I have been sleeping with a guy for 3 months now regularly and I think he might be sleeping with other women because we agreed that this was just hooking up. About two weeks ago, I told him that I wanted to be exclusive and he said that he wasn’t interested. I know how much he likes me. because we’re perfect when we’re together so I don’t understand what’s holding him back. We are perfect and is there anything I can do to make it easier for him to be able to give me what I need? I texted him a few times this week but he hasn’t responded and I don’t understand what’s happening. What can I do? I miss him so much! Thanks!
Dear Oh my God I Don’t Know What To Do With You (OMGIDKWTDWY) -
Oh honey, I want to give you a hug whilst simultaneously slapping you across the face. Let me be the first to say that the bridge pose is one of my favourite yoga poses, during yoga. It is not something I am fond of emotionally for any extended period of time unless I know that there is a strong man’s hand beneath my back providing support. In order to even get there, however, a man has to earn and prove that he is worth his salt rather than having it bestowed upon him by me for no reason. (For the record: His sleeping with you does not, in any dimension, amount to worth earned.)
I want you to keep in mind the following generalization which has stemmed from much research: Men fall in love far more quickly than women (on average, a woman takes about 14 dates to a man’s 3 dates to consider herself falling in love). Additionally, both men and women are far more intrigued by that for which they must work. A booty call hook-up requires a few words typed out on a smart phone and then maybe 6 minutes in bed. No one is in to impress the other and though you may believe that you have a magic v@gina, it will not make him fall in love with you. Unless it can sing; then…well, I might fall in love with you, too.
The scenario in which you find yourself is simple and shouldn’t be complicated: He was just into you for the s/x. If he was interested in you for anything above and beyond that, he would have made it clear (likely before you, according to research). That you have told him you want more and he has hit the Avoidance Button is not complicated. Really. He’s not sitting around with his mates pondering the Pro-s and Con-s of being with you. He’s not having sleepless nights wondering if this will work long term. He is definitely not crying into his coffee mug wondering what he might do to “to make it easier for [you].” In fact, he has made it unequivocally clear: He’s. Not. Interested.
You know what he might be doing? (A) Not thinking of you at all; and (B) Texting other women and solidifying another booty call or calls scenario.
I am giving you a hug, because I know that hurts. In fact, it sucks the big one that the boy whom you like isn’t the boy who likes you back – we have all, absolutely every single one of us, been there. Do yourself a favour and don’t wallow; instead, have a few good cries with your girlfriends and then get back out into the dating game. Ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, one boy isn’t such a big deal. Rather, he is a footnote to an end note in the story of your life. In order that he is a big deal, the feelings you have must be reciprocated from his end with equal force. Trust.
Be selective in your choices, most especially in this realm of relationship. The more you value yourself, the more with-value you will be treated by a proper gentleman.
Let’s take this a step further and break down your sentiments. First, that you believe you are “perfect”. Wrong. I mean, clearly: Wrong. If you were perfect for one another, he would have invested in the relationship above and beyond some slapping around of fun-bits.
Second, you “don’t understand what’s holding him back”. What’s holding him back is that you’re not the one for him. Again, I am giving you a hug. Don’t rationalize this beyond what he has said to you; don’t read into this more than is necessary – if he cared about you, and he was a man worth his salt, he would do whatever was needed to be with you. This is the proper behaviour of people who care about one another; there are no stop-obstacles, but rather challenges to be overcome in order that people may be together. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lazy of mind and spirit; and, they haven’t yet learnt how to love enough.
Third, you are curious to know if there is anything you can do to make it easier for him. Yes. You can cut him off. This is easier for you and easier for him, though it may cause you a little bit of pain now, it is far better than excruciating pain down the line because this will only get worse.
Already, there is imbalance between you and while the ebb and flow of imbalance is natural every once in a while, you have hit tidal wave levels from which there is no recovery. One of you wants more, the other clearly wants nothing.
This is what we call an impasse, a non-negotiable starter and you must choose from one of the following three scenarios: (1) with grace, accept what he has told you and cowboy-up, walking away; (2) keep texting and messaging him while he ignores you. Unless he is Jason Bourne or on the run from the law, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be messaging you back. Ask any man and they will state the obvious – when they care about a woman, they will always find a way to communicate; or, (3) go back to sleeping with him and de-valuing yourself in the process. De-valuing because you have already made it clear that you want more, and he has made it clear that he’s not interested. So if you go back to sleeping with him, your message is this: I am willing to take your scraps, not receive what I need, and still let you f/ck me. Also, I am wishy-washy. (I’m not sugar-coating this because I have seen one too many of my girlfriends place themselves in this position. Beyond any reasonable doubt – most men and women, unless they are cut from a character of stone – will respect others only as much as she respects herself.)
In preparation for future engagements with other men, ask yourself if you’re interested in being anyone’s booty-call. In this age of free and fast hook-ups, it is almost expected of women to be “cool” with this. To that, I say: F/ck this expectation. It is not for me, and any man who wishes to engage me will understand this. It may not be for you either, but in order that you might communicate that efficiently and rationally, you need to be solid in your self-awareness. Know where your red-lines are with a man and engage them accordingly.
With that, please remember what I have written before – each of us, we are a variation of the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond and unless you treat yourself according to that strength, and with humility, no one else will.
Best of luck; I’m in your corner,
Image courtesy of I Know That Girl Yoga.
“Terrorism is not the weapon of the weak. It is the weapon of the morally bankrupt and mentally depraved. As Muslims, we should join all civilized human beings in condemning it in Boston, Baghdad or Burma. We condemn it if it is state-sponsored or orchestrated by rabid, depraved individuals. We condemn it whether the victim is Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu or professes no religion. We condemn it with no hesitation or equivocation, for God tells us in no uncertain terms in the Qur’an, “Do not kill the life which has been sanctified by God…” He mentions elsewhere in the Scripture, “Whoever kills an innocent life it is as if he has killed all of humanity…” We affirm the sanctity of innocent life and condemn all acts of terrorism in the strongest possible terms. A strong, unqualified, universal rejection of any act of terrorism is the first step in contributing to its eradication.” via Imam Zaid Shakir
To learn more about the 95% of the Muslim world who loves and cherishes Islam, rather than the political machinations and manipulations of people who would use this Faith as one for violence, you may start by getting to know one of my favourite Imams, Zaid Shakir on Facebook and on his web site New Islamic Directions.
Furthermore, you should familiarize yourselves with Zaytuna (the Arabic word for ‘olive’).
This is Islam. Nothing else.
My heart is heavy for Boston, and my prayers are for everyone in that amazing city; equally, it is heavy for every individual who will be hurt by the reverberations of this act of terrorism.
Editorial note: The following is from a very dear friend and so I have much more information than she has provided in the letter. In order to understand my response, what you need to know is that her last substantial relationship was an emotionally devastating one; to finally exit said relationship, she needed to break a cycle of emotional abuse levelled at her over the course of years. This abuse was intended to do two things in a domino effect: (1) belittle who she was and what she represented, rendering her person never good enough; so that, (2) she did all of the work to be “good enough” so that he would love her “enough”. The reverberations of this abuse continue.
This is how it happened.
Monday – last day of texting.
Last evening before going out I decided to write him and tell him [some v big news] that we should celebrate over drinks. He wrote back congrats and suggested tonight.
SO- I sort of asked him out. Which I hate. I mean, he initiated the whole thing…but I put pen to paper. That makes me feel vulnerable in a way that I dislike immensely.
He did volunteer to come all the way to my hood which is far – and nice of him.
That’s a bonus.
I don’t know…I just need to remind myself that it’s a meeting of two people nothing more. He has to charm me just as much as I have to charm him.
I just feel like I like him a lot already based on our chemistry last weekend and I want it to go well.
Thankfully we are meeting at 8:30 so I have time to do [...] prepare. He [does something I like] TOO! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! See? I have a problem.
Alright. So…I think that there are a few things going on here. Before you dive in, I want you to know that I want you to have everything of which you dream, including a man who pursues you all across the board. (Here, I listed all of the ways in which the above man did very clearly pursue Juliet.)
That said, I have a sense that the pendulum for you has swung in a fierocuous other direction after the last time you cared deeply about Mister X. In that scenario you were the one left to hustle and hustle alone in order to receive approval. I believe that the consequence of this is that your headspace now finds itself on the complete other side as a means of self preservation, having convinced itself that it should never ever be the one to make any move. That you will never be the one who seeks approval, negotiate, sacrifice, make a change. That none of the work required will fall to you.
Because he is the first man about whom you have shown a genuine interest since Mister X, I understand completely and entirely your fear of engaging anyone in a way which would place you back into the same sitch as the one with Mister X. With this in mind, and after establishing that he has in fact pursued you thus far, I want you to be alright with sometimes doing some work (to meet him half way), while other times doing none of the work, and some other times not letting him do any of the work.
Babe, in order that you may engage in a healthy relationship, here’s what you need to remember for both this man and the ones who follow, until you find your Person:
1) The only relationships which are one sided are the abusive ones. If you sit back and refuse to do anything, then you have turned yourself into Mister X. Further to this, imbalance is not fair – it does not give you the room to give generously, and it does not afford the new man the room to receive with equal grace.
2) Mister X is one dude. He is not every dude, he is not some dudes. He is merely a dude who – if you let him bleed all over other men – will continue to be a factor in your life. To treat other men from the starting point that they may be Mister X diminishes from who they are in direct corelation with giving Mister X more power and presence in your life still. To keep both the power and presence of Mister X in your past, with him, is an extremely difficult and challenging thing to do (I know, because I have struggled with this exact scenario myself, as has every single woman on the planet who has dated more than one man.) This is a little bit of a jihad – where you actively fight the impulse of painting all men with the sick wierdo behaviours of Mister X.
3) Open yourself up to this all the way. YOU LIKE A MAN!!! YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT A MAN!! YOU ARE WORRIED THAT HE WILL NOT LIKE YOU AS YOU LIKE HIM WHICH IS…YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT BEING REJECTED!! (I am not yelling, by the way, I am really super excited and all I can think to express that is caps!! BECAUSE THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU LIKE A MAN THIS WAY SINCE MISTER X!!).
4) Don’t let this possibility scare you. Be open to everything and anything all across the board starting at this is just “a meeting of two people and nothing more” all the way to “this might be my person” and then let the chips fall where they may. Just two nights ago you told me not to plan, but rather to let things happen organically. This was excellent advice of which I am now reminding you.
5) I am so excited that you are going out with a man about whom you are excited. It has been years, my love, and you deserve this excitement. It is right and it is healthy and it is necessary because it is the Universe telling you all of these things and it is a sign of moving forward (not that you haven’t already, but you and I know that this is different). Please don’t overshadow this excitement with fear, and should the worst happen then we’ll deal with it at that point.
I understand and hear your fear, and you may choose to sit back and remain in a safe space without engaging for the rest of your days. Thing with that is, you are self-inflicting isolation but you will still eventually get hurt – if not by your own actions, then by a million other things which will come at you, not relationship associated. Hurting is a part of life, and the end goal can not be happiness and security, but rather living which entails feeling as many of the things which this world’s emotional spectrum has to offer.
I have said this before and will remind you of it – this man, the one with whom you are going on a date? He may turn out to be a complete sh/t. He might have bad breath, bad manners, or simply a bad attitude. The man after him may be a Conservative. The one after that might still live in his mum’s basement at the age of 42. Chances are that you will go through several more men before you finally find your Person (and I know how much you want to find said individual). There are a plethora of reasons for which he and the men to follow may not be your Person.
The good news here is that this is about you, not them; more important is that this is about you, not Mister X’s residue in your world. So, every one of these men, should they not work out then your rear-view mirror must view them as a set of training wheels and nothing more. As with Mister X, there were many lessons learnt and your choice at every junction was to use those lessons to either become a kinder heart, or a more hardened one.
I think that a majour component of life’s struggle is the direction in which we choose to point our hearts. Jaded, scared, bitter, angry, kind, understanding, open and vulnerable, are all directions in which you choose to point your heart. Several studies continue to show that most deathbed regrets are centered on all that which people did not do (for fear, for shame, for a multitude of reasons). Keeping that as the foundation on which you place your heart, then carefully choose in which direction you prefer and run with it. So that when you’re dying, you won’t regret it. Like, on your death-bed dying and not just a metaphor for your dying. When your ahunret or something. For serious.
All my love,
Shortly after moving into the neighbourhood, I was walking along Elgin Street and about to turn onto my McLeod Street when I was stopped dead in my tracks. Streaming out of the street-level apartment on my right hand side was a female voice killing Prince’s When Doves Cry. Not a little, and definitely not kind of or sort of, but rather completely and entirely she had Prince by the (I imagine) teenie tiny little ones and making him sound like a child in comparison.
Between her voice and the funk they laid down, I was left with no choice but to stand swaying in the street with my mouth hung open in admiration and awe. Basically, how I always stand when alone on the street.
For those of you who have lived here for some time, it will come as no surprise that I am a bona fide creep. Specific to this point, you will not be surprised to learn that I stood on my tip toes trying to look into the window of said apartment, hoping to get a glimpse of the divine woman delivering a better version of this song than Prince might ever hope to do in his high heeled booties. So creepy, in fact, that I pulled out my blackberry and tried to take a photo through the apartment window so that I might see who was singing. Not just once, but twice – once without flash and once with. All I saw was blurred mesh. (What had I hoped to do with the photo if it showed the female? I didn’t get that far, because I’m not the smartest person in the world.)
Anyway. After the song was over, I clapped. Staring up at the window, I clapped and smiled and promised myself that I would write a note of thanks and tape it to their window
and surely they will be my friends and she will sing me to sleep. I am not exaggerating when I write that their version of When Doves Cry was really just that exquisite and then some.
Sadly, while I may be a creep on the regular, I am equally a knob-head and so never got around to writing that letter of thanks. Instead, I continue to feel a sense of shame and guilt every time I walk by the apartment because I have not thanked the woman and the band for that beautiful experience. Along with the shame and guilt, I always walk past the apartment with a sense of hope that her voice might find me a second time. But it has not.
As the only thing currently sleeping in my bed is Melodrama, I last week walked past the apartment and turned to look forlornly up at their window. While mumbling “Rapunzel, Rapunzel…” my eye caught on a shiny poster for a band called The Red Rails in precisely the same spot I had planned to tape my letter of thanks. Pukey with excitement because maybe it was her!
Rushing home, I took the stairs two at a time and chucked myself at my laptop when in the apartment to get on The Red Rails site and also immediately look for them on Facebook so that I might message them and ask if they were her and why wasn’t she in their photos they all have a penis and I’m pretty sure she was a girl who was singing and maybe she’d like to sing me a lullaby? Would she like to be my friend? (Insert sinister smiling emoticon here.)
I received a response immediately, thanks God only after I refreshed my screen about 700 times. Steve (drummer of The Red Rails) was generous enough to direct me to the musical genius that are The Hornettes (who don’t all have a penis), a sampling of which is here for your grooving pleasure and which I defy you to listen to only once:
They are amazing, non?! Like, SO AMAZING!!!! And they are local, which makes me love them that much harder.
I messaged them my creepy story (but didn’t tell them I tried to take a photo, lest they block me on Facebook), and I have both their Facebook page and their twitter account bookmarked so that I might attend their next gig when I am in town. I also promised Steve that I would yell a hello into the apartment next I walked
and by which I really actually mean ‘stalked’ by.
Bookmark them and give them a twirl. Also, spread the word please and thank you.
Remember that time really recently when I told you about how you need to trust and be open to vulnerability? Well guess what, kittens? I recently kicked my own advice right squarely in her fun parts.
The reality of which forced me to wonder: What happens when We don’t follow Our own advice? (I use ‘We’ and ‘Our’ in the same way as Her Majesty does, because we have both bookmarked the photos of Hot Harry in Vegas. HOT HARRY!! CALL ME!!) And further: How do We recover from said blunder?
What happens when We don’t follow Our own advice?
This one’s easy. First, the 37 lunatic clowns in our head paint their feelings on the subject matter. Second, Charo does an interpretative dance of said painting. Finally, we communicate said dance to our shiny new person. In Swahili.
In short, what would happen is a clusterf/ck of crazy.
In my case, I decided to document said clusterf/ck by placing it in an email, peppered with many sinister smiling emoticons.
Now. The person on the receiving end of that clusterf/ck could have either met me with their own clusterf/ck of lunacy. Instead, they chose to stand down and deal with me in the only way I deserved – as though communicating with Lennie, the gentle giant retard in “Of Mice And Men”. (I love Lennie. LENNIE!! CALL ME!!)
How do We recover from said blunder?
We apologize, immediately and unequivocally.
We explain our sorry a/s and all which led to and gave breeding ground to the clusterf/ck on display. Ultimately, when engaging a shiny new person, it is absolutely critical to be alright with our own little bits and bobs of past hurts. Most important, we need to understand their roots and explain them accordingly so that the shiny new person knows that we are not scared to understand ourselves, explain ourselves, and work on ourselves (which is simply a way of saying: I care about you and because I care about you, I want you to understand me. Also, I really like my new shoes, don’t you?).
This goes for all relationships, platonic and otherwise.
Don’t do it again. Or, at the very least, work really v v hard to curb your enthusiasm when defaulting to above clusterf/ck.
Now. If your shiny new friend can’t handle the fact that you have some past hurts to which they must pay attention, then they likely won’t be your playmate for too long. Notwithstanding all of our crazy, it’s only the people who are willing to let us be human (and so to hurt, to make mistakes, and to always be a work in progress) that should be valued enough to remain a part of our lives. The others, they are better left to pedestrian stylings of plastic relationships and surface explanations. (You. You deserve better.)
I mean, even God insists.
Two key elements in any relationship: Trust. Vulnerability.
Two key elements that make me want to punch myself in the face and pull on my own hair (but I get it. Hard): Trust. Vulnerability.
The expression of the little girl in the photo is the same expression my heart would have (if it could make a face) every time it has to engage both of these things in the world of dating (because interestingly enough, both trust and vulnerability are extremely easy when it comes to platonic engagements for your WebMistress).
The two go hand-in-hand and can not be dissociated, presenting the tautological equation: To be Vulnerable, one must be willing to Trust. To Trust, one must be willing to be Vulnerable. And by “tautological”, I very seriously mean “asshole”. Why? Because each and every one of us has in our history either (or both, whatever is your flavour) a douchebag player or a crazy bitch who had no problem taking advantage of both our trust and vulnerability.
Two of the key ingredients to a healthy, loving, long-term relationship, and which when in abundance, open the doors to deeper commitments and more facile communication between lovers. I can hear you grumbling: Trust needs to be earned, and so…you and I, we are fighting almost as hard as I fight myself to engage both trust and vulnerability in any new romantic endeavor.
One of my own personal jihads is to live by “trust should be freely given; people innocent until proven guilty”. Worst case scenario? Someone else proves that they are untrustworthy. Worst case scenario take 2? Someone else turns out to prove that they are not cut from same moral fabric as ourselves and so we turn up the music and ask them to Sashay! Shantay! their untrustworthy arse right out of our lives, please and thank you. (Err. Just in case: Please do not transfer funds to Nigeria as follow up to that email sent to you by the Prince. He? He is not trustworthy.)
When do they go from trustworthy to un?
Most of the time, it’s not clear cut. Like, you won’t have your new piece standing in your front window Marcel Marceau’ing “I AM UNTRUSTWORTHY SHHHHH!” and offering you cookies as recompense. What you will have is a series of flags to which you must pay attention – because these flags, they are on a map and in time that map will reveal itself and you will be able to connect the course as laid out by said flags.
Don’t believe me? Think back to the time(s) that someone has f/cked with your sense of trust and revisit all of the flags that you had stared at eyes wide shut. What do you see?
In the absence of an actual professional con job, most people trip up – this, not because they are dumb (though generally they tend to be), but rather because the Universe, She does not protect those who are unworthy of protection. She does not protect those who would take advantage of a gentle heart; She is in your corner. Trust Her, if you can not trust anyone else.
The only thing I can tell you here is to pay attention to your gut instinct. If something feels off to you about someone, then pay attention, while always beginning from the premise that everyone is innocent until they prove otherwise.
And here’s the big BUT…
In the interm, what do I do if I am feeling like an extra on the cancelled (and amazing telly show) Carnivàle?
Listen. Before we go any further, please let me be the first to state for the record that I can be a crazy person who tail-spins when it comes to matters of trust because of a couple of douchebag players in my own personal history. (Can I tell you some stories!) Honest, there were times when it felt like the inside of my head was suddenly filled with 37 cars stuffed with clowns each carrying a knife and a chain and even some bottles of acid. For real. That’s how crazy it got.
How does this get managed? My girlfriends, a very very select few who remind me that what I am thinking of and reacting to is not the person of the day, but rather a person of ago. Basically, they punch me in my face and pull my hair for me so that I might continue to engage both trust and vulnerability without letting the shit behavior of someone from ago affect, reflect on, pollute, sully the excellent behavior of someone in the present.
The biggest kicker in all of this is that even someone who is trustworthy might end up smashing your heart into little pieces at any given moment. That’s the risk, a risk which exists even after years of commitment. (Thanks, BB!) We can all avoid this risk, by living beneath a rock. It’s really that simple. And even more poignant is that you and I, all 13 of us, might get our hearts smashed and ripped and torn apart 87 times before someone really lovely comes along and helps us place a bandage over the last cut and then not only gives us a cookie, but actually bakes one just for us. One day, the return on all of this risk, it will be a windfall inshAllah.
My advice to you: Get your pen on and define your top three friends, best for the job those who know your history as well as you do. Tell them that they are officially on stand-by for a potential state of clowns-in-your-head and tell them that you need them to stab each clown in the eye, one-by-one. Make no mistake that you are at war with the clowns and you need an army both internal and external to smoke them out and annihilate them on point.
With such violent imagery in my head, I suddenly am at a loss as to how I might end this article. So: THE END. TA-DAAAAH!
The amazing picture taken from Sheranator(dot)com.
I couldn’t have been older than six or seven years old when this happened in Gaza. It was around Eid festivities and so the family had lamb. Precisely like the Scottish, we too take the stomach of the sheep or lamb, scrub-a-dub-dub it until it is shinier than a new FIFA ball, stuff, sew, then cook it.
I had never had any before that afternoon, and so sat around watching my teeta clean the stomach (scrub-a-dub-dub literally in a basin tub) until it was snow white, and surprisingly jiggly. She then stuffed it with rice, onion and a gagillion different spices before placing it in the oven for a few hours of cooking. When ready for consumption, it was proudly placed atop the dinning room table like a v large soccer ball who had forgotten to wear its black.
Proud, white, wobbly.
Every time someone took a breath, it would jiggle. I stared saucer-eyed at it in stunned and terrified silence; why was dinner moving, I wondered. if I acknowledged its presence respectfully, we could both pretend the other one didn’t exist and we would leave each other to our own quiet lives. I would not eat it; it would not jiggle over into my mouth. It was a simple understanding that did not and still does not require much explanation, yes?
I ate my salad while keeping an eye on the giant wobbly white stuffed stomach. I didn’t speak to anyone, hoping that my silence would invalidate my presence. Unfortunately, and from a v young age, I have been a shining star impossible to go unnoticed. Did you just snort? I did.
Suddenly, my Ninja Momma remembered that she’d carried me around for 9 months and shot me out like a bullet. This ONE TIME physical activity of hers meant that she could coerce me into doing anything, and where coercion was not an option, then emotional terrorism was and remains still.
I was raised with 7,319 Rules. Rule #264 was You Can’t Say You Don’t Like A Food Unless You Have Tasted It Because People Are Dying From Starvation Don’t Be A Spoiled Entitled Brat. There was no escape. Mumma told me that I would be having karshaat; I said that I would not.
She said again, as did I. I looked to my seedo who told his crazy daughter, my mum, that as with religion, there can be no coercion in matters of food. She said she had launched me from her body and she had the right to decide, not anyone else. My grandfather and everyone else at the table told my mother to leave well alone while I sat crying terrified that I might have to chew on the white wobbly object which smelt of lamb.
As with most matters, my mum had her way. Sort of.
She had never done this before, and she has never done this since, but she actually took a spoonful of the karshaat and forced it into my mouth. While I was crying and surely snotting all over my dinner salad.
The result? I threw up. Projectile vomited all over the Eid dinner table while still crying and now definitely with running nose. (Put a pin in it: The snot would have been clear as I was not ill, so not so bad really. Also, I was a shining star child, so it probably looked like diamonds. Snorted again, did you? Yea, me too.)
Ninja Mumma stood stunned as I continued to cry. She quietly took away my dinner plate while her mum and dad, especially her dad, berated her for her insistence that I take white wobbly lamb into my face. My seedo then took my small traumatized body away from the table and instead made me my favourite food – one fried piece of cheese and one fried egg, because I was on a Communist kick and was, in solidarity with them, rationing and walking around shaking with a cold chill in July. In the Middle East, the desert.
Admittedly, I was rather intrigued by the events of the afternoon as until that point, I was unaware of my ability to throw up so rapidly and with such force. I had a new party trick ready for the decadence of Roman times. While eating my sunny-side up egg and chewing on my fried cheese, I said a silent prayer for my mother possessed that one and only time (she never. Ever. Tried to force food into my face ever again) and for the little wobbly white lamb who once could, but now would no longer ever.
Image courtesy of Cutest Paw.
1.5 tbsp olive oil
Super finely chopped onion (you should cry; if you don’t, you’re not human)
330 g lean ground beef
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
9 (not ten, and not eight) large very ripe tomatoes
Salt + pepper to taste
Allayah toppings, beneath-ings, and accoutrements
1 c white rice, short grain
2 c water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c pine nuts
Dill pickles (I am partial to Bubbies because I am at my best when an insufferable asshole)
1) Heat up the 1.5 tbsp olive oil, add the onion, then simmer on medium / low heat.
2) When onion is golden, add the ground beef, allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Sautee until brown.
3) Purée the hell out of the tomatoes until they look like this:
4) Place tomatoes into a large pot, add the cooked beef, the additional 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, then simmer on medium / low for 90 minutes.
In related news, and while the above is simmering…
5) Make the rice. 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. If you need instructions on what you actually need to do, you’re my hero.
6) Heat the additional 1 tbsp olive oil in a small pan. Add the pine nuts and golden them (By the way, is there a verb for “golden them”?), usually no more than a minute. Not that I have ever burnt them to a crisp and needed to start from scratch but not before I had to stand on a chair and fan my fire alarm which was set off by the smoke. I’m just here intuiting a general ‘one minute’ intuit.)
Serve as such…
Layer the rice, then the allayah, and sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve with a side of pickles (I can’t resist Bubbies and had already eaten 3 by the time I took this photo), and fresh green chili pepper (or sprinkle with dried chili, as I have done here because I am a nobhead who forgot to buy the fresh green kind).
Bon Appetit! Or, as the Arabs say: Sahteen!
But first. Thank you to everyone for the amazing messages and notes of concern. Yes, this is the longest I have ever gone without writing, almost two months and instead recycling earlier articles. Now to the article itself, with the greatest thanks for your patience these past two months…
Do you know your burn rate? In business, a ‘burn rate’ is defined as “the rate at which a company (esp. startup) uses its cash to survive, the money spent each month above incoming cash flow,” otherwise known as a negative cash flow, moneys spent before one starts to generate a profit.
In the emotional world, this would basically amount to how fast you burn through your own emotional-fat stored before you start to receive emotional-fat to top up your love handles once more. Extend this idea to that it is never a one-time deal, but rather an on-going burn and profit ebb and flow in any relationship.
I’ve recently realized that understanding one’s own emotional burn rate supports and often-times safe-guards a relationship. Very rarely do two people have the same emotional burn rate, and the absence of knowledge of one’s own burn rate can translate itself into a handful of devastating falls for the relationship and those involved. When we understand our own, then we can at least manage ourselves accordingly when our piece’s burn rate runs much faster or far slower than our own.
Because, we can not enter into a relationship with the intention of either changing ourselves or our partner, and so the best thing which we can do is understand who we are, that we might manage our behavior when we suddenly introduce Factor X (the new piece).
As example, take me who has a ridiculously high burn rate but then only requires a very very small amount of return in order to completely (and then some) top up her own burn rate. On the other hand there’s Kitty, whose burn rate is so slow it might be misconstrued as non-existent. Pretty much, she’s always “meh.” Me, I don’t understand with which crayon colour I would scratch out the “meh,” let alone live by it. Not to mention, there is nothing about which I could ever be “meh” and if anyone tried to force that on me, I would totes Hulk out and then start to cry and maybe wet myself somewhere in between.
In the hypothetical, if I were to become involved with a man who had an extremely slow burn rate, two things would need to happen:
Once more in the hypothetical, if I were to become involved with a man who had an extremely fast burn rate, two things would still need to happen, the intentions of which (like the above scenario) create a sense of balance among the two people and also afford them the room to be who they are while accepting of the other’s nature, the one with whom they are having the sex fun-times.
I must admit that I am extremely excited about this information because until Gillian introduced the concept of burn rate, I had neither thought about it in the emotional sense nor considered this perspective’s implications on a relationship.
Word to the wise: figure out your burn rate, be aware of it, manage yourself inside of it and then watch and learn how to best manage it with your piece with the understanding that you both respect the differences and give one another the room to be who you are (so that neither of you comes back one day and says “…who in the hell is this person I’m sleeping with?!”).
If you are unfamiliar with this beautiful man’s story, please take the necessary 11 minutes to watch this and learn from it. Love and light to you each and all xx
Video from KarmaTube
Three foundational notes: (1) Yes. We get that sometimes we all falter and we lose perspective and we are hurt and confused by a wo/man’s behaviour because we like them more than they like us and the below is difficult to action. As such, it is best to see the below as goals for the future; (2) This is not a dissertation on the subject of fe/male stuffs, but rather dating stuffs non gender specific. At end of day, it turns out that everyone, male and female, is an idiot in the early stages of dating; and, (3) Naturally, once people become exclusive and enter into a relationship reflecting the mutual decision to make one another the priority, all of what follows is softened and altered.
Mistake #1: Being invested too early
Why are you in such a rush? If something is meant to be, it simply will be. A slow hot burn filled with anticipation and absence often builds excitement. Investing emotionally too early means that you haven’t taken the time to get to know / learn about the individual before you. Investing too early usually amounts to falling in love with a projection of who you want this wo/man to be, and often has very little with who they really are, setting the both of you up for failure.
Take a deep breath and relax. Take your time getting to know this new individual and don’t invest too much too soon. Someone becoming a priority is a spot to be earned and that takes both time and work, having to be mutual for it to be healthy and carrying real potential.
Mistake #2: Over communicating
If you are in the early stages of dating and you have a groove and suddenly s/he doesn’t contact you, LOVE OF GOD, relax and please don’t perceive it as being the end of the world.
A disappointment, yes, because it sucks when someone changes a fun rhythm.
If you were the last to message, trust that they will contact you soon. If you really can’t wait, send one more message but no more. Note: This is not playing ‘hard to get’ which is an ignorant move, but rather demanding balance and respect in communication and setting the tone for both of these things early on. Message one to one, back and forth. If one person stops and the other keeps moving forward, imbalance is created and resentment breeds.
Mistake #3: Asking more than once
You message a question and they don’t respond – Do you want to hang out this weekend? What are you doing for New Year’s? Would you like to hang out Friday night?
What do you do? You do nothing, is what. Most definitely, you do not ask again. For me, personally, this has become a hard-line in romance. When you pose a question, the proper thing is to receive a response; when none is offered it’s just a flat out indication that someone is rude. (Manners are as underrated as good taste is dead.)
Bottom line is, s/he’s either taking their time to figure things out, or they’re not going to answer. Unless this individual has given you reason to not trust them, then trust that they will get back to you. If they don’t within some time, then view it as an opportunity for you to figure out if you’re really as into them as you originally thought.
Flip side: If they say no, respect and accept their response with grace. Being angry about someone not wanting to spend time with you isn’t the way to appeal to the fe/male heart. Instead, be thankful that they were honest enough to say no (hopefully politely) and then turn your attentions elsewhere to find the individual who is as excited to spend time with you as you are with them.
Mistake #4: Making excuses for them
You are dating an adult, not an infant toddler. Do yourself a favour and don’t make excuses for their poor behaviour, if any is displayed. If they do something which doesn’t sit right with you, instead of making excuses for them, ask them to explain what happened.
Simplest and most often example is when someone doesn’t call when they said they would. Unless dead in a ditch or with lost phone or broken hands, this is ill-mannered and plainly disrespectful. It means they don’t care about your time (or theirs); don’t excuse it, don’t ignore it, and most definitely don’t be okay with it if it doesn’t feel okay for you.
Mistake #5: Overstaying your welcome
If someone’s not into you, you know it. Dating is not an ocean, and this person is not a lifesaver jacket. Do yourself a favour and don’t overstay your welcome. If they’re too cowardly to tell you that they’re not into you, follow your gut and bow out with as much grace as you can muster.
Good luck and God Save The Queen!
Image from Hodder & Stoughton Publisher.
Building bridges, mending gaps, shortening distances between ourselves is not an act most of us perform wilfully. Rather, we are more comfortable sitting in a state of exclusion, preferring to define ourselves by what we are not, rather than the commonality within. This, the baseline of Otherness.
There’s a key element missing in our treatment of one another, which I believe is the contributing factor to this wilful exclusion: Respect.
Many of us don’t care enough to learn about one another, and so within this created void, what we are really saying is “I don’t respect you,” “I don’t care enough to know you to understand you.”
Extend and elevate this thinking to something as personal and as intimate as Faith.
Islam was premised on this notion of respecting others – one of the core principles of our faith is to accord full respect to every religion which has belief in God as its focal point. A shining example of this is a hadith about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who in the year 10 H, gave free access to his mosque and full consent to the Christians to celebrate their religious rites within this mosque, although their adoration of Jesus as “the son of God” and Mary “as the mother of God” were fundamentally at variance with Islamic beliefs.
Did you catch that?
One of God’s Prophets did not try to convert, change or annihilate another great Faith tradition; instead, he honoured it by bringing it into his home and allowing it to exist as is.
Too many in this world continue to be told that they are better. Taught that they will go to Heaven while most Others will not. Generations kneaded with disrespect, supremacy, and hatred, instead of encouraged to build bridges and find commonalities among their brothers and sisters in humanity.
For me, there is so much heartbreak and shame in this, how so many of us have chosen to position ourselves above others, and use Faith as the reason to do so.
For the longest time, Muslims understood “Islam” as to surrender, based on the idea that God placed us on this earth so that we might worship Him and nothing more. I never understood this, because I couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept that Allah would grant us free will and then ask us to simply surrender — this perspective always seemed like a little sick joke for me and so I was never able to fully embrace it.
Then I heard Tariq Ramadan speak about Islam as a means to peace; that to enter into a state of Islam, is to enter into a state of peace within our hearts. And that, dearest Reader, makes complete and total sense to me. Because for me, Faith can not be about God’s need — since He needs nothing — but rather about humanity’s need. And clearly, we need to bring peace into our hearts, else we will Lord of the Flies it into infinity and beyond.
Which brings me to my next point…
Connecting Islam to earlier revelation
In the Quran, God said: “Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another.” (Al-Hujurat 49:13) Not so that you may hate or hurt or oppress one another. But rather to engage, to learn, and to love one another. Who in their right mind would ever believe that God seeks to create divisions in His own world meant to create trauma rather than an opportunity to something better? This is our choice where different faiths and ethnicities and belief systems exist, and anyone believing differently is headed for fundamentalism.
Sadly, and most notably in 2012, very few of us afford this principle room and space within our lives because we don’t care to, we are too scared to, and / or we are more comfortable believing that We are better than Them.
I see this routinely, and have had vehement arguments with my own Tribe about this matter. The argument being that “Muslims are better. Full stop.” A sentence as laughable as the beliefs that “Christians are better. Full stop,” and “Jews are better. Full stop,” and “Buddhists are better. Full stop,” and “Atheists are better. Full stop.”
Because. BETTER THAN WHAT AND WHOM?
A drunkard Muslim who beats his wife is better than a Christian man who treats his family with mercy and asks God’s grace? An oppressive Jewish settler who invokes God’s name every time they thieve Palestinian land in the name of some fucking divine writ is better than the atheist taking to the streets to demonstrate against oppression, genocide and apartheid? A psychotic Christian who goes on a murdering spree in the name of Christianity, as a means to defend against encroaching Islam is better than a non-Zionist Jew who sits firm in a Palestinian orange orchard while an Israeli demolition team faces them down?
Are you kidding me?
Are you kidding you?
Do you really believe that God has made you better, by default because of your ethnicity or the religion into which you were born (or later adopted)?
You are better only with respect to your treatment of others.
You are better when you exist in a state of humility and see everyone as your equal.
You are better when you understand that you don’t get to decide WHO. IS. BETTER. A role belonging only to Allah on the Day of Judgment.
You are best only when you understand that you are one of a whole, and that whole belongs to Him and Him alone.
Building bridges is a choice, and it is a choice at every single turn. Further remember that bridges aren’t only built where similarities exist, but they offer a space where people can meet and say “we are not the same, but within that difference, I respect and honour you still, because we are of the same Whole, and we all belong to and shall return to Him.”
I hold fast to my belief that the respect we extend to others is a direct reflection of how much we value and respect ourselves. Choose wisely, and happy Sunday.
Image courtesy of Planet Ware.
Rumi wrote: There’s joy in my heart: I have joined my lover tonight;
Finally free from the pain of our parting tonight.
As I dance with my lover I pray, oh Lord, in my heart:
May the keys to morning be lost forever tonight.
I have always loved both the sentiment and the drunk-on-Love affliction which he carried with him at all times, and about which he always wrote.
For Rumi, earthly love was the closest experience one can have to divine Love; that our constant seeking out of connections with a lover — or lovers, if you’re durrrrty — is because in this world/dimension, we are cut off from the One who loves us deepest, hardest, most overwhelming and in the most intense manner (while excluding the sexuals). I mean God, in case we’re a little dumb today.
Most recently, I was at dinner with some friends and at around 2 a.m., we decided to discuss relationships and love and the juiciest parts of being a human person,
which we all agreed was a nice handful of a soft knead-able bottom. I made the stupid mistake of articulating that one day, I would like to properly f/ck off with my husband. (Note: No other man would get this, but rather just the one powerful enough to win me. [And yes, the correct word here is in fact powerful because I have finally accepted that I like me a powerful man; not in terms of access in society, but rather in terms of strength of character and determination and unyielding, unflinching, unapologetic masculinity and virility. I want the one man on top of the rest of'em. Full stop.])
But I would. Leave Ottawa. Not see anyone but on Skype for at least a year, including my family. Have an internet connection to write and make sure Burger King has not gone bankrupt. Ideally but not necessarily, this would be in some sort of a shack on some sort of a body of water in some sort of hot country where there is no war. Also ideally, this place would not have humidity else I will be forced to run’round with a kerchief and/or a shower cap on the entire time lest insects catch themselves in my hair. On the menu would be fresh fruits, and a lot of fish. Candles in the evening, mostly — avoiding as much electrical light as possible, and computers shut off at 7.
Why technology off in the evenings? Because I hope that I will then be spending most of my time in all sorts of positions unbecoming a lady. I dunno if ‘inshAllah’ is in the right context here, but I’m talking about the love of my life, my husband, and not, like, “bitches, let’s get this gangbang ON, inshAllah.” So I imagine I am here v good with Allah. Which…
Hia! Love you!
Please ensure that Love Of my Life (LOL) comes with extreme stamina. Because I don’t wish to break him. Which I probably might. Please make him strong enough to win me, and then to handle me proper. Thank you.
My friends thought I was insane. Do you? Do you think this sounds amazing or completely crap? Presented with the opportunity, would you go?
Would you leave for a year and do nothing but love your hot piece of a/s, learn about them, solidify your composition with them, create your vision with them, figure out how to grow in the same direction with one another while still giving one another the space to grow in solitude?
Would you take a whole bunch of board games, and a few decks of cards, and share your secrets and hopes, fears, dreams, and a few tubs of ice-cream and also teach them to dip french fries in mayonnaise and to pour cumin over popcorn and wear only the most minimal of clothing?
Would you spend days sunk into too many cushions and blankets, drink coffee in bed, feed one another, laugh out loud when your lover makes a fool of themselves to make you smile and then rush them for the 6th time that day?
Would you tell them everything and understand that between you there is no room for judgement? Ever.
Would you do this away from all of the distractions around you as you sit, right now, today?
I would. In an instant.
Truth told, I could live this state forever if the right man has won me. And if this can’t happen today, I know it is where and how I will grow older. Living in Canada the rest of days is simply not in the cards for me; it will have to be shared between here and elsewhere hot with sand and heat and solitude. It is how I was raised, it is how I will end in this world until I — pray — get a backroom in the basement of Heaven.
Even if you think this makes me sound like a naive fool: I really and truly can’t wait for all of the amazing fun to roll over me
while I’m rolling around on top of the hubs, laughing and thanking God for the wickedness of a blessed life. InshAllah.
Do you script? Meaning, do you sit around imagining the only one particular outcome is exactly this way and it has to be reached by a, then b, and then c, and then become upset when the other individual doesn’t meet your mark?
I used to do this extensively, like a fucked up little monkey with carrots for a brain. Terrible, really. And filled with so very much disappointment.
I don’t remember the precise moment when I realized how heart-breaking this was for me, but at some point in the last four years I learnt to do two very important thing to manage this sort of crazy lunatic thought processes: I Clarica. To a fault, I express my needs and expectations. And I ask people to express theirs; I ask pointed questions and make pointed statements throughout a variety of interactions with them, always giving them the opportunity to say “Hey Crazy Person – that’s not what I mean…”
This means I can’t fault anyone for not knowing; the flip being that no dip-shit can say they didn’t know. Platonic or no. And the dip-shits? They are loose and runnin’ round everywhere. (By the way, the dip-shits are often too narcissistic to be aware of anything but their own needs and ego-problems.)
It also means ceding control and opening oneself to vulnerability.
By making our expectations and needs known, we provide the individual before us the opportunity to say: Sorry Missus, I don’t like your script so going to find one which is in fact more to my liking. Sub-text: I REJECT YOU! Now, take it like an adult.
Accepting this, believe it or not, is an extremely important part of being a healthy adult. I know. It hurts me more to write that than it is for you to read it. Also, it makes me want to pull out my own hair because I’d rather beat my fists against a wall and demand that (insert name of individual) LOVE my script so much that they actually eat it because how else do you express your love for something if not to ingest it whole? (Welcome to the recesses of the deepest darkest corners of my brain, dearest readers.)
The balance to this, however, is that you too get to say: Sorry Missus / Mister / Undecided, I don’t like your script so bouncing to find one more to my liking. See? Healthy.
I get it. Vulnerability is terrifying but…uhm…the boy/girl/undecided who didn’t like your script? What does that actually mean? Like…so. What? Really. REALLY. Stop and ask yourself so. What? Unless you’re an elephant with mad computer skillz, you won’t die of a bloated and broken heart. Trust me. Trust me.
Let me state one thing for the record; something which you are free to return to a million times. I’m with you; why in the shit wouldn’t anyone LOVE your script? I don’t know you, and I already love it
because I’m here to support Your Crazy blindly and unconditionally!!
Now that that’s out of the way, please take a deep breath and remember that the only way to ensure that your heart is held by an individual who recognizes the gentleness of holding a vulnerable heart is someone who knows what they have in their hands. Else, they are brutes and brutes don’t make for either good friends or good lovers.
Let’s make a new year’s resolution together. Let’s never ever project some weird Hitchcockian script on those in our lives – most notably not the ones we wish to invest in, and keep around for the foreseeable future. They’re too good for this kind of shit, as are we.
Sometimes, the inside of my head it’s like the dark side of the moon. Because it was freezing rain tonight and because yesterday my ankle was iced, I decided to walk all the way home, first time in nearly since summer when there was never freezing rain. I crunched my way through the downtown core before flashing my stunned mating hat all over Centretown.
It’s a parka, in fact, with a very large fur collar which when worn upwards looks like several antennae calling for it’s mate in the wilderness. This, for another day.
A woman was approaching with her Tim Horton’s cup and I smiled and said out loud “Good idea!” to which she smiled, paused, slowed down, walked past, stopped and called after me. Stunned, I thought maybe she was going to tell me she liked my mating hat and where could she purchase her own please and thank you? But, no.
“Hey! You’re that girl! I saw you this summer! You smiled at me and told me that you liked my scarf! I was having such a shitty day and then YOU told me I had a great scarf while walking by! YOU TOTALLY MADE MY DAY and you just randomly smiled. So frigging cool!!!! I never thought I’d find you again!!!!”
Do you do this? I do this.
I’m that girl. I say random things to random strangers on the street. Unless I am about to perform a mating ritual + dance with my parka, I always make eye contact and smile at passersby. If someone is wearing something nice, I will tell them. If they are eating / drinking something yummy, I will – like a really proper creep – make it clear that I might punch them in the nose for their food and / or drink. I’m friendly like this, because life is too short and why wouldn’t we smile and say hello to strangers in the streets?
You know who else smiles at and talks to strangers? Crazy people.
Image courtesy of the super cool K Praslowicz.
Spending my summers in London meant that my parents had many a photo opportunity to capture The Strange Wonders of Caucasians As Experienced By Maha. One of these wonders is the dog and the other, a monkey.
Muslims don’t generally have dogs because not only are we terrorists, so too are we crazy. Long story short, dogs are to many Muslims unclean. Needless to say, while I was growing up and because I didn’t see them too often, dogs fascinated me. And by “dogs,” I actually mean large fluffy objects. Certain that were a woman to present herself with massive fuzzy hair stylings, I would have used my left hand to pet her head thinking it was a dog. In my right would have been my falafel.
There was a park through which we would walk regularly and once upon a time I saw a large massive fluffy object and so ran over to pet it and call it Dog. “DOG DOG DOGGY DOG I LOVE YOU I AM MAHA I EAT FALAFEL SALAAM DOGGY DOG SOFT.”
The way my mother tells the story, she couldn’t pull me away from this thing. In the same spirit as I run my adult dating ways, I stood hovering around it in my small dress and matching sock / shoe outfit, staring it into submission waiting for it to respond; it never did because it was a stuffed toy lion.
Since my mother liked to document my extreme awkwardness, she took a photo of this event. In the image, I am standing among adults whose expressions indicate they thought I could only maybe be spoken to in loud tones, supported by sign language. Me, I am petting very gently a lion stuffed animal, with mouth in a massive smile blissfully unaware that this was not ever a dog. Almost, it looks as though I would have had a ciggy once the cameras were off.
Which, unlike that time when a monkey crawled all over my head and I didn’t think it was real.
Also in London and because the British have their own brand of hysteria, there used to be a carni man who had a pet monkey and a music box. He would stand on the corners turning the music box and the monkey, excited, would dance but never pee itself. When we approached, the monkey took a liking to me and jumped onto my head (again, something I am used to as an adult, in the dating world). I let it play with my hair and hold onto my face and sit on my shoulders because I didn’t think it was real.
Yes. Because I didn’t think that the moving, breathing, warm object making noises and sitting on my head…was real. I thought it was a wind-up toy because the depths of my stupidity? Well, let’s just say that waters don’t run as deep as my mother’s fear of germs and bacteria. How this woman – who chucked me into the shower twice daily – ever let a live monkey maul her only child is beyond my adult understanding.
Moral of the stories? Children are dumber in London.
370 days ago, I was sitting at Planet Coffee when I decided to start my little project. Randomly, I had heard of others starting such things but became anxious at the mere thought since my weakest character link is that I had zero patience and anything spanning a year freaked me out and filled my chest with flopping penguins. From across town, mum’s just yelled (again) “THIS IS WHY YOU’RE SINGLE, MONKEY!”
While BB was getting a coffee, I snapped a photo and uploaded it, thereby committing to the first day and subsequently the next 365 days of photo taking. I was panicked and wondered how would I ever make it through an entire year of doing the same thing. Until four nights back when Jills took this, the last photo of the year and I was over the moon that it was done. DONE!
I did something repeatedly for three hundred and sixty six days, and on so many of these days I searched for quotes and little quips and words which inspired my heart. I have since sat down to look at each photo and I remember so vividly each moment my life was frozen and the emotional state then running itself through my body and out of my little finger as it pressed the button. Really and truly, it is amazing that an entire year can come rushing back so clearly, both all that is wanted and all that I wish to tuck away into the corners of my mind.
As to the most important lessons, themes, and realizations of this in-image year…
1 Man Wiser
Self-explanatory. My heart was engaging, and then it was not. My heart ached for a little, and then it did not.
This story taught me one incredibly powerful lesson: always – absolutely always - listen to your gut before anything or anyone else (unless you’re a crazy person who on the regular chats with several folks in the confines of your mind. Which, if you are, please consider writing a book). I have always said that God talks to us directly (sorry, clergy!) in a myriad of ways through instinct, gut feeling, dreams, coincidental occurrences where the sliding doors led you directly to something you would have never otherwise known, seen or understood had you been one second late. Our choice is to either pay attention or not, and then to trust that where there is pain it is the lesser of what we would have otherwise felt had we not paid attention to the Universe.
1 Sassy Adventure
This is a story which has gently ran its fingers over me every year since 2006. Unlike any of the other stories which have come for a very long time, I find myself very protective of its telling.
This story, the Universe has always nudged me to turn her pages and read; instead, I have only stared saucer-eyed at Chapter 1, much like a child with water on the brain. Having finally started to free-fall into Chapter 2, my mouth waters and my body tenses with anticipation at how this story will finally tell herself to me.
1 Brit Found
Her name is Jills, and she is in a total of nine photos from this year, runner up to Cleo’s family who is in 12. When Jills and I first met, I wanted to unravel her, shake her up, shove her into a world of complete and total unknowns where she could not manage, plan, think, consider, see one moment ahead and so be forced to stare only at now and love it more than anything else which might (or not) be chucked at her gorgeous head with that heavenly hair of hers.
Since then however, I can confirm that there is nothing about her I wish to change, except maybe that her and I swap hair. She is perfect with her gigantic blue Crayola Marker and her To Do Lists, and her presence in my life is nothing short of a blessing. For her, I would like to thank A–oine, and the dentist right down from mine.
1 Female Canuck ♥d by York Uni Press
For years, my friends have been pushing me to send in articles for paper publication. I am stubborn and so keep yelling NO because I have this site which I love so dearly. Then one day Aalya sent me an email from York University Press calling for submissions; in addition to their email was hers – threatening, angry in advance should I refuse not to send in my work. Under duress and threat of pain, I sent in two stories, both of which were accepted.
When I later told Aalya the news, she simply rolled her eyes and cackled a laugh with an “OF COURSE THEY ACCEPTED BOTH!! You are a brilliant writer,” and then flipped over the subject because that’s what friends do. We believe in one another and are never ever never surprised when our friends succeed. (FYI: Aalya, she is with Baby Number 2, due very very soon. Please send her your best wishes and all of your love. Also, send her some sleep if you can.)
1 Condo Warmed, Now A Home
My home, The Cloud Cave, it is my favourite place in the world and he is always warmed by the love of my family and friends. On him, there really is nothing more to say.
1 Exercise in Daily Patience
The exercise worked, and I am far more likely to be drenched in patience than I was one year ago. Please don’t confuse that this means I don’t very often become frozen by my need to have things happen now if not, like, yesterday because what in the sh/t am I waiting for? What in the sh/t are you waiting for? What in the sh/t do you mean I have to colour inside the lines slowly and not press so hard? What it means is that the exercise has manifest itself in one critical character alteration for your WebMistress – namely, that I finally really truly believe that all good things come to those who wait.
F.P. Journe,** he has nothing on the Universe.
Thank you to all of my friends who brightened every single moment of the last year; to the nine of you still reading this incredibly long article, you may enjoy the entire #366photos set here.
**If you’d ever like to mortgage your home to buy me a gift, I’ll take one of his Chronometre Optimum-s, please and thank you.
This is pretty much my current state, only I am neither this adorable nor generally this happy to be so exhausted for such an extended period of time.
To recuperate and recharge, I will continue to take a little break from writing and will work hard to come back sooner rather than later oxo
I hope you’ve been well over on your end of the world.
I would love love LOVE to hear your thoughts on the what the difference is when it comes to being kind/generous with friends/loved ones and then being taken advantage of and/or milked silly. Specifically – at what point do alarm bells and red flags go off, where do you draw the line, what do you do about it, how do you handle it… what issues are deal breakers etc.
Hugs over your way.
Your concerns are straight to the point and so I will provide an answer accordingly. First, start by reading Balancing on Thor’s Hammer, a little article I wrote some time back about ensuring that balance is maintained more often than not in any relationship platonic or otherwise. Now, to answer your Qs one by one…
What is the difference between being kind/generous and then being taken advantage of?
It is where there is imbalance. In every single relationship, there will be an ebb and flow to the needs of the two involved. There will be times when you need more help than your friend, balanced out by the times when they need more help from you. Always, however, there must be balance, just like being on a teeter-totter. The difference between being kind and being taken advantage of occurs when what you are giving out is not being equally met in return.
The fact that you are asking indicates that your gut is currently telling you something is amiss in one or more relationships in your life. To that, you need to pay attention because God / the Universe, they speak to us in a multitude of ways, one being our instincts. Ask yourself the following three simplest Qs in order to navigate the sort of pool in which you’re swimming:
Does your friend only contact you when they are in need?
Does your friend respond in kind when you need them?
Do they make time for you, or is it more than 60% only about what is convenient for them?
The answers to the above will at least elp you better understand the sort of personality with whom you are dealing. What you do with this information is ultimately up to you but here’s hoping the following will be of some help.
At what point do alarm bells and red flags go off?
The not-so-simple answer is when the individual begins to manipulate you to meet their own ends. The great thing is that you will know. You will know, because people are not as smart or as stealth as they believe themselves to be. Additionally, and as I have always said, the Universe sides with those who are taken advantage of, lied to, and manipulated. Pay attention and the Universe, she will tell you when the person across from you is attempting manipulation. Always, always, keep your eyes wide open once your intuition is peaked.
The more simplistic answer is when you are forced to send a query of this sort to me, and when your gut instinct is yelling for you to pull back. Again, it is all about balance; if you are feeling like they jumped off the teeter totter and you have come crashing down on your a/s, then we have a problem.
Where do you draw the line?
This varies from one person to the next and has to factor in a multitude of realities including, but not limited to, the length of time which you have been friends, the current circumstance and environment (ie is your friend currently living some sort of a trauma, self-inflicted or otherwise), and the history of im/balance.
As I don’t have any siblings, my friends are my chosen family. When one of them needs something, my response is immediate and it is never ever about me. Always, it is about what they need, in order to be better and stay better. I don’t factor into the equation unless I start to feel like I am enabling destructive behaviour of a friend I love (at which point, I tap out of that portion of the conversation only while keeping all else on the table).
When I have — and I have — felt like the person before me is not as interested in giving me the balance I need to not want to punch them in their self-involved, then I tap out entirely. But first, I fire a warning shot, which is the perfect segue into…
What do you do about it?
I first address it, give the friend the room and space to not fail me at that level again and then move forward. While there are some scenarios where our friends should absolutely never ever fail us such as illness or death, there are others where more room is allotted for them to have their own s/it to go through and not be available. Once. Twice. With a conversation and a clarification that things are out of their hands right now and so they can’t be there for us and here the onus is squarely on them. Three strkes and it’s done (for me).
From this, no one is immune in my world and whereas I once used to walk entirely from said individual, what I do now is render conversations very shallow instead. The nature of our interraction changes; and, where they would have previously had my complete and total attention and loyalty when they required it, this becomes diluted. If they’re not interested in being a security blanket in a relationship, then neither am I. This, a simple rule of thumb for all interractions.
You have four choices:
Do nothing about the situation and keep feeling like your good will is being used up.
Stop dealing with only that portion of the friendship. Meaning, if this friend only wants to talk to you about their most recent break-up, tell them that this particular conversation is no longer welcome when you see one another. Tell them that you are feeling as though it is all-consuming and there is nothing left of your friendship and in order to save your friendship then you need to engage something else.
Dilute as I do above while noting that maybe some day down the line the friendship will reshape itself (or not).
Cut them off entirely. No more bullsh/t, no more feeling like the person before you is sucking out all of your energy like a an emotional vampire.
Once you have made your decision and actioned it, and equally as important, please then look to your own behavior. Ask yourself if you give too much of yourself away repeatedly to folks who have either not yet proven their worth, or who are more inclined to be takers rather than givers.
Based on this, you may need to reconsider who you welcome into your life with open arms because trust me when I tell you that those who will take advantage of our good will are many. MANY. Because they are bottom line self-involved wankers who, by definition, are only intimately interested in their own well-being and not ours. The move to protect yourself and ensure that they do not take advantage of you? It rests with you. And them…always…Karma sees them, baby.
May your path only be filled by those who are worthy of your kindness and generosity of spirit, E.
With all my love,
I have a very dear girlfriend of 13 years. She is my soul sister and I adore her. Unfortunately, for the past three years, she has been totally obsessed with gaining the affections of a guy she works with (note that I didn’t call him a “man” but a “guy”) who I feel is unworthy of all the time and effort she has invested in him. They are work friends who hang out outside of work, mainly happy hour type social stuff in groups, but he is a 40-something cad who prefers much younger women. To his credit and the discredit of young women everywhere, he is very successful in bagging the young babes because I guess they find him attractive – I just don’t see it! Anyway, what can I do to help my friend move on? I’ve tried being brutally honest but she deflects and justifies and denies and then falls into the same old patterns of obsessing over what every nuance with him means. It’s really an unhealthy waste of time how doing this has become her hobby, almost. I mean, I just think he isn’t interested and it would have happened by now if it was going to happen. IT’S BEEN THREE YEARS. I’ve tried coaching and being supportive but frankly, I’m sick of hearing about the guy! HELP.
Dear Austin L,
Hia! Awwww….love you so much and of course you have put up with her (at this point, there is no other word) pitiful self because that’s the kind of friend that you are and that’s the very definition of a good friend. Saddest part of all of this is that there is absolutely nothing which you can do, my love.
The bottom line here is that she sounds a little obsessed with this guy and a part of her must absolutely get off on him not actually wanting her — because if he did, he would have already engaged. There’s nothing about this that smells good except perhaps your intention to try and help your friend.
I know that you don’t want for her to go through this alone. I also know that you don’t want for her to feel alienated. But knowing you, which I do, you have likely approached this from every single possible angle available to you, running the spectrum from compassion to brutality. After 3 years, it’s time for you to tap out. Here’s the confusion about being a friend; people think that to be a good friend, you have to always be there for the other person, but sometimes the best thing a friend can do is to no longer engage a particular subject matter. Essentially, it’s knowing where to draw the line so that you are not enabling destructive behavior.
Consider the following — if she were cutting herself with a knife, you wouldn’t hand her the knife would you? This is the same thing, except the cutting is emotional, soul and heart-directed.
After 3 years, I will say (very gently) to you that at this point, any room which you give her to talk about this subject is in fact room that you give her to think, engage, dissect, consider as a viable option, a seemingly very very bad decision on her part to continue to pursue a thing which is not available. To continue this conversation is to keep helping her cut herself.
Reality is that no matter how much we would like to, we can’t make anyone we love be healthy. We can’t make them choose better, or behave healthy, or engage only goodness. All we can do is be there quietly and steadily and help them when the time is right. You have said your piece repeatedly and in different ways. Now, you have to have an extremely difficult conversation and say clearly that this topic about this guy is off the table. That you love her deeply and because you love her, you have given her as much as you can, and you will no longer enable her own emotional self-cutting. Should she one day choose to extract herself, then you will step back in and help her in every and any way that you can.
To our own heart-ache and completely beyond our control, we must often allow our loved ones to be the architects of their own demise. Sometimes, it’s only when people shatter at rock-bottom that they can rebuild cleanly and in healthy manner. After three years, it is her choice to do so and your only role at this point is to sit back and let her engage in this destruction as she has clearly chosen to make this her only path. It will be painful for you to do so, but this is the only thing which you can do in order to help her right now, and then…be there for her when she crashes and burns (which she will). Help her pick up the pieces and love her at that point as ferociously as you do right now.
Pray it doesn’t take her another wasted 3 years to get to her rock-bottom.
Keep me posted, please.
All my love,
My best friend told me to write this because she reads you. She’s sitting next to me and wants me to start this by saying “she ripped my heart out of my nose” what you’ve said before and I am so sad. I fell in love. She left me for a guy she met at university. [...] I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be broken up. She hardly responds to my emails and texts or calls. [...] What should I do?
From my best friend: “HE IS WRITING HER SONGS!! They’re SOOOOO bad. She broke up with him in a text message!!”
Dear Bleeding Nose and Best Friend Of,
I cut your email down to the nitty-gritty of things. I’m sorry that you are so sad and that you don’t wish to be broken up. We have all been there and we have all had to have reconstructive surgery on our nose. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but what you’re going through is necessary. Bottom line is break-ups are brutal. They are a million times worse when the other party moves on before we do, because this usually leaves us wondering how little did I mean to him/her that I was so easily replaceable?
Please recognize that there are quite literally an infinite number of ways to perceive a situation. If you look at this situation and think: My heart is broken, she is the love of my life and I was not good enough for her, I will never find anyone like her again, your brain — literally — creates a pathway connecting these dots. Every time you think of her, these dots light up and connect faster and this pathway gets more and more worn and eventually, your brain becomes incapable of creating another pathway and oftentimes depression sets in. You MUST, for the health of yourself, re-write this story: I got dumped by someone who is not the love of my life so that I could find the actual love of my life who will not step out on me and then tell me in an email. What a moron!
That said, here are some practical steps which you can action immediately:
- No contact AT ALL not under any circumstance. She might reach out to you when her new piece isn’t giving her the attention she wants and she knows that you will come running. This is gross and it is unfair and it speaks to her personality not yours. Don’t be anyone’s security blanket unless they too are yours. Stop emailing, texting, calling, facebooking. She’s not being responsive because she’s not interested.
- If you are connected via social media, and if you’re not ready to unfriend her / block her, then unsubscribe from her feed(s). You don’t need to see what she’s doing and you don’t need to know about her happiness with her new piece. You need to concentrate on you.
- Exercise as much and as often as possible.
- Love of God kid, stop writing her songs. If you’re writing them for you, like a diary entry then that’s fine. Just please don’t be writing her songs and sending them to her. Write them and send them to your best friend and let her make fun of them…in laughter there is healing. Trust this.
- Make a list of all of the things which you did to contribute to this situation in which you find yourself. The next relationship, you will remember this list and you will not make these same mistakes twice. Don’t worry about her mistakes because again, you need to concentrate on you.
Onto the heavier lifting. First, allow yourself to go through all of the stages of mourning both the relationship itself and also whatever future you had imagined with her. The future? It never was, it never will be. It is a phantom limb which you need to cut off unless you wish for it to infect your entire self.
Second, allow yourself to be angry. Right now, the emotion of anger is like bubble wrap and it’ll keep you from breaking every time you fall and hit the ground, which will continue to happen for a little while still. What do you have to be angry about? You think she was the love of your life (which, she’s not else she would have never left you. It really is this simple) but she bounced you for another dude. You remained committed to her and true to her but she bounced you for another dude. You gave her your heart, but she didn’t have enough grace to even give you a pen…and instead: she bounced you for another dude and told you in an email. Be angry, it’s okay. Just don’t direct it at her, and instead talk about this anger with your friends. It’s why we’re here. This anger will lift when you don’t even notice it anymore; if it doesn’t in a few months, then you need to start actively removing it. Anger makes people unattractive.
Third, stop romanticizing her, stop re-writing both history and the present. Take off your rose-coloured glasses and ask yourself if her character is REALLY the kind of character you once believed it to be. If you can’t objectively answer, then I guarantee that your best friend will be able to answer brutally and honestly. This stage is one out of which you need to do double duty to exit because it’s in this stage of grey where your heart remains open to her and let’s remember she bounced you for another dude and isn’t even responding to your messages.
Fourth, insulate yourself with your friends. I love that your best friend forced you to write in; clearly, she loves you. Let your friends be your balm.
Fifth, do not under any circumstance engage another woman until you have completely and totally washed this one off of your skin. Because women can smell it a mile away. We know when another woman is still in your heart and in your mind and as a form of self-preservation, we will walk away shrugging and nauseous. It is purely an intuition thing and most of us will listen to the Universe when she tells us that a man is not free in his heart. As a dear friend said “Eat your feelings, but not other girls.”
Sixth, more amazing advice from friends: “take some time and regroup. Focus on what you can actually control in your life.” You’re a musician, so write songs for yourself, but not to send to her because she doesn’t want to listen to them. Remember: she’s with another guy. For you, for this point, focus on something which you love and whatever makes you happiest.
Seventh, and most important. When you have come out of this, please open your heart with this same amount of willingness and vulnerability to the next woman. This is for your sake, not for the sake of anyone else. There is nothing more painful than not loving to our full capacity or worse, holding someone else accountable for the mistakes of a former lover. Be open, be loving, be reckless in both and chances are you will be hurt again and again until you find the one golden woman who will meet you beat for pure beat every single step of the way. She will deserve this recklessness in love as equally as you do.
With love, from a girl who also had reconstructive surgery on her nose (and who would never have it any other way),
I know someone who, though I adore her, has only actually once ever taken responsibility for something which befell her. Always, there is someone other to blame. Always, the world has sold her short. Always, she did nothing wrong. Always, I can’t believe this is happening to me why is this happening to ME?
Not once have I heard her ask: What were the things that I did which contributed to my current state of pain/anxiety/anger/sadness/confusion/trauma, etc?
Her character is not one to which I aspire, and I have often said to myself ‘this is something so-and-so might say or do, so you need to stop behaving in this way.’ My allergy to this part of her runs so deep that were you to hand me an epiPen, I might try to stab myself in the eye. Where there is no epiPen, I instead initiate the following action items (but only because the situations in which I have found myself are normal and not ones where I have been the subject of emotional abuse, because such situations can not be covered with the following):
(1) I write an exhaustive list of all the things which I perceive as wrongs committed against me.
(2) I counter as many of the items as possible with an equally exhaustive list of every single time I allowed / encouraged / supported said things to be a part of my life.
(3) The items on list 1 which were not met by items from list 2, I stare at in wonder and surprise, then stare at the wall, then eat a cookie or 12, then maybe a bag of kale chips and finally, I look to understand — never justify, but rather explain from a place of compassion and love — the behavior of the other individual.
(4) I paint my feelings. Or maybe I write about it. You decide.
Listen. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bona fide hammer in a velvet glove. When I feel as though a friend has done something which hurt me, my response is oftentimes extremely harsh. Until I get over it because I have no doubt that there are many times when my friends have in the past, and will in the future, want to rip my hair out in equal measure. And, even when I don’t like my friends and I want to yell “ARE YOU F/CKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS SHIT WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!,” I still love them.
It’s important to note that the above actions list does not mean that when someone commits a wrong against me I respond with a warm hug. Nor does it mean that my goodwill can be taken advantage of (for too long) without consequence. Most important, this has very little to do with the other person. What it is, is it is a reflection of how I wish to be when in my natural resting state. Meaning, the above action items can sometimes feel like a repeated punch to my own face and I would like for this to change; rather than it being a painful exercise, I hope for it to one day be my natural default position. Just like a proper pot-head high on love and life and all manner of Sufi expressions (without the whirling Dervish parts though I wouldn’t mind one of those hats please and thank you).
Why? Because I ultimately believe that almost everyone is deserving of the space to err and then to make amends [but for the abusive ones (give them prayers, but don't give them your understanding and do not allow them entry into your lives in any capacity)]. Most especially where my heart’s friendship is concerned. In a world where most people take the all-too-easy road of hardly ever owning their shit, I truly believe that if more people actioned the above three steps, this world would be filled with much more love and light. And no one — not even the abusive 1% assholes — could (winningly) argue that this could ever be a bad thing.
Remember that this world and your living it is but a moment of your real life; treat people accordingly and as often as possible from the purest place inside of your heart. Apologize when you have hurt someone, accept the apologies when they are issued, acknowledge your faults + defaults, and make room for both the faults + defaults of others. You will be a better person for it.
(And where you can not do so immediately because the pain you might be feeling runs far too deep, then at least make the above a goal for your future. You deserve the lightness of heart which such living and mindfulness bring. Trust.)
The above image and quote are from Rumi on Facebook. Have you Like-d that page yet? If not, and as always, I strongly strongly strongly encourage that you immediately right now NOW click Like. oxo
Marasmus is a condition by which babies will die if they are not touched. If you feed them, and keep them clean and sheltered, and fill a bank account in their name, they will still die if they are not touched. For me, this has always spoken to the greater human reality that we can not be sustained without the bonds of love and friendship. Without the kindness of a hug spoken or a hug felt. Without the gentleness of a touch both on our skin, or in our lives.
When asked to think about that which sustains, many people will provide a laundry list of things — food, air, roof, money, etc. I have never thought about these things as sustenance but rather the accoutrements of that which sustains me. For me, sustenance has always come in the form of both characteristics which I (often struggle) to live as a woman and bonds created and maintained with those whom I hold dear. Today, I am only interested in discussing the later of these two.
The Islamic perspective on any form of sustenance from Allah is simple. If you abuse sustenance, if you take it for granted or if you deny its presence in your life, He will remove it. First, let’s get one thing straight — if you believe in God, chances are that you don’t think he’s an asshole. If anything, you likely believe that He is Love, which would also mean that you are inclined to believe that He will first fire a warning shot, or maybe 100 warning shots before you lose your chance and you lose said sustenance. Also, please let’s not confuse this with, say, if you are a serial killer and you suddenly take for granted that you have been Jack-the-Rippering through the City without being caught. That you have not been caught is not sustenance but rather lousy coppers.
Back to Oxford Dictionary wherein sustenance is defined as the maintaining of someone or something in life or existence. For me, it has and will always be family and friends. I don’t think I can ever ever say it enough — the quality, the depth and the love which I receive from my friends is often-times overwhelming. There are extremely few moments in my life where I have felt alone or lonely; so few are they that I can count them on one hand. This state? These people? They are riz’ahs, gifts from Him, and everyday I am grateful for them and as often as possible, I try to show them just how grateful I am.
Family, lovers, children (of course!), friends — I would argue that these are all riz’ahs. If you don’t agree, then ask yourself if you have ever woken up at home in a warm bed, about to have a good breakfast, before you get into your car and head to a secure job and thought: I have nothing. Well. Then this is doubly for you. It is doubly for you because there is no Cosmic Joker pointing and laughing. You have been left with things, but not the people. And the people, as already argued, they are the gold in our lives. They are the sustenance, and these things have been removed because we have made choices which demean and take for granted these riz’ahs. They are not little choices with little consequences, but rather devastating soul-searing choices because to wake up here, in this country, with a roof over our head, food in our fridge, gas in our tank, and a secure job? To wake up in this state here? Holy hell are we in trouble.
So, what are we supposed to do if we wake up in this state? What are we supposed to do when we wake with nothing, completely dissolved by the choices we made, the choices to deny and demean and belittle and take for granted the riz’ahs?
We thank God for the blessings we can see – the full fridge, the gas, the roof, the warm bed.
We take stock and ownership of all of the choices we made and which we actioned and which we welcomed into our lives by our own hands. Essentially, we understand that choices have consequences; we open our chests to these consequences, we learn from them, and then we move away from these devastating choices. Additionally, we never make these same decisions twice.
We, believing that we are deserving of it, choose to be reborn, and we thank God for the fact that this ability, it too is a riz’ah if we choose to make it so.
And always we remember this simple Grace for ourselves, and we extend it to those around us:
“Whatever purifies you, is the correct road,
I will try not to define it.”
This article is being written on October 15, but I am scheduling it for publication post my return from California for two reasons: (1) I have a sense that I will not be much in the mood to write anything upon my return; and, (2) especially not about this matter.
Over the course of the last little while, and due to my recent posts about cheating and what have you, conversations about suspicions keep coming to the fore. Most notably, the question which keeps arising like some disgraceful phoenix clown is: How do I know?
Precursor is that there are some genuinely crazy people who are, by nature, extremely suspicious. If you make it through this article and none of the below behaviours are being displayed by your partner but you are still suspicious? You may be a crazy person and you may wish to seek therapy.
In addition to this precursor, let’s just get one thing out of the way — living in a state of suspicion is a f/cking nightmare. It is going to kill you one way or another because what it will turn into, if it goes on for too long, is a slow but very real and very steady chipping away of your sense of self and your sense of worth. I can guarantee you that if you currently reside within this state, your self-esteem and self-confidence has been flattened.
Why? Because within these situations, it is only human to first ask: Why am I not good enough? and this question, it is the death of you.
So then, what are the tells? Quick and dirty, they are exactly what you suspect (see what I did there?) them to be and they are not only one or two of the following items (they can be), but rather they are a combination of the below. What you’re looking for is a comprehensive shift in the person before you.
- The behaviour of your partner fundamentally changes. Meaning, if you had a pattern or a routine to which you had grown accustomed, your partner shifts this routine. You’ll notice it immediately because it is not little, but rather it is piercing. What they’re really doing is they’re detaching from you. They are actively placing distance between you and them, whether you are ready to see it or not. Cowards.
- Your partner is less affectionate and less responsive (if a man is cheating, there is often more sex; with women cheating, there is often less sex). Alternatively, they may pick fights with you or completely avoid you. Either way, the message is that they are not interested in communicating with you (probably because they’re communicating with someone else).
- Speaking of, they will hide communications from you. Specifically, their laptops and their smartphones. Someone once said to me “…but sometimes for work you have to hide things…” and, frankly, no. No you don’t. You never have to hide things. Not unless you work for CSIS or the FSB or the CIA or even NATO. If your partner is closing screens when you walk into the room, or they’re hiding their laptop, or they’re hiding their smartphone from you? You need to open your eyes a little more widely.
- They will start to take better care of how they appear. Not surprisingly, most affairs happen in the places where people spend the greatest amount of time outside of the home — the workplace. If your man starts buying new clothes, taking better care of himself, spending longer nights at the office, vanishing at lunch hours, not returning your calls in the same manner that he used to? If your woman starts doing these same things? And in combination with several of the other items here listed? You may wish to ask yourself if there is something to which you have turned a blind eye.
- As already mentioned above, more often than not, there will be less sex. This one is really self-evident and self-explanatory. Their bodies are being used elsewhere, and they are — essentially — not interested in yours. They don’t want you touching them and they don’t want you around them physically. Simple.
- They will deflect. This one is brutal because it will make you feel like a shit, and that is exactly their intention. In a healthy relationship, if someone says to their piece that they are feeling sad or alone or they feel like something is wrong, the partner will and should engage. In an unhealthy relationship, they will put this on you. Instead of saying ‘let’s talk about this and tell me what you’re feeling and what you’re thinking so that I can address these things because I love you and I don’t want you to hurt,’ they will say ‘this isn’t about me…it’s about you and your feelings, so just deal with it and please leave me alone.’ Brutal, I know.
Sidebar: I once had someone think that I closed a computer screen too fast and within hours, he had raised the point that something didn’t feel right and he didn’t feel good. Do you know what I did, because I had nothing to hide? I engaged him, we talked about his feelings, and then I gave him my password to my email account. On the spot. Without taking time to delete any messages. This? This is the behaviour of someone who does not have anything to hide.
- Finally, you will know. In your gut and in your heart, you will know. You always knew. The question is whether or not you choose to do something about it.
If you require further resources then you should start here:
There has been a massive influx of Know-It-All questions pertaining to cheating and infidelity. Reading and answering them, as was clearly illustrated in the last article Know-It-All: Karma sees you, baby, has taken a toll on me. For this reason, please note that I am placing a pause on writing about these matters for a while, because they make me feel dirty.
Already mentioned, this trip to California was planned some time back, but turned out, in the present, to be perfectly timed. At home, I have been challenged in the most surprising ways. Truth told, this trip to California saved the most precious part of me — she who is always willing to dive headfirst into a moment even when she knows there will be pain, and until that pain no longer builds a foundation but rather shatters what little of one there may have begun.
Here are the six primary things of which California reminded me…
She reminded me that I am far more resilient than I remember until I am forced to see this resilience in action when facing some sort of an emotional c/ntpunt to the chest.
That I wear a tan shockingly well, and that my natural state is neither pink nor Caucasian, but rather almond and red.
That there is no situation and no truth (or lie) which can break me unless I give it explicit permission to do so and not one — not one — has that permission, because I have far too much self-worth in my back pocket (and a heart which listens to the Universe when she speaks).
That nothing will f/ck my shit up more than a sleepless night and a lack of kale chips, and for eight of the last ten days, I have slept through each night like my life depended on it.
That there is no state which is permanent, but rather it is the ones which clog our arteries with tears and raw sewage that most cleanly teach us just how incredible every single other aspect of our lives lived remain. Especially when incredible friends send emails with words such as “You are life and joy and trust and love.”
Finally…I have always written and tried to live by the one small belief that I am built to live in extreme shades of bright colour rather than muted tones of pastel. I have never believed that we are placed here to live in half measures, and that unless friends and lovers can meet us at the zenith of this living, they may be welcome to the formal outside shell of us but never to the core that to many who do not understand this sort of living, it would be like lava. And so California, she reminded me just how deep this need in me runs; that living and functioning inside of a live volcano is what I have always done best, and it is in these moments when I am most satiated and most aware of who I am, what I will allow into my life and what I will cut out.
Thank you California for your piercing clarity of vision, and for taking the time to remind me of my worth. May you extend this grace to everyone reading this.
See you soon, my love.
The expression “Manning-Up”, while sex derogatory, holds a lot of water for a lot of women still. Quite honestly, every single one of my girlfriends will tell you that the last thing they want is a man who is incapable of doing what is required to get the job done once and for all. Pertaining to all things starting at work, and ending in the home.
One of my dearest and I were discussing her situation. When her man and her met, there was something that he should have done, but he did not. Note — it is not merely one thing, but rather a thing from which a million tentacles spread. He did not do what he needed to do. But she did, and so he did too. Not because he would have otherwise, but rather because my girlfriend committed herself to this man and did whatever she needed to do to ensure that they remained together. A part of this was doing for him what he should have done for himself.
Until today, over a decade later, she resents him deeply for not having been strong enough, for not having been man enough to do what he needed to do. (Do me a favour — don’t engage me in a feminist discourse on the inappropriate use of this language. You know me. You know where I stand on such matters; I am simplifying on purpose so chill out.) Two of our girlfriends here in California are currently struggling with similar situations.
This is quite possibly the worst thing that could happen where a woman is concerned. I know that if it were me, I would have become physically repulsed, fading out of the relationship and out of my love affair. There is something fundamentally jarring about losing respect for the men in our lives, of not trusting the word of those we have chosen to take as lovers. Even the potential ones.
Is this not clear enough? Let me be a little more clear, then.
We want you to stand to your full height, so that when we allow you to stand next to us, we are not forced to stoop our shoulders. Because we, the women who are reading this and nodding their heads, are women who — when we stand — it is never with shoulders bent forward and it is not with eyes turned toward the ground. When we stand, our shoulders are as solid and as strong as the eyes looking directly into yours without fear. And if you are any less than what we deserve, the veneer off of you will be blown to shit faster than you can say “uhm, I’m not quite…well…I mean…I guess…uhm…hmm…?”
Look. There will be moments where just like us sometimes, your shoulders are bent and you are incapable of standing at your full height. But you need to work hard to get the f/ck out of this sort of a state, because these states? They have an ugly way of eating at us so quickly, that they become permanent if we are not vigilant against them. This goes for both men and women. It’s a simple three step process: mourn, heal, move on without regrets (because it is as much our mistakes, as our triumphs which make us).
The secret here is that when we see that you see yourselves as giants, we treat you as such and we will give you everything we have to give. Women such as the ones described above, such as myself, we choose to elevate the men in our lives, because in elevating you, we elevate ourselves. As for the men we choose? They understand that this means to and state of elevation is a two-way street; where they hold us in equal and high regard, it too is a direct reflection on their strength of character.
oxo love from Venice Beach where I am surrounded by unadulterated goodness.
PS To contextualize the above, I am an unapologetic alpha female. I expect to receive what I give out, and absolutely nothing less. What you can expect from women like me is that when we tell you something, when we give you our word, we will never be lying. We will not cheat you or manipulate you or f/ck around with you (because we have better things to do than not be true to our word. Namely, self-respecting ourselves).
PS to the PS We want you to be decisive even if we don’t like your decisions. Trust me when I tell you that before a woman’s love, you want her respect. Our love is absolutely nothing without our respect.
Footnote (I am not a PS): Love of God. Please read “The Way of the Superior Man” from cover to cover.
After an incredible couple of hours of faith and music filled conversation over lunch at Urth Caffe, I had to make my way home and so chose to walk along Venice Boardwalk.
Along my walk, I found myself dancing around an older couple, enjoying a little tarantella in the middle of everyone, lost in their own space, moving to their own time. I was taught the tarantella at one of the million Italian weddings I attended a lifetime ago and so stopped to enjoy their little groove when the older gentleman let go of his woman and grabbed me for the dance instead.
She clapped and laughed and danced around us while I eyed to see if either one of them was trying to thieve something from my purse. They were not. They were just two amazing people lost in a moment of their own making and they had enough grace to let me share in it.
After our dance, I purchased an espresso (because I was coming down from my pumpkin pie at lunch rush) but they did not want anything. We sat together; I didn’t ask for names and neither did they. Instead, I stared at them as they held hands, and cuddled and she blushed and he petted what little is left of her hair. I asked how they knew. I asked what it was like when they met. I asked all about their love affair, going on 37 years fyi.
He did most of the talking. He told me that they were friends who fell in love. That from the instant they kissed, their friendship morphed into everything which I was witnessing still today, and that the rest was — as they say — living happily ever after.
Like a foolish and naive child, I asked them if it was ever difficult after that kiss, and they both nodded ‘no’ simultaneously, like the bodies of synchronized swimmers coming out for a look and see. Truth told, I nearly yelled “I KNEW IT! LIARS TELL US LOVE IS HARD! BUT IT’S NOOOOOOT! AHA! YOU! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? YOU SHOULD BE! I’M SMART!” Only instead, as their audience, I quietly believed them as surely as I believed in the love that lit up between the three of us.
Every happy couple I know? Two secrets: No kids. And it was easy. (My uterus just tried punching me in my nose and my mother just yelled. Please don’t confuse this with I don’t want children, because I am still gunning for a little boy, where do I place my order?)
I thanked them for the dance and their time before making my way down the rest of the Boardwalk where I found this piece of art work, my art purchase form LA, scooped up from artist Wilian (pronounced William) who was at one point gracing walls with this, as beautiful graffiti. What a crime that anything of his would eventually be painted over, or washed away…
This painting, she is a reflection of my mood today and I can’t wait for her to adorn herself on my wall at home.
(I really feel like I must offer here full disclosure. These people? They’re probably high on weed, but that shouldn’t detract from the amazingness of their awe for one another.)
I remember being in University and keeping my then boyfriend a Secret Love. I now know that I was doing it because I wasn’t interested in him in the way that one should be interested in a piece. I wasn’t interested in him in the same way that he was interested in me.
He was beautiful, writing me poetry and being available for me whenever I wanted — at the drop of a hat, he would shun everything and come running the moment I said I can see you for an hour tonight, switching his entire schedule around in order to see me.
So. He made me feel good. He filled my ego. He was gorgeous and willing and giving me everything that he had. There were women around him looking for his attention, but he wasn’t willing to engage them because I had my finger on his pulse. And that’s all it was for me. Ultimately, it was an ego boost (I was 22! I am allowed to be an a/shole at 22 so chill***) and I wasn’t willing to go beyond that or be bothered by it because I knew that I wasn’t actually in love with him then and I also knew that I wouldn’t be in love with him down the line. Women’s intuition.
Reader, I even kept him a secret from my friends. F/ck, the depths of my depravity then are jarring to me now as I remember. Luckily, we are today friends but only because he dumped my ass and we never talked again until he contacted me years and years later after he was married. He rang to say hello and to apologize for his behaviour at the end — which was that he started dating another woman within a couple of weeks of handing me my ass and honestly? We are lucky that he did, else we would have remained in that painful grey zone. I would have kept playing and he would have kept getting hurt.
I won’t lie — the break-up was extremely painful (who in the shit likes getting dumped?) but it was necessary because he was a better and bigger man than I was willing to make him. He deserved to have a girlfriend who wouldn’t shy away from loving him in public and making it known to everyone just how amazing he was.
I still remember the moment that it broke apart for him. We were in public when he bent down to kiss me on the forehead and I actually jerked back because it was in public. I saw the look on his face and I knew that it was over. Later that night, it was. My secret? I was happy that he had done this. Finally! For a few weeks prior, I had slowly become disinterested in keeping him around much longer and he picked up on the vibes. When I should have been falling deeper in love with him with every day, I was growing more distant…and he knew. Because men too, they have a strong sense of intuition when they pay enough attention to their gut.
He called me that night and didn’t even give me a chance to get out of it. He literally said “I’m better than this, and I have been all along so we’re done,” and that was that because he knew that if he had to ask me to un-secret-ify him, he knew he wasn’t enough for me. He instinctively understood that the mere posing of this question was in fact the answer itself. It was crazy. I became manic for days, desperate for interaction with him but he shut me down and out because he knew it was about my ego and not about love. I couldn’t contact him — he wouldn’t let me interact with him. He was so young and so strong and I am so grateful for it.
A few years later, I fought for someone else. From the instant that I met him, I fought tooth and nail publicly and I remembered thinking about this man for whom I did not do this. I remembered thinking how lucky he and I both were for his strength, which allowed him to leave me so that he might be loved as deeply as he deserved and so that I might love in the deepest way I knew how.
Today things are different.
Today, I would never date a man if I had to keep him hidden. As an adult, I finally accept that relationships can not grow and flourish but only if there is light and fresh air.
Today, I would never engage a relationship as above because it would mean that I did not respect my piece enough to love him the way he deserved and that would reflect poorly on me more than him. And me, I have far too much self-respect to demean that of another.
Today, I would never love in the shadows because they are all-too-often found only in small corners, where there is never enough room to love in the way I believe and hope to love — big, amazing and powerful love that overwhelms all of my senses from the inside out and back in again.
Today, I would wear a man like a dress, and I would wear the shit out of that dress so that the entire world would see how well we fit.
***Also, I loathe the part of me that then thought this was acceptable behaviour because there was nothing kind or gentle about the pain I inflicted on such an incredible man. I still hold fast to the reality that everything happens for a reason, and everything heals and every corner brings with it better people until we each find the perfect one who will hold your heart to the light, and who will in return hand us theirs. When there is peace and calm between us, the corners around which we look to find something better? They melt away as naturally as our chests open to some. I also believe that this searching is the ultimate journey. I hope that I am forever this romantic and foolish in my undying commitment to love.
I had hoped to engage limited internet activity, but turns out that’s impossible for your WebMistress, and so here I am seated with a cappuccino and my laptop at Venice Grind, a strong recommend for anyone jonesing for caffeine. (Not to mention, their logo is like if a tattoo had a baby with a neon sign.)
Arriving early yesterday, I managed to stay awake for nearly 24 hours and head out for dinner with Maura as her birthday celebration. Honest, I don’t know how I kept up for that many hours without having some sort of a mental fit.
En route to dinner last night, Mo was chatting and I looked over at her and had to control everything not to tackle her with a hug and a roll around on the ground. Instead, I just said “I am so happy to be here with you, walking down the street like this. So happy, I could cry because I need to be here so very badly, Mo. And you. YOU!” At least that’s what was being said in my head — what was on my tongue was a simple “I’m so happy to be here with you.”
Evening conversation was filled with the kind of energy which I seem to have been missing in Ottawa of late. While booked a while back — this has perfect timing. Thank you, Trip — you are sweet to be so accommodating.
Due to the time difference, I woke up this morning at the ass-crack of dawn, said my good morning-s and good bye-s to Mo and walked to Venice Beach while taking photos of all of the interesting nooks and crannies and front yards and doors of strange houses. I also met and photographed Jesus (pronounced Hay-Zeus), a little boy who was playing with a basketball larger than himself. Originally, I kept referring to the basketball as a baseball and his dad eyed me like I was retarded, until I explained that I was Canadian instead. I asked if I could take his photo, and Hay-Zeus looked like I might try to eat him, which I did not do for the record.
When I landed at Venice Beach the camera which I have with crapped out on me and has since been on strike, refusing to focus / auto focus / manual focus / take a photo. I tried to rub her, coo at her, buy her flowers, offer her a back-rub, but she is having none of it for now. InshAllah I will be able to sort her out because carrying her around is making me look far more important and interesting than I really am. If not, then I am going to carry her around anyway and pretend to take photos.
The men here are interesting, to say the least. They are very forward in their approach-y ways and they are extremely relaxed in their hitting on women techniques, my favourite line so far “You brought the sunshine, baby. Let me see how that lights up my night…” yelled at me from one man amidst a group of men standing on Venice Blvd, followed by some tune of whistles which I wish I could have taped for you to hear.
We had lunch at Sony Studios next to Seth Rogen (who I love), and whose hair is as ridiculous as mine at the moment. WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THIS HUMIDITY <– that was her yelling. She didn’t expect humidity in LA. Neither did I and it’s freaking me out because I am developing a gigantic fro and will be forced into bell-bottoms and peace shirts to complete this new stunned look I am wearing with my hair.
More adventures as they happen oxo
“A happy woman is a woman relaxed in her body + heart: powerful, unpredictable, deep, potentially wild + destructive, or calm + serene, but always full of life, surrendered to and moved by the great force of her oceanic heart.” -David Deida
Also, he basically says that we are crazy and emotional and all over the map and we are run by such things and we will change from one minute to the next. On his scale of “female essence,” I might blow right off the chart of being extra “female essence”-y because while I run my work ethic on the masculine, I am completely and totally ruled by my emotional energy in everything else. Unapologetically.
God damn it fees nice to have that acknowledged.
Dear Maha, I love your Know-It-Alls and I wait for them with baited breaht. I am in a dilemma and don’t know what to do. I am so confused and need time to figure it out!! My best friend told me he wa s in love with me. I lvoe him very much because he’s amazing but fon’t know what to do. I don’t know if I am ready gor a relationship & with him it would be all or nothing. I can’t just date him! We’re too close! GRRRR!!!! Do I date other people and not tell him? Do I date him? I don’t want to loose him? Do I just ignore it? Do I go into a relationship with him? I don’t know anything anymore and I don’t want to lose him. He is so important to me and he makes me laugh and let me be myself and be stupid and we can talk about anything and we do and he’s GORGEOUS and so smart and I don’t know what to do anymore. What would you do?
Thank you for your warm and lovely note. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to read this kind of a “dilemma,” which isn’t a dilemma at all. I was just saying earlier today that I need to get away from some other toxic conversations and here you are, Confused! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Also, count your lucky stars that your best friend is in love with you — that alone is heart-warming in and of itself. Second, I understand that you need your room to figure things out. Completely.
Following are your options and their possible consequence:
1) “Date other people and not tell him.”
Yes, do this but only if you are 16 years of age. Clearly, this is a man for whom you have a great deal of warmth and respect and who holds you in enough regard not to play games with you. What you owe him is an equal amount of honesty and respect but only if you wish to keep him in your life in any capacity. Deal with any and all people only with honesty and integrity. If you don’t, then don’t be surprised when you are (mis)treated without either.
Please remember the following — if he discovers that you have lied to him and you have been dating others while he is waiting for your answer, then you will lose him, even as a friend. Actually, you will lose him especially as a friend. Ask yourself if having a few side pieces of ass is worth the loss of him.
2) “…do I just ignore it?” (aka “keep him hanging”)
Again. Are you 16? If you ignore this, then please see answer above. No one should ignore such a thing; not because it is “love” but because it is a kindness. Had he said “I like you,” my answer would have remained the same.
3) “…do I go into a relationship with him?”
No. Not if you’re not ready for a relationship. Clearly, you love him dearly and you don’t want to f/ck this up. Only engage if you are ready for a relationship. That’s fun for neither of you, and relationships must always be fun and foolish and reckless and filled with the most ridiculous abandon you can imagine. Only engage if you can engage entirely.
4) What would I do…?
Before I answer, I want you to take a moment and imagine tomorrow that he suddenly shows up on Facebook with a new woman. How does that make you feel?
If you just felt anxiety, then you have your answer. If you did not feel a twinge of loss, then he deserves a woman who will. And again, you have your answer.
As for me — if it was only a matter of time like not being ready for a relationship now, I would tell him exactly this. I would say “Thank you for loving me. I think you are this and that and a slice of halal turkey bacon and a side of corn with a dusting of butter and sprayed with my favourite perfume and then topped with vanilla ice-cream and a lot of chocolate sauce. I want to be with you, but I can’t right now because of x factor, so can we be friends and I know that what I am saying may sound like I am asking you to wait. Because it is. Will you wait? I really can’t wait to taste you, but I can’t just yet.”
Or, maybe I would dive head-first and drive over to his house to kiss him, because I am a fool for love and don’t wish to be anything less. Little kisses; slow kisses; getting ready for the more kisses. In a little bit.
However, if I did not like him, I would say “Thank you for loving me. But you deserve someone who will love you in the same capacity and that person is not me today and I know that it will not be me tomorrow. Please don’t wait. I want to remain your BFF but understand that this might change now.” And then I would give him the room to heal his heart, and I would pray that our friendship is strong enough that we might re-engage completely and totally platonically.
Here’s the most important thing in all of this — be true to your heart, and be true to the hearts of others. Also, be ready for the following possibility — that maybe by the time you are ready, he might have moved onto someone else.
This risk, it is yours for the taking. (In exactly the same way as my advice.)
I really really really really REALLY hope you message me to tell me how this turns out.
Lots of warmth and thank you so much for this wonderful and amazing “dilemma.”
Trust between partners — aside from top-notch sexuals, humour, and respect — is a fundamental pillar in any solid relationship. It is among the few things which, once broken, renders the relationship completely un-salvageable.
Believe me when I tell you that if you are in a relationship and you have suspicions about your piece, then there is a crack in the foundation and that crack isn’t for nothing. The next time you walk into the room and they close the computer window a second too quickly? The next time they hide their blackberry? Get off the phone too quickly? You will f/cking suffocate inside of your suspicion. Do yourself a favour and get the hell out immediately. Your life is too short for it to be lived in this kind of toxic swamp water. Seriously.
So “…how do you build and maintain trust in a new relationship?”
Before answering this, let me tell you a little secret. I HAVE TRUST ISSUES. I yell it because it’s so scary. But there it is.
I remember all too clearly the one time someone took a jackhammer to the trust between us; the very painful moment of clarity wherein I realized that this person standing before me had robbed me of the most sacred thing I have to offer — my trust that they would not turn out to be some kind of a mother f/cker who would take a little poop in the cavity of my heart. It was horrible then, don’t think it’ll ever be comical ‘now’. Because in this individual’s twisted logic, they thought that keeping something from me would make things better. Only. Jesus. That logic is like standing in front of someone, staring at them, covering your eyes and declaring very strongly and loudly that “YOU’RE NOT HERE! I CAN’T SEE YOU! NOT HERE!”
Right. Back to you, my love. Take a pause and remember that time when your trust was broken. Do you remember what happened? For me, it was like the digital numbered screen from The Matrix, only instead of numbers, it was things from the past and present falling into place and building a perfect image of all things I had seen but never connected, until that precise moment. Swear to God, I waited for three days hoping that Keanu Reeves would break through the wall to ask: Red pill or blue pill?
I also remember breaking. Literally, I remember that something broke inside of me when I looked at the trust which had previously existed between us as it lay shattered into a million pieces. That breaking was a reflection of my insides and its accompanying pain. To this day, it is still a struggle for me to extend complete and total trust to a person before me.
But I do. Ferociously, in fact, and just like having a fear of flying and so chucking your ass out of a plane. Don’t misunderstand this as something which is easy for me to do, because it is not. And I am very much like a stunned rabbit on far too many occassions holding my breath, ears perked straight up above my head, maybe taking a little poop, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the pain of having that trust demeaned.
That said, I still force myself to do it because I’m pretty sure that in order for me to stop trusting people, I would have to — as L-A has said time and again — “grow a shell,” (she purchased for me a turtle because she wanted me to find a shell so that I might protect myself. I continue to refuse) but that would fundamentally change who I am and what I bring to my little 2×4 part of the world with which I have been charged care.
Because I am demented, I have convinced myself that this lack of a shell translates to my welcome-to-me vulnerability and it is this vulnerability which then allows me to feel as ferociously and vividly as I do. The flip-side? It is the reason I shatter. But I’d rather shatter a million times than live a life of ever-safety where I pretend my hurt is impenetrable. Because no one’s hurt is this.
The best thing about both the good and the bad? Crazy and intense living. It is bleeding love and loyalty and gentleness and kindness and anger and rage and honesty. I would be miserable any other way; sad, stupid, dull, living in shades of tan and ecru. F/ck, I am dimmed by the mere thought of this.
So. I trust. And I make myself as trustworthy as possible inside of a relationship. You know how I do this?
I don’t lie. (Arguably, to a fault. I am a walking, talking Clarica commercial because if I misrepresent what’s in my head, I fear that you might not get it, and if you don’t get it, I am the one to blame. So I Clarica. Sometimes more than once. Sorry!)
I don’t hide anything. (Because if what you’re doing isn’t wrong, then why would you hide it? Please don’t be slow in the head and confuse ‘privacy’ — something to which you are entitled when you are having a gas attack in the washroom — with ‘hiding’ stuff from your wo/man. If you still don’t get the difference, email me.)
See how simple that is?
Again, for shits and giggles, I am trustworthy because…
I don’t lie.
I don’t hide anything.
Rinse and repeat because being trustworthy isn’t something you do once, but rather it is proof positive daily. It is a behavioural muscle which becomes a natural extension of your character the more you engage it. Just like a tight bottom.
It may be simple, but I didn’t say it would be a once-and-for-all free pass. I also didn’t say that it would be easy. Just simple.
This is not to say that I don’t have secrets. Because we all have them and we are entitled to have them. Of ago. In the past. Where they can not bleed all over me and my new piece today. If it’s still bleeding all over me today, in the present, it is something about which I will either be lying or the nature of which I may be forced to hide from my new
hot piece of ass, my piece. And, uhm…have we already forgotten?
Don’t hide anything.
When our new piece trusts us, what they’re really saying is “this heart? My little heart? I have chosen to give this to you. What will you do with it, please and thank you?”
And what we will do is:
Not lie to it.
Not hide anything from it.
Full and complete disclosure (because if it’s not out in the sunshine between the two of us, but rather in the shadows with you alone, that’s also the same place that our relationship will go to suffocate and die, but not before it reaches for the laptop to write about its slow painful death).
See? Simple. Don’t f/ck it up.
Image from Business Grow.
A reminder of how it should be, when it can be.
A reminder that when it isn’t, because it can’t be, then it should still always remain the love story to which you intend.
Snippet: Because how exciting is it to wake up to someone every morning? How amazing is it to roll over and curl into someone? How gorgeous is it to wake up and find that you are looking at someone you really really like, whose not your mum?
I need a heat wave and a sandstorm where I can’t breathe, can’t see, and my only anchor is the man to which I am holding. That’s the intensity I want, and this is definitely the intensity which jives with my head and heart. I am not good unless I am inside of an extreme.
“Jills! I need a big favour on your way in — I am having a makeup emergency!!” was the first of many hysterical text messages I sent to Jills this morning. I CAN’T FIND MY MASCARA!! She resides atop a pharmacy and because I am a tool, it turns out that I have a slight addiction to mascara, and also lipstick. But the lipstick doesn’t leave my purse and so is always on hand for application. My three go-tos / go tos / go-to-s (?) are mascara, kohl eyeliner, and red lipstick. Not bad, considering
how pretty I am, please and thank you.
Also, because I am a tool, I am my own best competition. Normal people like to beat their ‘best time’ while running this marathon and that marathon as I cheer from the sidelines eating cookies and the occasional hot wing. Me? I like to beat my ‘best time’ while donating blood. Two days ago, I was willing my blood to pump faster. Harder. FASTER, G-D DAMN IT while the beat in my head was the Rocky theme song. If you know me enough, you know that I am not lying; rather, I am really this awkward. My goal was to beat my last time of just under 7 minutes. It didn’t work — I was just under 8 minutes because I had not drunk enough water. I shake my fist at dehydration.
I jumped off of the seat faster than anyone else and looked around smiling and wondering if they noticed that I at least beat them, but everyone was too busy being drained to notice anything, including the large man who was seated at the after-drainage-cookies-and-juice bar.
It is not a buffet. TAKE YOUR COOKIE AND GO.
Which appeared to be the way I was running my life since last week, until one of my beloveds last night pointed out: (1) the full moon was on Saturday, baby! Don’t you remember what you said? “This shit will make you crazy,” which it does on a normal day, now imagine it being coupled with (2) The Periods. We have talked about this before, dear Reader. Unless you have a magic fun-bit, you too have The Periods. And frankly, may I be blessed enough to have it until I am 65. Ameen. (There’s a prayer I never thought I would issue, but never say never.)
Completing the triad to this week’s crazy is the heaviest of all, which is (3) that my dad will be bouncing off and out of the country for a while as of tomorrow. Silver lining? I get the Mercedes. Other two silver linings? He is to soon marry one of the most amazing women in the world, and I will get to travel across the world to hang out with them both (for which, you know, he’ll be paying because that’s what poppas do for their little girls).
I have struggled with this for a few days now, that I will not be able to pop over and squeeze my baba regularly. Something I actually never do. Instead, we plan dinner dates and talk politics and shop and he lectures me and I stare at him in stunned silence and then I usually make fun of him and he laughs because I am the only one who may make fun of him without getting some sort of a verbal check.
Like this past weekend when he called me FOUR TIMES in the span of under 15 minutes to tell me random bits and pieces of items for my edification. And when he hung up the fourth time, he said “have a good night, baba” and I responded with “I’ll expect your 5th call in under 34 seconds. Please don’t fail me now” and he giggled because he is part crazy, too.
The struggle is over. My girlfriends (including Maxi) have been pulling me out of my funk for the past week, not allowing me to be alone for even one second and not for a night until later next week do I have one free evening but rather dinner dates and art events and hikes and social gatherings punching me at every turn. (My friends, they are amazing, yes?) Since day one when he became engaged, I have been caught between an unbelievable joy and deep sorrow. I will miss my baba lecturing me, and I will miss the fact that I can, though I don’t, go over just for a hug. And while I am in my, ahem, over 35s, a woman is never in fact anything but a little girl to her baba. Equal parts, I am over the moon for his next adventure.
Please send your prayers and best energies to my baba and BB. Please wish them the best of luck in their next adventure. Please pray that the bumper does not fall off the Mercedes any time soon, and by any time soon, I mean when I accidentally bump it.
My yesterday Know-It-All piece Karma sees you, baby has generated a lot of messaging and discussion. My inbox has exploded with both sides of the story — enough to warrant a follow-up article because this subject seems to have touched so many of us, myself included. (And here’s the kicker re myself — it technically wasn’t cheating, but that did not dispel the depth of betrayal I felt. To this day, I am still surprised by how a heartpain so traumatically manifests physically.)
Aside from far too many messages from both men and women who have been cheated on, there was also a call for a slightly more gentle response to the man who wrote in. I am making this public, rather than responding to all private messages because maybe this will help those who have cheated and who have been deeply sorry for their actions and what those actions have done to those they love(d).
Simple reality for me is that there is never an okay reason to cheat, but I understand it happens. If you are in a broken relationship, then you need to disentangle from that before you engage another. Apart from doing this because it is the right thing to do where hearts and concerned, it is also the right thing to do for you. Because lying is never easy, and it never fills your heart with love and light, and it never goes away. Like I said yesterday, there are secrets to which we are all entitled, and like I have said a million times before, we are all entitled to these secrets and to a past because we all have a past. But cheating falls outside of this allowance, ask anyone who has been broken by such a situation and who has been forced to piece themselves together by such a situation. If you reside under a rock and don’t know anyone who has experienced such pain, then simply Google recovery cheating. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
In almost every email, there was one of two questions: “How can I recover?” and “I cheated, what do I do now?”
To the first question, the sad truth is that only the passage of time will heal your heart. But you will eventually get there. It did mine, though there remains residue when I enter into a new relationship and a part of me will likely always remain on guard until the relationship is deeply and unequivocally solidified. Maybe years. But I pray that he will be a reader of this site and he will be a willing participant in conversations that will have to happen in order for me to express my fears, let him know my triggers so we can work to avoid them together. Naturally, this will not be a one-way street because he too will have to share his own fears and sensitivities with me that we might — also together — do our best every day to not trigger one another’s hearts into a place of fear and sadness.
It’s also important to not internalize someone else’s behaviours. Meaning, when someone cheats on you that is their action and not yours. It is a reflection on their character and not yours. It is a light on their person and not yours. If you take enough time to reflect on that, there is solace. (This is not to say that you need not take stock of why / how your relationship broke because self-reflection and a willingness to take responsibility are the cornerstones of any healthy human person.)
To the second question, it’s actually pretty simple — and though you might not be able to tell from the anger which I unleashed yesterday, it is in fact doable because none of us are either a moment in time (ie an affair) or the sum of our mistakes. And, beyond a shadow of any doubt, we are all absolutely entitled to redemption, or else we would not be human. No doubt that this was unclear yesterday, but I believe in the essential goodness of people, and I do not believe that once a cheater, always a cheater. Absolutely not. (Read the comments to yesterday’s article to have a more vivid understanding of the rage with which I responded to that man.)
Pretty simple in the sense that you never ever do it again. Pretty simple in the sense that where you may not have had enough respect for the party on whom you cheated then (because we don’t respect people we cheat on, do we?), you find the courage to engage the respect every human person is owed — and you engage this respect by coming clean and telling them the truth. Whether or not you like this is not my problem and I’m not really sure why you would continue to read me if you didn’t in fact believe this to be true on some level, especially when there are so many sites who will empathize and tell you that cheating is okay. You will not get that here, I will never pull any punches. But, I will always understand that we all make mistakes. I write that with only the greatest gentleness and kindness.
I have friends who have cheated. I have witnessed first hand the trauma it wrought on them when they woke up from the affair. That too, I would not wish on my worst enemy. Believe it or not, it is equally painful to be the cheater, because the cheater is the one who made the decision, who then pursued the decision, who then had to face their partners and own both. It. Is. Brutal. (But only for those with enough presence of mind to understand the weight of their actions.)
Pretty simple in that if it was a one off (rather than a chronic repeated cheating), then you release the person with whom you cheated; you must walk away from this person because to keep them in your life means that there will always be a possibility you will cheat with them again. If you disagree with this, then we are fighting and that’s okay because we’re not dating. And honestly, if you cheated during your last relationship then you need to tell your next partner but only if you really and truly respect them, trust them, and know their hearts enough to know that they should understand that we are all allowed to make mistakes — even the “egregious” ones. If not, then send them my way please and thank you.
I will always hold true to my belief that the respect we show others is proportional to the respect we have for ourselves. If you have cheated — and again, I say this in the most gentle and warmest way possible — if you have cheated and you are sorry for this behavior and you are doing everything you can to never ever do it again, then please hold fast to your conviction that in so doing, you are re-engaging the respect which you owe yourself, and this is the only way to bring down any barriers between yourselves and a world of the aforementioned love and light.
This world is already a struggle, please don’t make it harder for yourselves and those you love (past, present and future, all of which are connected).
Image from Inspired by Beatrice Clay
Editorial Note 1: This article has generated a very interesting discussion. Specifically, men tend to think that my response below is really quite harsh. To understand more, please read the comments string, as equally as you do the article.
Editorial Note 2: By request, a follow-up gentler / softer here.
I’ve been dating a woman who is spectacular for two years and I plan on proposing to her. I don’t know how I got this f..king lucky! I have some major f..kups in the past almost all of it Ive been able to tell her about and she’s never judged me or made me feel like I’m not amazing. Like I said I don’t know how I got this f..king lucky. There’s one thing I can’t bring myelf to tell her and it’s that when I was with my ex I cheated on her with someone else. [blablabla...no contrition blablabla...]Not even my ex-wife knows. You’ve said in the past that what’s in the past should stay there and I wouldn’t have felt like I had to tell her if this person wasn’t still hanging around and I am worried that this old story is going to f..k up this new one. Should I come clean?
Worried in Cowtown, Alberta
Dear Worried in Cowtown.
Do you own a gun? Are you a cattle rancher? I have always wondered such things about the folks residing in the Country of Alberta!
Alright, here goes. Forewarning — you are the first person who has cheated on their husband/wife who has asked for advice, and so you will receive the weight of my response. I am not going to be nice, because you’re a cheater who never came clean. Basically, the most important thing here is that you’re an idiot. You’re an idiot for having cheated on your ex because you sh/t all over her trust and then you took the unilateral decision to keep it to yourself in this new relationship which you plan on marrying. And perhaps no one taught you this, but when you plan on building a life with someone, it has to be on a foundation of honesty. Unadulterated and visceral honesty — there can be absolutely no lies this big.
To be really clear: We are all allowed secrets and a past. However, cheating on a wife / husband is not a little lie. This is not like a keepsake of some small and delightful memory. This is cheating. ON YOUR WIFE. With a woman you’re still friends with. And we’re talking about telling your new piece, the woman you wish to marry (and not, like, your friendly neighbourhood grocer or announcing it on Facebook)…!
I can not imagine how little your self-respect has to be to cheat on your wife / husband. Not to mention the amount of lies you must tell yourself and the people around you, as well as the moral acrobatics you must engage to convince yourself that what you did was acceptable, maybe even justified in your awkward little head. These lies, they build up and eventually you end up being nothing more than your lies. The weight of telling them, and then maintaining them only generates more lies and you become one giant knot of a lie. Twisted and grotesque and nothing can exist outside of these lies. But you — you? I don’t sense any contrition. Two years away from cheating on a wife whom you did not tell? You should be feeling extreme contrition. And, I mean, that you have to even ask whether or not to tell the “spectacular” woman who you plan on marrying next? WOW, you are stupid. Stupid hard.
And have I mentioned that you placed yourself and your then partner in physical danger? You think a condom protects you from everything? Guess again, mother f/cker and read up on STDs. If you haven’t been tested since you stuck your dick somewhere it shouldn’t have been, then I recommend you stop reading immediately, and go to your nearest clinic to get every test available.
THEN, you need to come clean to your ex because she too needs to get tested if she hasn’t already figured out your stink and taken it upon herself to be tested anyway (which, sidebar to all readers: it is your duty and obligation to get tested 3 months after your last sexual encounter and before your next. Just because you might like to play Russian roulette, it doesn’t mean WE DO. I am getting yell-y because this topic DESERVES THAT I GET YELL-Y. WRAPPING A D/CK IS NOT ENOUGH, AND NEITHER IS A DENTAL DAM).
Look. If you are too much of a coward to tell your ex the truth of what you did, then you can email her anonymously. Or, if possible, you can maybe talk to her doctor and tell them what you did, and that they should recommend that she be tested, just for shits and giggles. For all I care, send a message via smoke signal — just f/cking do it. If you are man enough to f/ck someone outside of your wife, then you had better be man enough to own all of the blow-back which you have wrought on yourself and those around you.
Now. Two years. Really? Two years? And oh my God, here’s the kicker: you’re still in touch with the woman you f/cked while married!
WOW. WOW. WOW.
I think very few Know-It-All queries have brought forth this sort of a response from me. But we’re here now and so here’s your 3-step program.
1) You need to talk to a professional. Find someone with whom you can be honest, be forthright, and log the things which made you cheat (which, sorry to be the bearer of bad news: isn’t your ex. Boo hoo). If your behaviour was repetitive, you will need alot of therapy; if it was a one-off, then it will be easier for you to unpack, get to the root of, and then never do it again.
2) COME CLEAN TO YOUR NEW PARTNER WHO AFTER TWO YEARS ISN’T SO NEW. It’s one thing to wait a few months, but not two years. You may have to woman-up and face that she will not be so easy-going about being lied to for two years. Because even for those of us who are “spectacular” and forgiving and willing to engage your shit past, there is a limit. And two years? TWO YEARS! THIS MAY BE A LIMIT STARTING 18 MONTHS AGO.
Do you know why you need to tell her? Because she will find out whether you do or not. Because sooner or later, your stink will reach her “spectacular” nose. Because one day, the woman you f/cked will get drunk and tell the wrong person, or email / Facebook / tweet your new piece. And then your new piece will say ‘Hey! look! They’re still friends. Which…I guess it means they’re still f/cking! WOW I really need a drink and a bat…’
Do you know why this happens? Because when you commit this kind of egregious error against someone’s trust, your guardian angels will not protect you. This world, it does not protect misdeeds. It only covers well-intentioned errors and cheating on your wife is never. Ever. NEVER. A “well-intentioned error.”
Another reason you need to tell her? Because it’s the right thing to do, and she deserves to have all of the facts in order to make the decision of whether or not to spend the rest of her life with you.
3) Finally. And absolutely as important as all the rest: Get the other woman the f/ck away from your life. GET HER OUT OF YOUR LIFE IMMEDIATELY. And get some God damn self-awareness while you’re at it — you f/cked her while you were married, and the only reason she’s “hanging around” is because YOU ARE KEEPING THE DOOR OPEN SO AT LEAST OWN THAT MUCH, YOU IDIOT. She wouldn’t be “hanging around” unless you were giving her a hint to STAY. I wonder, do you like this attention? Are you so empty inside that you need this sort of attention to fill some gaping hole in your person? Because this too might be something for your therapist.
If you don’t figure out how f/cked up this is, if you don’t get tested and manage to initiate to your ex that she too needs to be tested, if you don’t feel contrition, and if you are not honest with “spectacular,” then I pray the woman you f/cked and with whom you are still friends Glenn Close-s your hand to come clean. Because Karma sees you baby, and she’s always got somethin’ to say.
No warmth for you until you behave like a responsible adult,
First, let me start with what happens to me physically. Yesterday, I started feeling that the left side of my face was sore to the touch, the entire area around my eye. Whenever I have been depleted, it has manifest itself physically as a sinus infection — during uni and quite literally the day after exams, I would be checked by a sinus infection that put me in bed for at least 5 days, forcing me to rest and recover. I yesterday came home and snorted enough salt water to kill a small elephant.
I also f/cked up the recipe, adding two teaspoons of salt to a half cup of water and snorting like a proper George W Bush at a Rangers game, only without the hookers. I am still stunned that I didn’t burn my entire sinus off of my face, dropped straight into the kitchen sink. Once the snorting was complete, I updated my Facebook status to say that — in order to replenish — I would be taking a rest from the internets until Monday, then I watched the two latest episodes of Sons, wept over Opes, and fell asleep at around 8.30pm.
When I woke up this morning, nearly 13 hours later, my head was cleared and I was parched because of my olympic salt snorting. I knew that what I needed next was a day of sweat, and sweat it out I did. All of it, in fact. And when I was done and sat down, I had to face the emotional reasons for my depletion.
I am dementedly self-aware and know that my sinus infections are always brought on by emotional depletion which I have actively ignored. The depletion gets all eye-rolly when I ignore it and it extends itself to my body, forcing my hand to pay attention to it because it’s needy like that. No two ways about it, I had to take stock of what was depleting me and what I actually do need to replenish and what is my action items list, please and thank you because I am not fun when I am depleted. So I have my list, hurrah, and just having it has made me feel a little more replenished.
Aside from all of the above, however, is something else. I am dumb — I keep telling you this but you don’t believe me often enough. Really, I am dumb. When I shut off my internets access, I still expected my telephone to work (see? dumb). Obviously, it did not because this is a smart phone which is as dumb as I am.
I had to turn it back on to ring my mum and when I did, there was an avalanche of email messages and texts from both people I know and love dearly, and from people whom I have never met. People with whom I have built friendships on-line because they have been readers of this site for years (each of whom I have video-chatted or spoken to in real time and so are not fake (you’d be surprised), and where I have not done so we are Facebook friends and I have watched their lives and their children and loves grow for years).
That was this morning and I am still goose-bumply this early evening. People are amazing. You are all amazing and your messages and kindness have replenished and restored the balance I have been missing for some time, and which was slowly turning me into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Thank you. Thank you for reading, and for writing and for messaging and for sending warmth and goodness and all manner of love this way. I honestly can not express enough how much you bring to my life. Thank you for keeping my heart afloat on days such as today.
“Also, I would like to thank God and my girlfriends. You know who you are…”
Here’s a conversation I don’t want to have in the washroom ever again:
“Hi! Sorry to bother you, but can you please pass me some toilette paper when you have a moment…? Oh, thanks…but can I have a little more — because…I’m not a bird.”
I think someone is trying to give birth in the female washroom. I nearly yelled over the stall “BOY OR GIRL?”
Which got me to wondering — what is proper toilette etiquette? And since I’m asking, I should probably answer.
1) Don’t talk to people while they’re peeing. It’s a stressful situation to begin with, and it’s a private one. We don’t need you talking to us about your daily affairs mid-stream unless you are one of our trusted best friends. (HI TASH!! SORRY ABOUT THAT TIME I LOCKED MYSELF IN THE WASHROOM WITH YOU TO HAVE A CHAT WHEN YOU WERE PEEING!! CALL ME!!)
2) Wash your hands. I have said this before and I will now place it here for the record: I don’t want your ass bacteria all over my space, please and thank you.
3) Don’t pee on the seat. I don’t know how big your urethra is, but control it.
4) And while we’re at it. Don’t pee on the floor.
5) Don’t leave any logs floating around. The Beachcombers was cancelled, remember? If this means that you need to take an additional 10 seconds to flush twice, please do just this. Your blackberry can wait.
7) Save the birthing noises. No one wants to hear your pooping trauma. Take a deep breath, imagine your happy place and then give’r a go. If you really can’t help but “mmmm, ooooh, grrrrr, oh!” then at least kegel when someone else is there.
8) Don’t pick your nose and wipe it on the door in front of me. I can see it. IT’S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME. Use the toilet paper that’s to your side and excavate your nose accordingly.
Think that about covers it. Please feel free to add your own rules below…
Image from ToiletPaperWorld(dot)com.
My mum and I were recently in a shopping mall when I noticed that some women do very strange things to the heads of their infants, like taking the only three strands of hair available and pinning them with a bow — lest anyone confuse the gender of their daughter — on the side, leaving the kid both distressed and terrified because they know they have an arrow outbound and they can’t do anything about it.
She scrunched her face and said “no. You were too cute. When you stopped being sooooo ugly.” As my photos tell a tale, my mother possessed a Stepford quality in her approach to my immaculate presentation. I was always in matched leggings, dress, shoes + poncho (I had dozens), because my mum took “indigenous” to a whole new level. INCAS!! CALL ME!!
When she wasn’t Stepfording it, she was making fun of me. Until today, she will tell anyone that I was an ugly child and she tried to give me away to some passersby when first born. I was skinny and leaky, so I understand her dilemma.
In her hysteria to not birth your webMistress, she “escaped” (her word, not mine) from the ward and ran upstairs two floors. If neither her husband nor the doctors could find her, she wouldn’t be forced to have a child. In many ways, my own logic is a reflection of my mum’s brand of crazy.
Even my early photos are of me with my face half covered by mum. She says it was never on purpose, because she is a liar. In fact, most of my early photos are of her carrying me in one hand while illustrating the perfect Heisman with free hand in the face of the camera.
My mum has an interesting way about her; she has a habit of being very forthright in a very innocent way. Like that time she told my girl Roor that she had a big ass. Not her (my mum), but rather that Roor had a large bottom. And that it wasn’t balanced by the size of her boobs.
Had anyone else said this to Rawda, I imagine she would have dabke’d over their heads, but because it came from Maha Momma, it was acceptable. Just ask her hairdresser.
Because one time, I was seated waiting for mum to have her hair did when I overheard her yell-ask over the sound of the hair-dryer “WHY ISN’T YOUR HAIR CURLY?!”
Her hairdresser is African American. So naturally…
Which she followed up with “Are you from Jamaica or Hawaii?”
And finally ended with an attempt of Mandarin. The language, not the fruit.
Pretty much, she can get away with anything because of how she looks. And she does, alhamduliLah.
Long live mommas.