I want a partner, not a pedestal

So why are there so many men looking for princesses and queens on POF… other dating sites, for that matter? You’d  think they would know princesses and queens are for Disney or some far off country.   Or are there really a lot of women here in the US of A that want to be treated like a princess? I really don’t know the answer to that. I can’t imagine wanting to be treated like a princess and it leaves a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Like Tab from the 80’s.

You see, I want a partner, not a pedestal. I want someone to walk side by side with me, someone I can discuss things with across the table at dinner. I am not helpless. I don’t need a proverbial pedestal to know my worth. I want to be able to be respected and treated as  an equal partner. I am not some princess that needs “things”, much less a pedestal for my ego.  What is it with guys today? What do they think we want?

A princess, I guess….

Off track…featuring gummy bears and lemon drop martinis

Why am I posting exercise and fitness rants when I am supposed to be writing about dating, relationships and communication between males and females as well as female friends?  That was the focus, right? Well, I have found that the relationship I have with myself is pretty damn important. If I can’t be happy with the way I look or feel, how can I exude confidence? I can’t. If I can’t, how can I expect others to be confident in me and experience an attract to someone they want to get to know (male or female)? I can’t do that either. I am going go to be successful in the adventures of relationships with guys and my female friends when I am successful in the relationship I have with myself. Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City character) said this pretty exactly in the last episode of Sex and the City Season six, part two.

Enter fitness and exercise.  And diet (seemingly my albatross). When I have the tools in my tool chest, I have no excuses. Especially when I have used the tools with success in the last year. I have no one to blame but myself when I am to happy with the way things are going. I love the fitness part. I hate the healthy eating part.  Except, I love the way I feel and look when I am successful with healthy eating patterns and habits. I hate the way I feel after eating at  McDonalds. Why is it so hard? It makes total sense that I should be fully on board with the “eating right” thing. But I am not. So far from it. This weekend I have consumed the following in no particular order:

  • gummy bears
  • hot wings and sweet potato fries
  • two IPAs
  • movie popcorn
  • lemon drop martini
  • red wine
  • omelet with bacon and cheese (don’t forget the potatoes and bread with that please)
  • and some other stuff I can’t get remember.

So why is this so hard this year? If I could break through that, I think I could get to the crux of the problem. Just Saturday, I was reminded of my fat content when my personal trainer said “today, we are doing measurements”. Uh? What? I thought the fat caliper measurement was all that we needed to determine how out of shape I was. Clearly, not so much.

I have done the diet, the eating right, the changing of the paradigm. What happened over this last holiday season that got me so far off track? I am going to work on answerig that one, right after I grab a rice cake.  Seriously, they are not so bad when you  put some white cheddar cheese on top. Just kidding….Not.

 

Symbiosis: Are the scales ever balanced?

via Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

Am I too cynical? When is symbiosis beneficial to both parties? I haven’t seen this often enough.  There is always some power play. Maybe we could be symbiotic in some equal-ish transfer of different contributions, money, emotional support, intellect, sex….the list goes on. The transfer can be fluid. I suppose if both people absolutely are equal in their need for the other’s contributions  to the relationship, then the symbiosis is copacetic. All good.

But when is it EVER a perfect balance of power? When we are so invested in the others success? Is it because our success depends too heavily on the others?  I wish I could think about all the lovely ecosystems and symbiosis in nature. That would be so cool here in the world of human behavior in relationships. It’s just now where my head goes.  My head goes to dysfunction in the so-called symbiosis of relationships I have seen (not just my own, mind you).

In human relationships (take your pick), when are the scaled perfectly balanced to create a genuine symbiosis?

 

What my marriage taught me: about myself and relationships

I know I made some people wait quite a bit for this last installment of my three-part series of “What my marriage taught me”. I apologize for the delay. This took a bit of time for obvious reasons. It was the hardest to compose. It is the hardest because being teachable alludes a bit of humility, does it not? Yes, money and fear are big topics and there is a lot to learn. Always. But when we are talking about ourselves in our 40’s, aren’t we supposed to be experts on ourselves? On our relationships?

In my  mid 20’s and I became single after a long six-year first-love kind of thing, I thought it would be “so exciting” and how I am going to find someone better than who I had left out of impatience and drifting apart. For the record, I never did find someone better right after leaving. That’s far and away a different story. Anyway, back then it was 1995 and I was hopelessly devoted to Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill was my anthem back then. Damn! I had a lot to learn.This was when I thought I knew something about something. I had a 20-something sized ego and my bumper sticker on my Honda CRX said “Whatever”. That should say someting.

Since then I had traipsed through flings, AOL chat room encounters, short relationships, being cheated on, and mostly just being single. So much, yet really not  SO much. I learned to trust less, have  too much fun and I  believed sincerely that I would sleep when I die. I was a bit of a party girl. With out the drugs. A little alcohol, but really just guys….and more of the same nightclub/bar type existence.

Advance to 2006: I had just broken up with my boyfriend (as you know, the one that would be my husband in 2009). I thought I had learned that his bit of expressed anger and rage was too much for me. I guess not. I guess his charm and his ….everything….got to me AGAIN. I just didn’t learn. Not then. Not yet.

Advance to 2010: I returned to Denver with my tail between my legs. This relationship was done. I failed. Again. This time with lessons. Oh, there were lessons. I realized what dignity was. I realized what it meant to feel I had none. I knew what rock bottom really meant. I had no idea; I was completely naive to how rock bottom would feel exactly. For me: my life reduced to boxes packed in three hours, a rented car filled with some clothes, my dog and me. I was a grown adult who only had a ring on my finger that I would need to pawn at some point, my precious puggle Max and my mom’s  American Express. I had what little cash I took out (originally $200 a week before leaving Florida) before our accounts were frozen by him.

I got home. I cried it out. Every fucking day. There were tears. Yes, tears for him. Tears when he swore me out with horrible names the night I told him I got my old job back back in Denver. Tears of loss. Tears of failure. You get the idea. I went into therapy and saw a wonderful lady who really got me through the pawning of the wedding ring (I had to eat and pay a little rent), the paperwork after being served  divorce papers at my door step by a process-server, the trauma of being such a failure. But she helped me realize that what I went through was unique, but not unique.  Not everyone gets divorced after rage, post throwing  dangerous objects, post verbal abuse and “silent treatment” episodes (to teach me lessons about talking too much). Not everyone suffers unpredictable rage that has absolutely nothing to do with what the non abuser may have actually done or not done.  But those who have been through that know what that looks like. And feels like.  Even if they didn’t know back then. The first time I had a clue that there is something beside physical abuse that counts as some type of abuse was when I called the police the second time at the encouragement of my  father. My ex hadn’t actually hurt me, but for the first and last time, he did put his hands on me in a forceful way (to extract car keys). My father said I need to report that in light of what had happened the previous nights (ex trying to kick me out of my own place). This is the first time I learned first hand of something other than physical/sexual abuse. The police officer who took my report that day gave me a list of numbers on a card that described all types of abuse. This card was given to me by a male police officer. I dont know why that’s relevant, but it was to me at that time. It was a comfort that another male would recongnize the treatment was not right. I was extremely grateful, but more grateful long after I had left Florida. I was still shell-shocked having to even make a report at the time.

So, the aftermath: 2010-2016: I survived an awful divorce and monetary losses, loss of dignity, trust, and developed a necessity for  hyper-analysis of every infraction against me that I had perceived . I think I resented what he had done  to me in the divorce and aftermath more than the crimes of the actual marital discord.  I had a few relationships in 2016 and some online adventures up to then which I posted about previously.

What I learned about everything, including 2016, the birth of my blog!

  1. Humility is being teachable and allows me to progress to better and more healthy relationships.
  2. Admitting regrets: I can regret something and recognize I made a mistake, I had a lapse of judgement. I would love to say I live with out regrets. I don’t think I can say that right now. I think that sounds a bit righteous and a little ignorant. Can’t we all admit we didn’t do something perfectly, something we would like to do a little differently?
  3. Honesty:  What do I want? What can I handle and what can’t I handle in my future relationships? What are my red flags? Can I hold up to my own side of the bargain-for the sake of my dignity, can I walk away from those red flags?
  4. Don’t write about people in current relationships with out their consent. I learned this in my last relationship after trying to get him to read my blog after every entry that mentioned him. After getting into a heated discussion, he read one and felt blindsided.  I recognize that I will preserve people’s privacy until they are comfortable with being mentioned in a most anonymous sense.
  5. I learned  that what I really have after all this is anxiety: Still. After all these years from the series of unpredictability and rage in my uber-brief marriage. I may have had it before I was even married; however, it spiraled  out of control in the years since, includng the first few  years of my recovery from the divorce. Now I can admit it is something I have to, and want to work on, something that I seek help for to make these relationships work.  So I don’t sabotage the really awesome opportunities and people who come into my life.

 

SO… some of you may be asking about #3: What are my red flags in the aftermath? What can I handle? What did I learn that I really need and got honest about it? Why don’t I write that as a part two of this third installment.

Please leave me a comment if you would like to hear more of this detail in #3 and I’d be happy to include a part two!

 

Music pairing: If I need to say it: Okay! I was inspired by Alanis, because when I am not in the old space, I need to be reminded of how it felt. Jagged Little Pill does that wonderfully.

Good secrets, bad secrets…: My introduction to a three part series on what my marriage taught me

Are secrets okay? Are we only as sick as our secrets? Why do we keep secrets? I feel that sometimes we keep other people’s secrets and some of our own to preserve a bit of privacy and dignity, some self-respect and a dash of mystery.  We keep secrets about  arriving baby gender, relationships (of any type), opinions on work, money and politics.  We do this to keep the peace and keep our opinions and personal history to ourselves. Is there anything wrong with this?  Other times, our secrets aren’t based in any nobility.

Our other secrets are not based on dignity, respect or privacy.  These secrets  build upon each other, slowly growing till they get so big. Then   airing out  these well-kept skeletons is so daunting, it’s scary. Super scary. If we wait long enough, the secrets create a solid icon clad wall. The wall is fused with pride, fear, and  insecurity including financial and emotional. To get through this from the inside out we have to be strong. SO strong.  This is the part that can really suck. Like.Really.Suck.  We can’t expect others to get in if we can’t even get out. These are the secrets that make us sick and poisoned inside. Poisoned by the pride that makes us feel that we are better than you. The toxic insecurity that makes you NEVER as good as.  These secrets that destroy us. Unless…..

Unless we can talk or write or get out alive. This is why I want to write about what my marriage taught me. I can write about it.  I want to share it because if it gives you pause, if it makes you think about how you view  something sour and wretched and awful, then I say thank you. I have done my job writing this three part post series:

Part I: What my marriage taught me about my relationship with money

Part II: What my marriage taught me about fear

Part III: What my marriage taught me about me and future interpersonal/romantic relationships

 *****************************

I am going to ask for your input, your experience,  how your last relationship prepared you for the next one!
Stay tuned!!

Happy holidays, part deux

So I was asked by someone, with whom I shared my last  post topic : “so what does offend you?”…..

Hmmm. I think this is more dicey. It’s easy to see I am all easy-going with this holiday greeting crap. I am  easy going there and happy to be so. I do get offended, but I think it needs to be more personal. So, lets ponder. If someone says “Merry Christmas” and they don’t know me, I am not offended as no  harm was meant by it. There is no dig, no ignorant slam against a group of people, no attempt to make a joke at someone’s expense. It is simply a greeting of kindness and sharing joy.

There is a time to be thick-skinned and a time to be offended and take action. There is a time to let things go. But when something pisses me off about some joke told by some ignorant jackass (male or female) aimed at a group of   people, it’s hard  for me to shut up. I know  of Asian and Jewish comediennes who make fun of their own and it is funny up to the point of self-deprecation. The problem is the pushing  of the envelope. I am not offended by women talking about sex, graphically, in comic detail. I find it more offensive when men do it. Why is that? So, just to be clear I am not talking bout racist comments and slurs passed off as jokes. I am talking about WHAT OFFENDS ALYSSA?  A proper list should be made! Here we go:

  1. ignorant Jewish and other ethnic jokes
  2. shitty parents
  3. people who cheat and/or lie ( stealing the right to truth from their loved ones, so yes, offensive)
  4. male comedians telling graphic sex jokes (women don’t bother me and I recognize the irony of this double standard)

Okay this is a short list. I am stumped. Things irritate me much more than truly offend me, hence a short list.

One person that has NEVER offended me is John Lennon. I heard a Beatles song during the writing of this post. I am compelled to include a photo I took in Central Park 4-5 years ago.

 

img_0011

 

Thanksgiving

I want to tell you something really fantastic about Thanksgiving. Something that makes us all inspired.  Something about  our gratitude and good fortune when we eat our turkey and other food in excess. Some of us watch football all day. I don’t, but hey, there it is, a great day off to eat a ton and watch football in the middle of the week.  I absolutely know, at the least, I have the privilege of good fortune  and good food and a roof over my head during m post divorce Hell (five years to be exact, six if you count when I had to leave my home).  I know friends and family have helped immensely. And that’s an incredible start to my Thanksgiving story.

It is in those simple times in my life  that I asked for  help and received it with unconditional love that i am most humble and grateful. It is  during those 364 other days of the year that I have depended on loved ones to hold me up during hard times. It is those days that I felt the most thankful.

I have to remember when we string each of the days, some tougher than others, we get something pretty awesome called LIFE. It’s not always fair. Its not always right or just.  We fall in love. Out of love. We feel wronged. We feel awesome and vindicated. But this is the deal:

We are feeling. Which means we are alive and get to start over the next day. And that’s pretty cool. We can be  thankful for that, right?  For me this is an affirmation. I am going to repeat this  affirmation for the next 48 hours and every hour after that, because really, we can NOT take this amazing life for granted.  This is NOT  a Debbie downer post. Not at all. I just want to stay humble and grateful for this life we are given every day. Sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes I feel entitled to more than just the notion of being alive. Maybe sometimes I feel I deserve something really awesome, above and beyond what I have worked for. Then I get right-sized and my ego gets bruised. A little. And I begin again. Humble. It keeps going like that.

Please let me know how your Thanksgiving week is…the anticipation of it, family angst, relationship angst, whatever it brings: Bring it on!