WE WERE NOMINATED! So, we pay it forward

liebster1 Hey loyal readers!  We love inspiring you, and we love the inspiration we get from you–especially our fellow bloggers!  We were nominated for a Liebster Award by JustAddTea! WE love you!!  and Love that you love us!  Anyhoo–we’ve followed The Rules, answered your questions, and want to pass on the love!  Go check out JustAddTea’s Blog after reading this! The purpose of the Liebster Award is to recognize up-and-coming new bloggers, bring exposure to them, and encourage networking between us. The Rules

  1. Link the person who nominated you to your blog post. Thank them and let them know you answered their questions. 2. Answer the 7 questions given to you by the nominator. 3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers with a following of less than 500. 4. Create 7 questions for your nominees to answer. 5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them. 6. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.

Our answers to the questions posed to us:

  1. Why did you start blogging? We met up to reunite a cold evening in January and realized we were living very similar lives even though we are in different places. People are always asking us for advice. And we are constantly learning through our life trials. We thought we’d share experiences and inspire.
  2. What is your favorite blog post that you’ve written so far? LL: Sex With Friends Clare: Growing Out of Friends
  3. What do you do when you’re not blogging? Clare: actress/nanny in NYC and all the running around that entails! I’m also writing a work of fiction. LL: When I’m not blogging I’m coaching! I teach Pilates and coach teachers and studio owners on business and life goals. Enjoy a good book, Netflix and hiking, yoga…such an LA answer! Haha
  4. How do you come up with your blog ideas?  LL: life in general! Sometimes it’s simply an over heard conversation that gets me thinking. Often it’s hearing someone say something and my reaction to it. As in Don’t want it now. My now boyfriend then said “I just don’t know what I want right now” and my reaction was “I know what I want! I just don’t want it right now.” Clare: It’s life inspired. Usually it’s because I’ve had a phone conversation with a friend and a topic stands out and the hamster in my brain won’t stop running until I’m writing.
  5. Who inspired you most in your life? Clare: I’m generally inspired by anyone who is out there chasing a dream. LL: No one particular person…maybe when I was younger Santa Claus intrigued me because he could do so many things in one night! Now as an adult I find inspiration in people following their dreams and taking their own journey.
  6. Do you have a set place/time/routine when you blog?  Clare: I usually get inspired late at night–this probably comes from being a college student and writing those late night papers. I also get crazy inspiration on the subway and in the shower. LL: Nope! Maybe some day but I will write whenever I’m inspired and have a moment to get the idea down. I find my outdoor office is where I get complete blogs out and my comfy bed is where I can edit.
  7. Do you hope to impact people who read your blog?  Why or why not? LL: absolutely!! I want for people to have their best life. To be their best self. To have self love and self worth. My experiences good, bad, ugly and or sexy can help them reach their next level. Clare: definitely. We aspire to inspire hope and quench the fears in this sea of life. We want people live their best lives and share their experiences.

We nominate: This, That, and the other Thang  (You’re a DOLL!  We adore you!) Fearsome Beard  (You make us giggle, and wish we could have beards!) Wheat Free Dairy Free Kitchen (These are yummy! and LL is GF!!) Simply Delish  (Yeah, we like food. A LOT.  And we adore your blogs!) Hopelessly Romantic Cinderella   (Your adventures are entertaining!)   And now, nominees above, you have to answer our Questions: 1) What was your most exciting moment with your blog? 2) Craziest thing you’ve written or written about? 3) Did you inspire someone today? Why or Why not? 4) What is your favorite quote or saying? 5) If you could have one person read your blog—living or dead—who would it be? 6) Is the glass half empty or half full? Explain. 7) What do you want to be when you grow up?

Sex With Friends

I have promised in the past that I would explain how you can “hook up” with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship.
Finally I’m delivering…

First, is it possible to date, make out with, or sleep with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship? Sure! Anything is possible. Do I recommend getting skin close to all your friends? No. But the reality is: you probably will, and I want you armed with the tools to enjoy it before, during, and after.

A few disclaimers:
1) just because you “hook up” with someone, a friend, stranger, or date does not a relationship or commitment make.
2) if you “fall” for every person you flirt, kiss, text or sext (I have opinions on this stay tuned on my sexting blog another day) then diving into your pool of friends is not the best idea. In fact I would tell you absolutely not. You’re not able to handle it.
3) if the lack of communication from someone you sends you to the fridge, bar, or any other binge…you’re not ready (for dating of any kind, and definitely not dating a friend).
4) if you don’t have all the self love we coach/talk about here at Live ClareLesley…you’re not ready.

If you fall into the “not ready” category this doesn’t mean you have to hide in a closet. I don’t want to make a hermit-nun out of you. Quite the opposite, actually. But your focus shouldn’t be on dating anyone, especially your friends. Your focus should be self love, self respect, self growth. When you’re the person you want to be, then go enjoy the fruits of your labor. If that means hooking up with a friend, cool.  You will have our glowing permission. Get yourself to be your WHOLE self first. Then another Whole self will find you. It may even be a friend.

Ok, now that the disclaimers are out of the way lets get dirty, in a friendly way.

Why are friends with benefits a good idea? Think about it! You pick your friends based on things in common. You spend time together, talk about things you like, don’t like, want in life…sounds a lot like dating to me.

There’s nothing awkward about a friendship, no games being played it’s easy-peasy, my dears. So, it makes sense if you and a friend find your way into each others arms. In fact, in most of my coaching on relationships my clients wish they could find a partner they are best friends with. Again, why not dip into the friend pool?…you want your partner to be your friend. Your friendship foundation is already set. Try the dating thing. It might just be the door to a fantastic relationship.

Can you just be friends with benefits? Sure!  Again, anything is possible and it really depends on the two (or more in some cases…my sweet friend, you know who you are) parties involved. Again, you must be able to get past all four disclaimers above and you must truly know and love who you are. The other parties have to also be the same. It won’t work if one of you is a rock star in the self growth category and the other is starving for love, attention, and a partner.

Remember sleeping with a friend does not a partner make. Just because you and your friend cross that clothing barrier bridge, doesn’t mean you are an item. It means you slept with your friend. That actually is worth repeating! Anyone and I mean ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make. Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.

So, How do you start? Well one of you has to make a move, start the conversation. Is the thought of making a move freaking you out? Then, you’re not ready for this. In my past dates with friends, it’s not so black and white. The line from planning, to hang out as friends and going “out” is blurred. In fact, looking back I can’t say at the time I knew we were “crossing the barrier.” It was more like, I hoped we might.

The Comedian: He was more of an acquaintance. We would see each other out with other friends. The two of us were connected via the benefits of twitter and Facebook but we had not exchanged digits. We had lots of things in common. Eventually, he reached out to me personally. He heard I was single and we took our fringe friendship to a direct one. Texts became more frequent a date was planned and a dinner an kiss were enjoyed. There were no fireworks. We had a great time. We have hung out since even. Celebrate the successes we’ve achieved individually. We are closer friends now because we tried to take it to the next level.

Those of you who understand this, are ready for the dating world and even the dating-your-friend-pool world. Just because we didn’t fall madly for each other, does not mean we can’t be friends still. None of those things changed.

The Yogi: I do not recommend you fall for your Yoga, Pilates, Personal Trainer, EVER! If things get weird you will be the one to find a new teacher. They have their classes, their schedule set. In my case as a Pilates Instructor I know many other instructors so me dating a Yogi friend…well I have plenty of them. We had been friends for some time. Our clients and surrounding acquaintances often overlapped. Finding out we both were single at the same time, we set up a time. Again, no definite plans for the long term, but there were hopes. Wishes do come true. We had a great date, awesome convo, and an enjoyable night. We even wanted to go out again. But timing is everything. In the end we went back to being friends. We still are. We both have found wonderful happiness in other relationships. Turns out, now both of us  are dating someone we were friends with before.

My Love: We were introduced by a mutual friend. We had the best time together. We talked for hours. Then because timing is everything. We did nothing. Over the course of the next 4 months we spoke, even hung out once. We got to know each other. Then logistics in our lives made it easier to hang out. So we did every week. We talk about our pasts, past relationships, breakups, desires and dreams. Then we decided to give it a go! Best decision EVER. Dating one of my friends means I always have someone to talk to about ANYTHING. No games. Just love, kindness and respect.

What do each of these scenarios have in common?
1) COMMUNICATION.  In person, or over the phone. The good, old fashioned conversations. Between each other, not other people.
2) NO BIG DEALS.  We didn’t make a big deal about the event, we didn’t get lots of people involved. We just did our thing.
3) WE ARE STILL FRIENDS.  Friendships don’t end because you kiss. They end for other reasons. See “Growing out of Friends

Each of you reading this will have a different experience. I am not going to sit here and tell you go slow, go fast, do this, or don’t do that. Nope. You have to choose your own adventure. I won’t be there every step of the way. All I can tell you is what I have already: you must be your whole self before you date anyone. Especially your friend.

Have a friend crush? AWESOME maybe that’s the love of your life waiting for you to be ready to give it a go.  As someone who has their best friend as their partner, I will give you my blessing.  Every time.

Self Love first, Date second, and always Live ClareLesley

LL

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Valentine’s Survival

I wrote this January 10th and while starting thought: I’m writing, ugh, a Valentine’s Blog. (We’re trying to get ahead so we can spend more time editing the book…yes, its coming. Get excited. Stay tuned!) Just to think about Valentines so far in advance makes me take deep breaths, and requires me to relax my shoulders.

I’ve been single every Valentine’s Day of my adult life. The rational part of my brain says, “its just another day.” The anti-greeting-card-gal thinks, “there are 364 perfectly other good days of the year to say ‘I love you’ so why are you all doing it today?” The 10-year old inside urges me to buy the kiddie valentines and give them to my friends when I see them. I’ve spent a few sad Valentine’s Days feeling sorry for myself for being single, but I refuse to do that anymore. Instead, I choose to give and observe, love and caring instead. I know it sounds cheesy, and I’m still fantastically single, so I totally understand if this statement makes you cringe. Nevertheless, here is my recipe for a sorrow-free or at least a sorrow-less greeting-card-holiday.

1) Screw the red and pink hearts/flowers/balloons! Unless you like it all… then share it, respectfully! Reach out to those closest to you: Mom, dad, best friend, lover, child, roommate, pet, music teacher, bus driver, barista, writing partner. Tell them in some way you appreciate them. Feel free to make a monetary gesture if you feel it necessary, but love is best exchanged in heartfelt words.

2) Make your own damn plans. If you have a significant other or not, if you have friends, children, pets—if this is your holiday, go make your own plans. How do you want to spend the evening? With strangers at a bar? With friends around your own home cooked meal? Serving a meal to the homeless? With family members cuddled on the couch to watch a silly movie? Drinking a bottle of wine while on the phone with your mom who has a similar bottle of wine at her house? Don’t wait around to be picked—no one EVER liked being the last one picked in kickball at recess… screw that feeling. Do what will make you feel the happiest on this day. Plan it early, plan it late. Answer this question now without thinking: What will make you the happiest? Do that.

3) Don’t put so much damn pressure on your plans. I cannot begin to tell you how many Friend-en-tines parties I’ve thrown or attended, or even just made dinner plans, and put so much pressure on them that they were doomed from the beginning. This holiday should be about appreciation of relationships you share. Its been 6 weeks since our last major holiday to get together… relax and remember that you enjoy the people in your life. Spend the evening with people that make you laugh, food that makes you happy, and go places you won’t feel lonely.  Keep the day free of expectations!

4) Be prepared. If you throw a party, there might be a crier. There will probably be a few engagement announcements the following day. You might or might not get laid. Someone might give you a heartfelt something, making you realize that if they were picking kickball teams, you wouldn’t be last.  If any or all of these happen, take deep breaths and roll with it. February 15 is a day away. All will go back to normal tomorrow.

Valentine’s Day isn’t my holiday. Some years I get into it, and others I don’t. I’ve found that the best, and most memorable (or least memorable, depending on your perspective) Valentine’s were low key and spent with people who love me. I am so incredibly grateful to have so many incredible friends, most who would drop everything when I’m in need, to text me and tell me they’re available in 5 minutes. Just kidding—most would drop everything and run to me in a heartbeat.  (I love you all so much, and am infinitely thankful we’ve found each other.)

In every tribe there is a gatherer, a shaman, a group leader, a healer, the mama. I’m that person, in most circumstances. The hard part of that is not the being needed, instead it’s the asking for help and love when I need it. When I’m truly hurting, it hurts even more to ask for love. I’m telling you this because I understand the depths of despair and loneliness that holidays bring. I also understand that once I get over myself, and just ask for care that I want or need, it is given. Immediately. Wholeheartedly. Without hesitation. Don’t be afraid to ask for love.  Especially on Valentine’s Day.

I found my soul mate at the end of last year. Its kind of ridiculous, because its nothing like I would have assumed or expected. Its not storybook, or text book, and there isn’t going to be a traditional happy ending with us riding off into the sunset to a picket fence and kids and dogs… which I’m actually joyful about. It’s actually less pressure to know that someone who makes me immeasurably happy, and a better person just by standing near me, isn’t someone I have to be romantic with, but that I can just love and appreciate for everything he is. I’ve always known love comes in different forms, shapes, colors, and speeds. I appreciate and try my best to adequately reciprocate any love that comes toward me. That is the ultimate challenge, and goal: to simply love and be loved in return. Love might not be in your life in the picture perfect vision you seek, but I’ll bet you that you receive more love than you realize. I believe that love, like matter, cannot be created or destroyed, but it instead changes forms. I believe that all the love you want or need comes at you at any given time, it just might not all be from one direction, or from the direction you would prefer. But like my handsome soul mate is for me, love will be there for you, when wanted and needed.

So, my dear ones, as the cardboard hearts, flowers, and balloons flood your visions this Friday (and probably all weekend), remember that love begets love. The more you open your heart and share, the more you’ll find in return. I KNOW it sounds new agey, and dumb… but its true. Spend the day with someone you appreciate, and will appreciate you. If you can’t find a human, find an animal; find a view; find a park. Breathe it all in and know you are loved. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.

LOTS OF LOVE from both LL and I!!  Go, Love ClareLesley!

–Clare

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In Your Social Face

It’s happened to many of you. You open your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc app and the universe and filters magically put your Ex’s status front and center.

Not just any old status either. Nope, that would be too fair. In fact, if it did that everyday you probably wouldn’t notice their status, tweets or #tbt! Nah, inevitably when their post catches your eye it’s the “kissy face”, “relationship status change” or in my case “She THE ONE”.

Before you feel sorry for me: stop. This post is not about how I felt punched in the gut, cried, ate a box of cookies, or how it sent me into a spiral of drinking and sleeping around to avoid feeling lonely or jilted.  Actually this post is the opposite! Why? Because we all need to stop the jealousy, stop the whining and the freak outs that ensue when the Ex moves on. Jealously works the opposite way you want it to.

See I left my Ex. I left because after 5 years we just weren’t right for each other. He “wanted to want to marry me” (stay tuned for the Live Clarelesley book that goes into all the details of my break up). So, I left. A year and a half later we are both in different relationships. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in a relationship.  Then one day when I opened my Facebook and there it was. A status from my Ex. “She’s THE ONE”. I actually out of habit just scrolled right over it.  When my brain caught up, I scrolled back. Did I really see what I thought I saw?  Yep!  There it was.  I was thrilled.  Seriously very happy for him.  He had never “professed” like that about me.  I knew he meant what he was saying.

The other day another “profession” came through my newsfeed. Side note: somehow FB knows when something is unusual or a big deal since I never get the general, uneventful posts by my Ex. He proposed! Interestingly enough, I sat there feeling very proud of him.  I know that my reaction can be hard to believe. He’s my EX after all and he’s moving forward and is happier than ever. How can I be excited and proud for him? Simple I am excited, happy and proud in my own life.

I try to focus on living my own authentic life. One with love for myself. Not in a narcissist way. Just in the normal “I deserve to be happy and loved” way. I didn’t spend an ounce of time on jealousy of him or anyone for that matter.  I also kept in my mind all the reasons We didn’t work in the first place. How can I be jealous?

Why am I telling you all of this? Because you need to hear it! Your Ee boyfriend, girlfriend or even ex friend will pop up in your newsfeed when you least expect it! It will happen at the most inopportune time. Ready to literally “ruin” your day.

If YOU let it.

Yep, you have all the control in the world to how you react to a situation. I realize it can be an unexpected shock. But is it? Even if it is does it even really matter?

I began writing this post because my friend who left her ex a few months ago opened up her newsfeed and there it was. The kissy face picture. Her Ex with a new girl.  Kissing.  Of course she was shocked. They had  just broken up. It really opened up freshly healed wounds. Break ups recovery time, even if you were the one doing the breaking.  However, that kissy pic really took over her day. Did it deserve that much of her time?  Her thoughts?  Her brain space?

I’m not saying she or you shouldn’t deal with the feelings that these posts bring up. I’m saying ask yourself what is it that bothers you most?

  • Is it that they’re happier with someone else? Then perhaps do a happy check on yourself. What would make you feel happier?
  • Is it because they’re moving on? You broke up for a reason or reasons! Review those. Also, just because someone posts something doesn’t mean it’s honest. They could be posting to get a rise out of you. They could be posting to make people think they’re happy.
  • Is the post bothering you because they have “something” you want? Remember what I wrote earlier: “Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.”

While you’re sitting there stewing, they are off living their lives. In fact, while you’re busying your mind on them the whole world is moving forward.

Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.

If you do this, you make a habit of doing this. I promise those statuses won’t even catch your eye. Like I did you’ll scroll right on past. Then if you do happen to take note. You too will smile and be excited for their new life.

Here’s some easy tips:
1) Self Preservation
you can “un friend” anyone, “hide” or even “block”. Do what you need to do to keep you from becoming a “green eyed monster” or sad all together. You can always change that when you’re ready

2) Remember Remember
Why you split in the first place.  Why you’re in a better spot NOW.  There were good reasons that the relationship ended.  We always tend to remember the good stuff, but keep yourself in check by remembering the reasons you walked away from that relationship.

3) TAB (Click to see our blog on this subject!)
Not to complain but to reach out to someone who loves you and can turn that frown upside down. War in do not call the friend who will get angry or jealous and frenetic. Call the stable, “bright side up” friend.

4) SELF LOVE
I will never stop telling you to love yourself!

Xx~LL

 

Choose Your Own Adventure

It’s my birthday Month!

I absolutely Love LOVE LOVE! Celebrating my birthday. Did I mention I love my birthday?!

But I hate when people say they’re coming to my birthday celebrations and then last minute text, call, email or some other way to bail. I know things come up, people get sick, etc, etc. I just really don’t want to hear it on my birthday or while I’m celebrating.

So, I have devised a new way of planning and celebrating. A almost fool proof way to enjoy your celebrations without disappointment on whose ditching out: Choose Your Own Adventure!

You pick and plan how you want to spend your day/weekend. Invite your friends and family. Instruct them to “Choose the Adventure” they most want to do. But!! Unless instructed,  they DO NOT RSVP. This way, should something come up for them, you’re none the wiser and you can focus on enjoying those that did come!

Here’s what I did last year:

Friday drinks at The W 7pm-10

Saturday: 8am beach run
9:30 coffee brunch
1pm spa day
Dinner at my favorite restaurant (I will need to know if you’re coming for reservations)
10pm drinks at an Amazing bar
Sunday: 4pm Yoga
9pm drinks at Sassafras

This year’s adventure:

Friday: 6pm Olympic Spa (girls only)
9pm dinner drinks The Line Hotel
Saturday: 8:30am Yogaworks Weho

10am brunch below yoga studio
8pm Dinner Sage (made res for 12 please rsvp)
10pm Funky Sole Dance night at the Echo (get in line at 10 free before 10:30)
Sunday: 4:30 yoga by my house
6pm BYOKombucha or other fermented beverage the B&L haven

Those were the basics of mine. You can get as detailed as you want! The best part is…. I got to do everything I wanted to do and those who attended picked something up their alley. They chose the adventure they wanted to have with me. No lists needed. No trying to visit with everyone in one night.

I’m sitting here at the end of another joyous birthday. It’s typically my “new year.” I am happier than last year. Just like last year I was happier than the year before.  I am so thrilled to be celebrating my birthday today! I hope you can use my “choose your own adventure” birthday planning to enjoy your next one.

This is another way we at Live ClareLesley are inviting you to take control of your own life. Do things your way and that includes celebrating your birthday the only way you can. By being you!

Happy Birthday To Me, my fellow Aquarians and un-birthday to all of you!

Xx~LL

Finding Closure

Here we are in the third week of January. Can you believe its 2015? Last year wasn’t too terrible, but a lot happened to me. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to close the door to 2014 so I can move forward. Let’s find our way towards closure, together!

My amazing roommate has found herself unwillingly in a closure situation. A good friend of hers is in a terrible relationship. The proof is there that the man that the friend is seeing is cheating, in multiple ways. He is also leaving the country to go home to his own country for good in three months. Its obvious to everyone, including my roommate that her friend is in a relationship that is going nowhere and is a terrible situation. The friend just needs to walk away. My roomie talked with her all night long, and finally convinced her friend to kick the dude out. The next day, friend was standing up for the dude to my roommate and saying that he had no place to go, that he wasn’t really that bad, that she had misread things and none of the cheating was really as bad as she thought…. And so on. The reason the friend knew all of this about Cheater Dude was that she went back for closure—she needed to ask (and be answered) why he would cheat on her. Isn’t she more important in her own life to allow that kind of treatment? My question for her is: why do you need to know?

This has happened to all of us! Eeek!! You’re in a situation that you know is wrong. It just is. Its bad for you. It’s deteriorating your life, your sensibility, your soul. You walk away, or really you start to take steps in the direction that leads away, only to proverbially look back over your shoulder, catch a glimpse of what you’re leaving, and you run back looking for confirmation that you’re retreat was best for you. Only to find out information that you didn’t want to know.

When you read it all written out in a hypothetical, it sounds rather silly. However, it is human nature to look for closure. Humans are a species that likes to tell stories. We have proof that cave men and women painted pictures to tell tales. The Egyptians are famous for hieroglyphics that tell their history and stories. Disney makes millions and millions of dollars on stories that parents across the world are exhausted of watching over and over (if anyone sings to me one more time about wanting to build a snowman…). What do you do when you go out with friends—you tell stories about the things happening in your life! One thing about stories. They all have endings. We have trained ourselves as a society to look for endings. Everything that begins has to have some sort of close. Although we may, from time to time, refute this fact—it is true. Everything has an end. Every chapter has a final period. Every book has a final sentence. Every movie has rolling credits. There is seemingly an end to everything.

In every day life, credits don’t roll. There isn’t a final punctuation mark or thought or sentence. Sometimes there is just the quiet sound of someone giving up. Or being fed up. Or generally not being invested or interested anymore. It happens. Life is short. Just like when the book we are reading or the movie we are watching ends, we move past it because its over. Our attention span is only so long, and we move on to another event or person in our life. Sometimes we don’t even finish that book or movie.

In relationships, curiosity always gets the best of us, and pulls us back into situations that we know are wrong. We need to know the answers, we need to figure out what we did wrong, we need to know how to fix it or do better next time. Because of our story telling culture, with their morals and their tidy endings, we feel that we need to make everything end with a tidy final sentence with the bad guy going off to something horrific, and with a lovely scrolling “The End.” Roll credits. My lovelies, this is life. It’s harsh, it’s insane, it’s chaotic. There are rarely satisfying endings in life. Life is most satisfying when you take the reigns, go out and make it your own. If you don’t like the way a relationship or friendship or job situation is playing out, approach it. Work it out. If it isn’t work out-able, move on. Sometimes you have to let things go, and let them work themselves out. Sometimes you have to run, don’t walk, away from Cheater Dudes and Dudettes. Sometimes you have to end relationships with friends. Sometimes you have the chance to see them later in life and enjoy Schaudenfreude at their expense, and sometimes you have to remove them from your Facebook because you can’t stand to see continual happy pictures of them at family gatherings, weddings, with babies, etc.

Yes, it is an attractive thought to look up people and friends from past lives. With so many social media outlets that are at our fingertips, it is just too easy to look up people or groups that we have left behind, but still need to connect to, or confirm that our leaving was best. I fell into the trap of looking up an ex’s profile the other day—I felt good about myself because, oh my goodness is he still in the same exact place he was when we dated, and is seemingly going nowhere! But then I started to feel horrible—how could I ever have dated that person and why did I spend so much of my time at the end and after it was over, bemoaning the loss? Of course I spiraled for a bit, feeling sorry for myself. Anyway, the point is: had I not indulged and went to take a look at his profile, I wouldn’t have spiraled. I should have left that door closed, instead of seeking to find more closure on the subject. Because, here is another point: nothing would have satisfied me. Nothing. Even if he had died, I still would have been sad. Even if he had been ripped apart by dragons, his parts divided between aliens, and then eaten by worms on their separate planets, I still wouldn’t feel quelled. It was better to just not think of him at all. I made my closure when he left my life the first time, and I should just leave it at that.

I’m going to tell you a secret about closure: its within you. Yup. Serious. You’re in charge of all of the closure you get. Which is great because you’re in control of when the story ends. You can walk away at any time. You can choose how the story ends. However, when you return to someone else for closure, they have the power. Don’t let them have it. They’re probably the one who is in control of you anyway because you let them be. Stop the insanity. Take control. Make the closure happen. Walk away. Tell yourself positive things like: they were sucking the soul out of you and now you can actually thrive; single is much better than being someone’s puppet; that friend was making you into something you hate; you’re better than the ick that was happening to you; you’re a sensitive, wise individual who deserves better. Get up and get out. I promise you once you step away from the bad things, new and better things will replace it. Remove yourself from the toxicity.

I had a really “great” job several years ago. You might hear me reference this job several times, because having that job, actually losing that job was a huge catalyst in making me head in the direction I was meant to go. For now take my word on it that it was a good amount of money and benefits, but it was squashing my soul. I made some mistakes in the job, which led them to find more reasons to let me go. The thing is, to this day, I’m still curious about what happened to that place. They made me feel so terribly about myself in the time span I was working there, that I wonder if they’re still in business. I sometimes even find myself opening up a search engine and start to type in their name to look them up. But really, it doesn’t matter. I’m sure they’re still surviving. More importantly, I’m thriving. My life is all the better for having been kicked to the curb. That door was closed, and I’m leaving it that way.

My roommate chose to take closure into her own hands, too. She told her friend she could be friends, but could no longer listen to or be a part of her friend’s deterioration. My roommate stepped away from her friend—which wasn’t easy. We still don’t know what happened with the friend, and her straying beau.

We search for closure all of the time because we are trained to find the ends to stories, the results to equations, and the outcome of everything. Life is messy, and really only ends when you’re dead—and even then it’s questionable. Depending on what kind of mark you put on the world, you could live on in infamy like Marilyn Monroe, Al Capone, Robin Williams, Maya Angelou, or Mother Teresa. As an actress, I go to so many auditions that I never find out the results to—I could sing my face of and act my heart out and not book the job for any number of reasons. The same goes for any job interview, college application, house buying opportunity, great first date that never amounted to anything, or missed opportunity. Things end or don’t even get started. Sometimes the why isn’t important.

The biggest thing to know about closure is that it too is like a book or a movie—you have the ability to watch it again, or open up the book and start from the beginning. However, you already know the story. You know how it will end. You know that you didn’t enjoy it the first time… so why put yourself back in that situation. Instead, put the “book” back on the shelf, and the “movie” back in the case. Look at it from time to time to know that you lived it, and move on. Psychologically, we remember mostly the good things, and forget all of the bad. This is awesome; however, we have to remember that the toxicity is not for repeated indulgence. There are much better stories out there with much better plots, and more worthy of our time. Don’t reach out for closure. Close the story within yourself, put it away, and reach for a better one. Start 2015 by closing the door on the past!

–Clare

Am I An “Amy”?

I’m reading Gone Girl, and I’m almost done—don’t worry for those of you who are reading it or have plans to see the movie, I’ll talk about the book some, but nothing that gives away any spoilers. I have to admit the book was really difficult for me to read for the first section. I grew up in a small town in Kansas, and I know where North Carthage is. I have been to North Carthage. My Midwestern town seems grossly similar. I also now live in New York—and although I’m not the heiress and namesake of a popular book series (yet), I was feeling a lot of parallels in my own life. Which I’m sure is a point Gillian Flynn is trying to make—are you like Amy?

This fact is almost as terrifying as some of the twists in the novel. Amy talks about being a “Cool Girl” and makes herself a blend of what men think they want—the thin girl who isn’t afraid to eat, likes to be adventurous, and isn’t upset if a guy goes off and does his own thing instead of premade plans with her. There are a few articles out on the subject like this one, that state their viewpoints on “Cool Girl” status.

In the shower, I was thinking of this—I seem to do a lot of deep thinking in the shower, which is a pain in the ass because by the time I get out, I forget the amazing topics I had just brainstormed.  In the shower I wondered if I should shave my legs, but shrugged it off thinking: I’m not sleeping with anyone at the moment, so…why? After the shower, I was thinking about my last few weeks…I’ve been occupied by a relationship of sorts with a man and it wasn’t as engaging as I would have liked it to have been, so I’m moving on. But before it turned the corner, I was out shopping and planning. I bought new razors, thigh highs, and the pretty kind of panties—the ones that after you wear a couple of times just get all frizzy, so you save them in the back of your drawer for “special occasions” and then in a few years clean out said drawer, and end up throwing them away because they’ve somehow ratted up in the back of the drawer, even though they were never worn—yeah that kind. I have all of these things, and am ready “just in case.” Lesley and I had a conversation about this blog, and she brought up that a common complaint people have when dating is that the other person changes after three months of dating, and it isn’t true. People don’t change, they just relax back into who they really are.

I’m a comfort woman, not that I am lazy, but there are things that I don’t care to do, unless its for show. That being said, there are several things I do for myself regularly like wearing pretty smelling lotion, daily mascara, and blowing out my hair. But the myriad of things that I list to do when I think I’m about to hop into a relationship is a bit mind blowing for me. Partially because the list is seemingly long, but partially because I’m so easily willing to slip into a vaguely different version of myself, a better groomed, slightly more sexy, taller (the heels come out) version of myself. Because, in a way, this is what I think I need to be in order to start a relationship. Again, not major changes, but I don’t show up to a first date like I do to daily things.

I’m not just a heightened version of myself only when dating. We all go into different situations where we are a shinier, better, improved version of ourselves. There is a different me at work, there is a different me with certain friends, there is a different me at a networking party. It just happens. It’s when we play into this persona and create even more heightened versions of ourselves that it becomes an issue.

In Gone Girl, Amy confesses that she hates this person who she has made herself out to be, this perfect version of a wife for Nick. The perfect version of a daughter for her parents who are in a cookie cutter relationship. She hates it so much that she doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t even know what it is that she likes. Because she has created this character, partially out of fun and partially as an experiment, Amy makes herself out to be likeable (to which at one point she asks the reader if “likeable is a compliment”) and therefore makes fake relationships with people by being an amalgam of the things she thinks people want to see.

One of my favorite quotes is: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ee Cummings nails humanity on the head with that thought. What is the better choice: to be yourself, or to take on who you think people want to you be? Amy says it’s a game for herself to step into these people, these different stereotypes to be more likeable. Feminism says you should stand up and be different than the stereotypical woman. I say: I like fancy undies and heels when I’m out on a first date—heels for the first impression and to give a glimpse at how intimidating I actually am, and fancy undies so if my first impression of you is a good one, I can know that I have a secret I’d like to share—maybe not tonight… but sometime.


I’m not a feminist. I’m an equalist. I think that if you want to let your freak flag fly, then do. If you don’t, well… don’t. Your choice, just don’t hurt anyone intentionally. I think that its fine to be who you want one moment and try on someone else’s skin the next—just don’t get so deep in a lie  that you hurt someone, or worse hurt or confine yourself. If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave, do.

Plans to see the movie tomorrow with my book club, are urging me to finish reading Gone Girl even though my inner voice keeps comparing me to Amy. I think, even though the comparisons terrify me, I know that I’m not like her. Yes, I do try on different versions of myself, but all of them are rooted somewhere in me—I would wear the fancy undies and heels more often if they were more comfortable. But ultimately its not the true me. And when I do put on these personas it is for me—possibly driven by others—but in the end, for me. I’m going to go finish the book now… maybe you should go check on yourself and see how much of your outward self is for you, and how much is for the world… We’d love to hear your thoughts below! (Oh, and I JUST finished the book… I’m NOT an Amy.  Not even close.)

Clare

No More Projections, Please!

I was beat, abused, salted in wound and stabbed-in the front. Verbally. By a friend.

Now mind you it wasn’t the first time. I think we want to claim shock, surprise when these things happen but the truth as we know it is that we know our friends who do this have done it before. The friends that undercut, hit you where it hurts or take a dig at you. They’ve done it before maybe not so blatantly or maybe we excused or away. Perhaps we were “asking” for it or just turning the other cheek. After all they are our friend, right?

As Clare wrote about last week, Growing Out of Friends is an occurrence that happens. I started taking a look at my closet of friends. Who fits? Who’s in season or just a night on the town? On this particular night I decided to put on my Friday night family dinner outfit on. Everything was same old hang time until the evening went on. In an effort of caring my friend started lecturing me about choices I make, men I attract and why it’s all bad. I asked her to stop, I stood up for myself. She continued this time accusing of me being in love with “him”. I didn’t actually know who “him” was. So I asked her. As she said my ex’s name I got angry. First: NO. Second: why would she even say it? This totally came from left field and it stung. As calmly as I could I ended the conversation. Waited a minute and politely left the situation and went home for the evening. I am quite proud of myself. I do not know what she is going through but I have to believe that I know what’s best for me.

The situation got me thinking. This happens to so many of my clients. Friends digging into friends. I do not believe it’s on purpose but what if we caught ourselves? What if we stopped this cycle? Ladies, I love you. I truly do. But, I need a favor…please stop projecting your fears, worries, doubts, insecurities and any other negatives you’re feeling onto your friends.  Ok, I realize we all have been guilty of this, even me. However, I am working on. Taking a stand against projecting how I am feeling onto others in my life. Why? It’s really not helpful to anyone!

Let me give you another example: A Lovely Artist in my world had a chat with a girlfriend of her’s the other day. This other friend of hers was probably thinking she was being helpful, suggested Lovely Artist get back with her ex-boyfriend. After all she wasn’t getting any younger and it’s harder to find a good date, she should just go back. Lovely Artist was sent into day of feeling as if she maybe should go back to a guy she didn’t feel good about dating in the first place. Was he nice? Sure but he didn’t rock her world. She didn’t feel good about herself with him. This friend has told her more than once this week she just needs to go back to him. So, so wrong! Lovely Artist should do what makes her feel good about herself. She left him because she didn’t feel good about herself with him. Her friend should be supportive instead of projecting onto her the fears and woes she’s having in the daring world. Bad Advice Friend is probably wanting to get back with an ex, or is having troubles finding a good guy. Guess what? It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.

I teach Pilates to both men and women. I hear many stories about lovers, parents, friends and work. One thing I don’t hear a man complain about is his friend telling him to get back with an ex that wasn’t good enough for him. I don’t hear him say “my friend said I should just settle for the job I’m in.” Nope I do not have any male clients come into a session telling me that they are questioning their own judgment because of a friend’s advice. I have had many a female client come in after just hearing from their mom, best friend, female coworker that they “shouldn’t have done…” they “needed to do…” We women should be supporting each other. If your friend leaves her boyfriend: support her. If your friend says she’s thinking of leaving her job: support her! If she’s going back to the gym regularly: support her! Are you seeing the theme?

I understand that we worry for our friends. What if she can’t find another job? What if she ends up single for years? What if she becomes a gym rat? What if—who cares what if! There are what ifs for EVERYTHING! You can “what if” until the cows come home. Why not turn those “what ifs” into positives! What if she finds her dream job? What if she gets healthy feels good about herself, and because her self esteem is skyrocketing, she meets a great guy? What if she starts sailing her own ship? Wouldn’t that just be awesome?

I, honestly, do not think many of us ask the questions that put doubts in our friends minds on purpose. I really hope I’m right that its not a conscious decisions. Instead we should be more present in our conversations. Ask ourselves the question in our minds before stating it out loud how it might affect the person sitting in front of us, that we do care about. I think we would actually

1) learn something about ourselves.

2) have deeper, stronger friendships. We would be lifting up our friends rather than bringing them down.

How can you be sure you’re an uplifter? Think before you speak. Is what you’re about to say supportive of your friends decision? If its not, file it away for now. Ask yourself why you think that question is important. What do you fear?

My Lovely Artist spent a whole day feeling terrible and questioning whether she made the right decision when she left her ex for the possibility of happiness.   I will give her friend the benefit of the doubt that she did not mean to put Lovely Artist into a tailspin of self doubt. But, she wasn’t asked or this information, so why offer it?

Lastly, ladies don’t be afraid to tell, your friend: “Stop, hold up. Thank you for your opinion but I feel very good about this decision. I really just want you support.” Then check out Clare’s info one “growing out of friends.” (Read that blog post here: Growing Out of Friends)

I love being a strong woman, I love that my friends come to me for advice. I will be working hard to be their cheerleader not their party crasher. Who’s with me?

–LL