She thought of the words that had been tossed at her as she sat in the car that slowly drove her further away from the place that held the bed in which she once slept soundly.
She looked back, once more, at the gardens where her hope had blossomed.
The violent winds of projection had torn through the petals and the heavy teardrop’s had mixed with the blood that seeped from her fingers as she grabbed at the stems in the hopes of stopping the inevitable destruction that was underway.
Beside her sat the emotional dictionary she hoped would give her an understanding of the true meaning of the harsh phrases and fears that had dripped off of his tongue. She wanted to open it, but each time she did, she remembered and thunder struck, causing her frame to shake.
She looked down at the single, disheveled rose that lay in her lap. Her heart felt the sadness of what had been lost, but also the gratitude of what had been discovered–a beautiful person, and a better part of herself.
She picked her head up and wiped her eyes. She caught the drivers sympathetic look in the review mirror. ”Forward, please.”
(Photo of Kate Winslet Courtesy of Pinterest)
There was a sweeping volatility,
A loud burst of emotion,
A weeping flood,
In the stillness, she stood,
listening only to her breath.
The beat of her heart slowing down,
As the smoke replaced a glistening fire.
She had been here before,
And not so long ago,
But this time, it was different.
For she knew her way around.
No intimidation from uncertainty,
Or the slightest bit of fear,
She would navigate with logic,
and find her way out.
And her awareness of her ability to do so is what made all of the difference.
(Photo Courtesy of Pinterest)
Sip the best bubbly you can afford– be it Prosecco, Cava, Lambrusco, Veuve, Moet or Dom–and toast the people you love.
Laugh with great abandon.
Love enthusiastically, and without fear. Whatever happens, you have loved, and what a joy that brings.
If you’re going to kiss someone, make sure they walk away feeling like you had hot sauce on your lips.
When someone is talking to you, look them in the eyes and listen.
For goodness sakes, try the food.
Do nice things to help people out without wanting something in return.
Book a ticket to a new place at least twice a year.
Spend more time in person than on Facebook.
Apologize when you’re wrong and work to make it right.
RSVP “yes” to at least 70% of the events you are invited to (and don’t cancel)
Smile when you meet strangers, children and meet up with those you love.
Give more hugs, compliments and volunteer now and then.
Run in the rain and through the sprinkler.
Eat an ice cream cone on a stoop.
Host a picnic in the grass.
Pretend the mud pie really is delicious!
Hold people in a higher regard than titles.
Open doors for others.
Say “please” and “thank you”.
Respond instead of react.
Remember the “relate” in relationship.
Pick up the phone instead of texting.
Send a card or a small gift “just because”.
Accept that you are not perfect and they don’t have to be either.
Acknowledge the pain, celebrations, smiles, compliments, talents, struggles, concerns and birthdays of others.
Tell them you love them, often.
What we put out, we often get back in kind. You want a fuller, happier, softer and lovelier life? Be a fuller, happier, softer and lovelier person.
(Simone d’Aillencourt in Emilio Pucci, Vogue 1967)
They watch from across the room,
Raising a a glass to all of the layers,
the person they need you to be.
Their walk is direct,
Their eyes, in focus.
Soon, their tongue begins to swirl their drink,
the intoxicating promises you know better to believe.
The flattery is too good not to swallow,
and you’re soon drugged by the desire,
To be desired.
Glances become numbers exchanged,
Encounters are pleasant,
Until they’re not.
The soul comes closer to the surface,
Finding its way out through the mouth,
The glaring and shifting eyes,
The touch that is just slightly too aggressive.
The mask begins to crack,
Your heart begins to break,
and suddenly you realize,
There are two of them…
One you loved,
and one you never knew at all.
(Photo of Gatsby courtesy of IMDB, Leo Washington Post)
Happiness is as happiness does. Read below for 10 ways to bring serenity now! Ok, maybe not right this instant, but soon.
Do I Seek To Add Value?
One of the things I always advise my interns to do is to sit down and think about the ways they have added value to the jobs and organizations they have worked in. No one wants to hire someone who does the bare minimum, or worse, diminishes the value of a situation. Mindless gossip, unnecessary criticism and standing around doing nothing all subtract from a situation, even if simply pulling out the peace or productivity.
Do I Surround Myself With People Who Enhance My Life Experience?
Remember your clubbing days? You never wanted to spend your evening with the riff-raff in some sketchy club. Why would you want to spend your life with them?
When Was The Last Time I Learned/Tried Something New?
It sounds like a silly cliché, but knowledge does give you an edge–in conversations, the boardroom, and on dates when the table you booked won’t be available for the rest of the night. Be warned, there’s a caveat: You have to actually use the information you acquire to your greatest advantage. Learning a new word each day is only effective when you use these words to create a better daily vocabulary, and since anxiety and fear are based on uncertainty and ignorance, hello reason to research!
What Influence Do I Have On My Own Life?
People-pleasing lecture aside, the days of your life won’t always be enjoyable, but if your life would call you a hater, it’s time to make some changes. You won’t always want to do what your friends, family members or partner want you to do and your best friend may be really against a life decision, but unless you are doing something truly destructive or disrespectful, there’s zero reason for guilt (or guilt trips). Sit down and think about the life you would be living if you didn’t have to worry about being judged. That’s what you need to work towards.
Do I Get Swayed By Emotion or Stick To The Facts?
Feelings are notoriously misleading, but facts, while not always candy-coated, are reliable. I have found that the only time people get angry when faced with them are when they feel guilty, ashamed, embarrassed or are trying to get something over on me.
Am I Impulsive?
Just because you are being offered something you want or will enjoy does not mean you should “reach out and grab it” the second it appears. That “once in a lifetime opportunity” will likely not evaporate in the 24-48 hours (or longer for bigger decisions) you need to sit and think more about it. I mean, if Enrique Iglesias calls you and asks you to go on tour, fine, consider going on leave, but signing contracts, rushing to their door to profess your undying love and moving house last-minute are worth some pillow time. Bottom Line: Follow your heart, use your head.
Do I Own My Behavior Or Judge It?
OK, you said you would go to the gym. You didn’t. You went to have margaritas and nachos with your friends instead. Congratulations, you now have a memory and maybe a hangover. Accept that most of us do what we want to do and that on the nights toning is more important to you than tacos, you’ll swipe your gym card.
Can People Count On Me?
Do you say what you mean, do what you say, and are you where you say you will be( and fully present) when you’re supposed to be there?
Am I Appreciative?
That dog that annoys you every morning when he needs to go out greets you with love and forgiveness every time you open the door. That coworker who takes time out of his or her day to read over your email or grab you a water, they don’t have to, you know? That friend who spends three hours on Gchat helping you deal with a guy situation? That’s a gift.
Is It Really That Important?
That sink will get fixed. That email was not that serious. Your boss is human. Everyone’s job is stressful. Your jeans will fit again. Now what?
I adore Leo, so seeing (and loving) the movie is a given.
But the soundtrack? Who knew?
The compilation is the perfect mix of retro, rock star and rap.
I’d mention my “favorite” tunes, but they keep changing.
It’s that good.
Paired with the right outfit, they’d stop traffic.
Paired with the wrong one, they’ll stop it for the wrong reasons.
You can sit on the sidelines or walk the red carpet.
You can give commentary or you can step into your spotlight.
Choose to shine.
Don’t believe me? Try it.
This has been stressing me out for an entire season and a half.
Independence, personal power and intelligence is sexy.
Thanks to filters and fears, things are not always what they look like or seem.
Surround yourself with intelligent and compassionate advisers.
Reach out, listen and then take what feels right and move forward.
I’d have my girls over, Edith Piaf on the radio and champagne and sandwiches ready.
Mix it up and use it as a scrub on your face (and body). Leave for a few minutes and rinse.
Voila! Glowing skin.
There’s something very special about friendships between women.
I love the laughter, love, support, advice, reality checks and loyalty they are generous enough to give me.
It has often been reported hat more telephone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. But what if there’s no one to call? The beloved holiday can serve as a painful reminder of the ultimate void for those who have loved and lost or were never loved at all. A topic very close to my heart, I reached out to four women who were left motherless for one reason or another and asked them to share their incredibly painful stories and the ways in which they have learned to heal.
How old were you when your mother passed/left? I was eight when my mother died of cancer.
Can you briefly share the circumstances surrounding your situation? My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 30. She died at age 31.
Did her leaving/passing have an immediate impact? Absolutely. My father really fell apart. He didn’t function well. My grandparents could only help so much and eventually had to return to their jobs and lives. Once the help went away, our house fell to disarray. Dinners were pretty simple. Laundry was not done often. Lunches were made by myself. There were no more handmade Halloween costumes or help with homework. My father was overwhelmed with his responsibilities, he was only 32. He suddenly had to raise two young girls on his own.
Who raised you? My father raised my sister and myself. We spent most summers traveling between grandparent’s, cousin’s and aunt and uncle’s homes.
How was her absence handled in your household? My mother died in 1979. It wasn’t discussed much. There were no child therapy sessions to deal with it. Since my father took her death so hard, most of the family seemed to focus on him. My sister and I were the afterthought. My grandmother got rid of most of my mother’s possessions only days after the funeral. She did not want us to be around reminders of the woman who was no longer there. That was very painful for me. I felt like my mom was ripped out from under me twice in one week.
How did this impact you? I was in a tough spot. My sister was only five and needed support. My dad went into what I now know is a depression. I had to take on a lot more responsibility than any third grader should. My father worked. He supported us. But I had to take on a lot of the household tasks. I also remember having to think of Christmas presents for our extended family. Christmas sort of stressed me out because of the added responsibilities. I also knew my dad would forget to shop for my sister and I until Christmas Eve.
What did growing up without a mother feel like as a child/teen? As a child, I hated standing out. Everyone in our suburb knew my mother died of cancer at a young age. Every time we walked into a grocery store, I could see the faces of pity when they looked at my dad, sister and me. I hated standing out. I just wanted to be like everyone else. The special treatment bothered me most as a child. As a teen, I really struggled internally. When my grandmother told me that my mother died, I didn’t cry. I didn’t end up crying about her death until the summer I got my period. I knew what a period was, but I had a hard time talking to my dad about it. It was so stressful. I hated asking him for feminine hygiene products as much as he hated buying them. One night I had a break down that I didn’t have a mom to help me through dealing with my first few cycles. I sobbed for most of the evening by myself. I am sure at that point, it was five bottled up years of grief that spilled out that night.
How do you feel her absence has influenced you as an adult? I never know if I am doing female things correctly. Did I arrange the flowers from the vase correctly? Does this sauce need more salt? Did I fold the sheets correctly? Am I meeting the emotional needs of my family? Is this shade of lipstick work with this blouse? Did I wrap that present correctly? I also have this notion that when I meet people for the first time that they can tell right away that I grew up without a mom. As if there is a neon sign over me that says, “motherless daughter/feral child.” But I also think having to rely on myself at such a young age forced me to develop survival and coping skills, which has helped me deal with my son’s autism. I also think her death put into perspective which things in life are a big deal and which aren’t.
In what ways has her absence influenced your ideas about motherhood? It made me want to have my own family so I could make things right. She was an amazing mother and I couldn’t wait to be just like her. Unfortunately, I am not the seamstress and crafter that she was. I didn’t inherit that gene from her. In other respects, I think we are probably similar; light- hearted, funny, and warm.
What do you feel is misunderstood about motherless children? As I said before, I hated the special treatment and attention I received after her death. I just wanted to go play handball without being whispered about. I wanted a return to normalcy as quickly as possible.
How do you feel about your mother today? My heart breaks for my mother. She must have been so scared to find a lump in her breast when she had a preschooler and a second grader. It must have been awful to be going through chemo while we were trick-or-treating. I can’t imagine how it felt to go from one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen to a skinny bald woman in a matter of months. I feel love for her. I sometimes think I would give all the money I have just to hear her voice one more time. My father is still very angry at her for dying. This makes me incredibly sad.
How do you handle Mothers Day? Mother’s Day doesn’t bother me. I had four grandmothers growing up so I always associated Mother’s Day with them. However, my mother died on Valentine’s Day. I am scarred for life when it comes to that day. While everyone is celebrating their amazing romantic love, all I can think about is dropping all my Valentine’s cards when I rounded the corner and saw all the cars in front of my house. I knew my mom died by all of the cars on the street. My husband knows not to celebrate Valentine’s Day with me. We skip that day.
How have you healed? I hope I have healed but as you can see from answers, there are deep wounds left. My mother was so loving and amazing that I just think of her fondly. She never ever let me down. I think about how she was so much better than any other mother I ever met that eight years with her was most likely the same as eighteen with other mothers.
Any additional thoughts? Her funeral haunts me to this day. Some people just fell apart at the graveside service. I can still hear their wails. The adults were falling apart in front of my eyes and it impacted me deep inside.
How old were you when your mother passed/left? I was ten.
Can you briefly share the circumstances surrounding your situation? She was 30 and overwhelmed by three kids and suffered from some psychological issues.I think it was manic depression but I am not sure as it never formally diagnosed.
Did her leaving/passing have an immediate impact? Yes, it was horrible. She took my brother (6) and left me and my sister (2) with our stepfather who then molested me later that week.
Who raised you? My stepfather, my neighbors down the street, and eventually my dad when I was a teenager. I left home when I was 17 and never really looked back.
How was her absence handled in your household? She was vilified and everyone spoke poorly about her. She made herself an easy target for blame.
How did this impact you? Everything suffered. my confidence, self-esteem, friendships, grades…all of it.
What did growing up without a mother feel like as a child/teen? It was the ultimate feeling of abandonment. I was rudderless.
How do you feel her absence has influenced you as an adult? It has made me a strong person. It takes a lot to get me down.I have been diagnosed with PTSD (due to cancer, helicopter crash, sexual abuse, 9/11 etc.) I take medication and it has helped me to become a high-functioning adult.
In what ways has her absence influenced your ideas about motherhood? I think it has made me very sensitive to being physically present for my daughter. That said, she has it so much better than I did so i find myself avoiding the common wringing of hands that so many of my mom friends do. I know what a true crisis is and not having organic sunscreen to slather on your kid, is not a problem. I am very liberal about certain things but am a stickler for manners and respect towards adults. My daughter would say I am the strictest, but also the goofiest of her four parents.
What do you feel is misunderstood about motherless children? The assumption that we know the things that mother’s are supposed to teach us and norms and values and etiquette and how to use a feminine product–things like this were gaping holes in my understanding of how I was supposed to handle things.
How do you feel about your mother today? Now that I am older i understand why she cracked.She was sexually abused by her brother growing up and had no support around it. A mistake I made for many years was assuming that we were very similar. and although i have her hands and her sense of humor, she is much more shy, insecure, and meek than I am. seeing this allowed me to have compassion and understanding for her choices.
How do you handle Mothers Day? I go to mexico where mother’s day falls on my birthday, may 10th, every year.
How have you healed? Therapy, making mistakes, and more therapy. I worked to build my self-efficacy by starting my own business Eight and a half years ago. Forgiving my mom helped me let go.That was the best gift that I could give my daughter: the ability to tell her own story and to have her not inherit this legacy of pain. So far, so good.
How old were you when your mother passed/left? My mother was an alcoholic, she never passed away or left me but being that she was never sober and sent me to live with my grandparents one of those two things might as well have happened. I was 5 years old when she sent me to live with my grandparents due to her drug and alcohol abuse.
Did her leaving/passing have an immediate impact? Not having a sober mother definitely impacted me and my life. When I was 13 years old she sat me down and explained to me that I was an adult and that she was going to live the rest of her life for her. I had to grow up and go through things at a very young age.
Who raised you? My amazing grandparents
How was her absence handled in your household? We didn’t speak about it
How did this impact you? It made me feel good, not to have to think about her every day. It was nice forgetting that I had a mother that would rather drink than be with me.
What did growing up without a mother feel like as a child/teen? The hardest thing was to see the relationship my friends had/have with their mothers. Too see how they spent time shopping and cooking together. Even though I had a grandma who did all of those things with, it still was never the same. I craved a relationship like my friends had with their moms, yet any time I was around my mother there was a lot of anger and that relationship just couldn’t be.
How do you feel her absence has influenced you as an adult? I learned to not trust people or their “word”. I grew up knowing what abandonment/rejection by choice felt like. I guess the biggest way it has influenced me is that I don’t have a lot of faith in people.
In what ways has her absence influenced your ideas about motherhood? It worries me, a lot. I don’t ever want to be a screw up and ruin a child’s life.
What do you feel is misunderstood about motherless children? No answer.
How do you feel about your mother today? Indifferent
How do you handle Mothers Day? I dismiss it
How have you healed? By letting go of hope.
How old were you when your mother passed/left? I was 13
Can you briefly share the circumstances surrounding your situation? My mother had ulcers and was addicted to painkillers and because she was afraid of the doctors she never went to them. I remember the night before she died she was very weak but still took my younger brother and I for ice cream. That morning we woke up and my dad had called the ambulance and I had no idea what was happening until I saw the paramedics take my mom on the stretcher . We followed the ambulance in our car and got to the hospital. We found out that she had a bleeding ulcer and she was in a coma, but she didn’t make it.
Did her leaving/passing have an immediate impact? I don’t think it sunk it right away. I just felt like I was in a bad dream waiting to wake up. I went through a depression in high school and suffered with anxiety and panic attacks.
Who raised you? My Father
How was her absence handled in your household? My father did the best he could. He was the breadwinner in our family and my mom was the stay at home mother. I remember we did suffer with money and were very close to selling our house and keeping food on our table.
How did this impact you? I think that this made me a stronger women.
What did growing up without a mother feel like as a child/teen? Very lonely, I only had my dad and 3 brothers. No women influences.
How do you feel her absence has influenced you as an adult? It has made me believe in God more and made me more spiritual. I believe she is always with me and that I have an angel watching over me.
In what ways has her absence influenced your ideas about motherhood? I think it was the hardest time when I was pregnant with my daughter and even after I had her. I wanted her more than ever to help me and be there for me emotionally and mentally.
What do you feel is misunderstood about motherless children? I don’t really know, I never thought about that.
How do you feel about your mother today? I love her so much and she made me the women I am today. She gave me so much love during the short time that she was here and I will always cherish that!
How do you handle Mothers Day? By crying. Aside from that, I am a mother and my daughter makes it special for me that day.
How have you healed? By the grace of God, Time really does heal all, and definitely having family and friends that support you.
How old were you when your mother passed/left? I was told six months by some and a year by others.
Can you briefly share the circumstances surrounding your situation? My father was a bipolar alcoholic ex- convict and she was a 19-year-old with a number of issues–some documented, some not –who, from what I have been told, married him after running away. I don’t know much about either of them, but I do know that both had problems and personalities I cannot understand or relate to and when she left him to move on with her life, she left me with him. At 11, she found me and the courts gave her temporary custody because I had welts all over my body. A month later, she abandoned me again. I’d rather have been left where my hair was pulled and my fingers bitten, to be honest.
Did her leaving/passing have an immediate impact? I grew up in a volatile and chaotic environment that was about survival. My first memory is of screaming and running through a dark neighborhood on a rainy night, banging on neighbors doors because I was scared and didn’t know where to go. I never knew what it was like to have a mother’s love so this was a pain that simmered and seemed to grow saltier as time passed. I felt lonely and unworthy and like garbage that could be left behind, to be honest. There’s a very specific pain that comes with being rejected by the person who created you. I took my sense of worthlessness out on myself for a long time. I was never smart enough, successful enough, pretty enough. I accepted terrible behavior from people just to have someone. It took a lot of work to accept that my being abandoned didn’t mean I was not worth keeping and it really was her loss. I say that not in a nasty way. It really was. I would have been a great daughter.
Who raised you? My amazing grandfather, and my great aunts, Sybil and Vyvian in the ways they could when he passed. Other than that, I have been blessed with incredible, smart, wise, loving and supportive friends and mentors who have helped me to learn to navigate better.
How was her absence handled in your household? My father always had different wives and women around, but I was mostly treated as though I was in the way. There was one woman who I felt that motherly love from but my father beat her so bad one night that she snuck away and I never saw her again. My father, himself, never mentioned her other than to tell me what a bad person she was and she left me so I could be placed for adoption at any time. He would tell me he was not my father or that I should have been a boy which would let me know he didn’t care about me, either. My grandpa and aunts simply told me that I was better off. That said, I ached for her. I would sneak into my father’s closet to look at my baby book which had her photo. I would run to the mirror and try and pose like her to look like her. When he would beat me and tell me he would send me to her, I would say “no, no” but run in my room and pray she would come and get me.
What did growing up without a mother feel like as a child/teen? Not having parents was hard, and losing my grandfather was the greatest pain of my life, but I literally ached to know what it felt like to have a mother’s love. That longing was sharp and ever-present.
How do you feel her absence has influenced you as an adult? I have a drive and ambition to prove that I belong on this earth, too, and work very hard to make my mark in a healthy way and leave a legacy of love. That said, I have fears and insecurities that perhaps only those who have experienced can understand (hence, my decision to post this in the hopes it might help someone feel less isolated).
In what ways has her absence influenced your ideas about motherhood? I cannot wait to be a mother to give my child all of the love I have to give and the childhood I never had. I know I will be a loving, kind, fair, active mother to my child, biological or adopted, and I will love them with every ounce of my being. I simply cannot wait to have a family of my own.
What do you feel is misunderstood about motherless children? That the same rules apply emotionally. They don’t.
How do you feel about your mother today? Apathy most of the time. Rage, on occasion, when I think of certain things that were said and done to me. But I only knew her briefly in my life, so in reality, my “feelings” are about an idea and my reality as compared to it.
How do you handle Mothers Day? I used to sob and mope, but that was before acceptance. Now I honor the amazing women I have in my life who are mothers, the amazing women who have shown me love, and I remind those with mothers to cherish them.
How have you healed? I don’t know that I have healed, I am still very angry, but I have an incredible, loving, supportive and wonderful family of friends who have definitely helped me grow. I also have photos of my Grandmother (who died when I was 10 months old) and my grandfather everywhere to rem ind me that “mother” “father” and “parent” are titles that are earned, not given.
BDC for eDiets
In the beginning, the romance Gods created courtship, an amazingly intoxicating period where you and your new mate walked hand-in-hand through a thick, yummy love fog. You listened to what the other had to say, couldn’t keep your hands off of one another. You even found the way he avoided balancing his online accounts a “charming” aspect of his carefree personality.
Fast-forward a few years and you’re battling the Discovery Channel for his attention, barely speaking over dinner and somehow that whole checking thing has become your biggest pet-peeve.
If your great love affair has passed the Bogie and Bacall stage and headed straight into to Everybody Loves Raymond territory, it’s time for a detour. We’ve got the 411 on how to pass go, collect your romance and get right back into the good stuff, one gesture at a time.
Between jobs, kids and social obligations, it’s hard to find time for one another, so you keep a standing date on a specific night when you can catch up and relax a bit. While it sounds romantic in theory, the idea of penciling in dinner every other Friday is a routine, and routines become predictable (read: stale) over time.
Closer: Wooing One Another
Rev-up your romance by switching up who takes the lead and surprising one another with fun nights out. Ask one another out the good, old fashioned way and take care of all of the planning. Schedule a sitter, make the reservations or simply buy a bottle of wine, light a few candles and surprise them with dinner at home.
Your mate will love the element of surprise and also appreciate the pampered feeling of just showing up and enjoying the night you’ve worked so hard to give them. Showing your mate they are worth impressing will make them feel appreciated and loved, and who are we kidding… You’ll feel great knowing you rocked their night!
The day-to-day demands of living and running a household, office or just your own personal errands can be downright exhausting for most of us — which is why when your significant other reaches over to your side of the bed, it can be easier to give them a nudge instead of a little nookie.
Closer: Having Great Sex (Often!)
I know it’s a common practice, but let’s be real here: scheduled sex is the equivalent of “take off your pants” as foreplay. It’s hardly sexy, and there’s zero mystery. So instead of typing a missionary meeting into your Outlook, stir a little saucy into your private life by doing something a few times a week to connect on a carnal level.
Read erotic stories together before bed, send one another “for your eyes only” text messages, give your spouse a peek of what’s underneath by undressing slowly after a hard day at the office. If you are really feeling frisky, surprise them by joining them in the shower. Being sexually playful will not only bring you closer, it will make you feel flirtatious, sexy and fun. It’s a win/win situation.
You chat online when you can, make a call at lunch and ask how your partners’ day was when they get home. You don’t need to “talk” because you already know what is going on, so you both do your own thing, in silence.
Closer: Have a Hearty Chat
A lot of times couples forget they are made up of two individuals who are sharing their lives together, yet have their own thoughts, desires, fears, goals and dreams. This is why it’s important to check in every now and then. Once a week, sit down and talk to your partner face-to-face about things unrelated to the menial tasks and errands that need running.
Ask them how they feel about where their life is headed, their thoughts on a current event or how they are handling their new project at work. Your partner will appreciate the attention and most likely reciprocate. There is a good chance you’ll walk away learning something new about one another — which is part of the excitement of the courtship period.
Side note: Be sure to listen closely, maintain eye contact and keep the judgments and criticisms to a minimum. You don’t want them to fear opening up to you in the future.
You worked late and your guy is drained from a long day under the dictation of an angry man. The last thing either of you want to do is slave over a hot stove, so you call your favorite Chinese takeout place (again!)
Closer: Get Cooking
Go to your local bookstore and pick up a cookbook with exotic recipes you both are open to trying. Once a week, grab a bottle of wine, light a few candles, turn up the music and spend the evening preparing and cooking a meal together. You’ll feel like a team. Plus, food is a great aphrodisiac. Don’t believe me? Try feeding one another crème brulee and watch what happens.
Make a Commitment To The Life You Want: Make a list of the things you value in a relationship and think about what is important to you in friendships, your home and other areas of your life. Then make a commitment to do what it is that you need to do in order to achieve this and be more loyal to that that anything or anyone else. Perhaps this is getting through the day without allowing your always-antagonizing boss to pull you into an argument or ending relationships that have gone toxic, regardless of how long you have been in them (see below). It could be something as simple as drinking more water in an effort to feel healthier. Each time you find yourself in a situation where you feel you are going against these values, let whatever is holding you back go.
Cut out Toxic People: Good people do bad things but if you have someone in your life that consistently steps on your boundaries and makes you feel bad about yourself,-even if they don’t mean to- they are not allowing you the chance to be your best self and live your best life. It’s not always easy to say goodbye or set boundaries with people who have walked all over you (and they don’t react well when you do) but having people like this in your life is like sipping a bit of poison every day. No wonder you never feel healthy and strong.
Expand Your Life: You may know where you want to wind up and what you would like to experience along the way, but how to get from here to there may still be foggy. Try not to judge yourself for not knowing and do what you need to do in order to educate yourself. . Sit down and think about 5-10 things you want to achieve and then brainstorm 5-10 ways you can work on them daily. For example: If you want to broaden your social network you can start volunteering, ask friends to introduce you to new people, hold a cocktail party at your place and invite people over or join a class of some kind and invite other students to coffee.
Don’t Personalize The Shortcomings of Others: Sitting down and trying to figure out why others do what they do takes up an awful lot of time. Still, while we may not understand why someone is freaking out on us, making nasty comments, or otherwise being hurtful, personalizing these statements is a grave mistake that can lead to anxiety, stress and even illness. Understand that we are all different people with different communication styles, boundaries and value systems and that we are all solely responsible for what we choose and chose not to do and say. Yes, people will hurt you, but to re-victimize yourself by taking the blame for bad behavior is not the way to go about it. Let them know you are there for them if they want to discuss what’s really going on, but that you won’t be anyone’s verbal punching bag.
Stay Grounded: We can’t always walk away from situations and people immediately, but we can make a choice as to how much we allow them to affect us. Sure, with so many people yelling, judging, stirring and projecting, it can be tempting to throw your dignity to the side and join the chaos, but he or she who stays calm, centered and focused is the one who will make it out of the storm faster than the others.
Keep Hope in Its Place: There is a beauty in looking forward to a brighter day and seeing the positive in people, but hope can become a prison when you are sacrificing everyday happiness in the hopes of a future that never presents itself. Give situations and individuals enough time to change for the better, but know when to walk away.
Accept That You’re Not a Superhero: It is not your job to make anyone else happy, just as it is not anyone else’s job to make you happy. To have a healthy and happy relationship with anyone, we must be respectful of them and ourselves, hold everyone accountable for their own behavior, show love and support, give cheers and offer loving constructive criticism when necessary.
Break Down Fear, Piece -by- Piece: Instead of living in a place of worry and stress about what might happen, make the best decisions for your life right now. Try to make short-term plans towards long-term goals, but take each day as it comes. Sure, leaving a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect or value you might bring up fears of being alone, but think it through: Being alone means you’re no longer going to be devalued and respected and will be free to meet someone who cherishes you.
Accept The Negative and The Positive: Yes, there are things in life that suck. Still, there are blessings there diffuse some of the negativity we experience. Think about the ways in which the most successful press agents handle crisis control for their celebrity clients. Knowing that salacious headlines are fueled by negativity, they encourage their clients to focus on doing something positive or make no comment at all. You can’t always ignore negative situations and people but you can decide how much power you’re going to hand over to them.
Learn to Love Yourself: This is a likely the toughest task on the list. Take it step-by-step and break it down. Take some time to sort through and toss the hurtful, mean and negative messages that were sent by parents, siblings, friends and lovers and accept that, while you are not perfect, they may not have been right. Forgive them, and yourself. Do something each and every day to celebrate the fact that you are growing stronger, lovelier and wiser as each hour passes and cherish your time alone. Get to know yourself as who you are and not who you think you should be. The more you believe in, love, and respect yourself, the easier it becomes to protect yourself and the happier life becomes.
(Photo Courtesy of Oktooka)
Over the years, I have made no secret of my love for Elizabeth Taylor. Feisty, passionate, authentic, intelligent and totally dedicated to living her life on her own terms, she was both respected and loathed by those who knew–and knew of–her. Growing up, I always knew her as Marilyn’s rival, but really discovered the fiery bombshell in my late twenties and fell madly in love with her spirit.
So inspired by her independence, I did a “Livin’ Like Liz” project where I played “what would Liz do?” and followed her example of how I should be living and loving.
This resulted in one of the most delicious months of my life. I am thinking of doing it again.
Care to join me?
Read a few of her quotes below to get inspired.
“So much to do, so little done, such things to be.”
“What did you expect me to do, sleep alone?”
“I don’t pretend to be an ordinary housewife.”
“If I want to drink, I am going to drink. If I want to eat, I will eat, and If I want to make love to my leading man, I’ll do that, too.”
“I’m a survivor – a living example of what people can go through and survive.”
“I’ve always admitted that I’m ruled by my passions.”
“I have been hated with the worst of them. But those who love me have always loved me. That’s what I care most about.”
“I’ve been through it all, baby. I’m mother courage.”
“Mike Todd loved me in a way that taught me to love myself. He also taught me how to hustle.”
“I’ve only slept with men I’ve been married to. How many women can make that claim?”
“If someone’s dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.”
“My mother says I didn’t open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked.”
“It’s not the having, it’s the getting.”
“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”
“I like a good fight, it shows you still give a damn.”
“You find out who your real friends are when you’re involved in a scandal”.
“It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting. “
“Success is a great deodorant.”
“When people say, ‘She’s got everything’, I’ve got one answer – I haven’t had tomorrow.”
A lot of you have emailed me stating your interest in a signed copy of Cinderella Was a Liar. Simply drop me a line at CinderellaWasaaLiar@gmail.com with “Book Purchase” in the subject line.
Send $15.00, plus $3.50 shipping to the CinderellaWasaaLiar@gmail.com paypal account and the tracking number will be sent within 48 hours.
I don’t know about you, but I have always found great pleasure in daydreaming. From how I would spend a Power Ball win to what it might feel like to write the novel that would give Dumas a strong literary challenge, I enjoy setting sail in a sea of “what if’s?” Unfortunately, experience has shown me that, without a sense of direction and movement, daydreams slowly rot and become missed opportunities, and the beautiful scent of what could have been becomes the stench of regret. Bottom line: Dreams are as motivating or as frustrating as the effort we place into them.
There are a number of ways to dream, and anyone who has ever watched their desire wilt due to a lack of attention knows that some are more productive than others. Still, I have found that dreamers often fall into one of these four major categories:
I. There are those who spend most of their waking hours in an alternate reality, dreaming away their lives with no real action. This often leads us living in a false reality, one that we compare our true reality to and wind up feeling shortchanged and disappointed.
II. Those who ache to make their dreams come true but allow others and/or their own fear to convince them from working towards them. This can often work to tear away chunks of our self esteem as each step not taken serves as “proof” of our inability to move forward.
III. Those who spend their lives chasing the proverbial carrot, taking risk after risk without much productivity. These gamblers enjoy the occasional stroke of luck, thus tasting small pieces of their desired outcome, but are often unable to sustain their dreams for a significant period of time due to a lack of focus and preparation.
IV. Then there are those who dare to do the work, make the sacrifice, and put in the time, but have no idea where to start.
This post is for them.
One of the greatest blessings of my life is that I have had the benefit of knowing a number of men and women who were cut from different cloths. The chaos of childhood has slowly transformed itself into great lessons in the difference between lazy and productive, moral and amoral, loving and abusive, cruel and kind, and so forth. To experience these characteristics in their most concentrated forms though people who have played passing and significant roles in my life was a great blessing to me, though perhaps it took me a while to get past the pain of the more difficult experiences to actually see that. I have seen people toss their dreams aside to save or please another, those who have pushed others to achieve theirs, those who have smothered all hope and direction, and those who have made their dreams come true by sheer spite or force of will. Here are a few lessons they taught me.
If you don’t do anything, nothing new will happen: Most of us live a life with a set of patterns. Though “anything can change”, most things don’t. Sure, there are random acts–people passing away, lotto wins, job losses–but these things are not happening on a daily basis for majority of us. The truth is that our lives are often a result of doing something different, the same thing, or nothing at all. To change our life, we must altar the parts of our own behavior that will create the ripple effect we need in order to change the way we live I’m and relate to the world.
We actually do not have all of the time in the world: This is not a statement to remind you that you can die tomorrow (though all of us could). Instead, this is a reminder that, regardless of how long our life is, we only have a certain number of days and hours to do what we want to do here on earth and a day becomes a year in a seemingly shorter amount of time as each one passes. There are also universal factors–biological and otherwise– that work for and against all of us at different stages of the game.
Good Planning Is Intelligent, If Often Ineffective: I am someone who likes to break things down in steps and I find it frustrating when someone tells me to take a leap of faith. I don’t want to leap unless I know where I am leaping and where that leap is going to take me. I also like to have a back-up plan in case I slip. This makes me feel safe, but it rarely serves as any real insight into what actually happens. I know and accept that planning things out is my way of outsmarting my own fear. It’s also a great way to procrastinate. If you want something, do your research, get a support system in line (financial, emotional, physical or any or all of the three) and proceed. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. If it does, you’ve just given yourself one hell of a gift: the chance to experience something that was worth the effort.
Know That Your Value, Skills and Abilities Are Not Diminished By Changes: My amazing doctor, Moses Shalit, is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. In a world of three minute doctor visits, he will sit with each patient for as long as they need. He’ll ask questions, calm fears and give common sense advice to real-world problems. One particularly difficult visit, he sat down and started talking to me about my life. The conversation was life-changing (no joke) and full of the kind of loving, intelligent advice everyone secretly wishes their father would provide them. One particularly interesting comment, “You’re job is up here (tapping his head) not in your office. You have a set of skills and abilities that no one can ever take away from you, and you have proven those time and time again, thus building a reputation.” This really stuck with me. What we have inside of us, what we have learned along the way, and what we have built does not fall apart if we lose our job, end a relationship or fall off of our proverbial bike. Keep going. That’s it.
Trusting Your Intuition and Instinct Is Like Using a Personalized Map: It’s not magic, it’s experience. The best part? You can train it like a muscle. Going against your instincts is what gets you stuck in toxic relationships, working in the wrong job and fighting for the wrong cause.
Doing What You Need To Do Is Not Settling: We all want perfect love, gorgeous mansions, plenty of cash and a thriving career that highlights us as an all-star. Life doesn’t work that way, do what you need to do to make an honest living and work towards the life you want.
Know What Your Dreams Really Consist Of: When I was a little girl, I wanted to be Marilyn Monroe. Thank God those prayers were not answered. What I really wanted was to be loved. What I really loved (love) to do was write. When I sit down to hire new staff members, I rarely ask them questions about their five and ten year life plan. I am more interested in finding out what their greatest passion is, what their dreams are and why they have chosen to apply for the job they are interviewing for. This has never failed me or the people I have hired (and not hired). I believe that that where we wind up is shaped by what we do now. The best way to get to where we are meant to go–not the place we think we need or want to go– is to live authentically and find a space where we can be our best selves. It is only then that we experience and share happiness, add real value, and have enough faith in the relationships we build, the skills we acquire, and the character we build to know that wherever we are headed is the right place for us because our curiosity, heart and soul have guided us there.
(Photo Courtesy Skin by Eric Traore)
BDC for For Me Magazine
When was the last time you had amazing sex? Not the basic run-of-the-mill vanilla bean kind, but a good saucy, connective, intimate session that left you with more of a glow than J.Lo on Oscar night? If it’s been a while, you’re not alone. “I love my boyfriend but he’s just not as sexual as I am and when we do hit the sheets, it’s hardly mind-blowing,” says Maria Franco 29, San Francisco, Ca. If bedtime has become more predictable than a pop song, don’t worry. Follow our advice and soon you and your man will be singing a whole new tune.
Chill out, Chances Are You’re Normal
Your best friend dishes about her marathon sex leaving you to wonder if you’re once a week love-session is normal or downright sad.
Libidos are unique and one size does not fit all. This means that what’s normal for your best friend might be abnormal for you and visa versa “Normal is dictated by the frequency that makes you and your partner happy,” says Mary Jo Fay, RN, MSN the award-winning author behind Please Dear, Not Tonight: The Truth about Women & Sex. “Where the trouble lies, is when partners are mismatched in terms of their expectations and interest. If one partner thinks normal is three times a month and the other thinks it’s three times per day, that’s a set-up for problems,” she says.
Lusty Makeover! Check in with your partner to see if they are satisfied with your sex life and find out what their ideal sexual relationship would be like. If you’re both happy, don’t worry about meeting the expectations your friends may have. “Honestly, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” says Fay. But if your libido is a bit imbalanced it might be a good idea to bring in a third party—a sex therapist. “If you two can’t agree on this seemingly small, but in reality huge issue, then the advice of an understanding expert might help get you on the right track to finding a compromise that works for you both,” she says.
Make Time To Make Out!
Your guy is raring to go but you’ve had a long day at the office and the thought of even rolling over exhausts you. Welcome to the real world.
In the movies couples are coming home and throwing one another on kitchen counters but here in the real world, just the commute from the office through that front door can suck out all of your energy. “The un-sexy fact is that life and all its craziness sometimes gets in the way and changes a routine of what once was, into one of what is no longer! Whether it’s a hectic and stressful career, new baby responsibilities, lack of sleep or the pressure of a grad school thesis, there are many things that can leave even the most sexual of athletes cutting back on their frequency,” she says.
Lusty Makeover! If scheduling sex dates is too clinical simply make time for one another and make it as much a priority as dinner with clients or friends. Have a bi-weekly date night or end the day with a walk together. Remember, romance is a lot more than hitting the sheets. “Great sex starts way before we hit the bedroom. It begins in the morning with when he gives her that extra special soft kiss he reserves only for special moments, or when she caresses his thigh gently as she hugs him goodbye on his way to work. It’s planting those little seeds that get the brain sexually ready hours before the body needs to be called into action,” says Fay.
Stop Slipping Into Something More Comfortable
You know what you like and what your partner likes so you do it again and again. Somewhere along the path to couple-hood, you two fell into a rut.
When you’ve been with someone a long time, it’s easy to flick the switch and start riding on autopilot. Unfortunately this rout can lead to boredom, dissatisfaction and disinterest. Instead of following the same ol’ routine, spice things up a bit by taking the scenic route or taking your lover to a whole new destination.
Lusty Makeover! Grab your partner and start your own little sexual scavenger hunt! “Ask your partner for their sexual ‘wish list’ of things they may have thought about but never carried out,” says Fay. If you are always in the bedroom, meet him in the kitchen to cook up something hot or have sex in new and unusual places. Fay suggests making out in the back seat of the car like when you were teenagers or having a midnight roll in the sand on vacation. If the outdoors isn’t your thing, grab some body chocolate or honey flakes to add a little flavor to the bedroom. The key is keeping things fresh and finding new ways to please one another, which will not only rev up your sex life but bring you closer.
Rev-Up Your Libido
Somewhere in-between your hectic schedule and your partner’s stamina, you’ve started to view sex as a burden.
There is nothing worse than feeling obligated to perform and there is a good chance your partner feels the inevitable resentment that is sure to follow. If you’re feeling pressured it’s time to address the issue-no more excuses. Are you stressed at work or overwhelmed emotionally? Are you satisfied with your partner? ”A woman’s lack of libido may have much to do with whether or not she’s been getting real sexual satisfaction from her mate to begin with. And if she’s not, the odds are high that having sex for her is just one more thing on her ‘to do list’,” says Fay. If this is the case, speak up!
Lusty Makeover! Women often try to ‘do it all’ which leaves us feeling more overworked than oversexed. If stress is seeping from the boardroom into the bedroom consider seeking out a good therapist or asking your support network or even your partner for help. If you have started viewing sex as something you ‘have’ to do remind yourself that it’s something you get to do! “Once you stop making sex nothing but an obligation, a regular quickie, a “same old, same old” pattern of predictable behavior you may find that you both are looking forward to whatever new surprise your partner may have in store for you next!” she says. Besides, there’s nothing like a good roll in the hay to release tension.
Don’t Go Faux
You’ve read the articles, talked to friends and tried every position in the Kama Sutra and you still can’t catch a ride to O-Town.
Faking a tan is one thing but faking ecstasy is not fair; to you or your partner. “Many women have spent years faking orgasms with their partner because they thought they should do the honorable thing and reassure their men that they are sexual conquistadors!” she says. The truth is most women are not having orgasms. In fact, according to Fay a mere 30% of women can achieve an orgasm through intercourse alone. So what does that mean? It’s time to be honest with him and yourself.
Lusty Makeover! Get ready for the best homework assignment ever. With a slew of vibrators, warming lotions and candles, there are many aids to help you find out what tickles your fancy. “If you don’t know how to bring yourself to orgasm, your partner surely isn’t going to! So don’t expect him or her to read your mind!” says Fay. If the thought of visiting a sex shop gives you the heebie geebies, log onto www.babeland.com to shop from the privacy of your own home (we highly suggest the Rabbit). Once you find out what you like, speak up! “Don’t be embarrassed sharing your sexual needs and even physically demonstrating to your partner just how you have sex for one most individuals would rather know so that they can give their partner the best sexual satisfaction possible,” says Fay.
Give Your Sensuality a Makeover
You’re fantasizing about a romantic night and come home to a pile of laundry on the bed and him in his sweats-again.
Life is complicated which is why a perfect home and dressing up like a pin-up everyday is hardly a possibility (or something we even want to do!) However, there are ways to feel sensual and create a romantic atmosphere without having to wear a thong everyday.
Lusty Makeover! Whether it’s giving yourself a new hairdo, treating yourself to an endorphin-releasing workout session or simply slathering on a luxuriously thick cream after you shower, taking time to treat yourself is a great way to remind yourself of your worth and attractiveness. You can also do things to get your partner in the act! Makeover your bed with high thread-count sheets and scented candles or let him know how attractive he looks when he shaves his stubble. Ask him to join you at the gym or tell him to bring home a bottle of champagne and strawberries and surprise him in lingerie for a little romantic carpet picnic. Taking the time to appreciate your couple-hood will create an intimacy that will go far beyond the bedroom.
You’d love to tell him about your desire to be tied up but you’re afraid of how he will react.
Fantasies are not only a great way to ignite the fires of lovemaking but they can increase our sex drive and be used to seduce our partners all of this is contingent on a respect for one another’s privacy and boundaries. ”If both parties are willing and have trust that they can safely share their fantasies with the other, then the fun can be unending,” says Fay.
Lusty Makeover! Just because he’s fantasizing about a threesome does not mean you need to have one if it’s not something you are interested in. “It’s important to remember that fantasies are what we live in our make-believe life and are not necessarily transferable to real life. If your game to act out the scenes, make sure you’re both clear on what the rules of the fantasy are ahead of time,” says Fay. At no time should anyone feel pressured to do anything they are not comfortable with. “Sex should be an equal sharing and caring and never a position of power or control!” she says.
Show Some Respect!
A healthy sex life stems from a healthy relationship; one based on compassion, communication, respect and understanding. “Don’t be a participant if your relationship leaves you feeling unsafe, unhappy, unsatisfied, or unloved. If you do participate in such a situation, realize it’s simply sex and certainly not “making love,” she says.
Lusty Makeover! “Making love is a wonderful gift we have been given as human beings, not many other species on the planet have sex outside of breeding season. Now aren’t you glad you’re human?” she asks. Be sure you feel the connection you desire. “Great sex involves caring for the person you are with. Feeling like an equal to the person you’re with. Never feeling at risk or fearful of anything in the bedroom,” says Fay.
A Few Tips:
The peak depends on the person. “As with anything, the younger we are, the more stamina we usually have but the truth is a guy or gal can be 50 years old and still have the libido of a 20 year old, but if their emotional connection and/or satisfaction with their bed partner is off-kilter, none of that physical prowess will matter a lick!” says Fay
Stronger Kegels, Better Sex- The Kegel muscles line the floor of the pelvis and are the same ones that control your urine stream. This means by stopping and starting your urine flow you can find them and the more you strengthen them. The best thing is that the exercises are so discrete that you can do them anywhere; the bus, at work, wherever. Hold them for 3 seconds and release in sets of 5.
Get Into The Groove-Whether it’s a strip class at Crunch, a belly-dancing DVD or simply dancing to your favorite beats while getting dressed sashaying around not only burns calories and releases feel-good endorphins, but it brings awareness to your body and how it moves which will leave you feeling gorgeous, no matter what it’s size!
(Photo 1: Kylie Minogue via John Paul Gaultier. Photo 2: Valentino)
Cannot believe someone would say, “Yeah, Equality? I am not down with that.”
by Paul Christopher with Brenda Della Casa
Six years ago, Paul was hit by a drunk driver. The event that nearly killed him served as the catalyst to help him stop existing and start living. This is his story.
“Open your eyes, Come on, Paul, open your eyes”
Mark? Is that you?
Paul, open your eyes!
Dad? How did you get to Mexico?
“Open your eyes. Please, baby…”
What driver? We didn’t drive anywhere. Why isn’t anyone answering me?
It’s no use…
I’m trying! Hello! Oh, God, my head is pounding.
Who is that? Who is touching me? Ouch! Someone is sticking me! Stop! Stop pinning me down! Stop!
I’ve put the lights in his eyes again, doctor.
I see the light. Where did it go? There it is. I see it!
He isn’t responding. Induce the coma…
There is a sudden, jarring movement and a surge of cold fluid is released into my arms. The loud, clear voices fade into a thick silence. The room becomes still and quiet.
Who is that?
It’s me, Christopher.
Yes, Christopher. Give it a minute…
Oh. Oh my God…
Are we dead?
No, not yet, but our heart is failing. Our lungs are full and we have double pneumonia. Our kidneys and liver are struggling, badly. You wouldn’t know any of this; you blacked out instantly.
Yes. Remember when you exited the bus to reach down for your phone?
A car came speeding out of nowhere, with no headlights and SMACK! Right into the windshield you went. Glass shattered everywhere and we bounced against the stiff aluminum frame of the car, flying midair and landed about 8 feet from the spot we were struck. The worst part is that the bastard didn’t even stop; he just fled the scene. They say he left skid marks, though. Hopefully, they will catch him and it won’t be manslaughter.
I don’t know. Our skull is cracked and thick chunks of our hair have been ripped out of the follicles. Our entire body is sliced up pretty severely.
If this is true, why am I not in pain?
We’re numb to the world, Paul. We’re on machines and have drugs in us. That’s why you’re laying limp. Once you were knocked out, I had to take over and keep us alive. You’re dead to the world, but there is still life in you because of, well, me.
I don’t even know what to say…
I don’t know what else to say to you. That is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…
This can’t be the end of my life! What about…
What about…what, Paul?
What about college. My family. My friends. The future.
What about all of that, Paul? Jesus, what about you! All you do is care about everything and everyone but me!
What? You are me!
Exactly, you care about everything but us, yourself. What about the lie you’ve lived all these years? Or the birthday wishes and endless prayers to be different, the times you have asked to die and take me to your grave. Well, guess what, big guy, that is essentially what you have done. Congratulations!
You don’t understand…
What don’t I understand? That you hate me. That you want me dead?
No, that I wanted you to be different than you are. Do you know what it is like to be seven and eight years old and know that you’re carrying a big secret that you cannot tell. You don’t even fully know what that secret is or why it has to be a secret, but you know that if you tell mommy and daddy and your friends that you want to grow up and be the perfect husband to prince charming, they may not love you anymore…
Yes, Paul, I do know what that feels like. I am the secret you bury and suffocate with every lie. I can barely breathe. I’ll do you a favor and be honest with you. I don’t want to live anymore…
I feel like I am all alone. You can’t abandon me too!
Abandon you? You’re kidding, right? I never have. You have abandoned yourself. Since that day you spoke to that boy and felt that feeling you loved and hated at the same time. You started to act out a role. You conformed and became the shell of the man you are. You do not show the true depth of yourself. You abandoned me!
I cannot do this now, I can’t take all this stress and pressure! I am about to die, Christopher! I can’t keep thinking about this.
OK, then don’t. Goodbye, Paul.
No! Don’t! God, Christopher, what was wrong with me? I never wanted to live a life full of regrets, yet I feel incredibly guilty right now. I am so ashamed that I hid in the dark. All I’ve ever done is run and hide, cry and lie.
I am sorry.
I feel I have lived a multiplicity of lives since I was five. I now realize I have trapped the both of us in a web of lies
This is all too much for me to handle Christopher. I hate this. There’s no time left to go back. I can’t change all of those wasted years! I just didn’t want to live a life of fear. I don’t want to face being tormented and tortured or brutally harassed and possibly beaten to death. I didn’t want to let down mom and dad. I didn’t want to feel like the only one in the family, the only one of my friends.
But we are not the only one in the world. There is nothing wrong with me, Paul. It’s nice that you are realizing all of this, but sad that it’s too late. No one will ever know the real you because they never had a chance to know me, Christopher. I am not your identity, I am a part of your soul. I am more than sex with another man, I am a thinking, feeling, human being with love in my heart that I ache to share and you tell me I cannot. You shame me for being a normal human being. You feared rejection from everyone and everything, but then did to me what you feared most for yourself.
Oh my God! Did you hear that? Enough of the chit-chat, I can’t go! Not like this. My time isn’t over. Do something! Somebody do something! Please!
Paul, stop. No one can hear you, but me.
I will check the pulse and follow routine; first I think the parents and brother should come in together.
Christopher! What is wrong with her? She can’t ask my parents to be in the same room, They don’t speak! This is total chaos. Poor Robert, ugh, this must be torture! I cannot let him lose another brother! I’m not letting this happen. There cannot be another tragedy in this family. Let’s go, get hyped buddy! The blood the organs our life is about to pull together!
Paul, calm down you don’t want to go faster. This is so painful to witness.
Painful? This is torture! I’m done, Christopher. I’m out of this damn place! I can’t be in this dark hole anymore! I cannot live like this anymore. Here I come!
Strap his arms down! Doctor! Doctor, he fluttered his eyes and the IVs are out! Where are the parents? Get his brother!
Paul, can you hear us, honey? Open your eyes. C’mon baby, it’s mom, open your eyes.
Calm down, Paul. I won’t let you open your eyes ‘til…
Stop, Christopher. I’m ready to live, as me, as us!
His eyes are opening! Thank God!
Paul, can you tell us your birthday? Look at these pictures and write down the people you recognize. How old are you?
Nurse: He Can’t speak.
Try and write honey, go ahead. Your father will help you hold the pen and move your hand. I’ll hold the paper. It’s okay baby.
The pen slowly starts to move.
Paul Christopher is an artist and writer embracing life in New York City.@PaulChristoph3r
Brenda Della Casa is the Author of Cinderella Was a Liar, The Managing Editor of I Am Staggered, USA, LLC, A Blogger for The Huffington Post & The Director Of Online Content for Preston Bailey. @BrendaDellaCasa
Yes, I have loved passionately,
I have trusted carelessly,
and believed promises that deep down I knew were false.
I have chased when I should have stood still,
I have stood still when I should have run,
and I have grabbed tightly when I should I have let go.
There were times when I needed begged for reassurance,
when I already knew they were unsure,
and I feigned comfort in their generous lies.
I have made mistakes and took missteps,
I have done things to make others judge,
but I have lived a life that is mine.
And occasionally, I have danced.
”Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke,” Bette Davis as Margo Channing in (my favorite movie) All About Eve.
See more on my Seductive Delights Board on Pinterest.
I was recently interviewed by Len Saunders who asked me a few things I wish I knew way back when. What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
Never a lover,
More than a friend.
My confidante, my keeper of secrets,
A soul mate, platonic and real.
Secret meetings with Marilyn,
Parties in hidden locales.
Your heart beats once, mine replies in kind,
The silence breaks it,
But in the painful quiet I hear the echo of a bond that transcends time,
And all of the misunderstandings that take place within it.
(Photo: Casa Mila Getty Images)
(Photo Courtesy of Gawker)
See more fabulous finds on my Le Chic Pinterest Board.
(Photo 1: The Power of Makeup, 2: Pinterest #SerafinoSays)
"Nobody is going to Simplify Your life for you. You've got to Simplify things Yourself"
Last week I read an article in the Dutch magazine 'Happinez' about 'the Richness of Simplicity'. I immediately recognized a lot of things. What I liked most was that a solution is in fact quite simple. In the end we have to decide what is important ourselves, and get rid of everything that doesn't.
Note: Gentleman Will expect the same from you.
As with anything in life, there are pros and cons to being single, but jumping into bed (or a relationship) with the wrong someone just to be able to check off “plus-one” is a one-way ticket to a into a Rihanna video.
If You’re Going To Consider Allowing Him To Be Your “One and Only”…
Make sure he’s honest, and loyal, and kind.
Listen to what his actions tell you, and expect him to keep his word.
Buy your own drinks and purses, but expect him to spend his time with you.
Hold him close and to a higher standard.
Remember that he’s supposed to call, text, and treat you respectfully.
Understand that you’ll have fights, but see that he always fights for you.
He doesn’t have to meet all of your expectations,
But he should meet your family and friends.
He should be able to show his emotions,
but also know how to keep them in check,
He should be able to express himself,
He won’t always agree with you,
but he will respect your right to your own opinion.
Mr. Right won’t always need to be.
He knows that cheating isn’t a “mistake”,
It’s a choice to end the relationship.
Trust him, but trust your gut more.
Remember that you’re a treasure and therefore should be treasured.
He should make you feel like a priority.
Never an option.
If he does all of this, then he can be in the running.
(Photo of the deliciously swoon-worthy Gregory Peck Courtesy of IMDB).
Feel Good Song
Looking back, but just to glance.
One last wash with the eyes to make sure there are no loose ends.
There’s nothing left to sort through,
Nothing else to grab.
It’s all over.
The holding on, the hoarding,
The piles of questions and fears,
You’re leaving it all behind.
To a better place,
A cleaner (mind) space,
A home (and life) of your making.
(Photo Courtesy of Shu Umera/Pinterest)
Your best life is waiting, why not get out of your own way and live it?
We all know that words can heal, comfort, connect, motivate, trigger and infuriate, which is why using them wisely is a skill developed by the masters. Still effective communication is not just about using the right words, it’s also about timing, tone, intention, eye contact, listening, and follow-up. When sitting down to speak with someone about an important topic, share thoughts and feelings as clearly (and calmly) as possible while doing your best not to blame or criticize your companion. Make enough space for your companion to speak, ask questions, clarify when necessary, and most essential is showing them that you respect their own thoughts and feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
On a Personal Note: Think about the ways in which you speak to yourself throughout the day.Are you constantly putting yourself down, reminding yourself of your mistakes or swearing that you “missed” your chance to find success, love or whatever else it is that you ache to experience? Our thoughts become our mantra and mantra’s dictate our actions. Not liking yourself not only keeps you locked in a prison of negativity and insecurity, it can be dangerous. If building confidence on your own seems like an uphill battle, get yourself a coach! Find a trusted mentor or counselor to help you along.
We live in a busy world and life gets in the way of great friendships and partnerships. Still, a “thinking of you” text or email–or even an old-fashioned card sent snail mail–can do wonders when it comes to making those in your life feel loved and appreciated. Try saying hello to coworkers, following up with a friend who seems down in the dumps, and remember that your partner and loved ones still appreciate open displays of affection even if they “know” you care.
On a Personal Note: There’s no doubt you can soldier through anything, but the truth is that you don’t have to. Allowing friends and loved ones to be there for you, lend a helping hand, and offer words of wisdom and support is often the gift that keeps on giving. Not only might you walk away feeling lighter, your relationship will feel deeper, and those around you will have a better understanding of what you are going through ( and are less likely to jump to conclusions about your mood or going MIA).
Everyone is a culmination of a unique set of life experiences and has a filter all their own. What this means that even the most similar pair will have moments when they don’t see eye-to-eye. There are those who fight to “win” and others who flee the second things get heated. Then, of course, there are those who have learned not only to pick and choose their battles, but also how to separate their ego from someone not sharing their viewpoint, how to draw a boundary without throwing a punch, and finally how to agree to disagree on topics that don’t have a direct impact on their lives.
On a Personal Note: Think about the thoughts, feelings, values and ideals you hold dear to your heart. Now, why are they important to you? How do they enhance or hinder your life? How attached are you to them being “right” for you, and “right” for everyone else? If you find yourself needing everyone in your vicinity adhering to your personal life structure and moral code, you’re approaching your space with the same mindset as a dictator and likely leaving others feeling suffocated and devalued.
Going with the flow is fine when everyone wants to watch the latest Clooney flick while you vote for Batman, but when you’re staying silent while boundaries are crossed and pretending not to be offended by the comments of your catty coworker, you are doing little more than allowing resentment to poison your spirit and inadvertently condoning inappropriate behavior.
On a Personal Note: Playing the blame-game is a lot easier than sitting down and accepting that no one else is responsible for our feelings, our actions and reactions or the words we choose to speak, but just as your partner should be held accountable for flying off the handle, so should you be.
While it’s never something we want to think about, houses burn down, partners leave, jobs are lost, accidents happen and loved ones pass away. Worrying about these things happening day in and out will soak your days with salt, but ignoring them won’t make them any less plausable. Live for today and enjoy it, but give yourself a chance at a more stable future by putting money into your savings, building your skill-set, keeping your network strong, maintaining healthy and mutually supportive relationships and taking care of your life business like a responsible adult.
On a Personal Note: If you have made it to your third decade, it’s likely you have some baggage, a few insecurities, and even a skeleton or two. Welcome to the club. There are those who manage to pack and discard their extra loads on their own, and others who need a little help. If you find that you have habits, thoughts, feelings or addictions (to love, rejection, drugs, alcohol, sex, self-abuse, etc.) love yourself enough to reach out to a professional who can help you work through them. You deserve to live your best possible life and that’s possible with the right skills and training. Taking care of your mental, physical and emotional health is your right, and your duty.
How well do you know your loved ones? What kinds of hobbies do your friends have? What is your partners favorite movie? Where does your best friend enjoy going to rest and renew? Asking meaningful and thoughtful questions shows those in your life that they mean something to you, and why wouldn’t you want to know those you profess to care about as well as you can? So, the next time you ask how someone’s day was, look them in the eye and show interest in their answer. I’ll bet they blossom.
On a Personal Note: How well do you actually know yourself? When was the last time you checked in to find out who you are, what you enjoy, and what you value? What is your favorite way to relax? Where do you stand on the political fence? How have your values and ideologies changed since receiving more information and experiencing more life?
How many times have you sat there, angry, that you’d made different career decisions, that your body looked different, or that your last relationship didn’t progress the way you had hoped it to? The sooner we accept the circumstances in our lives–as they are right now–the sooner we can start to change them. Trying to change the past is a fools hobby, and wishing is for birthday cakes and dandelions.
It’s nice to think that we all can forgive the hurts of the past, but the reality is that some situations are just too painful to wash away with the F-word. Since “forgiving” often implies that we are saying what was done was “OK”, many of us hold onto the pain and anger of the past as a way to show that we will never offer the other person or situation that kind of pardon. Holding onto anger for your ex, your parents, or a painful situation will only infect your ability to be happy in the here and now (triggers that make you look unstable to new partners, birthdays that are spend crying over a painful childhood, etc.) You deserve better. Accept that it happened, grieve for it, state that the situation was not ok, and then remind yourself that you will not allow anything or anyone to stand in your way of your best life, including you.
There are always going to be reasons to be annoyed (that person in front of you in Starbucks likely won’t thank you for opening that door and your coworker who annoyed you 10 times this week will likely be a repeat offender) but is getting triggered and offended by every slow pedestrian or a perpetually grumpy boss really worth existing in a state of misery?
What is your secret “Happy” Skill?
(Photo from Andre D’ienes)
(Photo of Patagonia, Chile Courtesy of New Wonderful Photos)
She was never the girl who felt comfortable posting profiles while “shopping” for men.
She wouldn’t dream of having a one night stand.
She found gentlemen sexier than cads with six packs,
and had a great appreciation for meaningful conversation.
She adored mixing eye contact with cocktails,
and would flash her wit to strangers, but never anything else.
She wanted a a man with equal parts integrity, intelligence, kindness and charm,
and was happy to stay single until she found him.
Single wasn’t a terrible thing to be,
She was free to do what she wanted to do,
To see who she wanted to see,
To sleep with that fantastic cream on her face,
Close to her four-legged most special someone.
She had friends to see, parties to throw and attend,
A gorgeous career to work on.
They all told her that her standards were “too high”,
But this wasn’t about filling role,
This was her life.
Deep down, she knew La Bella Vita could never be achieved with a chorus boy in the place of a leading man.
(Photo Sunny Harnett in Dior Harper’s Bazaar Aug 1954 Photo by Avedon)
See more fabulous finds on my Le Chic Pinterest Board.
(Photo 1, 2: Chanel)
If you’re familiar with Walking Barefoot, you know that I have big love for my incredible, talented, inspiring and utterly fearless friend, LDiva (Lauren Cosenza).
(Garbled) years ago, LDiva was the summa cum laude smartest, bebe-and-bronzer-wearing hottest, What-Would-Lauren-Do? coolest girl at AU. Over the years, she has rocked many roles, and all worked together to bring her to today.
DIVAlicious 2.o has launched, and it’s already the hottest Social Style Community on the web. ”I consider it a party I’m hosting for anyone and everyone who loves beauty & fashion, accessories & style, technology & gadgets, travel & hot spots, color & texture… everything fabulous. Clearly we’re pulling out all the stops!” she announces on the front page.
Take a look at the interactive site where members can upload profiles, submit questions about everything from blush to boyfriends (my favorite part), click through inspiring photo galleries and walk away a little more polished than they were before logging on.
A huge congrats to LDiva on creating such an innovative and user-focused site and to the world, now everyone can experience the vivacious warmth one feels when they walk into her home, studio and space!
(Photo Courtesy of Marcy Malloy)
Twenty-Something: Quarter Life Crisis was actually inspired by an email that I wrote to my friends and subsequently decided to publish. It was printed in Play Magazine in April of 2001. I published it and sent the the piece to those 8 women and they sent it out. The result? The essay went viral and is now on over 25,000 blogs and web sites 12 years later. It has inspired an album and been printed in The Hindu. I am honored that so many people are getting something valuable from it and am grateful you are here reading it now. The piece is always featured on the site (to the left).
My college boyfriend of four years had been caught cheating and confessed to hooking up with nearly two-dozen other women, my best friend, Jen, was an ambitious New Yorker who was freaking out about doing a good job at her first job, and another friend was in love with two people and didn’t know how to choose between them. We were a group of eight young women in our early twenties dealing with “big life issues” and weren’t quite sure how to navigate through this new phase society called “adulthood”. Naive, confused, and completely unsure as to how to get what we wanted from our lives, we had just graduated and weren’t quite as prepared for life as we thought we were–or maybe we were.
Turns out, we all wound up doing pretty well for ourselves. The friend who was freaking out? She’s a Vice President at a major finance firm. The girl torn between two lovers realized neither were right for her. The others are now mothers, wives, executives, and one is an assistant director on films like Pushing Tin. I dumped the cheating ex, moved to New York, spent six years trying to get paid for a piece and finally did. I then sold a book and fell in love. The cad? Well, he realized he needed help and got it, and wound up finding love with a lovely woman who knows all about his past and loves him anyway.
That’s the funny thing about life, isn’t it? Fear can overwhelm us and make us certain the world is ending and then the sun rises the next day.
The Original Twenty-Something: Quarter Life Crisis
Brenda Della Casa, Play 2001
It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are a lot of things about yourself that you didn’t know and may or may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.
You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren’t exactly the greatest people you have ever met and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you do not realize is that they are realizing that too and are not really cold or catty or mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.
You look at your job. It is not even close to what you thought you would be doing or maybe you are looking for one and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and are scared.
You miss the comforts of college, of groups, of socializing with the same people on a constant basis. But then you realize that maybe they weren’t so great after all. You are beginning to understand yourself and what you want and do not want.
Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging a bit more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and add things to your list of what is acceptable and what is not. You are insecure and then secure.
You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life.
You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.
You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you or you lay in bed and wonder why you can’t meet anyone decent enough to get to know better.
You love someone but maybe love someone else too and cannot figure out why you are doing this because you are not a bad person. One night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap and getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic.
You go through the same emotions and questions over and over and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision.
You worry about loans and money and the future and making a life for yourself and while winning the race would be great, right now you’d just like to be a contender!
What you may not realize is that everyone reading this relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out.
Content © 2001, Brenda Della Casa. All rights reserved.
Going through your own crisis? Visit The Quarterlette
(Photos courtesy of Pinterest)
The most powerful decision you can make is that you’ll never give someone the power to break you.
Whatever happens, you’ll be more than just “OK”, you’ll be fantastic. Know why? Because you’ll walk away wiser and more determined than before.
Your friends choose to be in your life, they choose to be there for you, and when they have the courage to call you out, it’s because they care about you.
The investment you make into yourself and your life offers guaranteed dividends.
You’re worth fighting for.
Life is worth celebrating, so stop just existing and live a little.
Sometimes people get busy, doesn’t mean they love you less.
Relationships take work, but there’s a difference between writing-a-book-dedication-hard and carrying bricks-in-the-hot-sun hard.
Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t make it irrelevant.
Tossing the need to be “right” in relationships will bring about more conversation, and less frustration.
BDC Definition: A nasty, vulger and trashy word used by those with limited vocabularies, and most often when a woman flashes her self-respect and draws a boundary. If you’re a reasonable and normally kind female who finds herself in a position where you’re being slapped with slur, feel proud: What they’re really saying is they’re noticing that you’re not a doormat.