On Dating and The List

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I’ve been trying to formulate my thoughts on dating for a while now. How to not offend those who I’ve dated. How to not offend those who I haven’t dated. How to not appear needy, or insane, or like “that” girl. It was on my list of things to do next year: Date quality.

I refer to myself as the “two-a-year girl” now. I go on multiple dates a week, but realistically speaking, I find two men each year that I could see myself dating long term. I am disheartened by it and feel the future is sort of…bleak. Of these two, I’m batting 0/0 in terms of who wants to be with me for longer than 6 months.

I was on Match.com, eHarmony and Tinder at one point. I was determined to throw myself out there. I’ve texted, instant messaged and Facebooked people I thought I’d be interested in going on dates with. I’ve been set up on blind dates and by word of mouth.

I’ve tried.

But lately I’ve come up against a series of men who have driven me away for one reason or another…. and I’ve been told I’m being too picky. But aren’t I the judge of what quality means to me? Just to give you an idea of what I’m turning down:

  • Just today, a man asked, “What do you like to do outdoors? And what do you want to learn?” I mentioned I was more of a beach person, but did enjoy hiking, skiing, etc. I made it clear I didn’t want it to consume my every free moment, but that it was a pleasure to do/participate in. I wanted to learn more about camping in particular. “Why the @#$(@*#$ do you live in Wyoming then?” he texted. Because obviously all people in Wyoming live for the outdoors. He told me that I was concentrating on the wrong things. Asking stupid questions. That I needed to pay attention to profiles. I apologized and said I wasn’t what he was looking for. And I got text messages back that went further. He proceeded to tell me I was a waste of his time. I apologized and wished him a good week. He texted back again, saying I was a waste of effort. A waste for everyone. I blocked him.
  • I’ve had someone text me. And when I didn’t respond right away, he’d text again. Inquire where I was. What I was doing. Why I wasn’t responding. If he did something wrong. What was up. And then accusing me of paying attention to other men. I was at work. It was the middle of the day. I blocked him.
  • I’ve had someone get so drunk on a first date, I had to drive him home. In his car. And then drive myself home. In his car.
  • I’ve had someone touch me inappropriately on a date. And get drunk. Take advantage of me not drinking. And again, make me drive us home. (Got the idea this is a pet peeve yet? Just because I don’t drink, doesn’t mean you need to take advantage)
  • I’ve had people talk to me and say, “I don’t see this going anywhere. I don’t want to marry you. But how about we just @#$k?”
  • I’ve had someone send me inappropriate photos, then report me to a dating site after I said, “I’m sorry. You’re not what I’m looking for. I don’t do these kind of photos and I’ve asked you to stop sending them; good luck in your dating life!” My account was suspended for inappropriate behavior after, without warning, and without the ability to speak for myself. They took his word.

I could go on.

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When did it be ok to treat women this way? When did it be ok to assume all women are open to a purely sexual relationship? When did it become ok to stop thinking about the other person and become selfish?

I’ve been broken up with because I’m a mix of democratic and republican. Because I’m not religious enough. Because I don’t ski. Or like Mexican food. Because I have curly hair. Because I won’t work out every.single.day. Because I’m not academic enough. Because I don’t drink beer or microbrews. Because I get airsick. Because I’m too fat. Because I’m too health conscious. Because I don’t like children. Because I want someone with specific personality traits. Because I’m not his ex girlfriend.

I’m worth more. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Instead of other people seeing it, though, I feel like I’m explaining it. Or fighting for it.

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So am I wasting my time? Should I give up? Should I make “the list” of what I’m looking for shorter? I’ve been told what I’m looking for is too picky for my age. And that, when it comes down to it, my top three should be what I find.

I’m not ready to give up hope. So I’m writing down “the list” for you here…. and if I find it changes in the next year, I’ll update. In a particular order, what I’m looking for:

  1. An awareness and respect of how to treat women and others.
    This includes opening doors for others, helping friends in a time of need, but knowing what small things to do for me to show appreciation and support. Making me a priority and making sure I know I’m cared for.
  2. A strong connection with his family and friends. 
    Regular phone calls with family; visits at holidays and special events; as well as his own life outside of a relationship with a solid set of friends. Every good couple needs alone time.
  3. An instant physical and mental attraction.
    It’s important to me that the physical attraction is there. A man who knows how to be healthy, is fit and active, and takes care of his personal appearance–from haircut and clothing, to smile and fingernails. Also, in the same vein, he should be able to carry an intelligent conversation and have topics he cares about. I’d be nice if his information came from better sites than The Onion and RepulicansUniteTheWorld.com.
  4. An education.
    Higher education such as a Master’s is preferred, but a degree nonetheless. I gathered some unique experiences from college, as well as the ability to distinguish reputable information from crap. The interaction with other academics and being enveloped in the environment is something that needs to be experienced first hand.
  5. An active lifestyle.
    No. I don’t go to the gym every day. And obviously I’m not hiking 14ers and holding up cardboard signs with my achievements. But I have lost a ton of weight. I do work for Weight Watchers. And I eat healthy. I go to the gym. I keep myself in shape. And it’s important the other person do the same….I’m less picky about how they choose to achieve this.
  6. No children.
    I want a family some day. But where I am in life right now, for me only, means I am less open to someone having their own children. I’ve seen some wonderful dads out there—and I may be open to changing my mind about this one if the person is caring. But I’ve dated far too many people who put their children first in life….and I solidly believe the best thing you can ever give your child is a strong relationship with your mate. Period. And this is a huge red fag to most fathers, unfortunately.
  7. A strong financial future.
    I don’t need a fully fleshed out 401k. But I do need someone who has a stable job. Knows how much income is coming in each month. Isn’t worrying about how to pay bills or where to live. And would be able to support me, and a family, if shit hit the fan. (In turn, I would fully expect to do the same; this isn’t one-sided).
  8. Is willing to care and trust unconditionally.
    One of my previous boyfriends taught me something invaluable: trust someone until they give you a reason to not trust them. It blew me away. Doesn’t it make sense? Forget past relationships. Forget previous fuck-ups. If enough criteria fit to even go on a date, then jump in two feet first and don’t hold back. Give the person an honest-to-goodness shot as well as your full effort. If it doesn’t work out in the long run, then at least you know you tried.
  9. Must love animals (dogs AND cats included).
    I have a dog. He’s not like other dogs—Jasper is special. I also have two cats, and that does not deem me the “crazy cat lady.” I want someone to see the compassion in adopting and saving an animal. And understand the effort and dedication it takes to do it alone, with limited resources. I don’t need them to take care of my brood for me, but to respect the fact that I choose them in my life.
  10. To know there’s more to life than beer and the outdoors.
    I’m not a big drinker. And I’m not much for being in the outdoors 24/7. I’m happy to tour breweries. To go hiking or skiing. But I don’t want to be guilted into not getting drunk and consuming empty calories. Or for not being an expert in every.single.outdoor.sport. Doesn’t it matter that I have my own likes/dislikes and hobbies? Maybe compromise could happen.

I feel like everyone should find a partner that makes them feel valued, beautiful and respected. Maybe no one person encompasses the above, but at least they can encompass the first three. It’ll happen.

Chin up, Reese.

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On Dating and The List

On Developing A Skincare Routine

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I get breakouts. It’s gotten better over the years, but I don’t think this will go away completely. So it seems odd to me that I’m talking about developing a skincare routine when I don’t have perfect, glowing, model-like skin. But alas, I really started thinking about skincare while I was in Florida, since everyone down south seemed to have glow-y, dewey skin. I looked at my dry, wrinkly hands and beginning crow’s feet, and thought I should probably do something about it NOW.

The one thing I’ve gotten right? I’ve been using moisturizer since I was 18 (Thanks, mom!).

So let’s at least partially check out the Develop a skincare routine, eh? Because I’ve been working on it. Have been doing it. And will just need to increase it a smidge to be more consistent.

Anyway..To the products (that’s what matters most anyway!).IMG_5714(In order of use, from day to night, listed below)

  1. Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil, Refined. This jar lasts me 3-4 months, and costs roughly $7 at Target (It’s in the food section). I use this every morning to wash my face, and sometimes at night to take off my eye makeup. If I’ve got oil, paint, eyeliner, or something else gnarly on my hands, I use this to clean it off. I LOVE it. It doesn’t dry out my face and doesn’t make me break out either.
  2. Yes To Grapefruit Daily Correcting Moisturizer. This lasts about 2 months, and costs roughly $14 at Target (it’s in the moisturizer/body lotion section). I use this every morning after the shower, but before I put on makeup. I’ve experimented with all the moisturizers from Yes To brand, and I like this the best.
  3. Dove Cream Oil Body Lotion. I’ll admit the only reason why I have this product is because an ex-bf broke up with me and left it—and it was a full bottle at the time. I like that the product doesn’t smell much, isn’t thick, and leaves me feeling smooth. It’s roughly $5 for the bottle, and has lasted a year. I’m not sure if I’d continue with the Dove stuff once I run out though. I need to be better about using lotion all over rather than just on my legs after I shave.
  4. Oatmeal and Shea Whipped Body Butter. Depending on how dry I am, I’ll use this stuff during the day, but I typically stick it on at night. It’s made from a local company in Harrisburg, Nebraska, and I LOVE it. It’s thick, made from goat’s milk, and runs about $14 a jar. This stuff has lasted me a year. I only use it in extreme cases but hope to use it more often with this skincare routine.
  5. Yes To Carrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser. This stuff is great. I use it at night only because it zaps imperfections and sets the tone for the night. It’s 98% natural ingredients, and costs about $5. It’s in the skincare aisle at Target with the rest of the Yes To products. A bottle lasts me about 3 months. This one may be too harsh for folks who don’t break out….so I’d suggest the Cucumber face wash for those folks!
  6. MaryKay Nighttime Restore and Recover Lotion. (I use Normal/Dry) At $40 a pop for this small bottle, I was hesitant to order it from MaryKay. But literally one less-than-dime-size amount works PERFECTLY to cover my entire face. I stick this on before bed. And even though I’ve only used it two or three times since I’ve gotten it, I think I’m hooked. I can see a noticeable difference in how quickly my face heals and resets itself.
  7. Benefit It’s Potent Eye Cream. My lovely friend, Elizabeth, mentioned this on our weekend trip to Florida in June. I made a mental note to try it, since many of the eye creams I’ve seen these days are goopy, smell like Oil of Olay, and marketed toward the older crowd. It’s $30 at Sephora. A little goes an extremely long way. I dip the edge of my finger into the pot and have enough for both eyes with that. I expect it will last for 6 months.

timefothatTruth. I don’t have time, or inclination, to make my own products. So I’m only interested in purchasing items that other people have made. Period. I know the products above seem expensive when put together, but I buy them at different times throughout the year….so the costs are really spread out.

I do sometimes use MaryKay’s Timewise Age-Fighting Moisturizer, but I find the Yes To stuff is cheaper, and lasts longer. At some point I may work my way back to this one. But for right now, it’s easy to just go to the store and pick up my own whenever I need it.

As an aside that is incredibly important to me: Only one product above has SPF in it: Yes To Grapefruit Daily Correcting Moisturizer has SPF 15. And I’m a-okay with that amount. Layering various items with SPF doesn’t give you better coverage, and some SPF ingredients can be harmful. Not to mention some SPF ingredients can cause irritation and even make your skin drier (hard to believe since most sunscreen is typically really greasy-feeling).

After writing this post, I feel sort of high-maintenance. And that I need to add a #firstworldproblem hashtag to this. I can live without everything above, and I’ll still have skin if I don’t use any of it. But it makes me feel better that I’m taking care of my skin somehow, and that I may end up extending my youth and look 21 when I’m 80.

One can dream 😉

On Developing A Skincare Routine

On Titles and Naked Streets

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I didn’t name the blog after that quote, but finding it on Pinterest was nearly serendipitous. I haven’t explained the name yet because I’ve been reconciling my feelings inside with what will appear on the blog.

Have you seen Disney Pixar’s Inside Out yet? It’s a cute, animated look into the emotions that control us. The ultimate takeaway is that you cannot have joy without sadness. Sure, there’s a sprinkling of other emotions in there, but sometimes your happiest memories can change to sad ones.And that’s ok.

I feel like that’s my life. So many happy memories, turned into sad moments in time. Part of me thinks I’m no longer allowed to look at them with the same level of happiness. It’s been two years of feeling like I’m half happy.

I hate waiting so long for things to change. I’m not one to let time heal—what if time takes 20 years? I’ll regret wasting it. So the blog has started out a little on the sad side. The changes. The emotions. The truth of what it’s like to be me right now.

It’s a longer way of getting to a response to the folks who see me as a strength. Who see me as absolutely fine. Or who see me as only struggling. There’s an awful lot that goes into this stage of life—and all of those emotions sort of play off one another. They’re necessary. They’re going to make me…. stand up against the wind.

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You cannot have joy without the sadness.

Writing it down. Experiencing it. Being honest. It’s a lot like walking down the streets naked. I’m vulnerable and open. It’s like starting over… and there’s never a bad time to start your second chance.

You’re reading mine. 

Welcome to Naked in the Streets.

On Titles and Naked Streets

On Names, Changing, and Bittersweet Experiences

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By the time I walked into the DMV, it was 2 p.m. and the lady behind the desk had just called #70. All the chairs were filled. I picked #92 and sat down. I had 2.5 hours to wait until they closed. I thought 2.5 hours would be enough.

As of today, the DMV is able to accommodate roughly 3 people per hour <—My observation and calculations after sitting there for two hours with numbers still in the 70s.

Two employees handle traditional driver license patrons (the ones who are getting new licenses, renewing old ones, are upgrading their commercial license or class rank, etc.). The third employee is taking special license requests (handicap placards, 30-day temporary licenses, and folks who came in once and waited in line but forgot a document, etc.)

The lines would have gone faster, but at any given point in time, the two employees who handled the traditional licenses would also go take photos, file paperwork, and LEAVE THE BUILDING TO ADMINISTER PRACTICAL EXAMS. A practical exam can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. And one gal left twice.

I’m not a rocket scientist, but I don’t think this is good service. Period.

By 3 p.m. they were at #78, after jumping from #71 to #77. Three people. One hour. I gave my observation to my dad, that we wouldn’t get seen today at this rate. I felt bad complaining—the folks were doing their best job while being stupidly understaffed–but it was too easy to be selfish.

Sitting here for 2.5 hours to change my name back. My maiden name. My original self. To me before marriage. But there was a great possibility I would wait and not be seen. And to have to come back and sit again? Just get it over with so I can move on.

My dad brought him up. That my grandparents really didn’t want this to happen. That he couldn’t believe there were that many differences. To how it’s insane to imagine.To how he doesn’t think my brother will have kids, and now I won’t for a while.

I stopped it. I made a few loud jokes about needing everyone’s Facebook accounts so I could friend them, since we were all getting to know each other so well with the incredible wait. The room chuckled.

Then the gal behind me let out a loud sigh. I turned around and smiled at her, looked at her with two small kiddos by her side. “Does anyone want this number? I just can’t wait any longer.”

#83. And she handed it to me.

At 3:45 p.m., the clerks called 81. For whatever reason, a woman and her son stood up at the same time, holding not just #81, but #82, too. I jiggled my leg. Looked at the clock. Brightened then dimmed the screen on my phone repeatedly. I could make it. Some miracle in the DMV pushed me up sooner. One gal still out with a practical exam. One at the desk with the two-number family.

4:00. What could they possibly be doing?
4:05. Why did they swap chairs?
4:10. Are they doing an eye exam soon or something? Why aren’t they done?
4:18. FINALLY. They left.

And they called #83.

“Hi there! What brings you in today?”
Really? Can I place an order for pizza?
“Oh! You’ve had a Wyoming license before. What brings you back? Marriage?”
Nope. Thanks for the reminder.
“Oh. I’m sorry….”
IMG_5643Five minutes. One photo. And a black and white piece of paper later. I was official. Cross off Change name with Social Security, and get new drivers license. 

I won’t do it again. Whoever cares for me, falls in love with me, and wants to have me, must take me as I am. And that includes my maiden name. I’m not losing myself again.

On Names, Changing, and Bittersweet Experiences

On Weights, Watchers, and Percentages

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Sometimes I feel like I have a heavy weight on my shoulders. Did you know there are places out there that make sandwiches with donuts as the bread? With chocolate mascarpone cheese, bacon, sugar, carbs, and butter? (Tom+Chee, I’m lookin’ at you!). Because, right now, that sounds far more amazing than eating yogurt with apples, or oatmeal with blueberries. ^That is the reason why I can be fat.

I knew stepping on the scale at my Thursday meeting was going to be hard. I wasn’t keeping track of what I was eating, and pretty much ate whatever was pre-made out of a box. It’s incredibly easy to fall back into bad habits.

144.2 without shoes.

I was officially 4.2 over my goal weight, and nearly 10 lb. over my “happy weight” range. My weight can fluctuate 5 lb. each day, so 135 and under is a good spot for me to be (According to my  height with Weight Watchers, my healthy weight range is 117 to 146. Click to see your weight range if you’re interested.) 

A common misconception is that you have to exercise to lose weight. And if it were true, I’m pretty sure there’d be a lot less Weight Watchers members out there. I didn’t really start exercising until I lost 35 lb, which then made it a smidge easier.

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30% exercise, and 70% what you eat. Period.

Since Thursday, I’ve been strict with my points and tracking what I eat. Last night I ate at the infamous Shark Tank’s Tom+Chee, and had a turkey grilled cheese with blueberry compote on thick white bread WITH BUTTER.

And I didn’t go over my points. In fact, I was nearly half a pound lighter this morning. It’s all about budgeting.

It’s still hard for me, though. While I’m not hungry, I feel deprived in that I HAVE to limit myself. I’m jealous of those who know when they’re full and just stop eating. I see their half-eaten donut and alarms go off in my head—after all, to folks like me, it’s blasphemous to not finish a donut. Or a fancy grilled cheese donut with bacon (I managed to avoid eating this…. I deserve an award). 

I’m now 140.1, which is 4.1 lb. down since Thursday. The weight loss will be less rapid after this week (the first week of a plan, your body sort of “dumps” all the bad stuff it’s been holding on to. After that initial cleanse is done, losing 1-2 lb. a week is normal).

Since I’m close to my goal, I’ll have a harder time reaching it with just food alone. Because I’m a list maker, you guys shouldn’t be surprised that I’m motivated by nice, round start dates, too 😉

….so Wednesday, July 1 is as good a day as any to hop back to the gym.

It helps to have someone motivating in life to look up to with regards to your goals. I’ve got someone who runs every.single.day. and enjoys it. I’d love to look forward to the enjoyment in working out once again. Mini goal, maybe?

On Weights, Watchers, and Percentages

On Sack Lunches, Fruit and Starting Somewhere

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Lately, I’ve been the type of person to grab a packet of flavored oatmeal or a frozen breakfast sandwich and coffee in the morning before work. Microwave. 1 Minute. Done.

But that hasn’t been a good practice because by mid-morning, I’m hungry. And I usually end up spending a ton of money, or eating junk food, while I’m at work.

Yesterday, I was the only person sitting in a Marriott conference room eating. Even the person leading the conference mentioned that it was “a treat” to be able to eat while working. (Really? I think it should be more commonplace to bring fruit or a snack. It’s not as if I’m frying up fish in the back of the room. It’s a PEACH! I’m a fruit fatty apparently.).  Two people had Starbucks cups. One had a Burger King cup. And two people had reusable water bottles. I was one.

Part of my List for the year included Eat better, and Lose 10 lb. And there’s no reason not to get started, even if I was in a seminar. Getting started is typically the HARDEST part for me. After a few days it’s nearly a routine to pick healthy items, prep them, count the Weight Watchers Points and take them with wherever I’m going. But the thought of doing all this work ahead of time? Ughhhhhh. My lazy, carb-loving self does not want to chop an apple, TYVM.

Yesterday, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. so I could get ready and prep food. The above photo is what I packed:

  • 1 water bottle (a mix of strawberry and tap water)
  • Coffee, 2 tbsp creamer
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 peach, cut
  • 3 c. grapes
  • 1 apple, cut
  • 1/2 c. Fage 0% Fat Yogurt
  • 1 Yoplait Yogurt
  • 1 Chocolate chip bar
  • 1 sandwich with 2 slices Sara Lee bread, 1 slice Provolone cheese, 4 slices Premium Deli ham

This was going to get me from breakfast to dinner. Turns out that by the time the conference ended, I didn’t eat the Yoplait yogurt. Which left me with more wiggle room for dinner. While I may have gone over my points for the day (two pieces of pizza and 3/4 of a decadent cookie for dinner), at least I got started.

It’s not easy for me. Probably for similar reasons why sticking to a budget can be difficult—you’re limiting yourself. You’ve one day woken up and said, “I can’t have everything.”

WHAT? I’m the boss of me. I could go to Taco Bell and order everything on the breakfast menu right now if I wanted to! (But, I’m really not. ‘Cause blerghhh)

No one likes to be told they can’t do something, or that they have limitations. Especially me.

Have you seen the NutriGrain bar commercial that says, “One good decision leads to another”? It’s another of my mottos for life these days.

I’ve got my fully charged Fitbit on. Coffee, fruit and oatmeal at my side. A sunny day and a dog that is looking at me pathetically as he sits next to his leash. Let’s see how far these good decisions go today.

On Sack Lunches, Fruit and Starting Somewhere

On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes

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When I walked out of the Social Security building yesterday, I had tears in my eyes. There was no one there to hug me. No one there to say it was ok—that I was going to be ok. The door attendant didn’t say “Goodbye!” or “Have a nice day!” on the way out. I held the paperwork in my hand, walked to my car, texted a friend that I was in pain. And alone.

Getting a divorce is lonely. Printing paperwork. Filling in blanks. Explaining why you should be granted to live in peace alone. Leaving your personal items in lockers at the court house. Admitting you can’t make it work.

Ever notice there’s always two chairs, sitting side-by-side wherever you go? I never need the second. That’s how life feels lately.

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None of this has been the “easy” way out. The first conversation left me crying because he didn’t fight for us. When he signed the papers, I walked into the bathroom just to be out of the same room. Tears constantly swelled and all I could do was pretend to wash my hands. No. This was not an easy road. I have a tightness in my chest that sometimes takes days to go away.

I have tears that come when I think of memories. In Germany. Door County. Restaurants. Cubs Games. English Class. College Parties. So many smiles.

I’ve heard the word “strong” and “independent” and “envy” so many times in the past few months that I’ve grown an aversion to them. Those words are exactly the ones he used to describe why we’re not good for one another. Right before he said, “You’ll find someone who will care about you.” And all I heard was, “Because I don’t care about you.  I’m not that person who can.”

FullSizeRender2I’m baffled at times when people look at me and see strength and independence. I feel failure, disappointment and uncertainty often. Because it’s real.

Real is ok.

I doubt anyone is ever going to look at me and say, “How dare you be sad because someone you loved is no longer in your life!”

I’ve cried so hard that my eyes burn and I wake up with puffy eyelids. Sometimes I blow my nose so often the skin peels and I curse the makeup gods for not being able to cover it. Sometimes I’m so sad that I don’t move from the couch and watch all five seasons of Game of Thrones because I can.

That’s what real looks like. And guess what? Real is STILL ok for me.

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I want to be happy. I want to be with someone who makes me happy. I want to make someone else happy. And coexist in a way that seems effortless and easy. It hasn’t been that way. And it’s damn well time it should be.

I crossed the first part of a goal off yesterday: Change name with Social Security. In 7-10 days when the card arrives in the mail, I’ll knock off the second part of getting a new drivers license.

Yes, it’s soon. But why dwell? In my heart, I think I know things won’t change, at least not how they are now. If I want to be happy, I have to make myself that way. And sometimes that requires me to do it alone.

IMG_5548Part of being strong is acknowledging the pain. And then realizing it’s life. My track record for getting through hard times, thus far, is 100%.

I don’t like to dwell—What if I already met someone who could make me happy and love me, and didn’t give him a chance? What if there was a sign, and I was too depressed to see it? What if I spent so much time on my thoughts that I wasn’t able to see a lovely opportunity elsewhere?

I knew when it was time to move on. And as much as I hate doing things alone, if it meant choosing between happy/alone and miserable/together, I’d choose happy. Every. Single. Time.

Think of it this way…. those chocolate hostess cupcakes? Snoballs?Always come in packs of two. Now I can take time to savor them both!

On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes