Hating Yourself is Dumb

“You need rhino skin or you’re gonna give in to the needles and pins, arrows of sin, evils of men. You need rhino skin.” ~Tom Petty, Rhino Skin

If you were lucky enough to have parents that weren’t assholes, they tried their best to tell you how special you were growing up to build up your confidence. Mind did. Chances are you believed them. Chances are even higher those beliefs got lost somewhere along the way. Mind did.

Life happened and over the years I became a master at beating myself up. Like me, you may have had days where you couldn’t think of one nice thing to say about yourself. This is dumb. I should kick my own ass for being such a bad friend.

Self-deprecation and being able to laugh at your mistakes are totally different than being straight up mean. I want to blame so many things, but I can’t. Every time I said something rotten about myself, I made that choice.

I’ve been hood ready since I was seven. I suggest you do the same.

When I started to hear myself, I decided to change. Self-hate is a buzz kill. I still have my moments, but I am changing. How? Steve Harvey. I didn’t plan on this. It just happened. I’ve been given books to read and suggestions on ways to improve my self-image over the years. However, nothing really hit home for me. I started recording Steve Harvey’s show because I think he is hilarious. (I can pretty much quote Kings of Comedy from start to finish including the audience comments during the show. He kills me. I’m a big fan.) Turns out Mr. Harvey makes more sense to me than Oprah ever did. In terms of this issue, here are some of the things I’ve learned that have helped me identify the root of my problem:

  • Be accountable for your actions (This is a tough one when you’re hard on yourself like me for making mistakes.)
  • Not everyone that starts with you is going to end with you (I have a hard time giving up on people.)
  • Stop making excuses (I am not a natural whiner, but I do this when I’m scared. Look who’s being all accountable for herself?)
  • Embrace fear and failure (sigh….)
  • Get rid of the people holding you back (Did I mention I have a hard time giving up on people?)
  • You have to be in a bad relationship to understand a good one (If this turns out be true, I am going to be a relationship genius when this good one finally comes along.)
  • Be hood ready at all times (check!)

That last one is the most important. I’ve been hood ready since I was seven. I suggest you do the same.

Hood business aside, the results of not holding myself accountable, keeping the wrong people around and being afraid to fail were me feeling terrible about me. Feeling terrible is the reason I started picking on myself. It has done me no good. It will do you no good.

When you find yourself in my situation, take a deep breath and remember all those things your parents told you when you were little. (You are loved. You are special. There is only one of you. Quit coming home drunk and waking us up…wait…) Those things are still true. They were never not true. Life just happens, and life is tough. We lose perspective and allow it to take a huge dump on our personal worth. You’ll get it back. Because you are awesome.

That Time I Went On a Date with a Pussy

“Movies like zoos. Try another me and I will try another you or put my arms around you like I think you want me to. But tell me what you’re thinking I so often misconstrue.” ~Nada Surf, Treading Water 

When you’re going through a rough patch in life, sometimes you don’t always make good decisions. You’re sad, you’re angry, you’re lonely, you’re scared and full of resentment…a terrible mix of emotions. At times like these you really shouldn’t be making any decisions. But, you do. Sometimes those decisions come from a place of determination to get out of this shitty spot you’re in. You need something, anything to jump start a new phase. So much so that you agree to go out for drinks with a guy dressed like a cat.

Sad me thought: Well, this will be hilarious. Why not? He’s probably a good time. Meeting up for some drinks will be easy and painless. Up until now you’ve only been asked out by your Uber drivers, so…screw it.. You’re going. You’ve been so nervous about being nervous, this is the perfect chance to put yourself out there and get that long overdue first date out of the way. (Nervous about being nervous, you ask? Yes. This is my thing. I take nerves to new heights.)

So you go. You will be correct about ONE thing. This is the best type of person to rip the band-aid off if you are someone who gets nervous about being nervous. Why? Because deep down you know there is no way on this planet this is going anywhere. You can screw this up so hard, and it won’t matter. You can shake the first post-divorce pseudo-date out of the way. That way, when an actual man of substance and potential walks through the door, you’ve already got some of the jitters out. Perhaps it will make you feel better that you are trying to put yourself out there. When the 100th person asks if you started dating yet, you can finally answer YES.

He showed me a picture himself and pointed out his crotch. Actually, it was more like he zoomed in on his crotch and said, “That’s all me.”

You will be wrong about EVERYTHING else the sad version you thought this night might be. It is not easy. It is not painless. That tool in the cat suit is a tool in human people clothes, too. The night went like this:

  • He didn’t have a plan. I had to help make the choice of where to go on the date. (Not the worst thing, but I like a man with a plan.)
  • His friends “randomly” made an appearance pretty much within three minutes of me sitting down. (Although, can you really blame him for being concerned about my mental state? I agreed to go out with him while he was wearing a cat tail pinned to yoga pants…)
  • I realized I made a mistake making these plans as soon as they started talking. I was just sad and this seemed like it could be a good time. He was dressed as a hilarious cat! Wait…it wasn’t hilarious. It’s kind of weird now that your head is a bit clearer…
  • I had a drink with him and his friends (a couple) because they sat down. I was between him and the couple seated at a bar while they talked about things personal to their friendship. I clearly didn’t have much to say being that I didn’t know these people. I barely knew the cat. My best contributions were:
    • “Oh yeah? That’s cool.”
    • “Sounds like that was fun!”
    • “What? I’m sorry. Did you say you went to see Fall Out Boy?”
    • “Should I just get the next round of drinks or…what’s the plan?”
  • His friends paid for that round of drinks before they finally left. I guess they felt comfortable knowing I’m not the weirdo in this situation.
  • We had another drink.
  • We went to another bar.
  • He let me buy that round of drinks.

That about sums it up. Just kidding. There’s more. Throughout the night he made the following comments:

  • He showed me a picture himself and pointed out his crotch. Actually, it was more like he zoomed in on his crotch and said, “That’s all me.”
  • He told me how big his bed was. This was not a euphemism. California King.
  • Assuming I was going home with him he made the comment, while laughing, that I guess we better find out my thoughts on abortion!
  • When I tried getting to know him and talk about something of interest to me (running), he told me I should try running after smoking weed.
  • He told me he had a bottle of chilled champagne at his house. He loves champagne. It’s his favorite! He is so excited there is finally a champagne bottle emoji. He sends it to his friends all the time.
  • He made a lot of bizarre comments that gave me pause. I couldn’t tell if they were homophobic or just him being confused about his sexuality. My response each time was, “Huh.”
  • He doesn’t like “basic” people. (Can someone explain this to me? I’m still confused on this one.)
  • He has so much fun being him. I mean, his life is awesome.

Hoo boy! Being in a bad space can cause you to make some poor judgments. This was one of mine. When you are so focused on trying to get out of your rut, you tend to overlook some red flags and people you would normally stay far, far away from. You justify it as being a new experience, as trying to be open-minded or taking a chance. It’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up. And if after your uncomfortable experience, you make out with him anyway to rip that first kiss band-aid off, too…don’t beat yourself up about that either. You were trying your best to help yourself. You’ll snap out of it. And, when you do, drink a bunch of wine and laugh while you tell everyone about it.

Chopper, Choppy, Chips, Mama C, Muffin, Punky, Stinky Face, Best Friend

“Tonight I’ll dream while I’m in bed when silly thoughts go through my head about the bugs and alphabet and when I wake tomorrow I’ll bet that you and I will walk together again. I can tell that we are gonna be friends. Yes I can tell that we are gonna be friends.” ~The White Stripes, We’re Going To Be Friends 

I haven’t been lucky enough in life yet to have my own kids. We’ve already established my marriage didn’t work out, so it probably won’t be a big surprise when I reveal the following…

To date I have experienced love at first sight only once in my life. I was shopping with my ex at a store that primarily sells farming and camping equipment. It was a long drive to said store, so he asked if I would come with to keep him company. I said yes because I’m an awesome girlfriend (we were still just dating). Within minutes of being at the store I was bored to tears. When I get bored, I get tired. When I get tired, I can’t stop yawning to the point where it almost seems sarcastic. In order to not make him feel like I was trying to rush his shopping spree, I decided to take a walk down some different aisles alone while he continued looking for whatever the hell he was looking for. I didn’t know my life was seconds away from changing.

At the end of my aisle there was a break before the next long set of aisles started. I looked left. The middle of the store was full of animals. So many shelter animals looking for a home. I didn’t see my face, but I imagined it lit the fuck up as fate pulled me towards my version of heaven. I didn’t know who to pet first! There was lots of barking, lots of playing, lots of excitement…and then my eye caught a chunky ball of white and tan-spotted silence over in the corner. Just sitting. Watching and waiting. I walked over, stuck out my hands and as her head fell heavy into them my heart exploded. She found me. I was done.

“Walk away.” It was my ex. He apparently saw where I was headed when I took leave and followed me. “I can’t.” (That was me.) “I love her.” (Still me.) I meant it. I felt it. She was scarred from abuse on top her head and neck. I noticed a small bite taken out of one of her ears towards the back when I was petting them. Little slashes were where fur should have been on her front legs. It was clear she recently had puppies. They dressed her in a yellow vest that read Adopt Me, except the “o” was a heart. She was two and half years old, they think. She was perfect. That was a Saturday. I wasn’t looking for a dog that Saturday. The right thing to do was walk away. So, naturally…

On Monday, I found myself driving out to Elgin, IL to get her. She sat on my lap the entire way home with the famous “Pit smile” on her face. I think we both felt free that afternoon. Isn’t that how you’re supposed to feel when you love someone?

This is Chopper on her 10th Birthday. Her birthday is July 25th if you want to wish her a Happy Birthday. She gets ALL the presents on her birthday!



“If you want to get the feeling and you wanna get it right then the music gotta be loud. For when the music hits I feel no pain at all.” ~Rancid, Radio

She saved me, you know? She made me feel ok to be me, to love, to hate, to cry, to listen, to drink, to take it easy, to walk tall while wearing hoodies littered with pins and patches, to dye my hair, to pierce my stomach, to pierce my ears once, twice and then again, to feel ok removing most of said piercings, to put on a dress, to take off that dress…to feel pain, to drive, to sit, to run, to dance, to just be…to live. She took me across the country. She took me to Canada once on a whim. She gave my family something to bond and build memories over. She gave me my second family…my friends. She helped me focus before every sporting event I ever played. She consoled me when I lost and celebrated when I won. She gave me motivation to write. She gave me the best nights of laughter and debauchery with people I’ve only met once or twice but will never forget. She helped heal a broken heart and let me know I wasn’t alone. She helped me feel everything.

She taught me. She taught me as much as she made me feel. She taught me about love, pain, politics, race, war, poverty and excess. She taught me about neighborhoods I’ll never see, parts of the world I may never travel, people I’ll never meet. She taught me about fashion, the good and the bad. She taught me it’s ok to not give a shit. She told me what guys like and what they don’t…but that I should only absorb her lesson to be myself. She taught me to be aware, to stand up for those who need a voice, and she gave me my own. She taught me to fight for me. She taught me sometimes image is everything…and other times it’s not. She taught me playing the right combination of throats and strings at the perfect moment can completely change the trajectory of your night… She taught me she, too, can make mistakes. Nothing is perfect.

How do you repay her? You can’t. She only gives. The best you can do for her is keep her playing, turn her on. Be yourself, the person she helped shape. Let her be loud. Let her be quiet – whatever she needs. You go out and support her. Pay for her. Share her. Invite her to your parties, into your kitchen, into your shower and into your bedroom. Take her on your road trips, long drives or short. Love her like she loves you. Live in a way that inspires her to write another song and tell your story.

She saved me.



I Feel Like I’m Missing Out….

“I use to wear my hoodie like that, pile deep in the hoopty like that. Now I got black cards, good credit and such bae boy, cause I’m all grown up.” – Jay-Z, 30 Something

Being in your thirties can be a socially confusing time. Being in your thirties and single can add another layer to that confusion. Unless you are some freak of nature, you can’t party like you did in your 20s. You try, but you sure as hell can’t recover like the old days.

Chances are you have evolved into other habits and interests outside of the bar scene by now. If you have kids (which I don’t) your entire life has changed (says everyone I know with kids). Perhaps Friday nights aren’t as exciting as they used to be. You’ve noticed you are tired now come Friday at 5, so maybe you started staying in to decompress from the week. (If there is a new Dateline on, forget it. Don’t call me and only text me if it’s to talk about Dateline.) I mean…isn’t waking up on Saturday without a hangover NICE? Saturday nights have bounced back and forth between going out for drinks with friends or just having a nice dinner with a few friends. Sometimes you even see a movie instead or stay in again because cleaning the house and running errands really wore you out. Nothing too crazy. Sundays. Oh, Sundays. Every now and then you go to brunch and day drink to feel young again (if you start early and end early it doesn’t completely ruin Monday), but mostly you’re taking it easy and grocery shopping to get ready for the work week.

“You used to be in the mix of everything. Now it has to be worth putting on publicly acceptable pants.”

Where does the confusion come in? In the midst of being content with this pattern, your mind wanders to the good old days. Remember when so-and-so did that thing when he was wasted that was super hilarious? Man, that was funny. What is so-and-so up to these days? You haven’t seen so-and-so in forever. Come to think of it, you haven’t seen most of the old crew in forever. I mean, you email, “like” each other’s pet and kid pictures. You send texts here and there about missing one another with vague plans to grab a drink soon, but that was a month ago. Actually, that was three months ago. Have you become anti-social? There are so many new bars and restaurants, and you haven’t gone to a single one. Aren’t you supposed to want to go? You’re not old yet. You should really go out more. You need to see your friends before you totally drift apart. Have you already drifted apart or are you just busy? You’re going to regret not taking advantage of still looking somewhat young in 20 years. When is the last time you posted something besides of picture of your dog or baby on social media? Oh….fudge….

You feel it. You feel the self-inflicted pressure to go out. You are at the crossroad of growing up or going out. You don’t really care, but you also don’t not care. You used to be in the mix of everything. Now it has to be worth putting on publicly acceptable pants. What has been going on while you’ve been kicking it in your sweatpants with your partner on the couch?

This feeling of missing out is heightened when you’re single. You were in a relationship when you slipped into this pattern. Now you’re riding solo on that couch on Friday. It feels like you’re the only one of your old friends with nothing to do and no one to do it with. On top of the confusion you have the layer of possibly missing out on meeting your next partner. The ONE. Holy cats. You’re going to die alone. You’ve given up on you. How many friends do you still have? Wait…do you even have any friends?

It is hard to push through those lonely nights on the couch sometimes, but you know in your heart it’s better than being with the wrong person.

This is being 30. This is being single/divorced 30. It ain’t pretty, but it’s not ugly. It feels weird. There is a lot of gray area. But…it’s pretty comfortable. You’re fine with your life choices, you just feel like you’re supposed to be doing more socially. Once you talk yourself down you realize you still have plenty of friends who love the shit out of you. It’s just that they’re as tired, busy and not as willing to nurse a hangover like you. They also enjoy staying in and not having to scream at a bar inches from your face to catch up on life. You’re not dead. You’re actually getting more out of life because you’re focusing on your actual interests. Crazy, right? How fulfilling is blacking out and pumping yourself full of Gatorade, pain meds and fries to feel better? Don’t get me wrong. It gave you some hilarious memories, but you’re moving on as you SHOULD. You’re not missing out. You’re living. Cut yourself some slack. If you’re single, you’re fine. You’re more than fine. Yes. It is hard to push through those lonely nights on the couch sometimes, but you know in your heart it’s better than being with the wrong person. Meeting your next partner is going to happen when you least expect it. Do your thing so long as it makes you happy. When you do what makes you happy, you are beautiful.

Enjoy being thirty something. (Do you guys remember that TV show?) Embrace the gray. It just means you have options. You still get to choose between acting twenty something for a night or embracing the comfort and confidence of getting older. You’re in the perfect place.

When Only Your Uber Drivers Are Asking You Out

“There’s some lead in my feet now. There’s a little of me, but I don’t know where. I’m too young to quit now.” ~The Preatures, Is This How You Feel 

I can’t say I have had a lot of guys knocking on my door to take me out the past year. Part of me is certain I gave off negative energy for a while so approaching me didn’t seem welcome. The other part of me is aware half of my friends are guys and most guys will avoid talking to a girl hanging out with a group of dudes. I get that. HOWEVER, there are plenty of times I am out and open to someone new with girls only. Still, there was a solid 6-8 months where the only men interested in me were my Uber drivers. That’s a lie. The timeframe is more like since my divorce which is much longer than 8 months ago. I never fancied myself to be good at small talk. But apparently, I nail it when trapped in a vehicle. I actually hate talking to my drivers, but I am too nervous about getting a bad passenger rating to not talk back. So I talk and whatever nonsense I am rambling about is totally killing it with my drivers. I often wonder how many other women they’re asking out, but since most of my nights are not even met with eye contact from other guys… I end up chalking it up as a win. I’m fully aware this is sad.

“Still, there was a solid 6-8 months where the only men interested in me were my Uber drivers.”

My friends tell me guys don’t ask girls out anymore unless it is online. Is that a thing? If so, I am in big trouble. I have a fear of online dating. It’s quite possibly an irrational fear, but it’s a fear nonetheless. As I over-analyze why I am killing it with Uber drivers and not the general public, I find myself comparing the two. Is getting into your Uber that much different from a first date? You’re both strangers and only know what your profile says. You have to go off what their picture looks like. You’re both pretty much stuck with each other for a while. Ninety-nine percent of the time you kill the awkward silence by starting to talk about the weather. The only differences I can assume, being that I’ve never seen an online dating site, is that your Uber driver now knows where you live and you aren’t sharing a meal. I try not to over think the “knowing where you live” thing so I can sleep at night. That’s not to say your online date person doesn’t know where you live. It’s just that if my Dateline addiction has taught me anything it’s to not have that person meet me at my house. (Also pray you know a police officer who can conduct a background check. Don’t move in together within six months because you’ll surely be stabbed to death for your life insurance policy or his pregnant side chick before you celebrate two years together.) I’m rambling. See what my drivers are putting up with? Why is this attractive and not a red flag for them?

For the last year I have been mortified at the thought of going on a first date and getting to know a complete stranger. I have had a sinking feeling I wouldn’t have anything to say or talk about. I feared I wouldn’t be pretty enough, cool enough, etc. All of the things us ladies like to second guess. (I also worried about my head ending up in a freezer because Dateline….) But it has recently occurred to me, I’ve been going on two first dates each Friday and Saturday night for the last year. Who knew? I need to stop stressing and start taking a chance on a person in public rather than when I’m trapped in a super clean Toyota Camry with my Uber driver. (Or does modern love require me to join a dating site, find them in a search and request a date even though they’re standing right next to me?) Maybe I will do just fine if I turn around and just start talking to someone in public after all.

Thanks for the first date practice, Uber!