Say What You Need To Say

I was just yesterday told that I am an “open book” and that there aren’t very many people “like me”.

Perhaps. And I did take it as the compliment it was meant to be. And then I got to thinking …

Why aren’t there more people like me? Why doesn’t anybody else (or very few other elses) want to be open books? What good is a closed book? You get to read the title and the author’s name and maybe see a pretty picture on the cover and then pfft … you’re done.  Isn’t it way more fun to open the book and actually read it?

Of course the answer is fear, right? Everybody is afraid that if they become an open book someone will misread what is written, or misinterpret. And if they share all their secrets and tell all their truths it may backfire. They might end up getting hurt because I’ll tell you this – it is impossible to manipulate anything, any situation or any ONE if you are an open book. Absolutely impossible. Plus you up the odds that someone just might manipulate YOU.  Because once your truths are on the table, well baby you are naked. No more mystery, no more wondering, no more armour.

In his famous song John Mayer sings:
Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You’d better know that in the end
It’s better to say too much
Than never to say what you need to say again

John darling, I fully agree. HAVE NO FEAR. Because the worst thing that can happen is that you get hurt. You don’t get what you want. Or what you think you wanted (probably more realistic). But so what? If you said what you needed to say and you did it with the truest intentions and a heart wide open, then hold your head up high!

That’s was John says:
Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open

Because there is absolutely nothing more beautiful and true than a heart wide open. Sure those clever, calculating, contriving and crafty creatures who never give anything (meaningful) away, play their cards ever-so-close to their chests and ALWAYS play to win (no matter what the prize), well they do seem to be the ones in charge.

But they are not. Trust me, it takes a lot of energy to keep your stories straight, your truth concealed and your heart fully protected. Quite frankly it is exhausting. And in the end, the only prize you win is … more prevarication. Sure you might win the round. You might save yourself from getting hurt. You might even carry on endlessly unscathed, flying way low under the radar.

What a horrible way to endure.

I would much rather be ON the radar. Flying freely. Wings fully extended. Heart wide open. Saying what I need to say.

Of course being an open book can also be exhausting. Living without any armour whatsoever tends to be somewhat bruising. And we all know bruises hurt.

But I have lived the other way. I know that pain too. It is much much worse.

Usually at this point in my ramblings I include some anecdotes about myself or people I know who have experienced whatever it is I am writing about.

Today there will only be one. Prefaced by a small bit of history.

Soon after my ex-husband and I split up, he and his new love condemned me for “sharing too much” with my son.  For being “too honest”.  For “speaking too freely to a child.”

Sure. Maybe. He was 12 and possibly wanting a few more Disney years. Heck, I was 47 and I wanted a few more Disney years.

What I did not want was any more lies. And more concealed truths. I wanted “heart wide open”. For ALL of us.

This morning, after a long chat yesterday, my son informed me that he had decided to “say what he needs to say.” It’s a delicate situation. It could be fragile. It could backfire. It could hurt him and it is fraught with many unknowns. There is no dodging the radar when he says what he needs to say. There is only belief. The firm and unequivocal belief that saying what he needs to say and accepting all ramifications is better … and healthier … than keeping it bottled up, behind glass, hidden away in a heart half-closed.

I have never been more proud of him.

And truth be told I have never been so proud of myself … as a mother. Because years ago I made a choice about what kind of mother I wanted to be. And I chose regardless of the nay-sayers who wanted me to NOT say what I needed to say.

I am so very very glad I made that choice.

My son (just like John):
Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead,
If you could only . . .

IF ONLY.

How many times have you uttered those two words to yourself?

IF ONLY.

Today my son torpedoed IF ONLY and said what he needed to say.

I will only take a small amount of credit. But hell yeah, I will take some. Apples and trees, right?  I’m so grateful he didn’t fall too far from mine. Grateful and proud.

Say what you need to say.  Heart wide open. It won’t matter if you are met with rejection, ridicule or even silence. The outcome is not yours to control. That would be manipulation.

But the truth? The truth is ALL yours.

Own it. Love it. Say it.

Say what you need to say.

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What Do You Think You’ll Regret The Most? The Things You Did Or The Things You Didn’t Do?

Think about it. When you look back on your life is it your mistakes that haunt you to this day or is it the opportunities you let pass you by?

I think for most of us we automatically go to ‘mistakes’. Only because they are tangible entities. Blunders we can recall. Missteps that caused pain, to ourselves or to others. Egregious gaffes that lurk in our memories, reminding us that our potential for monstrous miscalculation is always just a breath away.

Yeah, we can beat ourselves up over that shit for a lifetime.

But what about the things you didn’t do? The dreams you didn’t pursue? The compromises you chose that, in the end, still didn’t … and don’t bring you satisfaction.
I read somewhere (my favourite line when I can’t remember) that one of the most common death-bed regrets is ‘opportunities missed.’ Not ‘mistakes made’ but the stuff we didn’t do that we really wanted to do and for whatever reason didn’t do and now we’re about to die and guess what? We’ve run out of time.

So why didn’t we do those things? What held us back?

I would wager the number one answer is fear. I mean, sure you could say I never went to Italy or drove a Ferrari because I didn’t have the money and if those are your death-bed regrets, good for you. But what if you didn’t go to Italy because you were afraid of traveling alone? Or you didn’t drive a Ferrari because that’s a frivolous pursuit and your money is better spent on the mortgage? What if you didn’t go after your dream job because you were certain you wouldn’t get it? Or you didn’t ask that girl out on a date because why the hell would a girl like that go out with a guy like you?

What if?

Years ago my son wrote a song called “Say HI”.  He no longer likes it but I still do because it contains this one brilliant line – “one yes and a million nos is better than zero of both.”

What if you just said hi? What if you threw caution to the wind and went for it – whatever IT is? Maybe if you just believed your gut and believed IN yourself and you believed that you deserve a shot at anything and everything, maybe just maybe IF you believe, you’ll find the gumption to go for it? Even IF success is not guaranteed. Even IF you might fall on your face or get your face slapped or lose face or face the future knowing you tried and failed. Maybe even IF you fail, the knowing that you TRIED will be enough?

Maybe.

Which leads me to my point. Sometimes inaction is even more determental than action. Sure if you take action you might make a mistake and it may not work out and you might get your feelings hurt and you might even regret taking that action.

But you know what happens when you take no action?

Nothing. Nothing happens.

Absolutely nothing.

Life as you know it stays exactly the same.

Except … and here is the big BUT …

It doesn’t. Because inertia will lead to change as assuredly as enterprise. Allowing yourself to get stuck and then stay stuck because you’re afraid of what un-stuck might look like just leaves you stuck. In muck. Muck of your own creation. And once you’re in that muck you’re going to find yourself drowning and then Holy Shit! you’re going to have to scramble like hell to get out. IF it’s not too late. Because no one can thrive in muck. You might be able to exist. For a bit. But you will never thrive.

F and T have been together for ten years. F changed her like completely (geographically, socially and legally) to be with T.  T changed nothing except to sacrifice half his bed. F wants to move house. Escape old memories, make a fresh start in a location she loves. WITH T! T keeps saying he is amenable but he keeps doing nothing. Year after year he has yet another excuse why nothing can be done at this moment. T is terrified of change and T believes that if he does nothing it has GOT to be better than doing the wrong thing.
So F and T are now living in perpetual limbo. Except they are not. Because F is already plotting her escape. F has already come to the realization that T’s inertia is debilitating. To her and their relationship. F doesn’t want to escape. She has just come to accept that T’s fear may well hold him back from change of any kind. And that is not good enough for her.

P has been married for 40 years. He knows his wife is not his soulmate because he has had a soulmate and he knows what soulmatedness feels like. But P gave up his soulmate to keep the peace. To keeps his family unit intact. To do the right thing.

Is this going to work out in P’s favour? On his death-bed will P say “Thank goodness I did the right thing?”  Or will P always wonder what his life might have looked like and felt like if he had chosen his true love?

Who knows? And that’s the kicker, right? We don’t have a fucking clue? Maybe P’s soulmate really isn’t his soulmate? Maybe she’s just a fleeting fancy? A fly-by? So maybe staying with his un-soulmate wife IS the right thing because maybe some of us just don’t get to have it all? Maybe getting family is worth relinquishing soulmate? What if on his deathbed P regretted NOT staying with his family because he gave that up for his soulmate? And she turned out to NOT be so special after all.

These are all noble and reasonable questions. Is it fear that is keeping P put? Or reasoned argument?

Like I said … no fucking clue.

But this one I do know.

D wants a job. A very specific job. And this very specific job is on offer. But D doesn’t have quite ALL the qualifications for this job. So D procrastinates until the deadline passes and then D blames the deadline on her inability to go after said job. Oops. Just missed it by a hair. Oh well.

Oh well indeed. Because the truth is D is SO afraid of applying for that job and not getting it that she’d rather not apply at all. You see if she doesn’t apply there’s no way she can get turned down.

And do you know what all of this ultimately goes to?

Ego.

It always goes back to EGO. MY sense of self-worth will not be jeopardized by an unknown. My sense of self-worth is tied to the tested and true. And so here in this familiar world shall I stay.

T doesn’t see a move with his beloved as an adventure. T sees it as a disaster waiting to happen. As an unknown with no clear outcome. As an upset to his neat and tidy life.
T is stuck.

P thinks he’s being a good guy. P thinks that staying with his wife is a noble act. P thinks that giving up his soulmate and doing the ‘right thing’ is honorable. P hasn’t considered that he’s not giving his wife a vote in this election (maybe IF she knew she wasn’t HIS soulmate she’d want to go find one for herself?) and he has also not acknowledged that HIS life and HIS heart actually DO count for something. His martyr-cloak is now his armour. And he will wear it proudly to his death-bed.

But what if on that death-bed he asks “What if I wasn’t a martyr? What IF I had just been true to myself?”

Because really, if you’re not true to yourself, how can you possibly be true to anyone else?

D is still unemployed. D is frozen. D is so afraid of what might NOT happen she has no clue how to embrace what MIGHT? She doesn’t see possibility. D only sees potential failure. And her fragile ego can’t handle anymore failure today, thank you very much. So D will now tell anyone who listens that she just can’t find the ‘right’ fit. God knows she is looking. It’s just not there.

D is stuck. And drowning in her own muck.

So how do you get out?

Again … no fucking clue. But for me personally I have decided that the only two words I shall henceforth heed are ‘gratitude’ and ‘adventure’.

I love gratitude and practice in consciously every day. To be grateful for everything we DO have allows us to accept all that we do not. With grace.

And adventure is how (I believe) we should approach every decision. Not adventure as in climbing Everest or sailing the seven seas. Adventure as in every new job, every new love, every new house and every new friendship IS an adventure! No guarantee how it will turn out BUT if you go into it with eyes and heart wide open you have at the very least accepted the Universe’s rules – No promises. No predetermined outcomes. No crystal balls.

Just one helluva ride.

I don’t want to EVER regret NOT getting on the horse. I want that ride. I crave that ride. I am ready for that ride even if I  get bucked off and broken. I will never regret those poor old bones. What I will regret is sitting in the bleachers. Watching some other cowgirl have her turn on some fiery steed while I eat popcorn.

I will make the decision, take my chances and live with the consequences. What I will NOT do is die wondering. I do hope with all my might that my only regret will be NOT wearing a bikini when I’m 65. Ask me when I turn 66. I’ll let you know how that goes …

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How Many Colours Of The Rainbow Do YOU Need?

Several years ago I attended a songwriting forum in Nashville. It was fronted by a pair of hugely successful composers, a married couple as luck would have it. They both boasted long lists of hit songs bearing their names. They were both intelligent, witty, engaging and fun. They could both sing as well as anyone and they were both fine-looking humans. That Saturday morning forum was educational and entertaining.

When it concluded we were invited to ask questions. Up shot my hand and I was first to the gate: “You two can obviously write awesome hit songs and you can both sing and you’re funny and fascinating and kinda cute.”  They smiled. “So does it ever piss you off that you’re not big stars?” Stunned silence from the crowd. “Does it ever piss you off that some other singer recorded your songs and had big hits and those singers are big stars and even with ALL your attributes you are not. Does that ever piss you off?”

They glanced at each other and hubby gave an almost imperceptible nod, like he was saying “Honey, you take this one.”

And she did.

“Interesting question,” she began. The audience tittered nervously. “When I came to Nashville 15 years ago I came in search of the rainbow. Maybe not even just the rainbow, but the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I wanted it all and I thought I had the goods to get it all.”

She paused for a breath and you could have heard that proverbial pin drop. “Obviously I didn’t get it.  I did not get the pot of gold and I did not get all the colours of the rainbow. But hey, I’ve written a catalogue full of hit songs, I’ve won awards, I’ve met everybody who is anybody in this business, I met my husband, I still enjoy singing my songs, I make a really nice living and I do it doing something I love to do. So I would say I did get a fair chunk of that rainbow. More than one colour, that’s for sure. And I am good with that and therefore, no … not pissed off.”

She smiled again and the audience applauded.

Great answer.

Today as I reminisced about that morning I got to thinking – how many colours of that rainbow do we really require? Sure when you’re young and full of piss and vinegar the only acceptable response is ALL of them! But is that really true? When you reach a certain age and look back and you realize there is no red in your arsenal, or yellow or green, do YOU get pissed off?  If the ONLY colour is indigo are you mortified or are you grateful?

I haven’t seen an actual rainbow in awhile and quite frankly I’m not sure how many colours are in mine. I guess even that ebbs and flows on any given day. What I do realize with complete certainty is I do not NEED the full rainbow anymore. And if I can consciously be grateful for the colours (or colour) I am graced with, my outlook will change, my attitude will change and much like that songwriter in Nashville I will learn to ENJOY purple (least favourite colour, if you must know).

My pal B is a single 50-something. She is still drop-dead gorgeous, successful, fun to be around and the proud mother of two incredible kids. Yet there is no man in her life. Hasn’t been one for awhile now. She has no interest in cyber-dating and her circle of friends and workmates has not yet yielded Mr. Right. Would she like him to show up? Damn straight. Is she okay with him not being here (yet)?  Also damn straight. Because B is super busy enjoying the other colours of her rainbow. Daily.

My other friend L has fallen madly in love with M.  Problem is M is married (with a capital M).  Does L insist that he leave his wife?  Does L settle for a clandestine fling? Nope.  L just enjoys his friendship and his insights and their (reasonably) innocent communication. She enjoys the one colour that is on offer and she abandons the desire for the full set. She accepts that one colour as a gift.

W chose a career which inspired and fulfilled him.  But now it looks as though that career path may conclude. Like many he is downsized. As he approaches impending ‘retirement’ does he fret? Does he moan? Does he rail against the winds, beating his chest over his unfortunate lot in life?

Nope. He looks forward with optimism. He counts all his other blessings, he thinks about his other talents and he starts planning out his other options. Sure, orange is off the table, probably forever. But he fully embraces all those other hues because they are still there, beckoning.

And then there’s me. I always wanted to be a Broadway star. Or the next Carole King. I wanted stardom and Prince Charming and a pumpkin and an Oscar! I dreamed hard and big. I sacrificed my twenties to that dream.

Alas the vision did not appear. The rainbow was conspicuous only by its absence.
So … I readjusted my sights. I mean c’mon, really – rainbows, mountains, oceans, meadows … it’s all beautiful. Just look in a different direction. I looked towards new career options, other ways of satisfying my muse, other avenues of filling my heart and other colours still illuminating the sky.

I now look towards my son. HIS rainbow. My desire for HIS rainbow to appear in all its resplendent glory!  THAT will illuminate my sky.

Does that make me a wuss? Am I pissed off?

I don’t think so. It makes me a realist and an optimist. My rainbows just looks a little different these days. And I am quite certain I will continue to adjust that lens until the day I die. Adaptability is key, right? We get older, we learn, we modify.  We determine that committing to a rainbow may be beautiful but it might also be fleeting. Rainbows are far too elusive.

But a colour? A colour is something you can hang on to.

I still make music. I still find love. I still greet each day with an open mind and an open heart.  I still believe that magic might happen.

Hey … it might.

Even if it is purple.

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So Please Do Tell … What Exactly Keeps A Couple In Love?

Last night after a few too many glasses of wine (who me?) and a lovely sunset boat cruise with an old friend, I asked this same old friend about his marriage.

“How long have you two been blissfully wedded?” queried I.

He replied “38 years.”

“And are you still blissfully and lovingly entwined?” continued my interrogation.

He smiled and responded happily “Indeed we are. Still in love after all these years.”

I paused to consider my next question. I’m not exactly shy when it comes to … well … pretty much anything … but sometimes I know I do ask too many questions and I do get kinda nosy. I took a deep breath and jumped in yet again.

“Okay then, tell me kind sir, what are the three things that have kept you and your beautiful bride in love all these years?”

“THREE things?” he countered, the wheels already spinning.

“Yes,” I affirmed. “I’d like to know the three biggest things that have kept you IN your relationship 100%. Not just sorta, kinda. Not just when you feel like it or it suits you. Full-fledged IN LOVE after 38 years.

He paused to sip his wine and ponder. But not for too long because this intelligent and astute gentleman had already figured it out. he had already figured it out because he was living it. And had been for 38 years.

“We like being together. We like doing the same things. And we have great sex.”

BAM!

There you have it, dear readers. The three simple yet complicated, easy yet difficult, succinct yet SO open to interpretation reasons why a couple can make love last.

1. They like being together.

Makes sense, right? You really should want to hang out with your beloved if you expect the union to flourish, no?

Well, I know many couples who hang out very little. I know some couples who lead virtually separate lives. I know couples who bicker all the time (leading me to believe they don’t actually enjoy one another’s company) and I know couples who “fake” partnership when in truth they are truly just in it for the money, the status, the religion or the kids.

But really LIKING your partner’s company? THAT is a big fat blessing. But a blessing that needs to be considered and remembered and nurtured and cultivated. Because I do believe that like most blessings, it is not always delivered by a unicorn. Rarely, in fact (unless you know something about unicorns that I don’t). The blessing may have arrived at some magical point all tied up in a pretty bow but as time wears on even pretty sparkly blessings need nourishment. They need attention. They need work!

So yeah … WORK on being together. WORK on liking to be together. Which leads to the next step:

2. They like doing the same things.

Yes, I can certainly surmise that a couple that shares similar interests will enjoy each other’s company more frequently than two people with completely diverse pastimes. That said, I do also believe that you do not have to share EVERY hobby with your partner. If he likes to climb mountains and you like to make music, go for it.

On occasion.

I just believe that the scales should tip far more in favour of the things you like to do together. Because if they don’t, he’ll soon be climbing a mountain and sharing a tent with his cute climbing partner while you fall in love with the guitar player in your band.
Now I’m not saying that has ever happened. I’m just saying that the MORE separate hobbies you enjoy, the more likelihood you will find yourself enjoying them with someone like-minded. Who is not your partner.

So yeah … WORK on finding things you like to do together. Then WORK on doing them. Together.

3. And then there is this final sweet little kicker. GREAT SEX.

Do you really NEED to have a lifetime of great sex to remain contentedly mated?

I know couples who after several decades of wedded bliss rarely have sex. I mean rarely as in once a year. Once every two years. REALLY rarely.

And yet they stay together because they like doing the same things. They like being together. They have children together, they own real estate together, they share a bank account, several scrapbooks full of memories and just a huge history of BEING together. So even if the whole sex thing is no longer a biggie, they stay together and seemingly flourish.

I guess.

I mean I guess it’s possible. And do-able.

I guess. But my guess is it is only possible and do-able if they are BOTH exactly on the same page. Because if one of them is totally fine (relieved, in fact) with the lack of physical intimacy and the other pretends to be a-okay too but is secretly boinking outside the union, how can that union flourish? I mean, it might survive and it might endure but flourish? I don’t think so. because flourishing involves intimacy. And intimacy comes from really and truly being on the same page. Honestly. Openly.

My pal D tells me that sex no longer plays any significant role in his 40 year marriage. At least not for him and his wife. She has lost interest and he has lost motivation. With HER. He just gets his sex elsewhere. He has no intention of abandoning his wife nor does he feel the need to seek a full-on soulmate in other climes. Like an amputee missing a leg, he has accepted that his marriage will always be lacking. So he has learned to walk on crutches. Maybe even dance on occasion. Just not with his wife. She is not invited to the dance, she doesn’t even know about the dance and she is quite possibly contentedly oblivious to the dance.

They have somehow achieved a lop-sided, discombobulated detente. She doesn’t know, he doesn’t tell and onward they go in blissfully ignorant incorporation. They stay married, they stay family, they have moments and they make memories.

They just don’t make love.

Or have great sex.

So the question now begs … how many of these three elements do you absolutely NEED to achieve long-lasting love?

If you like to go downhill skiing and bake bread and plant gardens and you like doing those things together, will that off-set your inability to get jiggy with one another in the bedroom. If you have rip-snorting, bodice-ripping coitus but you actually can’t stand hanging out at the dinner table, does your union have a chance? If you like being together over dinner or Netflix but you actually have no common hobbies or a satisfactory sex life, do you have a hope in hell of surviving?

Honestly, I have no fucking clue.

I do believe that IF you are so fortunate to have all three (like my friend) you should thank your lucky stars and keep doing the WORK to keep these things alive. Do not take it for granted and do not assume it will always be there. We are ALL one step away from screwing something up ROYALLY.

If two of these are in your account please see above and then start working on #3. Yes. That is what I said. Start working on #3.

I would like to believe that if you are still together it is because you actually DO like being together (on some level) and you will be able to move directly to figuring out things you like to DO together. And then doing them. You know. Together.

So now it’s all about sex.

With each other.

How do you fix that when it is so much easier to ignore the problem and carry on in blissful ignorance?

The only answer I can come up with is BE HONEST. With your partner, not your secret lover. Put sex back ON the table (or the piano or the kitchen counter or even the bed!). Unless you are truly willing to live life as an amputee when you STILL have ALL your limbs, do the WORK.

Yeah. It always comes back to the WORK. Not the easy route. Not the quick fix or the simple solution.

The work.

I could be wrong but my guess is my old friend who so succinctly answered my question has been doing the work for 38 years. Solidly. Happily.

Either that or there really is a unicorn up his ass.

I do LOVE his three components to a “loving” partnership. I love that he shared them with me and i got to share them with you.

I would also love to hear form you if you think there are more.

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Self-Sabotage: Are You Guilty?

Yes!
Pick me, pick me! I do believe that self-sabotage may well be one of my favourite hobbies. It’s not that I practice it all the time. It’s more like when I go, it’s “go BIG or go home!”
So what exactly is self-sabotage? It’s pretty simple. It’s when we do something stupid that totally interferes with what we want to achieve. You know, like eating an entire bar of chocolate when you’re truly desperate to lose 20 lbs. Or buying that new pair of shoes when your credit card is maxed out. Or getting ridiculously drunk on a Friday night when you have to work at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning. Just dumb things we do when we know better. Or at the very least SHOULD know better.
But I think these types of sabotage are fairly normal (especially in our younger years) and hopefully fix-able. Just THINK a little harder, honey, before you make THAT choice. I know it’s not always easy and repetitive sabotage could certainly be hugely detrimental to your existence, but we all do it. We all make mistakes and bad judgement calls and we all experience “lack of discipline” moments.
But what about those bigger fuck-ups? The ones that can completely derail a relationship, lose you a job or even kill you? How could we possibly be so stupid as to self-sabotage in those situations?
I just did a quick bit of Dr. Google research and apparently much of it comes down to self-esteem (I am not worthy), fear of emotional pain (I will make you leave me before you can hurt me), fear of failure (I’ll tank it myself before it can tank me) or plain old immediate gratification, as in the thrill of these awesome new shoes will offset the pain of my next credit card bill.
Fair enough.
Those “excuses” I get. Personally. Lord knows I’d love to drop 20 lbs but sometimes I love ice cream more. I know that 4th glass of wine isn’t a good idea but I have it anyway and I sure as hell don’t need that new dress and quite frankly have nowhere to wear it but God it is gorgeous and ya just never know so … cha-ching!
Yep. I’ve done it all. And I’ve beaten myself up for it all too.
But recently I started thinking about a different kind of self-sabotage. A kind that you don’t read about in Psychology Today or Dr. Google. A kind that may actually be more positive than negative … if you can believe that?
I’ve started to think you can actually self-sabotage because your GUT knows something that you don’t. Your GUT is weighing in big time. It’s your GUT making you do stupid things, say stupid things, write stupid things, sabotage the shit out of what you think you might want because your GUT knows that what you think you want is quite possibly wrong. A whole lot of wrong for a whole lot of reasons. And so subconsciously you sabotage your quest for said “thing” because your gut has taken control of the dialogue and is now in charge. And your gut is saying “Okay stupid, since you are not listening to me and you are not being reasonable I am now going to fuck you up so resoundingly you will NOT be able to pursue this folly further because you yourself personally will have fucked up that folly right off the table.”
Ha ha.
Laugh’s on me.
Gut is so clever. So astute. So noble.
Gut is also that best friend you hate because she stops you from having that 4th glass of wine. She reminds you that a new pair of shoes is not a necessity. She gently removes that tub of ice cream from your fingers and playfully tickles your flabby belly to remind you what your goals are.
Yay Gut.
Yes, I am saying that with a certain amount of sarcasm. But I am also saying that (almost begrudgingly) with a certain amount of grateful truth.
Yay Gut.
Because when Gut saves us from our selfish selves, when Gut saves us from choices born of desire or neglect (or both), when Gut chimes in and says “Obviously YOU have not got this covered so I shall now cover it for you, no matter how much it hurts” … well then yeah … she really is our best friend.
Yes. We do, say and write dumb things that derail our plans. Hurt our chances. Sabotage our deepest desires.
Yet I have come to realize that maybe … just maybe SOMETIMES … we self-sabotage for the right reasons. Good reasons. Reasons that are truer than we can possibly even know at the moment that we are implementing them.
It’s a little like the teacher who dives in front of his student to take a bullet. He doesn’t know he’s going to die. He doesn’t know the student is going to live. He probably knows it’s going to hurt like hell and he does it anyway because somewhere deep in his soul he KNOWS it is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do for the future. For karma. For truth.
Yeah. It’s crazy, I know.
This is when self-sabotage is a wake-up call.
THIS is when self-sabotage is actually something GOOD.
As long as you see it. Recognize it. Own it. Accept it. Be grateful for it. Learn the damned lesson.
And don’t do it again.
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The Absolute Art Of Vulnerability

In yesterday’s blog (Is Intelligence The New Sexy?) I touched on vulnerability. Its importance in the art of being sexy. Because confidence is sexy but confidence without vulnerability can sometimes border on arrogance. And arrogance is not so sexy, right?

This morning a friend reached out to me in search or words of wisdom re: his recently broken heart. Always a tough situation no matter how young or old you are and golly if there was a rule-book for getting through it the author would be a gazillionaire and none of us would suffer. But there is one thing I know absolutely: retaining your vulnerability, in fact even building on it and expanding its scope, will help to guide you. Because the only way to heal a shattered heart is to remind yourself that it is NOT in fact shattered. Battered, maybe, and bruised. Perhaps blindsided and busted up.

But still intact.

And still available for your next romantic adventure. Whenever you are A) ready and B) it presents itself.

When the “love of my life” left me not once but FOUR times (and the last one finally stuck) I was devastated. And I would think back to some of our exquisite moments and wonder how the hell he could let that go? Let go of those exquisite moments I had never known before and neither had he (so he said). But he did. And even though TO THIS DAY I may never understand it I must believe it and accept it. Why? Because I am worth so much more than half-love. Conditional love. Waffling love. Love that wasn’t willing to fight and endure. EVEN when it was exquisite.

And as easy as it might have been for me “toughen up” after that heart-smash I went the opposite way. I became more vulnerable than ever. More open, more available, more fearless.

That heartbreak made me bulletproof.

Why? Because you don’t get bulletproof from armour. You get bulletproof from owning your heart and your emotions and your vulnerability, knowing that no one can shatter you because YOUR heart is real and true and therefore strong and resilient. It WILL bounce back. And when it does you will be ready for love again. Not a love rooted in fear or fantasy but a love born of your faith in your deserving of it. And your faith in creating it and sustaining it from a place of conviction.

I learned this the hard way more than once.

Many years ago I spent a good deal of time communicating (via email) with a man I found pretty darn attractive. I mean, we had met a time or two so this was no dating-site fantasy and I knew he was nice to look at and fun to talk to but it but it was his spirit that really got to me. His intelligence, both emotional and intellectual. His sense of adventure, his desire for truth, his interest in sharing stimulating dialogue … all of these things were hugely attractive to me.

And then, after many (like 5) months of nothing but emails, we decided to meet. Have a chat “for real”. Like, in person. And it was a lovely evening in a lovely setting and there we were, FINALLY face to face and it was like something out of a fucking movie and we were laughing and sharing and smiling and enjoying and yet, as the evening wore on, I sensed that something was missing. Something big.

And you know what that something was?

This darling man was totally enjoying my company but he was in no way attracted to me. Like, you know, man-woman attraction. I was his pal. His confidante. His mate. His buddy. But I was never going to be his lover. I was never even going to be his fantasy lover. I just wasn’t his jam … on that level.

Oh I gotta tell you there is a whole lot of sting associated with that realization. A WHOLE lot.

So I cried a tear or two and then gave it a tiny bit more rational thought (not always my forte). And I realized that whatever expectation I had of that encounter was MINE and mine alone. And I had no right to inflict it upon him. He was actually in the moment AS the moment. Nothing more, nothing less. I was the chick turning it into a Disney flick.

So what did I do?

I confessed it all to him (in an email). I (figuratively) tore off all my cloaks and said “Hey. aren’t I the dummy?”

Alas I am pretty sure I didn’t say it quite so nicely. I probably tossed something in there like “I go out of my way to make YOU feel special and you don’t return the favour!”

You know. Something mature and smart like that.

Listen, the truth is I was drinking and writing long before I began wine soaked ramblings.

But the real truth is that lesson (always find the lesson!) reminded me that no matter how much we fuck up or how much life fucks with us – BE VULNERABLE!

Tell your truth. OWN your truth. Whoever came up with the expression “the truth will set you free” was not kidding. It DOES set you free. Because when you manufacture some story to suit YOUR narrative it is just that … a fabrication. But when you tell your truth and it kills you to tell it and quite possibly humiliates you tell it but you tell it anyway … well that is a liberating moment.

Because if you OWN your truth no one on this planet can OWN you. YOU already own you. Mistakes, missteps, disasters and monster fuck-ups! YOU own each and every one of them.

You’ll still get hurt and you will still suffer and you will regret saying things and doing things and you will beat yourself up, tear yourself down and maybe even put on that stupid hair shirt every single day (please Google if you don’t understand that reference).
But YOU will be in charge of your heart. No one else will usurp that power. It will be yours and (hopefully) you will be ready to move forward to WHATEVER the next adventure is.

That is vulnerability at its absolute finest. That is vulnerability in action! That is vulnerability as an art.

It’s the only armour you will ever need.

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Is Intelligence The New Sexy? (or Let’s Talk About Big Bang)

I just read a cute little meme on Facebook which stated simply “Forget bringing sexy back. Bring back intelligence!”

Ha ha.

Funny, right? Kinda true of course, and also kinda funny.

Because I’m going to straddle a very skinny, blowing-in-the-breeze, ready to snap off limb right here, right now and call (gently) “bullshit”!

Yes, if you have half a brain, you will find someone of equal (or greater) intelligence sexy. But if that giant IQ is the ONLY component of the package I’m going to wager it will never be enough. It will never be enough for SEXY.

Because sexy is something altogether different.

Is Sheldon Cooper sexy? I love Big Bang and find those boys to be delightfully hilarious. The girls too! But NOOOO … Sheldon is NOT sexy (even though Amy may beg to differ). But the truth is – Amy isn’t exactly a sex goddess either. Nope. She is adorable and endearing and funny and yes … all those things can GO to sexy. But sexy she is not.

Now Leonard has potential. Maybe because his intelligence does not place him in some alternate stratosphere that we mere mortals can only contemplate. He TRIES to be human. He TRIES to tap into his emotions. He TRIES to combine all elements of this planetary existence into one remarkable (and sexy!) experience. He doesn’t always win. But he TRIES!

And then there is Penny. Of course Penny is the sexiest of them all. She’s cute and loving and obviously pretty WITH a pretty hot body. But no … those are not the reasons Penny is sexy. There are two (in my humble opinion) simple reasons why Penny is sexy.
1. She actually truly cares about people.
2. She owns it.

She fucking owns her sexuality, no ifs, ands or buts. It is part of her past, part of her present and part of her future … and she OWNS it!

So yeah, she may well be the least intelligent of the bunch but she is by far the sexiest.

And wait … there’s more.

Because not everyone who truly cares for people, is moderately intelligent and owns their sexuality is in fact sexy. So what then is the missing ingredient? The elusive trait that alters the dynamic significantly?

I can’t seem to locate the perfect world. Affinity? Recognition? Reciprocation?

You see, for a person to be seen or felt or perceived as sexy, they must also return the favour. Now don’t go shaking your head saying “Dammit girl, George Clooney is sexy as shit and will never call me the same!” In those realms it’s a different story. And (for me) it’s enough to know that dear old George chose Amal to be his bride (and mother of his twins) and not some twinkie Hollywood starlet. Yay sexy George!

I’m talking real world here. The one that most of us reside in. The one where we live and breathe and work and cry and stumble and flourish and maybe every now and then hope to been seen as … vital. Maybe even vibrant. Intelligent. Worthy. Sexy.

When we find even ONE person in that world who makes us feel any or please God ALL of those things, then pass the champagne and the caviar!

There is nothing more lovely in the world than to be seen. Appreciated. Applauded. Cherished.

Out loud. Without fear. Without promise. Without scrutiny. Without worrying about what’s next.

THAT is sexy.

Of course it takes intelligence to do that. But you know what is more important than intelligence?

Courage. And vulnerability. Because when you find the the ability to speak your truth and express your desires and strut your stuff and risk rejection and then go back and do it all over again even though you just might die if you keep on trying and you DO keep on trying, THAT is when you will become the sexiest you have ever been.

Why?
Because it is SO worth it to make someone else feel special. Sexy. SO worth it. To see the smile, the surprise, the giggle, the sheer gratitude (think Leonard!) … when you know that you have appreciated someone’s whole package … yes, the WHOLE package … then YOU my friend WILL be sexy.

If they don’t see it and if they don’t reciprocate it might sting. And you might revert to attaching your sexiness to someone else’s opinion of you.

Don’t.

Do not let your poor smarting unappreciated tushy lose its swagger.

Keep making others feel special.

Yes to intelligence. Yes to compassion. Yes to vulnerability, truth and freedom.

Yes to confidence.

THAT is how you say yes to sexy.

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