Describe Yourself…

“My kind of medicine is whiskey straight. I got a mouth to put you in your place. They said I’ll never be the poster type, but they don’t make posters of my kind of life.” ~Elle King, America’s Sweetheart

I recently participated in one of those trending things on social media. The deal with this one was to describe yourself by using three fictional characters. Most of my friends took a humorous route, which I appreciate. I enjoy self-deprecating jokes. I took the bait and created my own. I surprised myself by how much thought I put into this. I landed on the following peeps:

  • Liz Lemon (from 30 Rock played by Tina Fey)
  • Mary Katherine Gallagher (from SNL played by Molly Shannon)
  • Murray Goldberg (from The Goldberg’s played by Jeff Garlin)

Many times when watching these characters on television I thought, “Oh snap. That’s me.” Why? Let me explain:

Liz Lemon. If there were ever a character I identified with more, I haven’t met her. In the pilot episode she was described by her boss as: “New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says ‘healthy body image’ on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for…a week”. Swap New York with Chicago and knitting with this Tracy Anderson workout DVD I’ve owned for 8 years and that’s me. Her social skills with dudes are awkward but direct usually resulting in confusion or disgust on the guy’s part. We both love Ina Garten, sweater weather, food and television. She doesn’t like stereotypical female interests and hates the word “lovers” unless it’s between meat and pizza. It’s like she’s in my brain.

Mary Katherine Gallagher. She’s a Catholic school girl who is clumsy, nerdy and accidentally flashes her underwear. I am all of the above. She never quite fits in with the Catholic school crowd, which was and still is me to a T. I’m also prone to crashing into furniture except it’s not as funny as when she does it.

Murray Goldberg. This was easy. No pants after work, he’s blunt, realistic and values hard work. Check, check, check and check!

There were a few that didn’t make the list that I debated using. Here is a short list of who didn’t make it:

  • Garfield – naps and lasagna
  • Leslie Knope – sick work organizational skills, loves and would do anything for her friends, sense of humor, loves waffles
  • Darlene Conner – tomboyish, sarcasm

Typically I find these things silly, but I actually enjoyed this one. It was fun to see who everyone chose, and I have to say most really nailed it! I’m considering using these characters for answers on dates or when meeting dudes if I’m ever asked to describe myself. Then I’ll be sure to make a mental notes of their reactions and time how quickly they leave…

Fresh Start or Giving Up?

“I got my body and my mind on the same page and honey now happiness is all the rage.” ~The Promise Ring, Happiness is All the Rage

I recently told a story of my decision to move (Dear Chicago). When I made the decision and started telling people, the reaction was varied. I expected that. There was one reaction that stuck with me and for months I debated whether or not it was true. It went like this:

“Don’t move away because of your ex-husband. Don’t give up just because he sucked.”

Interesting and perhaps a little true. Is he the reason I’m moving? Not directly. I stuck it out here two years since the split. This wasn’t a knee jerk reaction. However, I have the chance to do and go wherever I want because of him. Could I have stayed in Chicago and found true love and happiness? Maybe. Life has thrown some chances my way since I announced I was leaving so it has made me wonder. It was the “giving up” notion that stuck with me. Was I? Am I?

Giving up is not a term I take lightly. I don’t give up easily. Sometimes this has a down side because I stick around the wrong people for too long. But, for the most part, I view it as a positive. If you have somehow crept your way into my heart, be it friend or otherwise, I got you! Always. No question. No judgment. So the notion I was giving up on myself was hard to wrap my head around. Here is what I concluded:

  • I firmly believe staying in a bad marriage was the definition of giving up on myself, not moving. I think that for any bad relationship – partner, friend or family member. I still have some work to do on letting go of certain relationships, but I’m trying my best to take care of myself these days. It feels good making the effort.
  • Sometimes removing yourself from an environment that’s not working for you after years and years of trying is the right thing to do. It’s ok to admit something isn’t working, even if it is something you truly wanted for yourself…since you were ten (but who is counting?). I don’t view that as giving up. I view it as being smart. It was Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I can attest this is true because it’s what I’ve been doing. Nothing is changing. Time for a new approach.
  • No move has to be permanent. What a move will do is put your life into perspective. You will realize one of three things: you made the right decision, you had it better where you were or this is just a pit stop. I know this already because I did it 13 years ago. It was the right decision at the time. It was what I needed when I was 22. I’m not that same girl. Right now I feel as if I have gotten all I can out of this beautiful bitch called Chicago, so why force myself to stay?

I have watched several friends move away. Some have returned. Most have not. Those that haven’t have created happy lives. Lives that have inspired me to not settle because being alone can be, well, pretty damn lonely some nights. Those that returned have claimed they’ll never leave again. I feel like my options are good either way. I have 12 more days. Time to start the goodbyes…is it me or is it getting dusty in here (sniff)?

Punch Your Fears in the Face

“So why waste another day turning our back and walking away. I wanna feel everything. I wanna grow in every way.” ~Chuck Ragan, California Burritos

Fears are assholes. It’s impossible to go through life never being afraid of anything. At some point you are going to be in a vulnerable position, be it emotionally or physically, where you feel helpless and paralyzed. I’m not talking about rational fears such as there is a crazy person running towards me, and I’m terrified. That’s understandable. You should be scared. I’m talking fears like being afraid of heights, death, spiders…whatever.

I noticed as the years went by I started developing fears and anxieties.  I’m still not fully sure why, but I developed a fear of heights, increased anxiety flying and a deep fear of losing everything I worked so hard for in my life. All of those fears were very real to me. All of the time spent being afraid of those things happening was a colossal waste of time.

Also, I flew through trees like Tarzan on a sketchy cable. I felt pretty confident after that.

I woke up one day and decided I needed to stop being a baby and tackle these fears. I started with heights. The world looks better from above, so this one needed to go. I started by going on a ride that dropped me straight down at an amusement park. This was a terrible idea. It did not work. I wasn’t giving up though! I went to the sky deck at Willis Tower and stood on the glass. I was knock kneed, but I stood there until my nerves calmed. Progress. I did the next small step and went sky diving. (This is also where my ex proposed. Yes. You heard that right. He planned, on purpose, to take the woman he loved so terrified of heights and flying skydiving for a proposal. It’s amazing things didn’t work out…) Anyway, I did it. Why? I saw a woman there doing it for her 60th birthday, and I thought, “That woman can’t have more courage than you. Stop being a pussy and go!” It actually did help, but I wasn’t fully cured. I did one more final act, and that was to go zip lining in St. Lucia. That did it. I think it was the fact that I had to keep repeating it. My anxiety disappeared by the tenth and final line. Also, I flew through trees like Tarzan on a sketchy cable. I felt pretty confident after that. Fear of heights is no longer a thing for me. Not having that hold me back is awesome. That could have prevented me from doing some cool shit in the future!

The writing was on the wall, and I had to say fuck it. I had to face this fear because I was miserable

Next up was flying. I’m not quite sure where this one came from. I remember being excited the first time I flew. I wasn’t scared at all. However, the adult me grew anxious, so it became an issue. I wrote a story about my flight experiences, and I have to say, while hilarious, I’m glad I can behave like a relatively normal person now. Like the heights thing, it was just going on a bunch of flights in the same week that helped me calm down. Oh, and observing a man on my flight so terrified even I thought he was ridiculous. I felt terrible for him, but I also thought…dude. Get it together! There’s nothing to be that scared of….oh, snap. That means I also need to stop being ridiculous. For the record, he was holding a rosary, sweating and praying. The flight attendant kept checking on him. She told him, “You don’t need to panic unless I panic.” That has stuck with me. Another fear in the trash! Who wants to go on a trip with me?

The fear of losing everything. This became the fear of all fears when I knew my marriage was failing. The fear kept me hanging on to a toxic relationship for far too long. I was afraid of losing the house I worked so hard my entire life to buy; I was afraid of being alone and having to start over; I was afraid of losing friends; I was afraid of the unknown. The writing was on the wall, and I had to say fuck it. I had to face this fear because I was miserable. I looked in the mirror and didn’t know who this weak person was looking back. Letting my fears take over and getting to this low point was not worth it for a second. Don’t do this to yourself. When I made the choice to let go, I took this bitch head on. I still struggle here and there, but I faced every one of these obstacles in the face. I’m still standing. I feel more alive than ever.

Like I said, fears are assholes. They’re like that friend who is always miserable and ends up ruining your night out. The night always starts out ok, but you never walk away having had a good time. That’s what your fears are doing. They’re holding you back from experiences and people that will make your world whole. Do whatever it takes to get rid of them and go live!


What Time Should We Meet?

“I drove all night to get to you. Is that all right? I drove all night, crept in your room. Woke you up from your sleep to make love to you. Is that all right? I drove all night.” ~Roy Orbison, I Drove All Night

It’s been exactly two years since I told my ex I wanted a divorce. The other way of saying that is I’ve been single for two years. Primarily by choice. For a while it was a necessity and now…well, it’s rough out there. Navigating the single/dating world for me has been equivalent to  when you’re driving and take the wrong turn at the roundabout because you were so sure you had it right while your GPS lady incessantly repeats…RECALCULATING! RECALCULATING! Then you freak out because you’re just driving in circles shouting, “Just tell me where the fuck to go!” It’s been a lot like that.

I have been doing some reflecting on my own “date” experiences and stories from my single friends. Do you know what the stories never start with? “He picked me up around…” No one is picking anyone up anymore. It got me wondering why. Is it because I live in a big city, not everyone needs therefore doesn’t have a car, so you just figure out your own way? Did guys forget that’s a thing? OR, is it because of online dating? I decided that’s the reason. I’m also peppering in Dateline and other couple crime shows (I’m looking at you ID Channel) scaring the crap out of it’s demographic (me). I don’t want strangers knowing where I live.

Has online dating single-handedly ruined one of the best first date moments? It makes sense. We really don’t know who is on the other side of the computer screen so best to not give them your address. I sure as hell don’t want a copycat Craigslist killer knocking on my door. BUT, man. I feel like we’re getting screwed. The minutes leading up to pick up time were so exciting and nauseating! It was the worst but also the best! Now we have to show up somewhere and look around until you see them? Or, in my case watch THEM walk in because I’m always early. Lame. This is so lame. These are things I didn’t think about when I became single never getting to experience again. I mean…I’m sure if I ever get involved with someone other than casual hanging, we’ll get to that point. It just won’t be the same. He’ll know me, I’ll know him. I won’t feel like puking, and he won’t be sweating. He won’t nervously mess up opening the car door car, and I won’t do a quick check in the side mirror while he is walking around to make sure I don’t have any boogers in my nose or lipstick on my teeth. I kind of hate this!

The last time I got picked up for a first date was my ex, and that was in 2004! This is bullshit, and I really don’t want this to be the last time I can tell that story to my dog children. Perhaps I’m showing my age here, but this realization has made me so sad. It’s like that old saying…that I don’t know, but the sentiment is if I knew it were the last time, I would have cherished it more. Oh times…stop changing so much, please.