Nothing Compares 2 Slut Shaming

Date: July 20, 2015

posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , ,

Last week, former 90’s icon of rebellion, Sinead O’Connor dropped a ‘c bomb’ on a fellow famous lady for having the cheek to do her job. Kim Kardashian, irrespective of what you may think of her personally, is a pop-culture icon. As such, it is not unusual for her to appear on the cover of any magazine.

 

According to O’Connor’s logic, ‘the music has officailly died’ due to the featuring of a non-musician on the cover of Rolling Stone. What about Miranda Kerr’s cover in 2009? The band played on, right? I mean, people have been making music since then, right? Ms. Kerr has even less to do with music if you consider Kim’s at least married to a musician. So by O’Connor’s standards, how is her Rolling Stone cover in any way less offensive than Kim’s? The reality is that since it’s first publication in 1967 Rolling Stone has featured musicians, actors and models on its covers, so the idea that Kardashian as a cover model is somehow underqualified is rediculous.

 

Kim Kardashian constantly divides opinion, but love her or hate her, she can still stir up controversy. The irony of O’Connor’s vitriolic comments is that her response is the very reason Kim continues to be booked for cover after cover and sell a hell of a lot of magazines. The fact that she’s never released an album is irrelevant. She could be on the cover of Monster Motors and sell millions and she doesn’t drive a truck either.

 

I used to love Sinead’s music. I respected her as an artist, a feminist and an activist, but sadly in recent years she’s become one of the prominent slut-shamers of our time. The three open letters she penned to Miley Cyrus were depressing. Here was a 20-year-old girl expressing her sexuality in one of her music videos and citing Nothing Compares 2 U as the inspiration. Instead of a ‘thumbs-up’ from one of her mentors she was shot down and told, ‘None of the men ogling you give a s*&t about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a f*&k about you.’ Woah!

 

Be this sage advice or not, why make it so public? If O’Connor’s intentions were truly noble, why not write Miley an email and express her concerns genuinely and discreetly? These letters’ intent was at least partially to humiliate Cyrus who being 20, responded in the way most 20-year-olds would and trolled her on Twitter. I’m not condoning her reaction, but a more considered retort would have been a total waste of her time.

 

I agree wholeheartedly when Sinead wrote to Cyrus, ‘whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women.’ So why then is she so happy to call other women whores and c*&ts? Is it not easier as women to be kind to each other; especially women struggling to occupy their place in such a ruthless industry? What would it take for us to lift each other up instead of tear each other down?

 

I was disgusted and disappointed to read O’Connor’s comments about Kim Kardashian’s most recent cover. If she wanted to spew venom why not at Rolling Stone? Surely it was the magazine that disappointed her by booking Kim for the cover and not some band she’d have approved of. Kim was just doing her job and is laughing at her slut shaming haters like O’Connor all the way to the bank.

 

This is not a piece in defence of Kim Kardashian. I am really quite ambivalent towards her, but I think it’s irresponsible of us as women not to react when we see a well-respected woman like O’Connor speak so disrespectfully about another; especially when Kardashian has done nothing to O’Connor to deserve such public degradation. Shame on Sinead for behaving so poorly and calling women terrible names for simply daring to earn a living. #BoycottRollingStone? #BoycottSlutShaming.

 

How I Transformed my Relationship to Love and ultimately, to my Self

Date: July 16, 2015

posted by Marijana Cabrita / Comments: 4 Comments / Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
 

I have come to know a sacred truth about how I experience love that has completely transformed how I relate to life and the notion of love itself. This truth about love became very clear to me when I would suffer major losses in my relationships. I noticed with each painful loss that I was awakening to an ever present loving awareness that metaphorically held my hand and walked me home to a peaceful, loving, open-hearted presence that I later learned has always been walking my life path with me.

I now know that it has always been present with me, through the good times and the difficult times—but my awareness of it was limited. I remember sensing it through my life.

I gradually discovered how my own limiting beliefs about myself as a partner, a mother and, ultimately as a woman were preventing me from having the love that I yearned for. That my mind was navigating my hearts pulse and it was turning most situations into feeling like I was not good enough.

I began to notice how scared I was of facing the truth and learned that if I made a conscious effort to notice how I was feeling that I could also consciously lend myself compassion, which would in a sense accelerate healing. Healing that otherwise would have been prevented by avoidance, disconnect and the negative core beliefs that revolved around fear.

As I allowed myself to be consciously and compassionately present with my pain—I could eventually settle into peace and so too, joy would often arise. As soon as we lend our experience of pain the love that it desires, the grip of fear loosens and releases the grief we’ve been holding on to.

It wasn’t about not wanting to feel the pain anymore but rather, accepting that I was feeling it, which opened the doors to a greater loving awareness of who I was, beyond my belief system.

I began to understand the power that the mind has on the heart and how it can direct me toward suffering or wellness depending on my awareness. That the negative chatter in my mind often lead me to shame, disappointment, anger and judgment. Knowing the whole time that this was not my natural state but often feeling trapped in a negative web because I didn’t yet know how to trust this greater loving awareness.

Conscious compassion helped me surrender to my experience of pain. The more I practiced this, the more I found acceptance for myself, which allowed me to enter the world of presence more and more. I was able to see that it wasn’t my mind that was the perceiver of all my experiences.

It was again, that ever-present loving awareness that has been holding my hand so to speak and witnessing my life unfold with an un-abiding loving presence. The more I embraced this presence the more I could identify this aspect of myself as presence, itself and less as the thoughts that I think or the feelings that I feel and even less a need to get fulfilled by someone else. I started to get acquainted with my Soul (in my opinion just another word for presence/loving awareness/love/etc).

It became clear to me that this presence, which always seemed to be accompanied by a loving awareness, was who I was beyond my physical being. That it reigned above and beyond the ego-driven mind, which constantly strives for external validation and toys with our emotions.

Love is the essence of life itself and works with the physical and psychological aspects of our selves to promote our growth, when we invite it.

By relying solely on the mind, relationships cannot thrive to their full capacity, because the mind by itself can only offer ego driven solutions to love. Positive or negative, our passive reactivity or active seeking for love always has us looking outside of ourselves for security. The more I understood this, grieving dissolves and the truth of who I am begins to surface.

More and more I could trust that Love was not something to seek outside of myself and that embracing this was my life purpose.

As I awakened to this greater level of awareness, this deeper essence of who I am, I rested in knowing that I do not have to put any effort into being anything other than I am. I can make space for increasing awareness of soul love and that it exists without effort. That because it is my true essence, in order to trust in it and embrace it, it is my responsibility to stay present and clear away all the unconscious baggage that gets in the way of thriving in this love.

As I began to regard this loving presence as soul love a sense of aliveness, direction, expansiveness grew within me. I began to free myself of the shackles of rigid and self-defeating thoughts and experience a presence in my relationships that I have never known.

Soul love is love that is beyond measure. It lives and breathes and is the pulse of not just my heart, but of the life that we all share and are all a witness to.

In Western society, the term love is mostly used as a verb. As an act that produces feelings between people. Soul love as a noun allows it to reign as a being in and of itself that is enhanced by the act of loving but exists as an ever present, unchanging, life-affirming aspect of who we are.

Seeing myself and all of life from this place of loving awareness gifts me with the choice to rise up and meet life as it is in truth, freeing me from self-made constraints. Today I choose love. Today I choose presence. That means trusting in my higher purpose and committing to live this life with an open heart. With soul love.

 
 
~ Marijana Cabrita is a psychotherapist, mentor, workshop facilitator and lover of this sacred life. Marijana’s passion is in bridging the science of psychology with the power of spirituality. She is committed to helping women awaken to their true sacred essence and embody love. www.marijanacabrita.com
 
Facebook: <a href="http://https://www.facebook.com/marijana.cabrita"
 

Top Wedding Tips From a Top Wife

Date: July 6, 2015

posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , ,

One of my best friends announced recently that she is getting married. HOORAY! I love a wedding and I love being married, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to give her, and anyone else who wants it, my top wedding tips; including how to plan, execute and enjoy your day.

1. A wedding doesn’t have to cost a fortune
Anyone spending more than £3,000 on a wedding is crazy. Taking out a loan or saving for years for one day of your life isn’t practical. Think of all the handbags you could purchase with £20,000, all the amazing vacations you could take or…all the Cinnabons you could buy! Seriously, though, you want to enjoy your marriage and the biggest reason for newly married couples to fall out is over money. Don’t start your marriage in debt and resenting each other, it won’t end well.

2. It is your day
Everyone will want a piece of you and want to dictate some of your wedding details. From the guest list to the dress, everyone wants to have a say. Don’t let them. You haven’t spoken to creepy Uncle Alan in years. He doesn’t need an invite. Your mom doesn’t like the idea of a Swing band and wants a DJ? Too bad, mom! It’s not her wedding. You want to get married by Elvis, but your Maid of Honor thinks that’s gauche? Pay her no mind and get The King on speed dial! This is your day to get married to the man you’re into. Do it your way or you’ll regret it.

3. Dictating gifts is tacky
If you’ve been together ages and don’t need much, the people who know you will get that and give you cash. Those who are so out of the loop, they think you’ve gotten this far into adulthood without being able to toast bread probably shouldn’t be invited, but if they are, accept their toaster with a smile. Don’t be an ass and don’t expect or demand people to pay for your honeymoon. Ew.

4. Pick the people you want in your bridal party
No one cares if your second cousin Mabel asked you to be a bridesmaid in 1995, you don’t have to return that gesture. Pick people you love and who will support you, not compete with you or stress you out further.

There’s always some miserable friend you’ve had since high school who ruins your fun by trying to dictate the dress she wants to wear or by refusing to walk down the aisle with your grabby step-dad. You don’t need that. You need people by your side who will rally. People who will wrap you in cling film when your dress won’t zip up the morning of, or who will fix your makeup when the girl you hired makes you look like a rodeo clown whore.

5. Your partner may not do much
I know that I’m generalising here, but in my experience and the experience of all my other married friends, this has been the case. Don’t get frustrated about it, just accept it and move on. Their reluctance to get involved with the flower arrangements doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Their reticence to write their own vows says nothing about your relationship, they’ll do it. Eventually. And those vows will be beautiful and touching and make you have ugly crying face in many of your photos. Their lack of interest in planning a wedding does not reflect their level of interest in you.

6. No one cares about decorations or favours
Your guests are there to celebrate the love you and your partner have for each other, not to get free match books with your names on them. I find that if you have a chocolate fountain, no one ever complains or looks dissatisfied the whole damn day.

If you waste money on little magnets with your faces on them, don’t be upset when most of them get left behind at the venue. Spent £1000 on flowers? Guess what? You have to take them all home with you and watch your hard earned money die in your front room. Look for other organic and inexpensive alternatives, your wedding will still be increds.

7. Your dress, your rules
If you take your mom, then take no more than one other person dress shopping with you and take your most fashionable friend. Dress shopping can quickly descend into stress shopping. If you find something you love, get it. You have to wear it and love it. If you feel amazing in it, you look great too. Hell, if you’re anything like me, your partner won’t have seen you in a dress many other times, so it will be special no matter what.

Don’t want to wear a dress? Who the heck says you have to? Wear that Velvet jumpsuit with pride and rock down that aisle. You look fabulous.

8. Someone will lose their damn mind at your wedding
A member of my bridal party sexually molested another member after she threw a tantrum and bled all over her dress trying to dry-shave her legs in the sink. At my friends’ wedding reception, the venu shut down and we all got kicked out because two of the other guests were having relations in the bathroom. At yet another friend’s wedding, a mutual friend got so drunk she lay on the dance floor screaming ‘when will it be my turn,’ as we all did a meloncholy version of The Birdy Song around her.

I say this, not to scare you, but to warn you that it’s real. This stuff happens and it’s best you just get away from it as fast as you can. Have good people around you who will insulate you from the insanity of some of your guests. Weddings do weird things to otherwise totally normal people.

9. Remember what the day is about
Whether you have 150 people at your wedding or you elope and it’s just you two, remember that the wedding is a celebration of your union. It’s whatever the hell you want it to be, but it should be yours. Turning into Bridezilla whilst planning and trying to get through the day is a tragedy. Keep it fun and awesome, like you two and everything will be fine.

Girlfriends vs Girl Friends

Date: June 22, 2015

posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , ,

I’ve always had a lot of male friends, just as many if not more than female and some people find this dynamic a bit abnormal. I’ve never understood this attitude, as gender plays no role in whom I find interesting or attractive. This identifier is just one small part of what makes someone who they are, and a part that they most of my friends didn’t have any say in, so why should it have any bearing on whether or not I socialise with them or like them?

I believe it is perfectly healthy to have friends in all shapes, colours, sizes and genders. My husband has more female friends than male and that’s nothing I’d even given any thought to until recently. I was out with a male friend of mine and was accused, quite violently, of having an affair with him by his then girlfriend. We are not teenagers, we are in our 30’s. Of course the accusation is totally false and laughable, but it did make me think, what did I do to cause this kind of suspicion? We two have never met, so it couldn’t be something she had observed which planted this idea in her head, it was very simply the fact that I had a vagina that led her to this ridiculous conclusion.

I have never suspected my husband of having an affair and I’m out of the country for three months in a row sometimes, so he’d have plenty of time on his hands to stray if he wanted to, but he hasn’t and I don’t worry that he will. Worry is futile and destructive. I choose to trust my partner and as a result, our relationship is wonderful and built on trust and respect.

I am often blown away by the insecurities some people live with on a daily basis, be they body related, work related or relationship related. I’m certainly not saying I’m the most confident person on the planet, but I luckily don’t suffer from a heightened, irrational fear of loss, because for those who do, that fear is the force propelling them towards what they are most afraid of.

Accusing someone you love of sleeping with someone else is not going to help that relationship to flourish. Of course, if there is evidence to support the accusation, my recommendation is that you have a difficult conversation and get the hell out of Dodge. However, if the only proof you have is that your partner is hanging out with someone of the opposite sex, then I think you may be jumping to destructive conclusions.

We all want to be loved and with love, there comes a certain amount of implied trust and respect. I understand that jealousy is a powerful emotion and that the invention of Tinder and other such apps has made flirting and engaging in sexual behaviour with people more accessible and attainable, but without any evidence to support your accusations, you are only harming yourself and ruining your own opportunities.

When did being friends with someone automatically equate to sexual intimacy? Why are we as women fighting with each other instead of encouraging enriching relationships in each other’s lives? Being suspicious of another woman’s motives helps no one. Not you, not your partner and certainly not their friend. Try trusting more. Why spend so much time and energy worrying if something bad might happen? You’ll most likely miss out on something good.

Alone, Not Lonely

Date: June 8, 2015

posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , ,

When I’m away for work I spend an awful lot of time alone. It’s something I’ve gotten used to over the years, but at times I still find it a challenge, as I’m a massive over-sharer at the best of times and more often than not, there is no one here to share with. I have days where I long for companionship; the opportunity to engage with someone on a level that doesn’t involve spreadsheets and budgets, but I can’t because that’s not my job.

I am always at work when I’m here. Therefore I’m always visible, always available and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it also means that an occupational hazard for me is loneliness. However, where once the solitude of this very social position made me a little sad, it now excites me because I have learned over the years how to really be alone.

I just had my dinner all by myself; I made a table of a patio chair and scooped mouthful upon mouthful of delicious kotthu into my greedy gob and somewhere along the way I bit into one hell of a fiery chili. Now if this was real life and I was back at home, I’d have been able to express my discomfort with someone, because that’s what we do as humans. We crave shared experience as it gives us validation that we are, in fact, alive.

However, as I am on this balcony, eating off of a plastic chair solo I had to experience it that way. I had to live through it and see how it made me feel. What, if anything I could learn from that experience? I didn’t run to post about it on Faceboook, or tweet a picture of my dinner with the caption DANGER under it. I just felt it, got through it and had a truly authentic personal experience witnessed by no one but me.

I know the chili might not be the most profound example, but try it yourself. The next time you’re alone, really be alone. Turn off your phone, the TV, the internet and put down the book and have an experience. Go for a run or write something or, go ahead, eat a chili and see what happens.

I hear a lot from friends I’ve advised to try this to that ‘I just get bored.’ Understood, but if you’re just sitting there, staring at the wall, it’s really, really boring. To have a solitary experience you need to be actively experiencing something.

Here are my top tips for really being alone:

  1. I’m just going to put it out there- Masturbate. Too often as women we deny ourselves physical pleasure unless it is given by another party. Start here and see where it takes you. It’s not selfish nor is it ‘gross’ it’s a way to get to know your body as well as yourself as a vibrant sexual being.
  2. Meditate- Set aside just 15 minutes a day and see what happens when you are simply just being with yourself.
  3. Start with small social activities- Go for a meal by yourself in a totally new restaurant and try a new type of food. Or go shopping and resist the urge to seek approval for your purchases, trust yourself.
  4. Write- Spend some time writing by yourself and see what kind of characters or scenarios you can create, writing is a great way to connect to yourself.
  5. Travel- This one’s a big one for me, to truly get to know who you are as a person, go for a wander.

Doing any of those things by yourself is a great start to understanding who you are, as well as enjoying your own company. Too often today we rely on social media as a substitute for genuine human interaction and ignore the opportunity to further connect with ourselves by using that time more usefully and intentionally. I’m not saying ditch it all together, but if you find that you have free time in your day, try spending it with yourself instead of in front of a screen, there’s so much more to experience.

Maintaining closeness through distance

Date: June 1, 2015

posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , ,

People often ask me what it’s like to be away from my husband for so long. And the truth is…it’s not like anything. It just is.

I can’t compare how our relationship works to anything. It’s not like I’m away at war or at sea. It’s nothing as romantic as that. I’m just away. He’s just away from me, right now. To have a partner like my husband is what I imagine it feels like to be independently wealthy; I never really worry about much and I always feel secure. And as much as I’d like to credit blind luck with this, it’s really nothing to do with luck and all to do with him.

Sometimes people don’t understand me. It’s been that way my whole life and it’s clearly my problem, and something I work on every day, though at times I forget, become complacent and hurt someone’s feelings. I probably hurt his feelings a lot, but I’d never know it. Because hurting sometimes is just a part of loving me and it’s certainly not nice or fair. It just is.

When I got offered this job I never considered that I wouldn’t do it. Happy people are the best people and if I went back to the job I had before this, I would be ok. We would be ok, but I wouldn’t be happy and that would impact our relationship. That’s not to say that every day is like my birthday now, but much more often there are candles to blow out.

I don’t call as much as I should. I separate my year into pieces and portion them out methodically like vegetables on a child’s plate. I know I have time with him and time without him and that’s just our life. I know I have a time where I will never get what I want to eat for breakfast and then for that I will be rewarded with anything I want after a few months. I always thought I had no patience. It turns out I do. It turns out I am a lot of things I thought I wasn’t and I do a lot of things I thought I couldn’t. With every discovery I am a different form of myself. No more, no less, just different but the same.

Ultimately showing yourself to someone is not a luxury afforded to all, and I know many who spend a great deal of time censoring themselves or polishing their corners until they bleed. I know people who bite their tongue so often it is now just a piece of meat in their mouth that they try to avoid. I used to bleed too, because the polishing never lasts and you have to keep at it. Eventually my corners would cut and I’d be back to where I started. I haven’t wasted time or energy on buffing my edges for many years, and though my flesh is not smooth and I do not feel particularly nice to the touch, I am very loved.

Mine and his story is not unique. We met and I loved him. He loved me back. Isn’t that how most love stories go? We rent a little flat and have no children. We have no pets and we have no plans. We are just navigating the changeable waters of intimacy, of companionship and of time. To say I love him never seems big enough, but it’s all the vocabulary I have.

So what’s it like to be away from my husband for months at a time? It’s not like anything. It just is.

I’m sorry, mom

Date: May 14, 2015

posted by Lana Bos / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , , ,

 

I didn’t want to be what I saw in you;

Weak, sad, helpless.
Poor, addicted, a mess.

But I cried, mother, I really cried inside.

I thought I was strong, but my weakness was hiding in food.
I thought I was happy, but alcohol was controlling my mood.
I thought I was smart, but I didn’t feel understood.

I thought I was confident, but couldn’t leave home without facial foundation.
I thought I was free, but felt weak without validation.
I thought I was successful, but who was I lying to?
I was a slave to my wounds until I forgave you.

I stopped being a victim
when I started loving you.
When I saw your beauty
I saw mine too.
I am what I see in you.

And it doesn’t scare me anymore..

I rejected you for being weak,
but those we reject we need to love the most
or they become our emotional ghost.
I’ll love you from my side of the coast.

Because of you I became me.
And there is no one else I would rather be.

I love you, mom.

Missing Mothers on Mother’s Day

Date: May 11, 2015

posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , ,

This past Sunday, all over America, people celebrated Mother’s Day. This day will for many, be a great excuse to spoil rotten the women who raised them. To make breakfast in bed for and to bring flowers to, most probably, the most important woman in their lives.

However, for me and for many others, this day is bittersweet. To those of us who have lost our mothers or are estranged from them, this day can be fraught with emotion.

My mother died when I was 14-years-old. At a time when I was just starting to figure out what it meant to be a woman, my most prominent example was taken from me. As a result, I’ve had to make my own way and my own rules, as I’m sure many of you have.

It’s hard at times to not feel a bit cheated or even a bit jealous of my friends who have incredible, full relationships with their mothers. These lucky pepople who get to count their mothers amongst their best friends, and see these awesome women for who they really are.

I never got the opportunity to see my mother as a person who was separate from me. At the time she died, she was still responsible for me; and still, in my opinion, trying to fence me in and keep me from who I wanted to be.

I don’t know about you, but when I was fourteen, no one understood me and everything in my life was designed to keep me from realising my very attainable dream of becoming a tattooed back-up singer/stripper for Aerosmith.

Now, in adulthood, there are so many things that I would want to say to her. With every year that passes, there is so much more I understand about her, without ever really having known her. This Mother’s Day I’d like to share some of these thoughts with you in case you have a similar story, or in case you have teenagers now and you think that they might never understand you. Eventually they will.

Dear Mom,

1. You were right about everything.
It was easier to fight you and tell you that you didn’t know anything than it was to try and understand your point of view. You were making the right decisions for me and you were loving me so hard that at times it was suffocating. This is not a bad thing. I’m sorry if I made you feel like it was.

2. You never had it easy.
When you were my age you had two children under the age of seven, were going to school and working as well as managing a household and helping us to tie our shoes and use the potty. I can barely feed myself and pay my rent on time. You were nailing life and I didn’t have a clue. I’m sorry if I ever made things unnecessarily harder for you.

3. You were never an embarrassment.
I’m ashamed when I think back now on all the times I wouldn’t let you kiss me in public or when I would screw my face up when people told me how much I looked like you. I wasn’t comfortable enough in my own skin, it had nothing to do with you at all and I’m sorry that I hurt you. I didn’t know how mean I was being. I love it when people tell me I look like you, you were beautiful.

4. I always loved you.
I hated the hospital and I despised your cancer. Pulling away from you was my way of coping with the thought of losing you. Although you never saw it, I cried. I cried a lot, but felt my tears would never be any help to you and I thought you’d feel better about leaving me if you thought I was strong.

I wasn’t strong. I was a mess, I can tell you that now, but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing. I’m sorry you never knew how much I needed you and how much your illness and eventually your dying affected me. Not a second went by that I didn’t love you. I’m sorry I made it so hard for you to love me.

5. I’m OK.
I made it through adolescence relatively unscathed and my twenties were brilliant. I’ve done so much that you would never have approved of and plenty that would terrify you, but I reckon you’d have been rooting me on the whole time.

When I moved to NYC, you were with me and now in London I see things everyday that you’d love. I’m sorry I made you worry about me. In those years and months before you died I went off the rails and you probably left this earth terrified for who I’d become. Well, by anyone’s standards, I turned out alright and so much of that is because of you.

I’d like to think that if you were still around, we’d get wine-drunk together and laugh about my youthful hijinks. You had a great laugh. Thankfully I’ve got the same one.

 

To all of you who are without a parent, I hope that these days reminding you to celebrate them aren’t too hard. I hope that remembering them gets a little less painful and more joyful each time and that you might like to try this exercise too. Holding onto old guilt or pain can’t be good for you, and though it may never go away completely, it will certainly lessen over time.

Our parents, be they present or not, are part of who we are. Despite having had such a short time with her, I am my mother’s daughter. Though I can never go back in time and alter the past, I can learn from my mistakes and live my life mindfully, with kindness and in a way that would hopefully make her proud.

Tell me “The Truth”

Date: April 10, 2015

posted by Donna Barker / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m in a rut. I’m worried that when I pull myself out, I might sashay left when the direction I need to go is right. I’m scared because I’ve made that mistake before.

In 1999, I attended a leadership workshop, facilitated by Robert Gass. For most of the five days, I felt like a fraud. I was no leader, at least not compared to the other people in the room with me. They were (and most still are) serious, world-class environmentalists and social justice advocates.

There I’d sat, at the back of the room for four days, shrinking to avoid being noticed as the interloper I knew I was, when Robert described The Truth Exercise. As with all of the work we did together, Robert demonstrated how to proceed with one participant ‘guinea pig’.

I literally jumped out of my seat and ran to the front of the room. God knows why or how, but I knew that I needed an expert to draw the truth from me. What happened over the next five minutes changed my life forever. It went something like this:

Robert: “Donna, tell me the truth.”

Me: “I feel like a fraud. I shouldn’t be here.”

Robert: “Donna, tell me the truth.”

Me: “I don’t know what’s wrong. I should be happy but I’m not.”

Imagine five minutes of Robert asking the same question over and over and over and me saying something that is true, but not, “The Truth,” until –

Robert: “Donna, tell me the truth.”

Me: “I love my job, but I dread going to the office. I love my husband, but I love being on the road for work more. Vancouver is my home, but it’s killing my soul.”

Robert: “Donna, tell me the truth.”

Me, breaking down and feeling the truth: “I need to quit my job, get out of my marriage, and leave Vancouver.”

Ouch.

I didn’t tell my husband about any of this, so three weeks later when I asked for a demotion at work, he was surprised. Three months following that, when I came home, having quit altogether, he was outright shocked.

The bigger shock took a few more years. That occurred when I encouraged him to have an affair since I felt so guilty for not having any interest in sex. I didn’t really want my marriage to end, though. I just wanted to not feel the responsibility for his happiness since I wasn’t even able to find my own. He accepted my proposition and fell in love with the first woman he slept with, just weeks after that conversation. He left me for her. (A decade later, they’re still together.)

Two truths now fulfilled, I wasn’t any happier. In fact, being a self-employed, single mom at 39-years-old was about the least happy situation I could imagine for myself.

The third truth took another couple of years to figure out. Meeting my second husband did it. He lived (and now we live) in a tiny village an hour outside of Vancouver. A village with a community that feels like living with a big extended family who love you even when you’re being a jerk, show up at the party without food to put on the table, and fart in yoga class.

It was that third truth that was actually at the core of what was missing in my life all along: being part of a community where I felt like I was good enough, just as I am.

And, looking back, I’m sure I was  good enough in the job I left (since I felt like a fraud) and in the marriage I ruined (since I felt like a bad wife). I was neither a fraud nor a bad wife. What I was, was unclear on what I wanted and needed.

And here I am again — nine years into a wonderful relationship with an amazing man who lets me be me even on the days that my insane side consumes any and all semblance of sanity — searching.

But for what? What is the elusive core desired feeling that I’m trying to find?

A month ago, I did a weekend workshop with Nicole Broekling, a fantastic facilitator who helps women figure out just this very thing. What I learned about myself scares me. But I think in a good way.

When Nicole asked, How do you want to feel?, an image immediately popped into my head. I want to feel like the glowing women in tampon commercials who dive into the pool of warm water with absolute confidence that they are in full control of their lives.

The word that encapsulated that image started as “freedom.”

But when I tried on, “I want to feel free” it didn’t feel right. Freedom suggests that I’m trapped, which I most definitely am not.

“Unchained” popped into my head. But what am I chained to?, I wondered. Nothing. Being chained felt so negative. Not right either.

My core desired feeling, I determined, is “bungee cord.” I want to feel anchored to my place and people, but have the ability to bounce away and explore the world; to fly, exhilarated, trusting that my anchor is strong enough to bring me home safely.

This is my truth at 49-years-old. And it scares the heck out of me. I was terrified to tell my husband, but determined not to repeat the mistake of keeping such a secret. When I shared these thoughts, he admitted that they scare him, too.

Bouncing into the unknown is scary. Bouncing without your life partner, because that’s what you need, is even scarier. So many “what ifs?”.

So this week, I celebrated telling the truth.

Now it’s your turn…

Dear reader, Tell me the truth.

How do you want to feel? And, what will it take to make that happen?


Donna Barker is the author of Mother Teresa’s Advice for Jilted Lovers, a quirky women’s fiction murder mystery (www.adviceforjiltedlovers.com) and the founder of MemWow! Special event memoirs that make you say, “Wow!” (www.memwow.com). Donna lives in an old mining village in British Columbia, Canada (which is why she spells funny), has been a volunteer firefighter since 2010, and a bacon-loving “vegetarian” for almost thirty years.

How To Build Trust

Date: April 9, 2015

posted by Marijana Cabrita / Comments: 2 Comments / Tags: , , ,

 
~Marijana Cabrita

 
 

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.” ~ Golda Meir

 

Have your own back at all times. Have fierce compassion and respect for yourself and your deepest desires. Attend to them. Acknowledge them. Embrace them.

 

Self-Love is your way of showing up for yourself. It’s the number one way that you prove to yourself that you are worthy.

 

When you make decisions that come from love and self-compassion you won’t let yourself down. When you make decisions based on fear, disappointment is knocking at your doorstep.

 

Unless you are aware that your navigational compass is directed by you and your self worth, you’re locus of control will lie with others and your sense of victimhood will bring you unhappiness every time.

 

Trusting yourself may be one of the most difficult endeavour’s you will undertake–especially if you struggle with low self worth. The idea itself presents you with a paradox: how do I trust myself to do what’s best for me when I don’t feel worthy of the best?

 

Ah, but you do know what is truly best for you. At your core you know what lights you up. Maybe it is because you have had moments of this bliss when you were connected to your true essence.

 

Uncover the true essence that is at your core….

 

Be good to yourself. Be the first to have your own back. Remind yourself constantly what nourishes your mind; what nourishes your body; what nourishes your soul.

 

Decide to RISE above the toxic thoughts, the endless chatter in your mind and the external and internal pressures. Go for what expands you.

 

Nurture your sadness. Understand the ebb and flow of your existence.

 

Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to shine. This is your time.

 

Kris Carr put’s it beautifully, “When we start from a place of loving ourselves, no matter what, our next step will always be the best one we could have chosen. And that’s enough.”

 

Thank you for being a part of this community. We all need each other to show up so we can shine brighter.

 

You matter. You are important. You’ve got this!

 
 

~ Marijana Cabrita is a psychotherapist, mentor, workshop facilitator and lover of this sacred life. Marijana’s passion is in bridging the science of psychology with the power of spirituality. She is committed to helping women awaken to their true sacred essence and embody love. www.marijanacabrita.com
 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marijana.cabrita
 
 

Remembering What You Deserve

Date: April 6, 2015

posted by Shona Marie / Comments: 2 Comments / Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“You?!” she asked with shock spreading over her face. “But you’re so…so…strong!”

I had just taken a leap of faith and opened up about my past abuse to a girl I hardly knew. She couldn’t comprehend that the woman sitting in front of her- the woman who didn’t take shit from anyone and who had fire in her eyes and light in her soul- had ever put up with the trifecta of cheating, physical, and emotional abuse.

I had just thrown her boyfriend out of my house for hitting and shoving her to the floor in the middle of my New Years Eve party. If that was happening in the home of somebody he had never met, I could only imagine what was going on behind their closed doors.

When I immediately intervened he cocked his hand back to punch me. All my memories and emotions I fought so hard to control came flooding back. All the fear, frustration, confusion, and sadness washed over me. My heart pounding, I stepped forward calmly, “think before you do that; I’ve been thru far worse. I don’t love you like she does and I will make sure you end up in jail. I have a house full of witnesses that have my back.” He lowered his clenched hand and after some struggle I managed to get him out of the house.

She was the friend of a friend, somebody I had only met a handful of times. We were now sitting in my bathroom with the door locked as she sat sobbing, her hands covering her face. And between the cries and thru the cracks between her fingers came the usual explanations: he’s not a bad person; that he just had too much to drink; he just has some troubles and needs a little help. That she loves him and she knows he loves her, he just doesn’t know how to show it.

If I was going to help her save herself, I had to get thru to her now. That’s when I told her that I knew what she was going thru, that I had once experienced the very same thing. There was no judgment, I understood her love. I shared what finally got me away from it.

Sometimes you have to forget what you feel and remember what you deserve.

Her sobs stopped momentarily. I recognized the slim window of opportunity to reach her scared, open heart. So I said it one more time.

Sometimes, you have to forget what you feel and remember what you deserve.

I saw the shock dissipate and a flicker of hope ran across her eyes. If I had made it out, if I could start over and thrive, she could too. I desperately needed her to know that. This woman I hardly knew I suddenly felt so connected to and responsible for;  fiercely protective of her heart and life.

I stood her up and made her look at her mascara stained face in the mirror. I gently and lovingly held her shoulders as she made eye contact with herself. She thought she was hideous. I knew she was divine.

I made sure she maintained eye contact with her reflection, giving her inner self and outer self a chance to see each other. Then, I told her she was beautiful. I told her she was an amazing person who deserved love, deserved to love herself. That loving him doesn’t mean putting up with him. That she deserved a healthy love story. Then I told her to tell herself.

“I am beautiful?”
“Is it a question? Say it again.”
“I am beautiful. I deserve healthy love,” she said timidly.
“Again. And quit looking away. Look yourself in the eyes.”
“I am beautiful. I deserve healthy love.”
“Again.”
“I am beautiful. I deserve real love.”

Time went on like this until I was convinced she believed herself. She stayed the night, and the next day she drove home to get her stuff. He asked her to come back, but this time she didn’t budge. This time, she stopped listening to her frightened heart and remembered what she deserved. She learned to love herself. She learned what not to accept. She realized she had power over how a man treats her.

That was the first time I told my story to anyone other than the select handful of people I trust with my life. Since that night, I have openly shared my life with anyone and everyone. I realized that I have no shame in my story. I refuse to feel shame.

Sharing the struggles and events I was once ashamed of gives me the dual benefit of healing myself while inspiring others. If it weren’t for what I experienced and overcame I wouldn’t be the woman with the fiery eyes and lit-up soul I am today. Now I know the power of sharing and lifting one another up to new heights.

So I say to you the same thing I said to her. Trust your gut. Your mind can talk you out of anything and your heart can lead you astray, but your gut is always on point. You have to love yourself. Forget what you feel. Remember what you deserve.

You deserve the absolutely best kind of love out there. You deserve to give it to yourself. You deserve to shine your fiery light on the world without fear of somebody you trust attempting to stomp it out. You deserve to be amazing. You deserve to be unapologetically, whole-heartedly you.

 

What You Owe Yourself

Date: March 29, 2015

posted by Shona Marie / Comments: 4 Comments / Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

As a little girl I always dreamed of finding my Knight in Shining Armor, my Prince Charming. Somebody to come in, save me from my life, and sweep me off my feet. But you know what? I don’t need rescuing. I don’t need to be with a man to have worth.

Don’t get me wrong; I have lived an interesting life, most of which I was caring for myself financially. In fact in my quest for True Love, I often was taking care of everyone else too. I thought if I was desired, or felt needed then I was valued. If somebody had told me there was a difference all those years ago what a difference it would have made!

Through trial and tribulation, I learned to navigate the desire and get to the value. My bullshit radar is finely tuned. Yet, in the name of Love I often find myself choosing to believe another’s words over my own intuition.

Self-doubt is a mother…

It’s so scary to listen to your gut when your ears and heart long for such pretty words and a sense of security. But, you are a divine, powerful, amazing woman. And you know as much as I do how strong that “inner knowing” really is.

I thought I found my knight in shining armor to ride off into the sunset with. He has definitely shown me the way, changed my life for the better in many, many, ways. But I was still depending on him to add value to my life, to pull me up on his valiant stead and “rescue” me from…what? Life? Responsibility? Myself? Memories?

I have put so much owness on him, allowing myself to shrink back and find comfort in not taking control of the Power inside me. Like many women, I tried to mold myself into what I thought he wanted and stopped being the woman I actually am under it all, the woman he fell for to begin with

But then the epiphany came.

I can get up on that horse and ride too.

I don’t need to be straddling him holding on for dear life.

The armor fits me even better.

Nobody owes me a life. Nobody owes me something better because of all the dirt thrown on me in the past. No. He doesn’t owe me a better life. You don’t owe me a better life.

I owe myself one.

And you do too.

It’s not on anyone else to make our dreams come true. To make us feel the things we long to feel. Only when you recognize your own light can you attract the light in others. It starts with you. And me. Being our own knights and allowing our inner selves to shine through.

Stop putting yourself in a corner. Stop putting everyone else’s needs before your own. Don’t die inside of yourself waiting for somebody to save you. Save yourself. Be brave. Only give from your overflow.

You owe it to yourself.

Finding Purpose In The Crisis Of My Life

Date: January 10, 2015

posted by Women Enough / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , ,

Tess Vergara


My greatest strength and accomplishment in life was in raising my 2 daughters singlehandedly. I separated from their dad at first sign of physical abuse towards our then 2-year old first born, literally after I gave birth to our second. I waited a few months to recuperate from a ruptured uterus, and on my 30th birthday I asked for a divorce. I agreed to counselling but it was a trick. He had planned to kidnap the kids to Hong Kong but I had my angels guarding me.

And because I was a stay at home mom and moved with him to the US on his work visa only six months prior, when we separated I became instantly deportable, homeless and with no source of income, no friends, no family, and a single mother of two toddlers. Without financial support from their father, I happily worked two jobs to give my daughters a great life. I was an ambitious, driven and determined single mom (still am!) who worked nonstop.

Within three years I was able to buy our first home, and a few years later, while people were losing jobs, I was able to buy real estate properties to rent out that helped me afford to send my daughters to private school from kindergarten through to high school.

But all this work took a toll on me - physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I didn’t realize how exhausted and depleted I was.

A certain sadness had grown inside of me with raising the kids alone for 15 years but looking back, it was the year 2009 that called me back home. It started with an arson on Easter Sunday, the death of my boss and confidante on June 30th and a betrayal and backstabbing by a few close people I had trusted. All of these were separate incidents that happened in the one year, and it was this year that broke the camel’s back. I had been carrying on, acting strong and putting out fires when I should have been grieving and processing my emotions.

Fate intervened and I broke my knee in a ski accident the same year at Christmas. I fell on my back after a loud snap from somewhere in my body. I prayed so hard “please, Lord, not yet. I just need a little time to get my affairs in order and make final instructions”. I remember counting my blessings as I looked around at nature’s splendor while I lay immobilized on the snow, waiting for help, feeling lucky to be alive. Then I thought to myself, “geez, I should have been more dare-devilish! Would have made the injury worthwhile!”

After the accident, determined to walk on high heels again and get my strut back, I took dance lessons as my rehab and soon enough I was walking and dancing and jumping and skating again. It was a pretty good scare, it opened up my eyes and gave me the resolve to live life to the fullest.

And then I got re-married. Who knew getting married would bring back unresolved issues from yesteryears? The slow build of depression and anxiety along with years of stress and self-neglect was a guarantee for exhaustion and burn-out. It also led to a meltdown at work - one I am not proud of but a huge writing on the wall that my energy was drained and I was taken hostage by crazy monkey chatter. What’s worse, I had alienated everyone I love, including the handful of friends who’d stood by me for so many years.

My husband described me as a matchstick ready to flare up at the slightest provocation and it stopped me in my tracks. There were no other people left to point a finger at but myself. What a rude awakening!

And that’s how I got into coaching. I was my first client and its the best investment I’ve ever gifted myself. I was in a state of confusion and pain. Not physical pain but a yearning for something more. As I journeyed inward - digging, weeding, clearing antiquated beliefs that no longer served me, I experienced a lightness of being each time a layer was peeled. It felt so good and liberating. The transformational shifts I experienced through self-love and empowerment, breaking free of the box I unconsciously built for myself, is a process I love to share with others.

Now here I am reminded that we are all called to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. We all have a unique purpose that we have forgotten. We get so caught up with life that we forget how to live, truly, deeply, lovingly, meaningfully. It is my goal and desire to facilitate that awakening - to elevate awareness, self-esteem, self-respect, self-care, self-compassion - and lead others from heartbreak to heart-and-mind fully opened, awakened to their intrinsic beauty and infinite love.


Tess Vergara is a facilitator for awakening consciousness and very passionate in assisting highly motivated individuals to recognize and bring forth their unique self – the unique gift and brilliance within so they can come alive, make quantum leaps in life, business and relationships, and set the world on fire. Tess is a Certified Master Strategy Coach and a Certified General Account and also highly trained in Strategic Intervention, Unique Self Awakening and Awakening Coaching Training. She integrates 25+ years experience in Finance and Accounting with her intuitive and masterful coaching to offer a unique, practical and strategic approach to spiritual awakening.


Image: Neal Sanche. Find at Flickr.

Unlikely Hero

Date: January 5, 2015

posted by Women Enough / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , ,

Kellie Fitzgerald

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could ever be anyone’s “hero”. Yet, today I received a rather lengthy and certainly heartfelt email from someone I have never met, had never even heard of, until this email arrived.

In this email this individual said I was their hero and that until they found my book, my facebook page and blog they’d believed no one else could ever understand how desperate their life was, how truly bleak their future seemed. In short, they’d never found a role model they felt spoke directly to them.

This email made me cry, a deep, knowing, cleansing cry as I at once identified with their story. Their story was my story. Well, of course there are differences, but at the very core our stories are the same. I am honored, deeply honored, to have received this email. And while I am honored because of their very kind words, I am mostly honored because their words are confirmation that I have survived. I have arrived. I have come through the darkness and am now in a place to light the way for others.

See, I was born to an unmarried teenage mother at a time when that simply was not done. My resulting childhood was not necessarily a happy one as my eventual step-father was perhaps the only person as miserable as my mother. Our home was dysfunctional, although I did not know it at the time. I don’t think the word dysfunctional was known then and if it was it certainly wasn’t widely used as it now relates to families. My parents had many children with inadequate means of supporting them in any sense of the word. As the size of our family increased, so did the confrontations, and the violence. By the time I was a teenager I had retreated into my own world and tried to stay as far away from all of them as I could.

History does repeat itself and I found myself a mother actually a year younger than my mother had been when she’d had me. Determined to somehow do things differently, I married my daughter’s father even though I knew of his drug and anger issues. I spent the next many years being routinely hit, choked, and stomped on, and suffering mental, psychological and emotional abuse that would take decades to recover from. There were many times during this very dark period of my life I actually prayed earnestly for death.

Once I finally reached the point in my life where I was finally on the right track and things were looking positive, I got sick. I had moved on from my very abusive first marriage and was in a serious new relationship. We were both excited that I had become pregnant. But just beneath this wonderful event was the fact I had become sick. I didn’t realize how very sick I was becoming or that I was actually in danger of dying until I was rushed into emergency surgery. This pregnancy was actually a tubal pregnancy and my fallopian tube was about to burst, it had already begun leaking. Once in surgery doctors found several cysts and ovarian tumors. While little was made about it while I was in the hospital during a post-operative follow-up appointment it was confirmed that the material that was removed during my surgery was actually the very type of material that develops into ovarian cancer. I had been extremely lucky.

This was my new beginning. While I had always been interested in spirituality, I began to truly learn and read with a new sense of voracity. While the next several years were far from perfect, I learned to be grateful that I was alive. When this relationship ended, I was devastated and again I was thrown back into a very deep darkness. But, I never truly stopped learning or growing and each time I started again, I started from a very different place. A much stronger place. I’ve undergone additional life-saving surgeries since that first one. My life, it seems, has been a series of surviving events that most people I’ve known tell me they could not have handled. But, I know they could have. You truly never know what you can handle until you’re in the very midst of it.

All of which brings me back to the email I received from someone calling me their “hero.” If I have made a difference in this person’s life, then I am grateful to have done so. I do not think I’ve done anything so spectacular as to be given the title “hero.” I’m just me, a survivor, a wife, mother and soon-to-be grandmother. I’m a writer who has found her voice, finally, after so many years.


Kellie Fitzgerald has arrived at this particular point in her life by taking the scenic route, often filled with pratfalls and new beginnings. After a life spent experiencing trials by fire while simultaneously navigating choppy waters, she is passionate about helping others navigate their own paths and become the very best version of themselves they can be. Having been told early in adulthood that as an employee she would make an excellent entrepreneur, Kellie has started, grown and/or run several small businesses. Currently she is a real estate broker and life coach in southeastern Arizona and, as usual, lives with a rather large menagerie of animals and way more gardens and other projects than any truly sane person would attempt to handle.


Image: Pig & Pepper. Find at Flickr.

Enough With The Cliches For Single Women

Date: December 17, 2014

posted by Women Enough / Comments: 1 Comment / Tags: , ,

Tui Anderson

It’s been 10 years since my divorce and while I have not been single all that time, I have not really had a serious relationship during this period either, so when I say I have heard every cliché in the book, I mean it is possible I may just go gorilla on the next person who trots out some well meaning platitude about my (lack of) love life.

I am pretty sure, that if you are single, you have heard at least some version of most of the platitudes below. And, if you are like me, you have politely gone along with you family and friend’s well-meaning comforts and suggestions, but perhaps, in your head, it sounded a bit more like this:

1. It will happen when you least expect it.

He wasn’t just around the corner yesterday, or today. So when exactly would you like me to schedule “least expected” into my diary?

I have been not expecting it, I have expected it, I have looked, I have not looked, I have done the head turn and back thing that models do to see what I can catch out of the corner of my eye. It hasn’t happened.

Really, we can all look at the events in our life and, in brilliant hindsight, categorize when things happened- when I wasn’t looking, when I was happy, when I let go, whatever- but that does not help at the time. Right now, now is all I have. You just have to get up and keep going, not knowing if it is going to happen today, next week, next year or never. How can you manifest “when you least expect it”?

2. You need to be open to love.

Do you know what being “open to love” in 2014 looks like? It leaves you open, not just to getting played or hurt, but it also leaves your energy open to every Tom, Dick and Idiot who comes your way. It is not really a good idea for a single girl to leave her energy open all the time. So how do you know when to open it? On the bus, in the coffee shop? With this guy? Or that one? It can be very hard to know when to open up those shields and sometimes too tiring to even try.

So no, I am not jumping on every guy I see at the grocery store, sleazing up to anything in trousers or running around town in a miniskirt. Yes, I can seem a bit guarded, because I am not just looking to go home with any guy that looks at me sideways.

3. You must have some unresolved things to work out first.

Well, whadya know- who doesn’t???

Of course I have stuff. We all have stuff. Don’t you dare tell me that every person who has fallen in love and made a relationship work has got their shit perfectly sorted. Even Dr Seuss knew better than that:

“We are all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” Dr. Seuss

So yes, I have stuff. I will always have stuff. I expect he will have stuff too. Can’t we just have stuff together and call it crazy love?

4. Why don’t you date that nice boy from your office/church/down the road/wherever someone saw someone vaguely male?

Yes, I know you think he is nice, but seriously your version of ‘nice’ and my version of ‘I have to talk to him for the length of a meal and then decide if I was to swap saliva’ are two entirely different categories.

I don’t really have one of those list of musts and have-to’s for the guy, but I do have some ball-park concepts. I don’t mind about your hair color or profession, I care about your mind, you heart, your soul. Call me picky, but just being male and within a 10 year age range (or sometimes 20 or 30 years if tragic relatives making the suggestions) is not enough!

5. Be the woman that he wants to be with.

My personal (least) favorite. I am doing my best to be my best me, some days with more success than others, but should I be trying to be someone else just in case that is who he might like? Shouldn’t the right man accept me exactly as I am? Isn’t that the whole point- that the right guy will simply want me, as I am?

There is only so far you can go on your own. The tango is a dance for two. Practicing on your own may teach you the steps, but it will not make you a good partner. I cannot practice being in a relationship by myself, so I don’t know what I have to work on or what my triggers are. Without someone to reflect my partnership skills, I am blind to the strengths, the weaknesses, the gaps. There are things you can only learn in tandem.

6. You should try internet dating. My neighbor’s cousin’s hairdresser’s sister met her husband that way.

I have tried internet dating. I have been on more first dates than you have had upper lip waxes. Mostly, they were perfectly nice. But just between you and me, I am going to confess something- having pre-selected my date takes all the thrill out of it! There is none of the fun of scanning the room and finding the cutest guy, then seeing if you can establish mutual eye contact, no butterflies in trying to figure out how to bump into him and certainly no qualms about whether or not he is even available (though I guess from the stories I have heard, that last one could still be an issue!).

So, after deleting and resurrecting my profile 17 times, I have almost certainly, most probably quit internet dating. Until next time I am feeling in need of a first-date fix.

7. But you are such an amazing woman!

Well, thank you, Mom, that is very sweet, but that doesn’t seem to help. Yes, I know you would date me, but you are not really my target market.

Sadly, the masses seem to have more luck with finding a new baby-daddy (regularly) than many of the beautiful conscious self-aware human beings I know. There are not as many fish in the sea when you move out of the mainstream currents.

So yes, I am still single. Just like last time you asked. I do appreciate your advice and comfort, truly, but freaking stop!

In some part, you are right and all of these things are true. But they also piss me off. Often because they are a bit true. But, if I am having a grumble about being single, it is because I am really feeling it that day. Feeling lonely and a bit left out. Feeling vulnerable. Feeling insecure about my own responsibility for my singleness. Feeling in need of hugs and chocolate, not really feeling like facing the truth.


Tui Anderson is a traveling homebody with a busy brain and a calm soul. She accidentally became a writer after the Universe answered a frustrated question with a profound thought. In the words of one Buddhist teacher, she is a “fluffy spiritualist” who believes there are no wrong roads to happiness. You can find her on her public Facebook page.


Image: Laura Thorne. Find at Flickr.

He Cheated But I Found Happiness

Date: November 30, 2014

posted by Women Enough / Comments: 3 Comments / Tags: , ,

Laci Carlson

Being cheated on was a terrible experience, yet it catapulted me to the most amazing journey in finding and exploring my empowered self.

I have heard many success stories of men cheating once, feeling awful, then change and grow even closer to their partner. That is not who this post is about. It’s for the ones that felt stuck like me.

I was in a one-sided relationship with a man for roughly 9 years. I was young, dumb and very rebellious when it started. I got sucked in by the attention and smoothness he possessed. I’m not sure when I realized I was being actively cheated on but I do know I made the choice to stay and I made the choice to believe everything he said even after I had proof that I saw with my own two eyes.

90 percent of the time I blamed the other woman. What an idiot! The other 10 percent I was trying to figure out what I could do better or what I did wrong. I know, hello insane! Hindsight is always 20/20. Remember that before you judge the choices I made. I can’t even explain to you what efforts he went to “prove” how much he loved me. It was all fake and a plan he was fulfilling to get what he wanted.

There were years that he was in prison and I stayed and he wrote and wrote and had me convinced he would change. If you read these letters even you would be fooled.

My relationship got to the point where he could tell me my apple was purple and I would believe it. I did the whole sneaking through his phone, following him, etc. You name it, I did it and looked crazy in the process.

When did I wake up?

The day our daughter was born something changed inside me. I felt like I didn’t even know me but I knew I didn’t want my daughter around any mess, no matter what. My daughter is now 5 and her dad is the man I married when she was 2. She knows no different. She will one day and I will let her decide what to do with that information but in my heart I didn’t want that influence on her at all and if she resents me for that when she is older, then I will be okay with the decisions I have made.

I stayed in a cheating relationship trying to fix it, and him. I couldn’t even leave my door open for someone amazing. I thank God every single day I had my daughter and was able to move on and heal. I would have never met the amazing man that’s my husband now. He is so good to us I knew he was my soul mate the day I met him and looked into his eyes. Me and the kids are his life. We trust each other and that feeling is the best thing that’s happened to me.

You don’t need proof that your partner is cheating to know that something isn’t working between the two of you. Whether he’s actually cheating or you’re just extremely paranoid, evidence isn’t required to know something has to change. Driving yourself insane trying to catch him in the act of cheating won’t deliver the peace of mind you’re looking for. It will only make you feel and look crazy.

It’s a proven and tested fact that men cheat because they are cheaters. When a man cheats it’s not because he was seduced by another woman’s wicked charms. It’s not because she offered something you didn’t. It’s not because she’s better than you. Cheaters cheat. They don’t need temptation, it’s just what they do.

If you are involved with a weak man, you will always end up sharing him. Beat up one girl, another one will be texting him next week. Cuss out two women online, they’ll be back in his inbox next month. He is the problem, not the other women. You can’t spend your life trying to guard against what might happen when he’s left alone.

So how do you compete with other women? You find a man strong enough not to make them your competition in the first place.

I was the other woman even though I went to all family functions, he “stayed” at my house and we were always in public together. I had no more perks than the ones that got him while I was at work. That’s what people have to realise. I always thought I was better than the other women but I wasn’t. We were all the same level. No matter how you look at it, if he cheats there is no main girl! I was mad at them because he was telling them the same stuff I believed.

I’m not bitter at all. I forgive him totally and you will never catch me talking bad but my point is if you’re in a relationship like I was, just think about this: What if my soul mate is out there and I can’t see it because I’m too busy trying to fix something he broke?

I am so glad I got cheated on or I wouldn’t be the happy person I am today.


 Laci Carlson: Hey y’all, I’m Laci. I’m married with two kids. We live in a tiny town in North GA. My family is a down to earth fun loving team. We spend most days outdoors and exploring. I love yoga, reading, shopping and kayaking. Follow Laci on her blog Sequins In The South.


Image: Anna & Michel. Find at Flickr.