to those around you, and those closes to your targets – and then they begin to build resentment within their hearts. Stop trying to actively breed a home of negativity – if you continue, you may wake up one day and find there’s no one left to lash out to.

 

If It Isn’t Love…

**cue up the New Edition record**. So many songs about love…what it feels like, what it sounds like, hell, what it tastes like. It isn’t a negative emotion, experience, feeling. The very essence of love is in the fact that it denotes positivity and freedom. Love is freedom. Love makes you feel like anything is possible. It makes you feel as if you need nothing else in the world, that you can meet all of your basic needs with it. You can consume it, breathe it, touch it, cover your body with it like a blanket. I can tell you what it is, but unfortunately, I can also tell you what it isn’t.

New Edition

It probably shouldn’t make you miserable. Have you ever met someone who was “in love”, but they seemed like the most depressed person on earth? Always sad, complaining about what the love of their love isn’t providing for them, how they’re making them feel? And when you try to tell them that they’re probably not in love, but in some sort of passion or lust filled place, they come up with excuses as to why they’re being treated so poorly? Yeah, that’s not a loving relationship. Love is supposed to fill you with joy, not dread. If the unhappy moments outweigh the wonderful ones by a landslide, then you’re more than likely in a toxic relationship. ABORT!

Teddy Bear

It shouldn’t change who you are. So, you finally got the man/woman of your dreams, that person that you’ve been crushing on. And it seems like you’re exactly what they’re looking for. Except, you’re not. You’re constantly tip-toeing around them, walking on eggshells, afraid of being yourself. Maybe you learned they don’t like hip-hop music or something (that’s someone who’s obviously dead inside, but I digress), but it’s your favorite and it speaks to your soul. Or, you love corny knock-knock jokes, but they’ve told you that it’s one of their pet peeves. Or, more seriously, they tell you they want tons of children, and even though you can’t see yourself carrying around another baby, you pretend that it’s cool, in hopes that you can change their mind. They’re not in love with you anymore than you’re in love with them. All you’re doing is stifling your true self, and become more despondent and empty each day. And let me tell you, once that happens, you’ll find yourself in the first “this ain’t love” category above.

Miserable Woman

It should never hurt. Love should never, ever, ever hurt. Physically, psychologically, or emotionally (the only exception to this rule is in the case of Romeo and Juliet, and well, we see how that ultimately turned out anyway). I’m talking more than the miserable love of the first point. I’m talking about someone who is constantly cutting you down, destroying your spirit. I’m talking about the narcissists who lead you to believe that you are worthless, that you don’t deserve love, and that they’re the best you’ll ever find. Those people are severely dangerous, and should be steered clear of. If you’re in a “loving” relationship that is giving you pain in any way, you have to immediately (and safely) abandon that situation.

Box of Chocolates

Love should water your soul, and the best kind sometimes allows you to become more you, with all of your flaws and shortcomings. It should never be conditional or scary or painful. It should cause you to want to be a better person, and should elevate you. Now, don’t confuse this with love making you “whole”. You’re already whole. It just means that it should complement who you are. It holds no expectations of you that you cannot fulfill. When I was in love, it felt as if I could fly. The other person made me feel like I could conquer the world if I just set my mind to it. And once you’ve been in love and lost that, it can make you feel as if you’ll never get that back again. But you know the great thing about love? It’s not some limited edition item, with only a few made. Love is bottomless source within your soul, and as long as you’re open and willing, guess what? It will replenish within you, and somehow, more will find you.

Free Bird

The Positivity Plan

It is soooo absolutely easy to give out great advice. You listen to the other person so thoughtfully, you run the situation through in your head, you try to be objective and look at both sides of the story, and then you dole out equally thoughtful, objective guidance. You know what’s even easier though? To give out that advice, knowing full well you should be taking it yourself. We like to pretend we don’t have viable solutions to the issues that plague us on a daily basis, but when you give out that awesome advice to your close friends in similar dilemmas, it’s usually your subconscious telling you that you already know the answers to your problems. To kick it up another level, when you blog about your observations about other people, or instances in your life, there’s usually a grain of guidance lurking in between your words.

The Joker

So I’ll let you in on a little secret: I love when I can write about something, and someone will comment, or message me, or text me, and tell me that they needed to read what I wrote – that my words somehow resonated deeply with them. But at the end of the day, I write more for me than anyone else. I honestly don’t ever know if anyone is going to take the time to read my rants, to appreciate my thoughts. So in essence, it is pretty much therapeutic and cleansing for me. I’d even argue that it’s NECESSARY. So much so, that when I go a few weeks without writing or posting (I’m sorry!), the little negative cynic that hides in the recesses of my psyche starts to rear its ugly head. It throws temper tantrums, demanding I set it free so I can shift energy and add more negativity to the vibe. And when that starts to happen, I know I have to sit down and take time to talk to you all, so I can stuff him back where he belongs.

The Tragedies

We all have that negative cynic hiding within us. For some people, the company they keep makes it more apparent. Others stay in unhappy situations, relationships, jobs, and absorb all of the negative energy from others, and then pass it on to those who are trying to remain positive and have a hopeful outlook on life. I’m not saying you need to stay away from those people (although, if you’re a HSP like me, you’ll let people’s energy, whether bad or good, screw with your spirit, so I do try to steer clear). Rather, if you can handle it, you have to be the positive ball of energy so they can feed into you. What they really need more than ever is not someone who will add misery, but someone who can be a beacon, and perhaps urge them to think of creative ways to stifle their cynic. For me, it’s writing. Others may sing, or paint, or be physically active. The key though, is to do something that will cause an imbalance of energy, with the abundance tipping on the positive side of the scale. Who wouldn’t want an abundance of positivity? I know for me, after writing this soliloquy, I can already feel Cynic Sam (I literally just made a name up for him) retreating back into his cave. Find a way to make your inner cynic do the same.

The Beach

 

Lowered Expectations

Something has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks. It’s been weighing very heavily…so heavily that I haven’t been able to shape my thoughts enough around the subject to begin writing. And it’s not something super serious, but it’s something super important. I get my inspiration for my posts in the most random moments, and if a word is swirling around in my head for more than a couple of days, I know that it’s something I have to get my thoughts down on. My word over the last few weeks? Disappointment.

Deflated Balloon

The older I get, and the more life experiences I have, the more I realize how much faith we need to STOP putting in people. Well, let me rephrase that: maybe not faith, but expectations. I think we have to stop expecting so much from people and their actions. This isn’t a bitter or contrite post; quite the contrary. It’s more so one of my epiphany moments. I realized that I was expecting so much from imperfect people – imperfect people like myself. Even when I didn’t know what I wanted or how I felt, I was still expecting others to know what they wanted and how they felt. And I understand now that those expectations are a heavy load for anyone to carry around.

Laundry

Just because you would behave a certain way in a given situation, doesn’t necessarily mean that someone else will do the same. We all have that inherent “me me me” complex of assuming that our way is always the right way, and we expect others to do things the way we want them to. We tend to have very limited tolerance of accepting anything less than what we want, especially when we’re emotionally immature. I have a secret though, one that I’ve learned throughout the years: it’s really not about you.

Bear Slippers

Once you really let that statement and mindset resonate with you, you’ll stop putting so much effort into trying to change others into your mini-clone. You’ll begin to learn to respect their thoughts and feelings and views, and you’ll start meeting them where they are, instead of where you think they should be. Most importantly, you won’t get hurt so easily, because you’re not creating unrealistic assumptions surrounding your interactions with them. It is such a freeing experience, to accept others for who they uniquely are. And the moment you begin lowering your expectations, that’s the moment you lower the chances of enduring heartbreak and disappointment.

Back Scrubs and Doggie Bags

Yeah, yeah, another post about being single. But this is a serious one. Soooo serious. You never realize how many things you take for granted when you’re a part of a couple, especially when it’s all you’ve known for ten or more years. Obviously, when you get that far, you just assume that it’s going to be that way forever. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out that way, and you end up dealing with some big adjustments when you transition to single life. For me, there are five pressing things that I’m just now understanding are super serious – that make my ousting from coupledom that much more evident.

1. There’s no one to wash my back in the shower. 

Have you ever realized, like, really realized, the necessity of having someone wash your back in a shared shower? The joy of not having to be extremely and unnaturally flexible, a contortionist of sorts, just to have a nice, clean back? Imagine my sadness, my utter despair, when, after months of near-death experiences and injuries in the shower, I discovered that they actually sell things to help you with that. You know, those long-handled brush thingamajigs, back scrubbers, I think they’re called? I’m convinced they were invented by a single person who was just over the stretching and sliding to get to that one spot in the middle of their back. Sad. Very, very sad.

Back Scrubber

2. You can’t race yourself to the bed so you don’t have to turn out the lights. 

What a friggin pain in the ass this was before I bought my home a few months ago. Back during the “Relationship Age”, I tried to always be the first one in the bed (so yes, former SO, I was taking that game seriously, and really did NOT want to turn off the lights), nice and comfy, so I wouldn’t have to get up, half-asleep, and flick the switch. Sure, that seems small, but it is oh so important when you find that snuggly spot in the bed, and you don’t want to get up again. My new place has a remote control for my bedroom lights (Bougie? Maybe. But an ingenious invention, really). Also, that praying mantis has nothing to do with this section at all. But I was desperate to use him. 

Praying Mantis

3. Who will eat all of my restaurant doggie-bag leftovers? 

I typically eat small portions of food (this is mostly due to the fact that I just want to get to the dessert, and like a good girl, I have to eat some of my dinner first to look as if I’m following the rules). Because of me eating two bites and feigning fullness, I just about always have something to bring home with me at the end of dinner. This wouldn’t be so bad if I actually ate the leftovers, but no. Like the wasteful American I am, I almost always forget that it’s even in the fridge, and by the time I remember, it’s too late. That cedar-plank salmon looks more like some sort of algae concoction. The irony of all of this? I despise wasting food, so I also give myself a guilt trip for a few days after the offense. Do you see the dilemma here??

Doggie

4. There’s no one to ditch parties and events with. 

You get invited somewhere, the day comes, and you’re kind of like, meh. And when you’re in a couple, that “meh” feeling is okay, because guess what? They’re going to agree with you! And if your former SO was a man, that statement becomes even more true! Especially when it comes to those situations where you feel it necessary to show up as a couple. But now? I get invited to places and events, and if I don’t feel like going, I stay home. Alone. And there’s no one to make me feel okay with the fact that I just ditched someone’s kids bar mitzvah/holiday party/movie night/whatever whatever or something. I am alone in my shame and guilt (okay, there probably isn’t much shame or guilt. I was tired. Get off my back!).

Loner

5. Running out of toilet paper is now just your fault. 

Before, you could get upset, cast the blame on your innocent SO, but now? You have no one to blame but yourself. It was your responsibility. You knew you used the last of it the night before, so don’t act so surprised when you wake up the next morning to the little unusable bit that’s stuck to the paper roll. You kept reminding yourself that you needed to get more, and you didn’t. This is YOUR FAILURE. In the grand scheme of things, it seems miniscule, but at 3:30 in the morning? It’s crucial.

Toilet Paper

All this to say, every event in your life brings you the chance to learn new things about yourself, good or bad. I’ve learned that, especially after listing out these five things, I’m apparently wasteful, lazy, forgetful, and a hermit. But on the bright side, I’ve learned resourcefulness. It’s that much more important to stock up on toilet paper before you need it.

 

I Build Walls, and Then I Tear Them Down

Every once in a while, we meet someone who seems to speak to our soul – perhaps even sing to it. And we try so hard to make that person fit into the vision of our future, ignoring the red flags, the doubts, the things we considered deal-breakers with others. For some reason, something in them caused us to let our guard down, to feel a little carefree, to be more ourselves. And then, out of the blue, something happens that causes all of that to come to a screeching halt, causes us to put our walls back up. We somehow find out that the person is actually human.

Spilt Milk

At first, it’s difficult to comprehend. We become confused, misled, maybe even sad. Our plans and goals have been altered, and we begin to feel as though we’ve been duped, deceived. It is at this point that our recovery becomes crucial, because it will tell us whether we’re going to rebuild our wall (this time a little sturdier and with better insulation), or, whether we’re going to put a door in that wall, one we can open at a later time, when we’re ready. Unfortunately, many of us are more apt to do the former, and prevent anyone else from getting in.

Brick Wall

I watched a documentary last night, entitled “Happy” (on Netflix!). One portion discussed the American pursuit of happiness, and how most of us look to money to aid us in achieving said happiness. The study found, though, that although there was a huge increase in happiness between those who made $5k a year and those that made $50k a year, there was no real difference in those who made $50k and those who made $500k (random fun fact!). However, the study discovered that a large indicator of happiness was actually the existence of close interpersonal relationships, which had a direct correlation with how happy people considered themselves to be. All of this to say, if you build that wall, will you potentially be limiting the amount of happiness that can flow into your life?

Closed Shop

I know this is hard to believe, but guess what? People will disappoint you. Over and over and over again. And there’s nothing you can do to prevent it, but there are ways to deal with it. You can take that disappointment, and let it chip away at your spirit, making you miserable and unlovable and unloving, shutting off the world. Or you can accept that disappointment, allowing yourself to wallow in it for an appropriate amount of time, and then…well, and then, you can open your door back up and let the fresh air in.

Dating…With Children

Dating, in this day in age, is difficult (as I’ve said in other posts, I’m sure, of which I’m also sure you’re sick of hearing, but eh). Throw some kids in the mix, and you’re just asking to be single until those little ones go off to college. Child-less people feel weird entertaining others with children, as if children were a disease of some sort.  As if children are a personality trait that can’t be ignored. Obviously, I’m not saying go against something that’s at the core of what you believe and throw caution to the wind. I AM saying though, that people have certain misconceptions about single people with children, and they write them off before they’ve even gotten to know the person. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable around kids, maybe they don’t want to feel like they’re overstepping in some way – I totally 100% get it. I see some disparities in how parents are viewed, based on the parent’s gender. Men with children don’t seem to be that big of a turn-off for women, while women with children might as well have a “C” for children scarlet letter emblazoned on their dresses. But let’s be real here: if you’re over the age of 30 and you’re looking for a serious relationship, chances are, 7 out of 10 people you meet may have children (I literally threw out an arbitrary, made-up statistic out there, so please, spot-check me and correct me, it’s cool). I’ve noticed that there are at least three common fallacies surrounding single parents, so please take heed and ensure that you’re not generalizing a diverse group of people (I know this is America and that’s what we do, but try, this one time, ‘kay?).

Baby

1. Single parents are looking to replace the “missing” parent. 

Please. Have several, several seats. Not all single mothers are looking for a “daddy” for their kids. Truth be told, that is typically the furthest thing from their minds. Companionship and partnership are important, but they are not looking for step-mommy-or-daddy-dearest to step in and save the day. For the most part, all of the single parents I know are doing fine on their own, thank-you-very-much. And lo and behold, the “missing” parent has a HUGE part in those kids’ lives, and they engage, participate, and know their children. No, the single parent is looking for someone to have a relationship with, because yes, the children are the most important part of the lives, but not the only part. Also, if the single parent is doing it right, you shouldn’t be meeting their children any time soon anyway. As parents, they want to take their time and get to know someone, to figure out if you’re even a right fit for them, much less their children. I give this phase about 8 months to a year, with that time period being spent in the serious relationship. And then maybe, maybe you can make it to meeting the kiddos.

Mother and Son

 

2. There’s nothing but constant drama with the “other” parent. 

Okay, I could see why this would be a concern, I do. No one wants to deal with someone’s crazy baby daddy or baby mama. But again, here we are making assumptions. Hopefully, you’ve met a single parent who has their head on their shoulders, who wants to do what’s best for their children, and leave the drama elsewhere. I have witnessed several successful co-parenting situations, where the parents get along, have great relationships with their children, and even with the new significant other. You will encounter situations where the other parent is no good, and I don’t blame you for wanting to steer clear of that b.s. But have faith: there are tons of mature adults out there that have come to grips with the fact that they didn’t work out, but understand that they still have to partner with each other to raise wonderful little people, and who realize they are wonderful people themselves that can move on and give their all to someone who is willing to understand their situation.

Man

3. They may still be carrying a torch for the “other” parent, also known as the ex.

Another valid concern, I suppose. I mean, it’s one thing for a person to break up with someone, and you swoop in and take that number one spot, with the ex never being heard from again. But an ex that your lady/man has to talk to constantly? No, no, no. Not gonna happen. Um, but guess what? Exes are exes for a reason. It’s usually because the two people who were once in that partnership realized that they just weren’t gonna work out together. And again, they are those two awesome mature adults that understand that, but still need to communicate for the good of the people they produced. It’s a given that they will still care about each other to a degree; most of us without kids still care whether or not our exes live or die (hopefully), so of course you’re going to care about the well-being of the parent of your children, since essentially, it will affect those children. You just have to keep in mind that you’re the important one in their lives, and just like you were able to move on from your exes, so can they.

Heart in the Pocket

I know we all have our deal-breakers when we’re determining a person’s value in our lives, and I know accepting someone else’s children is a huge one. But if you meet a good person, who has it together, who makes you happy, and just happens to be an amazing parent, don’t just write them off. I happen to be a friend of people with some wonderful blended families, and I know that if they would have run the other way when the words “I’m a parent” left their lips, they would have missed out on something great. Happy dating!

 

What the Cuff…

I really hate the term “cuffing season”, just as much as I hate what it stands for. To me, it just illustrates how shallow and self-centered our generation can be, how pathetic we can appear, and how anti-social we actually are in this “social”-media heavy society we live in. We spend seven to nine months out of the year (depending on your geographic location) just partyin’ and bullsh*ttin’ to our little hearts’ content. We go through phases with supposedly potential partners, flirting via text, then super heavy texting and perhaps intense phone conversations, to exchanging a few selfies that become increasingly more risqué. We work up to doing the deed (if it wasn’t done in the first place…y’all know how us millennials are), we forget why we even started talking in the first place, and then one of the parties in the situationship falls off the face of the earth.

Handcuff

We go through the cycle throughout the “off-season”, using people left and right to entertain us, until we notice that the season has begun and everyone’s already snatching up all of the good draft picks. We start to panic and scramble back to resurrect one of those stale situations we were in during the off-season. And sadly, because at that point, there are only 2nd and 3rd picks left, we get desperate and cuff. We tolerate all of the crap that annoyed us before, we cuddle, we go out, but we both know that it’s all probably temporary. We have these awesome little surface relationships with no titles, just so we don’t have to feel lonely. And then, once spring hits, we discard each other like our winter wardrobes, and start the dance all over again. And the best part? We never had to invest our real selves into any of it!

Third Round

I have this great fear that my generation will potentially be comprised of a bunch of lonely old geezers. Everyone places so much emphasis on being independent and not needing anyone (*cough cough* bullsh*t!), that we fail to appreciate two beautiful characteristics of being human – caring about another person and authentic, real-life partnership! We are so hooked on instant gratification and false representations of perfection. We believe everything we see on social media, and the airbrushing makes us want it all (right now!), instead of putting any real effort into anything that may prove to be fruitful with a little care.

Alone

I know this isn’t all of us; some of us really hope to be a part of genuine, amazing relationships. We DO want love; we want to be understood, we want that awesome feeling of security and happiness of being loved in a positive, reciprocal relationship. However, if we keep celebrating foolish generational customs like “cuffing season”, I’m not so sure the real relationships will ever stand a chance of becoming a reality.

 

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