February 27, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You.

It was Girls Night Out! For this month's Wow meeting, I had planned an evening to have dinner and see "He's Just Not That In To You," since I thought it would be fun to see a dating movie with The Girls. And I was right. There were seven of us ladies at Stonefire Grill, eating salads and talking. Some of the ladies didn't know each other and, after only a short time, started exchanging phone numbers and planning future nights out. I love to see that, how women so easily bond quickly with other women.

We grow up with little boys acting strangely around us and we don't understand their actions. The movie told a story about a little boy pushing down a little girl who asked him why he did that and he said "You're made of dog poo." When the little girl tearfully asked her mom why the boy said that, she was told "it means he likes you." Huh? So we grow up, date a guy, and spend countless minutes and hours trying to figure out the meaning of his actions or words, calling girlfriend after girlfriend, guessing what it all could mean. According to the movie and the book of the same title, it's really still just like when they were little boys, that what they say has often the opposite meaning and that they are just as unwilling or unable to tell us the truth. But maybe we are just missing the point by trying to read too much into what the guys say. "Nice to meet you" doesn't mean they want to see us again. "We'll talk" doesn't mean they're planning to call us again. "See ya later" doesn't mean they want to see us again. So what's a girl to do?

The movie was "cute" but there was something wrong about it, something unnerving that took me some time to figure out. For sure, we women need to take things at face value, live in the moment, and stop thinking ahead. It seemed like the women in the movie created futures with these guys in their heads and these became fantasies that the women strove to make happen. Like the story of the couple who met, fell in love, and married at the pushing of the woman, but then later they both realized how unhappy they were, how the relationship wasn't the one of their fantasy any more, or maybe it never was. The movie showed several unhappily married couples, mostly because of the wives who made something out of nothing, like the couple at their wedding arguing over whether the guy hesitated before "saying I do." The movie made women look pushy and unrealistic and the guys look weak and whiny and it made me uncomfortable.

I haven't dated for a while and have been pretty comfortable on my own. This movie certainly didn't make me want to grab the first guy I see, but it did make me even more sure of my own views. That I need to live in the moment, enjoy whatever is happening right now and stop "futurizing." That I need to continue to strive for good communications with men I might meet, checking out what it is they are really saying by asking them, not others. That life does not revolve around having a romantic partner. And that a night out with girlfriends is always fun.

February 14, 2009

Men, Women, and Valentines.

It’s Valentine’s Day today and I’m thinking of men and women and how we get along. Or don’t get along.

On Dr. Phil’s show yesterday about romance, he revealed the results of a poll he had given, asking what men and women wanted for Valentine’s day. 86% of men and 6% of the women wanted sex. 80% of the women and 7% of the men wanted to be taken out for a romantic evening the mate had planned. He had some couples on the show, asking how to rekindle romance in their lives. The women said that they think it’s an act of love when the men take out the trash and the men think it’s a duty they can postpone or avoid. These are serious differences, don’t ya think?

It reminds me of a joke a girlfriend sent me recently. The married couple was spending some time together running errands, but the woman thought the guy was being rather distant. She spent the rest of the day obsessing about what could be wrong, that maybe he didn’t like her or find her attractive anymore, that he was probably trying to get up the courage to leave her. She wondered how she could make him want her again and whatever had she done wrong. She went on and on and on, finally deciding to seduce him in bed that night. What did the guy say to himself about their day together? “Too bad my motorcycle didn’t start, but at least I got laid.” We are SO different!

One of my favorite blogs is Adventures in Delicious Dating After Forty (http://www.datinggoddess.com/) In a post titled “Sweetie-less for Valentine’s Day” she asks us to remind ourselves that we are a terrific catch, to list the reasons why, and to treat ourselves as our own Valentine. She writes to Do for yourself what makes you feel loved. Do something you like to do that you don’t do very often: draw a warm bath, play favorite music, light candles and relax. Or order take out, get in your jammies early and snuggle down with a DVD. Or turn up the stereo and dance to your favorite music. Indulge and enjoy what you love to do. She says to meet up with gal pals, get a manicure and pedicure or massage, and show our appreciation to those we love, that we have the steady love of ourselves and not to take it for granted!

So that’s my wish for you and me, that we remember how unique and special we are, that we stop and notice all the people who love us and think about why, and that we remind ourselves that being here and loving others makes the world a better place.

February 11, 2009

Courage, gifts, and joy.

Sometimes life is rich. I'm feeling quite happy to be alive, calm, relaxed, secure, confident, and peaceful. This is a good thing.

I had a nice weekend. I had the grandchildren Friday night and, as always, they brought smiles and silliness and joy to my home and my heart. We made cookies, played with our new dinosaur stencils, and made bracelets from beads they painted. They recently took some skating lessons and haven't done well and have been bored by the inactivity, so we drove to a sports store and bought inline skates, at the suggestion of their mommy, and skated around the store. After they went home, my beautiful curly-haired daughter sent me a short video of them skating in their playroom, full of smiles and loud giggles. These moments bring me to tears, seeing the joy they feel and knowing that I was a small part of making it happen.

It was even a good week at work. For the first time, my boss' complaints didn't hit me in the gut. I'm no longer accepting responsibility for their mistakes and am politely, but firmly, letting them know. I'm realizing my worth, my value, and not feeling torn down by their words. This, too, is a good thing.

And tonight I had a visit with my hypnotherapist, not because I was having issues, but because I wanted to stay well. While I was "under," she had me open three gifts, in the quest to get a clue where my path will lead next. The answer was that I don't know where I'm heading, that I don't need to figure it all out, and that I am content to wait to see what comes, knowing that I will embrace whatever it is. The most amazing part of this was that, in the third gift box, there was a beautiful and colorful silk cloth that I wrapped around me, and I knew that it was symbolic of me, that the vibrant colors signified the vitality and life and strength of who I am now. After this session, I was taken to dinner and a massage by one of the Wowettes, a really beautiful woman whom I adore, someone who realizes that the riches of our lives are the friends we love and the family who love us. The dinner was delicious and the massage amazing, but even more grand was knowing that I could have a such a special friend who thinks I'm worthy of such a treat. And I got home to an email from another Wowette who wrote that she finds me amazing and listed the reasons why. And these are women I would not have ever met had I not reached out and formed Wow. More good stuff, more really good stuff.

I tell you these things not to brag, but because I have spent many, many years trying to heal myself from childhood wounds, years and years of pain and anguish coming to grips with a family who chose to find ways to make me feel unworthy and unlovable. It's been worth every bit of pain, every sad and teary moment, to come to a place where I come to know that I am a person of value, that I am a person who loves and is loved, that I am a person who is glad to be alive. And that, my dear readers, is pretty amazing.

February 1, 2009

Perceptions, definitions, and another Ellen

I believe in the connectedness of the universe. The butterfly effect, that the flapping of a butterfly's wings could alter the development of a tornado, that my actions have a ripple effect that I might never know. That everything we do, every thing we learn, every person we meet changes our lives. And theirs.

The January Wow meeting was this week. One by one, the ladies come into my home with their potluck menu offerings and their smiles and their cheeriness, filling my home with their energies. This time, we had Ellen Stohl (www.ellenstohl.com), a friend of my beautiful curly-haired daughter. I have always known the many pleasures of having a daughter as delightful as mine, but I've only recently realized a new pleasure, that the new friends she makes can change my life, too.

Ellen spoke to us on the topic "Define: Me!" Ellen's thought is that we perceive and define ourselves through the filter of others. Society has a model of perfection, for us women it's the actress with perfect make-up and hair, gorgeous men by her side, designer clothes on her tiny body, someone who might be unhappy, but still remains our idol. And our perceptions and definitions change as we age, as we have children, as we change jobs, as we change mates. We don't live in a vacuum, isolated, so we compare and judge ourselves based on what we think we "should" be, rather than appreciating our uniqueness. Others tell us who we are and we accept that definition.

The reality of who defines us came to Ellen when she was nineteen and involved in a car accident that left her an incomplete quadriplegic, living life unable to walk. She learned that people's perceptions of her and what she could accomplish became defined by her paralysis, that they saw the wheelchair first and the woman second. Yet, there appears to be almost nothing that she can't, and hasn't, done since her accident. She became an actress, rode on a motorcycle, explored a museum in Brazil, got stood up by Charlie Sheen, completed the Los Angeles Marathon Bike Tour, participated in a season of the LA Chamber Ballet, got pregnant, became a mother, bungee jumped, and posed for Playboy. Whew!

Her message is to define ourselves, to ask ourselves what do I see in myself, how do I see myself, what do I do for myself that makes me feel sexual since our sexuality comes in defining ourselves, really knowing the real us. Do I view myself negatively or positively, do I see myself as a potential partner or make assumptions about myself that prevents meeting my match. That coming to know ourselve as we really are, separate from the views of others that we have incorporated, allows us to like and love ourselves which shows, making us more attractive to others. Ellen says that, if given the choice, she would not undo that accident that changed her life, as it put her on a path of self-discovery that has made her the strong and vibrant woman she is today.

The next morning after enjoying Ellen, I attended the memorial service for Dr. Richland, one of my physician employers who recently passed away. It was an emotional week before that, with my other doctor writing and rewriting his presentation, both of us crying as we read it over and over. And I was scheduled to speak as well, after an esteemed list of doctors and before the family members, and I was honored to be chosen. As much as I was saddened by his loss, the tributes by the doctors and family were amazing, as if each person had known a different piece of Dr. Richland and together we created a total picture of the man. I thought back to what Ellen had said, how we define ourselves based on the views of others, and realized that I often think of myself as lesser than the doctors in my professional community, that somehow they are higher on some list of importance than I am. After speaking about the doctor in front of all the other doctors, I felt different, somehow elevated in stature, somehow more equal to the docs.

Likely I have always felt "less than" others, less important or smart or pretty or valuable, and I appreciate Ellen's opening my eyes to our self-perceptions that already have allowed me to view myself as a more worthy human being. I wonder how many times I feel anxious or troubled that I am just judging myself against others and coming up short. I vow to come to know myself, to create a reality and perception of myself based on who I really am. I thank Dr. Richland for allowing me to be part of his life, to know and be cared about by such a remarkable person. And I thank Ellen for opening my eyes to me. It's that connectedness thing again, how my daughter picked a particular school for the children and met Ellen and now she has changed my life, and clearly the lives of many, in a very positive way.