The best qualities in you have always been there, but when you get stuck in the past and make your pain your identity, then that’s what you become.
—Bethenny Frankel, “A Place of Yes”
I just finished reading Julie Powell’s second memoir, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession.
You might recognize Powell’s name from her first book, Julie and Julia, which I read and loved. Because of that, I was looking forward to reading the sequel, and I wasn’t disappointed.
While Powell’s first book was much about the beginnings of her marriage and her issues with dedicating a year to cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook, I was sold that Powell was a sweet, loving wife.
Cleaving derails that image and although shatters any innocent images I once had of her, it makes her real. She opens up about the, now public, affair she had with a man she calls “D”, complete with sexy details and honest confessions.
What Powell did in Cleaving, I hope I can do in How To Make Lemonade: tell my stories of love and dating failures with a sense of real honesty that doesn’t come across too innocent or, on the other hand, too slutty.
To Eric, I am beloved. The Julie I am with him is mercurial, both too much and too weak, someone to be coddled and feared, kept in line, depended upon. The Julie who D knows is someone just a little different. A coconspirator. A playmate. Mischievous, sexy, thrillingly amoral. Someone to whom you’d murmur, as you slid inside her, and felt that answering clench, “Isn’t this the best thing in the fucking world?” The me I feel I am with D is unfamiliar, exhilarating, someone I am constantly sidling up to, excited and frightened. But which one of me is real, the cherished, starstruck girl or the sultry, winking woman? I don’t know these days, have not since the first day D tossed me back onto his bad.
After weeks of prepping, I had an interview yesterday to determine whether I could teach a class I created all on my own: Blogging for Beginners.
I got the class!
I will say, right from the start, I never ever thought I would teach. However, over the 10 years of my writing career, I have felt a want to show others just how amazing such an outlet can be. Over these years, I’ve been inspired by people and their stories. However, before all of that were some great teachers who lit a fire within me I didn’t even know I had.
And so, I took ahold of an opportunity placed in front of me. I know I love to blog, and I want to show others that it’s easy and fun! The course I have created will teach how to start and maintain any and every type of blog. It will be an interactive class, so my students can get my help as they work.
I am really excited to meet my course participants and see what kind of blogs they’ve been thinking of. I am also looking forward to learning even more about blogging.
I was excited this morning when I heard a sweet story on the news: the story of Mrs. Bieber.
Mrs. Bieber, or Avalanna, is a 6-year-old who is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. She is a huge Justin Bieber fan, so much so, she had a fake wedding to him. When the Biebs heard this, he surprised her yesterday with autographs and kisses!
I talk a lot about losing relationships—the romantic ones—and how difficult they are to move past.
This weekend, I lost three friendships faster than I could ever imagine.
Losing friendships, I am learning, is part of life. You meet people, they spend time in your life, and perhaps they stay, or maybe they go. These friendships I lost have left me hurting. But I know good things will come in due time.
“Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves… for growing up.” —The Wonder Years
Remember when I told you I had been thinking of Valentine’s Days gone by? Well, as I’ve mentioned, they aren’t all ribbons and pearls, or chocolate and roses, perhaps.
But, they aren’t all about me sitting and moping, either. If I think back further, years ago, there was a Valentine’s Day when I actually stood up for myself, and I even laughed about being single on that day. Here is the story:
In early February, Austin told me he was coming to Baton Rouge on behalf of his job. They wanted him to represent their company at the LSU job fair. I thought it was cool that he would be in town, but a previous fight we’d had came to the surface—both times I’d been to Dallas, I paid for the flights by myself, which was fine, but I felt like he needed to visit Baton Rouge on his dime.
He said I was being petty, that he was coming in town to see me—but in reality, he was getting a free trip and he was coming in town to represent his job. Regardless, he asked if he could stay with me and I said it was okay. I was still bartending and had to work happy hour the day he flew in town. He made plans to meet me at the bar at 7p.m., and have a few drinks before I got off work.
That morning, I wasn’t excited to see Austin. I was worried I had made the wrong decision in agreeing to letting him stay at my house. I’d already slept with someone new, who I really liked, and I didn’t want to mess that up. I didn’t even know if I wanted to see Austin at all.
But I kept my word, decided to face my demons, and go to work. Before I knew it, 8 o’clock rolled around and no word from Austin. He was an hour late. I still had one more hour of work left, so I kept at it.
But my mind started buzzing and before I knew it, my blood was boiling. This was a perfect example of everything our relationship had been since it’s beginning. Everything was always on Austin’s watch, no matter what. I was done. I was sick of being treated like shit, being second best to everything. I stared at the door, praying he wouldn’t arrive. When happy hour ended, I counted my drawer as fast as I could.
“On my way, don’t leave,” he texted.
Two hours late, and that’s what he had to say? I grabbed my purse, my coat, and ran to my car, hopped inside and sped home like a bat out of hell. He didn’t know where I lived, so once I pulled onto my street, I breathed a sigh of relief. I got inside my apartment, locked the doors, and sat in my bed laughing my ass off.
It was the greatest moment I’d felt in all of dating breakups. I’d finally felt the light switch. Austin called and texted me all night, to which I didn’t answer or respond. He was at the bar, with his suitcase, and nowhere to stay.
When my friends heard the story, they thought I was a little mean. But I didn’t care. Austin had treated me like shit for years and he finally got what was coming to him. With Austin, nothing I ever said resonated. So I had to show instead of tell. Keeping my mouth shut was the best thing I ever did for that relationship.
Anna Sofia Martin’s latest article on The Frisky really caught my attention: “8 Tips For Landing a Job or a Man This Valentine’s Day.”
While I’m not looking for either of those things, I’ve never thought about just how similar these two things are: job hunting vs. on the prowl.
Martin finds herself in a rare situation: dumped and laid off a week before heart’s day…and we thought simply being single was bad, sheesh! But I completely admire Martin’s positivity and courage to just go after what she wants.
One of my favorite tips is no. 5. Do I Want What You Want? Use your time together wisely for the must-do Q&A session.
This is something I feel I don’t do enough of, gauging what I want versus what the person or job is offering me.
What do you think? Do you approach the job hunt and the date search differently, or do you use similar tactics?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Valentine’s Days from years behind me…and it doesn’t look pretty. One in particular, two years ago, hurts me the most. But as I continue to move on as a single woman, learning from these moments is what it’s all about.
So, I want to share with you a piece of the journal entry I wrote two years ago:
Valentine’s Day—how I detest thee. Boyfriend or no boyfriend, you hurt my heart. You make me feel fat, ugly, and lonely. I can’t go out to eat around Valentine’s Day because of the couples, and the wait. I can’t go anywhere without seeing red, and boxes of chocolates, and banners hanging from the lamp posts saying “Holly, you’re still alone on Valentine’s Day!”
There’s never been a February 14 that I’ve actually looked forward to, or enjoyed. And if there has been, my memory has blocked it out due to trauma and/or heavy drinking.
But this year, THIS YEAR! Is the first year I’ve been dating someone on Valentine’s Day and so, I thought my hatred for such a nasty holiday would hide in the shadows. But nope. Still hate it.
I didn’t want to make a big ta-da out of the day or weekend, but I did want to indulge in some chocolate and time with my Valentine. But the dream I had built up in my mind—that we’d eat a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s, get schlitzed on beer, and eat a batch of red velvet cupcakes—quickly dissolved when my Valentine went missing.
And so, with a meaningless set of 12 homemade red velvet cupcakes, (I gave them to my coworkers and shoved the rest in my mouth with a game of Chubby Bunny, reminding myself once again why I am a loner each February), I wallowed in my sorrows.
With such a bad case of the lonelies, there was only one remedy: a cheese pizza just for me (notice how often I reference food here) and my very own Will & Grace marathon. What does that say about me that a show about gay men, paired with greasy food (and copious amounts of alcohol) is the only answer to my problems?
I’m certain this is just karma biting me in the ass for telling that soccer mom at Hobby Lobby to eff off—but I still think she deserved it.
I spent my Valentine’s Day hating my life and chatting with fellow girlfriends who hate theirs all the same. I know, I know, that last thing we’re supposed to do is sit at home and mope. Don’t worry—I didn’t sit at home. Instead, I sat in the Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Center for 4 hours after I figured out I needed a set of new tires. I went to the tire center expecting to pay $15 for a fixed flat, but instead paid $400. While I waited, I tried to read and not cry, but instead I was surrounded by crying babies, announcements over the loud-speaker, and a family next to me eating a bucket of fried chicken and bananas.
Naturally, I hung my head in shame. Even at Wal-Mart, I was surrounded with men buying hearts of chocolate and flowers and bears for their ladies. I was simply counting down the minutes until I could sip my first beer of the night.
Have you been through a tough Valentine’s Day? This year, I’m not focusing on who loves, or doesn’t love, me, but rather, who I love!