Saturday, January 30, 2016

Time Lapse Photography - (My Date with His Future Self)


This actually happened to me several years ago but a good friend of mine was telling about a very similar incident she experienced more recently. Who knew both of us would experience time travel.

When I first started online dating I was fairly naïve. (I would like to think that coincided with me being fairly young.) I do have a basic trusting nature and want to believe the best about everyone. I assumed that what I saw and read on those profiles was the truth. I have since been relieved of those notions. I also was the type of online dater that wanted to give everyone a fair shake. (Naïve, again.) Sometimes it just doesn’t go well. So there was this guy. Let’s call him…..(seriously, I really don’t remember his name.) Ben. Let’s call him Ben.

I was living and working full time in NC. Single mom with two young daughters. Online dating wasn’t as popular as it is now, but I was going to give it a try. I read and reviewed the options. No rash decisions.  Ben had a great profile. Nice looking. Good job. Lived in the next town over. Hey, I could do this! So after a few emails, we talked on the phone. Still good vibes going out. (As a side note, I won’t meet anyone who will not talk to me on the phone first. There is a wealth of information you can learn simply in a short ten minute conversation. Does he have a potty mouth? Are there more than three letter words in his vocabulary? Can he actually carry on a conversation? Vital tidbits to help determine if a first date is actually a desired next step.) Ben and I had good phone repoire, so we then set up a day/time to meet for dinner. We were going immediately after work on a specific day. Now this was the time before constant communication via text message, Facebook, etc. We made a date and then waited. (Instant access to everyone has eliminated the process of anticipation. I’m not sure that is entirely a good thing. I, for one, am a very impatient person. The art of anticipation is typically lost on me anyway. But as a general rule, I believe it can play an important role in the wistful, expectancy of an event.) 

Sometime after lunch on the day of our first date, I started to get very ill. It was bad. While I knew I did not feel like meeting anyone and certainly did not look my best, I did not want to cancel. I was sure if I backed out on the premise of being sick, he would not have believed me and I would not have gotten a second chance. So I made the decision that since it was right after work, I would go, meet him, let him see how pitiful I was and then send me on my way with a second date scheduled.

I get to the restaurant first and settle in my chair. I don’t order anything at all because I am sure nothing will stay down. I am just waiting for the quickest meet and greet of all time. Now let me just say that in all my years; before or after this incident, I have never been approached in a restaurant (or public) by a guy. No one sending me drinks from across the room. No one ramming their grocery cart into mine. Nothing. But this day, while I’m waiting for Ben to show up, here comes this old, paunchy guy up to my table. He proceeds to start talking and ask how I’m doing. I try to ignore him. But he isn’t deterred. In fact he sits down. I become frustrated. Ben cannot see me talking to another guy on ‘our’ first date. That would just not look right. Then somehow through the nauseous haze I hear him say my name and how nice it is to finally meet me. I try very hard to focus on him and then it hits me.  This IS Ben. Not the Ben in the handsome photographs on the dating site. Not the Ben who is 33 (remember, this was many years ago) who likes to stay active and take care of himself. Not the Ben who talked to me on the phone and not once mention that he was sending his FATHER to have dinner with me!

I rallied. Pulled myself and thoughts together. Put on a smile and said all the ‘proper’ things one would say when meeting someone for the first time. I wish I had a ‘call you out’ gene. The DNA strand that gives you permission to look someone in the eye and call them out on whatever they have obviously tried to swindle you on. Something like, “Hello Ben. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you standing there. Your pictures must have been from at least ten years ago. Those years were not kind. It is sad that you felt the need to be dishonest in order to meet me. I will not continue our dinner and please do not contact me again.” No. I didn’t say those things. I wish I had. They would have been more honest. As weird as it sounds, at that moment I was GLAD I was sick. It was my most obvious and reasonable exit strategy.

No. I never heard from Ben again. No idea what his thoughts were about my reactions or the meeting itself. But in case you are reading this Ben, here are MY thoughts.

I understand the bottom line of an online dating profile is a picture and a headline. Both sides of the gender aisle. Is it right? No. Is it fair? Not by a long shot. But it is never a good idea to misrepresent yourself. Age. Weight. Missing Limbs. Be honest! I know it is scary. We all want to be appreciated for our personality. Our kindness. Sense of Humor. But a sense of humor does not include the joke’s on me because your phone’s camera has a photoshop app that turns Archie Bunker into Bradley Cooper. (My apologies to Archie Bunker fans.)

When all is said and done, we singles live in a precarious, ever shifting landscape. It is hard to maintain our balance. We know we have options. We know we ARE options. But we have to be real. We do not live in the computer or on a phone screen. We have to be careful to present ourselves as the best and most honest selves that we can. So don’t hide in yesterday. 

Make TODAY the very best version of yourself.


Hope Out

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Yes, I’m Really Wearing This -- Part 2 - Here’s What You Can Do With Your Approval Rating


Let me just start by saying that I am fully aware my fashion sense sometimes borders on gaudy with a first cousin to “hmm, that’s not what I would choose”. Most days I am completely OK with that. I don’t always dress age appropriate. I don’t always dress to mimic current styles. I almost NEVER dress solely for comfort. I do try to dress so when I walked out of my house I am unique. I appreciate a well-planned out, organized, color coordinated ensemble. I blame this on my mother. Not ‘blame’ in a bad way, I loved my mother beyond measure. And not ‘blame’ in the sense that I am trying to emulate her. No, I blame her because she chose to dress me like we were living in the Great Depression when in fact we lived on Rich Road in Virginia in the early 70s. (That’s not a metaphor. That’s just the name of the road we lived on when I was a young girl.)

My parents actually WERE raised in the Great Depression. (If you read “Heritage” than you are already up to speed.) It was an extremely difficult time for them and the take away for my mother was that store bought clothes were expensive and handmade ones worked just fine. A bolt of cloth and a working sewing machine kept my youthful closet interesting. Now I know the term ‘homemade’ nowadays conjures up posts on Pinterest or Etsy. There are even websites where you can BUY tags that say “Home Made by…” (Does anyone else see the irony of buying a label to proclaim something homemade?) Let me assure you however, that what I am referring to would not make it to an Etsy site.

Please don’t find me ungrateful. My mother was a good seamstress. As a toddler, I had some very cute outfits. As a young child I didn’t even notice that my clothes were not the ‘same’ as the other kids in school. But then the day dawned where all that changed.

We moved from Rich Road in Virginia to a little farm in rural eastern North Carolina. (My parents wanted to move back to where they called ‘home’).  I was 11. We moved sometime during the winter, so it was an already established school year. So picture this, on my first day of school in this new town at a very sensitive and awkward age I walked in wearing homemade purple plaid polyester elastic waist pants. Yes, they were that bad. I know. I just cringed a little myself thinking about it again. What I didn’t know at the time was as I was walking in to be introduced, some of the kids thought I was a new teacher! That’s not exactly the impression a pre-teen at a new school is hoping for. I would like to say as life events go, it wasn’t that traumatic, yet here I am 40 years later talking about it.

Shortly thereafter I started to have a little more input concerning my wardrobe. I still didn’t own my first pair of store bought blue jeans until I was 13, but my closet had less and less contributions from the sewing room. I worked hard to develop my own personal style. Sure, maybe over the years I have gone a little overboard at times. I don’t intentionally set out to look distracting, but I have probably done it from time to time. I know it has cost me dates. Some guys just don’t get me. Truth be told I very much envy the women who pull off a very simple, classic look. It’s timeless and chic. And it escapes me.

Well meaning counsel might even suggest that I use bright colors, textures and layers to distract from or hide the ‘real’ me. That boots and scarves and dangling earrings provide an emotional camouflage. That is an interesting concept and has actually crossed my mind before. A painful self-realization that I will leave as fodder for another day.

Part 1 of this ‘series’ was how we often stress about the opinions of others. And look for ways to measure those opinions. While I am often guilty of doing just that, I have chosen to frequently rebel against the conventional. My line in the sand of individuality is my fashion statement. Where is your line? What is so YOU? Make sure there is something distinct in your life that no one can come through and erase or diminish it. Maybe it is a sport. Or an artistic talent. Even your career. Maybe you can finish every crossword puzzle you come across. (More power to you on that one. I am awful at them.) Whatever it is that makes you unique, celebrate it! Be magnificent at it! In this one area tell the world what they can do with their approval rating system. Because you own it!

So while I admit that I still want you to like me, I am ok if you occasionally shake your head at my outfit du jour. Maybe there are times when I look more like that 11 year old in purple polyester than I should. But for me, it makes me joyful. Plus I can never get lost in a crowd.


Hope Out

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Heritage


You know when you go to hear a band play and the music is fast and upbeat and everyone is dancing. Then the lead singer walks up to the microphone and says “Ok folks, we are going to slow it down for you now….” And they play this slow song that brings everything into a tender, softer mood. Well consider this entry my slow song. Not romantic, just more calm and hopefully touching. (I waxed sentimental after being snowed in for two days.)

I want to write about my family (parents) today. My family name is a source of great pride to me. I’m quite sure it is the same for most people. We place value on our heritage. I actually looked up the definitions to both legacy and heritage to see what the distinct differences were. Legacy being something handed down through the generations. A trait. Maybe in our family that trait would be stubbornness. Or I could be kind and say tenacious.  I love the definition I found for heritage; “events or processes that have a special meaning in group memory”. That term ‘group memory’ is so moving to me; like the very interpretation of FAMILY itself is an ensemble of group memories. We had a family reunion a few years back. It was awesome. My parents are both deceased, but I have three siblings and all (or most) of their families came. We represented from all over the country. And altogether we embraced and celebrated the often quoted ‘rich heritage’ of our parents/grandparents. It was heartwarming.  It saddens me when I hear about families that are fractured with jealousy or hatred or biases. Don’t get me wrong, we are not a perfect lot. But by and large we are a pretty tight crew.  

My parents’ story is of more value and note than a brief blog entry. However I feel drawn today to record some of it here. My father was born in 1915; my mother in 1921. (Yes, they had me later in life, your math is correct.) Their respective families actually lived in very close proximity even though there was a time when they did not really have much to do with each other. As you can tell from the date, my parents were young children being raised in the Depression. They lived in a poor, rural corner of eastern North Carolina. Times there were very, very difficult. In a far reaching turn of events my mother’s mother died and my father’s father died. Out of financial necessity and practicality more than any actual romance, the two households joined up and my mother’s father married my father’s mother. (When I actually tell that story to people and say it quickly without giving them time to truly digest the information, they will invariably tilt their heads a little, squint their eyes and produce the most perfect perflexed expression.) My parents became step brother and sister. True, it has been the source of a cute joke or two. A raised eyebrow here and there. But in reality it was a grueling existence.

My father did not live at the ‘homestead’. He and his brothers had to quit school and go live on another’s farm to work to help support the family. He only saw my mother when he came home to visit his own mother. I believe with all my heart there was a protective, sheltering characteristic about my father who wanted to rescue this scared young girl thrust into a very unfamiliar and harsh living arrangement after losing her mother and her home. It didn’t happen immediately of course, because they were still growing up themselves. Their story is quite remarkable and I am unable to chronicle it all here. However the time did come when he would return to take her away. Carve a new road.  Begin a new future. Start a new family. Our Family.

I wrote at the beginning that this was not going to be a romantic entry. But I think I was wrong. My thoughts, which then became words, took a different path as they tumbled out of the keyboard. What started as just a toss of gratitude at my family legacy turned into the telling of a love story. Not traditionally romantic. Not commercially romantic. But at the end of the day and at the core of every little girl’s dreams is the prince rushing in to save the day. I’m quite sure my mother had no time for fairy tales and would never consider herself a princess. My father probably didn’t quite fit the mold of a prince either. But for today, for this entry, that is exactly what they both are in my eyes. And their ‘fairy tale’, born out of grief, poverty and pain turned them into the ‘tenacious’ matriarch and patriarch of MY heritage. One that has taught me to stand strong, persevere, love unconditionally, value people more than things. It is a new light on an old story; even for me today. I feel very blessed to be the one sharing that story, their story, the beginning of MY story. 


Hope Out

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Do You "Like" Me? Part 1 - Know Your Approval Rating


Ok. I admit it. I want you to like me. ALL of you. Well, maybe not all of you. But most of you.

Why is that? Why is it so important for people to like us? Accept us? Approve of us?  I don’t like asking questions that I can’t answer. Other than acknowledging it is a universal human condition, it stumps me. Sure, people all the time are heard saying…”I don’t care what anyone thinks” or “If they don’t like me that’s their problem”. Bravado all around. We care. And we do tend make it our problem if we think they don’t.  The pack mentality is strong and there are very few true lone wolves.

The angst begins building in early adolescence. I remember in Junior High (They don’t call it Junior High anymore. It’s Middle School now. What happened there?) passing around Slang Books. To be honest, I didn’t remember they were called Slang Books. I had to ask one of my best friends from that era what they were called. Thanks Sandra! Anyway, for those who didn’t have this ritual, it began with a simple spiral notebook. Each page had the name of a kid in the class on the top line. The notebook was then passed around and everyone took a turn writing something about each person on their ‘page’. (Pre-Facebook much??) Yikes! What a concept. Who thought that up? Of COURSE when it reached your desk, the first thing you did was to see what the others had written on your page (or was that just me?). The group hierarchy was formed within those cardboard wire-wrapped walls. Of course, that was many (many) years ago. As adults, we no longer formulate methods of comparisons. Do we? We wouldn’t do that to ourselves. Would we? Unfortunately even maturing past those hard bound copies of Slang Books, I’m afraid we have still discovered many ways to size ourselves up.

LIKE ME ON FACEBOOK……..FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER……ADD ME TO SNAPCHAT…… Our entire social networking landscape is built around being connected to everyone on every level. He (or she) who has the most ‘friends’ wins. (I don’t really have a twitter account. And just the name snapchat freaks me out for some reason.)

Humor me……you post a picture on Facebook then go back in a little while to see how many likes you got. Right? Oh, is that just me again??

Look, it’s natural to want to be accepted and fit in. To belong. The key is to not get bothered by it. Not change who you are to achieve it. Never double cross yourself to be included. Without sounding too philosophical and lofty, we each have to discover what it is about ourselves that WE like. Be your own biggest fan. It isn’t vain to have attributes and gifts that you are proud of. When we can celebrate who we are as individuals and enjoy our own company, then we will attract others who will complement our lives and not just fill a slot on a roster. (Ok, that does sound philosophical and lofty. Sorry.) It is true none the less.

I still have a few good friends from high school. Not because of words on a slang book page, but because we have maintained a genuine interest in each other’s lives. I have a few very good friends here in South Carolina. Friends that I know would have my back. I hope they view me as someone valuable to have in their corner as well. Quality certainly trumps quantity in this area. So while my ‘friend’s list’ might not be as impressive as others, I wouldn’t trade the ones I have for anything.


Of course, there’s always room for one or two more….So come on.....You know you like me. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

POFA - Hello. My name is Hope and I’m addicted to Online Dating

I was doing so well. My resolve was solid. This time was going to be different. Then we had to go and have a stinking snow day. I got up, washed three loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom, checked Facebook and my email a dozen times. It was only 10am. *Sigh* Then that pesky little voice in my head started whispering…..You can handle it…. Only a simple little profile…. Everyone else is doing it…. You can stop anytime you want….Just see who is out there…. STOP THE MADNESS!

It’s like a drug. Seriously. I don’t want to do it. And yet I DO want to do it. Maybe if this blog thing doesn’t work out for me I can start my own Plenty of Fish Anonymous; (POFA). J (For those of you who may be wondering, Plenty of Fish is a free online dating site. I have used it off and on for, well, let’s just say a while.) I googled to see if there was such a thing as Online Dating Anonymous. (I know, that’s really, really sad.) Turns out there isn’t. There are sites to tell you how to online date anonymously, but that was the extent of the help. It would appear that I am the only person on the planet with this problem. I did, however, discover there are plenty of other conditions that apparently need a 12 step program. Seriously, these are real organizations. Well, if you consider having a website a real organization.

-        Co-Dependents Anonymous. Hmmm. No Comment.
      
-        Over-Eaters Anonymous. Hmmm. Again. No Comment.
       
-        Gamblers Anonymous. Wonder how many people joined last week when they didn’t win 1.6 billion dollars.
     
-        Liars Anonymous. Wonder if they take referrals.

-        Shopaholics Anonymous. Do thrift stores count?

-        Hoarders Anonymous. When Shopaholics Anonymous doesn’t work.

-        Romantics Anonymous. I thought I had found something here. But it was just the name of a French movie.

-        UnderEarners Anonymous. Seriously. This is a thing. A legitimate 12 step program. It stems from the premise that under earners are time drunks who waste their life with frivolous activities instead of pursuing legitimate goals. Hmmm. Double Hmmm.

This one is my favorite. I don’t know why. It just is.
-        Kleptomaniacs Anonymous. I love it. Here is part of their official statement “..counseling for shoplifting addicts. (CASA) is a unique, independent and secular weekly self-help group”. I find it interesting that they feel compelled to throw in the word ‘secular’. I mean I understand it is because traditional 12 step programs require acknowledgment of a higher power, but it still stood out to me. I went to their website. This guy offers a weekly phone counseling service. There is even a testimonial with an unidentifiable person holding a hair dryer. I’m not making this up.

And I guess I shouldn’t be mocking it either. These groups could be helping real people with genuine problems. The good news for me is that while I spent all that time researching ‘anonymous’ groups, I didn’t take the time to put back up my online dating profile.

I am not against online dating as a concept. I have met some very interesting and quite nice men through the process. You may even get to ‘meet’ some of them here at a later time. However there is quite the pull on me to fall back on it like a crutch when I get lonely. That does bother me a bit. It’s like a quick fix. A temporary buzz. Overall though it is mostly meaningless (frivolous) banter and does actually waste time (instead of pursuing a legitimate goal). Maybe I should go back and bookmark the Under-Earners Anonymous website.


Hope Out

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Prairie Dogs Are Not House Pets - Compromise VS Concession


If you know me, then you know I am not really an indoor animal/pet person. I wish I were. I know that pets bring an enormous amount of joy and companionship to many. I am just not in that group yet. They stress me out. I inherited this from my mother, so take it up with her if you have an issue. And let’s not start with the hate mail, I love animals. I am just not a big fan of actually owning, housing, or cleaning up after them. Except for the brief amount of time I opened my home to two prairie dogs.

I dated this guy…...Let’s call him……wait, maybe I shouldn’t actually give his real name. I’m not sure what the rules are with blogs. I’m pretty confident that he, nor anyone he knows, will ever read this so I guess it doesn’t matter. Plus most of you already know his name anyway. But to operate on the side of fairness…..let’s just call him Charles. J

Now Charles was an avid animal lover. In fact he actually worked at an animal sanctuary and had his own animal business. He was serious about them. Which was great. I had no issue with that. In fact I even tried to help him. We actually appeared together on a local TV morning program to promote his business. I stood there with a Veiled Chameleon on my finger like I was Marlin Perkin’s daughter. (For you youngsters, Marlin Perkins was the Pre-Jack Hanna/ Steve Irwin guy who hosted Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom that I watched as a kid.) Sounds great, right? Team Work. Good girlfriend brownie points for sure. So what became the problem?

Ironically, the chameleon is a pretty accurate description of the problem. A chameleon will change its ‘colors’ to blend (or fit) into their surroundings if they feel threatened or insecure. Hmmm…That stings a little! Obviously my motivation was not fear of actual survival, but it was fear of rejection or more accurately desire for approval. If I became the best animal assistant on the planet, then of course Charles would love me. Right?? That’s how it works….Tell me that’s how it works...

So let’s get back to the prairie dogs. One was a rescue from the wild and one was a companion for the rescue. And on the cuteness level, they were a pretty solid 8 ½. But prairie dogs prefer to live underground; which means they dig, a lot. The floor in my home is not dirt. So you can see where this would present a problem; both for the prairie dogs and my floor. In addition, apparently when prairie dogs are stressed, they chew. On anything. So, again, you can see where this would present a problem, for well, anything in my home that was on or near floor level....furniture legs, shoes, etc.

Why, oh why, do you ask, did I allow them to run loose in my house? To wreck havoc on my belongings? My Good Girlfriend answer is ‘compromise’. They weren’t there all the time; only visited when he did. Wasn’t fair to keep them locked up in a cage. Took precautions to mitigate the damages. Look, I wanted to be seen as amenable; understanding, compassionate. Oh PLEASE!! I was a sell out to myself! I see that! All under the guise of hoping he would think I was cool. Shame on me. Ok, let me dial back the self-harshness a bit. I am a sensitive girl after all.

Now all of you are probably out there screaming at your screen shaking your head…”I would NEVER do something like that”. Maybe not. Maybe a wild animal habitat was a bit extreme. J  But what would you do.…What have you done….To try and impress someone. Or is it just me?


So how should I have handled it? (Obviously allowing prairie dogs to run amuck in the house was not it.) But seriously, when you enter a new relationship, you have to find a happy medium. No one is going to agree on everything. Have exactly the same interests or hobbies or boundaries. There has to be a melding of the two worlds. So when does compromise become concession? When does  ‘it’s ok’  turn into a betrayal of your personal beliefs? I guess it is different for every individual. No one can be seen as so rigid and cold as to not allow for their partner’s passions; but surrendering your needs or values is not the road to travel either. Ultimately it was not those cute little cousins of groundhogs that did us in. Our problems ran deeper than that. But an important take away from that relationship was I should have managed that particular matter differently. I wish I could say I have learned my lesson. Truthfully I struggle with this particular concept, a lot. But as reminders go, I have a bare spot on my carpet that should help drive it home. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Are You In?

That question posed to 99.9% of you would seem like a very innocent inquiry. However for one of you, and you know who you are, it stirs up a whole host of  “oh no, what is it this time?”  or  “really…again?”  or  “insert your own SMH comment” . (I just recently learned what SMH stood for. I have seen it all over Facebook but really didn’t know what it meant. Being somewhat old-fashioned (aka squeamish) in the unknown vocabulary department, modern acronyms scare me a little. If I don’t know what it means, I can’t be put off by it. Turns out ‘shake my head’ isn’t very off-putting, so it’s all good.) 

(Are You In?) is the standard subject line to my life-is-falling-apart emails that I send my sister; let’s call her Judy. J  Now Judy and I have a very unique email dance routine we do every week. I’m quite OCD about it. It is her job to email me first on Monday mornings, give her life/family update and then I respond with mine. She lives several states away, so this is our main source of contact. On the rare occasion that something detains her I will kindly send out a reminder. I don’t send my full update, just a note that she still has to go first. And because she loves me and I’m her baby sister, she plays along and humors me. She humors me a lot actually. And she will probably never know how much it means to me. Now the (Are You In?) emails are completely different from the (State of Our Lives) emails. No, those emails are reserved for my emotional rantings, or problem du jour, or “do you think it’s crazy that……” What is so great though, is that no matter how many I send, or how crazy she really thinks ‘it’ is, she always comes through for me. Why is that important to write about??  Because we all need an (Are You In?) person.

Regardless of how strong we are, or emotionally stable we are, or are not; there is a real basic need to have someone to turn to. Obviously I am not breaking revolutionary ground here. Having a great friend to lean on is not a radical concept, but sometimes we are afraid. Afraid of exposing our insecurities.  Afraid of admitting a stupid decision. Afraid of being seen as not having it all together. But let’s face it; sometimes we don’t have it all together. Every now and then it is so far from being together the pieces aren’t even in the same hemisphere. And for those days, we need someone to shore us up. No judgments. Probably not even actual solutions, but just stand there among the scattered pieces with us.

I have a friend….let’s call her Susan. J Now Susan and I met on a blind date of sorts. (Another story for another day.) But literally met for the first time in a parking lot to ride together to an event.  I had never seen her, talked to her, knew nothing about her. Just a few written exchanges and BAM…rode with her to a completely different town for the evening. Our respective teenage daughters were quite concerned about our naïve trust in each other, but we went anyway. And you know what? BAM…another  (Are You In?) was created for me. Now I don’t even know if she can say the same thing about me, which is sad and something I will have to work out with her later, but for me, no matter what, she is there. I am sure it is not always easy for her either. She has her own struggles for sure. But she has never failed me.

Quite honestly I am blessed in the (Are You In?) department. More than I even realized before I sat down to write this.  I can even count my two adult daughters in that category, even though as progressive as I believe I may have become, there are limits to THOSE conversations. J

I hope the take away from these few paragraphs is that it is OK and even recommended that we all have someone or a group of someones that we can be ourselves around. That we can feel safe to share our fears and screw ups to. And in turn we all need to become that (Are You In?) to someone we care about too. Will you be that for somebody today?  


Hope Out

Monday, January 18, 2016

So Here I Go>>>>

The Struggle Is Real. It Is. I know the phrase is generally used in an ironic and humorous manner, which is my ambitious objective as well. But make no mistake, the struggle IS real. The struggle of being single. The struggle to fit in and be accepted. The struggle to make ends meet. The struggle to find my place in the world.  So let’s start with the basics. Since this is my debut post, let me introduce myself. My name is Jackie. I am a middle aged single woman living in the South. Actually I guess it is very generous on my part to say I’m middle aged. Unless I expect to live to be 102, which it pains me to say that I don’t, then I’m actually somewhat past middle age. However, I’m thankful for every year and the wrinkles and gray hairs that came along for the ride. I have been single (as in unmarried) for over 20 years. (I know, that in and of itself is worthy of its own separate entry.) In recent years though I have doggedly (No pun intended. I promise that is the first word that popped out. I can’t speak on behalf of my subconscious however.) pursued online dating. It produced adventures and even some relationships that may or may not make it on this site, but suffice it to say I am still very much an unattached individual. The living in the South part is just a birthright and while it definitely impacted decisions and perspective, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with writing. I love to write. Sometimes the words just flow and everything I want to say just lays itself out perfectly; grammar and spelling not included. But that’s just sometimes. The rest of the ‘times’ the words are jumbled and chaotic and frustration causes me to leave the laptop closed. Nevertheless, this time it is important for me, and important to me, to try again. To put my ‘struggle’ on record. Hopefully not just the struggle, but the progress and the triumphs. And it is scary. This isn’t a private journal. I can’t just record every little thought that comes into my head. I have chosen, for some yet undetermined reason, to bare my heart and soul on a public forum. True, the ‘public’ is limited to the kind friends and family that choose to read it, but it is still emotional exposure.

The thought of a blog is not new to me. In fact, almost every New Year Resolution from the past several years had something about writing in it. I didn’t realize until I went to do this one that I already had started three other blog sites that had never been completely set up. I’m already ahead this time around. Yay! But honestly, this was not a 2016 resolution. In fact on January 1st I was in a new relationship surrounded by family and no thought was given to ill-fated proclamations to eat less, work out more, send birthday cards to people. (That is actually a real honest resolution I have EVERY year, and I fail at it EVERY year. Just ask any of my many family members who have never received one; ever.) But on January 15th I found myself not in a relationship in a rather abrupt manner. So even though I am late with the resolution talk, here I am. Maybe my tardiness will ward off the resolution gremlins that dissolve good intentions.

So in the closing of my first, but cross my fingers not last, entry, let me state the goal. I don’t believe that these are just my struggles only. There is a positive possibility that this sharing process will benefit more than just me. Lofty goal? Maybe. But check in periodically and let’s see how I’m doing. 

Hope Out