I don’t have a significant other this Valentine’s Day, I have something better: I have two incredible boys and a ton of friends and family who are simply irreplaceable. I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s a silly made-up holiday to sell a bunch of stuff that will either die (flowers), make you fat (sweets) or just reduce the size of your bank account (jewelry).
But what I love about it is that people everywhere celebrate love. So for the first time ever, I’m making myself my Valentine this year. I love me. I love that I sing loud and off-key in the car and at HEB and really just wherever the mood strikes me. I love that I dance in the open and dance in the rain. I love that I am often unintentionally funny because I do really silly things. I love that I don’t take myself seriously. I love that I’m generous, kind and forgiving. I love that I treat my body like a temple and sometimes like an amusement park. I love that I love amusement parks.
I love that I have courage to keep my boys’ lives steady even when it would be so much easier to move home or just anywhere else and start over. I love that I let myself be vulnerable when it would be easier to say that relationships are for the birds. I love that I have values and boundaries and that my favorite word is one you don’t hear in polite company.
So for all you single peeps celebrating today solo, cheers to you! I hope you remember to love and celebrate yourself today.
Rihanna and Drake aren’t the only ones singing about communication issues. There are nuances with the spoken word that don’t come across in the written word. How you say something, the tone you use, your body language makes all of the difference as to how something is perceived. We all know this, but texting is easy so we resort to it anyway - in dating, our friendships, etc.
Awhile back, someone paid me a genuine compliment through text. The way I read it, it seemed more like a corny joke, so I “lol’d.” Oops! (Egg on my face) I would never laugh at someone who is being sincere especially when they’re paying me a compliment.
On a different occasion, a friend, who I’ve known for years, texted me. I read it as I was walking into a meeting and didn’t have time to respond. She texted later hoping that I hadn’t taken offense and wanting to clarify. I hadn’t taken offense at all, because when I read it, I heard her voice and know her well enough to know how that message should come across. Re-reading it, I could see how she thought I might have interpreted it differently.
But, when you’re getting to know someone, either through dating or a new friendship, the meaning in those messages can get lost. It’s easy to get sucked into texting because you can do it when you have time. It allows you to do other things at the same time and also cuts down on moments of silence. But phone calls and face-to-face add those crucial communication layers so that messages are more accurately conveyed and when you’re getting to know someone, those are things that matter (at least to me).
I’m a writer and I have those “oh shit” moments when I draft an email and hit send instead of save (same with text) before I have a chance to reread and see if it conveys what I’m trying to say. It can be hard to write tone especially when you’re in a hurry or emotionally responding to something.
Everyone has different communication styles and I know that writing can also be easier for some (especially guys) when it comes to expressing emotions. But if you can learn to open up and be vulnerable with someone face-to-face, the communication, and your relationship, will be so much richer for it. And you’ll learn to how to talk to the other person. (Yea! You and your message are understood.)
I’ve heard the comment several times that I’m a woman of few words (when texting). That’s because I’ve decided that if you want to get to know me, I’m the old-fashioned type and face-to-face or phone conversations work best. If I get to know someone well enough through those methods first, I’m happy to text more. Otherwise, I think it’s just a waste of time.
And, texting crucial conversations is the worst. When emotions have the potential to run high, meaning can get completely lost through text (or email). Part of that message is just gone, or misinterpreted. Bye Felicia! Something that started out as a minor difference (and could've been easily and quickly resolved) can end up being a BFD. Ugh! No one has time for that.
In the song, “Too Good” their issue is communication. Don’t be like the dude in the DIRECTV commercial. Don’t end up in a communication ditch. Don’t end up Lost in Textlation.
Drake “Too Good”
There is so much to do in and around Austin for a single person. It's an incredible playground full of fun.
During the month I didn't have my kids, I explored. I promised myself when I was going through my horrific separation and divorce that I would try new things. I read, I ran, I wrote, I went out with friends, I dated, I shopped, I talked to my kids, I met knew people, I decorated my house and relaxed.
Thank you to all of my friends (and friends of friends) who helped make the summer truly memorable.
Here are some of my favorites:
Go to a concert and meet the band
Twenty One Pilots, Mute Math and Chef's Special concert was incredible at Circuit of the Americas.
There's tons of concerts every weekend.
Go to a concert and dance onstage with your friends
We rented a party bus and went to the 90s concert at the Cedar Park Center. SO MUCH FUN!
Eat delicious food
La Condesa is so very good and they make a great Sangria.
Uchi, Odd Duck, Lick's Ice Cream, Geraldine's... There's so much good food in Austin.
The Rose Room is my fav right now. But there's tons of places if that isn't your thing.
Go to a Grand Opening and Give to Charity
Hanover's 2.0hanovers2.com Grand Opening was tons of fun with a special performance by my friend's children, Suede, yummy food and drinks, great service and hilarious friends.
They offer table service.
We celebrate everyone's birthday and have a large group, so there's always a party somewhere. Make your friend feel special with a great night or day out: Wine Tour, Wagner's Backyard, Cover 3, Jack Allen's, a stay in a downtown hotel, Hanover's, etc., etc., etc. LOTS of OPTIONS!
Splash in the Puddles and Walk in the Rain
It finally rained. Downtown was completely deserted and so pretty! Made for a great stroll with the lights reflecting off the water.
Go to a Wedding - Celebrate Love
Friends had their after party at Cedar Street Courtyard! GREAT IDEA! Band was funky and so funny.
The season is almost over, but there's still time to catch a game. It's a great way to relax with friends and family.
Excellent place for adults! There's plenty of space to park your rear in the sand (sun and shade) and relax around the lake with lakeside drink service. Horseshoe Bay offers a marina with boat and jet ski rentals (so much fun), tons of pools with music and bars nearby, tennis, mini golf, yummy restaurants, etc. etc.
Trapeze lessons, football games and whatever I can get into. :) Life is an adventure - go get it!
My guy friend gives great advice and I know he has my best interests in mind. We met while working together last year and became great friends. We tried the dating thing but I had a lot going on and my heart was really with someone else so we’ve stayed friends.
Guy friends are solid, good friends. Like any good friend, he’ll pick up no matter what time of the day or night I call or text. His normal line is “well hello pretty lady” or some variation of that.
1. Having that guy perspective is awesome. I texted late one night because I couldn’t sleep but didn’t want to wake him up by calling. I texted, “Love sucks.” His reply was great. Noticing I was up way past my usual bedtime and knowing my situation, he replied, “Love doesn’t suck. People suck. Love is great.” Spot on. Guy friends point out when a guy is being a douche.
2. They give it to you straight. When I complained that someone was being an ass, he pointed out that I was being an ass too. Good point. Teachable moment for me. Sometimes you need someone who isn’t “in” the situation to show you what you’re doing and how it looks to a guy.
3. No drama.
4. No competition. There are no categories for which we would ever compete. Guy friends just look out for you and your best interests. They can also be your wingman and your body guard.
5. Hanging out is so low key. There’s no gossip. You can watch (or even play) sports with them. They don’t care if you stop listening to them or shush them during a really good or important play. They get it. You quite literally eat, drink and be merry. Going out is fun and funny. You get to try new “guy” things.
6. Compare notes from the “other” side. When I’m like WTF? He breaks it down and vice versa.
7. Respect. It’s really cool to just have that mutual respect from the opposite sex without someone always trying to get in your pants.
I'm loving this place. The dance floor packs them in like sardines with a DJ that keeps you going all night. Pair that with a cool light show and the place is hoppin'. If you get thirsty, there's a bar on either side with bartenders who can help you out with just about anything you can think of. And, if you need to cool off, you can people watch from the second or third floor balconies.
Despite the crowd, my girlfriends and I were able to make a little circle on the outside of the dance floor to get our grove on. The circle collapsed now and again with everyone pressed together, but people move on and off the dance floor. One of my friends couldn't believe this great of a night club was in North Austin.
After awhile, we wanted a break. There's a door that leads to 77 Degrees, the rooftop bar next door, which is pretty darn cool and a totally different vibe.
Tips for not getting your butt grabbed:
So, one of my friends danced on the inside of our circle most of the night and her butt saw a lot of unwanted action.
1. Keep your booty pointed to the outside edge/stage/DJ
2. Don't stop moving.
Yes, that means some of your friends takes one for the team, but it's not you. Of course, that didn't stop a guy from grabbing my ring hand to see if I was married, but hey, you pick your battles.
What is it with guys grabbing women now anyway? Do you think that's going to go over well? What happened to hands off?
People ask frequently how I cope. One of the ways I cope is through an incredible support system - my tribe. My solid, bad ass group of girlfriends. They show up, get things done and have my back. It is the most inspiring and heart-warming thing I’ve ever experienced.
Songs about this are as long as my arm. When you’re going through a divorce, you need your tribe. You may instinctively know who these people are in your life. You may even be surprised at who all ends up in your corner.
Whether you initiated the divorce or it was thrust upon you, you will need these people as you navigate this very muddy minefield. These girls will give you a shoulder to cry on, say what a **** he is, drink with you, chill with you, go out with you, make plans for you, plan an entire birthday month of parties, spend the night with you curled up on the couch, pull you out of the house when you feel like binge watching Netflix, open her house up to you and your kids in the middle of the night, laugh hysterically when it takes the two of you an hour and several household tools to open a bottle of wine, and close up like a vault when your name comes up during youth sports or PTA meetings.
These women are your lifeline during this very crappy and sucky process. You need them. You’ve been there for them (or you will be when the time comes) and they know this. They know you. They know your strengths and your weaknesses (e.g. oatmeal raisin cookies that they will stock their homes with and whip up a fresh batch with “I love you” notes). They will not let you fall or fail. They will stand by you. They love you.
Let them love you during this time. It isn’t weakness to talk to them, vent, cry, laugh-whatever you need. Everyone processes this differently. Some let all of their emotions out and cry or vent. I wanted to squash it all and put it in a box to deal with at some other time in the very distant future. Coming out on the other side, I can see that each have their value and place. I’ve learned to cry with my friends and do a bit of venting as well.
Just remember during this process that they are your friends and not your therapist. Yes, they will fulfill that role at times, but be sure you are having fun with them too. Be sure to ask them how they are and have those typical conversations you had before your life was turned on its head.
After the initial shock wore off, I didn’t want to discuss my ex or situation when I hung out with my friends. Yes, I’d give a general update about where things stood, but I had those thoughts in my head enough. I wanted to know about their lives. I wanted to have fun with them like we always had. I didn’t need to relive every bad thing he said or did. Saving full-on gripe sessions for your therapist allows you to focus on your friendship with your friends. No one wants to hear about your issues over and over. You know the friend who always complains? Don’t be that friend.
If you don’t have a group of friends like this, go find some. Seriously. I have a girlfriend in Dallas who joined MeetUp and found women in similar situations. They bonded. They’re still good friends.
You also need to understand that you aren’t a good friend right now. That’s okay, but eventually, you’ll need to move on to the next phase and go back to being there for your girls as well.
I'm single and loving it. Two kids and a busy job. Life is an adventure. Being single is liberating. Life is short, spread joy.