All The Single Ladies

I often wonder what differentiates the people who find love soon after a divorce and those of us that find ourselves rolling our eyes every time we hear that stupid song, “All the Single Ladies” at a party when everyone turns to us expecting our hands to go up like it’s our f**king national anthem. Don’t get me wrong I love me some Beyoncé, but I hate that damn song. Let’s face it…no one likes being single all the time. Even the self-proclaimed bachelor gets lonely on a Friday night or wants to cuddle on a Sunday morning. They’re just too selfish to want to put in the work to keep anyone around permanently. (Too selfish or too scared). One thing I’ve learned is that men spook easily when it comes to real commitment. They tend to want to keep their options open just in case there’s something prettier around the corner. Women on the other hand can be stage 4 clingers and want to attach themselves to anyone that shows them attention. Of course these are complete stereotypes about men and women but they are false beliefs that we carry with us and the reasons why we are still single.

How many times have you heard that “all the good ones are taken”? If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that…I’d be rich. I’ve said it myself a dozen times, but I always check myself and realize that I’m perpetuating that belief. The truth is there is someone for everyone. The only thing stopping you from finding love is the road blocks that you’ve created for yourself. Those road blocks may be false beliefs that you carry about men or negative beliefs that you believe about yourself. Either way, you are your own worst enemy when it comes to finding love.

The only thing that prevents someone from finding love is the fear of being vulnerable again and the lack of faith that you will be loved.

Fear of getting your heart broken and the belief that somehow you can’t survive another disappointment prevents the possibility of love finding its way in. Fear that you’re not good enough or the lie that you believe that no one could love you because of the few extra pounds you’ve gained watching depressing love stories while you’re eating your feelings. The reason your single is because you’ve created this protective armor around yourself with a full platoon of reasons why you can’t find a decent man (or woman). Those people that are able to move on quickly are the ones that chose to remain open or they’re just so desperate to find someone new that they settle for the next person that comes along. Either way, they are open and the fact of the matter is that you are not.

I enjoyed being single for quite a few years after my divorce. I was having fun reliving the youth I had lost when I got married at the age of twenty. My armor was on then too but for different reasons. I wanted to be free and find out who I was without the title of wife. Now that I’ve had my fun, I’ve realized that I was attracting the wrong kind of men because of the invisible shield I was carrying that had the letters “F OFF” etched into it…I was hiding behind my pain and fear. I was the reason for attracting those men because a ‘good’ man wasn’t going to come near me knowing there was no way of penetrating my well-armed defense. Does this sound at all familiar? Come on ladies…put your hands up!

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It’s time to put the armor down and surrender to love again. You have to get rid of the false beliefs that you have about men and about yourself. You are good enough and you are meant to be loved. Stop hiding behind the fear and be open to the possibility–that’s when you’ll find it. Yes, I have to practice what I preach and I’m slowly getting there, but identifying it is the first step. Even in healthy relationships we sometimes hide behind our armor because we’re afraid of being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is the only way love can get in, so put down your guard and accept that love is worth it. We all have the scars to prove it.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

 

Dating Depression

If you ask any single person (young or old) how they feel about dating, you’re most likely going to get an immediate eye roll and a response saying something to the effect of “dating sucks”. I remember just before my marriage was ending, I would hear friends talk about how awful the dating world is and I would think to myself…how bad can it be? I used to think it would be so exciting to meet new people and feel those butterflies again–until I had to actually experience it for myself.

The truth of the matter is, that if you’re in a miserable marriage then anything is better than being with someone that doesn’t make you happy, but the grass is not always greener. I’ve been on the dating scene for about five years and it’s been an ‘interesting’ experience to say the least. When I first starting dating it felt so foreign. Granted I had been married for twenty years and had very little experience with dating before then, so when I found myself out at a movie or dinner with another man, I felt like I was cheating. I know…crazy, right? I had this strange feeling that I was doing something wrong because I had been attached to one person for my entire adult life. It was uncomfortable at first and my insecurities about how to act or how I looked bubbled to the surface as if I was an awkward teenager again.

After the initial extraneous feelings, I started to enjoy dating. I thought all the people that hating dating and all the sad songs written about loneliness were all lies because those people perceived being single as something negative out of fear of being alone. I embraced being single and absolutely loved having my freedom to do whatever the hell I wanted. I vowed to enjoy every minute of it and swore I’d never be one of ‘those people’. Now that I’ve been single for a while, I have to eat my words.

You see, when you first get divorced, it is exciting. Somehow you have men coming out of the woodwork showing you all kinds of attention and it feels good at the time. Then, you realize that all those men coming out of the woodwork are actually cockroaches that can somehow sniff out the desperation of a newly divorced woman. I swear it must be the pheromones you give off because men can smell it a mile away. It’s like you’re the new pretty freshmen girl in high school and all the seniors can smell fresh meat. Somehow you’re attracting all the douche bags that see you as an easy target. Sure, at first it’s fun and you’re loving all the attention but then you realize that you’re tired of being with douche bags and you want something more serious.

This is when dating gets a little depressing (especially when your over 40) because you realize that there are very few “good” men that are available. Sorry fellas, but it’s true and if you’re honest with yourself about your gender and how some (not all) men behave, you too would have to admit that good men represent 2% of the single population (and that’s being generous). If you want to believe that you are a part of that 2%…then go right ahead! Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t think all men are assholes and I believe with all of my heart that my “person” is out there. I just realized about two years into dating and over a year of celibacy waiting for the right guy, that he’s much harder to find than I thought and that dating is absolutely exhausting!

You see, dating is like a never ending interview process. You ask all the right questions and think that this person is completely the right fit for the position, only to find out that he sucks. Then you have to fire the guy and go through another endless series of similar interviews. The questions are always the same;

“What do you like to do in your spare time?”

“What do you do for a living?”

“Have you been married and do you have kids?”

“What kind of music do you like?”

“Do you abuse drugs?”

“Do you cheat?”

“Do you beat on women?”

“Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment…do you admire Bill Cosby, Donald Trump or Harvey Weinstein?”

You know…you cover all the bases before you agree to meet the guy for drinks and then when he pulls up in a creepy van with no windows, you realize he may not have answered truthfully.

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If you’ve read my blog, then you know I gave dating a go and went out with lots of guys over the years and tried to keep an open mind. I had some good experiences and some not so good (mostly not so good). I’m not saying I’m completely jaded, but I will admit that I did lose hope there for a while. At this point, I have decided to take a step back and not focus on dating at all. I’ve realized that I’m not attracting the kind of guy I really want to be with because I have some work to do on myself. Writing helps me put things into perspective and seeking personal growth will bring me closer to finding the person I am meant to be with.

If I rushed into a relationship right after my divorce just to avoid being alone, I surely would have ended up with the same man in a different body. If I wait too long, I’ll get very comfortable with being by myself and push every possibility away to avoid being hurt. There’s that sweet spot just in the middle where you’ve done a lot of work and you’re on the cusp of turning a corner and that’s exactly where I am now. I’m almost there, but not quite. I know what I need to do and I know I have to allow the universe to unfold and reveal to me why I had to go through all this shit. It’s so close I can almost taste it. All I have to do is be patient and believe that it will all happen when it’s supposed to and not a moment before. Dating is the dress rehearsal and you have to be willing to work and grow before you step out on that stage, otherwise the show will be a complete flop.

You have to believe that the best is yet to come and know your own worth before anyone else can see it too. People know when you’re just faking it and you won’t be able to attract anything positive in life if you hold on to the false beliefs that dating sucks and all men are assholes and all women are crazy bitches. Sure, they are out there and I’ve dated most of them, but I never gave up hope that the one for me is out there waiting for me to fully open my heart. Even if it takes another five years, I will never give up hope because I’m okay with waiting and I can enjoy being single until he shows up.

I was watching one of Oprah’s interviews with the author of “The Power of Now” and “The New Earth”. These books changed my perception years ago and I was reminded again of how we can change the perception of our circumstances by simply making a choice to do so. He said;

“What happens to you in life is ultimately not as important as how you respond to what happens. You can choose how you perceive difficult times and be conscious of how those thoughts will determine the rest of your life” ~Eckhart Tolle

This is an important step in this journey through life and even through tough times you have to choose to see the gifts those experiences have given you–otherwise you will wallow in self-pity and never find the true meaning of it all.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Relationship Goals

When you’re single you tend to fantasize about your ideal relationship. You look back at your past relationship and remember how it fell short. You think about all the times they didn’t meet your expectations and just how incompatible you really were. You may have found yourself pretending to like things they liked just to please them. You realize that you may have been bored or felt completely disconnected from the person you slept next to every night.

Fast forward years after your relationship ended and you vow to never feel that you are alone in your relationship ever again. This time around you want to find “the one”. The one that feels like a best friend you could talk to for hours…the one that fits like the missing piece of the puzzle. I believe that we each have a person; call it a soulmate or the love of your life, but I like to think of it as “my person”. He’s out there waiting until I’m truly ready to embrace a healthy relationship. My person will enter my life when I’m free from the house that holds my memories…good and bad. Somehow this house we once called a home is now the remnants of the past that is holding me back from the future. I’m looking forward to rebuilding a new life with my person. All the dates I’ve been on or men that I’ve met are bringing me clarity. Some are here to show me a reflection of myself, some are here to show me not to fall for the same type of man that I had in my past and some are just here to be lovers or friends.  I knew that none of those men were my person. Somehow they fell short or didn’t feel like the right fit.

Those of you that have fallen in love, knew when you found the ‘one’. It’s something so simple and so right. It was a feeling that felt undeniable because it’s not your checklist of physical attributes that you visualized in your mind or the fact that you have everything in common, it’s something much deeper than that…something you feel in your soul. A knowing. When you meet your person, there are no games being played because you are both in a good place and ready to open your hearts.

Conversely, I have seen relationships that may start off a little rocky but develop into something strong because deep down you know they are the one for you. You know because you can’t imagine your life without them in it. After you’ve been heartbroken you tend to doubt your choices or you may think your judgement is somehow damaged.

Unfortunately, there are people that don’t learn their lesson and end up in the same toxic relationships their entire lives. Somehow, they don’t believe they deserve anything more. They don’t know their worth and they sacrifice true happiness by mistaking shallow attention for love. Getting a second chance to find love is a gift. Be thankful for your second chance and don’t take it for granted. Sometimes we don’t get it right the first time, but why not use this time as a chance to get it right the second time. Be clear about what you need from your next relationship and walk away from anyone that doesn’t meet those needs. Define your relationship goals. Look for aspects in others relationships that you admire and use that as your guide.

Recently I went to an outdoor concert with my girls and behind us is an older couple that we struck up conversation with. They opened the back of their car and pulled out a bottle of wine, some cheese and crackers as they talked and laughed. It was clear that they genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. They had raised their children together and were very proud of the rewards of seeing them become successful adults and now they were reconnecting as a couple. It was a beautiful thing to see.  As we left to enter the concert I turned to my girls and said, “that is what I want…those are my relationship goals” This time around I see myself with someone that I can share a beautiful summer night with engaging conversation a nice glass of wine and good music. Someone to laugh with and have meaningful conversation with instead of someone that talks at me and thinks they know more than me. Someone that respects my opinion and isn’t trying to compete with me to be right or highlight my flaws. I want someone that compliments me and shares my beliefs instead of feeling like we’re on opposite sides of the debate team. I honestly can’t wait to find love again, but I’m willing to be patient because this time around it’s going to be right. Yes, relationships are hard work but they shouldn’t cause you pain or make you doubt your value.

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A healthy relationship requires three key things; Honesty, Commitment and Compassion. Without honesty, the foundation of your relationship will crumble. If you are trying to be someone you’re not in order to please the other person and you lie to cover the truth about who you really are– your relationship is based on lies.

Without commitment and the willingness to work hard on your relationship even when things get tough is a true sign of how successful your relationship will be. If you’re constantly threatening to leave the relationship when you get angry or frustrated, then you break the bond of trust needed to make it for the long haul.

Compassion may be the most important one because that is your willingness to put aside your own selfishness in order to give the person you love what they need to feel connected to you. If you’re only thinking of yourself and in your own little world, your relationship will fracture and you’ll lose sight of what the other person needs from you in order to feel loved.

When I define my relationship goals, I visualize connectedness, laughter and truly enjoying each other’s company doing the things we both enjoy. I picture a person with a kind heart that doesn’t feel the need to hurt me because they’ve been hurt. I picture a person that has my back no matter what and someone I can trust with my heart.

If you’re feeling lonely and want that special someone to come into your life, be sure to be clear about what that relationship will look like. Not the superficial bullshit like looks or their bank account, but the way you want them to make you feel. Close your eyes and picture your life two years from now…what do you see? Visualize in your mind’s eye what it looks like and how it feels in that moment. I see myself in a beautiful new home standing in the kitchen talking and laughing with my new love as we share dinner listening to each other’s stories over a glass of wine. I see my best friend and my lover. The one I’ve waited so patiently for….my person. Those are my relationship goals and I won’t settle for anything less. No, things won’t always be picture perfect and relationships take work and understanding, but I believe with all my heart that I will find happiness again and this time it will be with the person that was designed just for me flaws and all.

With Faith, Hope and Love

~Teresa

Finding Gratitude

We all go through tough times. Some more challenging than others, but none the less life always comes with a dose of reality that shows us that things are never going to be easy. Just when I find myself wallowing in self-pity or feeling like the world is somehow working against me, I hear a story that shows me that I need to shut the hell up and be grateful for what I have. A story of a mother losing her child to suicide, a story of a young man becoming a paraplegic from a car accident, a story of a family losing everything they own in the floods in Houston or a close friend losing a loved one. That is when I put it all into perspective. Seriously, the challenges I’m faced with are nothing compared to tragedies others are facing and I need to be grateful that my struggles are minuet in comparison. My children are healthy and safe, I have a loving family that supports me and amazing friends who make me laugh…what do I have to be upset about? Yes, I have financial stress that makes me feel hopeless at times, but in the grand scheme of things…I don’t have it so bad.

When times get tough we need take a step back and take a long look at ourselves. Do I really have anything to cry about because I can’t find a decent man? Is the world going to end because I’m losing a house that I can’t wait to get rid of? Girl please!  Get a grip.  You sound like a real asshole when you’re boo hooing over something so trivial. Something that I can fix. Something that isn’t affecting the ones I love. Yes, your heart was broken and your family was torn apart, but they will mend. You can heal from divorce and the scars will fade, but death and tragedy leave lifelong wounds that never fully close.

Put everything in perspective and find gratitude for all your blessings. Get off that pity pot and get to work on loving your life and enjoying all the joy that it brings. Self-pity isn’t a good look and you’ll never attract positive things in your life if you’re too busy feeling sorry for yourself and holding on to the past. I’m not saying that divorce isn’t a difficult; it’s taken me years to process the pain and disappointment, but what I’ve learn from all of this is that you have to feel those feelings and then let them go. Holding on to the pain will only keep you tied to the past and like a rope tied to your ankle…you can only move forward as far as the rope will let you. Reach down and untether the rope once and for all. Move forward with your life and look at the past with gratitude. Be thankful for the lessons the past has taught you. Those lessons will bring you closer to what you truly deserve.

On those days when you’re feeling down, take a second look at your life and list all the things you’re grateful for. Wake up each morning with the intention to rebuild your life and become a better person. This is your opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes; never to repeat the same ones again. Ask yourself what you love about yourself and what are some things you could do to be better.  Give back to others in need instead of living in the pit of victimization. You will grow…you will love again. Be patient instead of desperate. Know that life only brings you difficult circumstances to help you grow stronger and more resilient. Not to break you and make you weak. I am stronger and I am truly grateful for my strength and resilience. I’m grateful to have an opportunity to find my true self and not the one I molded myself into to please everyone else. Find that for yourself and dare to be who you are meant to become.

With Faith, Hope and Love

~Teresa

Breaking the Chains that Bind You

As I sit here feeling alone and longing for my next chapter to begin, I wonder how I break those chains that bind me to my past. Those chains that keep me fastened to the pain that I thought I had overcome. The pain of heartbreak and disappointment. The pain of wondering if my future holds the love that I’ve always longed for…or is this is it for me? Will I find the love that I’ve always deserved or is the past going to haunt me forever? Will the past be the one thing that keeps me from my future? As I look at the house that we built together that’s crumbling down before me, I wonder if I will ever escape these damn chains. I sit outside our backyard looking at the corrosion that grows between the bricks that we built together. The moss and weeds have taken over covering the memories of our dreams. The once clear blue water of the pool our children played in is now a swamp of grey water. The pictures of the past with smiles and hopes of the future tainted by the reality of our present. We are not a family…we are worlds apart. I grow resentful at the thought of him moving on with the life that we dreamed of living together, turning his back on what he left behind. Yet, I know that although the pictures of his new life appear happy, they are tainted too. We once had those happy smiles and the bond of the family that we built, but now we are strangers.

I’ve been avoiding the topic of what divorce does to our children. As I unpack the pictures that I stashed away in the drawer, I look at the faces of my children as they’ve grown and see the innocence that they once had was stolen away. They will never be the same. My daughter who is struggling to find love in this world of deception and lies. My sons who fail to see that by protecting their heart, prevents them from experiencing love. The pain that I have expressed the many nights they’ve heard me cry has tainted the innocence of their first love. They lost the innocence of what love can bring. Divorce changed them and there is nothing I can do to change that. I grew up in a household of two parents that stood by each other and they will never know that kind of trust. They will forever feel the loss of stability and commitment. Not to say, they are void of finding true love, but they will always hold a guarded view of what love can truly be. That is why I stayed as long as I did. I stayed in a broken marriage to try to save them, but I didn’t save them at all. They are a product of lost dreams and broken trust. The children of divorce survive, but they carry the burden of our mistakes. I can never give that back to them and shield their innocence.

The pictures are painful reminders of dreams shattered instead of happy memories. This is the only chain that binds me to my past. I don’t wish for that relationship to be restored. I only wish it didn’t hurt my children. The only bitterness I hold seeing him move on with his new life is that I’m left picking up the pieces of the shattered glass and crumbling walls. I am carrying the burden of the past he left behind long ago.

Once I am free of these crumbling walls and the bricks that I carry on my back, I can be free of this invisible prison. Until then, I am the one that has to piece them together and mend the broken hearts of my children. If you think that moving on and leaving a marriage that is salvageable is the answer to your problems, think about the effect it will have on the ones you love the most. Your children. They are the collateral damage in your mistakes. They are the ones that will be tainted by your selfish decisions to go outside your marriage to fill a needless desire. You’re not just hurting your spouse…you’re changing the trajectory of the lives of your entire family. And for what? Is it ever worth that?  The answer is always “no”. Love is worth fighting for and family is worth dying for. If you break the bond that holds your family together then you surely will be in chains the rest of your life. You’ll see the pain you caused every time you look into your child’s eyes.

Once trust is broken, it will never be the same. I wish everyone understood that before they made that selfish decision to go outside their marriage. I wish the look of pain in the faces of your family flashed before you before you decided to crawl in bed with someone else. Surely, you wouldn’t do it if you saw the disappointment and pain you would cause them.

Don’t let your family drift apart…it’s so lonely on the other side. Fight to stay connected. Do everything in your power to remember what it was that made you fall in love in the first place. Don’t focus on what they don’t do and push them farther away. Hold them close and tell them what you need to feel loved because once you drift too far away, the tide will become too strong to fight your way back to each other. Pretty soon you will be traveling in two different directions and you won’t be able to find your way back. You’ll seek attention from someone else and your bond will be gone forever. There really is no way of getting back what you once had after you’ve been betrayed. Some pretend for the sake of the kids, but without trust you have nothing. You live in fear and suspicion which makes it impossible to love again.  The resentment never fades. I know… I tried for three long years and I knew I could never see past the lies and deceit that broke our bond. I couldn’t love him because love is about trust and giving yourself fully to that person. I would never be able to trust my heart to him again and that’s when I knew it was over. Perhaps I never trusted him and held him at arms length….never fully giving him the kind of love I’m capable of giving.

This time will be different. The person I love this time will get all of me. I will never be with another man I can’t fully trust because I’ve learned that love doesn’t exist without it. It is the foundation of all relationships and you must trust that person with your entire heart in order to truly experience love. If you don’t trust the person you’re with enough to tell them what you need in order to feel safe and loved, then the relationship will start to crumble.

If this resonates with you in your current relationship then do all that you can to fight for your family. If you’re like me and your trying to heal the wounds from the chains of your past, then fight for yourself and never give up on love. You deserve all the beauty it will bring.

With Faith, Hope and Love

~Teresa

Learning to Love Again

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting people that share their joy, their pain and their insight with me. I’m not big on superficial, empty conversation…I like to get to the core of a person and see them for who they really are and I want them to see me. Through all these conversations, I’ve learned that as humans we share one very important connection. Love and pain. One person’s pain may be greater than another, but never the less pain always exists. The truth of the matter is we would never experience pain if we didn’t experience love first. The pain comes from the loss of love whether it’s heartbreak, death or abandonment. Sometimes it’s all three.

I recently met a woman that opened her soul to me and showed me her pain. Some people are uncomfortable with others sharing those deep feelings, but I find it to be a gift. It’s a gift to me because it allows me to have a deeper understanding for that person and gives me insight into the pain that shaped them into the person they are today. It allows me to see that my pain is insignificant to those who have lived through much worse and the strength of their survival.

Surviving love and loss is a universal law. In fact, loss allows us to love even more deeply than we have before. Loss can also keep us from ever loving again. I’m realizing more and more how guarded I am with my heart. My pride and unwillingness to ever be vulnerable prevents me from putting my heart on the line. I’m easily triggered if I get even an inkling that a person is not trustworthy. Instead of sharing my feelings and helping them understand why I have those triggers, I’m quick to walk away and close my heart. It’s safer there. I see women and men do this all the time. We avoid relationships that make us feel vulnerable. We’d rather be alone or be with losers that we know are emotionally unavailable because we know what we’re getting ourselves into. We know that these people don’t have the capacity to truly love us, so we pretend that using them for attention is enough. Well, it’s not enough is it?  We deserve to be loved and to share the love we have to give. Sex is empty without it. Life is empty without it.

Learning to love again has been the hardest lesson to learn. I’ve spent the past few years pretending to be healed when in actuality, I’ve been building the fucking Great Wall of China with every person I’ve met. The more I like someone…the more vulnerable I feel…another layer of bricks go up. I’ve come to realize that I have to stop the pretense of being ready to love again and actually be willing to risk it. That’s even hard for me to say never mind doing it. The truth is, I’m truly ready to love again, but I have to find someone that’s deserving of that love. Someone I can trust with my heart. Those people are hard to find because at my age, everyone has experienced some level of pain that prevents them from fully opening their heart and showing their true selves.

After heartbreak, loss or abandonment we enter relationships doing a little dance and playing games that test the other person’s level of commitment. We doubt that this person is truly genuine and look for flaws or any red flags to give us reasons to turn away. I’m guilty of this time and time again. The problem is that I can’t determine whether this is my bruised ego keeping me protected from being with the wrong  person again or is it my impenetrable wall of cynicism.  Either way, the wall is there and it’s shutting out any possibility of love.

What I’ve realized in my journey to learning to love again, is that I’m willing to try. I’m willing to be vulnerable. I’m willing to put my heart out there and I’m willing to be hurt. This is the only way I can ever experience love again. The two go hand and hand. Love and pain. Don’t let fear get in the way of experiencing the joy of being in love and the intoxication of passion. Don’t hide behind your wall of pride or the facade of dating people you know are emotionally vacant and only want you for sex. Those people won’t love you—they will only use you and throw you away like a piece of trash or recycle you when they get a little lonely. You should want and expect more for yourself.  Find self-love and respect yourself.  Realize you deserve so much more than what you have allowed in your past. Be willing to open your heart. You will survive just as you have in the past. Use your pain as a guide to avoid the pitfalls you’ve fallen into along your way. Let them see you instead of hiding behind your pain. This is what life is all about so start living and start loving.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Summer Lovin’

Ahhh… summer. It’s the time for relaxation, fun in the sun and a good summer romance. I think I watched the movie Grease too many times as a kid, because every summer I think I’m Sandra D about to fall in love with Danny Zuko and make out on the beach.  I just returned from our annual girl’s weekend in Portland, Maine and had the best time. Had a little too much fun perhaps, but as summer comes to an end I want to enjoy every minute of it. While I was there, something unexpected happened… I met someone and dare I say he has all the qualities I’m looking for in a guy except for the fact that he lives 3,000 miles away in London. So there’s that minor setback.

Let me set the scene of this chance encounter.  The girls and I decided to go out dancing one night and as soon as I walked in I spotted a few cute guys hanging out by the bar. One was tall dark and handsome, one was shorter with long dreadlocks and cute glasses and then there was a light skinned cutie wearing a Yankees hat. Now, picture this, we had just walked about ten blocks in heals to this club or should I say we were speed walking trying to catch up to our friend who thought it was a good idea to drink two Red Bull’s before we left.  I walk in practically panting with sweat running down my back and my hair a frizzy mess. The music was loud, the room was dark and there was a crowd of young twenty-somethings attempting to dance to 90’s R &B, Hip Hop. Let me just say their attempt was failing miserably, but it was fun to watch.

We grab a drink at the bar and move to a little corner of the room and made our own little party enjoying the music. I found myself oddly drawn to the guy in the Yankees hat…especially when the guy wearing it looks a little like Derek Jeter. Now, if you know me then you know that I wouldn’t just pick up a guy at a bar, but my friend spotted them too and wanted me to go over and talk to them. I just laughed and said, “Yea, right…have you just met me?”  She grabs my arm and says, “Let’s go to the bathroom.” (They just happened to be standing next to the restrooms).  As we’re walking over, Jeter is turned and looking the other way and the tall dark and handsome guy says hello with come f**k me eyes. Yes, he was gorgeous but I wouldn’t touch a guy like that with a ten-foot pole. He’s obviously a player and I don’t have time to play with boys. I proceed to go to the restroom and my friend decides to stop and chat, so now I have to walk back to them feeling like a rookie. I’m terrible at striking up conversation with random guys and I just want to run into the bathroom and wipe the sweat rolling down my face smearing my mascara. I reluctantly join in as they introduce themselves. Jeter shakes my hand and says, “How do you do?” in a British accent that has me instantly intrigued. I mean…come on…Derek Jeter with a British accent?? What more can I ask for? The tall one shakes my hand and molests me with his eyes along with every other woman in the place. I turn back to Jeter and ask him where he’s from. He leans in closer putting his hand to my waist and says, “I’m from London visiting my cousin on holiday.” Now I’m getting sweatier and I motion to my friend to come to the bathroom with me so I can get myself together. Of course she wants to me to go back and talk to him and I ask her what the hell I should say because I really suck at this. “Oh just come on!” as she rolls her eyes at me. We walk out and of course the tall one has a beautiful girl by his side, so I just decide to keep walking. Of course my friend, being the ‘wing-man’ that she is stops to tell Jeter that I want to dance with him. He calls my name as I’m walking past and gently grabs my hand. Your friend says you’d like to dance? (In a sexy British accent.) Like an idiot, I respond, “I didn’t say that…she did.”(I’m such a moron). Then I try to recover and make small talk and admit that I’m a little shy when it comes to talking to strange men in  bars. He replies, “you shouldn’t be at all shy…you’re such a beautiful woman.” And now I’m hooked, but of course I have to play hard to get and tell him I have to return to my friends. He says, “I don’t want to keep you from your friends, but do you think you could break away tomorrow so we can spend some time together?” “Perhaps” I replied with a grin on my face as he hands me his phone asking me to put my number in.  I do so reluctantly and walk back to the group and they’re all looking at me with disgust. I told them to relax and that we set up a date tomorrow, so they quickly forgave the fact that I wasn’t still over there talking to him. Long story short, excluding all the juicy details, we spent the next couple evenings hanging out and getting to know each other and he asked if we can stay in touch and see each other when he visits NYC on business. Umm, is the Pope Catholic? Hell yea…I will. Turns out this guy was a complete sweetheart and maybe a long distance romance is just what I need right now. I’m not going to put all my eggs in one basket, but I’m open to seeing how it works out. If nothing else, I finally got the ‘summer lovin’ experience I’ve always fantasized about and hopefully he won’t turn into a big jerk like Travolta did in Grease.

With everything going on in my messy life, this is a good distraction. I’m so intrigued by this guy because he leads a pretty exciting life traveling all over the world, but has a big soft spot for his ten-year-old daughter that keeps him grounded. He has a lot of qualities I would look for in a man and although it’s unfortunate that he lives so far away, you never know what could happen. Sure, long distance relationships rarely work out, but why not stay open-minded to the possibility? I believe everyone comes into your life to teach you more about yourself in order for the healing process to take place. Perhaps that’s why he is here. Perhaps he will help me open my heart just a little bit more because my expectation is that there is little chance of this turning into something more. I wasn’t looking for a summer romance, but I’m glad it found me. It gives me hope that chance encounters can happen when you least expect it, but it would have passed me by if my girlfriend didn’t open the door and push me through (literally…she pushed me over to him). All I’m saying is open the doors and let someone in, because they could turn out to be the love of your life or at the very least a great teacher. Let down your guard and trust that taking a chance on love is better than letting it pass you by. Even when a relationship fizzles it leaves memories of good times and brings you closer to what is meant for you.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~ Teresa

Writing Your Own Narrative

It occurred to me recently that two people in the same relationship can have very different perspectives on just about everything. We all know that women and men think differently and don’t perceive the same occurrences through the same lens, but it goes beyond that really. Every time we argue with someone it’s because we want the other person to see things the same way we do. We are right and they are wrong. We often go outside of the relationship to a third party to get validation that indeed we are right, because that third party is only hearing our perspective. Would they feel that way if they heard the other side? Would they justify a person’s behavior if they put themselves in the other person’s shoes? Probably not.

What I’ve come to realize is that no one is completely wrong or completely to blame for the demise of any relationship. We all play a part in one way or another or we have allowed the other person’s pain to be an excuse to be cruel or deceitful. We justify or dismiss the lies that this person has used as a free pass for redemption. We have enabled the dysfunction and sacrificed our own joy in hopes that one day they will get better or they will miraculously heal and change. That is why the abused get abused. They create a story in their mind to be the savior to the wretched.  To love the unlovable. After all you can’t love someone who doesn’t love themselves. Those are the people that build the façade of the perfect life to cover the darkness that they feel in their hearts.

I know this is all a little too deep for some, but others know someone in their life that perfectly fit that description. It may be a mother, a father, a husband…or perhaps you.  Everyone writes their own narrative for their life. My own narrative is very different from the narrative my ex has written, yet we both shared the same life. I try to be self-reflective and to see things from his perspective but his narrative does not share the view from my eyes and the pain from my heart. Perhaps, he gets to move on with ease because he never experience the betrayal like I have and the aftermath of those scars.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not playing the victim; I am simply speaking my truth. I can look back and easily forgive because I know the pain he holds onto that prevents him from opening his heart fully—even to his children. Along this journey to healing, I have been hurt by many, but it has taught me a valuable lesson that I needed to learn. I can thank the people that have turned my life upside down because they have helped me dig deeper to find a strength and peace you can’t find anywhere else.

                                        My eyes are wide open and slowly my heart is too.

What I ask of all of you reading my truth, my narrative—is to see the other person’s perspective for just a moment in order to find understanding and forgiveness. Holding on to bitterness and anger is like poison to your soul. You can’t grow there. You’ll stay small and weak. Being single minded and self-centered is a sign of immaturity and a lack of feeling empathy. It’s like the kids on the playground pointing fingers at others for something they’ve done themselves.

Now that you’ve looked through another person’s lens it’s easier to let it go. That’s the gift to yourself that lifts you up instead of keeping you stuck in the pain and anger. When something or somebody hurts me I always ask myself, ‘Will this hurt the same tomorrow or a month from now?’ The answer is always–no. The pain will always fade. Things that matter today may not matter at all a year from now.

You have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and asking why they did this to you. They probably didn’t intend to hurt you, they just couldn’t get past their own brokenness. They did you a favor by setting you free. Now you can find out more about yourself than you did when you were so busy trying to fix them. Move on but forgive yourself when you react to the sting of the residual poison. When you see them seemingly happy with someone new…it hurts…I know, but it’s not because you want that life back, it’s because you want to feel love again. You won’t find that love if you’re still holding on to the past. Also, realize that it’s not a one-shot deal. You’ll have to forgive them over and over and over again. You’ll feel bitter and jealous and want to see them suffer, but you will have to forgive them one more time. Love them anyway. They aren’t yours to hold on to anymore, so let them go.

Write your new narrative and create the person you want to see yourself become. The strong fearless leader, the main character in a beautiful love story or the insightful healer traveling the world. Whatever you want to become…now is your time. For God’s sake don’t keep writing the same sad story as the damsel in distress or the powerless victim. You are so much more than that.

Your narrative can be whatever you want it to be and you don’t have to re-write history. Keep your past where it belongs and use the present as a teacher to help you create your beautiful new future.

With Faith, Hope and Love

~Teresa

Get Out of Your Head

I just got back from my annual girls trip and as I’m relaxing on a beautiful beach looking out at the waves lapping onto the shore, I noticed that instead of taking in the moment and appreciating the fact that I’m finally on the vacation I’ve been looking forward to for months, I’m in my head worrying about all the crap that I left back at home. The checklist of all the things that cause me  stress and worry came with me in my suitcase full of sundresses and suntan lotion. Those little voices in my head just took over and the chatter consumed my thoughts…

“What are you going to do with the house?”

“How are you going to find a better paying job?”

“Where are you and the boys going to live…and what about the dog?”

“How are you going to get your book published?”

“Why haven’t more people joined your blog…how are you going to get a bigger following?”

“How are you going to find a man when you’ve gained all this weight?”

“How are you going to get rid of this flab around your waste when you keep sabotaging your diet?”

“Why am I still stuck…what am I doing wrong?”

Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah!!

You know what I’m talking about…those little voices that steal your joy and make you doubt every aspect of your existence. Those little shit heads that never shut the hell up! Then I remember the analogy that Elizabeth Gilbert used in the book that is sitting in my beach bag unfinished and I read it again. She says that she makes space for fear to join her on her journey through life and allows creativity and fear to co-exist. She uses the analogy that she is in the driver’s seat and she will be making all of the decisions. The voices are like little children in the back seat and they can come along for the road trip and share in the adventure, but they can’t make the decisions on where to go or what direction to take…they can’t even touch the radio.

This instantly brings me back to a place of calm and I realize that I can’t run away from my reality and forget about all my troubles, but they don’t have to consume my thoughts. They are there for the time being and they will teach me a great deal about myself, but they will be a distant memory in the near future. They won’t define my entire life, they will only bring me to where I want to be.

Worry and fear live within your mind and if you only listen with your mind you will miss out on the joy and love that lives within your heart.

 

This relates to overcoming heartbreak as well. After you’ve been hurt and betrayed, those little voices of fear want to keep you safe. They are the little voices that tell you to guard your heart and tell you not to let anyone in because they will hurt you too. The little voices of fear that tell you that opening up to someone isn’t safe. They’re sneaky little devils that tell you you’re not good enough for that person. They whisper in your ear telling you that person couldn’t possibly love you because you’re not skinny enough or young enough or sexy enough.  They whisper lies that tell you that person isn’t trust worthy and there must be something wrong with them so that you turn away.

You see, in order to truly heal you have to get out of your head and think with your heart. Love lives in a special place in your heart that you can only access if you are willing to be vulnerable. If you allow your mind to take the wheel then you will continue to be alone on your journey.  Those bratty little voices will take over and cause you nothing but fear and worry where you will feel safe from harm. The mind will keep you stagnant, but the heart will bring you to your destination. You just have to trust it.

As I sat there watching the waves roll in, I realized that surrendering to the process is the only way to move forward. I can’t control these things in my life, and I don’t have to let them control me. All I can do is accept they are here to teach me and guide me to the place I am meant to be. I have to trust that every day I move just a little bit closer to where I’m supposed to be and faith in the path that will lead me there. You will find your path to love and fulfillment when you make that decision to get out of your head and lead with your heart.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Bent Not Broken

I recently celebrated my 45 birthday. Damn… is that hard to say. Getting older is even more daunting when you’re single because you are way past your prime and well on your way to being an AARP member. I’m not one to get depressed on their birthday, but I do get a bit reflective. I reflect on the past several years and wonder how the hell I got here.

If you asked me on my 40th birthday where I would be in five years, the answer would have been very different. I was just finalizing my divorce and although it was scary, I had hope and excitement planned for my future. I would’ve told you that I pictured myself in love with an amazing guy who was my best friend. I would’ve told you that perhaps my career had taken off and I was financially secure doing something that I loved. I would’ve thought by 45, things in my life would be going my way and I would have put the pain of the past behind me.

Well, sadly none of those things has happened. In fact, the opposite is true. Everything has gone down the shitter. I’ve had a string of disastrous dates, crappy boyfriends, not so great sex and I’m broke as hell in a dead end job. Again…how the hell did I get here??!! I did a fucking vision board and not one of those “visions” has come true! I’ve been living in this state of purgatory waiting for one good thing to happen in my life to help me make sense of it all. I’m getting sick and tired of waiting. Where is my silver lining? Where is my happy ending? I can’t even get the “happy ending” with a good sex life for God’s sake!

Then I get off my pity pot, stop my ranting and raving and realize that nothing happens by accident and this is all a part of my journey. I take a step back and look at all the things I am blessed with in life. I have a supportive loving family, three beautiful kids that I adore and an amazing group of friends that fill my life with laughter, unbelievable support and love. I have EVERYTHING I need. Everything that is truly important in life and I am grateful for my wonderful life. I went through these hard times to learn something I needed to learn. If I hadn’t gone through the pain of my unhappy marriage, the ups and downs of divorce and the devastation of losing my job…I wouldn’t have found my love of writing. I wouldn’t have shared my story in order to heal and help others. I wouldn’t have found the depth of my strength and perseverance to make it through life’s challenges. I learned that I’m bent, not broken.

You see, all the heartache and challenges in life are here to show us who we really are…our purpose. For some, it might be the wake-up call they needed to get out of a toxic relationship that made them feel unloved or unworthy of love. For others, it may be to find your passion in life and to focus on loving yourself, so that someone can love you the way you deserve. For me, it was both. The real truth is that I was stuck in purgatory during my marriage. I didn’t know that I deserved better. I didn’t know that it was stifling my own dreams and potential to become who I was put on this Earth to be. This is my silver lining….this is my happy ending and I don’t need a man to feel complete. I am complete all on my own. I am enough…right here…right now. That’s the lesson I needed to learn at 45 years old and I’m grateful for all that it has taught me. Find your lessons and believe that the scars on our hearts are proof that we did not break.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa