This week, fans of “Sex and the City” have been celebrating its 20th anniversary – can you believe it?
HBO’s iconic series debuted in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. We didn’t have HBO at my house growing up, so I didn’t come across the series until I was a junior in high school, when I went on a college visit to Miami of Ohio.
It was 2001, and I saw an episode on DVD – I’m pretty sure I fell asleep before the episode was over. To be honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about dating when I was 17, and I certainly knew nothing about sex.
But by the time I went to college, I’d scrounged up all of the available seasons on DVDs and brought them to Louisiana. The episodes made me laugh, and I started to see why so many people loved the show so much – they spoke so honestly about dating, and in college, I really needed that.
My DVDs also came in handy when I applied to get a new roommate during my second semester of freshman year. The only open bed available was with someone who’d scored a room alone – she was probably REALLY disappointed when I showed up with my boxes of crap on a random weeknight.
Until I showed her my SATC collection and told her she was welcome to watch them anytime. We watched loads of episodes together.
It’s difficult to believe now, but SATC changed the dialogue about sex and dating, and it was one of the first shows (aside from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) that put single, career-driven women at the forefront.
It also carved a larger path for sex columnists, given that SATC’s main character has a weekly column titled, “Sex and the City”. I quickly became a fan of Natalie Krisnky’s writing, who was the sex columnist for Yale’s campus newspaper until 2004.
I also wrote the relationship column for the LSU paper, and while that was not the start of my publishing career, it gave me a place to vent about my dating troubles, and gave me confidence to start this blog, and eventually publish multiple books on the topic of love, sex, and relationships.
Based on the best-selling novel by Candace Bushnell, SATC gave us four women that were relatable, yet far enough out-of-reach that we could drool over their fashion, apartments, and exclusive access to New York City.
In the span of six seasons (from 1998-2004), Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte became our best friends, even if only digitally, we related to their love, loss, fun, and fights.
The best part? The writing is timeless. Over the years, SATC episodes covered first dates, baby showers, breakups, and marriage, and even dipped into more serious issues such as cancer, abortion, miscarriage, infidelity, interracial dating, and sexual identity.
No matter the topic, the tone of the show was always hopeful – that we can get through just about anything with the support of our friends and the relationship we ultimately have with ourself, and that’s a lesson that never comes too late.
As part of a week-long celebration, the E! Network has been playing all of the SATC episodes, and although I have the entire series on DVD (I was gifted an entirely new set after wearing out the first set), it’s fun to just turn on the TV and see all of the episodes I’ve watched countless times – I could probably recite most of them.
For this post, I was trying so hard to think of my all-time favorite episode, but it changes depending on what I’m going through at the time.
Right now, I can definitely relate to “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” (season 6, episode 9) when Carrie attends a baby shower and is asked to remove her Manolos – they get stolen, and she gets “shoe shamed” when she asks for a new pair from the hostess.
I have also always loved “Hot Child in the City” (season 3, episode 15) where all of the women face something from their childhood – whether it’s scooters and sunbathing or getting braces.
Just a few episodes later, in “Cock a Doodle Do”, Samantha goes to WAR with transsexuals on her block – it involves eggs and lots of yelling, but eventually they makeup and throw a rooftop party.
I never really did like any of Carrie’s boyfriends, not Berger or The Russian – I only like Mr. Big. One of my favorite episodes with him is “I Heart N.Y.” (Season 4, episode 18) when he’s getting ready to move to Napa. There’s pizza in an empty apartment, and several references to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and it’s perfect.
SATC also gave us some epic one-liners, including:
- When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep on walking.
- Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means that you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.
- They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.
- I am someone who is looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.
- Maybe the best any of us can do is not to quit, play the hand we’ve been given, and accessorize the outfit we’ve got.
I will probably spend a large chunk of my weekend watching SATC without regret. But I’d love to know, what were some of your favorite moments of the show? Or, did it change your life in some way? Give you confidence for a career move? Help you meet new friends?
Let me know in the comments! Have a great weekend everyone!
I had an entire blog post ready for today that looked a lot different than this one does. I was going to post screen shots of some text messages I received from a guy I went on a few dates with almost a year ago (the texts are just a few weeks old).
The texts he sent me were mean, and I was hurt. So, I was prepared to put him on blast – because that is what I have done on this blog every time a man treats me poorly.
Originally, I started this blog more than 10 years ago as a place to keep notes for a memoir I was writing (it has since been published). Over the years, this blog has undergone changes in the same way my life has – at one point, I was dating a lot, boy-crazy, and all I wanted was to be loved.
Things have since changed, and a large part of that changed was a result of how I’ve been treated by boys and men over the course of my life. Many men I’ve dated have later seen our stories here; they’ve gotten embarrassed and called me crazy, told me I was “Taylor Swift”, or that I’m just looking for attention.
I don’t like being told any of those things, of course, and I also realized that dating has never been worth it. I’m not here to bash men, and I am not out to be Taylor Swift. But looking back, I feel like those were just hurtful things said to me because I was simply presenting the truth. I know I am not alone in the way I’ve been treated by men, and it’s not okay that any women get text messages like the ones I am talking about today.
So, even after I drafted a post, I then saw an Instagram post (via Stories) from Color Me Courtney, and basically it was a message she’d gotten that said really mean things. And Courtney’s takeaway was, when you get hateful messages, don’t spread hate, spread love.
And that made me think twice about what I was about to publish on this blog. Would I just be putting more hate into the world? I don’t want that to be the vibe of this blog.
Honestly, that has never been my goal – I have only posted my personal stories so that other people can relate, and know they are not alone.
But maybe I don’t have to post texts and my wannabe reply to do that. Is it enough to just say that yes, even though I’ve been single for 5+ years and have only been on about two dates during that time, those dates still end up awful.
Those are the guys that are finding new ways to hurt me (i.e. texting my friends saying they actually liked them and not me).
Years of therapy has taught me that the reason I have dated so many assholes is because I have a history of not valuing myself, so I accept less than what I’m worth. I was hurt, so I attracted people who were also hurt; people that could (and did) take advantage of me in many ways.
Because of this, I often associate dating with being broken – that only the weak need a partner. This is something I know is not true for most people, but I have never dated someone while I’m feeling whole and confident.
And even in these years of growing and learning and feeling confident – I still end up with the mean texts and actions of rejection.
So, is that all it takes? Am I taking the high road, or am I just hiding under it? Am I doing women everywhere a disservice because I’m not being clear about this situation, or is that how it’s done properly?
If I posted the texts, the person I’m talking about would probably text me again and that’s not something I want. Or maybe the blog post would just say more about me than it does about him.
So, I’m leaving it at that: just a simple message to let you know that even approaching 33, 5 years single, I still cannot seem to get things right in the dating department.
And, I’m still okay with that, but I would be even better with it if I didn’t have to get texts about it 🙂
Almost two weeks ago, I got a call from my uncle letting me know my dad had been admitted to the hospital.
As I’ve mentioned here before, the relationship I have with my dad came to a halt about three and a half years ago. I haven’t heard from him since then, or really heard anything about him during that time.
This also means I haven’t really talked to anyone on my dad’s side of the family, and to be honest, I was just getting to used to the feeling of the silence. I know how that sounds, but there’s just a lot to deal with and a lot of pain there. The best thing for me to do was to cut it out.
But the other side of truth to this is that I have lived in fear of getting this call. I’m getting to that age where things happen to the people we once thought were bulletproof.
Upon first glance, my dad’s situation (which I’m going to try and keep as private as possible) seemed semi-serious. But within just 24 hours, things for him sounded much darker. I was told my dad wanted to hear from me, so I called him, and did everything I could not to just burst into tears. I didn’t know if this would be the last conversation we would have.
And then I jumped on a plane to get to his hospital room. During my flights, I thought a lot about my dad’s life. He’s overcome many obstacles, and I’ve always thought of him as someone who doesn’t take the traditional route. He’s a hustler; a doer.
I get that from my dad. My dad has the rare gift of being an intellectual, while simultaneously storing lines from “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Office Space”, among many other movies and sketches. He loves to play chess competitively, and he’s good. I learned from the best.
But most of all, my dad is a beautiful writer. It’s the ultimate gift of the Phillips’ family. We have a way with words. I guess you could say this is also our downfall. I won’t speak for all of the family, but I know my dad and I are willing to say what others won’t, and we are not afraid of controversy.
You can thank my dad for this blog, and for the 1,000+ times my name has been published. But I wondered about his dreams, his goals… Did he live the life he dreamt of?
I landed in Chattanooga on Friday morning, and caught a Lyft to get to the Erlanger Health System that was about 20 minutes away. I was trying to see my dad before he was wheeled into surgery.
Upon arrival, I saw my dad in his hospital bed. He was awake and talking, although there were so many people in his small hospital room: two of my uncles, my aunt, my grandma and grandpa, two of my cousins, my great aunt and uncle, and my dad’s partner.
I haven’t seen my dad in at least five years, and if I had to guess, it’s been 20 years since I’ve seen many of the people in that room – if not longer. The mood in the room was optimistic, which isn’t quite the message that was conveyed to me 24 hours before. But, I wanted to be upbeat for my dad.
Although the information was at least 3rd-hand, I was told there was a chance my dad may not survive the surgery. If he did, he may not remember any of us, or perhaps he wouldn’t be able to talk or walk.
Over the two hours I had in the room, we met my dad’s Doctor, who told my dad he was going to be fine, and that his main concern was a little bit of weakness on the left side of his body. However, that could be treated with physical therapy, he said. I also met the surgeon, who marked an “X” on my dad’s body where he would make the incision. He told us the surgery was expected to take around 2 hours – which was much less time than I was originally told.
As a family, we joined hands and prayed over my dad, and I kissed him goodbye before he was wheeled away.
I was terrified. I just wanted my dad to make it through the surgery. I’d packed a backpack with books, magazines, snacks, and my iPad to keep me busy while I waited at the hospital. But all I wanted to do was stare.
As I tried to eat lunch, my grandma filled me in on what I’d already heard: that my dad and his partner were living in total secrecy, they won’t give anyone their address or allow any visitors, that my dad has been very sick for at least a month, and that my dad’s partner was refusing medical care that could have saved my father sooner.
I know that there are three sides to every story, and frankly, I didn’t really want to hear any of them. I told my grandma to stop, and let’s just hope that my dad would be ok.
It wasn’t long before my dad’s partner tried to explain her side of the story, and again, I told her I could see both sides, but there’s nothing we could do about it now except just hope my dad would be ok.
I know these times are tough for everyone. And I know everyone has their own way of coping. I have no intention of playing the blame-game here, as I truly do feel for all of us who care for my dad.
About an hour into surgery, we got a call saying things were going great. Everyone had left but me and my dad’s partner, so we went in search of a plug to recharge all of our devices. I haven’t ever gotten along with her, but this was seemingly going okay. I honestly felt bad for her – I know she truly cares for my dad and I can’t imagine what this has been like for her.
Around 8:30 pm, we got a call saying the surgery was over, and my dad was doing well. We just had to wait for a call to visit him in ICU (this is protocol after the type of surgery my dad had).
When we got the call, we followed the hospital maze to reach our destination. I’ve never been in the ICU. I am not a fan of hospitals, or anything medical really, and I was nervous. I’d only visited one person in the hospital before and it was not for anything too serious.
But this particular ICU looked really nice. My dad was in the first room, right by the door. We met his night nurse, Dianne, who had this amazing southern accent that carried. “Come talk to ’em!” She said to us.
I approached slowly.
My dad opened his eyes and waved. He gave us a thumbs up when we told him they did a great job. I found myself staring – staring at his chest just to watch it rise and fall – noticing my own breaths going deeper.
The nurse showed us some of his scans – before and after surgery – so we could better understand what was happening. I felt like I’d learned more in those 48 hours about hospitals, MRIs, and surgery than I ever thought I’d learn.
Finally, Dianne told us to go home and sleep. She assured us that my dad was stable and that he would be in great care. I knew she was right. My dad’s partner gave me a ride to my hotel, which was just a few minutes away from the hospital, and I was thankful to climb into bed after being awake for nearly 24 hours.
The next day, I just planned to see my dad. His partner called me in the morning and said she got an update from the nurse that we didn’t need to rush to see him since he would still be sleeping. She offered to pick me up around lunch, and I agreed.
When she got to my hotel, she quickly told me that she would serve as the main point of contact for the hospital and she took the single allotted PIN number that would allow anyone else to get phone updates directly from the nurses about my dad.
Of course, I thought, I mean she’s his partner.
When we got to the hospital, my dad woke up quickly, and held our hands. He talked to us, and was making jokes, and of course, spouting off movie lines. His day nurse was proud to report that he was still doing well, and he was following all commands, and said to have no problems with his vision.
But as the day continued on, I grew very annoyed at the situation I was seeing. There was lots of hovering, with a near-obsessive watch over my dad (not by medical professionals). There was also a lot of questioning happening – why were the nurses doing this? Why did the doctor suggest that?
I know there are parts of healthcare that can be subjective. But I also know that I really don’t know anything about how to care for someone after surgery. I trust that these doctors know what they’re doing, and the nurses will care for my dad the best they know how.
I felt like my dad needed rest and he wasn’t going to rest if there were people standing around his bed, talking to him, and asking him questions all day. One of my uncles was on one side of the bed while my dad’s partner was on the other side of the bed and they got into a decently loud conversation regarding my dad’s symptoms before he was admitted to the hospital.
While my uncle was trying to point out that he told my dad to get help right away nearly two months prior, the partner was trying to defend herself, saying, “Well I didn’t have control of his phone and HE didn’t tell me!”
I felt it was inappropriate and unnecessary to be having this discussion, especially in front of my dad. In the four hours that I sat there, I learned a lot about myself:
- I don’t want to be in ICU and have people arguing over my symptoms right in front of me.
- I don’t want anyone hovering over me or touching my face (now or if I’m in the hospital)
- I don’t want anyone doing things that don’t follow the rules (I.e. Feed me food if it has not been approved by my doctor)
- I continue to be amazed at medical care. Period.
My dad’s partner noticed my silence and probably my clear aggravation. “Are you ok?” She asked. I told her no, I was annoyed. “Are you just wanting to be quiet?” No, I said. And then I left.
I left the ICU, I left the hospital, and I caught a Lyft back to my hotel. I didn’t think it was right for us to be keeping my dad awake all day – we’d been in the ICU for 4 hours at that point and my dad’s partner had also promised me a little time alone with my dad. But I had been warned by others: she never leaves his side.
About an hour later, she texted me asking if I was ok. Again, I told her no, I was annoyed.
Later that night, she said I could call her if I wanted to get an update on my dad. This is when I started to mentally make a list of all the ways she was going to control this situation:
1. Be the main contact/have the PIN number for the nurse
2. Only receive updates thru her
So, I called, and she was still at the hospital, right by my dad’s face, going on hour 10 of being there. I wondered if she pulled a Wendy Davis and got a catheter, going for that filibuster all night. Her update was that what the doctors/nurses were doing wasn’t enough to help my dad so she had to spend her day researching remedies.
She wanted to know my schedule for the following day (red flag for control/manipulation), and I told her I didn’t know. She said to text her (control/manipulation), so I said I would but knew I wouldn’t. I wanted to see my dad alone.
She let me talk to my dad on the phone, and I apologized to him for leaving. “That’s okay…” He said, in a weak voice. “Are you going to come back tomorrow?” He asked. I told him yes, I’d be there first thing. “Okay,” he said. “Love you.”
Even writing this brings tears to my eyes. My dad has never been one to be openly affectionate. He’d told me loved me more times in the last 48 hours than he had in possibly 10 years. That’s just how our relationship worked. I just had to know that he loved me, but hearing it was an entirely different feeling.
As I went to bed that night, my mind was spinning. Over the years, I’ve learned that I have a bit of an obsessive personality. I get excited about an idea, and then it’s all I think about and do, and for one reason or another, it’ll get dropped because I’m juggling a million things at once.
I wanted to help my dad, and although I don’t know anything medical, I thought maybe I could offer to help him and his partner with their business. With my dad being out, and her helping, things were likely at a standstill. I thought about helping them there, or could I talk to my boss and help take care of my dad in Tennessee? The wheels kept turning.
But the other part of this story is the reality that my dad and his partner have built walls around themselves. None of us know where they live, and they work out of their home. I don’t know why or exactly when they moved to Tennessee.
How much can you help someone who doesn’t want help, let alone outside contact from others? I wondered if this experience would show my dad just how much we all care for him and love him. I wondered if it would allow him to let us inside the walls. But I was about to find out just how much my presence wasn’t desired.
The next morning, I woke up around 6:30 to pack my things, eat, check out of the hotel, and catch a Lyft to the hospital. There was an Ironman competition that morning, so it took nearly 20 minutes to get a ride. But I caught sight of the bike portion of the race, making a mental note of it so I could tell my dad.
I got to the ICU a little before 9am, and spoke to my dad’s day nurse. She said he was still doing well, but she knew of some things that happened on previous shifts that weren’t approved by the doctor, and she wouldn’t allow those to happen again. I thanked her.
I told her I wanted to let my dad sleep, so I sat in a chair and flipped through a magazine. Around 9:30, she said she was going to wake my dad up for a test. But when she tried to wake him up, not much happened. He was so tired, so sleepy, he wasn’t going to be able to take his test. He would also have to get a feeding tube.
The doctor arrived shortly and said my dad needed to rest, so any visitors needed to be quiet and not wake him. He told me my dad would probably be asleep for 12 hours. This meant I wouldn’t get to talk to him – wouldn’t get to say goodbye.
So, I sat. I read a book. I greeted my grandparents and my uncle. I was upset, and I was frustrated. There was nothing I could do for my dad, but simply hope that things would turn out well for him.
His partner arrived that afternoon and immediately wanted to know how I got to the hospital. I don’t think she liked that I worked independently. Later, she asked me if I was mad at her. I told her no, but that the situation the day before made me upset. I didn’t think we should be speculating things about my dad’s symptoms or questioning the doctor. She basically took that time to tell me that my opinion was nice, but it wasn’t welcomed.
We were there, in the ICU room with my dad, still asleep, and she had the audacity to shut me out. I sobbed. I had dropped everything to be by my dad’s side; to show him I love and support him, and I had hoped that with every fiber in my body, that my presence did even an ounce of good.
If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I did anything good that weekend. Still, almost two weeks later, I am completely torn inside and I’d be lying if I said a day has passed that I haven’t cried.
After his partner made me feel like shit, I grabbed my bags and left the hospital. There was nothing left to say, and seeing my dad in that hospital bed not hearing me, is a moment I can never erase.
It’s worth mentioning that my dad’s partner doesn’t have a relationship with her family. No one. At all. And I would venture to guess that she doesn’t know what it’s like to see one of her parents in this situation. It ain’t easy.
I cried for my entire Lyft ride to the airport, through security, and once I got to my gate, I found a corner and cried. I cried so hard that someone from TSA came to talk to me to see if I could calm down.
The truth is, how could I be any semblance of okay after what had just happened? In just four days, I’d received the news about my dad AND all of this drama that comes along with my dad’s side of the family had come crashing into my face.
I felt alone; I feel like I don’t have anyone rooting for me; and I was scared shitless that I’d never hear from my dad again. I knew one thing for a fact: I wouldn’t be getting updates from his partner anymore.
Two things stopped me from crying for my six hours of travel home: my trusty Khalid album, and the Dallas Cowboys’ burger kiosk at gate A21 in the DFW airport. It’s the second time I’ve eaten there, both times I was upset, and both times I’ve abandoned my vegan lifestyle to get the Cowboy Blues burger and it is so worth it.
When my assumption came true in the coming days and I’d received no update, I called the hospital myself and talked to a nurse. She told me she would tell my dad I called. Once my dad was moved into a regular room, though, they wouldn’t provide updates without the PIN number.
His partner had the PIN – and I get that. But if you take the PIN, especially since she has been by his side 24/7, then you need to share that information. I didn’t travel across the south for fun – I am my dad’s daughter, and that’s going to be how it is forever. I am in this.
“So I’ll be coasting, roller-coasting through my emotion…” -Khalid, Coaster
I texted my dad on Friday, just wanting to let him know that I hoped he would text me once he was able to use his phone. He wrote back, and then I got another message from his phone that was from his partner, saying he wasn’t using his phone. .
It was confusing and hurtful – I felt like she was trying to let me know that she would be reading all of his texts (or possibly deleting some). I also got really excited when I saw a message from my dad, only to see it wasn’t really from him.
So I texted her cell phone asking her to please not text me from my dad’s number, and she told me, “Stop causing chaos. It isn’t helping.”
I’ve learned a lot these last few weeks about holding your tongue. I’m not even going to say here what I wanted to reply to this message with.
In case you’re wondering, chaos is defined as “complete disorder and confusion”, which makes no sense. I was actually very clear in saying that I did not want to receive text messages from her on my dad’s phone.
I asked her how I was causing chaos.
I have yet to get a response, possibly for two reasons: 1. I was not causing chaos, and 2. Because she blocked my number (that’s what she did to my grandma).
So, I haven’t heard from anyone in almost a week. And I’m the one that’s left confused. Because I went for two reasons: 1. To support my dad, and 2. To do what was right for me. I could not live with myself if something happened to my dad and I didn’t do everything I could to help him, even if it just means being there.
And that’s why my heart continues to hurt. I’m scared. His diagnosis was given to me via text, which I thought was inappropriate, but it also wasn’t an accurate medical description of his situation.
My cousin is nearing the end of his studies in neuromedical school, and he offered up his brain to help me understand. But I didn’t have much information to go off of, and I obviously will not have any say in the future of my dad’s care.
I want to stop for a second here and say that I’ve spent the last week questioning if I should even write this blog post, or if I should put a password on it. Because the truth is, my family is just going to hate me more once this goes live. I’m going to be called a piece of trash and they’re going to threaten to sue me, and perhaps I’m risking my dad ever talking to me again.
But I’m hoping I’m not the only one that’s been through a tough family + medical situation. I’m hoping there’s someone out there that can relate; someone to help me keep my chin up. Because this has been the most difficult time of my life.
I’ve never understood the saying “Between a rock and a hard place” until now. Because I know this isn’t just tough on me. I know my dad has been so brave and strong, and I know my entire family has really pulled together to support him.
I’ve tried to go through the motions of my life – tried to go to work, go to dance, work on my jewelry… And I know that’s a luxury that I have. I know my dad just can’t ignore this situation. But the truth is, none of my usual remedies for dealing with stress or depression have helped.
I just cry at in-opportune times and wear my LSU hat everywhere trying to hide it (which wasn’t easy after they lost their damn HOMECOMING game).
I am writing this mainly hoping to gain some semblance of inner-peace, and also to let my dad know that I care for him, and I hope to hear from him soon.
The situation is tricky; just because someone is sick doesn’t make our problems go away, but no matter what, I’m going to be there for my dad in whatever way I can be. I would do that for anyone I care about.
I’m not entirely sure what the road ahead will look like for my dad. But I know he is going to need love and support. And if I can offer that; if I can make him laugh after a doctor’s appointment, or send him some nurse-approved treats, or take him on the vacation of a lifetime, he can count on me being there.
Since I haven’t been able to talk to my dad, I’ve been taking to Twitter many nights before bed, putting my thoughts into the universe. I know he won’t see them, but it makes me feel a tad better knowing my love is floating among some radio wave and perhaps it would reach my dad.
Some of this probably sounds insane, and I know it’s a long, long way of explaining the thoughts and feelings that have been inside of me for weeks. But the ugly truth is that there is NO correct way to act or feel when you find out someone you love needs serious medical care.
Members of my dance studio have come to my side in a way I have never, ever expected – they’ve offered wine nights, coffee talks, movies, cocktails, information, phone calls, and when I’m on the brink of tears they’ve simply said, “I support you.” And that is not something I have ever experienced. These women are phenomenal, and to be honest, I’d probably still be in bed from weeks ago if it weren’t for their encouragement. If you’re reading this: thank you.
I have also gotten so many caring messages and phone calls from my mom’s side of the family – they have prayed for my dad and for me, and perhaps that’s how I’m still standing. Their support has been amazing.
So, the journey continues. I know that when my dad is ready, we’ll talk, and I can figure out the best way to help him. But until then, I’m just sort of floating in this sea of unknown and all I can do is hope that he continues to heal each day. I know he is tough as hell, and he knows I love him.
During one of the conversations I had with my dad in the hospital, he admitted he keeps up with this blog as a way to see what I’m doing. While I hope this post doesn’t cause any grief, I do hope that in the coming posts, my message is clear: I’m here. Hoping to hear from you.
One of my goals for 2017 was to clean out my apartment. Not clean up, no, actually go through every little nook and box and get rid of things, and also do a better job of the things that I brought into the apartment.
My tiny place is 650 square feet, including my patio, and I hate feeling like it’s cluttered. I’ve already gotten rid of lots of clothes (H&M gives you 15% off coupons when you donate clothing/fabric), tossed old papers, and sold books and DVDs to Half Price.
I even started a little pile of things to sell on eBay.
I wasn’t entirely certain people still used eBay, but I had a few items that were too nice to simply give away. Over the past few months, the pile has grown, under the assumption I’d eventually take pictures of all of these items, resurrect my eBay account (which I got in high school), and actually list these things for sale.
I wasn’t sure that day would actually come, until I stopped talking to a guy I liked, and got the boot from one of my best friends. All of the sudden, I had LOADS of time. How do you think I read all of these books for Blanche’s Book Club?
Over the years, I’ve become a bit of a master at compartmentalizing my problems with men. Sure, it still hurts (I am not a robot), but I know I’m still a catch, and my life is good. I’m good.
But, losing a friend? That is something that cuts even deeper. That flat out hurts – and I realized it’s not something that’s easy to talk about.
In July, the Lenny Newsletter published an article from author Janelle Brown called “Why I’m Saying Goodbye to Toxic Friendships“. She captured perfectly how I’ve been feeling:
It’s shocking when a friendship dies that way: It feels impossible that you can experience total platonic love and devotion for another woman — BFFL all but tattooed on your heart — and then, abruptly, realize that you didn’t know that person at all. That your friendship was not what you thought it was; that it was just a way-stop for the other person on their path to bigger, better things.
I’m an only child and I come from a small family. I have always dreamed of being a part of a big family someday, and even being in a sorority in college gave me some of that comfort I craved. I used to hope I could marry into a big family, but those dreams have since faded. When the relationships with my own family have also nearly dissolved, I have come to rely on my friends more than ever.
But as much as we’ve romanticized forever friendships and sisterhood – not every friendship is going to be that way. Of course, I’m always thankful for the time we had.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the past two years, it’s that not only do I hang on to the past, but I also don’t let shit go. And that’s not good, admittedly.
It’s time for me to start letting things go.
So, I turned to my eBay pile and started listing the items (after recovering my password and realizing that yes, people DO still very much use eBay).
Quickly, bids started coming in.
Today, I’ve sold and shipped four items from my pile and am $200 richer. Money aside, I realized that I shipped off my baggage – some of it is in California and Vegas now.
And it feels good. Clothes, jewelry, mementoes of my past are no longer within my reach.
When I did the Dating Detox a few weeks ago, one of the steps was to get rid of any items like these. But, I didn’t have any. You see, this isn’t the first time I’ve taken to eBay to sell my baggage (someone now has a Mignon Faget knot ring from my college boyfriend).
But none of what I’m getting rid of today has any romantic connection. I’m clearing out the finished friendships and the family ties. No more boxes of hurt feelings.
Of course, I can’t get rid of memories – the good or the bad. But at least I’ve cleared out what I could, and I know I’m making room for the happy stuff.
I still have several more items to list on eBay. And I look forward to shipping them off to new homes – and let myself feel a little bit lighter inside and out.
Tell me I can keep the door cracked open, to let light through
For all my running, I can understand
I’m one text away from being back again
But I’m moving on and I’m getting over
-John Mayer, Moving On and Getting Over
Whew! It’s the final day of this Dating Detox. Technically, I know it took me longer than 7 days to get through it, but I’m a busy gal, and let’s face it, this was tough.
Day 7 Challenge: Check Yourself!
- She doesn’t need a man, but she wants one.
- She recognizes that men should be the “head of the household but she is the neck”.
- She has boundaries, and she sets them in a firm, but in kind way.
- She will ask very good, often pointed, qualifying questions to men she meets and dates.
- High Value women don’t let their emotions control their actions when it comes to men. They make decisions based on logic and the man’s actions not intentions or words.
- She values her body and will not offer sex until the man proves his worth through his actions.
- She values her body and strives to be healthy and fit. Her body is a temple and she chooses to make educated choices about what she puts into it and what it needs to thrive in life.
- She knows how to make a man feel special and worthy, like he is the only one.
Well, right off the bat, item #1 I don’t have. Ha! This is what I knew going in to the detox. I’m not really ready for a guy, but more so, I don’t want one.
I think what I’ve learned most through this detox is that I like my life how it is. My days are full with the things I want to do. I don’t have to compromise or share. I don’t have to plan or think about anyone other than myself (and sometimes Blanche).
Sure, I can be strong and please a man and wait for his actions and yadda yadda, but for what? I think I’m good. Maybe I’ll feel differently in a month or a year or five years, but today, I’m good. And oh yeah, I deleted my dating app.
Right now, I’m focused on improving myself for me, not for a man. I’m continuing to work on my dance skill, working on my hobby of making jewelry, reading several books a week, and gearing up to volunteer at the Film Festival. My life is full.
So, yeah – the cleanse worked, because I’m basically free from wanting a man!
Anyway, I’ve also added THREE new styles to my Etsy Shop this week:
I still have lots of items I want to add, but this week, I’ve been cleaning out an area in my apartment to dedicate to my jewelry making. Right now I’ve been just making everything while sitting on the couch, which is fine, but then my living room is a mess. Check out my Instagram Stories @OrangeJulius7 for updates on the craft area organization progress!
Ok – day 6! Today is all about the “Top ingredients for a high-quality man”. This is exactly what I need to see. Denise has a list of just SOME of the ingredients of a high-quality man, and they are:
- His actions will always speak louder than his words. High Quality mens’ words and actions are congruent.
- High Quality men will want to connect with you in the most personal way. Texting is the lowest form of communication.
- He has had at least one long-term relationship.
- He doesn’t trash talk his exes and takes responsibility with what his part was for the break-up.
- Attitude that they can make things happen in their lives…not that life just happens to him.
- Consistency is key. He does what he says he’s going to do.
- Has a steady job and a string of logical choices and progression in his career.
- Willing to delay having sex without getting angry or making you feel guilty (it doesn’t mean they don’t try to have sex…).
- They are able to control their emotions–they don’t exhibit extreme bouts of anger, jealousy, and depression.
- They don’t profess their undying love to you right away. High quality men know they are a catch and are looking to see if you add value to their life.
…Yep, pretty much never dated a man that fit any of these things.
Day 5 Challenge: Top ingredients of a High Quality Man
Denise shares the Five F’s Formula (which I’ve never heard of). Here it is:
Friends: You want a man that can be your best friend, right? Does he have friends? Is he a bridge burner or relationships keeper? How does he treat them? Are his friends kind and respectful towards you?
Family: Pay attention to his relationship with his family. Consider it a red flag if he doesn’t have one at all. While there are extenuating circumstances, you want to see that your future husband knows how to resolve conflict and repair relationships when conflict.
Finance: Finance is a leading cause of divorce. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor or rich; it’s how he handles his money that matters. Is he responsible? What does his spending and saving habits look like?
Future: Pay attention to his ambitions and vision for his future. Does he have a clear plan for his future? Does he has a history of several career changes and is still searching for what makes him happy? Men often rely on their career for confidence and you want a confident man. It’s not about how much he makes but that he is strong and confident in what he does.
Faith: Do you share the same faith and beliefs? At the end of the day, the last thing you want to argue about is what you consider to be the source and foundational principles of life.
Homework: Share an example of a man you dated and tell us how which one of the Five F’s you wish you had explored or made more important. Do you seem to be dating men who have most of the Five F’s, but have a pattern of lacking one of the above? If so, which one?
I definitely don’t look at finance, future, or faith enough. I’ve dated men before that seem to be on top of their money, but it has always made me nervous in the past because I don’t want to be married to someone that is strict about what I spend my money on. But obviously, I can see both sides of this – my last relationship was with a man who had terrible finance issues and was stealing money from his job.
Future… this is one that makes me really nervous. I almost feel like I CAN’T have an opinion about this because I don’t have a clear future. Do I have goals? Yes. Ambition? Yes. But I don’t have a clear plan.
Rarely have I ever cared if I’m with someone where we share the same faith and beliefs. It sounds crazy writing it out, but it’s true! I recently had an experience where I realized the importance of this when I got into an emotional argument with someone over politics. I know politics aren’t faith, but these are at the core of my beliefs.
…Day 6… I have work to do.
SRSLY, everyone is just freaking out about this solar eclipse – is it really that big of a deal? My office doesn’t even have windows, so I’m 100% sure I will not notice when Texas gets 65% coverage. Le sigh.
Anyway, onto Day 5, and this one is a tough one for me.
Day 5 Challenge: Time to go Shopping for a High-Quality Man!
Denise is instructing us detoxers to think about the last two serious relationships we’ve had (oh, boy). She asks, what were the initial traits and qualities each man had that attracted you?
We’ll start with my most recent serious relationship (deep breath in)…
We met at a high-brow dinner party, and our first date was a private dinner prepared just for us by the chef. I really liked that he was a man who appreciated fine dining, interesting food, good wine, and was willing to splurge for our date.
On our first date, I felt like we had a lot to talk about, and he was funny and made me laugh.
The relationship before that… we met at work and I really was attracted to his drive, focus on work, and I felt like he was a family man – I always got lost imagining us as a big family.
…God, this is just embarrassing.
Now, Denise says, write why the relationship ended. What traits or things about his character led to the breakup?
Guy 1: We broke up as a result of his alcoholism. Turns out, his love for good wine was also a love for alchohol, period. He was arrested for drinking and driving multiple times and got into an accident while under the influence. Our relationship changed big time when I picked him up from jail. He was a really great liar, and was cheating on me for the entirety of our relationship.
Guy 2: We broke up after he moved out of town for work. He was obsessed with work – and worked multiple jobs. He was cheating on me, and was quickly married after we broke up. I have talked to him briefly since then, and when I asked him about his family (he has a wife and two kids), he simply said he was married to his job.
…So basically the things that attracted me to these men were the same things that made it end.
Do these men share anything in common, in retrospect?
They were both unavailable to me for different reasons (minus the cheating).
Homework: Name 1 example of a trait you must have and an example of an action your date will do that will demonstrate the trait you’re looking for.
…This is a problem. Honestly, I’ve had such issues in dating that I don’t even know what I want or what to look for. I want to say I need honesty in a man, but I don’t know what he could do to demonstrate that trait. I suppose, given my past, I need a man that is willing to make time for a woman (like me) in his life. So, he would need to tell me about his life, how he spends his time, and what he’s looking for in a partner. That sounds heavy, yes? He could make a sincere effort to make plans with me in advance.
The detox for day 3 was pretty eye-opening for me, so I’m curious to dive into day 4! This day is all about “Recognizing your cravings for attention”. Oh boy…
Day 4 Challenge: Recognize Your Cravings for Attention
Denise explains that many successful women admit to having some sort of “attachment” to something on the side. This may be something like:
- Friends with benefits
- Sex texts with an ex
- Keeping a box of memories from past relationships
- Hookup sex/one-night stands
- Dating someone with no future
…Eh, none of this is really me. I’ve had friends with benefits, that was around four years ago. Other than that, I don’t do these things. Which is good!
- Share with the group a time you held onto one of these attachments.
- What triggered this?
- How did you let it go?
I used to always, always be “talking” to or texting someone, whether it was a Friends with Benefits type of guy, or a straight up No Future Guy! I’d say there were two things that I did to stop it: 1. I moved to a new city and state. This isn’t WHY I did it, but it certainly helped the situation, and 2. I finally went through a breakup that shed some light on what I was doing to myself. By having all of this drama and baggage surrounding me, I was refusing to let myself grow. By putting down my phone and cutting out the losers, I learned a lot about myself and how to fill days without a No Future Guy taking up my time.
…Thinking more on this now, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this, but I’ve never really had a romantic relationship that was quality. This is why I can never see what I’m “missing” from my single life. No, I haven’t only dated jerks, but the one relationship I can think of that wasn’t awful, still just wasn’t right.
This is why we have three days left to detox.
Still drinking the metaphorical green juice for this Dating Detox from Denise Poteat. I know I’ve said it before, but even though I would not consider myself an active dater – reflecting on my past always does a number on me (this time for the better, I think). So, day 3, let’s get it!
Day 3 Challenge: Clean Your Pantry
Today is all about clearing out the junk you don’t need, ahem, like those 7 types of guys none of us should be dating. These types include, but are not limited to, The Narcissist (controlling, self-esteem thief, makes you question your own sense of intuition and self), Playboys (badass with moves in the bedroom), Players (physical, smooth talker), and Peter Pan (the guy who never really grows up).
Ew. I have dated ALL of these guys. And then Denise tosses out a checklist: “Have you ever dated a guy like this?”…
- He doesn’t have his ducks in a row financially
- He’s passive-aggressive, jealous, and needy
- He runs hot and cold in his feelings toward you
- He’s highly critical of your behavior and leaves you walking on eggshells
- He’s broken up with you more than once, so you never know where he stands
Let’s see… yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.
I hate myself.
Then she says, “What about the new boyfriend who claims to love you…”
- He communicates mostly by text message
- He never wants to listen to your needs
- He disappears for days at a time
- He never talks about a future
- He makes you feel bad about yourself – to the point you think you’re crazy
…YES, YES, YES, YES, YES.
Homework: Look at your past 3-4 relationships and share your biggest weakness.
Because of my ultimate fear of intimacy, I choose the men that are unavailable – whether it be because he has multiple girlfriends, too busy with work/school/friends, is an alcoholic – I always just use those as excuses as to why it’s not working. Aside from just not being there, these men have made me feel crazy, had me questioning my feelings, and sent me into tailspins. Looking back, it’s SO clear that every single guy I’ve dated (even the ones I just have crushes on) are unavailable in some way.
A fellow singleton friend asked me if I wanted to try a free 7-day exercise called “Detox Your Dating Life” put on by Denise Poteat. I immediately agreed – although I do really, really enjoy being single, I’m always up for a challenge.
This 7-day exercise involves lots of self-reflection, and over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing these thoughts with you as I move throughout the program. Yes, I was bad and didn’t do the days right after another. It took me awhile, okay?!
DAY 1: STEP ON THE SCALE
One of the first steps on this day was to state my limiting beliefs. According to popular belief, you are what you eat, and this saying works in dating, too. If you don’t believe you can go after a certain type of person, then you certainly won’t get him or her.
Who you date is a direct reflection of yourself, Denise said. I immediately cringed at this thought. I have dated some real bad ones. Ugh.
What is your single biggest frustration with dating?
Being vulnerable is my #1 block with dating. I have always dated guys that are really wrong for me (probably really wrong for anyone). I don’t do it on purpose, but I believe I do it because then, when things turn south, I can just blame it on them and not have to accept that it may be because of my baggage and flaws.
I also don’t like the work or the compromise that goes into dating. I have my own schedule that I like, I feel like my life without men is relaxed and comfortable. When I am dating, I feel stressed and on-edge constantly. I don’t want to give up my care-free life for a man.
What belief do you have about why you are single?
Ultimately, I don’t want to open myself up to true intimacy.
Top three reasons that describe your feelings about being single:
- I don’t feel comfortable approaching men
- I don’t have the energy to date; it’s too much hassle
- I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy
Homework: Review the following statements and share with the private Facebook group the thought you struggle with the most.
- Am I better off alone?
- Do I really need a man to be happy?
- What if I get into a relationship and lose my independence?
Here’s what I put into the Facebook group:
Am I better off alone? I have wondered this for nearly 10 years (I’m 32). I have mostly only experienced abusive relationships, for which I entered counseling and worked to get to the root of my issues. However, I’ve been single for four years now, and have spent that time relearning who I am, and ultimately what I want out of life. I haven’t ever gotten happiness from a man, and I’ve seen so many women fall into the same manipulative relationship traps I did years ago. I feel weak when I even start to like a man – I associate strength with being single. I feel like, as a single woman, I have this absolute freedom that I don’t have when I’m in a relationship. As embarrassing as this is to admit, there were even times I didn’t want a male waiter at a restaurant. I’m growing, and still learning, but I just can’t picture myself being vulnerable enough to love.
And Denise replied! Here’s what she said: Thank you Holly for being so honest…you really hit on something that I think many women in the group can relate to. You said “I associate strength with being single.” When you have been hurt early in your life…you can stop trusting men and ultimately…your own judgement. I want to help women learn to hear and trust their intuition…to be gentle, but strong with what they require in a relationship with a real man.
Day one = done! Be on the lookout for days two, three, and four next week 🙂 Want to do the challenge? You can sign up here – it’s completely free!
Hello, hello! I’ve had a pretty good week over here – hope you all can say the same! I DID take three dance classes last night though, so I’m definitely sore today. However, I needed it!
But let’s jump right into the book review, because this one is a GOODIE. Here’s the official description from Amazon for “The Arrangement” by Sarah Dunn:
Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”
When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”
I saw this on a Pinterest list (ugh, guilty) and I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant to pick it up. I’m really sensitive to any entertainment/pop culture that doesn’t respect women, or even discusses ideas that would degrade a woman.
But, it says the woman makes the decision to have an open marriage! So, I read it and I’m so glad I did. This book really takes a look at modern relationships, and how they might really turn out.
This was a quick, easy read, and it had just the right bit of sex appeal, while still highlighting some good writing. I’m recommending this book to anyone who loves a good romance novel – with a twist, of course.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Some Kind of Happiness“, a YA novel by Claire Legrand.
I have got an entire weekend of NOTHING planned – although I do need to work on my queso skills. You might recall I entered myself in a queso contest and it’s officially two weeks away and I have done nothing to prepare. Yikes!
Other than that, it might just be me, in bed, watching made-for-Hallmark Channel movies. I am not ashamed! I hope you guys have some fun out there; I’ll be right back here on Monday!
A few years ago, I had a date with this guy I really liked. We cooked dinner at his house, and before I knew it, we were upstairs, in his bed, making out. I quickly told him I wasn’t ready to sleep with him since we weren’t monogamous and hadn’t even been talking that long.
He was okay with that, but I noticed he also never tried anything else but kissing. Never even touched me anywhere below the waist. I chalked it up to him being respectful and that was the end of it.
We had a few “incidents” over the years that put us apart, but, as life would have it, our paths crossed again, and there I was, back in that same damn bed. Only this time, I wanted to sleep with him. He was a nice guy, we had a lot in common, and I kind of didn’t care if it went anywhere afterward or not.
But he proceeded to take things from making out to sex. As in making out to going for it, without ANYTHING else in between. No touching, no feeling, no oral, no whispering in my ear, not even kissing on the neck.
Umm… what? No.
“I’m going to need something else,” I told him.
“What?” he asked.
“You know, touch me…” I said.
“Oh,” he said. “Well, I haven’t done THAT since college.”
And he let out a little chuckle.
No wonder you’re single, I thought.
I can’t speak for every woman, and I won’t, but I’ll say that yes, I need more than just thrusting. I need to be touched, I like oral sex, and you know what? I’m not ashamed of it. I’m a sexual person (imagine that, a woman, being sexual)!
I give and take, and I think sex should be equal work and pleasure for all parties involved. I want to be with a man who wants me to get off.
There, I said it.
This incident OFFENDED me, a lot. Possibly more than I have ever been offended.
In a single second, this guy made me feel embarrassed, ashamed, and ugly. I felt like he didn’t want to touch me or show me a good time. And you know what? I have unfortunately been with some guys who were jerks, but they STILL wouldn’t dare sleep with me and not ensure I had a good time.
This small act let me know who this guy is: a selfish one, who has no interest in pleasing women, and has no interest in trying to the point he insulted me while I was naked, in his bed.
The other thing I found weird, was he said he hadn’t done that since college. That was 10 years ago for us. So, all the women he’s been with between then and now just get the three thrusts and done? Also, why decide “Oh, once I graduate college, I am SO done with oral sex and foreplay”? Newsflash: My basic sexual needs didn’t change when I got a degree.
I clamped my legs shut, and rolled over to go to sleep. In the morning, I was still pissed.
“Good morning!” he said.
I said nothing.
He continued talking to me and I continued ignoring him.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“No, I actually think you’re an asshole,” I said.
“What? Why?” he asked.
“Umm probably because you just go around putting your dick in people without doing anything else and you just take what’s good for you,” I said.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “That was selfish of me.”
He went outside, cut a flower, and brought it inside to me.
“That’s nice but it’s not an orgasm,” I said.
I don’t know if it was lack of confidence, lack of caring, pure machoism at its finest, or what, but I cannot.
So, I’d love to know thoughts on this – especially from the guys! I don’t want to get into numbers here, but I’ve been in enough situations to know this isn’t really normal. But when I talked to some of my girlfriends about it, they said yes, they’ve been with lots of guys who don’t care if they (the ladies) enjoy themselves or not.
This is not ok! I don’t care if its feminist or not, I refuse to be with someone who isn’t interested in what I want, and really what I need.
Hola, readers! Ugh, it has been a weird/crazy week over here, so I apologize for not posting yesterday. In time, I’ll explain it all, of course.
But, something has been on my mind. You may have noticed that when I posted about what happened with my last crush/male-interest, etc., a fellow blogger posted her advice. Here it is, in case you didn’t see it:
Are you willing to give this a try? Right before you go to bed each night, think of the perfect person you would like to meet in detail, down to what you are both wearing, what you are doing, etc- like you are watching yourself in a movie.
More than once, the entire experience has come true in almost the same detail that I had imagined; made the hair on my arms stand up straight and reminds me every day to keep looking forward.
This advice comes from Linda over at A Moxie Girl, and she’s actually someone I’ve worked with in the blogging world. She has some pretty amazing stories about the truth in the power of visualization, so I definitely want to take her advice.
But one thing her comment made me realize, is that I sort of have no idea who I’m hoping to meet. Who is going to fulfill my needs? My desires?
When I was in high school, I made a list of all the things I (thought I) was looking for in a guy. I don’t have the list now, but I remember some things were superficial, i.e. “looks good in a baseball hat”, and some things were personality-based, such as “keeps up with the news”.
It was a pretty long list, and I really have no idea why I made it. I also thought I was only going to sleep with one person EVER, and be married by the time I was 25, so we can just chalk it all up to high-school ignorant-bliss brain.
Later, an English teacher mentioned during a lesson that you can list out everything you want in life, or your career, or in a partner, and you’ll probably end up with the exact opposite. I wondered if what she said was true.
There are times I’ve dated men that fit my original, high school list (I really am a sucker for a guy in a hat), but of course I never wrote down things like “cheats on me”, “is abusive”, or “won’t meet my parents”, and I’ve landed myself in all of those situations.
So, what the heck is it that I want? I know that I need someone who is honest, comfortable (not complacent) in their skin, kind, and a little selfless. I want someone who takes care of themselves, who’s interested in a healthy lifestyle, but won’t judge me when I eat French fries. I want someone who values what they have; someone who is hardworking, but knows how to kickback, too. I hate admitting this, but I want someone who appreciates nice things, whether its a rare scotch or a fine dining experience.
Looks? I am not really sure. Yes, I see men I find attractive all the time – but they don’t all look the same. And I suppose THIS is what I need to work on when it comes to my “nightly visualizations”. Don’t worry, I’ll think on it and get back to you.
What about you guys? Ever visualized HARD and had it actually happen? I’d love to hear about it!