The Hardest Part About Starting Over

Transitioning from life as a unit to life alone was emotionally trying. I never denied it. But there is so much more to a life apart than emotions. Even after emotions settle and lives go back to normal, the ghosts of partnered life take many forms: being unable to share the burden of errands, the deafening silence of sleeping alone, the uneven meal preps, the loss of human interaction on weeknights.

But most aggressive of them all is what I’ve spent a year running from; the reality I ignored for as long as I could until all my debts, habits, and loans came crashing in with fury.

Living was simpler with two incomes.


What Happened

After reading numerous press release comment threads for the What Happened book tour, I find myself appalled all over again at the fractured support systems across the two major parties. I keep reliving the horrific epiphanies from last November:

Republicans ignore critical, game-changing differences in order to pool resources at whatever cost, ….thus giving us Trump. Anything it takes to win, even being wrong.

Liberals hyper-focus on every difference to a critical, game-changing effect, ….thus giving us Trump. Anything it takes to be right, even losing.

And now, everyone’s doubling down on their formulas. As a Democrat I’m not convinced I’ll ever be part of a winning campaign again in my lifetime.


How tho?

Dating in your 20s

Men: I don’t want anything serious.

 

Dating in your 30s

Men: I’m married.


General PSA: If you don’t want the tenets of your faith explained to you, perhaps you should espouse them correctly in the first place.

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Conquering Modern American Social Apathy Borne of Privilege

did-not-vote-2016-update

Map created by the folks at Brilliant Maps. Click for their article and associated credits.

 

If you or a loved one suffer from apathy to social justice issues, politics, and the stark intersection of the two, and exhibit any of the following sentiments:

  • my voice doesn’t matter because I don’t believe in the power of aggregate opinion
  • I don’t care about the problems of others, even though my silence is precisely what enables their continued plight
  • lending my voice to amplify the concerns of others conflicts with my own pursuit of happiness
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I don’t care about it
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I don’t believe that it truly exists
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I believe its victims must deserve to experience its trappings

….please use your voice and example to change their minds. In the same way that the silence of the apathetic allows subjugation of the minority to flourish, so too does our own apathy towards the apathetic allow apathy to bubble over into the sad map of national indifference pictured above. If your loved ones are shocked that a bumbling, blathering buffoon was elected by only a misguided but passionate minority, explain that they shouldn’t be; that inaction, more than any other factor, is what empowers and emboldens the worst in society.

Apathy is extinguished one person at a time through our efforts. Its sufferers can have an effect for change, just as they currently have an effect for regression. Inaction is also a type of action, as the map more than illustrates. Being at liberty to choose inaction is a privilege that many do not have, because for them inaction directly threatens their access or protections related to their workplace, income, home, healthcare, legal protections…. even their abilities to have families of their own.

So, let’s start with the bare minimum and work up from there: Please ask your apathetic loved ones to show up at least one day a year [at their polling place] to exercise the human condition known as empathy.


Why Are Women Expected to Do So Much More?

Today’s scene at Starbucks can be overlayed onto any social interaction.

I am furiously working to meet a Monday deadline. A middle-aged man who’s been outside on his phone for a few hours comes in to order a drink. He approaches me, excuses himself, and opens with the always-cryptic brag that he was watching me through the window.

Several paragraphs of soliloquy later he has stopped his story and asks if he can sit down in the seat across from me. I say No, as I am not here to meet strangers but instead have a lot of work to finish, and can he please just summarize in 1 sentence what he needs. In an awkwardly circuitous close to this dialogue (wherein he presumes I have recently applied to college & I explain that I applied to college approx. 14 years ago, and yes I am that old, thank you), he asks if I can read through his UMD application essay draft(s), provide comments, and talk through what he can expect in college.

Now, ladies and gents…. There is an actual 19-21 year old boy wearing a Testudo (UMD) basketball jersey sitting–literally–five feet away throughout this exchange, working on his own laptop unmolested. It goes without saying that he would have applied to college within the past couple years and possess infinitely more pertinent insight into the competitiveness of the current collegiate application process, but for some mystical reason that I can’t figure out, y’all, it didn’t occur to this man to ask the chubby Asian teen with a penis wearing Adidas flops and calf-length socks to peruse his college essay materials.

This transparent attempt at macking on strangers in public, if I’d allowed it to go on, would have demanded several hours of my afternoon. Mr. UMD would have finished his tasks and gone home long before I’d been allowed to get back to my own work.

Men are allowed to just be. Women are expected to finish our work while also acquiescing to the demands for our time by the men around us. And, icing on the cake: I was a rude bitch for declining to lose my critical afternoon to editing his work for him, even though I explained that my insight would have been irrelevant (because, yes, actually I am that old, I promise you, would you like to see my driver’s license?).


People

There are two kinds of people in this world.

The kind that will take two minutes to resolve a problem, and the kind who will leave it and take ten minutes to send a message to someone else about it.


Inspirational Anthems

It speaks to my simple and caustic personality that my favorite sage life advice comes from the plucky ladies of pop:

Take a chance, you stupid ho. – Gwen Stefani, What You Waiting For

You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti? You want a Maserati? You better work, bitch. – Brittney, Work Bitch

There’s a glass ceiling to break, uh-huh, there’s money to make. – Lily Allen, Hard Out Here

 


Don’t speak

When chronically poor communicators come out of their caves to be upset at your failure to parse their mysterious, nonexistent communications.

xfiles


Watching House of Cards

I love watching House of Cards. It’s so blisfully optimistic; like how they hold entire strategy meetings about a bill needing to pass in order to influence an election, as though voters in aggregate
  1. know the first fucking thing about bills that are attempted or passed from their states,
  2. find out whether those bills help or hinder their own lives, or
  3. give a shit when they do and allow that information to inform their decision.
These types of data are at the fingertips of nearly all Americans from a plethora of agencies and reporting bodies, but people will vote for dismantlers of a system they themselves know little about beyond their 7th grade illustrations of the three branches and the occasional headline that government is “bloated” and “wasteful” while the next headline insists the Army fill more warehouses with contract-ordered tanks they can’t use.
houseofcards

On-Call Saturdays

When your bosses talk over you in response to clients’ questions but then ask you their questions again behind-the-scenes. This is supposed to be on-call Saturday. Do you even go here?

gohere


A Dark Friday

Teaching children that God hates everything about them as a person and then cutting them off from their family and safety nets leads to depression, poverty, drug use, and suicide?

You don’t say.


Phase III of “30 and Dirty, The Makeover”

The end of my second decade has been a time of transition. My previous relationship’s end spelled many uncertainties for my future and spun my mind and body down a spiral of confusion, depression, and deep introspection. Luckily, I am made of star stuff. My confusion worked itself out through careful attention to my thoughts, needs, and feng shui, and I emerged fully prepared for 2017. Looking back, my self-care journey had three distinct phases.

 

Phase I. Looking Outward

cosmos

I didn’t know what to think or feel. So, my therapy began with working on my outward appearance. Tale as old as time, right? What a cliche. Well, I completed 5 months of Invisalign and a series of teeth whitening treatments to finally get the perfect smile I’ve wanted ever since I was child. I also lost some weight, fixed my hair style & maintenance routine, and changed my make-up.

Akin to changing my look, I also changed my room. I got rid of everything of his that I could and reclaimed the space, cleaned religiously, and began reorganizing and downsizing in preparation for what I knew was coming: an eventual full-scale move to another home. No matter how depressed or confused I might be, a clean and thoughtful feng shui begins to treat my woes.

Towards the end of this phase, I also invested in bikram yoga again–a repetitive and thoughtful activity that gives me great pleasure at the same time that it tones and burns calories.

 

Phase II. Looking Inward

starstuff

The hard part, but also the most important: I began an introspective journey through my decisions, my realities, my experiences, and my ultimate goals. Many late nights alone, conversations with treasured friends, and comforting media made Phase II of my therapy successful. I don’t want to linger here because I’ve made a few other posts about my thoughts from this time, and there’s no need to beat those dead horses. Suffice it to say, these months were hard but peaceful.

 

Phase III. Launching My New Life, Separate from the Old

cosmos2

Phase III has been in progress for some time now. I could argue that it began when I started dating my new guy seriously. However, I recognized it by name today when I signed a lease with a luxury apartment complex. It occurs to me that I naturally moved into new life adventures once my emotional health and world outlook (Phases I & II) finished playing out. Phase III can be summed up by the following unique additions to my life this spring.

  • New trips:  I spent two weeks in LA at the beginning of December, doing what I love to do and training new staff for my company’s projects. During that time I drank wine, ate sushi, soaked in hot tubs, met fabulous strangers, and wandered the neon urban lightscapes alone. There are few things so therapeutic as time away on company dime. When I came back I knew I needed to take a trip just for myself. So, I planned a solo adventure to Key West, a locale to which I’d always wanted to go. Traveling with an incompatible companion can be misery–never wanting to do the same things, finding differing sights uninteresting, complaining about driving, complaining about the sun, arguing about food…. I didn’t want any of that garbage, and for the first time I went into a luxury trip with zero inhibitions because I knew I could do whatever I wanted, however I wanted to do them. Traveling alone is simply the greatest way to travel. Key West was the most freeing, beautiful trip I’ve ever taken in my life. I spent too much money on all my spa packages, but I have no regrets about it.
  • New dude: I had my emotional alone time over the winter (and most of last summer and fall; let’s be honest). Then, this spring I met a lovely fella who shares a variety of my interests and personality dispositions. While I don’t know where we’ll go yet, I look forward to our journey.
  • New digs: In a few weeks I’ll live alone for the first time in my life; no family, roommate, flatmate(s), or housemate(s). Just myself, my fish, and my garden. Of course, I’ve never done this because I couldn’t afford to live alone; not by a long shot. Surprise, I still can’t. However, I want this so badly I can taste it. In order to achieve solitary living in this mecca of safety, comfort, amenities, and convenience, I’ve been working a second job in the evenings driving for Lyft. With the help of my second job and my careful tracking on expenditure/earnings spreadsheets, I am making it work.
  • New job responsibilities: From assistant to analyst to study manager. After nearly a decade with my company, I’m pleased to see my trajectory becoming clear in more eyes than just my own. I will not be taking these new duties for granted and am looking to impress and continue to climb (especially for the financial perks; I don’t want to need that second job, after all.)

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The last twelve months and my transition into my thirties was difficult, but it’s brighter on the other side. I’ve regained my personhood, my freedom, my living space, and begun fabulous new adventures. I’ll be sure to post ample pictures and updates from the new digs this summer.


When law-bae sends you updates from the courtroom.

lafayette

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New Male Tears Campaign in India

7-8

See Bust for more (don’t give the source any clicks)

Powerful, isn’t it?

No, not the message. The gall. To feel so victimized as to proudly equate feminist appeals to stop raping and killing women with the self-inflicted duties of …holding doors and handbags.

Pour one out for the meninists and their struggles on Ladies Night Thursdays, when half-price cosmos challenge their holds on their masculine identities.

Women don’t want free drinks, your seat on the subway or your sympathy. Women want equal pay, equal job opportunities and to walk home late at night without their keys poised between their fingers. – Elissa Sanci for Bust.com


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