Celebrating Women: Janni

In continuing our Celebration of Women, I’d like to introduce Janni. When I first began blogging many years ago, she was one of the first bloggers I met online. I am so grateful that I met her.

When I say she is a survivor, I mean that sincerely. She has overcome an abusive marriage, suffers from PTSD and copes like a warrior all while dealing with some serious health issues as well as the many stresses life can throw at us. She has through it all maintained her dignity and grace, a wonderful sense of humor and is truly one of the sweetest souls I have ever known.

Before we get to the interview, I’d like to share some nuggets of wisdom from Janni. I asked her to give me her favorites. They are:

“What goes out always returns, remember to be kind to yourself.” ~ Janni Styles

“Assuming is always wrong and asking questions is always right.” ~ Janni Styles

“Peace is not found by seeking it but in simply letting it be.” ~ Janni Styles

Be sure to read until the end for links on how to learn more about her and how to get her books!

Thank you for being part of this celebration, Janni! Much love to you!

You have for years amazed and inspired me on at least 1,000 different levels. It’s hard to know where to start! How about we begin with the many different roles you’ve had in your life. Share a bit about your background.

First of all, you flatter me so. But I love it, haha. So glad we met those many moons ago, your kindness and wisdom saw me through a nightmare few years I am just becoming strong enough to actually write coherently about. Hmmmm. My roles in life. They began as a big sister who is credited with half raising some younger siblings who sent Mother’s Day cards, Mother Birthday Cards and Mother Christmas cards to me for years. Apart from starting out in life as a caregiver helper who at age 9 made “Easter” for the little ones (when they arrived home later that day our parents brought us chocolate bars and we were happy), I went on to work in what else, childcare and am a very loved, appreciated and honoured “auntie” to this day to a family of three – two girls and a boy who might not appreciate me sharing that I potty trained them all lol. They are all in their thirties and potty training and raising their own babes now. Just as these “kids” do, their parents include me in everything to this day and are family to me with their mom often jesting, “I knew I couldn’t stay home with you guys, that’s why I had Janice.” I was a wife for 32 years but I never had a “husband.” My value as a wife was only in relation to what served his orbit. Scratch that. I was a damn good wife who not only worked part time 27 years for his business but singlehandedly ran the home, worked full time in highly responsible positions from social services to government and bought us recreation property which I carried the mortgage on all by myself in addition to shouldering parts of the mortgages on the four homes we owned together. Working for years in the justice system with victims of violence had me believing I wasn’t one of them. I was. Violence is as much about invisible bruises as tangible evidence. That’s another book though for another day (laughs).

What was your least favorite role? What was your favorite?

My least favorite role was being a “false wife.” Not that I was false but the whole marriage was false because addictions and the lies that go with those rendered me a “storefront” wife. That was a façade I tried fruitlessly to alter but never could because, as with all addictions, only one person is the power holder. Maybe it’s just as well because my life is in such a place of peace now. My favorite role in life is “friend” largely because it isn’t really a role at all but a way of life that means whether you are related or not, whether you have a long history or not, you can build and maintain loyal, loving meaningful relationships of magnificent layers and depth with every single human in your life. If you want to, that is (smiles).

You’ve had a successful blog, you are a creative writer and you’re a published author. Is writing something you have always enjoyed? When did you begin writing?

As soon as I was introduced to the world of reading and the magic of books I was hooked. So hooked was I that I told my First-Grade teacher, “I want to make books when I grow up!” Writing came naturally to me. Not writing well, still working on that as we writers are wont to do all of our days but writing in all forms, typewriter, cursive handwriting, couldn’t stop myself from writing as soon as I learned to print or rather, write. (smiles) This lovely interview with you is providing the catalyst for possibly reopening my blog. Last year I closed it temporarily but am thinking sharing your interview may be a good way for me to get back in that loop. Writing is when I feel most “me” doing what I was put on Earth for, it is like an inborn need. I suppose all artists feel this way or there would be no art or literature in the world at all.

What part of the publishing process was most difficult? What part of the process did you enjoy most?

The most difficult part of the independent publishing process was technology itself. Technology and I do not blend (haha). Luckily, I had the good fortune of support through the process from people who know a heck of a lot more about it than I do. My favorite part of the publishing process was choosing the book covers, the layout and fonts. I love all things pretty and tried to keep them attractive. PTSD saw me initially make some odd cover choices even I don’t understand now but professional friend’s eyes saved me from myself on that one.

What advice would you give writers who want to get published?

Advice for writers who want to get published, hmmmm. I think probably the best advice is don’t give up. Just keep working at it and don’t give up. Today there are many ways to publish. When I was a younger writer the self-publishing option was almost unheard of. Of course there are still big publishing houses requiring agented works but, as we all know, getting picked up by one of those big publishers is not always possible. I think the advent of the internet is both helpful and harmful. On one hand, we can get anything we write “published” pronto which, in my mind, can also be a detriment to publishing house interest. Already published works are just not attractive to most publishers. Finally, I would say enter contests. Reputable, long standing writing contests are the best leg up in an industry overwhelmed with talent. The awards I won for fiction, poetry and non-fiction not only boosted my writing profile but provided wonderful encouragement to continue doing what I love best. A side story here is I know of a well published author whose first book was snapped up by an agent who advised the writer to enter contests before the agent pitched the book to publishers. It worked, the book was published by a well known publisher the next year. Proof that placing first in writing contests can really help if you are trying to get your work published.

In the past you have spoken openly and honestly about your marriage and divorce. Would you share with our readers what you endured?

I am frank about my marriage because I hope to spare others the pain and because it is the truth. There is power in truth. I know the weakness of living the lie too well, always trying to tell yourself you are not hard done by, others have it worse, you never know what goes on behind closed doors, etc. The power of truth is so strong it will repel people. Those are not the right people anyway. Truth requires an honour those types will never comprehend. My addictions riddled ex could keep a good “front” going because he was very educated, mannerly and likeable. While I may not have appeared so, I was a nervous wreck internally from constantly dealing with the consequences of his choices. His mother said I was his anchor and I was for 32 years. It nearly cost me my own life in more ways than one. When they thought I had cancer in 2007 that was the final death knell, I knew I just could not die there. Owning four homes and having good paying jobs meant nothing. Gone. All gone in a heartbeat and it really can happen to anyone. The blame was the worst, to constantly be blamed for his ill choices because I grew up being blamed for “the way the little ones are” and “it’s your fault your father left us.” I share this not to tattle on my mother in any way but to show that our patterns really do form who we are drawn to later in life. If anyone blames you for anything you feel is not your doing, seek help immediately. If younger, there are school counselors and help lines to get you through it without shouldering blame that is not yours and winding up in similar situations in future just because it is, sadly, “familiar.” I heard it all for over thirty years, “it’s your fault I drink, I have to ___”, “look what I am married to!” and even keeping me up all night yelling because he had “nobody to talk to.”He used to say, “I own you, you are mine.” Though I never believed that. Some days I am surprised I am as intact a human being as I am. The advent of the internet brought a very vile new addiction into the mix which was, I was told repeatedly, also my fault. There is more that I endured but that’s another book. Or two or three, realisticallly. In 2009, I left him. My mother was ill and it was a rough year because she died the next year. I left him with over a hundred thousand equity in the last home we owned together, RRSP’s, almost all of the furniture, no debt and a brand-new truck. He threatened war and by then I was just so exhausted I only wanted my freedom. I thought my nightmares were all behind me. The ultimate nightmare had just begun because a long-time bestie of approximately two decades had taken my place in my marriage bed unbeknownst to me. For two years after I left him, she feigned friendship, studying me, buying  things for my former marriage home that I had bought for my suite, visiting me often, even staying overnight with me. It was him who finally told me. He owed me nothing. She owed me loyalty and common decency. Instead she physically assaulted me into PTSD when I refused to accept her cries of “you don’t know what true love is” and “I love you!” Befriending people who do not deserve our friendship and loving people who do not deserve our love is a very common human folly, I have come to learn. Add to that two of your sisters and their adult children siding against you with him and her, defending them both, and you realize how utterly cold humans can be. The thing is, they didn’t even have the full backstory, there is so much more than I have even shared here that they never knew until after I was assaulted and yet they chose not to believe those facts. I had tried to exit neatly, cleanly and only shared the “behind the scenes” facts with a select few. The physical assault that left my bladder with issues for two years after and with PTSD meant I owed nothing to anyone anymore. Truth became my strength. This is why I say people should never judge because what you think you see is never what you think you see. Oh dear. I did a mini novel for you, haha. A psychic once told me I had a very, very hard life and would continue to have a very hard life until after I was sixty. So far, she was right and let’s hope the after sixty part materializes soon because I sure don’t relish the thought of waiting till my next life for it, haha

The title of this post is “Celebrating Women: Janni – A Survivor” for good reason. You are a survivor! You have suffered and continue to suffer from PTSD caused by your ex-husband. What are triggers you deal with and how do you cope with them?

Thank you for celebrating survivors. Not all of us do survive. A friend’s sister was shot to death by her narcissistic abuser husband. Kim (my friend) writes of this on her blog My Inner Chick and every time I read about her dear sister Kay, I am reminded that I am one of the lucky ones. PTSD is so complex. Some professionals believe I had PTSD in the marriage from all the shocks I endured. A lot of people who survived childhood trauma can get PTSD later in life and I certainly had that but that’s another book for another day. After he and my former friend thrust me into PTSD, I was incapable of speaking, just stammered and stuttered. She, who in her former work successfully spoke to large groups of people in related fields. I was incapable of digesting or processing information. She who won awards and accolades for research and writing in jobs held and personal writing challenges. For two years after the assault I would awaken sobbing, sometimes screaming and have massive scars on both shoulders from clawing myself awake out of nightmares. She who seldom had nightmares was now living them both awake and asleep. Triggers are different for everyone as I learned in two years of trauma classes, workshops for survivors and trauma counselling. For six months the trauma counselor asked every week: what one thing makes you want to get up in the morning? Nothing, I would say every week. Then six months in, approximately a year after the assault because I was on a long wait list for counseling, I woke up one day wanting to write. Thus, a book of mostly bleak poetry and a collection of already written stories are both out there now with the love and guidance of internet angels who helped me get those two books out there. This was very healing for me. I may have PTSD the rest of my days and can still be triggered but the nightmares only rear up under high stress now. Recently under high stress, I started clawing my shoulders open again but it seems to be settling now, thank goodness. My own personal triggers are mean people, rude people, cruel people, unfair people, too much noise for too long, high stress, aggressive driving (not my way but not a good passenger with aggressors who take chances I never would), being startled especially from behind. Shock is the worst for me as in the recent shock of unfair eviction in year five from landlord who was only interested in money while fixing nothing (hand wrung every second load of laundry last 3 years there) and disobeying Residential Tenancy Laws at every turn including living without a fire alarm for the past year and a half. Couldn’t even reason with him, he would not listen or hear me in any way, even brushed off my years of impeccable tenancy for his almighty greed. Though long time professional friends believe there may be cultural issues in terms of attitudes toward women and his overly prideful erroneous thinking that home ownership deems him ‘King of Everything’ which is just not so here in Canada. His threat of eviction three months prior if I didn’t pay what he wanted (all without proper paperwork or legal increase amounts) meant, they said, I would likely win because that crime ridden area is also known for landlords doing this and they are really clamping down on them. I could have been awarded a year’s worth of rent because I have proof and a witness to the fact that he threatened eviction over the increase he wanted three months before following through on that threat. My failing health meant no stamina to see the case through, fortunately for him. I could re-open it but have no desire to even though he basically let it slip just days ago he is not using my old suite for the purpose he claimed in the eviction notice. Eyes may be on him now but no longer mine. I was also advised to never go into a basement suite again because this treatment by “little” landlords is so rampant in that area, was told apartments are best where they don’t “micro manage” 1 or 2 tenants and everything is legal at all times. The thing is it was very hard to live there, living there also frequently triggered my PTSD.  It is a terrible area worsening daily, couldn’t even go out by myself when I wanted or needed to, crackheads freaking on our very street, hookers and drug dealers, frequent shootings with at least one innocent bystander per year in the past three years dying of a stray bullet. The suite was 15 steps down into the ground “bunker” with no real day light and your only view a solid concrete “prison” wall, no stereo/radio reception and no cell phone reception no matter the provider. It actually made me very sick physically to live there and I know this because I am finally starting to feel a bit better each day in my new home.  Life ironies abound in this story because living there made me so ill I was too ill to proceed with the much deserved eviction appeal.  Angels also abound in this story because I am ‘serendipitously’ back in my seaside community in a beautiful apartment building with pretty views, see the ocean every single day, walk every day, can walk to my doctor, dentist, services and many friends I have sorely missed. So, my PTSD is currently in check. If it is triggered, I try to cope by using basic techniques of breathing, counting objects in a room, decompress to some beautiful comforting music and if I can’t cope, I know to see my doctor as soon as possible. There are help lines people can call, too, both in the U.S. and here in Canada, I just don’t know what they are off the top of my head.

Having known you for so long, I know you have a really great on-line support system with friends. How valuable do you feel an online support system is?

An online support system is of immeasurable value. I am in Fibromyalgia Groups (yes, I have that, too, along with many other chronic health conditions), suicide support groups and I have connected with many beautiful hearts over the years including yours. I truly believe I would not even be here if compassionate voices like yours had not steered me through some of the blackest roads of my life. My personal friends and loved ones are brilliant, too, but not always available. Online there is always someone able to chat or just listen. As a long-time curser of all things internet because of the divisiveness I see occurring between humans, I have had to eat my words many, many times. It is a lifesaving tool for many who cannot get out or who may not have any other resources available to them. It saves lives. It really does.

You’ve also dealt with cruel/negative comments. How have you dealt with the negativity?

Dealing with negativity and cruelty is something many of us must do. Whether online or not, I have found it exists everywhere. I was dogged on my blog and called swear words by adult nieces that left a cousin in tears after reading a single message of many written to me. Nobody seemed to see the wrongness of this ugly behavior from grown adults and many still don’t. Go figure. It finally ceased when I threatened police involvement. I was also repeatedly lectured on the use of Facebook until I dared answer back and was promptly blocked. Go figure. I really wish people would not swallow fabricated agenda driven garbage and take the time to truly get to know who someone really is as a human being before “deciding” who they are. The world can be unfair but we don’t have to be. My main way of dealing with the cruelty and negativity is to distance myself. Or avoid those “gang think” mentality types. My theory is if you need any validation from even one other “gang think” type, you already know you are wrong. However, if the negative comments provide a teaching opportunity for a better way to be in the world, I will use that opening as I see many on and offline do, to try to impart some wisdom about being better and doing better. One small thing, one person at a time and voila, positive change instead of total dead ends as happens all too often when some are overly invested only in being right instead of being human.

What advice would you give those suffering from PTSD?

Not a fan of giving advice unless asked for so because you asked, here you go (smiles). For anyone who has PTSD know there is help, know you can get through to the other side and use whatever resources are available in your area. PTSD is cruel enough to contend with, don’t be shy about reaching for help from online support groups to phone helplines to the medical system or even by letting those close to you know what being triggered looks like for you and the little things they can do to help you through it. Ironically when I was in the depths of despair with PTSD and suicidal thoughts, the people I thought loved me most would be there for me but they weren’t. I don’t think they were being cruel to me at all, I just think they have such high needs issues themselves they were simply incapable of supporting me through my PTSD crisis. Keep reaching is what I learned. There will be someone or many someone’s who will reach back. Just don’t stop reaching. People I least expected or could not have foreseen proved my touchstones for healing. Without them I am certain I wouldn’t even be here. Wherever I felt safety and comfort, I stayed with that on my journey and am now doing much better than those initial two years after getting PTSD. It is one disorder that affects everyone differently. Yes, there are some commonalities including a high startle response but not all PTSD survivors are the same. Figuring out what helps us is challenging but don’t give up. I know I may never be fully healed from PTSD but I am able to lead a calmer life thanks to learning what works for me. The final message I would like to impart is that the world really is becoming much more knowledgeable about PTSD and as this knowledge continues to grow, more help and resources are being made available. Not long ago not everyone knew what PTSD even was. Now, in just the seven years since getting PTSD myself, I see so many more understand it better and that can only be a good thing for those of us living with it. As with all things, I believe raising awareness by using our voices and sharing our experiences will continue to improve everything for all of us.

If you or someone you know is suffering with PTSD, please visit the PTSD Alliance or https://cmha.ca/documents/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd for valuable resources.

In addition, if you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, visit The National Domestic Abuse Hotline or http://endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help/ In any situation where you or someone is in immediate danger, contact your local law enforcement.

From Janni…

Thank you so much for this interview, dear Lisa. I just want you to know that I have been unable to write much for a very long time and you just started my writing engines again. I appreciate all your time and effort and now that you have me wanting to open my blog again, I will be sharing this interview there as well. Thanks again from my heart to yours.

Though I don’t use any online sites with any regularity anymore, here are some links to my books and soon to be running again blog:

Books and author interview link:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/475450

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/475640

https://www.smashwords.com/interview/JanniS

Janni on Social Media:

Twitter

Blog (Coming soon, please check back)

Goodreads

Wix

Social Media: Helpful or Hurtful in Relationships?

Recently, I read an article about the use of social media and how we can use it in a positive way.  Being a complete Facebook addict and nosy by nature, I’m always curious to see how people use this particular outlet to engage with one another.

The article I read dealt with friendships and how to make social media work for us.  Sadly, what I see are a lot of people using social media as a communication tool in relationships and it’s working against us.  The rants and on-goings I’ve seen on Facebook are astounding.

I’m not innocent.  I’ve vented.  I’ve thrown my frustration out on to Facebook.  My feeling is most of us do this because we are seeking support.  We hope that someone will take our side, commiserate, and back us up on whatever it is upsetting us.  We need someone to stand up and go “Hey!  I know how you feel and you are right!”  It’s only natural for us to want to turn to friends in time of need.  Unfortunately, there is a flip-side – the people who use social media as a way to get back at someone who has hurt them.  I’ve seen it many times.  Being honest, I must admit I’ve done this, as well.  These kind of posts are passive-aggressive and unhealthy, to say the least.  When we replace verbal communication with a Tweet or FB status, we hurt ourselves and ultimately further hurt the ones we love.

So what is the solution?  I’ve given it some thought.  I came up with talking.

So simple it’s mind-blowing, huh?

To share a personal experience:  my boyfriend and I encountered problems from venting on Facebook.  Big problems.  We found ourselves in this very weird place where we would be sitting in the same room, venting on Facebook, commenting to one another on Facebook yet not speaking one single word to one another.  WE WERE IN THE SAME ROOM.  It quickly became cause for concern.  What did we do?  We put down our cell phones and started talking.  It was not easy.  We had gotten so used to throwing it all out in a public forum that speaking personally to one another seemed a bit foreign.  You’ve heard how sometimes it’s easier to write how we feel instead of speaking about our feelings?  It’s true.  He and I are both this way.  We are writers and written words are what we relate to.

It was slow at first.  Attempting to talk seemed to lead to more frustration, interrupted sentences, fighting, sleeping in separate rooms, and still even more silence but this time without using Facebook because we made the agreement we’d not do that ever again.  So, no Facebook venting, no talking…let me tell you that things will bubble to the surface quickly and explode.  This is exactly what you do NOT want to happen.  Avoid it.  Take time to make rules for communication.  Rules are perfectly acceptable, even desired in any relationship worth working on.  Make that promise to NEVER use social media as a way to communicate with the one you love.  Promise to listen.  Promise to speak to one another only after you’ve both had time to calm down.  Understand that no relationship is perfect and there will be miscommunication at times.  That’s okay.  Work through it TOGETHER.

There is a very real and palpable emotional detachment when we use social media as a way to communicate.  Often our words are misleading and come across as colder than we intended.  If we are determined to keep relationships alive and healthy we need the emotion.  We need to feel the love, the compassion, the acceptance and we need to know we’re actually being heard.  Those things are basic human requirements and by removing them we’re setting ourselves up for pain and loneliness.

Take the time today and every day to TALK to the one you love.  You’ll be amazed at how much it is appreciated and simply blown away by how much better you both feel afterwards.  Trust me.

P.S.  I’m happy to report that boyfriend and I are good now.  It has taken us about a year to truly learn how to communicate with one another and it’s not perfect but we are definitely in a better place.  The hard work was totally worth it.

The Power of Hugs

Dear Man I Wish I Could Afford to Divorce, 

Now that I no longer wish to kill you, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for two very important things.

1.  Leaving.  Granted, I was bitter in the beginning but now I see it is the best thing that could have ever happened.  I am having a blast raising our child and it turns out my Mom and best friend make better co-parents than you.

2.  Hugs.  I had a Moment of Clarity yesterday where I realized how throughout our marriage you never failed to hug me daily.  Even if we weren’t getting along, you hugged me.  It meant something.

Sincerely, 

The Woman Who REALLY Wishes We Were Legally Divorced

It’s true.  During my marriage to Rick, he always made time to hug me in the morning and at night.  I’ve realized lately how much I miss that kind of connection.  Not from him but in general.

I get hugs from my kid, my Mom, my Daddy and other family.  My best friend hugs me every time I see her.  If I’m feeling down, my online friends are quick with a cyber hug.  All of those hugs are important to me!

The kind of hug I’m talking about though is the one you get from a partner, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, special person in your life – whatever you want to call this person.  I miss this more than I can say.

Various definitions of hugs include:  form of nonverbal form of communication; universal form of physical intimacy;  indication of familiarity, love, affection, friendship or sympathy; a demonstration of affection and emotional warmth.

Hugs have health benefits, as well.  According to ThirdAge.com:

Studies show that folks who are regularly hugged by their close friends and family have reduced heart rates, lower blood pressure, increased nerve activity and more upbeat moods. A survey of successful marriages even showed that hugging and touching (not sexual intercourse), were the key factors in keeping the relationship long-lasting.

A recent Canadian study shows that an affectionate cuddle is more beneficial in bringing up positive emotions and improving our frame mind than regularly visiting the church. Another study showed that people who got regular hugs were twice as likely to describe their mental health as first rate.

Based on how I’ve felt this past year, I’m inclined to believe all of this as fact.

I believe a lack of physical intimacy (not sex but the rest of it) is playing a big factor in my increased anxiety levels which, by the way, are through the damn roof and very close to out of my control.

On the flip side, I’ve been so used to being alone that I’m at a point where I’m afraid to let anyone get close.  This presents a problem as currently there is a man I am very interested in and I feel he is truly interested in me.  I’m pushing him away when all I want to do is pull him closer.  For a hug.

So fingers crossed, okay?  I need to get past this ridiculous yet real fear of allowing myself to be hugged again.

Hugs 4

Why Relationships Fail

Before I even begin I’m going to play it safe and toss out the disclaimer I used in yesterday’s blog

**DISCLAIMER:  Please note, before you get all wadded up and unable to resist the urge to tell me how wrong I am, I am ONLY speaking from a personal perspective.  I do NOT speak for all men and women.  I do NOT claim to be any kind of expert on relationships although I damn well have the right because I’ve been through 3 marriages/divorces and countless other failed affairs.  So keep calm and just think about what I’m about to say.  End disclaimer.**

Now.  Let’s do this.

As most of you know, I’m a Facebook Whore.  I’m on there ALL the time.  I can’t get enough of it.  My entire life plays out on FB and some nights I can’t sleep because all I want to do is endlessly scroll through my news feed.  I’ve got issues.  Not new information and I don’t even care that I’m addicted.  However, from time to time (or almost every day) I see things that make me scratch my head and wonder and because I am a classic over-thinker that’s not hard to do.

There is this page I’ve liked that is basically a girl’s diary of sorts.  Status updates are written to sound like a girl is writing to her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, whichever the case may be.  Some of it is helpful and I’ve hung on to it for that reason but some of it is just stupid and reasons why relationships fail.  For example:

1

YOU CAN’T.

How do people get it in their heads that love means being miserable?  People, it is not love that hurts!  Love is not supposed to be painful.

2

NEGATIVE ATTITUDES.

Wrong!  Don’t go into ANY relationship focusing on what you will lose.  Focus on what you will gain.  If you go into it already thinking about what you might lose, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

4

PLEASE DON’T.

This is just a me thing but unless you know I’m awake at 3 a.m., don’t call unless your bleeding and dying.  Tell me you love me after I wake up and have had coffee.  Then you can share with me that you were thinking of me at 3 a.m.  I’ll love you more for not calling and waking me up.

5

BULLSHIT.

If someone you are in a relationship sends you a text, take time to respond.  ACKNOWLEDGE this person you are supposedly in love with!  If you can’t do that much then what is the point?  What damn good are you?

6

DOUCHEBAG.

Nobody and I do mean NOBODY should ever take advice from this asshole.  The man has a fondness for hookers.  What the hell does he know?  Go through life pretending you don’t have a heart and see how lonely you end up.  Go into a relationship pretending you have no heart and you don’t care and you, my friend, are destined to fail.

7

COMMUNICATE.

He needs to know.  He needs to show.  Vice-versa.  SO IMPORTANT!  Leave no room for doubt.

8

WOW.

Don’t let another person define who you are.  Be the you that YOU want to be and do that on your own.  Don’t count on others for happiness.  I firmly believe we all fare better in relationships (and life) if we go into them having a sense of self and our own personal hopes and dreams.  If we chose to make someone a part of them then that’s great but don’t convince yourself you can’t succeed without that person in your life.  This one could end up in a blog of its own!

I worry about our younger generation.  Is this the kind of information they are picking up?  Praying my kid doesn’t fall for this kind of crap.

Before I go, let me say this.  I totally get that I come across as a bitch and selfish in my relationship related posts.  I’m not.  I mean I can be both but as a rule, I’m not.  The reason for all of this is because I’ve done a ton of soul-searching and contemplating and have gotten to a place where I know what it’ll take to make me happy.  On the flip side, I’ve done just as much OVER-THINKING on where I’ve gone wrong, the mistakes I’ve made and what I can do to change in order to make someone else happy.  Affairs of the heart are a two-way street and it takes two to make them successful and fulfilling.  I just hope that my next boyfriend doesn’t get his love advice from Facebook.

Between Men and Women


Probably I should post some kind of disclaimer here so let me do that from the rip…

**DISCLAIMER:  Please note, before you get all wadded up and unable to resist the urge to tell me how wrong I am, I am ONLY speaking from a personal perspective.  I do NOT speak for all men and women.  I do NOT claim to be any kind of expert on relationships although I damn well have the right because I’ve been through 3 marriages/divorces and countless other failed affairs.  So keep calm and just think about what I’m about to say.  End disclaimer.**

The other day I was watching something on TV.  Don’t remember what but the guy said to his alleged girlfriend, “Can’t you just lighten up?  Go with the flow?”  This as a result of her asking him exactly what was going on with their relationship.  I thought to myself, “No you idiot.  We can’t just lighten up and go with the flow.  We’re women!  We NEED to know!  Get a clue dumbass.”  That led to this blog.

Women (some women, not all – relax) can’t really go with the flow.  While men are good at seeing details and the little every day things, women are big picture thinkers.  We (Or is it just me?  I really am not sure) need to see ahead.  We need to plan.  We need to know EXACTLY what role the man in our life plays in our future.  We daydream.  We want to know if we can include our man in said daydreams.  We need to be secure and feel safe and we need to know if our man will make us feel that way.

I can go with the flow of everything EXCEPT relationships with men.

Plumbing goes to pot (haha), no problem.

Bad hair day?  Ponytail.

Feeling lazy?  Not going to care but will go back to bed.

Car trouble?  Screw it.  Call AAA and let them handle it.

Life experiences seldom ever faze me.  Shit happens, not busting a sweat and I’m rolling with the punches but with relationships, I have to know.  I have to know what it means to a man.  I need to know where I fit into his life.  Call me selfish or paranoid or just plain bitchy – I don’t care – but that’s how I am.  I don’t do wishy-washy very well at all.  To me, it’s all about being honest and saying what you feel.  Why NOT express how you feel?  Maybe you’re not good with words. That’s okay!  Be creative.  Find a way.

And THAT leads me to this…

About a week ago a friend got a text from a guy that said, “When will I get to see you?”  READ:  Booty call!  Men, we are NOT stupid.  Know this.  Don’t play games.  Don’t beat around the bush.  Don’t think for one second we can’t see through the lines and the insane loads of bullshit you throw at us.  If all you’re after is sex, say it.  Think you’ll offend us?  You might but at least we’ll give you credit for being truthful.  If we’re not offended you might also get laid.  Want something more from a relationship?  Tell us.  Will we want the same?  Don’t know but neither will you if you don’t try.  Want to just be friends?  That’s perfectly okay.  Who doesn’t enjoy making new friends?

(This is where that whole don’t get mad and start yelling at me about how wrong I am thing comes into play.  That last paragraph applies to women as well, so men you should know we know there are some of us out there that aren’t worth a damn when it comes to relationships.  We get it or at least I do).

Relationships are scary.  After you’ve had your heart broken time and time again it gets harder each time to put yourself out there and trust.  Nobody wants to get hurt but if we don’t take risks and we don’t honestly express ourselves are we not risking more by losing what could possibly be a great thing with someone who cares for us?

Love worth a leap of faith?  I believe it is.  Most definitely.

Something to think about and this goes for men and women:  listen to your instincts.  People don’t give themselves near enough credit for what their intuition tells them.  Focus and give it a try.   You’ll be surprised at how well you become at weeding through the losers and the ones who just want to waste your time.  Trust me.  I’m focused NOW and I know.

9

Those 3 Little Words

Yes.  I am being a bit cliché.

I Love You.  Those 3 little words.  Powerful, aren’t they?

Something else I’ve learned about myself over the last few years is I need to hear those words.  I don’t need to hear them every single day but I need to hear them.

I also need to say them.  It isn’t enough for me to just assume the people in my life know that I love them.  I’ll go all cliché on you again and say that life is short and as my Daddy puts it, “You just never know what a day will bring.”  He’s right.

The one thing wrong with the relationship I had with F. was that I could never tell him I loved him.  When I did it was just awkward.  He said it to me from time to time and it was nice to hear but it almost felt as if he did it because he felt some kind of obligation.  I won’t speculate on whether he was sincere or not because there is no way for me to know.  Not going there.

My point here is the one thing I KNOW I need in a relationshipbis love.  I need to feel it, show it, say it, and hear it.  I don’t want anyone to feel it’s an obligation.  I am no longer a one-night-stand-this-doesn’t-have-to-mean-anything kind of girl.  I want the real thing.

Know if I tell you I love you that I MEAN IT.  I don’t take it lightly and when I express it, it’s real.

Love 1