Monday, July 30, 2007

Pulling the Covers Over Your Head

Sometimes you need to cover your head with the sheets. This act does not indicate a lack of resolve or fortitude on your part. It can serve to accomplish just that if you keep your wits about you. (If your wits are no where to be found, make sure your "therapist-friend" has a key to your house.)

If you are traveling through relationship hell(or any other mid-life hell) as I am, and still managing to keep the house together, shuttle the children back and forth, and get to work on time with a smile, you deserve the indulgence of staying in bed for a day. Where did we get the CRAZY idea that WE have to hold everything together while everything feels like it is coming apart anyway?!

Sometimes we are so successful at being Superwoman, that we forget that we are NOT Superwoman. We distract ourselves with everything from making lunches and cleaning the bathroom, to surfing the internet and returning phone calls. We are victorious at ignoring our feelings, and this really is not a good thing. Ignoring our feelings about what really sucks in our lives does not get us any closer to feeling better or resolving the issues.

So send the kids to school, day camp, or call a babysitter. Get a couple of good sappy movies, or a cd of sappy songs, close the door, crawl in the bed and let yourself feel whatever you are feeling. Sad, depressed, confused or maybe just tired, just feel it. Sleep, cry or scream into the pillow. You deserve it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Clear the Clutter

You know that every time you walk past that pile of old, yellow newspapers in the corner, by the kitchen door, you sigh. You suck your teeth when you dig through that drawer to try and find the spare gate key. You have probably stopped opening the hall closet door at all, for fear that you will be caught in an avalanche.
We have gotten so used to, and maybe even comfortable with the presence of clutter, that we ignore the nuisance and inconvenience of it. The problem is that we don't really ignore it. Clutter is an energy zapper, mood killer and a prison warden. If you are feeling like me right about now, then something has got to change.
I have had a revelation in the last few months. The clutter in my home is a manifestation of my personal emotional and mental, clutter. Many 40ish woman (Halle Berry isn't reading this!) have added some clutter to their beautiful bodies. They also might be experiencing some challenges in concentration and focus. In addition, you might be feeling something akin to anxiety or depression. And as if ALL of this isn't enough, your relationship could use a really good colonic!
Just look around you and pick something that needs to go. Pick just ONE thing. I am going to start with my purse. It is relatively non-threatening and I have regular, consistent interaction with it. All those old receipts (what do I still have them for, I have worn the shoes 25 times?!) I can't dig any more color out of that old lipstick tube with my fingernail…get RID of it! The pacifier has got to GO. The twins are two years old!
I am just starting there. I will clear the clutter one project at a time, purse, desk, linen closet, garage, colon….man??? If necessary, he will have to go too!
You MUST start somewhere if you are serious about change. Inside-Out, Outside- In. It doesn't matter. Pick a project. Finish it. You are on your way to transforming your life!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Healing Power of G. Garvin

Comfort food. We all know the healing power of comfort food. Whatever your favorite is…warm, gooey macaroni and cheese, a hot baked potato slathered in butter and sour cream, hot biscuits and fried chicken, a pint of Ben & Jerry's…these foods, soothe the soul and the stomach (in that order). We curl up in a corner of our "comfy couch" or stack the pillows just right in the bed, or go to wherever the quiet spot is, with our bowl, plate and utensils…. and indulge. We let it all melt together, and away. The stress, heartbreak, fatigue…whatever circumstances, feelings or person led you to your craving, your pain is temporarily, melted away in those few moments you spend in the comfort of food.
My comfort food has a man attached. That's right, when I need comfort and a good meal, I Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin. This man can cook for me any day. His husky, baritone voice eases stress immediately, taking me step by step… adding onions, mushrooms, oil…it really doesn't matter what he is adding as long as he doesn't stop talking, "This is ya boy G. Garvin and this is HOW WE DO! That is sexy healing for ya. Baseball cap or bald head, ALWAYS with that crisp, un-tucked shirt. Umm-mm-mmm.
I have actually tried my hand at G. Garvin's luscious creations, but I must admit that I often just watch my TiVO'd Turn Up the Heat…late at night. Just me and G. No food is necessary. Just me and a sexy man, talking and cooking . Let the healing begin!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What Are Friends For?

In the midst of a life crisis or change, therapy is probably in order. During these times, we definitely lose perspective. What is real, imaginary and/or just plain drama, might elude us as we exist behind a mask of tears. Someone to sit and talk to is essential. Someone whose objectivity helps us to remember that we are not crazy, ugly, or unlovable is comforting.
Although a therapist would be great , (because you get to rant and complain to a complete stranger whom if they judge you…you could care less) a friend will do, at the cost of maybe lunch or a pitcher of margaritas.
I don't mean just ANY friend. If you are like me, you don't have many friends and so this is not an issue. The one or two that you have are real keepers. However, if you have several people that you find yourself sharing intimate details with, you must use some discretion.
• Your "therapist friend" must not be miserable in his/her own love life.
o You don't need "gripe" or "male-bashing" sessions.
o Some friends think that "all men are dogs" and then your misery has just found company. (Contrary to what you may be feeling at the moment this IS NOT a good thing.)
• She/he must be a good listener, because you are most likely to go on and on and on about your angst.
• She/he must be able to withstand your tantrums. You know the ones where you take out your angst on them, only to apologize profusely within 10 minutes.
• She/he must be extroverted and tenacious enough to get you out of the house when you have pulled the covers over your head one too many times.
• When you DO get out, she/he must be persistent enough, not to let you buy yet ANOTHER BLACK, ANYTHING! She/he encourages you to try something NEW, and at the same time NOT pull a Britney Spears!
• She/he must have an incredible spirit of discernment. They need to know when to tell you what you WANT to hear and when to say "Awww, Hell - to -the - Nah!"
• Most importantly, she/he must be available to offer comfort in the middle of the night when you call sobbing because your heart is broken.
Yes, therapy is great. It might save some wear and tear on a friendship. However, a "therapist friend" knows you, knows your situation and will be there long after the money runs out. Friends are irreplaceable during life's changes, because they help one another grow and find all the joys of life that are hiding behind funky situations.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Where you at?! This is not a rhetorical question. Nor, is it a reminisce of the goofy Boost Mobile commercials featuring mischievous octogenarians groovin' to a Fabolous tune (Whoo hooo!) . I genuinely want to know "where YOU at?"
I BET you know where all the kids are, because you have been dropping them off and picking them up, and dropping them off and picking them up and … You pro-ba-bly know where your mate is, or at least, where the hell he is supposed to be. And if I take a wild guess, I know where YOU are. You are behind the steering wheel, in front of the stove, at the grocery store, rushing out of the house to work, underneath a pile of laundry….I could go on , but it might get overwhelming…or depressing…or the obvious combination of the two.
Now don't get me wrong. I am not bemoaning the duties of "woman". It is gratifying to care for our families. What I AM bemoaning is the cessation of caring for ourselves. The kids have dance, sports, friends, movie-night. Your man is most definitely doing HIS thing, whatever that may be…golf, basketball, poker, working on the car. What, besides caring for everyone else do YOU love or want to do? When was the last time you did it? Where YOU at?!
What one thing would you do right now if you had the time? What is it? What do you want to try? Read a book, work in the garden, take a dance class, write poetry? Why aren't you doing it? Self- neglect is the number cause of…..unhappiness, relationship drama, depression…you name it. Of course I have no real statistics to back this up, except my own devastating spiral into all of the above.
When I looked up and my man had one foot out the door, I looked in the mirror and asked myself, "where you at?" I couldn't find even a glimpse of the person he had fallen in love with. Even if I just forget about him for a minute( make it more, my best friend would say) and try to find the me that I used to be in love with, it is a difficult task.
So ladies, get out a pen and paper, right now! Make a list of five things that YOU want, have wanted, been wanting to do. Start slow, but do at least ONE this week. Tell me "where you AT?!"

Friday, July 6, 2007

7 in the Bed

Even in the midst of drama and emotion, the family comes first. So here we are, family trip, mostly about the kids, but it makes for a nice, neutral spot to remember why you mated with this person in the first place. With toddler twins the bed gets crowded anyway, but going through it, makes for a much more crowded situation.

First, there is the elephant called "rough times" which takes up about 1/4 of the bed. Nasty visitor is this tension, which we almost always feel compelled to try and remove by force.
Second, is Male Trepidation (MT). This really amounts to his fear of his HUGE balls being removed in the middle of the night, by the bitter woman lying two children away from him. (Somehow MT always shows itself as Assanine Arrogance.) MT typically tries to hog half of the bed.
Third, The Brick, which is the vulnerable females alter ego. She is vying for 1/2 the bed, determined not to let MT win over. She stands ready to hit Vulnerable Female right over the head the minute she starts to swoon in nostalgic weakness. "BAM! Get a Clue, this is the same fool that didn't come home the other night.

The good thing is that even with all those folks in the bed, the neutral locale made for civil conversation. Natural, non-reactionary talk about kids, work, relationship. You know he really is so funny....and charming. He really is just going through a phase he doesn't mean to......BAM! BAM! BAM!

Guess who just got control of the covers?!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Who Moved My Man?!

Most of us subconsciously anticipate some degree of change over a period of time without drama. We put on a few pounds, our favorite show ends it's run, the kids need new shoes ,we notice a grey hair. We are somehow prepared for these gradual, ever present shifts in our realities. As a matter of fact, things might get monotonous if these changes did not occur.
So why then, if we know that change is inevitable do we lose it the moment that we recognize…more truthfully, acknowledge, changes in our man and relationships?
It isn't that we don't notice the changes. Let's be honest here. We are pretty good at noticing the most miniscule changes in everything. Especially if you are a control freak like me.
Unfortunately it seems that there are some things that we just assume….desire….hope will be consistent, steady and dependable. Our relationship with our man is one of those things.
We begin in such bliss, and frankly we want it to stay that way. Admit it, even in your annoyed rantings at picking up his underwear off the floor, or helping him to find his keys for the thousandth time, you are all still in the "fairytale" mindset with your relationship…and in bliss.
Then…when you least expect it, a brick falls on your head. Once the room stops spinning and you get your focus, you barely recognize the man that is standing before you. Yes, it looks like the man you love, sounds like the man you love, but something about THIS man in front of you just ain't quite right.
The man YOU love HATES shopping, but this one keeps coming home with new polo shirts and cologne. The man you love comes in to kiss you while you are frying chicken and asks what time dinner will be ready, this new creature announces "Oh, I decided to go vegetarian"?! The man you love, coaches the kids basketball team, this new man says, " I don't think I want to be in a relationship anymore" WTF!!
So you pick your mouth up off of the floor and quietly…. well, not so quietly, go into warp speed trying to get things back the way they are supposed to be before your man loses any more of his damn mind! You clean a little better, take a cooking class and learn to make a mean Tofu Teriyaki, and of course you stop by Victoria's Secret and turn up the heat in the sheets!
All this running and cooking and _________ of course just moved that man right back where he was when you last saw him, right? WRONG!
Spencer Johnson, helped me figure it out in his very honest, very succinct book, Who Moved My Cheese . I got too comfortable. I committed to the situation before me because in that moment it was solid, secure and loving. I forgot or maybe, ignored the reality of change. Maybe I was just too inundated with life…. kids, work, dinner, sleep ( when I am lucky). How could this be?? I saw the grey hair and covered it, I bought the new shoes for our kids, I stopped the Tivo after the Sopranos finale, these things are evidence that I understand change, right?
So why do we conveniently not notice when our man has fallen asleep on the couch for 3 nights in a row, or that while he used to take us to all of his Season ticket holder Laker games, he now just goes alone, cause the "sitter thing is such a hassle".
In retrospect, I HAD noticed when the cheese…the man, had started to dwindle, but like Hem (Spencer, 1998), instead of anticipating and responding to change, I dug my heals in and demanded that my man and relationship NOT CHANGE!
It doesn't work . So stop! Stop running in circles. Stop digging in your heals. Stop pretending that things haven't changed because it IS time for a change.