I’m A Good Woman – So What?

inside_your_head__by_lightchaserHow often have you sat aside a female friend, who was bawling because her relationship ended, while repeating “I’m a good woman. Why can’t he see that?” For some reason, when things go bad, we have a tendency to sit there and rattle off all of our good traits – “I’m smart. I’m successful. I am pretty. I am…. And I am a good woman.” But is that really what we should be going on about?

A week ago I created a vision board. I’ve spent 3 hours carefully selecting words and visuals I had printed out, found in magazines and bought in sticker form. I created a giant visual to remind me what I stand for and what I truly want in life. Why am I mentioning this here? Because I think when we keep sitting around and desperately attempt to tell us that we are “good women” we are missing the point completely.

Getting what we want in life has little to do with being a good woman or not. It has, however, everything to do with honesty, accountability and integrity. Everyone experiences hardships and loss. But if we keep finding ourselves staring at the ruins of yet another failed relationship, or worse, marriage, it’s time to look at our core character and personality traits; namely when it comes to how much stock we put in truth/honesty, accountability and integrity.

Let’s look at truth and honesty. When we choose the same bad situations and people time and time again, regardless if we are doing it in our professional lives or personal relationships, we are violating the principals of truth and honesty – especially with ourselves. We all have instincts and gut feelings. These tell us usually from the get go, or at least after a certain time, when things are off and not right. Being honest with ourselves would dictate that we acknowledge and see these bad situations for what they are, and then make decisions accordingly. But usually, we ignore any and all signs, lie to ourselves and keep choosing what doesn’t serve us. We call it strength, loyalty and love, even though our actions are not aligned with either one of these nobel notions.

Moving on to accountability. Looking the other way and ignoring the obvious is not strength; neither is remaining a victim. There are things that happen to us that are bad and that we have no control over; but when it comes to relationships in all of their forms, we are fully responsible for how much we are willing to put up with. We are accountable for our actions, thoughts and words and while I fully understand how we are psychologically and neurotically hardwired to repeat behavioral and thought patterns, we also have the ability to “wake up” and change them – if we so choose. We are responsible for how our life works out, no matter how much we claim it isn’t so. We have more power than we are usually willing to give ourselves credit for and can extend said power to leave what doesn’t serve us behind, instead of continuously choosing to settle. There is no power and greatness in settling for what you know isn’t right.

Everything we are depends on our word, followed by the actions to support these words. Integrity is, in my opinion, the most important trait we have and without it we are nothing. We can’t tell ourselves that we are “good people” while we keep falling out of integrity with ourselves and others. If we say we won’t stand for certain behaviors it should mean something. Sadly, we allow emotions and strange justifications to run rampant and control the outcome of situations – situations we often chose and allowed ourselves to be in. Not standing for certain behaviors doesn’t merely mean that we whine about behaviors from others, no, it also means that we will not engage in the same destructive, dishonest, crazy, mean, selfish and cowardly actions we accuse those around us of.

It doesn’t matter how “good” of a woman you are, if you don’t believe so yourself. Being good means being good with yourself first. If you can’t stand for your own values, if you don’t have enough self-worth and confidence than all the talk of being a good woman is useless, because you will keep settling for less than what you deserve and ever wanted. Not being good to yourself also means that you will keep drawing exactly what you said you didn’t want.

The price we pay for not being good to ourselves is much higher than just a bad job or relationship. Consistently living a lie, by engaging in a life and situations we neither chose, nor wanted does something to our very being and soul. We run the risk of slowly and steadily becoming bitter, angry, desperate, disillusioned, dishonest, depressed and weaker. The more we become our lesser self, the less we are the good person we claim to be and the more we are willing to settle and perpetuate the cycle, making more bad choices, engaging in more self-defeating behaviors and attracting more of the wrong partners.

I am a good woman, but have done a bad job in being good to myself. So I am telling all the other good people out there, male and female, you can’t be good to anyone if you can’t be good to yourself first. Good is a state of mind and shouldn’t just be reserved for every thing and being who waltzes in your life or presents itself to you. Good should be reserved for yourself first and then those who’ve earned it and deserve it.

  

The Abyss and Why I’m Still Alive

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My entire life I’ve carried an image in my head; an image that very much represents the picture I have chosen above. I have always called it “the abyss,” and it represents life and death, sanity and insanity. I remember becoming aware of it the first time when I was in 3rd grade. But, before I continue, I want to make it clear that this isn’t a cry for help, because I feel suicidal and it isn’t a cry for attention either. I am writing this, because I know that there are other “abyss walkers” and I want to let them know that they are not alone and that you can somewhat live with this. Lastly, I’d like to extend a slight warning – the material is brutally honest and may even be uncomfortable for some.

How does one end up at the abyss? I don’t know about others, but I was dragged there by years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse that started when I was about 4 and ended when I was about 18. The trauma I experienced, due to the long period of time it occurred, caused my fibromyalgia, because my brain has “dialed up” all sensory perceptions to super high, at all times, and therefore misfires, interpreting nerve signals as pain and making any type of stimuli, like loud voices/music and sounds, as well as heat, cold or emotional responses stronger, amplifying them and often making them almost unbearable. The inability to no longer “dial it down” but being incapable of registering stress and hence, the ability to walk away or avoid, makes life as if I am living with a giant antenna on my head; one that never sleeps, never stops and has turned me into a recluse, who finds any type of prolonged interaction with most people painful, frustrating, overwhelming and difficult. But the physical, emotional and mental pain are not necessarily the ongoing building blocks to form the abyss; no, what causes the abyss is the overwhelming feeling of not belonging here, on this planet.

When one feels as deeply as I do, nothing is easy. When one lacks the ability to let go and stop “looping,” life becomes an ongoing cycle of torment, trying to stop it, then succumbing to it and starting all over again. Years of therapy and studies in philosophy, psychology and religion helped me get better, but my brain chemistry is permanently altered and trying to change it is what is so incredibly daunting and leaves me feeling defeated and exhausted.

My relationships have been predominantly bad. Not all of them, but the vast majority of them. Fear of intimacy, severe anxiety about being abandoned and the constant doubts I have in myself have been relationship killers. Nothing, though, beats the fact that I send out a signal, a very powerful one I might add, that keeps attracting men who actually confirm my deepest fears. I attract superficial men, who criticize my exterior, sometimes vocally, sometimes in a subtle, passive way, and/or find me otherwise inadequate. I attract commitment phobes, who cannot commit, don’t know what they want and are quick to leave or cheat. I attract a lot of selfish, cruel, severely damaged and cold-hearted men, who cannot feel and usually numb with alcohol, computer games, work, porn and other ways that keep them from truly connecting; men who mercilessly lash out and strike when I speak up or attempt to explain my feelings. Men who judge me worse than I could ever judge myself or others. I attract my father and I attract my mother’s boyfriends, over and over and over and over. So the majority of my life I have felt alone, lonely and abandoned, especially in my relationships. And this dance, this dance of attracting people who cannot love me, then push me away and lash out at me, as well as attracting the same type of selfish, backstabbing and unpredictable people in the companies I often work for, this is what pushes me closer to the abyss.

Everything I do, no matter when, where and how, is near the abyss. I walk as close to the wall as I can, carefully setting one foot ahead of the next, until I get pushed. Then I start slipping. I claw my way to the top again, then slip some more, feeling overwhelmed and rendered powerless when the feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing and fear wash over me. The feelings are so strong that all I can think of is dying, because I am not sure how much longer I can hold on and how much longer I can be the tower of strength the majority of people in my life believe me to be. The absolute fear of potentially being alone forever, because I cannot attract anyone who feels as deeply as I do, leaves me feeling with despair. Was I supposed to have children? Was I supposed to be alone? Maybe I should devote my life to helping others; but isn’t that what I am doing and have been doing anyway? Why are people so shallow, ignorant and selfish? Why…

I know that it is all about loving myself. It’s been a challenge but I don’t stop trying and going for it. I know that I can change the frequency, even though I have failed so far in doing just that. I have, however, deleted any and all dating profiles. My exterior, which misleads people into thinking that I am a wild, crazy party animal who also numbs (I’ve never gotten into drugs or alcohol) cannot be overwritten by a sincere and honest profile that no one reads. My pictures, my looks are misleading, not just in the dating arena, but in all other areas, too. When you live in a society that puts almost all stock in appearances only (the essence of California), it makes it hard for me and all of those who refuse to look mainstream to be “seen.” Why haven’t I simply “conformed” and blended in? Because this look started when I had no identity and had to protect myself from other predators, back when I was a teenager. Asking me to change my look is the same as asking a person with dark skin to be more white.

The abyss is a part of me. I have managed to stay more on the inside by the wall, and less by the edge that would make me fall. It has taught me to avoid severe danger of slipping, by not abusing substances or becoming addicted. The abyss also reminds me how far I have come and teaches me to not be selfish and exercise compassion. For were it not for said lack of selfishness and compassion, I would have jumped a long time ago, instead of keep on balancing, carefully, one foot in front of the other.

I sadly feel incredibly unloved, unwanted and misunderstood. But as a friend of mine just told me “just because you feel that way doesn’t make it so!” I know this, why else would I still be here to talk about it? I ask but one thing of people “don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t assume by looks and appearances and remember that your actions and especially your words can make or break another; especially an abyss walker.”

 

  

Deja Vu – The Power of Change

 

 

Change

I have this feeling of deja vu – a lot! I find myself in various situations – jobs, people, relationships, friendships, places, etc. and can’t shake the feeling that I have been here before. The reason for this, most of the time, is that I have actually been there before!

There is something truly awfully amazing about the fact that we, as human beings, have the tendency to choose the same stuff over and over, even if it hurts us, even if it doesn’t serve us and even if we feel with all our heart that we don’t want it. Oh, but we do!

From a pure neurological standpoint, our brain maps all the time. We are hardwired to choose what seems familiar, even if we don’t actually like that familiar thing! And yet, we flock to it like moths to the light and this is how we keep repeating our cycles, over and over and over. All the while claiming that we are innocent and that it wasn’t our fault or our doing. We mourn the loss of something or someone, we regret the wrong choice, we turn around and bam! choose the same thing or person again; and then again.

I have paid close attention to my cycles, my choices and my life and found that I am an absolute expert and master in not only choosing the same, but insisting that I didn’t. Until I find myself again, hit with the proverbial universal 2×4, going “OUCH!” that’ll leave a scar. Technically speaking, there is nothing wrong with that, were it not for the fact that it makes me feel so incredibly miserable when I find myself yet again in another s***storm of my own making. Were it not for me again feeling despair, sadness, anger, hopelessness, rage, disappointment…well, you get the point.

The truth is that nothing changes. Not a damn thing changes, as long as you cannot change who you are being in the world! As long as I cannot get a grip on my underlying, not so subconscious choices anymore, I will keep getting what I choose and sadly, deserve. Nothing changes until I change and I won’t change until it costs too much to not change. What a mouthful, huh?

Sometimes, you just have to make a 911 call to that higher self of yours, no matter if it is in form of talking to a higher power, talking to yourself, talking to your inauthentic conscious mind, a friend, a therapist or whatever else you want to talk to; but you just have to do it. You have to pick up that receiver and you have to make the call, because otherwise, you are and will always remain a slave. There has to be a declaration, a commitment if you will, with your spoken word. There has to be accountability in order to manifest the change, or it’s just going to be another empty promise.

I’ve made a call. I’ve made a promise. I’ve made a declaration to stand for myself and to stop choosing more of the same. I’ve got the message pretty clear and I’m declaring my commitment to change myself. To change my perspective and to change my choices. I am choosing happiness. I’m choosing me and I’m choosing the life I want to have. Off come the shackles and off comes all the bondage and the cage that are attached to them. Deja vu, you suck. Change, I embrace you my new friend! Time to form a few new neural pathways. Yeehaaw!

  

Love – Just is…Not What We Thought?

Love

 

 

 

I recently realized that my understanding of love and what it truly is has changed; and keeps changing as I get older and wiser. While some may wonder now if I have gotten cynical, bitter, disillusioned or “sad,” I would argue that quite the contrary has occurred.

Like most girls, I grew up hoping for, what Hollywood at least, sold as the perfect love. You’ll meet your soulmate, usually by some amazing divine intervention, you lay eyes on each other and everything else around you stops moving. And from that moment on you are one, forever. You have kids and a family and you buy a house and you grow into the amazing unit of unwavering unity we were all taught we are entitled to have. Then I grew up and things changed.

So, I wanted to share how I evolved from a wide-eyed romantic, to someone who still believes in love above all with all her heart, but merely adjusted what the meaning of such love truly is and most importantly, how it comes about.

See, even as a child I wondered if undying love and everlasting bond exist. Being the product of a mother who was married five times and a dad who was also married five times, along with an aunt who is currently on her third, miserable marriage, all I ever saw is that love fails. Until I realized that it isn’t love that fails, but our expectations and our very being as we grow older and define what is important to us. This is also when I learned that love, in itself, is not enough when it comes to the real world. The real world which requires us to pay bills, have jobs (sometimes jobs we didn’t want, but jobs that paid the bills) and a certain willingness to conform, if we want to be somewhat successful. I learned that human beings are much more complex. I learned that feelings change, especially when you add emotional baggage, addiction, fear, anger issues and other unforeseen forces into the equation, such as basic compatibility! Yes, I’ve learned that love is not unconditional at all. Love is quite conditional, because love depends on so much more than just a warm fuzzy feeling.

Love, I have learned, is not a chemical reaction. You know, this crazy “in-love” feeling you have, when nothing else matters and you literally do see the world through rose colored glasses and stubbornly refuse seeing who a person truly is. This is when you accept and settle for things that you would otherwise never tolerate, such as the fact that someone may have severe issues with being honest. Or the fact that they drink too much, feel too little, do drugs, lie, have no ambition, and on the list goes. No, you stubbornly refuse to listen and to see, because you are in love! And this is also when you learn that this chemical, all powerful attraction lasts an average of 6 to mostly 12 months. Then reality sets in and you are stuck with whom they truly are; which is when the issues begin.

As I grow wiser, I have learned to understand love as a true appreciation and deep respect for another and who they are – short-comings included! Out the window went the expectation for someone else to complete me and be nearly perfect. I realized that looks and attraction fade, but that character and being generally do not. I set out to find someone who I can respect, genuinely like, sit and talk to, spend time and space with and someone who helps me grow and accepts me for all that I am, just the way I am. I realized that love is still an attraction, so yes, initially I still need to find the person attractive, but what constitutes this attraction and in order for me to stay attracted, there are traits that overwrite the original expectation and wishful thinking of the tall, dark haired, probably slightly “bad” boy who would sweep me off my feet. Instead, I found that the key to my heart takes a different set of skills these days. The key is through intellect and my mind first – can he hold a conversation about anything and especially the things that are important to me/interest me, can he make me laugh, can he challenge my beliefs and opinions and does he have the ability to listen and speak? Is he honest, self-aware and kind, or does he numb, distract, run and pretend? Does he look at me and think “blah, blah,” I just want to have sex already/watch TV, etc., or does he share his thoughts with me?

I have found that all I truly want is a best friend and true partner in crime. I have read studies who claim that your man should never serve as your friend and I couldn’t disagree more. While I don’t want him to be my only friend (I sure as hell don’t want to discuss my PMS with him), I want him to be my closest friend and confidant, because if he can’t be that, he can’t be my lover either. Yes, the saying that the largest sex organ is the brain is true. If he can’t stimulate my brain, he can’t stimulate my heart and if he fails in that, he won’t stimulate my body for long either. As a person who never was truly interested or capable of one-night-stands, this holds even more true.

I am finding that being able to form a friendship first may be the key for me to build a loving relationship. Because if I don’t have to censor, which I won’t when I don’t feel I need to be “on,” like I do when I am dating, and if he still loves being around the true and raw me, chances are, we can, are you ready, grow in love.

I have learned that I grow in love, I don’t fall in love anymore. My heart is not closed. My heart is open, it’s just that it takes a different and probably larger key to get to it these days and I think that’s OK and will keep me from settling for mad chemistry and lack of substance. The best bond is that we choose to have, not the one we are forced to have because we are addicted to someone, can’t be alone, feel miserable, lonely or otherwise inadequate. And I happen to make that choice easier if I find that being around someone makes me happy and feel at ease – just the way I do when I am around my best friends.

So here is a cheer to being with your best friend, lover and partner in crime, versus your prince charming and opposite that is supposedly so attractive.

  

Pseudo-Psychers and Other Enlightened Folk

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Your partner just dumped you. You are reduced to a snotty pile of misery, while your heart is being ripped out. And at this precise moment, one of your friends tells you “it’s just another lesson in life that will make you stronger,” or “I wonder what the lesson in this was.” Another all time favorite is “why do you think this happened/you’ve attracted this?” Let me tell you why! Because I sometimes have my signal wrong. Because I fell in love with someone I should have ran from. Because I took the wrong job. Because I sometimes make stupid decisions. Who cares?! Thank you for making me feel even worse by implying that I deserved what happened. That’ll bring me right out of my sadness and give me a whole lot of new found strength. NOT!

Ladies and gentlemen, here is the deal. If you are telling me this while I am sobbing my eyes out, chances are big that I’m going to punch you in the face. There is nothing, absolutely nothing worse than pseudo-psychologists and New Age BS when you are down in the dumps. Yes, when I am over the initial sadness and shock I absolutely want to dissect what happened and make sure I don’t repeat my mistakes, but please, spare me your enlightened crap until I am ready.
Having lived in CA for almost 23 years, I am fully aware how eager we all are to become much more enlightened beings. Boy, do we run to therapy (ALL types of therapy we can find), Kabbalah sessions, yoga workshops and self-help gatherings, so we can be ready to spew our new found pearls of wisdom, which we generally don’t use ourselves – EVER – with those who are unfortunate enough to be in our presence when the proverbial shit hits the fan.
The thing is that none of this stuff has made us compassionate, or even tactful enough to get that the last thing our friend needs right now is our Zen BS; especially not after we have spent the last couple nights stalking our ex on Facebook, got in a fight with a co-worker and/or engaged in other signs of douche baggery that clearly show that we don’t really live what we preach.
Sometimes, I really had to catch myself, because I wasn’t aware that I started doing the same crap to my friends. After all, I’ve learned social queues and behaviors by watching those around me, something that most of us who weren’t born and raised here do. Hence, after a few years in beautiful CA, I’ve started talking like everyone else; and boy, aren’t we one giant ray of friggin’ sunshine at all times?! We don’t get sad, we are cheerful and we don’t engage in our “lower selfs” by being too ego driven or a victim. We embrace all our smacks in the head and, just like Jesus, we turn the other cheek and yell “May I have another.”
Of course, none of it is authentic. What we really want to do is punch the jerk who ripped our heart out, or the boss who made us feel small, right in the face, drink a bottle of wine, cry ourselves a river and conclude that we truly are the saddest person in the world right now. And what we really want to hear from our friends is that we are beautiful, smart, capable and awesome and that we will find the right job/relationship, because this one was a doozy.
The fact that we have been conditioned in this society to always be positive, because we don’t want to be “Debbie Downer” is something that I once happily embraced, until I realized how fake it all was. I am a positive person, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel anger or sadness and express it when bad things happen to me. It doesn’t make me a negative person when I break down and cry, temporarily hate myself, or the world, and engage in a bit of self-pity. I don’t think it has ever helped me to hear that I will be a better person while I was suffering. What has helped me were those who, sometimes silently, sat next to me, with their arm around me, telling me they are sorry and helping me to plot the demise of the person who helped cause my pain. There is a huge difference in supporting your friend and enabling someone who just keeps creating drama in their life. I am lucky for having had friends who stood up for me, stood with me and had no problem allowing me to feel whatever I needed to feel at the time and allowed me to go through the process; which sometimes took me a while.
Which brings me to the last part of my rant: Stop telling me that no one makes me feel anything and that I am in full charge of all my emotions! I’ve got news here. I am human, I have feelings and they do get affected by those I care about. It doesn’t matter if it is work or home, when those I trust hurt me, treat me unkindly or make callous and mean remarks, my feelings will be hurt. That doesn’t make me weak, it makes me human. So please, keep the “he didn’t make you feel that way, you chose to allow him to make you feel that way” BS to yourself. In return, I’ll swear I’ll help you plot the demise of those who cause you pain, hold up your hair, while you puke from drinking too much and cry with you; unless you need that pseudo psych/new age BS, in which case I’m going to tell you that you’ve got what you’ve deserved, because we all create our own karma and merely have to learn to attract what we truly want
😀

 

  

I Am All That I Am – And that’s fabulous!

I Love Me Written inside a Heart Drawn in Sand

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I am very aware of how much I am like a wave. Like the constant ebb and flow of the ocean, I, too, find myself flowing in and out of various states of consciousness. But, above all, there are times when I remember, yet again, how important loving myself truly is.

I have been struggling sometimes with this concept. Sadly, I am still giving way too many f***s about others at times and it shapes how I look at myself. But, sooner or later there is always the “aha” moment again, where I realize that I need to just learn to give less f***s and go back to my core.

The thing is that I really, really don’t want to sound like one of “those” sad women, who rattle off their emotional resume; you know the kind who cries in her beer/wine and goes “WHAAAAHAAAA!! But I am such a good catch. I am smart, I am successful and I am pretty…” yada yada yada. Because honestly, this is not so much how I truly view myself. When I speak of loving myself, it is much more an honest glimpse at myself, my accomplishments, my failures, my strengths and weaknesses, sporting a slightly crooked grin, doing a little shoulder shrug and then, whilst shaking my head, going “yeah, you’re OK, girly.”

Sure, there are stunts I have pulled in my life that still have me scratch my head, going “WTF happened there,” but overall, I am OK with the choices I have made and the path I am on; even though I have no clue where it may lead. And you know what? That’s quite OK, too!

My entire life I have admired people who were taking risks, were extroverted, sure of themselves, unapologetically in people’s faces and stood firmly in who they were. I envied them, until I realized that I have quite a bit of these qualities myself. I mean, who else decides “I’m going to move up North!” and then goes and makes it happen within a mere two months.

Looking back at everything, I do love my willpower, my determination and the ability to bounce back, no matter what and still feel overall joyful, happy, cheery and even idealistic. I am glad that I haven’t turned bitter, miserable and angry. I am happy that I still have a twinkle in my eyes, still ask with all sincerity “really????” and mean it and that I have my heart, which is still wide open and a bit bleeding for all those who are less fortunate than me.

I am grateful that I am able to pay it forward. I am grateful that I am I – unapologetically so, in your face, dead honest and crooked grin sporting.

  

Dating – Poison for the Soul

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There is nothing, absolutely nothing more demoralizing than online dating. But what’s an introverted woman, who hates bars, to do? The choices are limited and so, again, I find myself sporting not one, but two dating profiles online.

I am not going to bag on men only. I am going to be an equal opportunity hater here, so if you are easily offended, here’s your way out.

Everyone online loves to cook, is athletic, enjoys long hikes through the wilderness and strolls on the beach, enjoys traveling, is sincere, honest, caring and nice. Except that most of it is made up. Women lie about their body type, men about their height, both lie about their age and post old pictures that no longer represent how they look at all. But all of this is not the worst part. The worst part is the fact that people on these sites are almost always as incapable of having an honest, true and intimate relationship, as they are capable of being honest with themselves. They actually believe their own BS and that makes it a gazillion times worse.

Everyone looks great on paper and no one talks about who they really are. And just like in marketing, you are encouraged to lie, by being positive, and not stating negatives. I’ve stated that I have fibromyalgia. I’ve also stated what I don’t like, but feel guilty about that.

The thing is that who I am doesn’t fit in a box that asks me to describe myself. My pictures give a glance, what I say does, too, but how can anyone truly know me from these tidbits? I don’t want to be judged and labeled, but this is what online dating is all about; an endless stream of judgments, based on superficial expectations of what is considered right/wrong, hot/sexy/beautiful and worthy or not. The whole thing makes me want to curl up, but I feel one has to put oneself out there.

I guess, at the end of the day, one has to be careful what one puts out there, because sometimes and maybe even frequently, you attract the one thing you’d never wanted to begin with. And lastly, one has to remain hopeful, because if I am out there, someone who is like me will be too. And that guy will be thankful that I put myself out there and that he found me.

 

  

What It’s Like to be a Woman

Woman Hard to Be by Darry D

Women are leaders, women are in the army, play all sports and do what men do. In Germany, there is a female president and overall, the idea of women being treated equal to men has been going around for a while. Women can do what men do, but two things: Grow old and gain weight.

I remember being in second and third grade. I had the double whammy going – I was overweight AND poor, therefore sporting cheap hand-me-downs and clothes that weren’t fashionable. I was bullied, made fun of and largely ignored. I had pretty good grades but the dumb and pretty girls had tons of friends and the boys lined up. By the time I reached 5th grade, I had lost most of the weight and vowed I’d “be prettier than all of these jerks when I get older.”

This started a lifelong experiment, unhealthy behavioral patterns, abuse to my body, psychological damage and self-esteem issues even years of therapy couldn’t quite fix. The horrible experiences I had from being abused at home and by society left me often despising the fact that I was female.

Over the years, I did what most of us girls do: I dieted, I did extreme workouts, I starved myself, I creamed, I used products and spent ungodly amounts of money to become what society tells me I should be; while at the same time sabotaging it and hating it. I got tons of tattoos, I dyed and cut off my “beautiful blond curls” and sported black, red and blue hair. I systematically dismantled the image of the pretty blond girl people wanted me to be. And yes, I paid a price. I will spare you to years of abuse I did to myself, simply because I had learned at the age of about 9 that I was not desirable, pretty and what boys wanted.

The sad thing is that these are engrained society traits. Nothing changes. Look at public figures and actors. Let’s take Johnny Depp – the man is 50 and dates a girl in her 20s. Let me not even start listing the examples of men I know, including my ex.
Men have been conditioned to believe that women should look and behave a certain way. They will say things like “I do like curvy women,” but their idea of curves is large breasts, small waist and nice hips. Ixnay on fat on the belly, thighs and butt, the place women do carry their fat naturally. They will state that they want women who are independent and smart, but the truth is that they are quickly willing to trade these traits for arm-candy. When they say “independent” they merely mean they don’t want to pay for everything and want her to have a job. Men will say that they, too, are put into categories and that women only want certain types and yet, I largely call BS on that. I don’t remember a single time any of the women I know broke up with a guy because he had gone bald, gained weight or grew older. I, however, can list a whole bunch of incidences where I was judged and rejected for having gained weight – even though I never was obese! I was considered too fat at size 8 and definitely a goner at size 10/12, which seems to be the range I am mostly finding myself in, especially since I turned 40. I was told at 125 lbs and 24 years old that I was too fat by my first husband; and that’s just one example.

When we get together with our friends, male or female, they will tell us that we are such a great catch; that we are smart, successful, beautiful and sexy; but if this is not how society sees us because we are not what’s being sold on TV and in the media as “hot,” we might as well see it for what it is – love and support from those who love us. This is why most of us don’t believe that we are what those close to us tell us. Our self-images are distorted and we no longer see ourselves through the eyes of an unbiased bystander. We’ve learned early on that the whole world will judge us, so we might as well follow suit – and this is what’s truly sad. We’ve learned to buy into the notion and actually believe that we are only worth something when we are young and sport a great body.

I find myself at the present stage – at 45, suffering from fibromyalgia, unable to work out hard, a horrible metabolism, a size 10, lots of tattoos, short, spiky red hair, never sporting skirts or dresses and utterly horrified by the idea of dating. I am so afraid of the judgment, the disappointment and rejection that I don’t even want to try. I am successful, I am intelligent, I make great money, I am independent and I am kind. Alas, I’m no longer young and skinny and last time I’ve checked, that really apparently outweighs who I am as a person.

Last time when I was in Germany, I overheard one of my nieces telling my great niece, who is 12, that she is starting to gain weight and better watch out that she doesn’t become fat. I just hung my head and thought “welcome to being a girl.”

  

Life – It Just Is

Life

Life has gotten a bad rep. Life is hard, life is unfair and sometimes it is full of surprises – namely, the bad kind. Life is a bitch, no matter how you slice and dice it and no matter what religion you are part of. Just ask the Buddhists (life is full of suffering), or the Christians (born into this world as a sinner and going down hill from there). So, what is there to look forward to and why do I need to pass on this misery to offspring? Maybe it’s due to the fact that life really isn’t all that bad.
What I have found is that life is not really a mystery. Yes, there often seems to be no apparent rhyme or reason for who gets dealt the ass card and who dwells in paradise, but that doesn’t mean it’s so hard to figure out. To me, life is common sense and there are certain rules, behaviors and thought patterns one can follow that make life a lot easier. Because, to the contrary of what people say, we do have control over our lives. We don’t have control over others or what happens to them, but we have full control over our own actions, thoughts, behaviors and the results they bring. Which brings me to one of the largest life rules – don’t be a jerk!
Yes, we can go out and horde and acquire and never share and be selfish. We can be unkind and act like jerks by being dishonest, deceitful, mean and spiteful. We can treat others badly, we can be victims, we can be cry babies, wanna bes, fakers, ungrateful douche bags and never learn a damn thing and maybe, we end up with the upper hand; for a little while. Maybe we get the job, raise and money we chased, but we won’t find happiness. This isn’t the power of some supernatural being. It’s cause and effect. How you treat others, what you do and say is exactly what you’re attracting in return. Selfish and heartless jerks tend to be lonely people – no friends or relationships to speak of. So, if no one wants anything to do with you and you relive the same crappy reality year in and out, it’s you and your actions, not life or anyone/anything else.
So what about the horrible things that happen to people? What about cancers, disease/sickness, death, crime, abuse, etc.? There is the “no rhyme or reason” part I’ve mentioned earlier. But how you deal with any of these things is again what defines you. It’s this “christened by fire” thing. I have found that those who experienced a lot of pain due to things that were out of their hands/they didn’t cause have become better and stronger people for it. I don’t know what it is, but those who have suffered the most often tend to have the biggest hearts, compassion and joy for life. Yes, there are those who became mean, bitter and even worse people, but that was usually due to the fact that they were jerks to begin with. Those who weren’t became even better people –and yes, this is something I sometimes struggle with, too. Really, it took THAT to help me learn what it’s all about??? I think I could have learned it without this experience!
What I wish is that people would have more common sense, would do less finger pointing, more apologizing and act and speak more with integrity, honesty and decency. That would take care of a whole bunch of bad lives. I had this fight with my aunt recently. She was upset because I never comment on anything she does and never “like” anything she posts. This woman has never cared for anyone in her entire life. Everything she says and does always has and always will be about her and only her. So I told her that and all hell broke loose. Alas, she lives in a nice home, she buys stuff, lots of stuff and has no friends, no family and no one who cares. The same goes for various other people I’ve encountered in my life. They complain about being all alone, their relationships not lasting, their lack of friends or family who calls or wants anything to do with them and they do this for years and decades and consistently fail to see that their very actions and words have created their own hell.
Life is not a bitch. Sometimes, bad people get away with murder (figuratively and literally speaking) and sometimes the best people get hit with tragedy, trauma and horror. But the very quality of the majority of our life and the people in it are a direct reflection of the people we are being in this world. Strong friendships, true love, a helping hand, compassion, fun, laughter, happiness and joy are all results of our character and the people we are. If we are not happy with the content, we must change our own actions and words, before we start unleashing on others. And if we are “good” people and still attract douche bags all the time, then we still must look within and find out why we feel we don’t deserve better and healthier and keep seeking out broken people who support our image of being non-deservant and not good enough.
Life always ends in death, but how we live until then is up to us. And if we want the journey to be as pleasant as possible we can do our part to make that happen. Our life and the people in it – one large reflection of who we are. So, be good, be loyal, be compassionate, honest, strong, kind and caring. Have integrity and dignity and trust that the ride will be less bumpy and more rewarding.

 

  

From an Internal Combustion Engine to an EV – Would you Go Back?

2011_Nissan_Leaf_SL_--_10-28-2011

First things first – these are my own personal opinions/experiences and I am presenting them as such. I have been leasing a 2012 Nissan Leaf since October 2012.

People ask me all the time if I would go back to an ICE (internal combustion engine). I get the usual little jabs like “when are you going to get a real car again,” and so on, but the truth is, there is no way I would ever go back to a gas powered car. Having said that, an EV is definitely not for the faint of heart, until you get past the range anxiety and fully understand how far you can really go. In addition, the Leaf is not a family car, because of the limited range. Battery depreciation is real and if you have a commute that is more than 30 miles one way and you do not have an ability to charge at your workplace, I would advice against the Leaf.

So what makes an EV so great? Hm, there are many things that make the Leaf the best car I’ve ever owned. BTW, my Leaf is a girl and her name is Knopfette (German for button/buttonette). Knopfette really packs a good punch. Like all EVs she has great torque and accelerates without problem and can rival some muscle cars quite easily; especially going up hill. Accelerating going up is just as effortless as accelerating on even ground. Plus, imagine a world in which you will never, ever need an oil change again and where running your car will cost you about $10 a month; or less! There are no maintenance fees either. The first check is at 7,500 miles and the second one at 15,000. You just plug in and go, that’s it. And yes, you can plug in anywhere, as long as you have a long enough cable.

Overall, this makes the Leaf the cheapest car I’ve ever owned, and the most environmentally friendly. If you want to look up the whole thing on recycling lithium batteries, please go right ahead. No, they are not ending up on giant landfills and no, they are not worse for the environment (which is an argument most gas guzzler owners love to throw out). Really, do your research and you will learn why an EV truly is a technological wonder and contributes greatly to the reduction of carbon dioxide.

Also, the Leaf has many other cool options that allow me to start and stop charging from my phone, as well as start the air conditioning in summer, or heater in winter. Up here, in Northern California, you will find charging stations pretty much anywhere. All major companies have them as well and a lot of the charging stations are free to use! How long does it take to charge? From empty to full it takes about 10 to 12 hours on the trickle charge (a regular 110V outlet at the house), about 5 to 6 hours on the 240V charging stations and about 40 minutes on the quick chargers most car dealerships have. I usually do not run her all the way to empty, so charge times are less if you are not all out of juice.

As I said earlier, I have driven Knopfette for over 2 years now and only once came close to running out of charge, resulting in me having to stop at a Nissan dealership and recharging on the quick charger. Other than that, I have never run out of charge and made it anywhere I wanted to go.

Driving an EV does require a different way of driving and it takes a little bit of getting used to, if you want the most distance on your charge. First of all, the harder you accelerate, the more power you use. The faster you drive on the freeway, the more power you use. Adding AC also drains power, so this does not make for a good time in hot weather – if you have to go over 20 miles one way! However, if you just drive around town, you won’t run into problems. Also, when you coast or go downhill, you start to regenerate power again. Sometimes this results in no power use whatsoever/you ending up with the same range of miles at the end of your ride than the one you had when you started. The Leaf, and most of the EV models have an eco mode, that allows for lesser power use when you are just driving around town. I use it all the time, unless I am on the freeway. I have a short work commute, so usually I can easily drive on one charge all week. I cannot think of a better around town or short commuter car than my Knopfette.

So what do I do if I want to go longer distances? Nissan had a program (not sure if they still offer it) that I really like. Twice a year, you are entitled to get a gas car, if you have to drive a long distance. I used this option to drive from San Jose to Los Angeles when I first moved up here. If you want to go from San Jose to Santa Cruz or San Francisco, you will have to charge up your car once you get there. You will not make it back on one charge! This is not a problem, as both cities have charging stations everywhere, but it is a bit of a nuisance, especially in the beginning, when you can’t truly gauge range on your car yet.

Overall, the Leaf makes for a great driving experience. The car is super quiet, roomy, has great features and doesn’t cost you anything to run, really. I do hope that by then end of 2015 they will come up with better ranges for the Leaf, or that maybe I can afford a Tesla by then. But the truth is – once you’ve gone to an electric car, you will never go back to a gas car.