Tag Archives: Relationships

5 Parenting Tips you Won’t Find in the Books – With Love, your 17-year-old son.

[Dear parents: As you read this, try to look at these tips with an open mind. I’m not writing just to help teens, but to hopefully help you develop a better and easier relationship with your own teen/young adult.]

The struggle

I’m sure every parent has been through it, that lovely phase of teenage years into adulthood. Sure, being a teen is fun, but as a 17-year-old kid who has had more “real world” experience than most, parenting a kid like me can be a bit…challenging. So today, let me help you – help you because just as I’ve come to realize that a few things that I’ve been taught and that I’ve rolled my eyes at are true, today I want to give you, the parents, some tips from the kid you’re trying to parent that might make your eyes roll into the right direction.

My “teen” experience and yours – they aren’t the same.

Tip 1: Don’t parent your kid based on your experiences as a teenager. One of the things that teens hate to hear from their parents is: “I was your age once too”. And sure, it’s true, you were, but did you live through the same things I do? Were you a teenager in the last 5 years? Did you have threats of school shootings and bullies that could get to you 24 hrs a day? Did you have the expectations of looking like or being with an Instagram model? No? So, with all the current events going on and the technological and social situations, our shared experiences basically start and stop in two places: puberty, and growing pains (general figuring out life stuff).

In other words – just because you COULD HAVE made SOME of the same decisions as your kid (substances and following trends), that doesn’t mean you know everything about them and their experiences now.

Right now, your kids are just growing and figuring life out, just like you had to, just like your parents had to – and you turned out great so trust that we will too.

Insider tip: The number 1 thing that teens need isn’t a false understanding of the struggles we go through – it’s the reassurance of love. So, as long as we know you love us to death, we will make you proud. Just do us both a favor and let us figure out our potential and trust that we’ll ask you or someone else for help if we need it.

**That doesn’t go to say, however, if you see your kid making bad decisions constantly, it’s an obvious sign to ask them what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Help your kids on things that potentially put themselves and others in danger, but for small issues, trust that you’ve taught them to figure it out.

Crime and Punishment (in two parts)

Tip 2: Punishment is NOT the solution for addiction. This is a HUGE one. Like many kids in my generation – I got into vaping during my sophomore year, and I obviously kept it a secret from my mom. But the way she handled it when she inevitably caught me – is something I will always be grateful for.

Don’t get me wrong, the first time my mom caught me with a vape she punished me – but soon after that she realized that wasn’t going to help – so she tried something that did.

The last time my mom caught me with a vape was the last time I used one. Why? Because instead of punishing me she opened up to me and we had a conversation about it. She said that I wasn’t in trouble and that she wanted to help me stop. And just from her saying that – that was all the help I needed. Seeing my mom in tears telling me she wasn’t going to yell or punish me, and that she wanted to help me stop it, motivated me enough to quit vaping for good. It took a week to get myself off of it but after that, I was done and I’m never going back. And since then, I’ve even trusted my mom enough that when she asked if I’ve ever smoked weed, I answered honestly, and when she explained to me that it’s obviously not good and asked me if I ever plan on doing it again – I confidently and truthfully said no, I’m not.

The takeaway: Doing things like this with your child builds a huge amount of trust and can help in other aspects too. Teens realizing that their parents want to help them instead of “hurt” them (punishing them) will automatically understand and trust their parents more.

Tip 3: Punishments are necessary but try to think about what (and when) certain punishments work for your teen. For me, when I get punished it’s the same thing: I get my electronics taken away. This might not seem like a big deal for some, but keep in mind (tip #1) that most parents today didn’t grow up with these things, and that for kids in today’s world, they make a big impact on our life. SO, while we may not NEED these things to live, we do need them to sustain our way of life and stay connected.

[And to anyone reading this thinking, “yeah – that’s the point, that’s why it’s called a punishment,” and I hear you. But just like punishing your kid struggling with addiction might not work – using the same punishment every time we have any minor or major slip up also doesn’t work. Not to mention, when a parent gets mad, they can call their friend or talk to their spouse but without that technology, we don’t have the support to work through our drama and do better next time.]

And after a while of getting the same punishments, it just becomes routine to us. We learn how to deal with it and work around it instead of evolving and thinking about the reason we are being punished. So instead, mix it up – try taking away something that they haven’t realized is important to them. That way, when the time comes that they need it, they won’t have it and they’ll think to themselves: “Wow. If I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be in this situation”

Sticks and Stones Definitely Break Bones – But Words they REALLY Hurt Me

Tip 4: If you and your child are in an argument, and there is something you want to say in the heat of the moment that could make it worse, don’t say it. I’ll keep this one short because it explains itself – In certain situations, saying something heated and in the moment can really upset and hurt your kid and if they are in a spiral they’ll spiral even more out of control. We know you’re human, but this is just something to keep in mind. 

Last one, and every mom’s favorite/the most important

Tip 5: Teens may act out and make terrible decisions, and you may fight with them more often than not, but deep down inside, they always love you more than anything. I was a terrible teenager for a few years. I had just started my teenage years when my dad died, and I can admit that I lashed out at my mom and never listened to her. But whenever we got into an argument, I always wanted to apologize immediately after, and most of the time, I felt like garbage and I tried to change.

When it comes to mothers and sons, the worst sight is your mother crying. And just because your kid acts out or is mad at you I can promise you that you aren’t doing that parenting thing wrong, and your kid knows you love them and you do the things you do because you love them.

At the end of the day parenting always has room for improvement, and no one does it perfectly. That’s the wonder of it all. But as a teen who wants to do better and knows how teens learn best hopefully, you got some things out of this, and you really go and use these tips in your parenting journey.

The Sins of the Father

A while back, there were certain religious institutions that would accept monetary payments in exchange for forgiveness. This “forgiveness” whether it be partial or otherwise would then grant deceased relatives access to heaven that they otherwise may not have gotten. Sounds great right? Assuming your family could afford it… and for a while people paid these “indulgences,” probably thinking and believing that they were buying gods love and a family memebers freedom from suffering. But in reality what the money really did was give religious institutions access to the kinds of funds that would support their varrious projects and “expansions.”

But why, on a Friday, am I talking about church and forgiveness? Well, to be frank, I’m not… what I am talking about is the debt we pay for the ones that leave us behind and while it certainly isn’t always monetary, it can still be quite costly.

Inheritance

Something that’s been on my mind quite a bit lately is the concept of inheritance and how we inherit the sins and in some cases, the atrocities, that were inflicted on our parents and their parents and so on. See a few years back a friend of mine posted this really profound thought that I probably brought up before but I’m going to say it again –

She said “We all just want to give our children a life they don’t have to heal from.” – read that again – “We all just want to give our children a life they don’t have to heal from.”

And though she is completely right and although no parent sets out to damage their child, some kids today are constantly paying for sins that they didn’t commit and that they might not even be able to understand for another two or three decades. Why? Because they, and we, are paying for the sins of our mother’s mothers and our father’s fathers and so on – and if you stick with me for a bit I can explain exactly why and how we are doing that.

Spacial Awareness and Mental Health

Now before I get too deep into this, I’ll preface this with – not everyone has aggressive amounts of trauma or any real trauma at all, but some have and as humans, it’s our job to respect people where they are at on their journey and listen to them and their stories to the best of our abilities. We don’t have to agree with them or their beliefs, but telling them they are wrong or lying for the sake of making ourselves feel better is no longer an option. That said, let’s get into it.

A decade or two ago, the mental health resources were obviously not what they are today. The stigma surrounding mental health and even asking for help was often portrayed as weakness and while, in a lot of ways, men are still made to feel inferior for asking for and getting the help they need – young men are in a way better place now than their fathers and grandfathers were 30-60 years ago. So, keeping this in mind – our parents and their parents, in some cases, are pretty darn screwed up. BUT ITS NOT THEIR FAULT. (With one very important exception…)

The exception: If you, as a parent, relative, friend, etc. can properly identify your own trauma and the trauma you are inflicting on others and you are not doing EVERYTHING in your power ie. therapy or medication or kickboxing (whatever works for you) to work through that and not be hurtful to the people you love – you CANNOT blame anyone but yourself for the fallout of your actions and you can’t blame those around you because they don’t spend every minute of everyday trying to avoid your invisible trip wires.

Look, believe it or not, I’m not here to place blame or condemn anyone or point the finger this way and that and I’m also not trying to be the trauma police. I’m not here to name names in order to validate my own trauma – that would be twisted – but I am saying this because I know I am not the only one who has been snapped at or has snapped at the people around me because someone did something to me or I did something to them as a result of an entirely disconnected situation. So, in order to understand why older people are triggered and why they react to things we do and why we and our kids feel like we are stepping on invisible trip wires – we need to accept that the people raising us have some stuff they haven’t dealt with – and a major reason for that is because they were conditioned to believe it is normal by their parents. (gaslighting is generationally screwy)

Forgiveness isn’t for them

I forget who said this recently, but I heard this quote that ran along the lines of “forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you.” – read that again – “forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you.” which brings us back to the church and to “indulgences” because when we pay for the sins of those before us, we don’t nessesarily do it for them. We do it for ourselves, to make ourselves feel better, while claiming we are doing it for them – and if you think that’s selfish… well in some cases you gotta allow yourself to put you first.

When we forgive others – we do it knowing that we can let go of our half of the burden and the weight of carrying that hurt and that anger in us. When we forgive others we give ourselves permission to move on.

So I guess in other words, we learn to bear it so they don’t have to – then we allow ourselves to let it go because we don’t have to. And none of this discounts how hard this can be but maybe on a certain level it allows us to come to terms with the idea that everyone that we love and that every person around us is human.

They are imperfect.

AND

Everyone around us is fighting their own battles and sometimes we, in our proximity to them, are met with friendly fire. And that sucks – but at the end of the day, we choose what and how these things actually affect us – and hopefully twenty years from now we will have built better tools to carry those things with us. But for now – let’s just work on doing better and being better because just because I went through it, doesn’t mean they have to.

Don’t doubt you, to please them

You know, people tend to use the term over thinking as a one off or a write off. “Oh you’re just over thinking it.” Which actually, in most cases, acts as a dismissal. Something to say, “just get out of your head and go for it. Take the job, take the leap, date the guy, whatever the situation, stop thinking, and go for it.” And as much as I’d love to say it’s not that easy, that’s a write off too, because it’s not about easy – it’s about fear, it’s about coping for past trauma, and it’s about avoiding. But most of all, it’s about instinct.

Lately the narrative surrounding first impressions has been taking a turn. Most of us were raised to think that someone who we meet, who gives us butterflies, is someone we should pursue, but now people are saying “if they give you butterflies, run.” And the idea behind it is that lasting relationships make you feel safe and butterflies are this exciting high that our bodies get used to and then depend on. So when things calm down, we get bored and we bounce. And aside from internalized and externalized misogyny I think this is also why mothers tell their daughters not to sleep with a guy on a first date. Because the truth of the matter is, they’re either interested, or they’re not – and anything that happens in between is just grey.

Let’s talk about the grey

I can’t say where I developed the ideology that love is transactional. That dates should be reciprocated with something more than a thank you. That getting someone in your life and keeping them in your life means sacrificing parts of you to fit or compensate for parts of them. And I can’t place where I gained the impression that I owe so much more to a world that has chewed me up and spit me out, than I do to myself – but I fight it every day. And on days when I decide not to, where I decide to try to break the cycle, I quickly end up back at square one fighting a mind that’s trying to anticipate a dozen outcomes just to avoid the one or two where I get hurt.

So, in short, it’s exhausting being me.

But it’s also exhausting being right… On any given day I’d guess that a minimum of 50% of my thoughts are comprised of replaying conversations I’ve had (either during that day or anytime in the past should those memories be triggered) or curating what I’m about to say next or talking myself out of saying that thing because it would create all kinds of problems. Another 20% is tangents which means another 10% has to be allocated to reeling myself back in. Leaving a very generous 20% to play with but realistically it’s more like 15% after you take out anything related to tiktok.

Look, this isn’t minority report, my brain does not have a special algorithm that allows me to predict the future because if it did I’d probably a whole lot better off . I guess what I’m trying to say or even just emphasize is that 50% of my time goes to stuff I can’t control, 30% is distractions, 15% is realistically just in the moment people pleasing and the last 5% is a god damn clock app. And while I am completely and perpetually aware that these numbers are completely fictitious my point is that I’m now questioning my sanity as much as I’m grappling for control.

Accepting yourself and your thoughts

That said, lately I’ve been turning my own narrative. I’ve been trying to put myself out there and work with my emotions rather than control them, especially when it comes to relationships. And this isn’t a sign of me giving in, or compromising or lowering my standards to fit what life looks like for traditional 25 year old over-thinkers.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trying to develop my own sort of butterfly effect (not the one with time travel), working with nerves and fears and instinct. Working on ways to better support myself and those around me by understanding that ideals I developed growing up, and the basis for my relationship experiences are just that, a basis. A basis, rather than a hard and fast rule.

Look when I started this blog I didn’t know much more than I do now. But I did value myself a lot less than I thought I did compared to now. Things I used to settle for, the attention and money I used to chase because that was what I thought made young people great — none of that matters as much as it used to. And that’s incredibly freeing.

See I used to think that I owed the world everything. I’d spiral down to the belief that I had to chase my fathers name and I had to make my own and that I had to be so fiercely independent because I wanted respect and I don’t know, power? Long story short I got trapped in intrusive thoughts and now I’ve turned certain parts of my overthinking into an asset. And I’ve done that by accepting myself and my crazy too.

The moral of the story

Look, at the end of the day no one knows you better than yourself (and maybe your best friend) but at the end of the day you can’t sacrifice you to please the them (men, women, mom, or dad) because even if your mind is dark and even if you have to replay moments to understand – it all helps you grow and make better choices than you did yesterday and hopefully today or tomorrow or next week you’ll trust yourself more.

And, if you can’t trust yourself everyday, then think about it this way – Even if this life takes a village, it’s up to you to build the home that lets those people in. So be brave enough to let them in but never for a second apologize for being you to be more palatable for them.

In other words, don’t doubt you, to please them. (You know, like the title says)

On Visi[BI]lity

This past week was bi visibility week and yesterday, sept 23, bi visibility day. Now after the year we’ve all had it seems like a lot of people or at least a lot of the people I know have taken the past year in isolation to do the hard work of looking within themselves and being more honest with who they are – and as one of those people I know, I can tell you it isn’t easy.

In the past year I’ve taken a lot of time to let myself come to terms with trauma and even deal with the internalized homophobia I didn’t know I had.

See for me it was never about not accepting gay people (or knowing love is love), it was the idea that of all the struggles I had been through and all the work I still had to do – I didn’t want my love life to be a part of those struggles. And while some of that sentiment isn’t entirely gone, finally owning those other parts of my self and identity have allowed me not only want to be seen but feel more valid in being seen.

Let’s talk visibility

These days it seems like everything is more fluid but nothing is tangible. Take the typical examples – concepts like faith and love. You can see how they manifest but you can’t grab hold of them. Gender and sexuality are obviously a bit harder to argue, but at the same time both are constructs created by industry and interpretation. And sure you could boil it down into biology but that’s not something I’m going to try and tackle today. Instead let’s talk about bi visibility.

Did you know that the largest percentage in the LGBTQ+ is bisexuals? And that’s only of the people who are out. And it’s crazy because even as members of the LGBTQ+ bisexuals still get backlash from people inside of (and outside of ) the community… even though they make up the largest percentage of it.

See as humans we seem to like to place ourselves in clear cut boxes. Black and white. Gay and straight. Rich or poor. Smart or dumb. I mean it’s funny how you could just boil someone down into a this or that and more funny that the answers they give you will undoubtably be different from the answers you give for them. Truth of the matter is that people hate ambiguity, whether they like to admit it or not. So when some people start to warp the rules of the game or deviate from what is accepted as commonplace some people get confused and others even angry.

So let’s talk about it. Let’s remove some of the ambiguity.

Bisexuality is the fact that someone can be attracted to more than one gender, this can mean someone that is the gender they identify as and another that is not. Bisexuality now also means that someone can be attracted to more than two genders – but after that it can get slightly confusing because there’s other words that have been developed for people who like all people and people who like more than one person at once. So to keep it straight forward, bisexuality essentially means you don’t solely conform to liking the opposite sex.

Bisexuality/bisexuals are not – Slutty, indecisive, or sexual deviants going through a phase and seeing what side they want to pick. Bi people also don’t always conform to a 50/50 split, which is where the fluidity comes in because sometimes they have a preference and sometimes it’s on a case by case basis.

But most importantly bi people are valid no matter who they are dating at the time because it is their choice how to identify.

Bisexuality and me

For me, right now, when it comes to all of me (which includes my sexuality) I am just doing a lot of learning. I’m constantly learning about myself, lgbtq+ history, and how to feel comfortable again in certain spaces.

I guess the best way to explain my bisexuality though is that most days when and if I think about dating I feel like I’m too mature for most men my age and most women my age terrify me. In other words, my sexuality right now has nothing to do with who I’m sleeping with or who I’m dating because frankly I’m not doing either right now – and I’m more than ok with that.

And if I’m being really honest, if I had to pin point one thing that’s changed the most about me in the past year or two its not my sexuality – it’s that for the first time in a long long time I’m just happy with where I’m at. I’ve shed my expectation of being at a certain place in life just because of who I assumed I’d be at 25 and I’m genuinely happy with who I am. And honestly the cherry on top is that I have no desire to date for the sake of dating and there’s something that truly freeing about that.

What I’m looking forward to

I think some of the things I’m most looking forward to in the next five or ten years are the surprises. The things I haven’t planned or thought of yet, but I’m also really hopeful that the world might surprise me too. I’m excited to see a world lead by more accepting and tolerant people and laws that reflect those ideals. I’m excited at the possibility that relationships will be normalized in society and on tv. I’m excited for young people to use the voice they have now and the ones they haven’t found yet. And I know not all of it is going to be easy – but as a generation or era we’ve found our Horton (there’s too many to name but go with it ), we’ve proved we’re here (over and over and over again) and slowly but surely the world is changing, so I guess what I’m most excited for is to see what it does next.

If Toxic was a Type

When it comes to romantic relationships, I, like others my age, was some what subliminally conditioned to desire toxic traited men. Now ironically, this adoption of falling for men who have blasted past the bad boy trope so they could essentially bathe in vats of toxic waste like a damn hot tub – didn’t come from our men in government… but it does occasionally and technically come from the historically archaic times that those men and their bills seem to live in.

Now before this gets out of hand… no this is not a piece that will make subtle jabs at middle aged white men who continue to assert their dominance by implying that a 6 week old embryo has more rights than a woman – no… this blog will be about men (and women) who suck in a different way, because today, we’re going to talk about the original (blood) suckers — vampires.

Sooooo…Vampires.

While boomers are generally known for sexualizing the word “baby” and more recent generations are known for sexualizing the word “daddy” – the early 2000’s could be easily identified as a time when media and pop-culture vastly sexualized the supernatural — and more specifically, Vampires.

Which come to think of it is probably why many of my friends also love serial killers but…. I digress.

Point is — At a young age I got accustomed to romanticizing relationships based on the ones I was seeing on tv. Which wouldn’t have been a problem if the men hadn’t been 25-30 playing 120+ year old teenagers… who also happened to be undead serial killers.

“Turn me” meant something entirely different in 2008-2009

See I’m a 90’s baby – but I didn’t grow up on sitcoms like FRIENDS, I grew up on Gossip Girl, Friday Night Lights, and The Vampire Diaries. I grew up on over sexualized, arguably toxic characters that were mostly just 20 somethings playing teenagers because that’s what was hot and that’s what was popular. And for the most part I’m not complaining because I loved it then and I still love it now – but it also messed with my head.

Look – I do get how crazy it sounds but you have to understand that at the time this was all happening I had no idea how toxic the relationships were because they were in love and I wanted so badly to feel what they had for myself. On the other hand however,I had no clue how they would and wouldn’t impact what I looked for in a relationship a decade later. And let me just say, that one hasn’t gone too well.

ANYWAY…. So picture this

In 2008 we were comfortably sitting in between the release of the fifth and sixth Harry Potter films. And most of us, at that point, had given up on becoming wizards so we were pretty used to just living for the films. Then Twilight hit theaters and s*** got real. And I mean, why wouldn’t it when Cedric Diggory was alive (technically) and sparkly and Taylor Lautner started flashing abs on 20 ft screens. The acting was definitely a pain point at the time but the on screen faces definitely were not.

And then from there it all kind of blasted off because a year later Elena Gilbert and the Salvatore brothers had us swooning even more.

So in other words, it’s no surprise that many of us wanted that kind of passion and excitement in our love lives but I think the harshest critique I could have about this genre was that there was this constant idea that the women had to transform themselves to fit into what the guy was. And that no matter how many times the guy tried to convince her she was enough as she was – that only made her want it and him more. Which is toxic at best and terrifying at worst.

If Toxic was a trope

If toxic were a trope it would look like 2000’s pop culture. I mean look, I get it, hindsight is 20/20 and knowing what I know now I’m able to work with myself to detox from thinking that what went on in these shows was sexy. And maybe that’s not the way to phrase it, because I think it’s allowed to still be iconic and hot and sexy without being something to realistically look for.

I mean I have spent years trying to be something I’m not to fit the mold that these shows designed because I wanted so badly to be a part of the twisted fairytale these love stories created. I wanted the guy and the danger and the fun and the forever. But I don’t think I really understood what that all meant.

And whether it’s chasing the wrong or bad guy because you think you can change him or changing yourself to fit into his world – I don’t know, it just seems like a lot to ask for love.

So yeah – if toxic was a type I think it would be mine. And I mean maybe labeling this bad is wrong because not all aspects of these genres and themes and tropes were. And while it’s not the best mindset to have going into dating I am grateful because having not been in relationships I do feel like I ended up learning a lot about what not to look for and what aspects I could keep. But at the end of the day it’s all a learning game and I may not have forever to figure it out – but at least I have some time.

The after-match of online dating

In the aftermath of the holidays I’ve been thinking a lot about dating lately and with dating at my age comes the obvious…sex.

Now while I have no problem with human sexuality I am on the more modest side – so if you opened this to read salacious details about my sex life – well let’s just say that my career in romance novels isn’t about to start on this blog… that being said, the issue I want to talk about today –

When to bring up sex – the “after match”

Let’s set the scene – you a male or female 20-30 something have just downloaded a dating app, you have no real expectations for romance but as a hopeless romantic you think hmmm this time, this time maybe it will be different. I mean … my friend said she found her match here, so maybe there is one for me too?

You proceed, swiping left and right and finally you have that sea full of fishes that everyone has been talking about. You “match” with a couple people and start talking and it seems to be going well and then…

The turn off

When it comes to dating apps I have three MAJOR turnoffs. (1.) the guys who are DTF before they even say hi. (2.) the sleeper cell guys who are nice and then BAM they use some grotesque and crude language saying how they want to “please” you over and over and over agian. and (3.) Someone who can’t hold a conversation on or offline. (which fyi is not rocket science)

The break down

For me the option 1 guys are not the worst. They know what they want and sadly, their method has probably worked once or twice so they stick to what they know. These guys aren’t pigs, they are opportunists. They know that dating sites have girls that are looking for what they are and they know that it won’t have to lead to some sticky relationship that might drain their wallet and take their bro-vado.

Then we have option 2, the guy who starts off nice, compliments your eyes instead of your a** and genuinely wants to take five minutes to get to know you. However, the problem with these guys is that those five minutes seem to be all they can take before they whip out the innuendo.

Lastly pet peeve numero 3 the conversation desert. This one like the other two is fairly self explanatory. When it comes to dating chemistry is a huge deal and a lack of ability to converse – well – even a fire cracker can’t recover that lack of a spark.

The takeaway

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – a major problem in my generation is that we dive into “relationships” before we dive into ourselves.

Truth is I have no problem with guys wanting what they want – what I do have a problem with is timing.

Choosing the right time to bring up sex in a potential relationship is hard. Probably harder when it comes to girls like me who use self respect as a means to turn to frustration before conversation. But at the end of the day for me it is about respect over assumptions.

I want someone to respect me enough to ask me how my day is before they assume I want to spend it rolling around in their bed. I want someone to respect that a relationship, even at the beginning, isn’t about talking about how many f**** you’ve given or assuming that I’d want to be the next. I want someone to respect that sex isn’t the first or second thought on my mind because health and work come first. And maybe that means that I need to stop assuming that guys will know that not all girls are DTF upon first match – but maybe it also means I need to stop being the girl that lets guys hide behind screens and be bold enough to put myself out there.

It’s all about timing

When it comes to dating in the “modern” age – I feel like I was born in the wrong time. But as much as I would love to go back to a time when courtship and courtesy was a thing, I don’t want to live in a time where women’s rights were virtually non existent. So maybe I can learn to deal with boys better, or maybe I can find men who get it or maybe its not just my time yet.

All I know is that there is a right time to bring up sex in relationships and one day we will find someone who gets and respects that too. But for now we’re all just learning and maybe that’s cool too.

To the ones with weak spot syndrome

We all have a weak spot for someone. A friend, a family member, or a lover. We all have that one person we’d wait for – the one who could get away with murder and we’d forgive them.

Me, I have weak spot syndrome – and maybe you do too. For me it’s never one person but rather, a list. A list of people who enter and exit my life on a whim and yet I am always thinking of them. A list of people who I care about unconditionally no matter how much they hurt me or say things behind my back. Yeah I have weak spot syndrome – but maybe you do too. So this letter is for you.

To the ones with weak spot syndrome. Know that you are loved. Know that there is someone out there who will love you like you deserve someday. Know that it will be hard to let toxic people go. Know that you won’t be able to let certain people go but you have to.

To the ones with weak spot syndrome. I get it but not everyone will.

I know what it’s like to wait for a call, a text, or any form of acknowledgement. I know what it’s like to hurt when you don’t get it. And 95% of the time you won’t get it – because some people these days don’t understand what it’s like when someone on your list is begging to be removed but you can’t let them go.

To the ones with weak spot syndrome, know that this kind of burn is good. This kind of hurt is good. This kind of pain is what you need – because one day you will be able to let that person or people go.

and when you do

The feeling will be glorious.

Dear decade

Dear decade, this will be our last letter. The last time I say hello and you goodbye. The last time I try to comprehend what happened over the course of 9 years. And the first time I admit that, though none of it was perfect – all of it was what I needed.

Dear decade, the past nine years have been full of goodbyes, good mornings, and hello’s. It’s been filled with – “nice to meet you”s and “sorry to see you go”s.

In the past decade I became an adult – a real full fledged adult. I’ve graduated high school and college and my masters. I’ve started a blog and now a clothing line to go with it (got that one in right under the wire). I moved away from home, stayed in touch with old friends and lost touch with new ones. I gave speeches and monologues and rants and (yeah I talked a lot).

But I gave up a lot too.

I said goodbye to my father – and the dreams that come with having one. I lost the man to walk me down the aisle and dance with me at my wedding.

But through it all I didn’t give up hope.

I said hello to new dreams. Cheered family on through weddings and graduations and babies being born. I persevered through pain and I fought my biggest enemy (myself)

So decade, I guess you could say I did ok. I made it through. I had victories and losses and championship moments that I wouldn’t give up for the world. Yeah I guess you could say I did it – we – did it. We made it through. And decade, that’s all either of us could have asked for.

– R

The problem with love in my generation

So about a week ago, after watching a rom com I started writing a post that was nothing short of crazy cat lady crazy. (Not to worry, I culled the crazy)

In this post, I talked about love and how it was the princes that I haven’t kissed were the ones I regretted more than the frogs I had. I talked about unrequited love and how our lives are defined by the chances we don’t take when it comes to love.

BUT – it wasn’t until my car ride home from work the next day that I realized why I had cat lady spiraled – ok maybe not a reason, but at the very least it was a much more constructive way of writing in which I didn’t confess an undying love that only occurs to me when I am lonely (aka not love but loneliness).

Thus I GIVE YOU (drumroll) … The problem with love in my generation.

See in my generation it seems that we have “love” or rather “lust” at our fingertips. If we are lonely we swipe, bored? We swipe, in need of human intimacy? You guessed it. We cue up the options and swipe our way into someone’s bed.

Today it’s easier than ever to find someone for whatever you need in the moment. But the problem with this? It doesn’t last. And that isn’t just because someone’s bio takes away the romance or the mystery of meeting someone on the street or at a bar. It’s because that craving for someone to love or lust us takes away from the one thing the internet can’t immediately gratify.

TODAY WE LACK THE ABILITY TO LOVE OURSELVES FIRST – and no ladies I’m no talking about the Hailee Steinfeld song kind of “love yourself” I’m talking no likes no views see yourself in the mirror and dig what you see before you ask some guy or girl to validate.

Look at the end of the day validation is great. But kissing frogs and finding princes/princesses doesn’t do a damn thing if you can’t find yourself first.

The problem with my generation is that love isn’t like the movies and while getting caught up in the theatrics every once in a while is great it doesn’t fix the problem. The problem that we don’t give ourselves enough love or honest communication to ever give it to someone else.

These days were caught up in trying not to be lonely that we make a lot of wrong turns. Some of us end up in short term marriages, some in abusive relationships and others well those lucky little craps find something real. At the end of the day it comes down to luck and love – not luck for finding someone or love of someone but luck and love in knowing and loving ourselves.

The Confessions of a Washed Up Track Star

In sports, when the buzzer goes, the game ends.

So I guess the most confusing part of my sport is that – when the gun fires, we don’t stop, we go. When the clock starts, we run, we throw, we decide when to start the jump, the throw, the race – and then we decide what line to finish on and whether or not we want to keep our mark – or scratch it.

In my sport, we don’t have a final buzzer. We leave the end open- ended and because of this… well maybe that is why I can’t see an end to what I feel as though I barely started.

I Never Saw It In A Dream – But it Became Real

Five years ago – I didn’t dream of being here. I never imagined that I would be good enough to be where I am. But, I also never thought it would hurt this much to leave.

When your race ends, you walk away. In 5 years I have watched countless people walk away when it was their time to, but I never thought that watching them walk meant losing what it meant to be a part of a true and cohesive team.

One Team – No Longer a Dream

Three years ago I was part of a team, one that cheered and pushed and expected things of one another. Three years ago I was part of something bigger than myself, but today it just feels like I’m chasing that feeling like a dream deferred.


Harlem
BY LANGSTON HUGHES
What happens to a dream deferred?

     Does it dry up
     like a raisin in the sun?
     Or fester like a sore—
     And then run?
     Does it stink like rotten meat?
     Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?

     Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

      Or does it explode?

PoetryFoundation.org

We all know the feeling of a dream deferred. The feeling of watching something you love slip through your finger tips like the string of a balloon leaving your hand at a crowded park with no one to save it as it flies away.

I never thought of Track and Field as my dream deferred – I never thought of it as something that could turn sour, but today, as I watch something rot and crust and sag – I realize that this love, like all others in my life have blinded me to how broken it is.

I Cannot and Do Not Win Without Them – And THIS is why We Do Not Win at all.

People assume that Track is a solo sport – It isn’t, but then again you cannot spell “Field” without “I” and I often feel that the Field part of Track and Field is forgotten – so maybe it fits. Because some times outside of my squad I feel like an I in a crowd of we’s.

It’s funny though.

The word team doesn’t have “I” in it – but if you re-arrange the letters it can say “ME”. And when I realize that, it gets me thinking how “We” turned into “Me” and “me” turned into a losing battle against myself.

A No Win Situation

Most days I ask questions I shouldn’t, ones that lead my coach to tell me to keep my nose out of it. But I personally cannot sit on my hands and be happy when this is not the team I signed up for.

AND I AM NOT ALONE

These are My Confessions

Today I am stuck. I am stuck watching people suffer because the sport they fell in love with is pushing them away as quickly as it held them close and honestly, I never thought it would be like that because two or three years ago it wasn’t.

Today I’m stuck. Stuck watching some fall to over confidence and others fail by not believing in themselves.

Today I’m waiting for something I used to have. Questioning if it was ever real in the first place and wondering if team is made by bonds among friends or by coaches who refused to take our shit.

Today I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of washed up and irrelevant, but tomorrow everything could change.

In Other Sports

In other sports we are made to stop when the buzzer fades, when the teams walk off the court – but in my sport we decide when to cross the finish line and while I can see mine inching closer, I still have too much to do to admit that it’s over.

In other sports they leave everything on the court, but in my sport I take control and me? I’ve just begun.

To All the Boys…

… I’ve been distracted by while I was just trying to run some errands …

Adulting and single, but not quite ready to mingle?  Me too girl, me too.

It’s a weird limbo – I’m at an age where I could totally be looking for a serious relationship, but also know I need to focus on other things.
(You know, like my career, my incessant travel bug, crumbling student debt, that sort of stuff.)

I’m not actively looking, but open to it if someone worthy comes around.  But then again, is there anyone truly so wonderful that I would redirect my future plans?
(Actually, yes.  That person is and will always be Chris Pine.  For sure.)

Image result for chris pine

You know how it kind of seems like the only attractive, Grade A guys on Earth are in the movies now, and thus are unattainable to mere mortals like us?  I realize I’m not looking for a husband right now or anything, but let’s be honest – I can’t be the only one lacking contact with age appropriate ‘men’ with at least the maturity level of, well, myself.

I can’t find them in real life, because scripted and rehearsed romance is totally more what I’m looking for right now.  The latest girl crush, fyi, is Noah Centineo; and he actually starred in the film that inspired this post.

Image result for to all the boys ive loved before

Three cheers for cheesy teenage rom-coms!
(I don’t agree, though, for the record.  My current crush is activist Cameron Kasky.  But that’s beside the point.)

So, my girlfriends and I popped open a bottle of wine and shared stories about our own personal celebrities: the men we pass by on our every day adventures.  Here are our stories about the ones we are thankful for because they keep life a little interesting.

Like back in August, when I went to get a new tattoo with a friend of mine.  My artist came out to ask me a few questions, and I did that thing you see in movies where the girl totally tunes the guy out because she is so focused on how attractive they are?  And suddenly I just hear “hello Earth to Lex??” and then they have to repeat the question?  Except it wasn’t cute like in the movies – it was embarrassing because it was real life and it was me.  So when he went back to finish the sketch my aforementioned friend turned to me, looked me straight in the eye, pretended to wipe something off my chin and says “hey dude, stop drooling would ya?”

Embarrassing? Yes.
Comical? Affirmative.
But am I complaining? Absolutely not.
I got a new tattoo while making small talk and flirting with a very cute man, so all in all, great day.1533326060535

Or while I’m tucked away in my corner at Starbucks doing homework, and there’s that fluctuation of cute guys walking in and my mind goes right to the movies as if he’ll just come on over and sit down and strike up a clever conversation.  As if we’ll laugh and fall in love as time goes by and suddenly the store is closing before we even realize we’ve been there for so long.  When in reality I may get a smile, mini hand wave, and I’m left with endless possibilities of fake conversations running through my mind.

(But of course there are also the older men who direct their gaze over, even if they’re sitting there with who I can only assume to be their wife.  I divert my eyes and hope I don’t need to throw any punches, but hey it keeps me alert.)

Did I mention the cute police officer busy directing traffic?   I realize we all have places to be but do you mind if I just stop right here and cause a jam?
Instead I’ll wave and that’ll be that.  Maybe I’ll see you later at Starbucks, hopefully, if the universe thinks I should have a good day.

person holding cup of coffees on table
Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Or that one night I was out at a bar with my friends celebrating birthdays, and we’re all sitting down with a few new guy friends, right?  Right.  So we’re laughing, having fun, and one of them looks at me and says “watch this.”  A few seconds later he hands me a FLOWER made from a NAPKIN and naturally I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  Does this really happen to people?  Is this just birthday luck?  Who is this guy?  Did he also just hand me a ring he made from a dollar bill?
I need another drink.

If you think I wore that dollar bill ring and carried that flower around all night you are absolutely correct.
If you also think we never got in touch again after that night, and have since just gone our separate ways, then you are also absolutely correct.
(For the record, there are video tutorials online for anyone who wants to learn either of these fun (and easy) party tricks.)

And at the autumn fairs when my girlfriend and I are walking around desperate to find cow-spotted overalls, asking every cute guy working the games or food booths if they have seen them anywhere.  Hey, maybe we find them, maybe we get a double date out of it.   Either way, it’s win.
(It’s really a win when the guy lets your little cousin win the goldfish no matter what, even though none of us are really that great at throwing the bouncy balls into the small fish bowls.  Oh, then he offers to find you a job.  Good man, but no thank you.)

woman standing on metal fence near boy wearing black cap
Photo by Amanda Cottrell on Pexels.com

Or on the commute to work, I pass by a cute firefighter on the train.  We don’t speak to one another, but we exchange a single head nod and mutually understand that it replaces all niceties and small talk.

Just past that hero are the men in suits travelling to their finance desk jobs.  How riveting.  I think about how they could set me up for life and I could have my beach house and travel and never have to do my own finances.  But, then again, are they really worth my time?  I can settle with secretly admiring, and judging, them from a few rows away.

Or the ever so precious teenager that works the register at Target, right as the sale on bralettes goes live.  Poor timing for him because, I’m sorry, but us 20-somethings cannot pass up a bralette sale.  He turns bright red as he has to handle the lacy bras, like he is so embarrassed to be touching anything that isn’t a video game.  Just know that you are adorable and you made me giggle all day long at the thought of this encounter.

woman winter gloves winter clothing
Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com

We could talk about my personal favorite: the lingering eyes at the gym.  When I go over to the ‘heavy’ machinery where I need to share the equipment with these boys who are so clearly always skipping leg day.  When I just go over, adjust the weights, and quickly glance around to see a handful of these people looking at me as if I don’t belong, as if I shouldn’t know how to use this stuff.  As if there’s no way I could have played collegiate athletics before I became washed up and had to do these drills at 5am every week.
(Silly boys.  Surprise!  I squat more than you do.)
But their faces when they realize I actually know what I’m doing, that I don’t need a spotter, and have better form than most of them?  Well, that’s priceless.  It’s the little things, right?

(for the record: i’m kidding.  this is not my favorite.  please don’t actually watch women exercise.  I know you love to record yourself lifting, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no one actually cares that you went to the gym.  so mind your own beeswax, please.)

two woman doing exercise
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Nonetheless, shout out to all of the men that keep us on our toes as we roam through our day-to-day life.  The ones that are polite, kind, and give us a little hope for the future of mankind.  And here’s to all the women I can turn to and tell these stories with, and for everyone who shared with me their own encounters so I could put together this piece.

It’s still amazing to me that I can run into so many people, and meet so many strangers, and yet I still have not run into Chris Pine.  Maybe someday, if the universe thinks I deserve a good week.  Until then, bad rom-coms it is.

 

We Can’t Afford a Wedding so Let’s Just Play House

I live on Pinterest.  I window-shop on Zillow.  I spend my free time dreaming of what my future life might be like.  I have a board that is specifically dedicated to what I want for my dream wedding, which for me doesn’t mean floor to ceiling flowers or a dress that costs more than my car, but instead fun reception games and fans that say “Toit Nups”.

The problem going forward is not that I don’t have a husband in mind, but rather that he and I cannot imagine paying for any of it.  I find myself in a situation that generations before us didn’t worry about: affording to move forward in my relationship.  I have been with Ian for over two years, but with the average cost of a wedding, and living in a state where the cost of living is high, we feel stuck.  We can afford to live our lives and pay our expenses, but we can’t afford much else.  We want to spend our lives together, but our future still has a big question mark when it comes to the next steps.

This is not a comment on our relationship, but rather about every outside factor.  We are perfectly happy the way we are, but we do want to move forward.  We love our Tuesday date night, lazy Saturdays, and church on Sunday morning before I go to work.  We have not only a routine, but the communication skills that we use in our partnership that keep us strong and fulfilled.

Ian is already the first person I talk to in the morning and the last person I talk to before I go to bed.  When I have news, good or bad, he is the first person I tell.  We are a team already.  In a lot of ways, I feel like the wedding is just putting an official title on what we already know.

Believe me, I do want to get married.  I do care about it and I want to have a wedding, but I simply have no extra money to spend.  So I’ll stick to Pinterest and Zillow.  I will save dresses to my cart and dream up bridesmaid gifts.  We will walk through Pier One and discuss our favorite furniture.  We can dream all we want, but that won’t change the numbers in our bank accounts.  I guess for now we will just have to play pretend.