Of very nice guys and please stop screaming

This entry is incredibly difficult for me to write. It’s not very triggering (at least I don’t think so), but I won’t be offended if you need to stop.

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. I was going to have to tell a potential romantic interest what happened to me and how it might have an impact things going forward. I just didn’t think it would be this “sooner”.

I don’t remember exactly how much detail, or not, I’ve put in here. So here’s the crash course. I went on a date 2 weeks ago with Very Nice Guy. We’d been chatting for a few weeks online & over text and decided to finally meet. The tattoos came up in conversation, as they do. Instead of dodging the question, I asked him if he wanted to really know what they meant or the bullshit answer I usually give to people. He asked for the truth. I made sure he was ready to hear something unpleasant, then told him they were my self injury scars. I gave him a two sentence explanation about where they came from. This was all of an hour after we met face to face. We ended the date with a hug because it was more than a handshake, but less than a kiss. It was also 3 in the morning. That’s another story for another time.

This past weekend was Date #2. He’d been feeling sick, but felt up to going out anyway. As with last time, we ended with a hug. I told him (half joking) that if he’d been sick I didn’t want to kiss him. Awkward, party of 2. I told him later that I felt like I’d really flubbed it. He agreed that it was awkward, but I hadn’t totally screwed it up. He told me that he wanted to make a move, but he wasn’t sure what to do given what I’d told him. After thinking about it, I told him that I’d need him to be patient with me and err on the side of explicit communication (“You put your left foot in, you take your left foot out…”). He said that was fine and left it at that. While there is no official Date #3, it would appear that’s where this is going.

With all that in mind, Hailey started SCREAMING.

“What do you think you’re doing?! You can’t let him touch you! He’s lying! He’ll go too far and you won’t stop him! You can’t stop him! You’re such a slut, you’ll just let him do whatever he wants!”

No, I won’t. I know how wildly unhealthy it would be for me to revert back to judging myself based on who will sleep with me. I could easily undo months of progress. I don’t want that. While sometimes it can be hard to remember something like that in the heat of the moment, I know if I say “stop”, that will be respected. No, not all men. I am worth, and deserve, more than just who will sleep with me.

It kind of felt like having a giant scab ripped off my chest. It’s not a theory any more. I said it out loud. That made it real. I really told someone what happened and he really listened. It was absolutely terrifying. I think I would have been less anxious trying to jump out of a plane. Even if he drops off the face of the earth tomorrow and I never speak to him again, I survived the first time. I did it. In spite of Hailey’s incessant screaming, it’s done. The next time will be a tiny bit easier. I would like to think there won’t be too many more “next times”, but that’s another blog post in and of itself.

Now I’ve put it out there for you, faithful readers. Now it’s real for you, too. I promise I’ll put a funny / uplifting / ridiculous post up here soon. Pinky promise.

XOXO!

Of identity crises and I’ll laugh about this someday

Last week, I finally made the decision to give up dance for good. I went to class last Monday and before class was even over, my knee was screaming at me. It’s not just the patellofemoral pain, it’s also the leg with the poorly healed groin injury, and the side with the formerly pinched sciatic nerve. In short, it’s a hot mess. I’ve been told multiple times that I need to find some other option for exercise. This time, I finally decided to listen.Β I did the movie cliche of getting in the shower and crying once I’d decided it was time. I felt like I’d lost who I am once and for all. I promised myself when I extracted myself from Will that I wouldn’t give it up again. I wouldn’t let someone take it away from me. It’s the last shred of who I was before. It’s the last shred of the girl who got lost that day.

I find myself, once again, with an identity crisis. I gave up dance for the betterment of my own health. It wasn’t taken from me. I know I’m doing the right thing. That doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. I’ve gone back to my cave analogy. I find myself sitting outside the cave, not sure how to get back down there. I’m not even sure what’s down there to see.

I had an honest conversation with my friend who has morphed into this odd mix of big brother, dad, & friend. I’ve kept him actively involved in my adventures in online dating both for his take on the situations and entertainment. I asked him what drew him to me in the first place. He told me that he remembered seeing a picture of me he thought was cool & decided to start talking to me. As he got to know me better, he appreciated my wit & (funnily enough) maturity that he didn’t see in people his own age. In the past 6 years, we’ve come and gone in the other one’s world, some times less fucked up than others. True friends, he said, always stick around. He loves me and doesn’t want to see me get hurt because I lost sight of the fact that I’m worth more than who will sleep with me. That, unfortunately, is a nasty side effect of not having a solid grip on who you are. Fortunately, I have his voice in my head (and his texts on my phone) to remind me.

“Dancer” is really just an adjective. It’s not the core of my personality. I was rather fond of that adjective. I’m sorry to see it become part of my past rather than still in my present. I like to think that this will leave space for something, or someone, to fill the gap.

I am not a victim of life. I’m an active participant. I’ll just keep repeating that until I believe it.

XOXO!

Of Game of Thrones and trying not to throw up

Warnings before you enter this entry:

SPOILER ALERT: REFERENCES TO GAME OF THRONES EPISODE THAT AIRED 5/17

TRIGGER WARNING: SUBJECT MATTER FROM ABOVE NAMED EPISODE

I’m not a rabid Game of Thrones watcher largely because I don’t have HBO. After an unfortunate incident in one of the early episodes that gave me nightmares for a week, I read the synopses before deciding whether or not to watch an episode. I hadn’t yet read the synopsis for this week’s episode when I saw that Twitter had exploded with references to a rape scene. If you haven’t seen the show – quick & dirty character summaries.

Ramsey is the sociopathic sadist who gets off on chopping off people’s junk & “hunting” women by literally letting them loose in the woods and killing them with a crossbow. Sansa is the oldest daughter of Sean Bean’s characters family. She’s still technically married to someone else, but since she’s the (assumed) only living heir of this particular tract of land, she’s forced to marry Ramsey because he & his dad want the land. Theon, the third member of our party, was the one who had his junk cut off by Ramsey. He also grew up with Sansa.

In one sentence, after they’re married, Ramsey rapes Sansa while Theon watches. I literally got nauseous when I read the summary. When I was raped, Will let someone watch. He actually invited him to watch. That’s the sticking point for me. Not that rape scenes don’t phase me, but this one hit a little too close to home. I refuse to actually watch the episode because I know I’ll be in tears & have nightmares for days. What made it worse was seeing comments starting to pop up about “Well, she never actually said no” or “She knew what she was getting into when she married him!”. I have never, so badly, wanted to scratch out the eyeballs of a total stranger on the other side of a computer screen. Never. They justify it by saying that it’s a fictional character, so it’s not as bad.

Newsflash: Yes it is.

I dare someone to look me in the face and say “Well, I don’t see why you’re upset. It’s not *real*. It’s not like what happened to you really happened to her”. Go ahead, I’ll wait. No takers? I thought not.

It’s bad enough to endure something like that. It’s bad enough when it’s just you and him (or her) in the room. Add in another person and it’s something I would never, ever wish on anyone, real or fictional. There was someone who witnessed it, knew I said no, & didn’t do anything about it. It’s no small wonder that I tried to tear myself apart over it. It’s not just that feeling of helplessness that comes with the act itself. It’s not just one person who doesn’t give a shit about you, it’s two. They could do something to help you and they don’t. For the rest of the day, the thought of anyone even touching me made my stomach turn. I went to dance, I shook it off, and I should actually be able to sleep tonight.

I’m not sure how that will alter her story arc, but I really hope she’ll pull a Lucrecia Borgia and poison his sorry ass. Team Sansa.

In summary – I don’t care if it’s reality or fantasy. Victim blaming is never okay. Ever.

XOXO!

Of concerts and the things we learn

This weekend has been a case of “Let’s hose Emily’s sleep schedule”. I’m okay with that.

Friday night, I went solo to the Butch Walker show. I didn’t try and talk myself out of it at the last minute. I had my hair done, I put together what is definitely one of my favorite outfits now, and hopped in the car just like I would if I were meeting someone there. They’d covered the pit and put seats there, so I ended up being 11 rows back. It was still a really good seat. The show, as with all of his, was amazing. I probably looked like I was having a really shitty time. I was perfectly happy to just sit / stand and take it in. People watching later in the show when the booze started to kick in was equally entertaining. There was a girl about 3 rows in front of me wearing a dress that looked like a lamp shade. She started jumping up and down and all of us behind her got a free show. There were 3 guys in the row in front of me & two were clearly more drunk than the third one. They kept swaying back & forth like drunks do & the third one was giving them the “If you make me spill my beer, I will cut you” look. I didn’t end up getting back until 1a and crawled into bed around 130a. For those keeping score at home, that’s a good 3 hours after when I normally go to sleep, even on a weekend.

He played a bunch of my favorite songs and went easy on the newer stuff. I think someone may have advised him that a lot of the songs sound the same. He ended with the song he wrote for his dad & had everyone crying as we walked out the door. He got me up front with “ATL”, so I was one of the few not pretending to not cry. He got so emotional that he had them kill the stage lights while he was singing.

What did I learn? I’m totally okay with going to something like that by myself. I didn’t need someone standing next to me in order to enjoy the show.

Last night, I went on a last minute date. When I say last minute, I mean I left the house a little before 11p. Again, about an hour past when I normally go to sleep. We’ll call him Not Creepy. After a bit of confusion over where we were meeting, we had a good time. When Taco Mac kicked us out, we moseyed over to Waffle House. Only the best for a first date. We spent a good portion of the time laughing & figuring out we had A LOT of overlap among people we knew. We’re the same age & he went to the public school closest to my high school. He went to Georgia Tech & it turned into “Oh, did you know [person]?” “Yeah I totally knew them!”. For being a major city, Atlanta can be a very small town. I ended up staying out until 3 this morning. It was fun, though. A second date is somewhere in the future. I paid for Waffle House, so he owes me. πŸ˜›

What did I learn? First dates don’t have to be awkward. And it’s okay to bring up some things that may not be “first date” topics of conversation.

What did I learn (sidebar)? The recommendation that women should initiate conversation & are more likely to get a reply is total bullshit. Of the few times I’ve started a conversation, I never got a reply. This is only messaging people who also expressed an interest in me. On the flip side, if he opens with a line about my tattoos, then it will devolve very quickly. Not Creepy said he considered it when he first messaged me, but decided against it. Good plan, my man. Good plan.

Today is the bowling event for the MeetUp group. I got an email earlier saying that over 100 people (!!) had signed up. If that’s not a good opportunity to meet people, I don’t know what is. It doesn’t start until 6 & ostensibly goes until 9. I’m going to give myself an hour. If I’m not having fun or falling asleep standing up, then I’ll leave. If I’m having fun, then we’ll see if I end up staying the entire time. I do feel like I need to get my sleep back in line, though. Of course, that’s what Benadryl is for.

What will I learn? Who knows

Another thing that was driven home last night / this morning was that everyone has their burdens. As much as my mom & I don’t get along, she’s been carrying a lot of weight with her. I felt bad for sniping at her over stupid stuff. She drinks because she’d rather do that than cry. I suppose I can relate to that. Except that I was physically incapable of crying. I want to try to remember that when she’s driving me nuts, it’s not personal. She’s got enough worries in there to last all of us a lifetime. Maybe I need to start using my airhorn app for that, too.

On a more superficial note – I got sucked into Urban Decay’s new line. I got one of every new product they have. I normally don’t wear blush, but I think I’ve figured out how to apply with without making myself look like a circus clown. I got a little bit of a darker color than I have currently. I think I like it better, especially when I apply it with my finger rather than a brush. I’m also slowly mastering brow powder. It’s something I didn’t really consider before, but it helps in pictures. I’ve been taking a lot of those lately courtesy of selling myself on various dating sites. πŸ˜‰ My hair even still looks good from Friday. I’ve found a favorite stylist. Since I’ve got another long weekend next weekend (It’s Memorial Day for those of us in the States), I’ll get myself another blowout. It’s seriously 1000x better than a mani / pedi.

I hope everyone else has had a kickass weekend. If not, you still have a few hours to make up for it. As always, I appreciate you, fair readers.

XOXO!

Of adventures in online dating and dicks up your ass

So you know how I said online dating isn’t for me? It’s still not. Observing human behaviour on the Internet when it comes to mating rituals, on the other hand, is entertaining as all hell.

Until not one, but two, guys somehow come to the conclusion that tattoos = being okay with having a dick (or something else) up your ass. I wish I were kidding. I also got not one, but three, dick pics. Same dick from 3 different angles. Guess he wanted to make sure his buddy got his best side? I literally laughed out loud when I saw the pictures. Penises are just funny. It doesn’t matter what size or shape or status they are. They provoke laughter pretty much every time. I’m sure I’ve unintentionally ruined a few guys’ self esteem. Sorry. My profile now says to not message me if they’re under the impression that tattoos do somehow equal anal. It appears to have worked so far (famous last words).

I’ve also come across both a former one night stand and one of my co-workers. I was tempted to “like” both of them, but I decided against it. It’s easier for everyone that way. A friend from DragonCon also found me. Apparently he and his wife are poly. They weren’t asking me to be their third, though. πŸ˜› I’ve had a few not creepy conversations, but mostly idle chat until one of us gets bored. I highly doubt anything will come out of any of them. It’s metaphorically getting me out of the house.

I’ll be literally getting out of the house on a Friday night for the first time in God knows how long tomorrow. I bought tickets to see Butch Walker way back in March. My dad is usually my date, but he’s going to be in Minnesota this weekend with my sister. I asked pretty much everyone I could think of if they wanted to come along. No dice. Originally, I was just going to sell the tickets & not go. The reviews had been pouring in on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that this was a mindblowingly awesome show. He always puts on great shows, but this appeared to have a lot more glowing reviews than usual. I decided fuck it, I’m going by myself. I refuse to miss what will be an amazing show just because I don’t have someone to sit next to. I did end up selling the other ticket, so some poor sucker will be stuck sitting next to me. Who knows? I might make a new friend. At least I already know we have a common interest. πŸ˜€

I’m a grown woman and I deserve a fun night out. I’ll be my own date, dammit. What’s that cliche? You can’t love someone else until you love yourself? Treat yourself the way you’d want a partner to treat you? Both? I’m taking the day off work. I’m getting my hair blown out. I’ll pick out a cute, but relatively practical, outfit. I’ll take myself to a nice dinner somewhere, then take myself to the show. He won’t take the stage until sometime around 9, so I don’t have to bust my ass to get there when the doors open. I know it’ll be a lot more fun than sitting around in sweatpants watching more Criminal Minds.

Here’s to the best date I’ve had in years and not having some guy threaten to put a dick in my ass. Cheers!

XOXO!

Of Jesus Christ and What the Fuck?

If you can’t handle profanity, then skip this one.

Last week, my friend Elizabeth and I somehow got on the topic of when we use certain profanities. I have a mouth like a sailor, so foul language is nothing to me any more. As I thought about it, I use certain words in very specific situations. Because I love lists and it’s a good laugh, here’s what expletive is appropriate in what situation:

  • “Jesus Christ” – If you surprise me (I don’t so much count this as a profanity, but some people do).
  • “God damn it” / “Damn it” – If I drop or spill something.
  • “Jackass” / “Asshole” – If you cut me off in traffic.
  • “Dickbag” / “Douchcanoe” – A descriptor for a particularly irritating male.
  • “Bitch” – You did something stupid. Usually accompanied by an eyeroll.
  • “Shit” – I forgot something / messed up something. Typically comes in groups of 3.
  • “What the fuck?” – I have absolutely no idea why something just happened.
  • “What the hell?” / “The hell?” – The former translates to “Hey! Why not?”. The latter translates to “Seriously?”.
  • “Mother fucker” – A exclamation of frustration.
  • “Bastard” – An intractable inanimate object.
  • “Kiss my ass” – My original admonition & only saved for special occasions.

The story, which my mom still loves to tell to this day, came about when I was in 8th grade (13 years old for my international readers). I rode the bus home from school in the afternoons. We had assigned seats with the oldest being in the back with a same sex seat mate. My seat mate, a 7th grader, only rode every other day. When she wasn’t there, I would sit sideways with my legs stretched out across the length of the seat. One afternoon, one of the 7th grade boys got it in his head that he wanted the coveted back of the bus seat next to me. I was reading and he came up to me and told me to move my feet. I ignored him. He told me to move my feet a second time. I ignored him again. He told me to move my feet a third time. I looked up from my book, waited a beat, and replied “kiss my ass”. He promptly tucked his tail between his legs and sat back in his assigned seat the row in front of mine. He never bothered me again.

I hope all of you have a fucking awesome rest of the weekend. πŸ˜‰

XOXO!

Of boxes of kittens and ways we could have handled this differently

I legitimately dislike the news.

Why? It always has to be something more terrible, more tragic, or just flat out more. For the past two days, every time I look at a TV or glance at Facebook’s “trending” column, it’s all about the riots in Maryland. Earthquake in Nepal? Sure! Natural disasters sell, right? But people looting and beating each other intentionally? That’s way better! Get the cameras, kiddies! Good news, simply put, isn’t interesting. It isn’t sensational. It doesn’t sell. People don’t want to see pictures of someone rescuing a box of kittens when they can watch someone get shot in the back.

I’ll probably offend people with this, but this isn’t about a black guy dying in a holding cell. It’s a convenient excuse, regardless of race, for people to throw a violent and illegal temper tantrum. Martin Luther King Jr. changed views on race in the country, especially the South, without taking a baseball bat to a cop car. His non-violent approach allowed people to understand his point much better. All these crazy people are doing is solidifying beliefs that they’re degenerate criminals. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to listen to someone who, instead of trying to explain their stance on an issue first, goes straight for the sand filled rubber hose. You’re racking up a list of felonies, then expecting authorities to concede your point? That’s just stupid. I don’t care what color you are. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to want an explanation. It’s okay to expect full disclosure. It’s not okay to take it to this kind of extreme. The great equalizer is stupid comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, and genders.

The sad part is the good things in the world do get drowned out in favor of the above. What about the people who are trying to do something positive in spite of all the poor life choices around them? What about the box of kittens that was rescued? What about the person who rescued said box of kittens? Most people in the world are good people, but positive things rarely get the air time they deserve. When you have to natter on for 24 hours a day about “news”, a box of kittens just won’t cut it. It’s unfortunate because the good in the world should be recognized more than it is. The people who are working to make the world a better place should get the same air time, even if it’s just their corner of it.

From an expert at throwing epic tantrums – excuse yourself, go scream, punch pillows, cry, call someone names, then pull yourself together, & go deal with the situation maturely. It’ll get you a lot further in life. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

XOXO!

Movie Review: Unfriended

My dad & I went to see this last night. I rarely see horror movies in the theater, but I thought I would give this one a try. It’s another “found footage” premise & appeared to be this generation’s Blair Witch Project. I admit, I was a little fuzzy on the inciting incident.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

A teenage girl, Laura Barns, was the victim of bullying, apparently for a protracted period. A video was posted of her presumably at a party where she was passed out and the implication was she had been raped. Laura then ended up shooting herself on school property. I had a hard time making the connection between the video and how that related to the bullying. The best I can figure is she was somehow blamed for the rape because she was drunk. The story begins on the anniversary of her death.

Five friends, Blaire (Laura’s former BFF), Mitch (Blaire’s boyfriend), Adam (random friend #1), Ken (random friend #2), Jess (random friend #3), and Val (random friend #4) are in a video chat. A mysterious 7th user with a vague handle and no photo appears, too. Blaire determines the account belonged to Laura. At first, the suspect is Val. When she’s added to the call, it can be seen she’s not the one typing. Pictures of her getting wasted are posted and tagged on Facebook supposedly coming from Jess. Jess claims she didn’t post them and is unable to delete them. The mysterious user continues to reveal more pictures of Val, then allows Jess to delete them. They’re warned not to hang up. Val hangs up to call the police. When her video feed comes back on, she’s staring blankly at the screen. A bottle of bleach is sitting next to her. The other ones yell to try to get her attention, but she still doesn’t respond. When the cops do show up, she’s pronounced a suicide. The mysterious user explains this is just the first step at exposing all of their secrets they’ve kept from each other. One rule – don’t hang up.

Ken is the first to make the poor choice of hanging up. The mysterious user shows a video feed that’s coming from Ken’s closet. He hangs up to investigate. When his video feed cuts back on, he has his arm stuck in a blender, then the blades cut his throat. Freaking out ensues. Laura then forces them all to play “Never Have I Ever”. The loser dies. Jess started rumors about Blaire being anorexic. Blaire and Adam are exposed as sleeping with each other after Blaire claims she’s saving herself for Mitch. Mitch ratted out Adam for selling weed. Both Blaire and Adam get printed messages (my printer goes haywire all the time, so there you have it). Mitch tries to get them to show them what the messages say. Blaire finally caves in an effort to placate Mitch. The message reads “If you show anyone this message, Adam will die”. Adam then shoots himself in the head.

Jess goes next with a curling iron shoved down her throat. Mitch stabs himself in the head, and that leaves Blaire all by herself (presumably how Laura wanted it in the first place). Mitch was the one who posted the video, but Blaire refused to say anything until the last second. Blaire tries to show Laura the good times they had growing up. Laura refuses to forgive her and the lights cut out in Blaire’s house. A set of mysterious hands snap Blaire’s laptop shut & she’s heard screaming. The end.

As horror movies go, it was middle ground. It wasn’t terribly graphic which I liked. I thought the curling iron was an interesting weapon of choice. It was also under an hour and a half which was a good idea. Much longer than that and it would have been boring. They relied heavily on the jump scare. I’m a jumper, so they got me there. It was a combination of screwing with your head & seeing the “monster”. The director said that he wanted to address the issue of cyber bullying and how this ain’t your mom’s bullying. It was a cautionary tale for the asshole teenagers who think it’s okay to do shit like that. Frankly, all of them deserved what they got. I ended up rooting for Laura after they started to believe it was really her spirit.

If you have some free time & you’re looking for a slightly updated BWP, I’d go. Otherwise, this isn’t a run to the theater now and see it.

Moral of the story: Don’t post compromising videos of people, then act like it didn’t happen. The vengeful spirit will come back and shove a curling iron down your throat.

XOXO!

Of big summer movies and velociraptors

Sooooo…

The last few entries have been a wee bit depressing, no? Let’s cheer things up in here a bit. What better to cheer things up than discuss the BEST. MOVIES. EVER. There are 2 in particular that I’m stupid excited for.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron

Where to start? First – James Spader voicing Ultron. He’s going to be absolutely freaking amazing. The thought makes me squeal with glee. His “OMG you people are CRAZY” reaction during the ComicCon panel was fantastic. The first Avengers is one of my top 5 movies. Where most sequels disappoint, I have absolute faith that this one may even outdo the original. I’m looking forward to meeting the two newest members of the team, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. I also have to laugh a little that Sony and Marvel got into a huge spat over the Quicksilver character. End result? Cast a different actor & never mention that the other franchise exists. Told you he moved fast. πŸ˜‰

If I had to have a superpower? Quicksilver. My actual superpower? Hulk (you won’t like me when I’m angry). Thank God purple is my favorite color.

Jurassic World

It’s a fucking T-Rex with fucking ARMS! I saw the original Jurassic Park in the theaters when I was 8. I guess I annoyed my dad so much that he finally caved and took me. I made it through the scariest part of the movie (the T-Rex escape), but then bailed after Nedry got shot in the face with the goop by the dinosaur’s name that I can never spell. Missed the velociraptors (yes, yes I know they’re actually Utahraptors, but whatevs) entirely. Not this time around. Watching Chris Pratt teach the raptors how to play well with others? All over it. I would love to see cameos from as many of the original cast as possible. I kind of want to see Jeff Goldblum reprise his “I hate being right all the time” line. Again, I squeal with glee. I’m also glad Chris Pratt’s character gets to keep the actor’s sense of humor. Why so serious?

Team Velociraptor for life.

So that’s my nerding out. I’ll post actual reviews when I’ve seen the actual movies. My dad & I are going to see Unfriended this weekend. It will probably be total crap and the ’10s version of “The Blair Witch Project” (which I’ve never seen, btw). The concept looked decent & I’m all about a little revenge from beyond the grave. Don’t piss me off because I will haunt your ass. And possibly get you to stick your hand in a blender. That is neither here nor there.

Everyone have an awesome weekend, laugh your asses off at nothing, and don’t do anything in public that would embarrass your lovely author.

And I’m just going to leave this here. Because it’s my blog and I can.

XOXO!

Of facts and attitude is everything

In keeping with the recommendation that I solicit outside opinions to improve my attitude at work, I picked up Growing The Positive Mind by Dr. William K. Larkin. The gist is you can train your brain to feel good and be positive most of the time. He gives exercises to help modify one’s outlook and interaction with the world.

I tend to associate “positive” with “perky”. I’m not sure where that connection came from, but it’s what makes me get a little squicky when someone suggests I “be more positive”. What the book is slowly introducing is you can be positive / optimistic / happy without getting out the pom poms and cheer bows. It doesn’t even have to be spoken. It’s a way of looking at the world and seeing the light rather than the dark. Positive is looking forward using what you’ve already learned. Negative is looking behind you, dredging up the past, and going over it repeatedly. It’s awfully difficult to be optimistic about what’s in front of you when you’re too busy looking behind you at everything that has gone wrong.

The hardest part about the past is it’s both always with us because it’s what brought us to where we are now, but something that we need to accept is behind us and, therefore, unable to change. Getting upset over something someone said yesterday is a waste of time. Getting upset at myself for something I did five minutes ago is a waste of time.Β “What If” are probably two of the worst words you can use, up there with “should”.Β I need to write that in giant letters over my computer screen or on my bathroom mirror. Or both.

One of the important parts of the book are 4 things you need to stop doing in order to succeed. They are:

  • Stop Being Critical of Yourself and Others (guilty x 1000)
  • Stop Blaming Others for Your Problems or Any Problems, for that matter (guilty)
  • Give Up Being a Cynic or Critic of the World (guilty)
  • Be very, very picky about what you watch on TV, especially the news (I got this one! Yay!)

I freely admit that I mask cynicism as “realism”.

“But I had all this crap happen! Why should I believe that it’s going to improve? That’s not reality!” [Shut up, Hailey]. Yes, shit happens. Bad shit happens. Shit I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The whole point of this blog is to take the shit that happened to me and learn what I can from it. What did that situation teach me? What does any crap situation teach me? How can I apply what I learned in another part of my life? Can this lesson help someone else if it doesn’t serve me right now? There are facts – which can be proved empirically, then there’s reality. Reality, especially when there are two human beings involved, is pretty damned subjective. Have two people observe the same set of circumstances and you’ll get two different answers for “what did you just witness?”. I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I get caught up in my own reality very easily. My reality is someone else’s theory. Someone else’s reality could just be a theory for me. All facts are realities, but not all realities are facts.

I end this entry with a little anecdote. When my dad was going through his cancer treatments the first time around, his oncologist shared something with my mom. He said that what he’d observed in his patients was the ones with a positive outlook did worlds better than those without. If you believe that you’re going to get through it, that’s a huge step in success. If you just give up, sign your own death certificate, and wait then you’ll get exactly what you signed up for. That was something that always stuck with me. Even in a literal life or death situation, if you believe you can live, then you’ve got a start.

XOXO!