Single and Breathing

Okay, I want to share this:After picking up my Lotto Tickets

I walked down to the gas station so I could get a Lotto ticket and also to just get a little workout in.

I was sweaty and gross and as I was finalizing my lottery ticket (which I’m sure is going to win) when this young man came up to me and asked me if I was single.

Continue reading loose transcript below or listen to the podcast:

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I was a little bit thrown.  Good looking young man, very well dressed and he was buying gas or something.

I looked behind me to see if he was talking to somebody behind me and he said, “No, I’m asking you. Are you single?”

I still couldn’t answer him because I was in shock.  He said, “I’d love to buy you a drink or maybe lunch or coffee…”.  He was so elegant and quite fantastic actually.

But I just looked at him and I just said, “You know, I can’t do that — my boyfriend’s waiting for me at home but thank you.  I appreciate it.”  And I just pivoted and walked away.

I started thinking about how embarrassed I was that he asked me.

Also he probably was half my age?  – Maybe not half my age, but it doesn’t matter –  he was young enough to be my son.  And although I was flattered by that, there’s a part of me that knows I have some very strict standards.

I feel a little bad that I lied to him, but I’d rather have lied to him, than have made him feel stupid or made him feel bad.

I am single.

I am single because I have had two great loves in my life and I was so disappointed when they ended that I think it’s been very difficult for me to even consider the possibility ever again.

It’s not that they ended badly or that they were horrible, it’s just that when you really do love someone and you care for them it’s really difficult to lose that friendship as well as the relationship.

I’m not sitting here pretending that I could have been friends with these people ever again after what happened between us, but it was so disappointing, and it hurt me so much that I think it’s really hard for me to ever even consider anything less than what I want now and what I deserve.

It’s almost as if having those relationships have now set the bar really high.

So, I am not going to spend any more time on “finding love”.  Any more than I do on anything else in my life because I believe there is something very organic in relationships.

I don’t go looking for friendships.  I don’t go looking for new girl-friends either to hang out with.  They either happen or they don’t in all of the things that I do in my life.  And I think that’s kind-of how the next step has to be for me.

I’m also not crazed about this idea that I have to be married.  Or that I have to be in a relationship.

I do believe we are social beings.  I do believe we are better with companions and friendships and partners and spouses.  But, I also think we can be worse with those things too if it’s not the right fit.

So yeah, I’m single.  But it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s not preferred or something that I don’t like – it’s just where I’m at today.

In order for me to ever really consider ever dating someone again, he’s going to have to at least be in his 40’s – or at least turning 40 – and then all my other standards that I have.

I guess the reason why I’m sharing this post is because I wanted to say this:

I think it’s OK to have standards.  I think it’s OK to want what you want!

What I don’t want is some of the relationships that some of my friends have.  They are in so deep with children and mortgages and their businesses are tied in and they feel like they can’t breathe.

You know what? Right now I’m single and I can breathe.  And I love it. And I don’t want that to change as much as I want to find someone that kind of fits into that puzzle pretty easily (if that makes any sense).

I just wanted to share that. I would love to hear your thoughts.

As always, have a sweet day. Thank you again for always stopping by — I appreciate it!

I’ll be back again soon.

Bye.

Carmen

Relationships Are Hard

Relationships are hard.

All kinds of relationships – between you and your parents, your friendships, siblings, co-workers and yes those romantic ones too – all relationships are hard.

I’ll admit upfront that I’m the last person on the planet that should give any advice on relationships. But someone asked, and as many of you know, it’s hard for me not to share…

I have a shrewd way of dealing with people in my life that works for ME, but please understand, it may not work for anyone else.

With that said, let me start with my definition of LOVE:  It’s a feeling and for the most part, it’s intangible to quantify.  Love can be pretty complex but, in most cases, and definitely in the beginning – love is pretty easy.  Whatever you may think of love I believe it can happen instantaneously.  A baby is born for example – that feeling of love is innate and all encompassing.  I know in my own experience, you can meet someone and “fall in love”.  It’s possible.  No matter what anyone tells you, love can be inexplicable and undeniable.  And since no one owns the patent on what love is, to me, it’s a feeling first.  Given time, love can surely evolve into something more in-depth depending on the circumstances and attention to the relationship.  But the essence of love is something you simply feel deeply that is difficult to always put into words.

So, in some respects, love is easy. There’s no controlling it. You can’t help who you love and most times you don’t really understand why you love a person, you just know that you do.  I think we’ve all experienced that in some way shape or form – and I love people who always feel the need to chime in to tell YOU what you’re actually feeling when you say you love someone – it’s as if they’ve cornered the market on what love is and is not. Cracks me up every time. Don’t listen to those people.  No one can tell you what you’re feeling.

But don’t be confused – there’s a difference between LOVE and TRUST.  People make this mistake all the time in all types of relationships.

If love is easy, then trust is difficult – REALLY DIFFICULT. Trust is earned.  Trust takes time. Trust is not innate. Trust is NOT a feeling.  People confuse being “in love” with the fact that they don’t trust this person yet. How can you trust someone you do not know?

Trust is important because it helps define our relationships.  We trust our parents because through thick and thin, they’ve been there for us even when we’ve messed up or shined, parents have walked us through infancy to adulthood.  So we trust them.

Siblings on the other hand, we may “hate” but ultimately, just based on sheer time, proximity and history, we love them. But what about a sibling who’s a drug addict?  We may not trust our siblings who are drug addicts, but our love is based on our history and connection with them. So, a family member who is a drug addict may be someone we love, but we would never trust them, unless they worked real hard to earn that trust back. Right?

What about a new boyfriend or a new girlfriend?  Sure, you can “fall in love” with someone you just met. It may be the beginnings of a deeper relationship – but all that questioning going on in your head, all the wondering of “does he” or “doesn’t he” has to do with getting to know each other. That takes time. And even if you think you trust a new person in your life, truth is, you just don’t know.  Trust is earned. Trust takes time and effort.  It’s not a feeling.

Okay, so just for clarity (and simplicity):  Love is easy and is a feeling.  Trust is earned and is tangible to calculate. Good.

I can honestly say I have fallen “in love” romantically twice in my life.  Once with a man who I slowly grew to appreciate over time and then realized he couldn’t be trusted so I walked away – and another man I fell in love with instantaneously whose presence in my life was rather short, so trust between us was never established.  I can easily say that I loved both of these men – but trust is a thing. It matters. And without trust, you cannot have a good relationship with anyone.

So, when you meet someone and you “fall in love” don’t be confused by what that means. It’s a feeling and that’s fine.  Don’t let anyone tell YOU how you feel or what the definition of LOVE is or is not.  No one can fully explain what love means – but DO NOT confuse TRUST for LOVE.  That’s key.

This is where most people get confused.  It doesn’t matter how old you are.  I know people who are married, divorced, married again and divorcing again because they have continuously confused trusting someone for loving someone.  And regardless of the relationship we’re talking about – friendships, siblings, boyfriend, girlfriends, spouse, parents – if you can’t trust a person, if you have doubts about who someone is in your life, then it’s not a healthy relationship.  You need to consider why you keep toxic relationships in your life and how you can work with them if you have to or learn to work around them if you can to remain a healthy and positive person. Please, if you have questions or concerns about this in any way, it’s always good to seek out professional help from a therapist, counselor, or doctor – I am none of these, but know that talking to someone can help walk you through.

Here’s my shrewd way of dealing with people I can not trust – again, I preface this by admitting this may not work for other people, so I don’t recommend it, but like all things – take what works for you and mold it into what is uniquely you.  Be a sponge who retains what little water you need and ring out the rest. But this is my way of dealing with relationships – especially romantic ones:

When I’m clear that I can’t trust someone, regardless of the relationship, I easily walk away. Because of my upbringing, (which you can read in the book CANELA), I’ve instilled a system of deciding what people I keep in my life with clear “rules”.  It’s always been about self-preservation and something I’ve practiced since I was a kid.  It’s actually simple:  after three times of being disappointed by someone, they’re out. I’m done. I walk away. In theory, you get three chances to be in my life, and then after that, I cut all ties.  My instincts tell me that in any relationship, especially a new one, if after three times someone’s proven they cannot be trusted, then they clearly do not have respect for my time and therefore do not deserve my energy.

I justify it this way:  There are close to 7 billion people on the planet. If you don’t have time to respect me, then I need to move on.  There are too many people to meet who may have a mutual level of respect that I want in my relationships – why bother wasting time on people who don’t “get” me even if they claim too?

Trust is the most important aspect of any relationship I have in my life.  I still love those two men dearly but let them go and never looked back or regretted the decision.  It doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means we’re not in the same space.  Look, I don’t claim to know exactly how the world works, but I do know that I want people in my life that want to be there, that need to be there. Friendships, siblings, lovers, even co-workers.  Fake relationships are a waste of everyone’s time and energy.  There’s a level of respect you can demand to have with all relationships if you start understanding that it’s okay to have boundaries and rules that work for YOU.  When you have a set of standards, people will either meet them, or they won’t.  When you love and respect yourself completely – you’ll never let a person into your life who continuously lets you down and hurts you – intentionally or not.

And there it is:  How well do you understand yourself? Do you love yourself completely and what does that mean?  How well do you trust your own gut feelings?  What are your standards? What are your expectations of people and do you practice those same rules?  What kind of people do you surround yourself with and do they reflect the best of who you are? I can honestly say, the people that are IN my life are some of the most beautiful people I am privileged to know. My loyalty to them is fierce — and I know for them, my relationship is just as important.  I always say, you don’t need a lot of friends, you only need one REAL one.  And I’m lucky, I have several beautiful REAL people in my life. True wealth.

Now, I’m not saying it’s ever easy to walk away from someone you’re interested in.  Even with my rules in place for decades, relationships are always hard.  But over time, you realize it’s easier to control your own behavior and reaction than it is to force others to BE a certain way.  I’m a firm believer that you can have everything you want in life, but first, you have to understand what it is you want and embrace the idea that you deserve the very best and never settle for less – especially when it comes to relationships.

 

 

 

Broken

How do you fix something that’s broken?

I guess there are many ways depending on the item, but I’ve learned that sometimes no matter how much you try to fix something, say glue it back together, it’s just never the same. Inevitably it falls back apart and needs mending over and over again.

And that’s not such a bad thing I do suppose.  But it’s not my style for sure.  One of my “negatives” is an inability to keep mending things over and over again. I have a three strikes rule:  after three attempts, honest and true attempts, I usually walk away.  I let things be and start anew.

I developed this way of being when things just seemed so overwhelming at one point and I had too much on my plate – no matter how much I prioritized I never could work on everything at least once.  Things got neglected without so much as an attempt by me because I never seemed to have enough time.  So, I decided to become more efficient and give everything, everyone a shot.  How quickly could I handle certain things if I gave myself a time frame?  A limit?  I could attempt every situation, every relationship, accomplish what needed to be accomplished to the best of my ability, and know that at the very least I attempted to mend, fix,  and help everything (and everyone) in front of me. And anything that didn’t work out, anything that didn’t stay glued together was obviously – just not meant to be.  Then I could feel good about letting it go.  No longer would I feel bad about just not having the time to “get to it”.  At the very least, I tried, it didn’t work, I’m done.

But what I’ve come to realize over the years is that some things are so precious that once they are abandoned they are gone forever.  Once I walk away, there’s usually nothing left but maybe a faint memory.  There are no replacements.  Sometimes in my haste to move onward and “let go” I’ve lost out on something that was so unique, that even in its broken state, could have given me so much more joy than having nothing at all. I mean, a broken diamond, could still be a bunch of little pretty diamonds, shining brilliantly and still beautiful in magnificent ways, right?

Maybe some things are not meant to be fixed at all.  Maybe, sometimes when things are broken, that’s exactly how they’re supposed to be. Their purpose or functionality might have changed, but, if given the chance, they could still be beautiful  in ways I’d never even considered, right?

Maybe, what I keep seeing as broken, is merely a different form of growth or newness. And maybe, just maybe, it’s not my job to fix, help, or mend everything and everyone.

How do you deal with the broken “things” in your life?  I’m so very curious.

…. I’m just thinking out loud today.

Rejection – The Silver Lining

Rhayne:  Carm, you there?

Carmen:  Hola Rhayne – bored at work, I see.

Rhayne:   I have a question.

Carmen:  Shoot.

Rhayne:  How do you deal with rejection?  I’m so sick of everything falling apart and everything going wrong.  I don’t get it.  What am I doing wrong?

Carmen:   Uhm, that’s. . . What happened? You want to talk on the phone? Skype?

Rhayne:  No, I’m at the coffee shop.  Can’t.  Can we just IM?

Carmen:  Okay.

Rhayne:   I went out with that guy.  Remember the one I told you about from the online site?  The one I had coffee with and I thought we had a great time and he said he was going to call me and then he didn’t?  That one.

Carmen:  uhm, so he did call?

Rhayne:  Yeah.

Carmen:  That’s good right?

Rhayne:  And that job interview I went to last week?  That friggin’ second interview that I thought for sure I aced.  They filled the position and didn’t even tell me! I found out because I called and asked!  Oh my God, I was so humiliated! I actually called!

Carmen:  Oh, I’m sorry.

Rhayne: I just feel stupid. I feel horrible. I feel like a loser.  Oh my God, what am I going to do? I’m so sorry.  I can’t believe I’m bothering you again.  I know you’re going through your own stuff.

Carmen:  You’re kidding me, right? Pahleeze! Don’t worry about it. So tell me what happened last night with that guy.

Rhayne:  I don’t want to talk about him actually.

Carmen:  What?  Okay. So, let me get this straight, you’re asking me how I deal with rejection so well? Uhm, because I’ve had so much experience, jeez thanks!

Rhayne: Yeah, I do.  I mean, no offense, but. . . I mean, you’ve been through so much and you’re always happy.  I mean, I know you cry and get sad, but…honestly, how do you do it?  No matter what’s going in your life, you’re always okay. I don’t get it.  Is it drugs? Alcohol?  Lots of sex?  What?

Carmen:  Definitely not drugs or alcohol. . .

Rhayne:  Oh my God!  Lots of sex, that’s how you deal with it?

Carmen: LOL!  Yeah, wouldn’t that be great?   If sex cured all our problems!

Rhayne:  Or if your real love did. . . CHOCOLATE.

Carmen:  CHOCOLATE!!!!

Rhayne: ROTFL!

Carmen:  Ha!

Rhayne: I want Suzie Cakes cupcakes right now!

Carmen:  Look, there’s no doubt rejection is hard. But I guess I deal with it the same way I deal with most things– head on.

Rhayne:  I don’t know what that means.

Carmen:  I know, give me a dang second to type girl!

Rhayne:  OK.

Carmen: First, rejection is something we all feel at some point.  That’s not to diminish what you’re going through and feeling right now, but just to remind you that it’s normal.  Second, it’s important to understand why rejection hurts so much.  Primarily because it makes us feel like we’re not good enough.  Like we’re “less than” someone or something else.  It solidifies and confirms our own worst fears:  that we just don’t measure up.  And if someone doesn’t approve, then see, it must be true!  Got those two so far?

Rhayne:  Uh-ha.

Carmen:  The third thing to remember is that we don’t like rejection because ultimately we want to be liked.  It’s natural.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s part of living.  As much as “some” pretend not to need anyone, the  fact  is  we’re social beings and want to fit in.  Even in our aloneness, we want to know that we’re accepted by others.  And most of us who are sane never want to hurt or disappoint others.   It’s a natural part of what makes us, US.  So far so good?

Rhayne: Yeah.  When are you going to tell me how to fix it?

Carmen: When you gonna pay me?

Rhayne:   It’s in the mail.

Carmen:  Yeah, right.  For real, it’s a process.

Rhayne: Okay, okay, I’m listening.

Carmen: The fourth thing to remember is that you’ve already been here before.  You know all of this.

Rhayne:  What?

Carmen:  Yeah, everything I just said beforehand… that  it’s normal, that it hurts because we want to be liked by others and that we’re social beings regardless of how we say we don’t need anybody?  This is not new – rejection is not new to you.

Rhayne:  Okay, but so what? How does that help me?

Carmen:  You were rejected before when you were 3 years old in the play ground or when you were in grammar school, high school, whatever.  You’ve been through this before so you already know what rejection is – been there, done that.

Rhayne:  Exactly what I’m saying!  It’s like I’m “Queen Rejection” or something!

Carmen:  No, silly.  What I’m trying to say is this: you have felt this before and you’ll feel it again.  It’s part of the process of life and unless you’re never going to compete for anything ever again or go after something you really want, or fall in love, then you’re always going to run the risk of feeling rejected.

Rhayne:  So I’m destined to always feel bad because it’s human?  Is that what you’re friggin’ telling me?  How the hell is this supposed to make me feel better?  I’m thinking alcohol would be so much better.  I’d go for the sex cure if you’d hook me up with that fine boy on your facebook –  there’s like three of them I’m interested in.

Carmen: You are so crazy Ms. Thing!  For the record, that boy is NOT available! Let it go!  But yes, as a human being you are destined to possibly be rejected many more times for sure.  That’s a factual part of living.  So you can’t stop being rejected, but you can control how deeply you feel about it and definitely never let it devastate you.

Rhayne:  Okay, how?

Carmen: Every time something doesn’t go your way Rhayne you get all in a tizzy.  So, the question is why?

Rhayne:  you already said it…because I’m human and, you know, all the three things you said before.

Carmen:  Ugggh….yes, but there’s more to it than that silly girl!  What you haven’t figured out is how to turn a bad feeling or situation into a good thing.  Find the silver lining. Everything has a silver lining, no matter how faint it may seem.  If you want to know the trick of how I’ve made it through  “sooooooooooo much rejection”  that’s the trick:   I flip rejection to a positive.

Rhayne:  What?  That sounds stupid and too easy.

Carmen:  I didn’t say it was easy.  And I would say stupid is IM-ing me from a coffee shop like I’m your damn therapist!

Rhayne:  Touché. Sorry. Go on.

Carmen:  Whenever you get rejected try and see it as just another opportunity for you to try again.  Each time someone says, NO, say, OH YEAH?  Don’t feed into the hurt of rejection.  Make it a line in the sand to cross over and dare once again.

Rhayne:  Oh, so, a guy you’ve been in love with picks some fat ugly whore over you and you’re fine with that and see it as a challenge?

Carmen:   Ha! Ha!  Oh my God!  That was too funny!  Let’s leave the boys for the end, okay?  Let’s start with work first.

Rhayne:  Okay. Shoot.  But I can’t wait to hear the answer to that. . .

Carmen:  You send out resumes, you go to an interview, you look your best, present yourself well and think you’ve aced the interview and you don’t get the job.  Right?

Rhayne:  Right.

Carmen:   Okay, instead of harping on feeling bad or like a “loser” because you didn’t get the job, why not do a little reality check on all the reasons why you might not have gotten the job. You know, think about things you can control.   Like, for example, did you say too much in the interview?  Not enough?  Were you too chummy with people?  Was this really the right job to pursue? Did you accidentally show up the interviewer….uhem…

Rhayne: Oh shut up!  She was like 14 years old!  I could have done her job for goodness sake and I’m interviewing for her?  What the hell!  I shouldn’t have to be dealing with some freshman supervisor wanna-be.  I should have her job!

Carmen:  Rhayne, honestly, do you hear yourself?  A minute ago you were feeling rejected, now you’re pissed because you had to interview for a job with someone you thought wasn’t qualified.  You didn’t really want that job did you?

Rhayne:  It’s a stupid position I can do with my eyes closed.

Carmen:  I’m sure. But this isn’t the right economy to be playing that game so you have to adjust, right? The point is, you make a choice – either suck it up and talk to the 14 year old “supervisor” to get the job, or decide that it’s not a job you want anyways because you’re overqualified.  But don’t put yourself down over it.  Choice, line in the sand, positivity.  Nothing about feeling bad at all.  What’s the silver lining in the situation?  If anything, I see this as a positive, you should feel good about it.  You’ve learned something new.

Rhayne:  F – you!

Carmen:  Yeah, you best abbreviate my sistah –I’ll just assume you meant to say “Fabulous, you!”  Ha!  Look , it’s the same way with the guy thing.  First of all, don’t ever compete with other women.  It’s not about the other woman.  If a guy isn’t interested, remember that it’s the same as when you’re not interested in some guy who likes you.  Then be glad you got that information NOW and not years later.  Silver lining!  And why would you force someone to like you?  That’s like forcing someone to be your friend.  It makes no sense.

Rhayne:  Amen to that! You are so right!

Carmen:  In more intense relationships, if someone doesn’t want to be in your life no matter what you do to accommodate the relationship and they still lie or behave stupidly – then walk away.  I mean, honestly, what’s the point?  True love and true friendship, no matter the relationship,  is about respect.  Respect of yourself in the relationship and respect of the other person.  If you really love someone, you wouldn’t hurt them purposely – especially not over and over again.  You know I’ve walked away without looking back pretty easily from dumb-ass people.  Three chances and you’re out.  Here’s the silver lining:  If the muther-flower is a liar and therefore an overall woose, then I consider that a bullet dodged big time!  Remember what Maya Angelou said, “People always SHOW you who they are.”   They may talk a good game, but ultimately its behavior that matters.

Rhayne:  Preach it sistah. Preach!

Carmen:  Ha!  I know, right!  I feel the spirit coming through my fingers when I get going…Ha!

Rhayne:  I know you do!

Carmen:   And Ms. Thang, let’s be honest here, okay?  You’re just meeting these men for the first and second date, right?   Maybe you need to lighten up a bit.  It’s like you’ve emotionally invested a little too much too soon.  Give yourself a break already. You’re like piling up on the rejection crap just to feel bad!

Rhayne: You’re right. I hate you.

Carmen:  I know.  Beauty and brains, I can’t help it, I was born this way baby!

Rhayne:  Bitch.  Okay, but seriously, now what?

Carmen:  Well, I’d like to say you should write me a check for my services but I know that ain’t going to happen.

Rhayne:  Funny.

Carmen:  Tomorrow just start fresh.  Stop putting so much weight on everything.

Rhayne:  I know. I know you’re right.  And the other days? When it doesn’t work out?

Carmen:  Easy, Chocolate cupcakes! Always on standby!

Rhayne:  I’d rather you call up one of them boys on your facebook page so I can have me some of that “sex-cure”. What that boy’s name, you know, the one that –

Carmen:  You’re crazy!  What do I look like a pimp or something… jeez!

Rhayne: Well, that could be a job for me.  I’d work on commission.  You know, I could  be your secretary if you started up that kind of business… maybe your bookie or….

Carmen:  Good-bye Rhayne!