A Few Words About Poinsettias

Hi Guys,
Meet my dear friends Kim and Sandra O’Donnell. They are a very brave couple. They married within a few months of meeting, he left a business, she started one, then they left Kim’s family home in California to move to Sandra’s home state of Alabama to be near her family.

Then they bought Tara. I swear, they bought a big, white plantation home, decorated it for the holidays, hosted Thanksgiving and started a gorgeous Lifestyle Magazine, all in like ten days.

So the least I could do was write about the fact that poinsettias upset me and send it to them because I am so far out of their league I can only hope to illicit their sympathy…and yours.
Please check out their Magazine, it’s awesome.

http://www.huntsvillelifemagazine.com/single-post/2016/12/08/A-FEW-WORDS-ABOUT-POINSETTIAS


I have a very complicated relationship with the holidays and their prerequisite decoration requirements, most particularly, the Poinsettia plant. Some people call it a flower but really, is it a flower? It seems fairly obvious to me that it is a green plant that has the ability, once a year, for our enjoyment, to turn its leaves red.

I find that to be an amazingly unselfish contribution to the holiday season which I can appreciate, so that being said, I cannot pass up a good poinsettia…or five. And therein lies the complication.

They are not an inexpensive obsession.

I need several, and by several I mean many of the medium plants, most which sell for around $5.99 to $7.99 a pot. My need for them is nonnegotiable if I want to put together a proper centerpiece or decorate an entrance. Don’t even get me started on the giant ones which I LOVE—because they are gorgeous. They can be as much as $25-$30 at a swanky nursery, upscale farmer’s market or florist in the city.

Granted, you can find them cheaper at certain grocery stores, (you know which ones I’m talking about) but they are the text-book case of “you get what you pay for.” Pathetic is the word that comes to mind when I think of them. They are the Tiny Tim’s of poinsettia plants. They are generally minuscule, dry and scrawny, with broken leaves, which these plants can’t afford because of their inherent sparseness.

After feeling the appropriate amount of pity I turn around, suck it up, and pay my eight dollars.

Here’s the thing. I have been buying poinsettias at Christmastime for well over forty years. I figure I pick up at least six to ten of them at eight dollars a plant. I am ashamed to admit I also buy at least three of the large, lush and perfectly crimson red thirty-dollar-a-pop plants each year so that makes almost fifteen poinsettias and that doesn’t count the replacement ones I buy after the ones I purchase right after Thanksgiving wilt and die by the second week of December. And you can just forget about all of those years we held Christmas Eve at our house. There was veritable red sea of Poinsettia plants as far as the eye could see. And not the Tiny Tim’s, the big, expensive guys.

I know you’re all with me. I see you with your plants at the check-out counter where we all size up each others choices and swallow our shame.

I sooth my guilt this way: Poinsettias are like buying into those expensive but strictly frivolous kitchen gadgets, like a super-duper vegetable juicer or a fancy food dehydrator. You convince yourself you must have them. You NEED them. Then after a couple of weeks you curse yourself for being such gullible idiot and get rid of them only to find yourself a year later forgetting why you hated them and doing it all over again.

So… you can do the math. I have spent a small fortune on seasonal plants that every year I promise myself I will nurture and use again the following year but in truth I once spotted a poinsettia plant in a friend’s garden in July. It felt like an aberration. Nope. I will continue to squander my money for the next three weeks and I justify it by deeming poinsettias necessary and calling them festive. To me, they signal the start of the holidays.

But let me be blunt. Had I not been bamboozled year after year by this nefarious plant/flower I would own a small island in the Bahama’s next to Johnny Depp’s or a diamond the size of my head.

Happy Holidays


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I Give You Permission To Hate December ~ Throwback

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A classic, Janet, Holiday rant.
I’m guessing you can relate.
Live long and prosper.
xox


We are now entering the second week of December. That triggers a hot mess of mixed emotions inside of me.
Every. Single. Year.

Listen, don’t get me wrong, I love all things Christmas, but can we please move it to May?

When I see THAT date—December 1st—I can’t help it—my butt puckers.

As the month progresses I secretly want to strangle December. I want to take it around back and teach it a lesson.

Show of hands, who’s with me? Who here in readerville secretly hates December?

Who thought that thirty consecutive days of extreme holiday stress was a good idea? Target? Santa? The devil?

By the end of week one, I’m consumed by that sinking feeling that lets me know—I’m already behind schedule.

I’m already late with my shipping.
Once I navigate the Post Office parking lot, or as I like to call it, December Demolition Derby (I once backed up and ONTO an Audi, a brand new one—my trailer hitch opening up the front hood of that car like a can opener), I have to stand in line and wait for the TWO postal clerks behind the counter to wade their way through all the other holiday shippers.

There is yelling. There are lies, bribes and cutting in line. There are tears. And that’s just me.

Once I work up the stamina (facilitated by devouring all of the fudge I made the previous night) to take on the Christmas tree shopping—usually reserving December 10th for my tree excursion—all of the good ones are gone.

By the second week of December! That is just criminal.

Last year they had a Charlie Brown section for people like me. Dried up weak and feeble trees that were already dead—pitifully begging for a home. Those are what’s left for us mid-December stragglers. The ones who wait so they don’t have to fight the crowds and crying kids the first two weeks.

Get this: I drove past a lot the other day where they were flocking trees. Remember flocking? Crispy, fake snow? I thought I’d passed through a time warp except for the crowd. There was a crowd of bearded hipsters with man-buns all milling around the tent inhaling crispy snow and sipping artisan hot chocolate.

Are hipsters bringing flocking back? Is that a thing again?

Are you freaking kidding me? If those hipsters had lived through the sixties like I had, they would NEVER in a million years have the slightest inclination to re-create it. I still have rotating color-wheel flashbacks.

Once I got my Christmas investment (they are well over ten bucks a foot) home, it took me three tries to get the white twinkle lights to do the one thing they were designed to do—light up. We sent men to the moon and wtf?… If you so much as look at a strand cross-eyed HALF of it will go dark.

But only half.

Which leaves me filled with hope, because December marks a season of hope, right? Hope that I can find the rat bastard loose bulb, tap it gently, twist it, or God willing, replace it with the extra one taped to the cord, and have the freaking tree lit by New Years.

THAT has never happened. In all of my years lighting a tree I’ve yet to twist a loose bulb and have the thing light back up.

That is an urban myth. Worse yet, it’s a fairy tale told to unsuspecting Christmas revelers in order to fill them with false hope.
That’s not playing fair. Jesus would frown on that.

In search of lights that worked I was forced to do what you’re never supposed to do the entire month of December if you have a brain in your head and one ounce of common sense left in your body——I went to Target yesterday and they were already out of white lights AND wrapping paper. It’s the first week of December people. Seriously?

In the parking lot, I nearly got sideswiped by an SUV wearing blinking antlers. Am I insured for that?

Baking. Let’s talk holiday baking. I love to bake.
I love it so much I only do it once a year in December, otherwise, I would be HUGE.
Like, walk me down Central Park West in the Thanksgiving Day Parade huge.
Because my love for baking is only exceeded by my love of eating what I bake.

What? You don’t do that? I call bullshit. Sure you do! Because it’s only logical. Artists love art. Singers love music. Bakers love all things warm and gooey. They love it so much they make it themselves—for themselves. Between eating the raw cookie dough and “quality testing” the finished products my friends are lucky to get a bite in edgewise.

December is also a month of wonder.
I wonder every year which of my favorite childhood ornaments will fall prey to the floor-gods. They are insatiable and unrelenting in their search for a sacrifice. I’m aware of this, so in order to keep the emotional carnage to a minimum I put the ones I don’t care as much about near the floor, as an offering. A token of respect. Then I padlock my favorite treasures safely inside the middle branches. But the floor gods always prevail. Last night the ice-skater I received when I was eleven mysteriously appeared on the hardwood floor under the tree. She wasn’t broken broken. Just her left ankle and skate are missing.

But her career is over. There go her hopes of a medal.

I had a good cry. SHE took it with grace and dignity so I re-hung her in the front of the tree as an example of Christmas courage.

Listen, how about those Christmas cards?
All year long I’m lulled into complacency, thinking I have several great shots for the front of a card. Then it comes time to send them in to get printed. Either I’m late for the “print by” date because for some reason I’m unable to fathom why on earth that date is August 31st, and I’m too busy eating watermelon BECAUSE IT’S SUMMER—or I can’t find the pictures.

They’re missing. Gone. Non-existent. A figment of my overactive imagination.

I could make do with the one from last year. The one where he’s squinting, my smile is jinky and the dog has wild eyes and a grin like Cujo. Oh, fuck it. Just never mind. It’ll just have to wait until next year. Again.

I do love receiving all the cards from friends and family. I really do. I adore being able to see how much the kids have grown every year but can I ask you a favor? Please don’t send me the three-page newsletters. That’s okay. I’m all caught up. That’s what Facebook is for. Besides, they’re primarily filled with bad news. The death of a pet, Uncle Frank’s broken hip, the baby that can’t say please. Are you kidding? Has no one any good news to share?

The last one I read was like a Charles Dickens novel. It was filled with so much tragedy I had to read it with a box of Kleenex (and Sees candy) and a glass of scotch. Honestly! I know nothing says Christmas like death and job loss, but can we all agree to just cut-it-out?

December. What is it with you?
You drive me nuts! You are like the bat-shit crazy relative everyone hates that keeps showing up drunk every year!

As much as I vow that this year will be different,
I eat too much.
I spend too much.
I drink too much.
I argue way too much.
I don’t get enough rest.
I over commit.
I cry.
And I lose my patience.

Which brings me to the realization—December, you are a little bit like childbirth. You are miserable and painful in the moment but after some time has passed (like 365 days) I forget and repeat all the madness because when I look back on the holidays you brought me miracles and filled me with wonder and THAT my friend,makes you impossible to hate.

Happy Holidays Y’all!
xox


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Slamming Hearts, Wet Bathing Suits, And Changing Your Life

“What if you saw your life from beginning to end, would you change anything?”~ The movie Arrival

Besides placing my little baby self with the perfect set of parents, on the beach, in Malibu, while being fed organic, gluten-free, free-range apple sauce by a giant silver spoon…

…I’d like to think I wouldn’t. But if I’m being truthful here, which I always try to be, I’m sure I’d take out my pair of big, sharp scissors and edit out all the painful parts.

The places where I didn’t get the part. Or the job. Or the boy I wanted more than a dish of really melty chocolate ice cream.

Where I was embarrassed. Sad. Ruefully disappointed. Or ashamed of myself. Yeah, I’d cut out those parts too, because, hey, nobody would miss them—least of all me.

And lets not forget the times where my heart got broken.

Where my chest hurt so much it felt like I’d recently had open heart surgery. Only to figure out later that the pain came from the exact opposite—the force of the slam. You can all relate to the force of the slam, right? Where you’re sailing along, all open-hearted (la, la, la, la, la), and somebody you love, respect and admire betrays you?

Or somebody dies.

First you hear the creaking of the hinges, because, hey, your heart is flung WIDE OPEN. This closing up tight thing will take a minute.

Then comes the slam. SLAM!! It batons down all of your hatches, locks every single rusty lock (and there are a shit-ton of locks, more locks than your average Manhattan walk up)…and installs a moat.

NOBODY is getting in there anytime soon. Am I right?

So, yeah, I’d say it would probably be in my best interest and the interest of love in general if I just cut out all of that messy shit —and pretend like it never happened.

But we all know we aren’t able to alter those things. I’m thinking of starting a “Go Fund Me” page to get that changed. Who’s with me?

Think about it though. Would you wipe out all of the people you’ve loved and lost? Just delete them from your script?
That would change so much. I don’t know if I’d be willing to do that. Because in hindsight each situation had an effect on another, kinda like the butterfly effect. In other words, it would fuck everything up.

Things we can”t even imagine. Things out of our purview.Things that are above our pay grade to even comprehend.

Didn’t not getting some of those things make you better? Stronger? Savvier? Funnier? And smarter?

Yeah… me neither.

In all seriousness. All of those things that felt like big, fat, obvious mistakes were like rocks in a stream, each one causing the path of the water to shift, which may have held us under, choking and spitting and gasping for air…until something (the fickle finger of fate?) grabbed us by our wet bathing suits, gave us a wedgie and led us to where we stand right. this. minute.

If I saw that in a life overview I’d probably laugh my ass off. Wouldn’t you?
And I probably wouldn’t change one goddamn thing. Would you?

Carry on,
xox


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This is a Story About Magic…and Pink Champagne.

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Just your average, giggly, pink champagne lunch. With fries, duh.


Once there was a very wise and funny woman who absolutely LOVED pink champagne. I already adored her but upon hearing that fact, well, it made me love her even more.

Why, you ask?

Because in my opinion pink champagne is the friendlier, less pretentious, girlier (don’t get all feminist on me, I mean this in the best way) sister of regular champagne. It’s fun. It’s the poodle skirt of champagnes.
It giggles. It twirls. It charms and delights.

Anyhow, The other day, after listening to one of her books on audible, read by her, I became nostalgic. “Show me a sign that you’re still around” I asked her politely. Less than an hour later I was offered, out of the blue, a glass of pink champagne.

I relayed this bit of magic to a darling and dear friend of mine who is currently going through a rough patch. “Isn’t that magical?” I said. We both agreed that my wise pink champagne loving mentor should help her through this…rough patch.
We did that by nodding dreamily in unison over FaceTime.

This same friend told me she was looking for a house. Not just any house. A start over house.

She has intended with a heart full of love to reinvent her life. And it’s a good time to do so since the life she’s leaving behind is kinda in a…well…rough patch. If you were to take a snapshot of her life—in this moment—it would not look good on paper. But, seriously, we’ve all been there at one time or another, right?

One. Tiny. Detail remained. You know what new houses require? That you look amazing on paper.

Meh. No problem.

She decided, since she was doing that reinventing thingy, to really commit. So she scanned the internet for a house to rent using NO FILTERS.

Have you ever done ANY search with no filters? Terrifying. Exactly.

It’s amazing how many filters we run our lives through. Financial. Emotional. Rational. But that’s an essay for another day.

After a while, lo and behold, the perfect house popped up. Perfect in every way. Size, decor, location. all except for the price. Did that deter our intrepid heroine?

Hell to the NO!

She made an appointment to meet with the realtor who was surprisingly underwhelmed by my friend’s less than stellar financials. “Just as long as you don’t have a dog” she laughed.

“Oh, I have a dog. But just a small one”, my friend replied.
“Huh. I’ll have to talk to the owners” was the real estate woman’s response.

Gee, that doesn’t sound like a no, my brave friend thought on her way home.

When the wife of the couple who own the house met her dog later that week the dog behaved like the docile, well-behaved pup she is NOT—and the wife fell in love. “Of course you can have your dog”, she gushed in that baby talk that dogs find disgusting.

This is the part of the story where I tell her about the pink champagne magic. Cue the tandem sigh…

Not ten minutes later she texted me this picture of a random fridge in her random writing hub.

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We both screamed a little. Well, honestly, we screamed a LOT!  WTF! Pink champagne!

“You are SO getting this house!” I declared. We were giddy for another ten, fifteen minutes, half hour and when we hung up I went and bought a bottle of pink champagne because when magic knocks on the door—you answer!

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On my way home my wise dead friend from the beginning of the story took this whole champagne tale a step further.
“There is more to this. It goes deeper” she said. “What does champagne signify, Janet?”

After turning down the christmas carols in the car and thinking for a minute I got it. “Celebration!” I yelled like a gameshow contestant.

“Exactly”, she affirmed. “Why do you think I chose pink champagne as my sign to you guys that I’m around?”

“Because you love…” I barely got the thought out.

“Besides that. I could have chosen a myriad of things that would have let you know. So why pink champagne for your friend?”

It suddenly became so obvious to me, and you guys are so much smarter than I am you’ve probably already figured it out.

“Because she’s going to celebrate getting the house!”

“Exactly”, she said with a smile in her voice. “And you’re going to have something to celebrate soon too. Let’s not forget who got the pink champagne first.”

Holy F*ck.

“This is what happens when your future informs your present”, she dropped like a bomb at my feet.

—but that’s an essay for another day…

I invite you to look everywhere for pink champagne.

Cheers,
xox


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The Epiphany Of A Kiss ~ A Jason Silva Saturday

 

The best part of this video is watching Jason giggle like an eight year old boy and then break into some Latin (like you do), while discussing The Kiss.

So, tell me, why do people kiss each other? Haven’t you asked yourself that question?
I have.

I remember a long time ago reading somewhere, I think relating to Kabbalah (an ancient and mystical form of Judaism), the high regard with which they held a kiss. They consider it a sacred act. It is an act so intimate that you are virtually “sharing” the breath of another person.

Knowing that marked me.

Today, the most widely accepted theory of kissing is that we humans do it because it helps us sniff out a quality mate. When our faces are close together, our pheromones “talk” – exchanging biological information about whether or not two people will make strong offspring.

Well, that’s just not sexy.

Here are some other fun facts I found:

Do any other animals kiss?
Save for the bonobos that suck on each other’s tongues for up to ten minutes at a time, there aren’t any animals that kiss. And are we really going to count a tongue-suck as a kiss anyway? Somehow, humans are actually the only species to kiss on the mouth, and the meanings of a kiss are plentiful.

Why do they call it a French kiss?
The term ‘French kiss’ – once also called a ‘Florentine kiss’ – is popularly considered to have been brought back to the English-speaking world by soldiers returning from Europe after World War I. At the time, the French had a reputation for more adventurous sexual practices, and so it happened that these soldiers returned to their sweethearts with some newly acquired “skills”.

That being said, with decades of dating under my belt, I became a bit of a connoisseur regarding kissing. There is a Goldilocks zone where kissing is concerned. I’m sure you’ll all agree with me on the fact that a bad kisser can kill even the best chemistry.

No tight, dry “butt pucker” lips.

No overly moist delivery that makes you want to wipe your face with the sleeve of your jacket.

No wide open “shark mouth” where your teeth bang together.

And my least favorite, the wild tongue thrusting where it feels like they’re looking for their car keys somewhere around your tonsils.

Ah, the kiss. Done well it makes me giggle and speak Latin too—how about you?

Carry on,
xox


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13 + 1 Things I’m Ashamed I Love As Much As I Do

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I should be ashamed I love these things. But I’m not.

Not really. I suppose I should be because they’re not the usual suspects like spring in Paris, babies and puppies but hey, how boring would that be? We all love those things.

No, these are specific to my twisted brain. What I feel the least bit of a tinge of shame over is the ferocity with which I love these things. It’s the way I love them. The love is mad and runs deep. So, even though I know you weren’t wondering, without further ado, here they are:

  1. Grilled cheese sandwiches. And not just any grilled cheese sandwich. It has to be just so. The trick is to use nice, thick bread and then butter and grill both sides. If that much butter bothers you order a salad instead and by-the-way, I don’t think we can be friends.
  2. Words. Well, certain words like, pomplemousse, inert, tiddlywinks and hippopotamuses. I like the way they make my mouth feel when I say them.
  3. Homemade croutons. Made from stale sourdough or better yet, brioche bread.
  4. False eyelashes. (No secret there.)
  5. The very rare natural redhead with brown eyes. My niece is one and people literally fall all over themselves staring at her hair. I had blue eyes (still do) when my hair was dyed red—so yeah, I was batting zero for two.
  6. Pink champagne. Does this need an explanation? It shouldn’t. It’s magic.
  7. Straws in my drinks. No umbrellas and please, no plastic monkeys (okay, just one).
  8. Hikes with trees. Like a forest hike, not those dirt trails where there’s no shade and the terrain resembles Death Valley.
  9. Science Fiction ANYTHING. Movie, book, TV show, it doesn’t matter.  I repeatedly tell my husband that in my next life I’m coming back as an astronaut/archeologist/deep space explorer. I’m pretty sure that won’t be for a while since I don’t want anything to do with our current space program. I want to be on a ship with gravity. Where I can run around, not need money and replicate whatever my little space exploring heart desires. So, see ya in 3033.
  10. The chinese chicken salad at Joan’s on Third. There is only one that is better. My mom’s. Hi mom.
  11. Jeans. Don’t you love jeans? I just love that I live in a day and age where pantyhose are no longer required and if they’re not faded and you wear them with a black jacket and nice shoes, you can get away with jeans almost anywhere. Except maybe a funeral. Wear a black dress or real pants to a funeral. Show some respect.
  12. The chocolate pie my friend Ginger made for my birthday. ( Are you sensing my love affair with food?) She made two and we had a least one piece a day for my entire stay. I didn’t ask for the recipe because I’d like to fit in one airline seat the next time I fly.
  13. Flashmobs. I will scream and cry if I ever see one in person. They make me crazy! You can surprise me with one anytime.
  14. Nora Ephron movies. My favorite is You’ve Got Mail, but I also adore Sleepless In Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, Michael, Silkwood, Julie And Julia and…

So…what do you love with a fiery intensity that you might never admit except here, as an anonymous reader in front of tens of  my other readers?

Carry on,
xox


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“They Always Come Back”—OR—How I Suck So Bad At Unexpected Reunions by Ex Boyfriends

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Hey you guys,
Digging around in my “dead drafts” file I came across this stream of consciousness, shitty first draft of an actual event that happened to me last year at this time. Since it’s a year old I suppose it’s a Throwback for a Thursday. Right? And since I know most of you, no, make that all of you, have loved and lost, I thought I’d share this unabridged account of just how much I suck at it. Loss that is. So here goes. 

Carry on,
xox


I wish more than anything that I had a profound and pithy quote befitting this story, instead, all you get is:

“Omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,omg,breathe.”~ Me

I heard his voice again last night. For the first time in thirty years.

This is a voice I would have given my left tit to hear back then, back in the days and months after our break-up in 1986.

Truthfully? I would have sold my soul, my car and my beloved cat to hear him say my name in that seductive way he had.

Just one… More…Time.

I had no shame.

Neither do I have enough fingers or toes to count the number of times I sold myself out emotionally.

I would call, he would answer and I would hang up. Or, I would get his out-going message on his answer machine and since I knew he wasn’t home (he was never home), I would call back and listen to it ten to fifteen times in a row with the intensity of a FBI voice analysis expert for any small hint in the tone, or the words that he used as to a clue of his state of mind.

Was he happier without me? Or did he sound like wads of Kleenex were shoved up his nostrils, his heart-broken into tiny pieces that were scattered across the globe by the wind—like me?

Mostly I did it because second only to his smell, I desperately ached for the sound of him. That along with longing for reentry back into his inner circle from which I’d been banished.

He was the drug and I was the addict.
He was a tall drink of water to this thirsty island castaway.
He was the Sun, and whatever small ray of himself he chose to shine on me, like a sunflower I reached and reveled in it.
He threw his scraps of attention to my bruised and broken heart as I rolled around in the dirt like a feral animal. Begging for more.

You get the picture. Shameless.

It had to be enough—but it never was.
Because that’s the thing about that kind of love. The finite nature of it—creates an insatiability.

From the beginning, the deep tone of his voice could magically make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.
Like a musical instrument my body was specifically tuned to him–it had a visceral reaction—every cell vibrating with desire.
It was crazy. At nearly thirty years old I’d never felt anything like it.

My love for him felt crazy. So, I began to mistake feeling crazy—for love.

It culminated in a real eye-opener when I jumped out of a second story window and chased his car down the street. In that moment it turned stupid. Dangerous crazy.

At the time I had no idea how unsustainable that kind of love (obsession) was.
Nothing that burns that hot can survive as it consumes everything it touches. It must flame out. It must. Even volcanos go dormant.

I thought I would never get over him. The mere mention of his name could send me to bed sobbing for hours.
The pain was simply unbearable.

In order to function in the world I put myself into an emotional rehab of sorts. I removed all signs of him from my immediate surroundings. First I got rid of all the gifts he gave me. An 80’s abstract patterned sweatshirt, a small, carved jewelry box. Then I took the pictures of him out of their frames. Well, to be honest, for years I left them in the frames and covered them with more current shots of friends and family in the hopes that this was all just a bad dream and we would eventually reconcile and I could put our pictures front and center once again.

Slowly, I erased all of his saved voice messages. They were like the tiny airline bottles of booze alcoholics save in case of an emotional ”emergency”. A quick fix. A masochistic game. A rush followed by the pitiful groan of my heart as it dropped like a piano from a fifty story building, breaking into a million pieces. Over, and over, and over again.

First to go were the simple ones, “Hey babe, just checking in”, hearing those only hurt a little bit, like a blister or a cold sore.
I could hit erase on those and not immediately burst into flames.

The next ones, the ones that were funny or touching, well, those hurt like I imagine a cracked skull or broken bones. I would suffer physical pain for days after deleting those.

The last ones to get erased took me the longest to let go of because of their intimate nature.
They held my heart in chains and like a prisoner with Stockholm’s Syndrome I feared I’d die if I we were parted.
I threw up for four straight hours the night I had the courage to hit ERASE on those.

Detox. It was Emotional Detox.

I’m not proud of the fact that it took me five years to become neutral. Yes, you heard me. Five fucking years to get that man out of my system. But I did.

Eventually, I healed and as part of that healing I held a ceremony where I burned everything. It was my graduation ritual. Emotional rehabilitation complete.
As I watched all of the cards, love letters and yes, finally, the photos of us disintegrate into ash and swirl their way back into the aether, I felt free. He no longer held my heart prisoner. I was literally and symbolically free of him. Finally! And I have to say it felt fan-fucking-tastic!

So you can imagine my reaction when a few weeks before Christmas, out of the blue, after thirty years —he reached out on Facebook for connection. And it triggered in me the most curious mixture of love and hate, attraction and revulsion, curiosity and fear.

He is fifty-two to my fifty-seven years and in dire need of a “sensitivity chip” just as I remembered.
He laughed hysterically when I said I was fifty-seven. “Yeah, sure you are” he guffawed, “You just keep telling that story”.
“I will, because it’s true.” I replied with a half-ass laugh, trying to keep things civil. Truth be told I wanted to reach though the phone and stab him in the neck with a fork. Come to think of it, it was not an unfamiliar impulse where he was concerned, but the cellular memory of that kind of rage shocked me.

Remember, we burned HOT.

After listening to him for a while it was clear as he reminisced about our on-and-off two years together back in the eighties that:

1. He remembers that time fondly. Like, scary, made up memories of weird things that never happened, fondly. I do not. I was not my best self back then. Not even a little bit. Think, hot mess. That time turned into a catalyst for my own self-reflection and introspection. I’d jumped out of a fucking window overcome by lust so I’d say I was a girl desperately in need of some self-respect. It was not my proudest moment and as a result I did decades of work on myself after that.

2. Our five-ish year age difference which I will admit felt much larger as a twenty-five year old woman with a twenty-year old man (boy) had grown to a much broader span in his memory (hence the snide remarks). In HIS telling of our tale the age difference has grown to decades. He is now Ben Affleck and I am Dame Helen Mirren, (who by-the-way admittedly looks better than I do in a bikini), but that is neither here nor there—the woman is seventy. 70!

3. His life has fallen to shit. He is re-connecting with me because he has become the Mayor of Martyr-ville. As he explained it, when his beloved father passed away, he gave up a thriving career and a life filled with fancy houses, cars, tons of money and super-models, (insert HUGE eye-roll), turned his back on love and ever having a family of his own to live in his childhood bedroom taking care of his ailing mother and special needs sister. Oh come on! He’s NO saint. I can hear you, don’t turn on me now!

Why do guys do that? Why do they call you after they’ve fallen down the rabbit hole? I KNOW with every fiber of my being that if his life were going well he may have looked me up out of curiosity on Facebook (like we all do), but he would have NEVER in a million years have contacted me. I know that because I’m over fifty and life doesn’t work that way.

He sounded to me like someone who was in dire need of the three “C’s”. Camaraderie. Consolation. Contrition.
I don’t think I’m the right person for the job. I tried for about thirty minutes. Then I couldn’t wait to get off the phone and back to real life. You know, MY real life of fancy houses, cars and super models.

For several days afterwards I felt emotionally unstable. Like I’d been massaged by a plunger or punked.
I couldn’t tell if he felt bad about how things had ended and he most certainly didn’t call for my forgiveness.

You know why? Because he has no idea the suffering I put myself through. Did you catch that? I tortured myself. Everyday. All by myself.

So… why did he call me? Why was I the one he chose to soothe him? Honestly? I have no idea.

One of my friends who is familiar with our saga asked me if I somehow felt vindicated by his shitty life. You know, the best revenge is living well and all that. So…did I?… Maybe…and Yuck!
Had I learned nothing? Great. There goes tens of thousands of dollars spent on three decades of self-help.

After feeling ashamed of myself, I have also started to figured out why I feel so out-of-sorts.

Perhaps because it was clear he still inhabited that wild, careless and dangerous place I had turned my back on years ago, and maybe I was afraid that hearing his voice would somehow lure me back there after being off of that sick, adrenalin high for thirty plus years. Perhaps.

More likely it’s because I have absolutely no desire to re-live the past. Even those lusty, tempestuous years with him. Like I said, those were not the good old days for me and no amount of reminiscing will make it so.

I have a distinct memory of something my mother said to me as I writhed on her bed in my broken-hearted agony—so here’s your quote. “He’ll come back. One way or another, they always come back.”

I lived breathlessly off the fumes of that hope for many years like a lost Mariners wife waits for the sea to return her beloved. Until eventually, facilitated by the passage of time, the entire situation became no longer a trigger for tears but an ancient, distant memory.

Then… he came back.


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Start Knowing by Liz Gilbert

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You guys,
I have a confession to make.
I hear voices.  Pretty much all the time.

I have all of my life.

When I was in my twenties I was urged to leave my first marriage.
Like Liz, I too was guided away from motherhood.
A voice told me to start a blog four years ago when I’d never even read one before that moment.

Eighteen months ago one particularly pushy voice insisted I write a screenplay (something I had neither the skill nor desire to do.) But… with her help I did it.

When  I think about it they help me with every decision I make IF I take the time to listen. And trust.

Except for confiding in a few of my friends and family, I’ve tip-toed around this subject for years because I didn’t know how to write about it without sounding, well, batshit crazy. But yesterday, Liz did an amazing job explaining a particularly woo-woo occurence—so I’ll just let her tell you about something that I once viewed as a curse but have come to realize is a gift.

Carry on,
xox


Dear Ones-

START KNOWING.
This is something I wrote in my journal a few months ago.
These words came to me through a powerful internal voice.

Allow me to explain.

I hear voices sometimes.

It’s cool. Don’t be alarmed. It’s all good. I’m willing to bet you hear voices sometimes, too.
AT LEAST I HOPE YOU DO.

Every powerful woman I know is guided by voices.

Here’s a story:
I have a brilliant friend who used to work in academia. She told me once that she’d been conducting a series of interviews of accomplished women, for a research project about women’s success in the workplace. On the outside, all these women appeared to have nothing in common. They came from all different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and all worked in different fields — corporate and non-profit, secular and religious. But each woman carried herself with confidence and ease, and all of them had become quite powerful in their own corners of the world. When my friend asked these women how they had gotten so far, they all began by dutifully reporting the same sorts of standard statements about the importance of hard work, and cultivating discipline, and fostering good professional contacts, and staying positive, and uplifting other women, and seeking out mentors, and blah, blah, blah..

Sounds perfectly logical, right?

But then there would come a moment in each interview where EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE WOMEN would seem to get bored with the questions, or maybe she was just feeling mischievous. Then each woman (EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!) would ask my friend to turn off the recording device. Then the woman would lean in really close to my friend, and say in a conspiratorial whisper, “But do you want to hear what REALLY happened?” And then EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE WOMEN would report how — at some point in her life — she had heard a voice.
A mystical voice.
An otherworldly voice.
A powerful and certain voice.
A commanding voice.
A voice that could not be explained away rationally.

And each of these women reported that this voice had told her exactly what she needed to do next. And she had done it.

“I know it sounds crazy…” they would say. But it was true.
They had heard a voice, and they had followed the voice.
It hadn’t been easy for any of them, they reported. The voices often told them to do really, really hard things — things that often felt like total disruptions of their lives.
Maybe the voice had said, “It’s time for you to move to Los Angeles now” — even though the woman had just signed a lease on an apartment in Houston.
Or maybe the voice had said, “It’s time for you to go to medical school” — even though she’d just had a baby.
Or maybe the voice had said, “It’s time for you to leave that boyfriend” — even though her parents really liked him.
Or maybe the voice had said, “This religious path is no longer authentic or meaningful for you” — even though she had been raised by fundamentalists.
Or maybe the voice had said, “It’s time for you to learn Mandarin” — even though she’d never been to China.

But the voice had come. And whatever the voice said, the woman in question had taken the enormous risk of deciding to follow it. Even when it was inconvenient. Even when it was challenging. Even when it seemed prohibitively expensive. Even when it meant cutting her losses and walking away from any sense of security whatsoever. Even when it cost her the approval of friends and family.

Even when everyone thought she was insane.

And THAT’S how she had gotten there, to her place of power in the world. It really had nothing to do with professional contacts, or mentors…it was just that she heard a voice, and she chose to listen.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.
So.
I hear voices, too.

I heard voices when I was a teenager, saying, “You are meant to be a writer,” and when people said, “But how will you make a living at THAT?”, those voices were still like, “Yeah, whatever…you are meant to be a writer.” And when I got rejection letters for years and years, and nobody was interested in my work, those voices were STILL like, “Yup…you are definitely meant to be a writer.” And those voices STILL tell me I’m meant to be a writer. I’ll stop writing when the voices stop telling me to write.

I heard voices telling me to move to New York City when I was young. I heard voices telling me that it was imperative that I see the world, and that I learn how to travel alone as a woman — no matter what the cost or risk. I heard voices telling me not to settle for the security of getting a “real job” — but instead to just work odd jobs, and to keep traveling, and to keep writing, and to keep gambling everything for creativity and an exploratory life of the mind. (You guys, I can’t tell you how many times the voices tell me never to choose security over creativity. It’s exhausting and sometimes scary. But they seem to REALLY MEAN IT.)

When I was in my 20’s, I heard voices warning me not to get married, but I went ahead and got married anyway (side note: it’s REALLY HARD for young women to push back against the forces of culture and tradition sometimes) and then I SERIOUSLY started hearing voices when I was 30 years old, and firmly married, and living in a shiny new house in the suburbs, and my mind and body were absolutely falling to pieces, and I was supposed to be trying to have a baby that year, and the voices started screaming, “OH, NO YOU DON’T, MISSY!” And then I had to leave everything behind, in order to re-calibrate my path to my own truth. (This was awfully inconvenient and horrible and expensive and terrifying. And it’s REALLY HARD to decide not to have a child in a culture that still tells women that having children, ultimately, is the only thing that shall fulfill them. But the voices were like “NOPE”, so I had to leave it all behind. We call that “a course adjustment”. It’s never easy. But you don’t get to chart your own life without making some pretty hardcore course corrections along the way.)

I still hear voices.

I heard voices this spring telling me to leave everything behind yet again, and to gamble everything for love. (Very hard. Very scary. Very ACCURATE.)

Where do the voices come from? Beats me. You can call it “intuition”. You can call it “the still small voice within”. You can call it your “inner compass”. You can call it “God”. You can call it “Angels”. You can call it your “spirit guides”. You can call it your “gut instinct”. You can call it your “dead ancestors speaking though you.” You can call it “the flow”…but whatever it is, those voices exist. And you must train yourself to trust them, and to risk everything in order to follow them.

Notice that I didn’t say, “You must train yourself to hear them.”

I don’t think you have to practice hearing them. I think they are always talking to you. I just think you have to train yourself to TRUST THEM. That’s the hard part.
Learning to trust those voices is a practice that you can cultivate. Just like any other craft or skill, it is worth the effort to learn how to master it.
So…Today, I want to tell you what my voices have started telling me lately.
It’s just these two words:
START KNOWING.

Here’s the thing about my voices. They can be merciless. They are not always sweet and gentle. Sure, there are times when my voices say, “Poor baby! Poor little small one…we are so sorry that you are suffering, please take care of yourself, and lie down in a soft and safe place with a warm towel over your head”….but there are also times when my voices are like, “Oh for God’s sake, FIND YOUR STRENGTH. Grow a fucking spine, woman, and take the action you need to take right now, and stop wasting time…we didn’t send you here to let you pretend to be damn weak.” (Interesting side note: The difference between THAT voice and my dark internal voice of self-hatred is that the dark internal voice of self-hatred says, “You’re such a baby, you aren’t worthy, you are a scum person, just curl up on the floor in a pile of dirty towels and die,” but the mystical all-knowing voice says, “We love you too much to let you keep pretending that you are so powerless…COME ON! Let’s DO THIS! GROW A FUCKING SPINE! WE HAVE THINGS TO DO! WE HAVE A DESTINY TO CREATE! STAND UP OFF THE FLOOR!!!! LET’S GOOOOOOO!!!!!” See the difference? Good.)

There have been times in my life (this year, among them) where my voices have needed to get really firm with me. They have challenged me, and they have pushed back against my arguments. They will hold my face in the truth and make me look at it, even when the truth hurts. They will not baby me. They refuse to enable me. This is good. They will not say, “It’s OK, honey! Don’t worry! It’s all good! It doesn’t matter — you’re doing your best, and everyone’s human!”, but instead they say, “Actually, honey, it’s NOT ALL GOOD. This situation is NOT OK, and the way you are behaving is NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, and it’s time for you to grow a spine, and challenge yourself more, get creative, and change everything. Let’s GO!”

But mostly, this year, my voices have been saying to me just these two words: “START KNOWING.”

Anytime I am faced with a dilemma, and I start to feel very small and confused, and I hear myself saying, “I don’t know what to do!”, some voice from deep within me rises in full power and says, “START KNOWING.”
(I even wrote it down in my journal one day, for my entire entry that day. So that is what this picture is all about START KNOWING.)

What my voices are challenging me is to realize is that when I am feeling sad and scared and small, and I keep saying, “I don’t know what to do!” — the truth is that usually I DO know.

In fact, my voices are pretty certain that I always know. Somewhere, deep within me, I have always known what I need to do. I just don’t want to do it sometimes, because it’s too hard, or too scary, or seems to wild or too risky. Or I don’t want to hurt anyone. Or I don’t want to be judged. Or I don’t want to lose what I have already attained. But still — I do know. Secretly, I do know. And my voices get impatient with me, because they’re like, “Look, lady, we don’t have forever, OK? You have all the information you need. Nothing will change now unless you change it. Make a move right here. Stop pretending you don’t know what you need to do. START KNOWING.”

I’m sensing this in so many women whom I encounter these days, too. They seem stuck and frustrated and confused and insecure and afraid. They have grown too comfortable/uncomfortable in the realm of “not knowing” what to do. They come up to me at my speaking events, and they introduce themselves by telling me about their injuries and their wounds. Before they have even told me what they want to create in this world, or who they long to become, they tell me the worst thing that has ever happened to them. Then I hear them start spinning and spinning and spinning the same story they’ve been telling for years about what happened to them, and how it damaged them, and what they want, but what they aren’t getting, and why they can’t change it, and why this situation is impossible, and what they wish would happen, and why can’t it all be different, and why it’s too late…and then they say, “I just don’t know what to do!”

And I swear to God, this fearsome strong voice starts to rise out from the center of my spine, and all I want to do is take that woman by her shoulders, shake her, and shout at the top of my lungs: “START KNOWING!”
(But in a loving way. I love you all! Seriously, I love you guys! Smiley face! You go, girl!)

But seriously…this voice that rises within me is not a voice of judgment or contempt. It’s not a disgusted voice. This is just the voice of the Archangel of Womanhood — a divine force who cannot abide seeing any woman who has ANY power in her life pretending that she has no power in her life. Not you, not me, not your sisters, not your daughters, not your mothers. She just can’t take it anymore. So voice of the Archangel of Womanhood says (out of a sense of fierce but merciless compassion, and a desire to liberate us all), “START KNOWING!”

Yes, it’s hard. Of course it’s hard. What did you think — it would be easy?

Did you think they would just hand your destiny to you, cost-free? Yes, you might have to risk everything. Yes, you might have to cut your losses. Yes, some people will hate it. Yes, some people may never understand and never forgive you. Yes, you may walk away from the situation with a permanent scar, or a bad limp, or a battered heart. Yes, yes, yes, blah, blah, blah…
But come ON!

START KNOWING.

Stop saying, “I don’t know what to do!” Because I believe that — somewhere deep in your center — there is some powerful truth about your life which YOU ALREADY DO KNOW.

If you’re afraid of making a hasty decision, just remember that the alternative is to stay stuck in the same bullshit garbage death swamp you’ve been stuck in for years. (I say that lovingly! I love you! Smiley face!)

So start knowing. Start knowing what you already know. Start knowing what is so damn obvious about your life that a perfect stranger could see the problem, if you told her about your situation in a five-minute conversation. Start knowing that you will no longer degrade yourself with the illusion that are powerless, that you’re in a trap. (Here’s the evidence of that: Tell me your story of how powerless you are, and I will find you a story of a woman who was in EXACTLY the same situation, and she changed it. I know…that sounds harsh. But it’s true. Start knowing that it’s true.)

Start knowing that you have far more agency than you think. Start knowing that the story you’ve been telling yourself about your limitations, or your helplessness in this situation, is NO LONGER GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU. Start being honest with yourself about something that your body has been trying to tell you for years. (Listen to your body’s pain — IT KNOWS. The body always knows. The body knows exactly the thing that is causing you suffering, and holding you back. I had a boyfriend once who I was madly in love with, but every time I got in his bed, my body would explode into pain, because my body already knew, “This man is no good for you.” I didn’t want to know it, because I was blinded by love — but my body knew. Start knowing what your body already knows.)

Start knowing the kind of woman you need to become — so that your daughters can have a better chance of becoming that kind of woman, too. Start knowing that the universe didn’t send you here to this fearsome planet of change and danger so that you could practice being more afraid…but rather, the universe sent you here to this fearsome planet of change and danger so that you could practice being more BRAVE. (Stop waiting for the world to feel safe, before you live your life. The world never will never feel safe. This planet has a nickname in the universe, you know. It’s called: THE ADVANCED SCHOOL FOR UTMOST HUMAN BRAVERY. They do not call our planet: THE COMFY RESTING PLACE FOR PRACTICING EASE AND SECURITY.)

Start knowing how brave you are. Start knowing how resilient you are. Start knowing how resourceful you are. Start knowing that you are the descendent of thousands of years of survivors, and that have you inherited all their wiles. Start knowing that the Archangel of Womanhood loves you too much to let you keep acting meek and degraded. Start knowing how willing you are to walk away from all of it, if you must. Start knowing that there are no victims in this room. (I can’t tell you how many times my voices say to me, “THERE ARE NO VICTIMS IN THIS ROOM.” I hate it sometimes when they say that to me. But the Archangel of Womanhood is quite firm on the matter. There are no victims in this room, she says. Period.)

START KNOWING, you guys.

Try saying those two words to yourself in a very calm, very wise, very ancient, very adamant voice — the next time you panic. Just say it (START KNOWING) and then breathe. Then get quiet and see what comes up.

I promise you that your very next thought will be the truth.
It might not be easy, but it will be true.
And you are ready for it.
Seriously, you are.

Start right there. That’s what every powerful woman I know has done.
Because the voices within you already know everything. But they can’t work with you until you are willing to START KNOWING, too.
OK?
I love you. Smiley face. Let’s do this.

ONWARD,
LG


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Boredom Is Enough

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“Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.” ~ Steve Prefontaine

“Oh, fuck. That’s BRAVE.” ~ Me


I wrote this almost exactly three years ago and found it today when I put the word murder in my search.

Don’t ask.

It just so happened that I’d only minutes before been discussing this very thing with my BFF. It was the main catalyst for the life altering change she made, which coincidentally is the subject of her memoir, Unbound. (By Steph Jagger, go order it now. I’ll wait.)

Is dissatisfaction enough of a trigger?

For some of us good—just isn’t good enough. We want more.

Is boredom enough of a reason to shake your Etch-A-Sketch?  Some say no. Some say the catalyst must be pain or suffering, or better yet, both of those together served with a side of depression.

I call bullshit. 

She emailed me later in response to this essay #boredomisenough —because we communicate in hashtag speak.

I agree. Boredom is enough!

Why wait for things to get worse? Why wait for the house to burn down, or the marriage to fail, or, or, or, before you make a change?

I’m curious. What do you think?
Carry on,
xox


How can we ever come to new insights or conclusions about our lives if our existing reality is never challenged?

That would be like only eating at the salad bar because you’ve never walked the whole buffet and seen the dessert cart.

We are creatures of habit.
Scared of any turbulence or bumps in the road.
But can we learn to appreciate, even welcome the rainy days when we only prefer clear skies?

A certain amount of failure is necessary for success, because it sends us back to the drawing board.

When something’s not working there is clarity in that realization.
A certain amount of discomfort is good for our souls.
We know we don’t want to do that again so it colors all of our decisions.

Like Abraham says, “When you know what you Don’t want. You know what you DO want”.

I’ve come to this conclusion :
All the great gifts, people and circumstances that have come to me in my life were born out of soul-searching that was either precipitated by dissatisfaction with the status quo, or…pure unadulterated boredom.

Either I went willingly, although with little to no support. Or I was drop-kicked against my will by the Universe in the direction of a new life change.

Both ways felt like shit but that’s okay.

Here’s my NEW conclusion:
Big change feels scary. It feels a bit awkward, uncomfortable and uncertain, so we drag our heels.

And…change is rude! It shows up unannounced, often at the most inopportune times and tracks it’s dirty feet through our lives.

So what does this all mean?

We can either hide under the bed.
Keep living each day exactly like the day before.
Or we can put our arms up, throw our heads back—and scream bloody murder as we careen toward our brighter future on the roller coaster of life.

In full surrender mode knowing the Universe has our back.


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Can We Change The Past? ~ A Jason Silva Sunday

“The past is never where you think you left it.” – Katherine Anne Porter

Time.

Time as a fluid nonlinear happening-all-at-the-same-time slippery little bugger that I’ve been attempting to wrap my brain around lately.

Does your future inform your past?

Can we change our past?

Can we? Can I go back and make better choices in clothing and in men?

Mind…blown.

What does Jason think? What do you think?

Carry on,
xox


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