Life Lessons

The Shedding of Things

I recently cut my hair. Most people I interact with on a daily didn’t even notice, even though it was a drastic change for me. But that was ok. It felt amazing to shed the weight and to feel a change. A friend quoted Coco Chanel to me after learning of my hair cut and said, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”. And I did.

Soon after that, within days,  I decided to sell my furniture. The furniture that I had for the duration of my relationship with my ex husband. Just, shedding… things.

Soon after that, within days, I decided to shed my addiction.

I firmly believe, the older that I get and the more I learn, that we are all addicted to something. Addiction is a frightening word but if you really analyze your life, really dig deep, I can almost guarantee there is a vice. There’s the obvious: alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, sex, caffeine. Then there’s the less obvious: maybe sports, exercise, behaviors, and maybe, just maybe…even people.

I am addicted to a person. I am addicted to the person who has betrayed me time and time again. I am addicted to the love, the hate, the chaos, the bad, the good, the ugly, the borderline emotional abuse, the lust, the hope, the everything. I just recently, within the last year, have admitted this is an actual thing. Being addicted to a person and codependency is very real.

We’ve been divorced for over a year and separated for over two. People get divorced everyday and move on. But with addiction, it’s not that simple. I never completely quit him. I never allowed myself time. I never kicked the habit. I never gave up the high. It’s an addiction that lives in my soul. An addiction to the person I once saw as my second heart. The grieving became too much, and the loneliness became even more. I would dive right back into text messages and calls and obsessive thoughts, just wanting my fix of him. I just wanted to feel better. I could not handle being dope sick. It’s a weakness. And he certainly knows this.

No, I never planned on a complete reconciliation. I never wanted another marriage to him or cohabitation. I just wanted him in some form. I wanted him to love me or just want me. I wanted some semblance of a family. I wanted to force that. I wanted him to be different than he was and change old behaviors, shed addictions of his own. With or without change on his part, I just wanted him. I wanted the safety net of him and the support. I wanted the late night texts and the random intimacy. I wanted to dismiss all of the betrayal and pretend that this hybrid of a relationship we had was ok. It was unconventional but it was ok and it was good for me and therefore good for my daughter. He said he wanted me, too, as he always has, but his actions prove otherwise, as they always do.

I fooled myself into believing that I had control, as most addicts do. I made my rules, as most addicts do. If I only saw him a couple times as week and we only vacationed together, it wouldn’t become dangerous to me. Heartbreak wouldn’t be eminent if I just followed my own rules. But then the rules are stretched and a bigger dosage becomes the new rule.

And then there’s an event, an overdose of sorts, as there always is with addiction. A rock bottom moment where I have some self reflection and wonder what the fuck I’m doing. The danger is clear and the denial subsides. This is the moment to take advantage of and bail. For good. Some of us in addiction have had several of these rock bottom moments and we just hope that this time will be the one that will stick. I will make it stick this time. I have to. I have to be ready to do the work. I have to actually do the work.

I’m detoxing. I’m shedding.

The first hours were strong and full force, cold turkey. There’s a fierce confidence within those initial hours and a certainty that I will never look back. I was empowered by my independence and my courage to move on.

As the hours passed, the pain set in. Gut wrenching, real pain. That realization that the void is sneaking back in. The fear is sneaking back in. The reality is there staring me in the face. I am alone and I have to find a way to be ok. In reality, I have been alone for a very long time and my drug of choice has only been there to lie to me, pretending to ease my pain and fill my void. It’s a pseudo effect, a pacifier.

I have to break habits and that’s what it’s about. That’s the simplest answer to addiction: it’s just a habit that must be broken. Because with most habits that lead to addiction, it can literally or metaphorically kill you.  Being addicted to this person, I am giving myself away piece by piece. I am killing my spirit. I become unrecognizable to myself in the throes of addiction, as many of us do. How can we not if we’re giving so much of ourselves to someone or something else? It dims our light. It prevents us from being our truest form.

Every time I use again, I am saying it’s ok. It’s ok to allow myself the betrayals, the lies, the empty promises. I am saying it’s ok to settle for someone that cannot and will not give their all to me. I am saying this is good enough for me but above all, I’m saying it’s good enough for my daughter. I’m teaching her that a person who should be a partner, but is too caught up in self desires, is acceptable on his part-time schedule. No. No, this is not what I am willing to allow her to settle for in life.

It’s not about winning over this addiction. No one wins. No one gets a medal. It’s just about surviving it and finding a greater version of myself through the process. I know I’m here somewhere, whole and complete. We are all complete on our own if we allow it. This ideology of having a “better half”, or just an “other half”, is complete and utter bullshit. We are not all halves walking around in need of someone else. Getting out of that mindset is crucial. I have to allow it; trust the healing process.

They say that 21 days kicks a habit. Day 6. Dope sick and still in pain. But it is better than the alternative of self destruction. Freeing my heart of this will allow for so much more on the other side of the pain. It will be cleansing, this shedding.

I will not give myself away anymore.



Life Lessons, Social Media

The Top 5 Horrors of Online Dating Sites: Intel From a Late 30s Novice

Yes, I’m outing myself. I’ve used online dating sites. I said it.

For approximately the last year, I’ve wandered in and out of these sites. I’ve activated and deleted my accounts more times than I care to admit. And yes, “accounts” is plural because once you try one site curiosity kills the cat and you must know if the next site will be any better than the last. And let’s stop pretending that one site is different than the next. They’re all the same because you see the exact same people whether it’s Tinder or Bumble or Plenty of Fish, or OK Cupid or whatever other stupid named sites there are. As taboo as we pretend it is, it’s the way of the world these days. If you’re single, you’re most likely on one of the hundreds of dating apps. Whether it’s for a hook-up, a time-suck, looking for a friend, or genuinely looking for a relationship, it’s mainstreamed and from what I understand, this can be a legit way of meeting someone. Plenty of my friends met their significant others on these sites.

I just can’t seem to get on board.

I guess I should interject here that I’ve never gone out on an actual date with someone I’ve “matched” with and I’m about to explain why. I started to write this a year ago and when I began to list all of the horrors of online dating, the only thing I could emit from my brain was the word “everything” and I just didn’t think that would be helpful to my readers.

So, here. I’m trying again.

Horror 1: Confusing Pictures.

I’m starting with a big one. I’m not even talking about possible cat-fishing or the this-isn’t-really-me pictures or this-was-me-ten-years-ago pictures. I’m talking about pictures that make no sense. This could be a whole blog post in it of itself.

Why, men, why are you posting pictures with a ton of other people on your profile? I cannot tell which one is you and if your friend is better looking than you I might just swipe right so I can ask you his name. We get it. You have friends and you’re not pathetic. Ok. Great. But I’m on these sites to window shop. That’s why we’re all here so let’s not muddy the waters. If you don’t have a decent picture by yourself, for God’s sake ask a friend to take one. And make sure it’s not blurry. There are so many blurry pictures on these sites that I’m convinced most men are drunk most of the time. And speaking of that, if you basically advertise that you’re an alcoholic, you’re going to attract the same so don’t come back on the site 6 months later to complain about “not looking for drama”. You are what you attract, friend. Your “life of the party” pics might be the problem.

While we’re on the subject, why are you cozying up to some blond with big boobs in your profile picture? What makes you think this is a good idea? Is this so we all know you’re desirable? Or that you used to be? Either way, you just lost all chances with me. I don’t want to have to ask if that’s your sister or your daughter or whatever. It’s a bizarre way of trying to attract someone to talk to you. Women are inherently jealous creatures so this is really not starting off on the right foot.

And Jesus Christ, what’s with the all of the pictures with fish? I understand we live in Florida and many of you love boating but guess what? I don’t want to see a picture of red snapper. That’s not hot. At all. Not to any woman, I don’t care what they tell you. Sure, there are women who like to fish but no one wants to see 5 pictures of dead fish. That’s not a deciding factor of whether or not we would like to get to know you. It’s an automatic no. Try to also get one picture without those sunglasses, too. Everyone looks better with sunglasses on. And hats. If you’re bald, it’s ok. Be proud of that.

Lastly, stop with the attempt at creative pictures, please. The side profile selfie with the serious face or the bathroom selfie with the toilet seat up in the mirror reflection. Oh my God, please stop. Be aware of your photographed surroundings when posting pictures. You’re trying to get a date, remember? No one wants to see where you take a shit.

Horror 2: Dick Pics.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to elaborate on this but it keeps happening so clearly men just don’t get it. Dicks are gross. Just stop. Unless a girl advertises something like “I want to see your junk before we actually meet” on her profile, just don’t do it. If you start dating someone or you have a mutual conversation about it, that’s one thing and might have it’s acceptable place but if not, I can assure you that less than 1% of the females online want to see your man parts as a first impression.

A side note here- if you’re rockin the dad bod, don’t post shirtless pictures. It’s totally ok you have a dad bod, especially if you’re a dad, because I’m sure you have a glowing personality, but please, have some self awareness of how you look. If you don’t work out a few times a week or if you jiggle at all, that might be a turnoff to some. Or most. Just have some wherewithal.

Horror 3: Messages.

You have to start somewhere when you meet someone online, I get that. But the first messages always seem excruciating especially when they begin with “Hey”…and that’s it. The guys I message back usually say or ask something about what I wrote in my profile. Anything about my profile. At least pretend to have read my profile. Or maybe say something witty. But those who start with nothing get nothing.

Guys, here’s a tip: most women, especially my age, are looking for a little bit of intellect and a whole lot of caring. Ask a question or two about my life. Don’t make the conversation one-sided all about you, which seems like such a foreign concept to most men. And  if you’re just there to hook-up, be clear about that in your profile or first thing in your message. It would be much easier to move past the uncomfortable messages that way.

And can we move the small talk along, please? Like, get to the point a little. Don’t wait 24 hours before answering my question because I can see you were online and read my message 20 hours ago. Either you want to have a conversation with me or you don’t and if it’s flowing maybe we can move it to the new-age first date of a phone call? Or a text message at least? I don’t need an online pen pal and these messages breed even more insecurity sometimes.

Which leads me to my next point.

Horror 4: Competition. 

There are hundreds of people to choose from on these shithole sites which means we all have a ton of competition. We all know we all have an inbox of messages that we can choose to answer or not. We have to hope that our pictures and our messages and being as “ourselves”as we can be behind a keyboard is good enough to get to the next step of meeting someone. I think this is the toughest part for me. We are all presenting only a small portion of who we are on these sites. Our best pictures (well, in some cases),  a list of our most endearing  and attractive characteristics, our best foot forward. It’s unnerving to know that as I receive a message from a guy, he is most likely sending out several others. It’s like survival of the fittest out there. It’s kind of bullshit and so very shallow. There’s something so concerning to me about meeting this way because once you are in a committed relationship with someone, you have hundreds of other women at the click of your finger. Temptation is always lurking. That last comment is probably just coming from a very insecure place but it’s a big issue I have with this new, online age of dating. There was a lot less temptation with beepers.

Horror 5: People You Know. 

Living in a very small town, this is a tough one. I know so many people on these sites. I shouldn’t be at all embarrassed because they’re clearly on there, too, but it’s still…weird.I’ve tried to make it as least weird as possible and just tend to the elephant in the room by saying hello but that never gets a great reaction, to be honest. And if I don’t know them, someone I know knows them or they know my ex or some weird shit. It gets even more weird when you see someone that you know is in a committed relationship and is just on there for the dirt factor. It’s all very unsettling.


So, there it is. The horrors I’ve found in online dating so far. I could get super nit-picky and discuss grammar, text speak (It takes about .05 of a second more to type “you” instead of “U”, by the way), or the problem with calling yourself a “number 1 pick”, but I think you get the gist. The online dating world is for the fucking birds. It has it’s moments of being entertaining but, my God, it’s exhausting. If you’re married and you have no earthly idea what the hell I’m saying here, good for you. Stay married. Don’t ever, ever, ever get divorced. Single can be a scary place to be.

I will say this, though:  I’ve swiped right quite a bit… just in case there’s a chance that I can meet your dog.