485: Cinderella…and her pransome hince

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There are a lot of women out there, apparently, who are looking diligently for their handsome prince. He is supposed to sweep her off her feet, and take her to his castle, where she will never work another day in her life, but spend her time instead making herself beautiful to be available to his every beck and call. At least, that is the impression of this particular Cinderella viewpoint that I get from talking to men.

They are, for the most part, a little less than thrilled to be cast in that handsome prince role. First of all, in this modern economy, most men would prefer a woman who does not mind shifting her beautiful butt, getting out there and earning a living, contributing to the bottom line of the couple’s joint income. Christian Grey is FICTION. They call it fiction because somebody made it up in their overly-fertile imagination. Let’s get real here, please.

Secondly, keeping and making yourself beautiful is not a work-free process, ladies. It might mostly be that in your young, high-metabolism and agile youth, but I can tell you from experience that stage does not last long. Pretty much after your teens and for the rest of your life, amen, you gotta actually work at being beautiful, believe me.

Too many women get the idea that a man is going to be their security blanket, and they are going to ride him off into the rosy sunset (forget the white horse) of a secure financial future. Ummmm….. no.

First of all, s…..tuff happens. In life, stuff happens that isn’t in our plans. Sorry about that, but it happens. From bitter personal experience, plus lots of similar stories from most of the other women I know, or have even heard about, I can assure you that life has some whoppers for you, too. No, that is not a tongue-in-cheek guarantee that your prince will be unusually generously endowed, with either cash reserves OR a bigger-than-average penis. Life is patently unfair, ladies, and it loves proving that fact to the unsuspecting. Especially to the unsuspecting.

Your handsome prince could DIE. It happens at some point to everyone, except a rare few that God just took. The rest of us die. Most of us who die have a significant other, whose life is suddenly in some considerable degree of disarray because we quitted this mortal coil. Not every prince kept up his life insurance, or made out his will, or invested well. Your rosy sunset could abruptly sour on the financial side. He could find a younger and more beautiful princess that he prefers over you, no matter how much you have worked to be beautiful. Maybe his finances take a downturn and it was nothing you did or didn’t do. If you are dependent on a man’s money, you forever will be vulnerable, period. Get a job.

Cinderella, provide for your own rosy financial future that you can share with someone, if you so choose. Maybe the one preferring a younger and more beautiful partner will be you, and not him, you just don’t know. But do it on your dime if that is the case, not on his. Be fair. Too many women are not fair. Men are not gold mines for us ladies to go digging around in. That is crass in the extreme, and not something a lady does. Stand on your own high heels. And be proud of yourself because you worked for it, not because you slept for it.

He has feelings, too, believe it or not. I am not claiming that every man is honorable – they can be every bit as crass as we can be. That whole younger and more beautiful partner thing proves that beyond any shadow of doubt. Still, there are honorable men out there, even if they are not too thick on the ground. Be honorable yourself, and thus worthy of honor from him, even if he falls short. Your conscience will be clear.

Since you get to live with yourself, being proud of yourself is important. It’s hard to be proud of yourself if you don’t treat others honorably. Do it for you. THAT makes you a princess, Cinderella.

484: Putting On a Good Show

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There is something to be said for putting on a good show. Celebrities earn millions in that endeavor, and it is the basis of all performances. A good show. For the rest of us not employed daily as actors (or politicians), a good show involves a mask.

Masks are defensive, and they are designed and intended to hide and conceal what lies beneath. Even for masks that are strictly ornamental and are donned only for those special, formal occasions, the root purpose remains. To conceal. To hide behind, to present the facade of the mask instead of the true face of the wearer.

If masks were for ceremonial use only, that would be one thing. For ceremonies, we often dress unusually, and engage in formal, ritualized behaviors, so the wearing of masks would not in those cases be inappropriate or even a cause for concern. It would be part and parcel of the ceremony, and it would be removed promptly once the occasion was finished.

A mask is not always visible, even though it is concealing. This paradox is explained by the masks, or the roles, that we humans assume in order to cover our deeper, truer selves. Sometimes the mask is a smile that covers and hides depression or other problems from others who might think less of us were the problem visible, even though they might also help us. Sometimes the mask is a habit we use to hide behind, such as compulsive spending or shopping, or working too much, or partying every weekend. Masks come in a lot of types and sizes.

The problem with a mask is when it becomes such a habit that the wearer cannot remove it, even when they sincerely want to – even when they try. That is the danger of donning a mask in the first place.

It is frightening, true, living life bare-faced. All the flaws are there for everyone to see, and not everyone is kind.  Still, with your mask firmly in place, those who ARE kind will never know who you really are, or that they could help you. The advantage to living life bare-faced is that the people who do like you that way are liking the real you, not the mask you picked out to wear to fool everyone.

It is worth the risk. Pry off the mask.

483: Online Dating

download (1) I understand that you have an 87 % chance of meeting a psychopath on an online dating site, and that 93% of statistics are made up on the spot. Given that constraint, I believe that I am firmly in both the majority and the minority of that equation. The 87% of weirdos are definitely out there. I met one guy who wanted to exchange photos – of unmentionable body parts. Ummm…..NO, thanks just the same.

I also met one guy who pledged undying love and exclusivity to me….in the first e-mail, in about six pages of flowery, verbose, over-the-top text. Then, a few days later, as he is offering to give up his idyllic existence in another state about 800 miles distant from me and move to be with me, I discovered that he had an alternate profile on the same dating site, just a different name and persona. The first iteration of him was the preppy, family oriented guy, complete with fetching photo in front of the decorated Christmas tree. The second iteration was the consummate bad boy, muscle shirt, shades, tattoo prominently displayed. Made me wonder if he was conducting experimental research at the graduate level into the psychology of women who join online dating sites.

See, people want to be paired. We all want that intimate, emotional and spiritual connection (not to mention the physical connection) with another like-minded person (usually of the opposite sex, but hey, I’m not judging) who does not freak us out too much on a daily basis. Most of us have been around the track in face-to-face, traditional relationships, and have found that meeting and dating process to be somewhat lacking (!), not to mention extraordinarily time-consuming.  HAS to be a better way, right? For me, the better way included being far, far away at my new job in Kazakhstan when I joined the site and started getting responses.

I figured my previous two marriages were mostly based on the hormones/pheromones of physical attraction (not that you could have told me that at the time), so I figured, THIS time, I would meet someone via text, and communicate that way to see if we had similar goals, interests, morals, and values, where the whole physical attraction thing was conspicuously absent to gum up the works and shut off what little common sense I possess in the first place. Figured it was worth a try – doing things the same way was obviously not working, so a change in tactics was in order.

So, I clicked on an advertisement featuring a man/woman/other who was fairly attractive, and decided to take the online dating plunge. Some sites, from what I am told, have an extensive questionnaire designed to better weed out those individuals you would run screaming from on the public street if you met them face to face. Kinda reminds me of the Purity Test http://www.puritytest.net/test/500/. The purity test is an EYE-OPENER,  and let’s just say, I scored fairly poorly for someone who actually is not into bodily waste as a sex object. I am NOT kidding…..absolutely and totally boggles the mind, some of those questions. Opened up whole vistas that you just can’t mentally un-see, ya know?

Some sites, like the one I joined, simply ask you to self-promote. Marketing yourself is difficult, because let’s face it, it’s just bragging. Period. How do you brag about yourself and make it sound humble and attractive? Yeah – see what I mean? Still, I tried to be honest about my intentions, mostly honorable ones…mostly. I included some photos that actually looked like me…you know, the FLATTERING ones that still actually managed to look like me.

As I got flirts, invitations for contact and other messages, I added bits to my profile to more accurately indicate what I was NOT looking for. Pretty much men with extremely suggestive nicknames such as stallion4U or longhotrod fit into that category, as well as anyone without the self-confidence to post a photo. You could be a little green man from Mars, I just don’t know.

I mentioned that, along with the 87%, I also found the 13%. Yes, they do exist, Virginia. One sharp individual asked me a question that led me to do some serious introspective thinking, and he made me realize I had been intellectually dishonest with myself. I had some work to do on that one, and I “came clean,” and owned up to my mistake.  Another one might, just possibly could, hopefully is, I believe, be the one. We are taking it slowly and discussing every topic under the sun, delving and exploring each other in pretty much perfect safety, if you don’t count the scary business of opening up to another human being as being unsafe.

See – all of us want that intimate relationship – without having actually to get intimate, confess to our faults and flaws, and generally bare our souls. That is scary, and he/she/it might not like me if I bare all, because not everything has been lipo-suctioned (or exercised) into shape.

But, guess what?

You are not gonna get there (where you want to be) if you don’t go there.

482: New Habits

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Many people are dissatisfied with some part of their life. That’s pretty universal, since life has so many compartments: physical, spiritual, financial, occupational, familial, emotional, and every one of those compartments has multiple occupants, all of which can run smoothly, or gum up the works.

In the process of living our lives, we humans are often like water. We choose the easiest path (the path of least resistance) to find our way down an incline. What this translates to in daily life is that we establish easy routines to deal with most things, and they become habits over time with repetition. They start to feel natural and normal with the familiarity, even if they are not natural and normal. It happens this way even when our established habits are actually unhealthy for us, or harmful to us.

All of us struggle with habits, but who would knowingly establish a habit that harms them? Well – that appears obvious, but people do it every day.  We choose to take a drink because we are bored, or because something is uncomfortable that we’d rather not think about and deal with. Repeatedly choosing that option leads us to a dependency on alcohol (or drugs, or food, or sex, or the Internet, or gambling, or shopping, or fill-in-the-blank with your own addictive, escapist behavior) and the poor choice is now a habit that feels natural and normal to you, even though it is anything BUT. The problem with addictive, escapist behaviors is that they are never, ever satisfied with the compartment of your life that they started out in. They do take control of that compartment, yes – and then they cast a proprietary eye on the compartment next door, and the one after that, and the one after that, until they pretty much take over everything.  Every stinking, little, tiny thing.

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This is why people who don’t see (and heed) the warning signs when a habit is still small enough to be uprooted, before its roots are so massive that digging it out uproots the rest of the garden, too – this is why those people speak of hitting absolute rock bottom. It takes that ultimate comeuppance (rock bottom) at that point, to make a change. When there are no more excuses, when you have pretty much lost everything that mattered to you, when there is nothing that is left of any value or worth, making a change isn’t such a bad thing. It is the only thing left.

You can’t dig yourself out of a hole. When you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING. Make a change. You can’t expect different results when you continue to make the same choices. Start something new, and be sure it is something positive, and do it one day at a time, until you are no longer in a hole.

When will you be out of the hole? You will know. Just be sure you don’t start digging again.

481: Starting Over is Overrated

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There are TONS of blog posts and memes on the positive aspects of starting over, and, I get it, I really, really get it. It is great to approach starting over with a positive attitude, some faith in yourself and the limitless opportunities of the future, and the courage and determination that it will be better this time. That’s great, and I get it. Really. Yo comprendo. I understand.

However.

Let’s just face it. Most of us are starting over because *something* failed. A marriage. A relationship. Our health. Our control. Our sanity. Our investments. A job. A business. A life. Fill in the freaking blank. Most of us don’t just wake up one day from a perfectly satisfactory and fulfilling life and announce to the Universe: I am throwing all this delightful existence away today for the incredible, life-changing, exciting chance to START OVER!! Um……no. That is not how it happens, except for Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love. The rest of us have more sense.

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Nope – we start over because we HAVE to start over. For nearly every one of us, starting over is a have to, even if it is also a want to because we consciously made a choice to get OUT of whatever failed, once we recognized and admitted to ourselves that it did, in fact, fail, and that we would be far better off starting over than remaining there to continue fighting to survive/succeed.

That has always been my biggest dilemma in a potential starting over scenario – whether to remain and fight, or choose to move on, acknowledging that continuing to struggle is counter-productive and damaging, with no or very little chance of success. For me, that choice was always tempered by whether or not the choice affected only me, or if my choice would impact others I was responsible for. Sometimes that consideration ultimately made the choice for me. Even if I chose starting over, it was still essentially a forced choice. Sometimes choosing to stay and fight is harder than starting over, I’ve found.

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At any rate, starting over is, ultimately, an acknowledgement that something failed (even if that failure was completely and totally out of my control, and I was an innocent victim (yeah, right)) but that I am not going to curl up and die in the face of this failure, I am going to take my raw courage and my tear-stained determination, and I am going to sally forth and establish something bigger, better, and brighter than I had before.

And starting over is not something we do voluntarily, even if we choose to do it. Being positive and hopeful about it helps.

Does not mean I relish the opportunity.

 

 

480: Up to Me

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Most of what I want…is up to me.

The job I have can be accepted and embraced with a sense of optimism, and improvement – ownership. I can show up every day to endure, or I can show up every day to make a difference. Or, I can shift my butt and make a move.

The relationship I have with my significant other can be explored with thoughtful, caring concern, shored up with love, admiration, respect, and acceptance, and enhanced by deeper intimacy: emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. I can invest my time and myself in this relationship. Or, I can shift my butt and make a move.

The body I live in can be cared for, exercised, fed sensibly and prudently, stimulated with inspirational ideas and experiences, rested and invigorated with sweet dreams, shared with another who matters, and explored (by me, and whomever else I allow) for its limits. Or, I can shift my butt and make a change to get where I’d rather be.

My state of being is up to me. I decide how I am going to face the day, and in what frame of mind I will live out my hours in this rotation of the Earth. I can reflect on what happens during my day, and I can choose to shift my butt and modify my behavior so that next time I get a more pleasant result.

My circumstances are partly under my control, in that my choices and decisions contributed to what I am experiencing, and where I am today. What part of my circumstances that isn’t under my control is still mine to respond to, and that IS a choice I get to make. I can shift my butt, and make conscious, not knee-jerk, choices.

It is my life and if it is mine, I can shift my butt and with happiness aforethought – I can deliberately LIVE IT.

Thank God every sunrise is a new beginning. I CAN shift my butt today. My choice, my opportunity.

479: Gimme, dammit

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I want some.

I want some care, concern, and affection from a significant other – and a significant other would be nice while you are at it. I want it NOW, today, right this very minute. (stomps foot and pouts)

I have spent years – YEARS, I tell you – being primarily concerned with the well-being of others: students, friends, coworkers, husbands, children, the dadgum PETS, and even the freaking houseplants. I am pathetic. And responsible. And mostly an adult, which is sucking the life right out of me (some days I’m whiney, too).

I wish I could get away with rolling about on the floor, drumming my heels and screaming, but at the advanced age of 5(mumble, mumble), I would look ridiculous, and would certainly throw out my back, as well. WHY is piching a hissey fit something allowable only to toddlers, who don’t have NEARLY the justification for pitching a fit as us mature adults do? Ye gods.

When is it MY TURN?