Protect Ya Neck

Friends and family call me all the time for outside perspective on troubles in their relationships.  It’s funny, because I can help everyone else be level-headed and mature when approaching their issues with no problem. When it comes to my own relationships, however, I’ve always kinda tended to get lost in the emotion of things and it takes me some time to get my bearings together.

Looking in on love from the outside is always an easier thing to do. The magic is all there, and the uglies, the heartbreaks, the breakdowns, and the fallouts are tucked away behind the walls.  We all have that celebrity couple or the friend-couple that you think of as “that couple” whose magic will never fade.  They’re the walking version of your #RelationshipGoals.

Cupid is a little asshole and every once in a while, I see a couple I thought would be together forever break up. It always makes me feel some kind of way for a minute, because I feel like it chips away at my faith in love. I find myself wondering where they went wrong.  And then I wonder if they could’ve saved it.

Gavin and Gwen

I remember vividly when my last relationship faded from a passionate, crackling fire to a tiny pile of embers barely glowing with whisks of wind. I remember lying in bed at night typing in the texts to spark the conversations that would save it, only to delete them and put my phone back on the nightstand.

“It can’t all be that magic honeymoon period.”  That’s what everyone says to me.

But I respectfully disagree somewhat.

I don’t see why it can’t be amazing most-to-all the time when you’re with someone you love.  We allow the sparks to die out, and we watch distance grow without speaking on it.  We lay quietly next to someone feeling nothing but tension, yet we say nothing.

We watch our conversations change, we say “I love you”, “I miss you”, or “I need you” less and less. And days become weeks, weeks become months, and eventually, we are barely going through the motions of being in love anymore.

I’ve helped several friends reconnect when I’ve watched two people (who are very much in love) let fears, doubt, conflict, or pain create a divide. I’ve had both sides talking to me explaining how much they love the other person, but “don’t know where to start” or just can’t see why the other person is being/saying/doing something, and they don’t know where to go from here.

The only way I’ve seen things work is by turning back to each other rather than other people. Calling out the change, drawing attention to the way they want things to be or to feel. Most of the time, when things begin to fall apart, we daydream about the ways things used to be. The texts that used to be sent and received. The forehead kisses, the hand bump, the secret handshake, the four small kisses that followed a first big kiss.  Those little things are the glue that keep love strong whether we see it or not.

Waiting for things to really get bad is like waiting to see if that small lump in your breast really is a metastatic cancer.  I mean, you could always go handle it right away, know what it is, and address it right away, or you could be passive and let this thing be the deciding factor about your life dramatically changing for the worse.

I don’t get the logic of letting love die and distance grow. If you have a great love, or a love that you see as having the potential to be a great love, don’t let it be the thing you’re passive about. Don’t let your King or Queen slowly drift away from you. And by all means, don’t let a gift as amazing and undeniable as love slip through your fingers because you let yourself be paralyzed.

I mean. Come on.  Even those of us who think we don’t want it actually do want it.  We just stopped thinking it really is real.  And you have that shit.

Protect ya neck. And by “ya neck”, I mean your love.

The Secret Guardin’

Vulnerability is not my forte. I don’t pretend to be the open book girl at all. I acknowledge, and have since the first time I blogged, that I’m more of a cactus than an orchid.

Unfortunately, in love, this is not only an issue, it’s a gun that misfires and constantly presents the risk of a shot to the heart of the man in my life at that time.

But, I mean, let’s be real. It’s incredibly difficult to lay everything out there for someone else when you’ve been a one-woman (or one-man) show for several years.  I’m used to doing everything myself, and not pulling someone else in to help me sort things out, make decisions, or just acknowledge the less-than-best parts of me.

The ridiculous part is, there is literally nothing my new love could tell me or share with me that I wouldn’t completely accept without judgment or fear. It’s pretty hypocritical (and not giving him enough credit) to assume he brings anything less to the table.

I have always taken pride in handling things myself. I invested my time in my own life and the advancement of my family. I didn’t complicate life by bringing other people in too close and, as a result, I learned some pretty bad habits about keeping people at an arm’s length at all times.

To have a healthy relationship, you have to let the other person in incredibly far beyond the velvet rope of your life.

They have to get in past the gates and into the deepest parts. I’m slowly seeing that the closer the person gets to the darkest parts of your past and present, the more you can learn about who they really are. And if they respect the privilege of the all-access pass to the most guarded parts of you, you might find yourself feeling more free than ever.

I was swimming through the depths of iTunes playlists today as blog post topics swam through my head, and this song came on. I immediately thought of all the ways I’m stifling my current relationship by keeping walls up, putting new ones in place of ones he’s knocked down, and generally creating resistance for absolutely no damn reason.

Being a cactus isn’t being real. Keeping the gift of love, even if it’s just your closest friends, at a distance with prickly protective spines is shortchanging yourself, and it’s not respecting the people placing themselves at your side.

A cactus may be able to withstand sandstorms and blazing desert heat, but what’s to admire?

An orchid, on the other hand, is beautiful and delicate at the same time.

And I know that, although being delicate and vulnerable is so much more intimidating to me than fighting a bear or being robbed at gunpoint, the man who puts up with my walls and stands in front of me whether I’m being a beauty or a beast deserves it from me. And I deserve it as well.

It’s Beef!

katie text

I was simultaneously gritting my teeth and smiling as I sent this text to my friend Katie tonight.

I’m so good at doing my own thing, and I’ve been so unshakably independent for so long, when my feathers get ruffled it’s nothing for me to split and go off on my own for a bit.

I’ve learned so much through blogging and in conversations about relationships, and I know that to make the one I’m in work, I have no choice but to dismiss the urge to split over something super petty or insignificant. And when it comes down to it, I don’t want to go away. I just need a minute to catch a breath.

My new love is great at pushing my buttons intentionally when I’m in a funk. It’s out of love and mischief, and it makes me laugh every time…only after making me want to open the car door and jump out while we’re riding on the freeway together.

I won’t act like I don’t do the exact same thing back. It’s actually one of the reasons we work so well together. We both are artists. We both have clear and defined emotions rather than blandly consistent dispositions.

If I had typed this blog earlier tonight, it would’ve been a (hilarious) pissy rant.

Instead, I’m laughing right now as I type this. And I look up at his face and I want to give him a hug.

I probably already posted this song five years ago, but it’s in my head tonight.

So, you’re welcome.

***Update***

It was my turn a half hour ago. And he verbally mumbled “Annnnnd there it is. She begins to annoy me.”

But he still was asking to hold my hand, so no one is jumping ship.

And: It’s still funny. 

Fear and Loathing

With the prospect of a new relationship staring me in the face, there really was no other option but to make the decision to face old ghosts and make a decision to either walk away, or send my old baggage packing.

I’m no weak bitch, so I picked “fight” over “flight”.

Making yourself become deeply introspective can be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things you can do for yourself. You don’t always need a network around you to get down to the bottom of things. If you can be bluntly honest with yourself, you can discover more than you think. Become courageous enough to face and fix whatever the issues are, and you’re in the express lane to winning the shit outta life.

I quickly found myself weighed down by my biggest obstacle to being freely happy in love. The most recent, and also the biggest, heartbreak that really changed me was so devastating, I’m proud I can even let the word “love” pass through my lips.

I won’t spill out pages of “poor me” stories or pander for sympathy. You know that’s not my style.

I will say this: loving someone who loves themselves first isn’t going to work. By loving themselves, I refer to narcissism, general selfishness, abuse, addiction, substance abuse, or other characteristics or activities that, by nature, try to shank love on a daily basis.

In the case of my last painful love, we started out with a bang and quickly found ourselves to be best friends, partners in crime, and lovers. Our friends loved how we just naturally fit together so well, and we kind of found ourselves to be the life of the party.

As things picked up for him in his career, however, the dark part set in, and within six months of talking about potentially making a permanent commitment to each other, I found myself wondering how I could make it through a night with him.

I watched his reckless and uncontrollable pursuit of success and glory turn into a shit show of egotistic showcases in public, fights, and binge drinking. It didn’t take long for him to step it up and blast through countless lines or pills and really set his world on fire–with mine catching embers and sparks along the way.

It’s hard, when you deeply love someone, not to catch fire, too. I mean, you watch them burn down their life, and all you want to do is put the flames out. But there is no fire extinguisher for this kind of five-alarm fire. You’re getting burned no matter what, and if you’re not quick to exit, you’re going down in flames, too.

I feel like the anger I have for him, because I tried to fight for him when he wouldn’t fight for himself, is because I feel like I was more negatively impacted than he was. I mean, he was high and going nuts showing off, buying shit, and breaking every covenant of our relationship without a care. I was a wreck, trying to piece back together my heart while I figured out what my breaking point was.

In the end, he bottomed out, and pooled resources slowly to rebuild his life. I never lost my career or financial standing, but I can tell you that I lost one of my greatest loves and best friend all at once. And I didn’t get 90 days in Malibu to come to terms with it. I had to keep the train running on its tracks.

Fear and anger were all I was left with when it comes to love.

Once you lose someone who is your lover, best friend, and who you think will be your sidekick for the next few decades to something you never could overcome, you are forever changed. If you find anything close to it, you hit two stages: fear of falling for them, followed by (if you do fall for them) fear of losing them.

Anger helps build the walls so you don’t have to deal with the fear part. I mean, shit, they’re not getting by your big titanium walls guarded by Dobermans, are they? Nope. So pour some drinks and Netflix binge, because you’re in the safe zone. Right?

I work every single day to dismiss the instinctive thoughts or responses to things with my new love. Thoughts pop up that are surface thoughts, not true assessments, and I only invest in the rationalized thoughts.

I communicate (and probably over-communicate) what I’m thinking or concerned about, and I never hold back on thoughts, even if they’re ugly or make me seem vulnerable. (Ok, I did once, but he got it out of me).

I cried like a sappy little bitch on a long drive home the other day listening to a Taylor Swift song that came on in my iTunes “shuffle” mode (<—I can't even believe I typed that to you, but, hey, I did). You can listen to the song here if you can’t stand not knowing, or you really want to roll your eyes at me. Or, if you had a love so deeply moving that ended in absolute misery, give it a listen and drop me an “I feel you, girl” comment or email.

Good girls, hopeful they’ll be. And long they will wait.

TayTay ain’t never lied.

The song just kind of hit me at the same time the magnitude of my previous loss had popped back into my mind, and the fear and anger were such old news, all I’m now left with is a nearly palpable feeling of loss.

Memory Lane is like Skid Row as far as I’m concerned when it comes to love, and I’m glad to be on the other end of it today. I remain hopeful that my new love will rewrite my memories and my concept of what a relationship should feel like. And if I’m smiling the majority of the time, I’m completely down with that as a refreshing change.

I mean, seriously.

Somethin’ About The Chase

 

Well, here’s some updates since you last heard from me:

  • The blog has been getting some great attention, and I appreciate it! It makes me feel bloggier than ever.
  • I’m no longer single (more on that later)
  • I’m drinking straight outta the bottle today.  Pellegrino, but still.

So onto business.

Checking into a new relationship means checking out of whatever “relationships” you had before. And with that, comes some fun shittastic things like conversations that either should’ve happened months ago or never should happen at all.

I’m no bona fide slut, but I certainly have my share of exceptional gents and a few mildly annoying ones that check in with me regularly. For quite some time–six years to be accurate–I’ve had one special one who was important enough to have his own ringtone.  Mr. Right Now was beyond just being a “crush”. He had that special “something” that just captivated me. And we definitely felt a mutual heat and attraction.

My unique ability to push dudes away kept us from ever being anything noteworthy, but it wasn’t for his lack of effort. By early summer this year, I was done pushing him away and started to finally put myself out there for him.  He never got a chance to be my boyfriend, and we both acknowledged it.

We weren’t the ones to have deep, long conversations about life philosophies, our daily troubles, or any kind of future. But every call or text was important, and we loved the special thing we had.

There’s something about a grown-ass man that handles his business and carries himself in a dignified manner that just does it for me.

This one had put up with my repeated intermittent texts asking to put us on a freeze because I was in a relationship and couldn’t take the texts anymore.  He never dropped me, he just waited patiently on the sidelines (doing his own thing, of course, but not giving up on “us” nevertheless).  He knew it was only a matter of time before I dropped the guy and was back to doing my own thing–and giving him my attention.

As things heated up from a simmer to a boil, we started navigating through two equally busy lives and finally decided to take a step forward.

Until, well, The Game Changer showed up. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. And everything I had even lightly thought about with Mr. Right Now became irrelevant.

This time, with “The Call” it’s a little different. Our conversation was brief, and he responded with the usual “ok, I’ll be here when it ends” kind of response, but I have a feeling we won’t be flipping the “on” switch back on.

I couldn’t bring myself to say it, though.  I don’t really know why.

He never got the chance to be more to me because I never really gave it to him. I know I mean more to him than cheap late night calls or a casual flirtationship. After this many years, it’s pretty undeniable we meant something to each other.

When I hear Lady Gaga song, he always pops in my head. I somehow just kinda know I pop up in his head sometimes, and he must be thinking about us. Or the chance I never really gave us.

I’ve closed the chapter in my head and in my heart, and I hope he has, too.

I mean, it was fun while it lasted.:)

 

It Doesn’t Work That Way

In Greek mythology, the Phoenix is a bird that regenerates after dying and rises up from the ashes. It’s become a symbol of triumph, renewal, and rebirth.

While this is a beautiful and inspiring concept, it’s not necessarily desirable in all situations.

Like, say, with past loves.

With such an open book of a love life (literally), as soon as I started blogging again, loves that had burned to the ground began to rise up again. Time has passed, wounds have healed, and new life is growing again through the ashes.

Everything was so fresh when I blogged before, and taking a five-year break gave me the time to get my mind right and get over things. Today, heartstrings don’t get plucked with a text message or email from an old love. It’s just someone from the past reaching out. Some are good to hear from, some just feel like strangers.

I can’t tell if the surge in outreaches lately are genuine, are happening because I’m back blogging and on everyone’s radar, or if they are just feeling some kind of way because there’s someone new taking up the space in my heart and presence in my life.

The thing is, as far as I’m concerned, pulling a Phoenix is theoretically impossible when it comes to love.

I don’t reopen closed books, and I don’t re-read old chapters. Memories are enough. Over time, I tend to find that the strongest undertone of the relationship dictates whether the memory lane trips are good or bad.

Guys, If you’re going to try to revive an old love, or bring a relationship back from the ashes, know in advanced that the odds are exponentially stacked against you. The approach shouldn’t be slow or sheepish. You shouldn’t dip a toe into the water, only to yank it back and shiver alongside the water.

It’s in or out. Go hard or go home.

I can’t speak for all women, but I can speak for the countless friends and readers I’ve spoken to about relationships and the “Hail Mary” gestures. They need to be big, moving, and heavily weighed with the realest of intentions.

Come in with the big guns. Tell her what she means to you, and what you intend to do about that. Know before you go in exactly what you can promise and deliver on. Don’t be a little bitch about it, either.

I mean, I say that so harshly, but it’s the reality. If you’re going to pull some knight shit, you better be prepared to conquer. Yes, it’s scary, and no, you have no guarantees about the outcome. But if you’ve got real love on the line, you better be willing to get over all that and charge ahead.

Capturing someone’s heart is often an incredibly difficult task. For someone like me, it’s practically an impossibility.  Few have survived the early gauntlet just to get into the gates to fight, survive, and seize my heart.  Recapturing my heart, however, doesn’t happen.  Once I’ve let go of love, the chapter closes, and there’s nothing available to be seized.

Baggage Claim

Ladies (and gentlemen, to be equal opportunity), let’s have a heart to heart.

Even if your relationship baggage is the Louis Vuitton Pegase collection, I can assure you, it ain’t cute.

I speak from a place of love and firsthand understanding, not judgment. I mean, if you’re going on a picnic, you just need one basket and a blanket. Don’t go dragging a shit ton of luggage, struggling to carry it all and asking for your love to help you yank them over rocky patches and hills on your way to the picnic. Talk about a buzzkill.

princeyo

I’ll be the first to admit, it’s hard not to have your past experiences pop up and flash in your face as your new relationship grows and develops. We’ve all got uglies that influence how we react to things, and we’ve got the instincts to expect what we’ve come to know as “relationship reality”.

If things are great, many of us wait for the other shoe to drop. If you’ve been cheated on, your damaged heart waits stealthily in the shadows for the moment the new guy’s eyes linger a little too long on someone or the night his phone dies to declare an “I told you so!”. You’re just gonna have to learn to “shush” that little fucker. The damaged piece isn’t the whole heart–it’s just a small piece.

I’ve talked to countless friends who trudge forward into a new boo situation armed with an arsenal. And I watch them blow it and create a culture in their new chapter that sets the foundation for failure.

I did it recently, and caught myself immediately.

My first instinct is to challenge the shit out of the new contender and find out just how much of a strongman he is. I wait for that “thing” I’ve been trained to respond to, and it’s the dumbest thing anyone can do in a relationship. When a challenge arises, the first thing I want to throw out is the damning question “Ok, so do you want out?”.

Just typing that makes me want to walk over to my full-length mirror, look myself in the eyes, and say “Really, Jen??”.

When a noteworthy, but certainly extinguishable small situational life fire emerged recently, I was directly discussing the matter with The Game Changer. The invitation to exit jumped to my lips and I had to take a beat and shut it down. Instead, I did the very thing someone with an actual beating heart and a soul that isn’t completely black would do: I jumped in and soldiered up to pledge my alliance in shutting down the situation.

I’m smart enough (now) to know what I don’t want to lose over something so trivial.

Ladies, if he wants out, he’ll be out. You won’t find yourself needing to open the door, because he’ll open it himself. What I can say is asking that question is the equivalent of opening it and letting the cold breeze wash over him.

If you’ve got someone standing in front of you who has the potential to make you happy, take the chance to find out what’s in the cards. Let yourself romantically go a little, and tell your bitter little damaged devil sitting on the upper right corner of your heart to STFU.

"It should take you exactly four seconds to cross from here to that door. I'll give you two. "  --Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany's

“It should take you exactly four seconds to cross from here to that door. I’ll give you two.” –Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Don’t let the negative words, or challenges to love for that matter, leave your lips. Even if you get past having said them, once they’re out, they’re just little pebbles you set on your new guy’s shoulders. Over time, these become as heavy as big rocks, and no quality man is going to bear that weight for too long.

I’m a little more direct than most with that little bastard inside that tries to ninja slice my joy, but you’re welcome to use my technique. As soon as a negative thought or slimeball statement pops up and tries to get launched into the atmosphere via your mouth, swallow it down and find the opposite stance on the matter.

Skip those pebbles out onto the water and then turn around and hug the person standing next to you on the beach. Don’t worry about tomorrow or six months from now. Enjoy what’s there today.

Chances are, you’re not giving him the credit he deserves.

Shoutout to Dena, my cupid-fearing sister from another mister. I see you, girl.😉

How You Get The Girl

So first, hello everyone.

It’s been a long time since we talked, and I’ve got a monstrous stash of material to spill onto these pages to make you laugh, sigh, die of embarrassment with me, and even maybe feel like you just listened to Drake for 72 hours straight and are all in your feelings.

But first, I’d like to set the tone with my return to this blog. I’ve been brought back to blog-life with some exciting new things, and a special someone, and am ready to spill my guts. I’ve still got the ninja tendencies, but I’m hoping to grow past them and take you along for the ride.

I mean, if I can write a book about Love, Loss, & What I Drank, I can certainly write a book about winning at love, right?

To be clear, and to call a “cease fire” to the questions, I am, in fact, still single.

Whether or not this new someone is around for the long haul (which I truly hope is the case), I’m poised and ready to be a little less of a cactus and a lot more of an orchid.

So all I wanna know is, who’s comin’ with me?

WhosComingWithMe

I know I’ve got a long road ahead, and the progress I’ve made in just a few short months is more than I cumulatively made from 2010-2014, so I’m super damn good with it.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll help you play catch up. Here’s the main players you’ll be hearing about. You can call this a teaser if you’d like, but I encourage you to view it as an appetizer. Because your emails & tweets have been telling me to get some shit cooking already. And it’s dinnertime, bitches.

Mr. Right Now
You know I’m not a ho, and I don’t at all do “flings”. I played around with a “flirtationship” and had a fun and captivating someone that was more than a guest character. For over five years, he was in and out of a revolving door. We served as a dynamic and hot pair. Love was never spinning on the turntables for us, but a bond was forged that anyone would be lucky to have. Chemistry. Fire. An organic connection.

The Beautiful Baby
One night at work, the most beautiful man stopped me in my tracks. Our instant chemistry was so incredibly palpable, and everyone around us stopped in their tracks and took notice. It was quite a buzz, and an incredibly exciting roller coaster that ended in one of the most abrupt and memorable of ways. I’ll drop a confession about my underlying adoration of men with powerful presences, and the accompanying penchant for inevitable douchebaggery that is the occasional side-effect of these types. You’ll not want to miss that post.

The Fuckboys
This is plural for a reason. I met a series of Sams since I last spilled my guts to you, and they all get grouped together because they all belonged to the Fuckboy Alliance. So many laughs, so many scowls, and even more “you gotta be kidding me”s are on deck here. And, true to my style, none of ’em got any of me.

The Game Changer
The newest to emerge is the one that got me ready to blog again. I’ll puke in my mouth if I actually type how I feel about this one right now, but I’ll tell you this: he’s the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me. Even if he goes away (and I hope he doesn’t), the change he has inspired is long overdue and wonderful. And I’m just another follower of this story like you–I’m waiting to see what develops. But the tone and underlying theme that this blog is about to take on will at least be inspired by–if not changed by–him and everything he gives to me. Which includes butterflies, but mostly some inspiration to bring you along on the journey to being in the happy place instead of the cynical Shaolin stance.

I’ve got some drafts to edit, and some things to align to make sure you’re getting nothing but filet mignon from me, so, true to tradition, I’ll leave you with a song.

This song, and technically speaking, this video, are a pretty accurate representation of how anything of value which is romantically related goes down in my world. I mean, before the blogworthy stuff happens.

Breaking Up With Your Job

On an ongoing basis, I correlate my love life and my work life. And as a result, my resume for both are pretty damn colorful. Colorful is my polite euphemism for “clusterfuckish”.

See, with both relationships and jobs, there are many principles one can justifiably build a foundation on:

1. Dating and Courtship
In love, you date. You take a few great nights or afternoons, spend some time, find out about each other, and eventually decide to be exclusive. You ask all kinds of questions about each other–hobbies, life, basic ideals. You find out interests, see if you share common goals, and figure out if you’re truly attracted. Sometimes after a date or two, you’re totally convinced the other person is “the one”. Other times, it’s just not a good fit. And often, one side is in, the other just isn’t.
In the career world, this is the interviewing stage. You each ask about work-related concerns. You want to know what the compensation package and advancement opportunities are; they want to know what you bring to the table, and how you can make the company a better place by being on board.
In both situations, you should be carefully screening the other person. Just because you landed a date or an interview, don’t just assume it’s a fly just because they want you. You’re probably pretty much awesome, so they’re possibly idiots if they pass you up. Then again, you could be a perfect match.

2. The Honeymoon
So, you landed the job. Or, the new lover. Everything is great; you bring coffee in the morning, have all the happy, sweet “good mornings”, and you’re bringing your “A” game 24-7-365.
The little annoyances, like your boyfriend’s snoring, your girlfriend’s first fart in front of you, or your boss’s last minute request for you to whip out a project when you’re already busy are all totally endearing, and you laugh about them. Your boyfriend’s snore is cute, and you watch him. Your girlfriend’s fart is cute and although she’s embarrassed, you’re dying laughing. And your boss–well, that’s why you work there. He’s driven, you’re progressive, and it’s a match.
The honeymoon, however, always comes to a close. That’s when shit gets real.

3. The One Year Mark
This is where you’ve had the chance to get to know the real versions of each other. Ladies, you stopped sneaking out of bed to fix your hair and extinguish dragon breath, only to sneak back into bed and pretend to wake up all cute and stuff. Guys, you’ve not only stopped excusing yourself for farting, but you’ve given your lady a dutch oven. And in the work place, your boss has shown his best–and worst–sides.
Here’s where you gauge carefully what the long-term potential for this relationship really is.
If you still have mostly happy thoughts when you wake up, or you don’t feel the urge to throw your phone out the car window on the 405 during your commute, congrats! You found a match.
If you find yourself scrolling down your Facebook page seeing all those sexy people you wanted to date, the flirtationships you cherished filling your Twitter timeline, or that company you applied at on your LinkedIn timeline, you’ve officially got a wandering eye.

4. Mind Games & Fuckery
In relationships, sometimes we think things are good, but we catch glimpses of things that are either deal breakers or red flags.
It might be your boyfriend or girlfriend acting shitty, showing jealous tendencies, or being overly flirtatious with others. You might even see signs of cheating or abuse. With a boss, it might be incompetence, overly demanding behavior, or lack of respect or appreciation for you.
In both relationships and work life, I have an incredibly low tolerance for lack of respect or abusive behavior. These are the times for you to decide what you’re willing to take, what the trade-off is, and when it’s time to address a situation, or time to part ways.

5. Breaking Up
Breaking up when you live together sucks. In fact, “sucks” is an understatement here. Breaking up gratuitously sucks homeless migrant farm worker balls. Sorry for being so graphic, but seriously–it’s the least ideal situation you can be in when it comes to love.
You have to figure out when to tell them, where to go, how to fund the transition…and then there’s the move. Who takes the flat screen you bought together? What do we do with the pictures? And when you make the Facebook change to “Single”, they’re pretty much gonna be pissed, even if they’re the acting party. Oh, and the fight! Is it a quiet, nice talk? Will they cry? Maybe they’ll beg you to stay, which sucks even more.
It’s the same for quitting a job. The decision to have a few “dates” or send the emails to the potential new employers–the sneaky “secret” calls in the privacy of your office or around the corner behind the trash cans outside the “Purchasing and Receiving” department. If you need the day off, do you schedule vacation? Then, the day you finally tell your boss you’re leaving, they know. You’ve been seeing other people.
In both scenarios, unless you do the classic movie-style “walk out”, you’ve got some time to let things reduce to a contentious simmer, and you bide time until you transition out. You take a few photos or projects you worked on, you hand over your keys, and take one last look around. If you get a hug, you feel a little better.
As you walk to the car, there’s a bittersweet freedom, and an excitement for the new opportunity you feel slightly guilty about. But hey, you don’t have to listen to them snore anymore, or you don’t have to deal with your boss’s pissy attitude when he’s missed lunch and is in the state of “hanger”–when hunger and anger join forces to fuck up your day.

6. Your Resume
If you’re like me, commitment-phobia seems apparent to others by looking at your resume–in love or in the professional world. You might be that person who’s been in a nine-year relationship since high school, or worked for the same company right out of college and stayed through your early thirties.
Either way, your resume is what most others will judge you on.
What did you bring to the table, and what do your former employers or former lovers have to say about you? Sure, everyone has an ex or two that hates their guts. If you’ve got a decent proportion that you are amicable with, you’re doing alright.

The funny thing I realized about my resume as I recently interviewed for a completely different career is that I’ve had so many changes because I didn’t properly “date” first. I interviewed, and focused so much on “getting” the job, I didn’t consider if I truly wanted the job. Had I been as discerning as I was in my dating life, I wouldn’t have picked half those jobs. Although you can’t just be “single” in the working world, because that’s called “epically unemployed”, but you can always go “Clooney” and pick the job that looks good on paper, shut off all emotion and connection, and robot your way through the years.

In love and in work, I have to feel some kind of passion. I have to be inspired, and I have to have that magic day that happens after a streak of boring shit to remind me why I still show up every day. I have to have a challenge that makes me dig deep inside and strive to be a better lover, employee, or contributor to the relationship. And most of all, I have to feel reciprocated appreciation.

Because the first time I fall out of love, I can’t go back to that day when the snoring is cute, the farts are funny, and the late night emails don’t annoy the shit out of me. And in both scenarios, if you see me in a sharp dress and bouncy, runway hair, you should probably know…I’m about to update my resume.

I know that when I find the right love, and the right job, all that stuff will piss me off–but I’ll still love it enough to hate it and still stick around. Frustration that’s worth it must be a sign of the right thing.

Fingers crossed, I prepare to skip out of yet another job, opting for a younger, fresher, and more challenging job that I somehow feel I’ll love, even in times when I hate it.

gravestones and the blues

2013 has already started out to be a great year for me.

My Bachelor’s Degree is rapidly coming to a completion, my MBA program is on deck and ready to go.  New car, new job, more money, and an overall balance has somehow been achieved.

Ironically, my love life in general has been on the back burner since I dumped the blog and focused on life.  It seems the more I’ve invested in myself, my life, and the life of my family in general, the less romance has played a role (other than a random gentleman here or there who I beta test via text or a few nights out, only to find myself uninspired).

This lack of lovey stuff has left my creative energy bank in overdraft.

I have seated myself in my new plush, supple, eggshell-colored leather office chair before my giant monitor of my new top-of-the-line computer and felt like I had nothing to dump into the pages of the blog.  I start something, then delete it…I find a song, then realize it’s just not the right one.

If this returning to writing thing is supposed to be like riding a bike, I’m the asshole in the bike lane wobbling in and out of the white painted lines and making all the cars swerve and slam on their brakes, punching hard into their steering wheel to sound their horns and tell me to get out of the fucking way already.

That said, the last two weeks have been host to an interesting lahar of inspiration.  I bumped into an old crush at a bar, bumped into an old flame I wish I could forget at another bar, and deleted an email before even reading it from a third.

Just as the vacancy sign in my heart started flashing enough to annoy me and make me long for a connection like I used to have with some great (and other not-so-worthy) dudes, the trickle turned into a flash flood.

I had a long phone conversation with someone I adore and wish wasn’t literally on the opposite corner of the country, I had a text-turned conversation into someone who permanently has a stake in my heart (although I’ve allowed enough ivy and weeds to grow over the stake, it won’t ever be a full, legit claim), and an ignored friend request from someone who got evicted and would only be allowed in if I had a wrecking ball scheduled for the next day.

The flame on the candle, jammed into the black buttercream icing smothered on the cake, however, was the guy whose heart I absolutely was unabashedly and ignorantly careless with sending me an email.

In a romantic comedy, my main supporting character would convince me to let it all go and be fearless…to “let myself” fall for him. His best friend/neighbor/less-attractive co-worker or B-List co-star would provide him for the set-up for the cinematic ending. We’d reunite and realize we were perfect for each other.

But you’re a reader of my blog, so you know shit doesn’t go down like that on my watch.

A bittersweet yet still amicable email rose out of my email like a phoenix.  The sting he felt was still palpable, but he had moved on forgiven and I could tell he was happy.  He’s got an adorably perfectly planned baby on the way, and just got married on an exquisitely beautiful beach in Oahu a few months ago.

If you would have asked me how I would feel about this news prior to reading the email, I would’ve said how happy I would be to hear this news, and how glad I would be he was able to have such an amazingly phenomenal life.

But I’ll be honest about it.  There was a tiny piece of me that wanted to punch her and squat down and pee on his wedding announcement.  I would have loved to rant about how his obsessive need to hover over and protect me, or pay all the bills and turn me into a Stepford Wife, pissed me off with the burning fury of the center of the earth.

That piece, of course, dissolved over an hour or two, and I ventured into a state of resolution.

I should be more like him.  I should follow in whatever path he took–Bikram Yoga, eight-hundred gallons of whiskey aged in oak barrels, a two-year bender, or a series of months burying myself in books written by the Dalai Lama.

Whatever gets you past the point of comparison, reminiscing, contrasting, losing yourself in nostalgia, and pre-judgment of what’s to come from love.

This guy–who used to refer to me as a feral cat he just couldn’t domesticate, had repeatedly subjected himself to a long wait by my side, watching me dump him, pick another guy, watch a trainwreck ensue, and still be there to sit beside me at the Laundromat, sipping out of a flask and telling me that what I really needed was a legitimate, somewhat flawed, spontaneous, and open-hearted relationship–was right the whole time.

I didn’t reply to the email.  It’s his version of walking into a cemetery, standing before a grave, and telling the person everything they’re missing in life and how they wish you could be part of it.  At the same time, he knows it wouldn’t be as precisely perfect as it is if that person was there–it would somehow be different.

And instead of being the girl who somehow makes it crazy, hilarious, out of control, or historically bloggable, I’m going to do the best thing I could ever do for him, and let it be perfectly perfect and completely his.

My friend Amber always tells me how much this Ryan Adams song reminds her of me.  And I find it fitting that this morning, I can’t help but listen to it a few times.  Because I’m on the other side of the metaphorical grave, looking down from the clouds, happy he’s found his path.

And I’m ready to turn around, go my way, and take the lessons he taught me, and do what I’ve neglected to do for almost seven years–listen to his advice.  Who knew, thoughts about gravestones and the blues would make me get up out of my chair, smile, and feel my heart beat again?