Pic of the Week.

It's my Flat Tummy Tea!

It’s my Flat Tummy Tea!

Today marks the start of my fifth consecutive week on the Tone It Up Plan, and I’m proud to report that I’ve lost a little more than five pounds since I started! Sticking to a diet and a workout regimen (which involves at least six workouts a week), isn’t easy. But little by little, my lifestyle change is working.

Last week, I incorporated a new part to my diet: Flat Tummy Tea.

My friend sent me the website on it, and with my beach vacation just nine days away, it took very little convincing before I ordered a two-week supply. So, this week is the second week of my Flat Tummy Tea cleanse.

So, what’s FTT? There are two teas, one for morning and one for night, that work together in order to suppress the appetite, boost energy, and provide the body with antioxidants. The tea also helps to lower bloat and water retention, keeping you slim and trim!

I’m a coffee drinker, so starting my morning with a mug of tea was a switch. But, after my tea I still enjoy a few cups of java, don’t worry. Both of the teas taste similar to black tea, so no need to worry about a weird or gross flavor that you’ve got to suck down for two weeks.

After about one week on the teas, I can already see a small difference in my stomach. At this point, every little bit helps!

Fresh Friday: White Woods.

Where's a match?

Where’s a match?

After one week off (to announce my next book — out September 22), Fresh Friday is back! … And I think you’re going to like this one. This week’s scent is White Woods by CLEAN.

As described by Sephora, “CLEAN White Woods is a warm, luxurious scent that embodies the pure essence of natural light dancing along a quiet wooded path. The fragrance weaves a cozy, comforting blanket with hints of crisp bergamot leaves, sparkling mandarin, creamy vanilla orchid, sandalwood, praline musks, and a dash of black pepper.”

It is also said to have touches of Calla lily, magnolia, sandalwood, and amber woods.

CLEAN launched its first fragrance in 2003 (White Woods was released in 2013), after grabbing inspiration from a simple bar of soap — I’ve seen many users complain about the perfume’s soapy scent, but I think it’s nice. They have other scents, aside from White Woods, that will be featured on Fresh Fridays.

Purchase the CLEAN mini rollerball set to try White Woods, Skin, and Rain, CLEAN’s most-popular scents.

Survival Guide: The Interview.

I love highlighting things.

I love highlighting things.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on a serious job interview — like big, salary job. But I have interviews all the time for freelance projects, and not to toot my own horn, but rarely do I get turned down for a job.

Interviewing, much like dating, is a skill that we constantly have to work at (which is why you should be going on dates, if you’re single). It’s not a bad idea to go on job interviews, too, even if you’re not necessarily looking for another job.

There are tons of tips for nailing an interview, but here are the ones I think will have the most impact:

  • Prepare. Kind of like what you’re doing now! Find out as much as possible about the company, and about the job you’re applying for. The more you know about the company and the position, the more you can sell yourself to fit the job. Plus, it’ll be easier to ask them questions at the end.
  • Be kind, to everyone. When I was heading into the interview for the job I’ve got now, I called ahead to make sure I had proper directions. Little did I know that when I hung up the phone, the secretary told my to-be boss just how sweet I was. You never know who’s watching, or listening.
  • Always be positive. No matter what question gets thrown your way, stay positive. You KNOW you’re going to get the question about your biggest weakness, so be prepared for it, and make it something that’s not so bad — I think I said I work too much. Ha!
  • Get your answers. Ask them questions, too. After all, you’ve got to make sure this job is good for YOU. Some good questions to ask include: What is the most important quality I need to succeed in this position? Can you describe a recent stressful workday that you experienced? What would you expect a star performer to accomplish in the first 30 days? What are some of your favorite office traditions?
  • Followup. A thank you note goes a long way (at least that is what my boss tells me). You can have an awesome interview, but if you don’t send a thank you note, you can kiss the job goodbye. Some people are okay with an email, but I say, go for the handwritten note. Everyone loves getting mail!

5 job-interview mistakes to avoid

 …From Real Simple magazine, April 2014

1. Leave the stilettos at home. The people I don’t hire are often wrongly dressed for the interview. Usually they’re overdressed: too much makeup and jewelry or impractical shoes It drives me crazy when a woman walks in with peekaboo toes and super high heels. I know they’re very fashionable, but you should look like you can work a long day and you’ll be OK. You can also dress down too much. Recently I looked for a babysitter for my daughter and was surprised by how many women came for an interview in stretchy pants, oversize tops, and sneakers. Not that they should have worn a business suit, either. You should look one step above what is expected to be worn on the job, not a whole ladder. —B.Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, & an investor on ABC’s Shark Tank

2. Don’t air your grievances. For me, the most critical part of the interview is when you explain the decisions you’ve made — especially why you went from one job to the next. The explanation tells me about your motivations and attitude. One golden rule: do not complain about a former job. Find a positive way to frame it. You don’t have to say that everything was perfect. But if you can’t find a way to explain how you handled a difficult situation or describe what you learned on the job, it can seem as if you’ll be disappointed by the ordinary ups and downs of a business. To me, then, it feels like a risk to hire you. —J.Pieri, CEO & founder of TheGrommet.com, one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs of 2013

Give a firm handshake.

Give a firm handshake.

3. Qualify Nothing. A lot of people have negative speech habits, such as using hedges like just, actually, kinda, and almost. For example: “I’m just really grateful to be talking to you today,” or “I’m kinda thinking I want to transition into this job.” These hedges make you come across as less confident, less authoritative — and less employable. Same for using disclaimers like, “Well I’m really not an expert on this.” People think these types of statements make them seem more likable or down-to-earth, but they undermine credibility. Before an interview, ask a friend to listen to your speech for any bad habits, since they are often unconscious. The give yourself a few days to focus on each one, and excise all of them. —T.S.Mohr, founder of Playing Big & the author of Playing Big

4. Stay on topic. At the interview, talk only about the things that directly correlate with you ability to do the job: your knowledge, skills, and abilities. For legal reasons, interviewers are trained to stay away from trouble spots. But interviewees often open the can of worms themselves — for example, by mentioning problematic family situations. Most people know not to talk about religion or politics, but even sports can be dangerous. If you’re a diehard Yankees fan and your interviewer likes the Red Sox, you could be in trouble. It’s best to stay focused on what you came there to talk about: the job. —P.Polachi, partner at Polachi

5. Pare down. Too many people walk into an interview with tons of extraneous items. Do not bring your cell phone. Or if you do, make sure it’s turned off, not just on vibrate. Interviewers will not excuse phones going off or, worse, people looking at their phones. Don’t bring reading material, either. It gives the interviewer an impression that may be good or bad, when what you want is to stay neutral. A water bottle might be acceptable, but I’ve heard about folks bringing in a Big Gulp. Not a good idea. Companies hire people, not just a set of skills. They take everything you do into account to gauge your fit for their business. —M.Steinerd, director of recruiting at Indeed.com

Guest Blog: Does Cheating Ever Make Sense?

Do women cheat more than men?

Do women cheat more than men?

Shannon Maker is a blogger and freelance writer in Des Moines, Iowa, with a passion for photography and cooking. She has a degree in Journalism and Spanish.

She fell in love with different kinds of authentic European cuisine while backpacking and studying abroad in Spain, France, and Italy during her senior year of college and for two years after graduation. She is willing to try anything from Boudin noir (blood sausage) to ox tongue, but her favorite has to be good old fashion pizza. You can usually find her whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, scouring Pinterest for the latest craft ideas, or playing with her two dogs, Parker and Benny.

I’ve had my fair share of relationships since I reached dating age, but since college I’ve been much more of a passive audience member to my friends’ dating lives than an active player in the game.

During my time as a single gal, I’ve actually learned a lot about relationships. As a bystander, I’ve seen lots of relationships come and go. Like eHarmony points out, they usually end for pretty typical reasons such as incompatibility, each wanting different things out of life, or the love just isn’t there anymore. None of them really comes as much of a surprise. The fights and behavior of the two when they’re together are usually pretty good signs. But when a couple breaks up because one of them cheated, it’s always a shock.

It seems to come out of nowhere. I’ve seen it happen to those who have been married for 10 years and those less than a year into a relationship. It’s heartbreaking no matter how long or brief you’ve been together. If you’re lucky enough to have never dealt with the situation before, you might see it as very straightforward: someone cheated, they’re a horrible person, and you breakup to find someone better. But rarely are the situations that black and white.

There are some instances where people may even side with the cheater, believing their actions were warranted because of the state of the relationship. Sometimes people may even think that the partner is at fault for their significant other being lead astray. In every sense of the word, to be a victim, you must be innocent. Is it possible that the person who didn’t stray isn’t innocent in the situation? Should it really be them that has to reform after the other cheats?

Speaking from experience, infidelity really messes with your head. You feel completely inadequate, betrayed, and naive. You feel as though the person that you were supposed to trust has made a fool out of you. But then, as The Frisky noted, somewhere among the anger and sadness comes the the doubt, and you end up repeatedly asking yourself the same question: Am I at fault?

It’s really a matter of personal opinion, but when someone blames another for the actions they willingly do, it’s really nothing more than a thinly veiled way to justify the act with the misguided notion that two wrongs make a right. The damages that both parties’ actions cause should be individually viewed, not used as a way to justify degrading the relationship further. And that goes for both sexes, both of which I have seen turn the blame to their partner for their own actions.

It’s certainly not just men that are breaking the bonds of trust. In a recent study by Adam and Eve, they found that one third (32.47%) of people in a committed relationship admitted to cheating on their partners. They also found that more women admitted to cheating (34%) than men (30%).

In looking at the survey results, sexologist Dr. Kat Van Kirk said, “These results are somewhat shocking, because we typically hear about high-profile men cheating in the news… But with more women in the workplace, and the ease of online relationship development, the playing field really has been leveled.”

What’s more important than deflecting blame in a cheating situation is figuring out how you both ended up at this point in the first place. Is one person not having his or her needs met? Are those needs rational or do you feel that they’re unreasonable?

Understandably, some people cannot get past cheating and choose to end the relationship, while others feel that it’s something that can be worked through. If you ever end up in the situation, the most important thing to remember is that everyone deserves someone who is going to be faithful to them. If your needs aren’t being met after you’ve tried talking and working on the problems, the solution isn’t to cheat. Remember, whether or not someone claims that his or her significant other is pushing him or her into the arms of someone else, two wrongs never make a right.

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Pic of the Week.

Not pictured: TBL hoodie, TBL women's boy brief.

Not pictured: TBL hoodie, TBL women’s boy brief.

Finally! I just know you all have been waiting for the day when you can show the world just how much you love reading The Bitter Lemon, right? That day is finally here!

After a few months of designing, and giving myself a crash course in Photoshop, I’ve created Bitter Lemon merchandise with help from Cafe Press. Although I finalized my designs a few weeks ago, I wanted to see the merchandise in person before I promoted it.

So, I’ve seen it, and even worn it, so I can say it’s here, it’s worth it, and it’s super-cute!

What’s in the store? I’ve got trucker hats, coffee mugs, hoodies, women’s boy briefs, razorback tanks, and a football jersey inspired t-shirt. All of the clothing is printed on American Apparel pieces, so it’s comfortable, and washes well.

Cafe Press offers a TON of products that can be personalized, so if you don’t see something in my store that you’d really like to see, just let me know and I’ll whip it up! I do want to offer another design for the trucker hats, but I haven’t thought of another hashtag just yet — if you have other ideas, let me know.

Check out the store, and let me know what you think. As always, thank you for supporting The Bitter Lemon!

Getting the Fade.

Don't make us wait by the phone.

Don’t make us wait by the phone.

The fade is more than just a haircut. In dating terms, the fade is when one person in the “relationship” (it could happen during the earlier stages of a relationship) disappears. Basically, they fall off the face of the earth.

I know I’m not the only person this has happened to — I’ve got audio evidence — but it’s happened to me a lot. In fact, it might be happening to me as I type this, I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

While I don’t have numerical data to back it up, I’d venture to say that the fade is most likely to occur in the earlier stages, like when you’re talking, or have just gone out on a few dates. Maybe you’ve had sex, maybe you haven’t. While not the reason, but I’d also venture to say that texting has made the fade a much more popular route when it comes to methods of rejection.

The fade allows someone to get out without having that awkward conversation… Umm, yeah, I don’t really think it’s working/I’m just not ready for a relationship/I’m really busy with work right now. I’ve heard it all. But the fade means none of that happens. A person just stops replying to your texts and/or answering your calls.

It is the rejection method of pussies, to put it lightly.

An article in Marie Claire confirms my point, that men love to avoid the issue (it’s quoted) and any chance of pressure. Puh-lease!

The fade is less likely to bother me (I can only speak for me) if we’ve only been out two times. It’s a completely different story if we’ve been out a handful of times, if we’re sleeping together, or if we’re exclusively in a full-blown relationship.

I’ve gotten the fade in all of those situations — but the ones that hurt the most were when actual boyfriends stopped talking to me. Some, to this day, still have never reached out and told me what the deal was. Which is completely fucked up.

So, what do you do when this happens to you? While you may really want to send a super shitty text, try to refrain from flying off the handle. There is a small chance that something legit is happening that’s keeping him away from his phone (although I wouldn’t bet on it), so don’t make yourself look crazy.

Instead, keep yourself (and your hands) busy. Bake something new. Paint a picture. Clean out your closet. See a movie. Take a yoga class. Basically, do you. Get on with your life. And while you’re busy doing that, you just might find that he’s not really important anyway.

Book #3: Lemon Drops.

My next book, releasing Sept. 22, 2014!

My next book, releasing Sept. 22, 2014!

I’m skipping Fresh Friday this week to make an announcement: MY THIRD BOOK IS COMING YOUR WAY.

That’s right, my third book is on its way — mark your calendars for September 22, 2014, which is EXACTLY one month from today!

At that time, you’ll be able to purchase digital copies through Amazon Kindle (which can also be read on an iPad using the Kindle app), or you can order printed copies, as well.

Between now and then, stay tuned for sneak peeks and giveaways, as I’m really, really excited about this one!

…Or you could read one of my other books, How I fell or How to Make Lemonade… Just saying.

I’m calling this one my third book, because it is my third relationship memoir. However, I do have another book out, that lists and explains 50 blogging tips for beginners (I often use it to teach my blogging class).

Anyway, what is this book, Lemon Drops, all about? Basically, I wanted to release a book that had some of my poetry in it, and I also wanted a chance to be able to explain where (emotionally) the poems came from.

So, there are poems, and some explanations, and there are also short stories. Most of them you’ve never heard before, as I never thought they were monumental enough for a blog, a column, or a book — but they certainly make for good “Lemon Drop” material.

Not only did I work really hard to put this book together, but I am revealing more of myself than ever. I have always found honesty to be the best policy, but at times, some of my experiences are difficult for me to admit, even to myself.

But with this book, I did. I’m putting all of my secrets out there for you to read, and as is my hope with everything that I write — that someone, somewhere can learn from what I’ve been through as I continue on my journey.

September 22 is the first official day of fall, and the special season holds such a big place in my heart that I wanted my book release to kickstart it, and I’ll even share with you the Introduction:

As I kid, I barely noticed the seasons as they changed. There was summer, which meant sleeping in and no school. Spring made way for Spring Break, and with winter, at least there was hope for a few snow days.

But fall, fall has always held a special place in my heart. With the bittersweet closing of summer, fall meant new beginnings — a new school year, with fresh school supplies and new clothes. There were new opportunities around every corner.

I wish though, that as a kid I would have romanticized the falling leaves in Indiana the way I do now. The incredible way they paint the skies and the sidewalks all at once. I remember my parents telling me how people would flock to Brown County just to see the leaves as they changed from green to red, and I thought it was so silly.

But there are no red leaves where I live now, in Louisiana. In fact, there’s not really much of a fall season, but I still add a blanket to my bed, light pumpkin candles, and make cider — call me a dreamer.

But in my 10 years in the South, I’ve romanticized much more than changing leaves. You could say that my imagination has gotten the best of me, often taking flight without my permission.

As you open the pages to my third book, you’ll get a glimpse into my world — it is romantic, but it’s real. And I’m venturing to say that what you’re about to read is my truest self realized; imagination or not.

Once again, thank you for joining me on my continuing journey. Before, I wished for a trail of sunrises, and if I could add another thing to my list, it would be colorful leaves.

Life just isn’t the same without them.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Lemon Drops!

What’s in my Gym Bag?

The dirty details of my smelly gym bag...

The dirty details of my smelly gym bag…

I had so much fun sharing all of the contents of my makeup bag with you last month, I decided to dump out my gym bag and give you the scoop on some of my favorite products I use to get my sweat on!

  1. Thirty-One Duffel (similar): My mom originally bought this bag for herself, but I loved it so much, she was nice enough to give it to me! She turned me on to Thirty-One products, and they are all durable, and so easy to clean. I love this bag because it’s big enough to fit all of my gym needs, and it even holds my giant boots in the winter!
  2. Dove Go Fresh Anti-Persperant: I bought this because I thought it would be funny to have pits that smell like cucumber & green tea! But really, Dove deodorant leaves the skin feeling soft, and it doesn’t ball up like others.
  3. Mission Sweet Vanilla Lip Balmer: This was a stocking stuffer, and it’s one of the few lip balms I’ve got that has an SPF. I don’t know what it is, but I always need to slather on some lip balm before I get started on my workout.
  4. Bic Twin Select Silky Touch Disposable Razor: I’ve never been a fan of having a single razor and just changing the blades, I like disposable ones, and Bic has always been the best for me. I buy about 30, and keep them stashed in my bathroom closet.
  5. Nike Free Athletic Running Shoes: While my usual boxing and kickboxing workouts don’t require shoes, I’ve started lifting weights and riding the stationary bike after class. Even when lifting weights, you need solid support under your feet so you wont injure your knees or lower back.
  6. Dove Hair Therapy, Revival Shampoo: Most of the time, I shower at home after the gym, but on the rare occasion that I get a lunch workout or even a morning one, I hit the gym shower, and I absolutely love the way this shampoo smells!
  7. Aussie Coconutz Conditioner: I know this is a kids conditioner, but I’m a sucker for all things coconut, and this stuff smells amazing. Plus, children’s hair products are often gentle on the hair, which is perfect for my color-treated locks.
  8. Sugar Mint Shower Gel: I got this during the holidays, mainly because I thought the owl on it was too cute to pass up, but I do love a good peppermint scent, especially after a tough workout.
  9. Scunci No-Slip Grip Jelly Ponytailers: I keep a ton of hair ties in my gym bag — they go so quickly, because my cat finds them and hides them for herself!
  10. Under Armor Performance Headband: A fellow gym-goer gave me this headband as a gift, and I can say it really stays in place. The underside is almost a rubbery material, so there’s no way it’s coming off without assistance.
  11. Fleur de Lis Cosmetic Bag (just as cute): This bag was a gift from one of my blogging students, and I keep it in my bag to hold all of my jewelry. I have a bad habit of sticking my jewelry in the bag pockets and then just letting it pile up — the removable bag is helping me to stay organized.
  12. Doterra Essential Oils (Peppermint, Lemon): I got this starter kit for my birthday, and I use the lemon oil in my water all day, including during my workouts. I also rub a little peppermint oil on my chest, as it has energizing properties and just a quick whiff of that stuff jumpstarts my boxing regimen.
  13. Ojon Color Sustain Pro: Not only does this stuff keep my color from fading, it smells like a latte. And I cannot get enough of it!

Guest Blog: Wishing for Better.

Guest Blogger, Susie

Guest Blogger, Susie

Susie Meredith is an HR professional for one of the world’s leading online retailers. She currently resides in Nashville, TN with her Golden Retriever, Sadie and her two cats, Vinny and Joey. Susie saved Vinny and Joey from a hard life in the cat-mob on the streets of Tennessee. She received her Bachelor’s in HR Development from Indiana State University and is currently working toward her Master’s in HR Management.

While obtaining her Bachelor’s she was a member of the Gamma Chi chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha where along with holding several leadership positions she also spent a significant amount of time partying hard, having fun, and playing Harvest Moon on Nintendo 64 with her roommates. Susie moved to Nashville with her family after a lifetime of living in Indiana after college and loves being a transplant Nashvillian. In her free time she is a self proclaimed TV junkie, alien movie connoisseur, and craft extraordinaire. Her motto is “If you can buy it, I can make it,” which sometimes leads to some interesting projects and meals. 

*     *     *

I’ve never been much of a “Dear Diary” kind of gal. I have always been the kind to be open and honest, but there is always a piece of me I hold back from people, and letting that piece of me out and putting it on paper gave me a sense of worry. Worry that someone would find it, read it and realize how truly vulnerable I am. My vulnerable side has only been seen by a handful of people and they have to pass my test.

Stop...can't touch this.

Stop…can’t touch this.

It’s not something I’ve ever done intentionally but it always ends up happening. Once someone gets so close to me there is something that goes off in my head and it becomes testing time. If you can handle me when I’m at my mean and nastiest and you’re still willing to be my friend afterward, then a sense of freedom washes over me and you have truly gained my trust and I never look back. You have complete access to 98% of who I am.

I’ve never understood why it’s so hard for me to be completely free with most people. Unfortunately, not everyone likes it when they finally see that side of me. It’s always interesting to see what happens, it’s like they had this image of me in their mind and I just let them down, they look at me different; like I’m less important in the world. I’ve let them realize that I am a real human on the inside with feelings and insecurities and they decided they didn’t like it. They want the Susie that is sarcastic and silly that always has a smile on her face and always has a snarky comment to make. Looking back and thinking about this piece of myself, I remember an argument I had with a sorority sister in college and she was so angry at me because I didn’t let people in. Another time I remember sitting in the living room with another sister and opening up to her and she looked at me like she understood exactly what I was giving her, she understood I was letting see the real me that few people see.

The only person I have never accidentally tested is my best friend Nikki. We met in kindergarten before the world had a chance to get its paws on me and close me up. To this day, Nikki is probably the only person outside of my parents and sister that gets to see 100% of me all the time. There have been times throughout the years where we have grown apart but we have always found our way back to each other. No matter what we’ve both had going on in life, if I needed to call her at 3AM just to hear another human’s voice she would wake up and talk to me about how everyone is obsessed with that fiber lash mascara that everyone seems to be pushing and how much it gets on my nerves.

I’m not saying that I’m anything special and that everyone should want to know every detail of my life, just dissecting myself a bit. When I finally see a friendship come to a close, I have a reflection period where I wonder where things went sour, or why they thought to just use me for what they could get out of me and then toss me away. With this information we will now embark on our next stop on the Crazyville Express.

Putting in overtime... in the love dept.

Putting in overtime… in the love dept.

Going back almost exactly three years ago, I started a new job. At this new job I met a guy, for the purposes of this blog we will call him #2. I remember seeing #2 at work and thinking “who is this dude?” He’s super outgoing and seemed to be having a blast and that was right up my alley. He was at the vending machines and had a fraternity shirt on so I walked on over and made some comment about his fraternity and we sparked up a conversation and if life went perfectly I would be telling you that #2 and I became best friends and he figured out I was the girl he’s been looking for all his life and we lived happily ever after… but we all know that I definitely don’t live the Rom-Com life.

Over the course of the next year he did become one of my best friends. He seemed to put color in a grey world. We worked night shift and worked 60 hours a week and I didn’t even care. We just had so much fun. We had a group of other folks we hung out with at work and we would have lunch, sit outside at night and enjoy the fall air and plan each other’s birthdays that we were celebrating at work, ya know… fun stuff. I guess I never realized things would completely change so quickly.

In the first year, I learned he was going through a divorce, and he would talk to me about his struggles with that. She refused to sign the paperwork even though she lived on the West Coast and their relationship was definitely over. She had put him in a very bad place making him question himself. She had lied and kept things from him that he should have known. As all relationships go I’m sure he wasn’t perfect either but its always rough when you meet a great guy and you see how another woman has put him through the ringer. It really sucks for us “normal” girls who would never ever dream of treating someone that way.

He was college educated, smart, funny and quirkily cute. People would always mention to me how great we got along and how cute we were together. I just laughed it off and moved on. I knew he was going through a divorce and that it was taking a toll on him and I didn’t want to be a reason for stress but on the inside I would have considered being more than friends with him if he was interested. But he was like my best friend; I didn’t want to ruin the fun! #2 had taken a job that was way below his level just to get his foot in the door with the company, and I was his biggest fan. I talked him up to anyone and everyone gave him advice or any insight I could without violating the confidentiality of my job. Within that first year he ended up getting promoted and moved to another building in the area; with the thoughts of him leaving I felt crushed. I realized he had made it 98% in without realizing it. Before he left we did have a conversation at some point where it somehow came up about us possibly dating and I told him that if we didn’t work together I would be interested, but the conversation didn’t go much further.

I need this keyboard.

I need this keyboard.

Toward the end of our time working together more and more people started mentioning to me how we would be perfect together and for the first time in my life, I could actually see myself being able to stand someone for longer than a few years. #2 and I would have conversations about what we were looking for in someone to be with and we would pretty much describe each other every time. At one point I had considering going on Match.com and did one of their free weekend deals and his sister-in-law had put him on there and he showed up as a 100% match for me.

At that point I started feeling irritated about it and a little rejected but I made myself let it go. He owed me nothing and I was incredibly happy for him with his promotion. If I remember correctly he either messaged me or called me specifically to tell me that his wife had finally signed the papers and he was officially a free man. A piece of me hoped that he would open his eyes and see what was in front of him. When he left he promised me that we wouldn’t stop being friends and we would hang out, and I believed him.

Time passed and he went through all his training and came back to open his building. I didn’t press hanging out too much because I know how busy opening a building can be. One day I was asked to go to the building to help them out and I was excited, I would get to see one of my best friends again. What I didn’t expect was that he seemed to not have much interest in speaking with me. It was awkward and I don’t know why. I sent him a message and mentioned that it was weird and he just threw a yeah my way, told me he was busy and went on.

It would be an understatement to say my feelings were hurt, as I drove myself home from work that night, I cried.

The one person who had finally penetrated the barrier that promised me he wasn’t using me to get ahead had rejected me. After that I shook off my feeling of being rejected and chalked it up to being busy or in a new environment. I went to the building once more while he was there and got my hopes up just to be crushed again. I was talking to one of my peers and he came up and had this huge conversation with her and barely recognized my existence. I cried again on my way home. After that I didn’t volunteer to go to his building. I actually dodged it like the plague. I felt stupid, used, and like one of the middle school girls that is crushing on the high school boy. I text him once more that winter asking him when we were going to hang out and he yelled at me.

Time passes and hearts heal. I had damaged my reputation hanging out with him so much and hadn’t realized it so I spent a good year of my career building my reputation and becoming model HR professional. I was in a meeting one day and one of the manager mentioned that #2 had just left work one day and never came back. It seemed so unlike him, someone who was hard working and strived for excellence. He had worked so hard for that promotion I really struggled to believe that he would just abandon it. Everyone was making up their version of what happened so I decided to reach out to him. I first tried to text him but never received a text back.

STFU.

STFU.

A few days later I sent him a message on Facebook and he responded. He had gotten a new phone so he never received the message. We never really talked or texted on the phone so I didn’t think much of it. He told me had been diagnosed with an ailment and had moved back in with his parents and was working toward getting his health back on track. Then it all started coming back, he was cracking jokes and being silly and I started laughing again, like really laughing not the fake laugh you do to pacify people. It felt so good and I remembered why I considered him a good friend.

We chatted back and forth quite a bit, I never got a hope that he would suddenly want to explore a relationship but I thought maybe I’ll get my friend back. We are both big TV junkies so we always have a stuff to chat about. He later ended up resigning from his position and was looking for another job. Thinking my good friend was back I immediately offer to help. My mother works in HR as well and I had him send me his resume so I could pass it along to her as they were looking for some folks with his experience. I knew he would be excellent in the interview, and of course he got the job.

I was over the moon excited for him. But this is where things took a weird turn. My mother had to leave the company unexpectedly and it was like because she wasn’t there speaking to me was irrelevant. From what I’ve been told he showed up for one or two days of work then never returned back. I messaged him on Facebook and asked him how the new job was going and received no response.

That was almost two months ago.

And I am reminded yet again why I don’t let people in. As much as I hated that his ex-wife had treated him the way he had tainting him for other women, he in turn did the same thing to me. He made me less trusting in the opposite sex. And now I’m mad and thinking back at the signs I should have seen long ago. Not only did he promise we wouldn’t lose contact, he didn’t care that he hurt my feelings. He changed his phone number and when I asked him about it didn’t volunteer to give me his new one, he made our only form of communication through Facebook. I gave and gave and gave to him and all he did was take from me until he couldn’t get anything else.

Meow.

Meow.

I think about the wedding I asked him to go to with him as friends, he refused. He said he had plans with his mother, who he was living with. I asked him if he wanted to go out with a group of friends for my 30th birthday and he also turned me down. He always has a lame ass excuse. Maybe I don’t realize how I come across once people reach that 98%. Maybe I’m thinking I’m being a good friend and he’s just sitting there thinking I’m that annoying unattractive girl in middle school that the boys play tricks on and laugh behind their back. I’ve never seen myself as that but maybe I’m missing the mark. I have my faults both physically and emotionally, but I refuse to believe I’m that girl.

Getting over the feeling of being duped and used has been the hardest. I let someone in who I didn’t see who they really are, and I’d like to believe I’m a better judge of character than that. Sometimes the boy-friends are just as difficult to navigate as the boyfriends. I’m mad at myself for wasting time and emotion on someone who did not reciprocate and who ultimately must not deserve me. It’s hard to think someone could use someone like that then walk away from them so easily.

I gained nothing but a life lesson out of this friendship, maybe that’s all I’ll ever have. In time maybe I’ll understand how you can go from being best friends with someone, thinking you could actually see a future with them to absolutely nothing. But a part of me never wants to understand how you can treat someone like that and so easily walk away. I wish him nothing but the best in life, well maybe not the best but nothing bad at least. But I wish me better.

Oh, and I’m still waiting to receive that ‘Happy 30th Birthday’ on Facebook… because ya know that’s the only form of communication.

If you would like to get in touch directly with Susie you can e-mail her at pumpkinpie8784@gmail.com or find her on Facebook. Read her other guest blog: From Friendzone to Fetishville part 1 & part 2.   

Pic of the Week.

This tiny meal is diet-friendly.

This tiny meal is diet-friendly.

 Last Thursday night, my friend Marcy and I tried a little something different for our usual girls’ night — a try at the popular “Poppin’ Cookin’.” In particular, I purchased the hamburger set (that looks eerily similar to that of McDonalds).

What is Poppin Cookin? It’s a Japanese phenomenon, in which people like myself get great pleasure out of not only making very tiny food, but cooking it from packets of powder. No, seriously.

My obsession with Poppin Cookin started months ago, when one a popular video blogger posted a series of videos of her and her friends making all of these tiny concoctions — there were mini donuts, little sushi (made of candy, mind you), a teeny layer-cake, baby gummies, and microscopic waffles.

I was mesmerized.

It's supposed to look like this...

It’s supposed to look like this…

I immediately ordered the burger/fry kit, and it took nearly six weeks (!) for it to arrive. Once it arrived, I waited for Marcy to come over before really taking a look at the package… and once I did, we discovered that indeed ALL of the instructions were in Japanese. Stupid me, I thought there’d be a cheat guide on the inside, but nope.

So we had two options: wing it, or learn Japanese in an hour.

Okay, so there was a third option: watch a YouTube video. And that’s what we did. Meanwhile, we still got some of the powder packets mixed up, which left us with buns made of the potato and fries made of bun bread.

But hell, it all still tasted EXACTLY like McDonald’s, which was cool, until I started picturing the employees dumping giant bags of powder into a vat to make fries. Blech.

Anyway, even though it didn’t turn out exactly like the picture on the box, I give us props. It was our first time poppin cookin, and I think we did a pretty stellar job.

Next? I think the donuts are in order.

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