I Want to Be My Best

September 12, 2013 - Leave a Response
For those that don’t know that’s actually a quote from the brilliant but short lived series Dollhouse. It’s something the characters say whenever they are in their doll state. While the comment is almost supposed to be one that creates pity in the watcher, I have to think about the basic concept.
Am I being my best on a daily basis. This doesn’t refer to being the best at any/every element you participate in but more of the idea that you gave it your all. That you put forth the effort, and when you close your eyes at night you can say that you gave it your bet shot.
This is a daunting and exhausting premise when you think about it. Granted I don’t take it to the extreme of did I stretch in bed, or make coffee to the best of my ability but as I’ve gotten older I do tend to think about if I’m making the most of the time that I have. In that moment, if I am given a moment of reflection, will I be at peace or will those final seconds be filled with regrets or memories of what could have been.
I think anyone can relate to this concern and there are moments that we all wish we could hit the rewind button. Usually they involve awkward social encounters, times when your mind overtook your body and when you needed to act but you were paralyzed by all of the potential outcomes that your mind lay before you. For me it’s pretty much anytime a boy was present.
In my current state of unemployment I’ve been given an opportunity that most people dream of. “If I had more time…” is a common complaint by the general population and I have been given that gift. I’m in a comfortable enough financial state, not buying ferrari’s or popping over to Venice (California or Italy) on a whim but not the the point where I’m living by candlelight and eating only Ramen. 
So what am I doing with this never-ending sense of options? Well I’m sleeping in, and sometimes I do the dishes or cook something new. Reading a bit more but not really enough based on the amount of free time.And thats about it.
I am currently living a life without the room for excuses and I’m squandering it. I can work out for 3 hours a day and cook or juice for just as long and still have plenty of time. Hell, Sheldon from Big Bang Theory had made ponchos for his entire extended family by day 3 and I haven’t even started a scarf. 
Perhaps it’s easier to create lofty life plan/goal for yourself when you know you have an end date in mind. For instance, the second you get a new job that starts in 2 weeks, those 14 days are the most precious and glorious days of your life. But without that threat of monotony there isn’t that sense of urgency. If I don’t get the laundry done, or go white water rafting today, I can always go tomorrow or the next day. 
So how do I instill that sense of urgency into my current life despite outside forces providing one? Create one or be given one. I sincerely hope you create one for yourself because the latter is unfortunately less enjoyable but more persuasive. When someone most beloved to you is given a timetable, much shorter than anyone deserves, they are forced to reevaluate their life; and so will you. 
If an opportunity for something you love presents itself. Don’t ignore it. That opportunity is a gift that may not present itself in the future. Don’t let that be something you regret not doing. 
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I got this tattoo to remind myself when I was afraid of trying new things to just go for it. I never thought I would need the reminder for when I was lazy but glad it’s still relevant…ya know cause it’s permanent and everything. 
 

Casual Cute

November 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

This is a concept that I thought I had a basic understanding of. It’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans but still making it sexy instead of schleppy. With that said I’m in shock with just how much effort I have to put into this style and just how far off base I’ve been.

We had a Thursday night game so I got to see my Sunday morning crew in the evening and to top it off I came straight from a client invaded work day so I actually looked like a grown up. The response was surprising/intriguing from the guys who I thought had seen me as a little sister, best buddy who just happened to have boobs sort of way.

Not anymore.

And the part that I found interesting is that I changed into “comfy” clothes at the bar. I was still rocking jeans, t-shirt but with my put together hair and makeup. Suddenly I was visible, hell maybe even viable.  When they saw me walk in they gave me this shocked look like “holy shit did you know Jen was a chick?” which might have offended me but honestly I wear yoga pants and jerseys so I can understand the confusion.

Only time will tell but I’ll be testing this new, slightly shinier version of myself over the next few weekends to gauge a response.

As for the effort, obviously any will be more than none so that will take some getting used to.

This lip gloss smells delicious and provides a nice tint that says I’m alive so that’s a bonus.

The hair for some reason doesn’t annoy me when it’s curly. While I’m normally twirling it around a finger or just generally playing with it when it’s straightened I haven’t even touched it and it’s a relief to not have to worry about it. Did it fall flat? Is it parted weird? Did the rubber band leave a kink in it from one of the 700 times I decided to put it up then immediately put it back down? All these concerns are gone. And while there isn’t any workplace prospects it’s been a bit fun testing out different options to see their reactions. With an 85% male population I would be a fool not to survey their opinions.

So confession time…I was schleppy. I was the girl equivalent to George from Seinfeld wearing sweatpants. I was sending out the message that I don’t care and that I don’t think I’m worth the effort so don’t even bother looking at me.

Times change and I’m on a deadline. So getting up an extra 20 minutes to look not dead is just the sacrifice I’m going to have to make.

The Perfect Date

November 8, 2012 - Leave a Response

I didn’t do a lot of actual dating in high school or college. I enjoyed the fun makeout/hook up sessions but never wanted to be tied down (teehee yeah I’m super mature) with a full blown relationship. I knew I was going to be leaving the Midwest as soon as the graduation ceremony was over and would be out in Lalaland starting my “real” life.

Being a dating rookie out here probably wasn’t the greatest plan.

I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself. I’ve always been a perfectionist and while that helped me with class work it wasn’t very productive when on a date. I wasn’t expecting a Rom-Com perfect date where my leg pops when we kiss at the door and I swoon knowing that he’s “the” guy. In fact when it came to his characteristics I was always able to look at the sunnier side of the situation.

So he has two kids under the age of three from different moms. That just means he probably doesn’t want anymore so I don’t have to go through that yucky labor mess thing.

So he thinks it’s better to work 5 part time jobs to pursue his acting career despite the fact that all of the jobs eliminate any time to audition. Got to love his passion and drive for what he loves.

The list goes on and on and then on some more.

Sadly, I was not so kind to myself. Every simple question would send me into a tailspin of panic over giving the “correct” answer. The basics like what movies/music/books/food do I like were dependent on the answer that I felt was most likely to win me the second or third date not necessarily the truthful one.

The date wasn’t “perfect” until I had become his version of perfect.

Obviously this is a flawed system that I regret I wasted more than a few years trying to achieve. To make matters worse it completely took the fun out of dating! I was exhausted and in the end rarely even liked these guys when I really thought about it. So I pretty much just stopped dating altogether.

After countless late night phone calls and gchat sessions with friends who were out in the dating scene and talking a few of them off the “Screw it I’ll just get 6 cats and take up knitting” ledge I realized I had been telling them the advice I needed so dearly in my own life.

There is no wrong answer because it’s NEVER wrong to be you!

There are a million tiny reasons why a relationship can work out and a million tiny reasons why it can fail and it’s impossible to try to think that you can outsmart each other because you just end up miserable, lost, not recognizing who you are or what you’ve become for the sake of this supposedly “perfect” relationship.

Did he not return your call because you said that you’ve been to 5 Blink 182 concerts?

Did you get voted off the dating island because of your affinity for Kevin Smith movies?

In the end it really doesn’t matter because you two weren’t right for each other, and if you were he didn’t give it the time to see if you could be.

And not to go all “mom” on ya but that is absolutely his loss!

So go get your date on and have fun with it because the REAL Perfect guy, is the one who likes the REAL you.

Swooper Situation

October 29, 2012 - Leave a Response

You set the scene and it plays out exactly as you planned. Really it’s an expert example of your engineering (aka memory) but the truth is you desperately hoped to prove yourself wrong. Too bad your experience has taught you that a+b always equals c. And that’s the problem.

I’ve mentioned in past posts about the definition of insanity and how it keeps popping up in my life. Well here’s another one.

I’m suffering from a Swooper situation.

I think every girl has experienced this breed of female and in a lot of ways its how female friendships get a bad rep and where cat fights originate. For whatever reason, be it jealousy, a competitive streak, boredom, some underlying emotional wound/trauma, this girl wants to win “the” guy, and the way she knows its “the” guy she wants is when you verbalize that you want him. You start to talk to a guy and things are going great maybe getting a little flirting in there for good measure and her spidey senses begin to tingle. In my case she admitted half the time she isn’t in fact actually attracted to him right off the bat but the fact that I have expressed interest means he must be worth the effort on her part.

And so it goes. Maybe I go to the bathroom, maybe I go to the bar and maybe I literally take a single step backwards and she swoops.

Within minutes, but never longer than an hour she has staked his claim and said gentleman is either making out with her or actually on top of her. Game over she wins.

Except the thing about the whole game concept is…it takes two players.

When this happens, and it’s been frequent enough for me to know my own pattern… I shut down. I don’t want to battle over a dude. It’s cheesy and pathetic and for someone with lower self esteem incredibly scary.

And she knows this about me because we’re best friends.

She knows that I’m the easy target for the dodgeball game of flirting and dating. She will always win because I walk off the court.

In the beginning I thought this would lessen the skill involved, maybe if I played dead long enough she would find a more worthy opponent. Sadly I’ve learned that isn’t ever going to be the case. Because when the chips are down; you hate your job, you have no money, no romantic prospects, and minimal friends you take one of the few opportunities you have left to feel dominant.

This is just plain shitty to do to anyone.

Yet I know that I’ve let myself be the victim and that’s my problem. I’ve allowed this behavior to go on and even cracked jokes to lessen the pain. I’m unhappy with this and so it’s up for me to fix it. I can’t change her behavior or her treatment of me but I need to change the way I treat myself.

This is no longer an acceptable relationship so it needs to either evolve or end. Image

Mission Impossible?

October 17, 2012 - 2 Responses

I’m going out of the country in June to see one of my best friends getting married. I’m beyond thrilled about the wedding and also the excuse to get back to a country that is to this day my lottery spot. With that said it hit me that I would be nuts not to travel around a bit after the wedding. I’m already across the pond, who knows the next time I’ll be able to take the time off work let alone afford a trip like this.

I also realized that I’m not the international travel solo girl. I know it can be done and I applaud those that can handle it but I know me and that just would not be fun at all. I’m an independent gal who has been single for a very long time but I have my limits.

So this is a time sensitive issue.

I pretty much need to find a guy who wants to and can afford to take a trip to Europe in June.

So I have to make an effort which is not something I’m very good at.

Before you throw stones at me through cyber space this in no way means that I am so hot or amazing that guys just fall at my feet begging to go out with me so I can lazily just say ok. Again I mention that I’ve been single for a very…very long time. And I’ve liked it for the most part. Sure there are lonely times but in general I haven’t been too concerned about the romantic element, or lack there of in my own existence.

But not anymore. I’m a girl on a mission.

So back to the effort element.

I work in an office with great people but no one that is interesting as a potential suitor. Because of this I’ve only put an effort into my attire when we have clients in the building. I’m not a sparkly lip gloss girl I’m a Chap Stick girl. My hair is usually in a pony tail and if I start the day off actually flat ironing my hair it goes up into some sort of makeshift knot by lunch time. I love heels but have been in a ballet flat mood for about 3 months.

This continues on into my social life. I’m broke like a joke so there isn’t a ton of going out except for Thursday night happy hour after work (see dress code above, I don’t get cuted up for the bar) and Saturday/Sunday for football games. Getting pretty for a 9AM game didn’t make sense to me.

Again…until now.

So the boyfriend quest has begun.

Let’s see just how great my relationship advice is when I’m the recipient.

I can be a real stubborn brat so this will be a battle.

Breaking up with Peter Pan

October 12, 2012 - Leave a Response

I think this is a pretty great epiphany and might be the clue to at least a part of my romantic troubles.

I’m in love with Peter Pan.

For the longest time I’ve been under the impression that I don’t have a type. Short/tall, fat/skinny, (granted I can’t recall ever going for a baldy so I guess that’s one element that has remained fixed) I didn’t care what their bank balance was or what car they drove or if they were religious or political.

The common denominator is that I keep going for a certain age bracket.

Not Hugh Hefner old but definitely about 10+ years older. And while I swore going for that demographic was unintentional I think I’ve just realized I have been drawing them in. I like the idea that the guy is older and therefore wiser and more established. To top it off I like the older guys who still maintain that sense of humor and adventure and whimsy.

Sounds like a pretty great catch right?

Except it’s not real!

I was watching a trailer for a film called “Liberal Arts” with Josh Radnor and Elizabeth Olsen and a line really stuck with me. Talking about why their relationship works he says, “I can’t figure out if it’s because you’re advanced or I’m stunted” and she replies “I’m advanced”. I’ve been thinking I’m just so mature that is why I can hang with these guys. From a very young age my friends and family told me I was an “old soul” and I think I let that idea cloud my opinion of not only myself but also the sort of man an “old soul” would be with.

The problem with Josh Radnor’s question is that it isn’t an either/or situation.

The answer is both and there lies the dilemma.

While talking to guys in their late 30’s early 40’s that are still dating and having sex for sport it hit me. Why is it ok, or even desirable to me for a guy to behave this way when the idea of me being that age and acting that way is repulsive and pathetic?

To compound the problem I moved to a place that actually rewards and promotes this type of relationship. Dating a girl 5 years younger is great but you’ll get high fives and a parade if you’re banging a chick 15 years younger. Directors, writers, producers are hot shit (in their own minds anyways)and the young ingénue who desperately want an “in” to the movie biz will do whatever it takes to get that role, even if that means squeezing that wrinkly ass of his mid thrust. And those guys aren’t always particularly attractive or entertaining, just powerful. So the non powerful guys who are attractive (although I’ve noticed even the unattractive unsuccessful ones still think pretty highly of themselves) see this example and say hell yeah I not only can do that but I should do that. Is that the Hollywood dream that exists today?

The harsh truth is I’ve been judging the younger guys unfairly. They’re doing the same thing as the old guys but for some reason I’ve been giving grandpa over there a free pass because of some unspoken life experience that should lead to life smarts when in reality that fact makes it worse.

Age does not equal wisdom!

The 24yr old doesn’t know any better and he should feel free to act like, well a 24 year old. There is still hope that the 24 yr old will get all of that out of his system and become a grown man but the 40+ guy who still tries to get away with the behavior is pretty much a lost cause. So now I look at all of those crushes or attractive potential suitors and I actually feel a bit sad for them. Well that and realizing how skeevy they are causes my skin to start crawling as I type this.

While that could be a genuine physical reaction to this epiphany it also could be the 3rd cup of coffee that is coursing through my veins.

Either way, my highly caffeinated eyes are wide open to the mistakes and poor judgments of my past and it’s time to say farewell to the lost boys. We had some great times together, but at my age, I’ve outgrown you.

The Definition of Insanity

September 17, 2012 - Leave a Response

I feel like I’ve been noticing the definition of insanity all over the place and it’s making me crazy. I’m not immune to it by any stretch of the imagination and perhaps that is what makes it so frustrating.

When I want to drop a dress size and I know that eating pizza once a week hinders that goal one would think that a rational, sensible person would stop calling Papa John’s.

I’ve been working the same job for 4+ years and keep coming up against the same roadblocks over and over again when I try to change my career path what do I do? Well, it took 4+ years for me to figure it out that this tactical plan of mine just isn’t working and that maybe, just maybe, I should try an alternative route.

So that’s what I’m working on.

It’s as if a light has gone off in my brain (hopefully an energy efficient bulb that will last twice as long) saying “wake up stupid!” and I am ready to make some real changes.

There are people in my life who are toxic. I make bad choices when I’m with them and they make me feel bad about myself. Do I stay because of a sense of obligation? I’ve invested so many years to the friendship that it would be foolish to walk away? Do I hope that this will be the night where we have fun again instead of spend the night getting angry/sad/annoyed?

Wake up stupid!!!

For work, I can keep plugging along and doing what I’ve been doing and hope that someday things will work in my favor or I can actually take an active role in my existence and do something about it! I have been on a very specific and very regimented career path since I was 16 years old. I never changed my major in college and moved to Lalaland mere weeks after graduation because that is what you do. I sometimes give my sister a hard time for following a pretty precise checklist for her domestic life however I followed one of similar design for my “Hollywood life”. Well that particular plan or strategy hasn’t worked for me so it’s about time I face that and examine the rest of the world.

Did you know how big the world is?!?

Since sophomore year of high school I never looked around to actually see all of the different possibilities. There was no point. I was driven, but to a point where I lost peripheral view of avenues that could be fantastic for me. I decided it’s about time I consider a Plan B.

And no not the emergency birth control option or the strip club in West LA.

More to follow but I wanted to give you an idea of some of the future entries.

I’ll still be providing my Yoda like wisdom to friends in desperate situations, but I’m also going to be doing a bit of “intervening” on my own behalf.

Because as the L’Oreal commercials tell me anytime I’m watching Lifetime, We, or Own…I’m worth it!

Validation

July 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

It’s the moment that you know that you made the right decision regarding a relationship. Maybe you had a gut feeling about a guy and you walked away from a seemingly perfect relationship that made your friends want to tear their hair out in frustration/confusion. A few weeks/months later you find out he just had a shotgun wedding with pregnant bride and you can smile and say, “Phew, dodged that bullet”!

You walk away from a job and the boss lashes out at you for “abandoning a golden opportunity” and you berate yourself for not being strong enough to continue with the passive aggressive abuse/career training. As time passes you see that no one is able to withstand that torture for longer than 6 months thanks to the revolving door of job postings. A great “it’s not me, it’s you” moment showing you’re not actually weak at all.

On a night out on the town you see your old crew and for a second it looks like they’re having an absolute blast without you. But you take a closer look and you notice the bartender giving the waitress the signal to cut them off. You see the busboy cleaning up the broken glass under the table from a tipsy spill that you know too well. Then you see the friend who replaced you as team babysitter and know exactly what the rest of her night is going to be like. In that moment you smile to yourself, clink you drink with some drama-free friends and toast to a fantastic night that doesn’t involve crying, falling down, paying for an entire table full of drinks, and threats of being kicked out followed by threats of DUIs if you can’t get everyone into a cab.

We’ve all had felt that twinge of fear or regret. Did I make the right choice? What would my life have been like if I had stuck with option A instead of B? Most times we aren’t given a window to see what that would have looked like and in low moments it’s easier to go with the grass is always greener philosophy. That boss would have become tolerable and would have let me move up within the company. I could have been living happily ever after with that guy. That’s why these little peeks are so fantastic and incredibly inspiring. My life path has jumped all over the place but you know what, I know I’m still heading in the right direction and I’ve corrected for errors or oops situations from my past.

Check Please

July 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

You’re on a date from hell and the man sitting across from you says something that pushes you over the edge. You raise your hand mid bite of salad and say “Check please” to any waiter within earshot that might be able to help you escape from the clutches of this horrifying evening.

While I’ve never gotten the chance to do this on a date I have done it in life. There comes a time when you just have to tap out and walk away from the relationship. The drama and the stress aren’t worth the fun, if the fun even still occurs. While I enjoy helping my friends through rough patches and cheering them on through great moments of triumph I also know my limits and when I just don’t have anything left to give. The relationship has gone septic and there’s no hope for recovery.

You know you’ve reached this point when you pull the plug and you breathe a sigh of relief instead of sadness. Sure you had some great times that you’ll always remember and laugh about but as the months and years have passed the fun came to a screeching halt. Sometimes this can occur with a singular incident that you simply can’t move past from while others, like my most current was a long time coming. A night of silly fun would be followed by a day of hassle and drama. And as time progressed the drama began to overtake the enjoyable moments until I took a step back and realized I hadn’t had a “good” time with this person in months. It just wasn’t worth the pain and frustration anymore so I walked away.

You hear this sort of response from individuals going through a divorce and walking away from a friendship is in many ways like a break-up. Who gets the friends that you made together? What about your favorite brunch spot or happy hour? Luckily since this was a friendship and not romantic you should be able to avoid the super dramatic and incredibly awkward scene if/when you accidentally run into one another. Be courteous but move on quickly to not get sucked into your previous role whatever that might have been in that particular friendship.

People will come in and out of your life at different times and they shape who you become in the future. Few stay with you from beginning to end while most are cast as recurring, or guest star roles. It doesn’t mean that the time together was any less special, just that the time has come to move on.

Birthday Blues

July 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

Everyone responds to their birthday a little differently. I’m on the side that prefers complete anonymity at all times and can’t stand the attention and hoopla of a birthday celebration. I tried to break myself of this for my 24th birthday and I kid you not the majority of the time I felt physically sick to my stomach. For me there’s a lot of anxiety that most don’t seem to experience. Throw in some truly disastrous birthday celebrations and I say thanks but no thanks. It’s not about getting old but it can be about having that silly checklist in my head (probably from when I was 14 and knew nothing about life) of all of the things I was meant to accomplish by this point. And thanks to social media sites like Facebook it takes 3 seconds to see all of the people who have checked things off their lists and might thus be seemingly farther along in “life’s journey”. Thus when a pal gets sad/reflective during her birthday I get it.

Some helpful tips that I’ve come up with so far:

  • Be honest with your friends. Everyone has that friend who says no I don’t want anything but secretly is hoping that you plan a big surprise blow out. Be clear that this is not you and that you genuinely want to be left alone. If your friends are looking pitiful about this make plans to go out the week later for something fun. Then you’re going out and having a fun time in a non-b-day capacity. You’re not saying you don’t want to hang out with them; just you don’t want to hang out with them today.
  • Prep your living partner. Same as the friends but maybe give them a more thorough understanding of what you want your b-day to look like. If your idea of the perfect b-day is watching movies with a bottle of wine and some dark chocolate than explain that. Explain that you might cry or flip out so they’re as prepared as possible. They live with you and have no way to escape so be a pal and let them know when they need to baton down the hatches.
  • Set a limit. This is a good tip for any situation where wallowing is involved. Crying can be cathartic. Taking some time to just weep is fine but this should not last for more than a day. You can’t have the birthday blues for the week prior or the week after or the whole month. Go big or go home so you need to get it all out of your system so that the day after, you face the day fresh.
  • No FACEBOOK! Don’t kid yourself you can’t handle it. You’re in a fragile state and seeing Sue Cranston from high school having her 2nd baby with her husband on the farm that they bought 5 years ago will send you over the cliff. One click later you see your ex who is now dating a model. Two clicks after that you have gone into a full tailspin with no hope for recovery. While I said crying is cathartic, going on social media sites is just plan masochistic. Before the big day be honest with yourself and if you have to hide your laptop or ipad and remove the Facebook app from your phone. You can add them back the following day. One day away won’t kill you.
  • Call your mom and thank her. I don’t care what the relationship is with your mom currently but many years ago on this very day she was shoving a watermelon sized baby out of her and it hurt like a bitch so the least you can do is give her a call. Try to do this either the night before or early in the morning before full blown sobbing has begun.

You might notice that this post isn’t a cure but more of a long term treatment plan. Sometimes this is just how people work through their stress and emotions so you just need to let them work through it the best way they know how. 

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