Not What It’s Cracked Up to Be

laughingcoupleAs it turns out darlings, falling head over heels in love is not what it’s cracked up to be.

In other words, it turns out, I think I’ve fallen, and it’s not a bit like I thought that it should be.

Should is the mere smear of hidden dog-pooh on the sole of life, the gum stuck to the bottom of a school-room desk, and bitter taste left in your mouth after swallowing your own voice.

Should is buying the sensible shoes when you really want the rhinestone, feathered stilettos.  Should is for cowards and those who lack imagination.

When I tell you that falling head over heels in love is not at all like it should be, you likely need to pay attention. You see, I’ve had an entire adult life with false-falling-in-love-alarms. I’m an expert in almost-falling-in-love and attracting duds.

I’ve primped, preened, pruned, pushed, pulled and plumped various and sundry wiggly bits and personality traits to try to get things to work, to fit, to feel right. The only thing that has happened, is that it all feels wrong. Uncomfortable, or in the words of the Duchess of Bourbon and Juicy Man-Steaks, it feels “Icky”.

Icky is not lovely. Nor is it sexy, or attractive, or even desirable. Icky is just icky. You can’t possibly feel like a lady if things are icky.

soullookingforyouWhat isn’t icky is enjoying the company of someone so very much that you forget about your mascara running, and hair being mussed up, or (gasp), that you don’t have to worry what you say or how you say it because you just ‘get’ one another.  That isn’t icky, it’s incredible.

Really loving someone and feeling loved in return is a gift that we often deny ourselves by playing gracious host to our fears of failure, abandonment and loneliness. When we do this, they park their asses in our psychological parlour and overstay their welcome. While fear lingers over the same old cold cup of tea, telling us stories we’ve heard a thousand times,  we lose our opportunity to give serendipity a whirl, and everybody knows what a great party serendipity can throw.

More than fearing being a dweller in the kingdom of singledom, fear dwelling in the kingdom of joyless half-lives and meaningless stuff.  Flowers on the first date may check all the Harlequin boxes, but they rarely plant seeds which take root in our souls.

Falling in love is not all of the things we are taught it should be; the right time, the right place, flowers for no reason and grand romantic gestures. I’ve lorded over that kingdom, and it kind of lacks substance. Ok, ok, I confess, I did like the champagne.

All kidding aside, there’s nothing fun about discovering your paramour is an ignorant sociopath disguised in the glitter of fairytales.

Falling in love is akin to coming home after a long, cold, winter day,  curling up in your favourite duvet, and having it hug you back, kiss you tenderly on the forehead, and tell you that it’s all going to be… fantastic.

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Mimosas: Just Another Way of Saying You Haven’t Gotten The Best of Me

mimosaMost holidays begin with an earlier than dawn start, and a mimosa. On the plane, beach, or on a terrace overlooking Paris, mimosa’s are the universal alcoholic signal for the world-is-my-oyster-and-you-can’t-do-a-damn-thing-about-it.

Throughout the years I’ve learned that every-day celebrations are as important as the big stuff; getting through a horrible week, kicking off a snow-day in bed, saying adieu to a horribly unsatisfying lover, and perhaps even being able to walk the grass in your bare feet without being on the clock.

In all of these instances I believe that wise women keep a bottle of champagne well-chilled at the back of the fridge.

About a year ago, maybe two, I pulled out my emergency bottle of bubbles, and noticed that the gold was more golden, and the flavor a bit more luxe. What on earth could have changed about my favourite bubbly (which is actually Cava, not Champagne)?

What had changed was I was living too fast, too focused on fulfilling the needs of others rather than myself. My little bottle of bubbly had been waiting ever so patiently at the back of the fridge for well over a year.  In other words, I was overdue for a little fete, a celebration of everyday miracles and blessings.

This week, my little bottle of bubbles and OJ were doing double duty. They eased me into a hot bath where I could safely let loose a flood of tears, and also toasted a fresh new beginning.

I know, I know darlings, I’ve often said that you can’t cry when you’re drinking champagne, but the truth is it happened to me. It wasn’t just champagne though, it was a mimosa.

When you’re crying and drinking a mimosa from a pretty flute, people think you are shedding tears of joy, celebrating, marking a miraculous milestone. This is a universal sanctioning of getting a little shit-faced without being judged. There’s orange juice in it after all. It’s practically  breakfast.

So, when you want to toast some of the lessons you learned in the school of life, and they weren’t necessarily easy ones, try a mimosa.  Bourbon may be king during the times when you want the world to know you’re tenacious as hell and will never surrender.  Mimosas on the other hand, are the equivalent of giving the world a Tiffany clad middle finger.

Not Afraid to Boogie: Living a Meaningful Life

dancing old women

“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~Frederick Nietzche~

Are you doing everything you ‘should’? Should. It’s worse than the F-word, and more lethal than methamphetamine.

I live in a suburb of commuters. Each day people herd themselves into train cars bound for the city corral, and then herd themselves back on to be let loose in the pasture of traffic-congested suburbia.

Commuting on the train was a soul-smothering experience. Everyone was dressed the same, barely made eye-contact, and wished they were anywhere else but being jostled along like Mike & Ikes in a speeding box while they lived a meaningless life.

I hated it.

So I quit.

That’s right, I quit.

I didn’t lose my mind and scream like an Edvard Munch painting character. I didn’t march through the office beating a drum and telling the man to fuck off. No, I simply persisted in the direction of the type of life I wanted to build. This train is a metaphor for life;

We make ourselves small in an effort to protect ourselves. We stop dancing. We try to fit in so no one challenges us. We turn inward when reaching out has garnered painful feedback. Turning inward and shutting down when you’ve been hurt is a mechanism to protect yourself, but one that is dangerous if you don’t eventually open your heart up again to all of the wonderful love that’s out there.

Trust, is not black or white. It merely exists on a fluid continuum of trustworthiness. All relationships whether personal or professional fall along this continuum somewhere. You just can’t let the untrustworthy outweigh the trustworthy in the grand scheme of life. It is a delicate balance, but if you’re out there reading this, I know you can handle it.

This post is not a tragic story of loss and lessons learned, although I do have those stories too. Unless you’re open to sharing a bottle of bourbon on a humid night, you’re not going to hear those tales. You know why? Because they’re in the past, and from this perspective, those experiences are an integral part of the firm foundation upon which I’ve created a good life, cultivated deep friendships and learned that belly laughing, sharing a smile with a passing stranger and  hugs are the best therapy. To lock yourself away is to deny yourself all of the beauty of life.

Although, in truth, nothing was the same.

She forgot about the stars… and stopped taking notice of the sea.

She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything…

from The Heart & The Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

If you live in fear, and crave change, the only choice you have is to take a leap of faith and step in the direction of your dreams, regardless of how many painful lessons you may have been taught.

You either dance, or wish you were dancing. My experience has taught me to dance whenever you can, with other people who choose to hear the music.

Grace: Not Just a Popular Name for 8 Year Old Girls

grace-and-imperfectionGrace is a practiced art. It is a quality of character made up of a unique combination of natural poise, and practiced during the most difficult of circumstances.

As it so happens darling, yours truly was born with little grace.

I was launched into the world among a family of women who were either unstable (read; bat-shit cray-cray), or fiery as hell. I thank my lucky stars that my character was forged on the fiery side. Although passion does not ally itself with grace, it is more conducive to being trained to appreciate it.

During my lifetime as a working adult, I have had the privilege of journeying with people through times of crisis. Even though this tends to bring out the worst in people, it also brings out the best. Grace is a quality of character that I aspire to nurture within myself, and admire greatly among those who already have mastered the art of living with grace.gracewater

Being graceful is a cinch when the world is on your side, not so much when you’re experiencing crisis.

Suffering gracefully does not mean suffering in silence. It means suffering openly with those whom you can trust to honour your feelings without question. It also means knowing when to disengage with those whom have not cultivated the same quality of character.

Grace is a beautiful way of being in the world, and I have yet to master it.

With each challenge I recognize the opportunity to practice; to open to the world and accept gracious guidance, or seek shelter from the overwhelming amount of superficial advice and ill-informed opinions.

It has been a challenge for me lately, but I recognize my struggle for what it is, and it’s been a tremendous learning experience.

Wishing you the strength to carry yourself with gracious dignity, and friends who have already laid a path for your journey toward finding the strength to be  kind, gracious and loving.

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Dealbreakers: Everything from Hardware to Manscaping

inconveniencedThis morning as I was driving home in the sunshine, I was asked what my ‘deal-breakers’ were.

Deal-breakers? I had to think about that one. You see, I’m a glass-is-half-full kinda gal, maybe a bit too kaleidoscope eyed and unicorn-believing, but a hard-core romantic underneath my professional-working-girl core.

Unkind. Yes, being unkind is my deal-breaker. You see kindness is king, and a heck of an expansive umbrella of stuff. I will break these unkind deal-breakers down for you as I experienced them this weekend;

1) Unkindness includes my latest experience at misogynistic Ikea. You know, the company who conveniently air-brushed women out of their catalogues in, oh, I forget the year, but it was sometime this century. Some might say that makes Ikea a bunch of Swedish women-hating pigs, but let’s just call them unkind.

It was my own fault really. I’d banned Ikea from my shopping repertoire, but fell victim to the promise of conveniently packaged bathroom hardware, including the screws. I’m not sure when they stopped including screws with their second-rate crap, but they have. The answer to my question from one of their anti-customer service staff when I asked what kind of screws a particular item took was, “It depends on your walls.” No you idiot, it depends on what size the pre-fab holes are for the screws. Thanks for being unkind. This was so much of a deal-breaker, that I drove all the way back first thing this morning and returned everything.

mangrooming2) Ungroomed man-pubes. I know, it seems minor, but one of my very best friends urged me to write about this hinterland of personal hair-care. Please gents, for the love of all that’s sacred, just go get professional help. We do, and it makes us feel fresh, clean, and ready for wonderful nights of passion with our men. Don’t ask us to do it for you, that’s not sexy and it’s not kind. Let me explain; We fell in love with you, and lust after only you, and hope to keep some of the passion alive. Asking us to trim your ear-hair, nose wisps, pubes or other hairy man-bits just kills the romance. Asking us to take you down off of your pedestal which is already reasonably low, is not fair. Asking us to do it for you is unkind.

3) Lechery. Now, this came up this morning. As with the above two examples, it falls nicely under the shade of my ‘kindness’ umbrella. I’ve known a few lecherous men, and it’s always been a dealbreaker. Being lecherous is creepy and brings on a good case of the ooga-booga-goose-bumps. Maybe even a little acid reflux verging on vomit. A little dash of lechery can be fun with your lover, but then again, that’s not lechery, it’s healthy sexuality.

4) Liars, cheats, sociopaths. Yep, all unkind.

phone is off5) Respecting someone’s time. I’ll be the first to admit that I regularly try to do too much and run about five to ten minutes late for any given activity that I’m not being paid to do; i.e., weekend stuff. If you cancel last minute, are engaged in another conversation via telephone, text or other social media, that is unkind.

6) Calling  during a nap. Unkind. Ok, maybe it wasn’t intentional, but you can  reserve the right to be passively aggressively angry about it until you fully wake. Sorta unkind.

So, when asked about deal-breakers, my simple answer of ‘kindness’ wasn’t so very simple. Kindness is a way of life, and an ethical code. If you live by the golden rule, we’re cool. If not, prepare to be informed.