I’m Not a Cool Girlfriend

No one I have ever dated will ever call me cool.

The words, “loyal,” “honest,” and “intense,” may come up, but “cool,” despite my very best efforts, has never been a descriptor that fit me very well.

And believe me, I have tried so hard to be cool.

I have shrugged off missed dates, gotten over lies, moved past drunk indiscretions that “meant nothing.”  I’ve laughed off inappropriate requests,  given guys second chances without second guessing them, after seconds turned into hours, and then days without hearing from them.

I have dealt with cell phones smashed in fits of anger, holes punched into walls, and a million, “I’ll do better next times.”

I tried really hard to be cool.

You can ask my therapist how hard I have tried:

During one of our sessions, it was with desperate sincerity that I asked her if it was possible to take medication that could “dumb me down” just a little bit.   Make me feel like less of me.  Make me let things go.  Expect less of people.  Because I was sick of feeling like too much for  the people around me.

I’ve tried really really hard to be cool.

I’ve had people that insist on treating relationships like a game of “would you rather.”  I’d hear things like:

Well, would you rather he tell you about something he did that would upset you or have him lie to you?

Would you rather he get moody and disappear from time to time or have him be super clingy?

I’d play along and choose the lesser of two evils and pretend that it was enough.

I’d let lies slide by, I’d let communication lapse, I’d pretend I didn’t see things that I saw.  I’d let myself feel miserable. I’d bite my tongue when people told me to never settle.  Because all I ever heard about was how I needed to settle, because…well…guys just don’t ever really “get it.”

I really really wanted to be a cool girl.

But I couldn’t.

I have tried to be a cool girlfriend.  I have faked being cool.  I have literally paid in blood, sweat, and tears to be cool.  I’m not.

I cannot be a cool girlfriend for this one reason: I could never find that boundary between making a compromise and being a door mat.

And I finally got sick of being walked all over.  I couldn’t deal with having my faith in men and relationships destroyed all in the name of “keeping my cool.”

I’m not a cool girlfriend.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I refuse to believe that all men are as basic, and needy, and insensitive as the world at large portrays them to be.    I refuse to believe that in order to be in a partnership with a man, I have to accept a certain amount of “boys will be boys” behavior.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because at the end of the day, I believe that a boyfriend can treat me with the same respect, honesty, and integrity that I treat him with.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I expect my partner to treat every woman like he treats me.  I expect him to sit out strip clubs, I expect him to stand up for drunk women being creeped on in bars. I expect his adoration for me to reflect in his treatment and respect for every single woman he meets.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I believe that men can learn to honor, cherish, and fiercely protect the commitments  they make to the people they love.  They can realize that every decision they make either takes them towards their commitments, or away from them.  Without compromise.  Without question. Without ridicule.

I’m not a cool girlfriend because I know I don’t want a boyfriend who is “cool.”  I want a boyfriend who is brutally honest.  Who shows me his edges in moments of panic and says: how do I fix myself without hurting you?

I want a boyfriend who realizes that both of us, in the face of something real, like a relationship that matters, are so drastically uncool, and uncollected, that it’s beautiful.

I want a boyfriend who treats me like my friends do: who returns calls, checks in, invites me out, laughs at my incredibly not funny jokes, and recognizes how horribly overwhelmingly unfair it is for women to always have to be the cool one.  The one who understands. And forgives.  And pretends to forget.

So yeah, I know.  A lot of you out there are thinking: girl, you’re living in a dream world.  That there’s certain realities I have to face.  That “guys will always be guys.”

And all I have to say to you is…yes…most guys will always choose to be guys.

But some will choose to become men for the people they love.

And if you doubt that, if you really think some men’s cluelessness in relationships, and the endless one night stands is what all guys want because it is in their nature…show me your role models.  Show me your men who live their lives lying and deceiving and failing at relationships, who, on their death bed say…man…that was one heck of a life.

Show me those men.

And I’ll show you the slew of men who are happy to step up their game.  Who are relieved to not be reduced to a #notallmen stereotype.  Who want to talk about what they’re feeling.  And how broken they felt when they were crying as kids, and told to hide their emotions and “act cool.”

Cool gets you no where. There are better things to be than a cool girlfriend.

Cool gets you settling for a cool love, a cool relationship, and cool communication that inevitably turns cold, brittle, and breaks. And I’ve had enough of things breaking on me.

I can’t shake off the pain anymore.  Pretend giving more than I got didn’t matter.  I’m just not that cool of a girlfriend.

Why You Would Go Back to Your Abusive Ex

I’m not writing this to hurt anyone.

Even though I’ve wanted to write this for a while,  I held off on it for several reasons: the post always came across as incredibly bitter…and quite frankly, I wasn’t strong enough to deal with any criticism or blow black from people who knew me when I was with him.

Trust me, I know there’s two sides to every story.  But this is mine.

I’m not writing this to hurt anyone, but I know it will.

I also know if it will piss a lot of people off…particularly those in my ex-boyfriend’s camp or the people who just wanted me to shut up about everything all those years ago.

I know this is going to hurt people.  So  I’ll go ahead and tell anyone who’s upset about this post exactly what my ex boyfriend said to me the day after he grabbed me by the neck and shoved my head into a car window over and over again.  I’ll go ahead and say:  I’m sorry…but I never meant to hurt you.

Hope that makes you feel better?  I dunno…It never really worked for me.

I’m not writing this to hurt anyone. I’m writing this because the only reason I stopped talking about abuse, is because other people told me to.

I was sick of being called dramatic, of getting belligerent emails from him, or getting called a liar in bars by people who knew him.  I was sick of  having to explain to people why I broke up with him…after all…we looked so happy together in photos.

I’m writing this because I told myself that I would never go back to someone who abused me.  That if a guy so much as laid a finger on me, I would be gone. I’m writing this because we all have stories like this, but we never talk about them.  And we need to start to.

I judged people like Rihanna, questioned their sense of self respect, and held on to the belief that I, some how, was better and stronger than a girl who would go running back.

But I wasn’t.

And for a long time, that made me question myself.  And doubt myself.  And ultimately hate myself.  But luckily, as time went on, I got some clarity…and with that clarity…the questions turned to answers.

Answers that I wish I had two years ago.  And answers that I think may help people.  Who knows…maybe this post is just for me.  For me to help myself. To finally put one of my relationship Bogeymen to rest.  He always did say I was selfish.

Why did I go back?

1. Because people convinced me the abuse wasn’t bad enough

As my ex so poignantly put in an email, “it’s not like  I Ray Rice-ed you.”

If you dont get the reference, please stop right now and view the footage of what NFL player Ray Rice did to his fiance in an elevator.  (She later married him that month)

So I’ll go ahead and confess that this is true: my ex did NOT knock me unconscious in an elevator, and drag me by the leg into a hotel hallway and let the doors almost close on me.  He sure didn’t.

He also didn’t leave me bruised up, or in need of a hospital.  He never punched me.  He never slapped me.

He did, however, go from being a guy who “would never touch a girl,” to someone who “would never touch me again.”  You see…it was a one time thing. He believed it.   Other people believed it.  And after a few months of being broken up, I believed it too. So I went back. And when it happened again…it still wasn’t bad enough for people.

But it was finally bad enough for me.

People asked questions.  How hard he pushed me…had I said something to antagonize him…was I sure I wasn’t exaggerating?

And I spent way too much of my time and sanity trying to answer these questions.  And I’m done now.  But I do have a question of my own for anyone who still thinks things weren’t bad enough:  how bad did I need to let it get?  Seriously, how badly did he need to hurt me? 

2.  Because I saw it coming

I saw the violence build up the first months we were together: he’d punch walls, throw phones, push taxi drivers…all the while swearing he would NEVER touch me.  Ever.

Then he did.  And I left.

But then it seemed like he changed.  And I told myself that I would be able to see it coming if it were to ever happen again.  And I told myself that I would leave at the first sign of his old habits.

I was wrong.

3.  Because he convinced me that if I couldn’t love him, I couldn’t love anyone

This one makes me angry.

Because, nothing brings out the weakness in a strong woman, like a weak man.

Because he made me believe that it was better to give up on myself, than it was to give up on the relationship.

Emails, phone calls, text messages, all saying a variation of the same thing: that I gave up on him.  That no one could possibly love me more than him.   That no one is perfect.  And if I couldn’t appreciate how much he loved me, then I would never be able to appreciate anyone who would love me afterwards.

Because he redefined and blurred the lines between loving someone, and needing someone.  And after a while, it all felt the same to me.

4.  Because I lost every single one of my friends

To make a long story short, it wasn’t a fun time for any of them.

Many of them  pulled away from me because, to them, my behavior all of a sudden became erratic. I was crying all the time.  Wanting to see him, but then swearing I’d never see him again.  Blocking his number, then calling it a million times.  Many of them pulled away because they just didn’t know what I needed.

I was always the one that they could depend on.  Unflappable.  I was the one that always helped, and all of a sudden, I needed help.  And I didn’t know how to ask for it, and when it was given, I didn’t know what to do with it.

I changed, and I didnt recognize myself.

But he stayed the same.  He was a constant…and for a while…despite his temper and the emotionally violent fights we would get into…he seemed safe.

5.  Because he wasn’t a bad person 

This was the hardest conclusion to come to. And I think for a lot of people on the outside of these relationships (the friends, family, co-workers) it’s the hardest thing to come to terms with…

Abusers aren’t bad people.  They are just really horrible partners.

My ex is a good friend to a lot of people.  He has a family he loves, and a job that he excels at.  And I wish him nothing but the healing I found (some days)

A lot of people couldn’t understand how someone like my ex could have such a dark side to them.  Hell, I couldn’t understand it either. And I don’t try to understand it anymore. I just know that I don’t want it in my life.

6.  I did not go back because I loved him…

To this day, people say this to me.  That I must’ve stayed because I loved him.

I didn’t love him.

And he didn’t love me. He needed me.

Abusive partners will never love anyone who stays with them, because in their hearts, they will never respect them.  They will never respect someone who allows themselves to be treated on the outside, the way abusers feel on the inside.

*******

So there it is.

I wouldn’t consider myself someone who “survived” an abusive relationship.

I was lucky enough to be able to “leave” it.  And to move on.  I left before things got “too bad” and for some reason, people think that means I’m not allowed to talk about the things that did go bad.

But I’m going to keep talking about them anyways…hoping that more people choose to leave and live, rather than survive.

And in case anyone needs to hear this, Ill go ahead and say it:

Is he going to change?  No

Should you leave? Yes

Will anyone love you more than he does?  Absolutely

Acknowledgements:  this wasn’t easy to write, but I feel like it needed to be written.  And I can’t write this post without paying a special thanks to my Mom. She was a warrior for me during a time where I had no fight left in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Fix Your “Jealous” Girlfriend

I’m not the jealous type.

Needless to say, I have experienced jealousy from time to time.

For example, the time my brother got a birthday party at Soccer Zone and I didn’t…I felt kind of jealous.  Or in sixth grade, when the guy I liked asked my friend to the social…sure…I felt super jealous.

But then life taught me I have plenty to be grateful for, and not much to be jealous of, and I chilled out.  I mellowed out.

And then…I started dating.

And I started noticing that I was being called jealous…like all the time.  In fact, in two of the major relationships I’ve had, pretty much every question I asked was answered with: Hey…Why are you SO jealous?

Now as someone who loves to learn from past mistakes (as to not repeat them) I really wanted to evaluate and consider whether or not I actually had a jealousy issue.  And it occured to me that lots of people out there probably are also dealing with partners who suffer from bouts of jealousy.

So I figured, while I work on myself, it makes sense to give guidance to people who are currently suffering in a relationship with a “jealous” person.

So if you’re currently with someone who just seems to be way too jealous all the time…look into these quick fixes and see if it helps. <end sarcasm font>

How to Fix Your “Jealous” Girlfriend:

1. Cut the “basic bitches” out of your life.  You know the ones: 

Girls that fall under this category are  ex-hookups and ex-girlfriends.  And stop calling them “friends.”  They’re not your friends.

Also in this list are certain female friends that just seem to be a little too close for comfort.  If you don’t know which ones, just ask your girl…she will tell you.

Now I get it…sometimes your girlfriend may go over board and demand that you stop talking to any females other than her.  Thats not what I’m talking about here.  We all need to be reasonable.  We, as girls, need to understand that you will have contact and friendships with other females in your life.  We need to understand that.

But you…what you need to understand is that we, as girls, understand other girls.

When we meet them, we have to make an assessment: is this girl  a “friendly,” or  is she a “foe.”  And we often err on the side of caution.

So when the same “friend’s” name keeps coming up in your fights over and over,  it’s time to stop treating the symptom, by calling your girl “jealous,” and cut off the cause of the issue…the other girl.

As for your “female friends” you have.  This always cracks me up…when a boyfriend talks about being ‘just friends’ with a girl.

Here’s why: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that “guys and girls can NEVER be friends.”

In fact, any time I tell a boyfriend I’m “just friends” with a guy…he laughs…stares at me like I’m a child and says, “He’s just waiting for a chance to get with you.” So apparently, I actually don’t have any male friends. None.   Because boys don’t want to be friends with girls. Le sigh.

Except you… You apparently, are totally capable of being friends with a girl.  Because you’re not like “most guys?”  Doubtful.

It’s really hard to all of a sudden be asked to accept that we have met the one guy who can actually be friends with girls.  And that we’re dating him. Yet all of our guy friends are just waiting for their chance to move in.

So… sort out your hypocritical bullshit, and maybe you’ll help sort out your girlfriend’s jealousy issues.  Maybe.

And if you really think you need to have all these extra females in your life…maybe you should work on sorting out your ego issues.

2. Unless you’re Simba from The Lion King…stop saying “the past is the past:”

We keep getting told not to live in the past.  And then we get told to not worry about things that MAY happen in the future.  So that means we have about 5-8 seconds of the “present” relationship that we are allowed to think about.  That’s ridiculous.

A relationship is based on the foundation laid in the past, the present feelings, and hopes for the future.  Pretty much all of those things matter.

The past is not the past.

And the best prediction for future behavior, is past behavior.  So if you acted like a deceitful twat in the past, that’s going to carry over into your future.  So…looks like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Just accept that things that you did that keep coming up, will continue to come up, and  deal with it, or leave that jealous girlfriend who just “can’t let things go.”  And find a girl who wants to put up with you.

3.  Don’t ever end stories with the phrase “Don’t worry.  Nothing happened.” It will not go well: 

The very phrase itself makes no sense.  Of course SOMETHING happened. The only time you can say this is if you woke up… and remained in bed…all day.  Until your girlfriend came over.

And why are you being so defensive?   Had lunch with a co-worker that turned into a happy hour?  Yet nothing happened?  What does “nothing” even mean??

You could, of course, define it for us.  But, much easier to just call your girl jealous, and be done with it.

4.  Figure out how social media works, or get better at lying:

Seriously…it’s not even hard.

We can see pretty much everything you do on Instagram or Facebook, unless you specifically change your privacy settings. So if you haven’t changed anything since you created your account…your girl will be able to check up on anything her “crazy jealous” lady-brain may make her check on.

For example: let’s say you go on a bachelor’s weekend in Cancun.  And you tell her, “don’t worry…nothing happened.”

Here’s what she might do:

Step One: Check your “recently added” friends on Facebook and see if any recently added girls have profile picture that were recently taken on a tropical beach resort…similar to those found in Cancun
Step Two: Check out those girls and any female friends they may have “tagged” in recent photos
Step Three: Cross-check those girls on the “recently added” with your “followers” on Instagram
Step Four: Check if you’re “following” any of those girls 
Step Five: Check your “liked” photos on Insta (yes we can do that) 
Step Six: Ask you questions about any girls that fall into any or all of those steps

Sound intense to you?  No way.

All of those steps would take us, maybe a total of 47 seconds.  Maybe.  Depends on internet speed.

Now some people may be saying…hey…checking into your boyfriend that much shows you don’t trust him.  And to those people I say: you’re absolutely right.  And I don’t care. Trust is built.  And in 2016…this is how we build it.

5.  Admit that your friends might actually be the ones that suck: 

Because let’s face it…your 30 year old single guy friends who troll on Tinder and take geography quizzes online for fun, may not be the best “go-to” people for relationship advice.  And often times, they will only hear about your girlfriend when you’re complaining about her.  So why would they ever tell you that you’re in the wrong?

The only time you should ever consider taking relationship advice from a friend is if they are currently in a relationship that you would WANT to be in, or have had a healthy relationship in the past.

Otherwise…misery loves company.  And they sure liked it when you were single.

6. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It’s in the Bible:

Self explanatory.  It would solve a lot of jealousy issues right off the bat.

7.  Watch the “If I Were a Boy” video and learn.  Learn from Beyonce.   

********

Disclaimer:  I’m a girl…this is written from a girl’s perspective.  All of this completely applies to girlfriends calling their boyfriend’s “jealous” as well.  So relax, gentlemen, we do it too

 

Why People Don’t Deserve Second Chances

We have all, at some point, been in a situation where someone we loved or cared about has asked for one thing, and one thing only… a second chance to make things right.  A second chance after they have royally and utterly screwed something up.

We’ve all been let down and disappointed by a person who, frankly, wasn’t supposed to do either of those things.  And we’ve all been assured by those people that whatever it was that they did will never happen again.

Whether it was with an ex, or with a friend, or family member, most of us know what’s it like to have someone pleading with us to keep them in our lives.  We’ve watched boys cry over us, friends blow up our phones with text after text of apologies for something they’ve done, and we’ve had to decide whether or not they deserved one more shot to be in our lives.

It’s a difficult situation to be in.

We listen to them call us judgmental or selfish.  Hear them tell us our standards are too high. They list all of the ways they make our lives better, and remind us of all the horrible things they haven’t done to us. It usually sounds something like this:

You:  I can’t believe you lied again
Them:  I know.  But c’mon… it’s not like I cheated on you

I’ve been on both sides of it.  I’ve been the one begging for another chance, swearing things will change… and I’ve been the one being begged, being told things will be different this time.  I understand how it rips you apart.

So if you’re out there wondering right now whether or not this person, whoever they are, deserves a second chance, I’m going to have to tell you this one sober fact:  They don’t.  

Do not give them a second chance.  Because they will mess it up again.  And they will mess it up beautifully. Do not give them a second chance because honestly, when you sit down and think about it…this ISN’T their second chance. It’s their hundredth, or millionth chance, and they shat all over it.  Again.

So walk away.

It’s not easy.  You’ll question and doubt yourself.  They will make you feel guilty and horrible for as long as they can.  You’re going to have to block all of that out, and just know and accept these things…

1. They will never change for you:   

This is a bitter pill to swallow. People don’t change unless the situation changes.

If you’re with someone and they lie, and you break up with them…they may change and be honest with the next person they’re with.  But not with you.

However, if you’re with someone and they lie, and you break up with them…and then you take them back…the situation never changed.  So they won’t change.  They really won’t.

(Please see #3 if you believe I’m lying, and that your partner did actually change for you)

2.  They fully believe that they’ve changed:

This is true.  I know this from first hand experience. I remember promising to be different, knowing in my heart… that I was going to be different.  I was going to be better.

And I remember how quickly those promises and efforts faded, the second I was given another chance.

That person who is in front of you, swearing they’re never going to cheat, or lie to you again.  The person who says they’re going to cut back on their drinking.  They really really believe that they’re going to be different.

But believe me, if you give them another chance, things won’t be different.  Things will be fake. And then things will get difficult.  And then… things will be the same.

3.  You will never actually believe they changed: 

Taking someone back after they’ve lied, cheated on, or abused you is like Chinese Water Torture.  Even if the drops stop falling on your head, you’re still going to be sat there, tied to a metaphorical chair, waiting for the next one to fall…because you know it’s coming.

So even if they’re not doing anything wrong, you’re going to be waiting around for something to go wrong…again.

So what’s the point? Why do that to yourself? Why make yourself an emotional hostage for someone who pulled the trigger the first time.  It’s not worth it.

4.  Unconditional love is bullshit:

Love should always come with conditions.

I love people fully, but only under certain conditions.  To do otherwise, to me, is idiocy.

You should love someone under the conditions that they respect you, are honest with you, and add value to your life.   If these conditions change…get  out of there.  You are not their mother.  It’s not your job to make sure they’re okay.  It IS your job to keep your self interest and self worth in mind. So just leave.

5. Your life will be better without them in it:

So stop worrying, and go live it.

 

Stop Calling Women Crazy

So…it happened again the other day. Someone called me crazy.

They didn’t actually say it to my face.  We always tend to hear these things second hand (unless we are in an argument someone wants  to shut down immediately)

Apparently,  my  name came up in a conversation, and someone quipped: “Be careful with her.  She’s crazy.”

Not going to lie to you.  Despite my ferocious amount of self-acceptance and understanding…this word never ceases to get under my skin.

Now look…

There’s a million posts about why calling women (or anyone)  crazy is one of the most harmful trends in our language today. If you haven’t read any of them yet, I want you to stop reading my post, and click here.  Do it.  You don’t even have to come back to my page.

This is not going to be one of those posts.

This is not a level headed plea asking people to reconsider what comes out of their mouths.  Not at all.  This is a direct, no bullshit , no sugar coating shout out to the people calling me and any of my girls out there “crazy.”

You need to stop doing it…like, right now.  And here’s why:

When you call a girl “crazy” when she’s not…you’re showing the rest of the world that you’re  just too god damn stupid to understand how words actually f*cking work.

And I’m not just talking to the men folk.  Ladies…you’re hurling that word around quite a bit these days too.

I know, it’s going to be difficult.  The word “crazy” is just our default for describing a woman’s “problematic” behavior.

It seems  to me that people need help stepping away from this word.  It seems that there’s quite a few people out there with the vocabulary of an illiterate four year old.  So I’m here to help.

The next time you want to call a woman “crazy,” see if any of these words or phrases will work better for what you’re trying to say:

Ways to finish the phrase: That girl is so ___________

  1. Intense
  2. Much prettier than me
  3. Funny in a way I don’t appreciate or understand
  4. Confident
  5. Ballsy
  6. Going to steal my boyfriend
  7. Not into me
  8. Outspoken
  9. Malicious or Mean
  10. Talkative
  11. Quirky
  12. Aggressive
  13. Dramatic
  14. Good at getting attention
  15. Honest
  16. Insecure
  17. Assertive
  18. Successful
  19. Passionate
  20. Weird
  21. Happy
  22. Blunt
  23. Loud
  24. Quiet
  25. Unlike me

There you go.

Feel free to consult a dictionary (that’s a book with words and their meanings in it…sound out the syllables first before you ask for one if you’re nervous using  your new words.  Really, take your time).

If none of these words work better than “crazy,” then feel free to consult a hospital and have that person medicated or looked into.  Leave the diagnosis to professionals, asshole.

Hey…

I’m even going to take this to the next level for you, and show you how you can use these words in real life situations.  Here’s some situations where I was called “crazy” where another word definitely would’ve been more suitable.

Situation 1:  I found out a boy I was dating had a girlfriend in another city.  And I wrote her a message telling her everything.

Wrong word: Crazy
Correct words:  Honest, Blunt, Ballsy

Situation 2: After a bad breakup, I wrote angry comments on an ex-boyfriends Facebook photo

Wrong word: Crazy
Correct words: Passionate, Outspoken, Mean (yes…I know it was mean)

Situation 3:  I spoke out very openly about a relationship that ended because of physical abuse  (And now I’ve done it again. So. Awkward.)

Wrong word: Crazy
Correct word: Awesome

Situation 4:  I called a guy 32 times in one night before he finally turned his phone off.  After that I switched to email. 

Correct word: Crazy.  So crazy. 

************

So, back to it.  The word “crazy.”  It’s used so often to shut women up about things people would rather just not know or hear about.  Things that actually need to be said.

It’s often used whenever we just don’t like someone, and when we want to make sure other people who meet them won’t like them either.

Boyfriends and guys use it against us to shut down what is often legitimate questions and concerns.  And women use it against us, because some women love hating other women (idiots).

It’s a cheat word.  A game ender.

It’s a word used by insecure and weak people  to gain some sort of strong hold on people they know they just simply cannot level up against. And it’s a word we resort to when we just want to cut someone off at the legs so we don’t have to see or hear from them again.

So, the word “crazy.”  It’s a word that’s best used within the context of medical facilities…or Britney Spear’s lyrics.

So unless you’ve studied medicine or are currently performing daily at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas…quit with the crazy talk, and start using words that actually mean something.

 

 

 

The “Body Shame Game.” Can We Stop Playing It Now? It Sucks

The “body shame game” is a behavior many of us are familiar with.   The game can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, consist of any number of players, and take place anywhere and everywhere.  The only thing that’s consistent about it is that absolutely no one walks away from this game as a winner.  Everyone loses.  It’s the worst game ever.

So what is it?

The game usually starts with a group of girls catching up.  Things are cordial for a while.  Banter and jokes are flying around, people are smiling and laughing, the night is looking pretty good…and then someone decides to make the first move.  She looks at one of her friends and goes:

“Oh my god…you look so great!  Have you been working out?  Ugh, I have no time for it anymore, I’ve gotten so fat.”

The table will get silent for a second.  The friend, not sure what to say at this double edged sword of a compliment will think for a second and quip something along the lines of, “Oh no, I’m actually so out of shape at the moment.  I mean…that’s why I’m wearing pants right now, my thighs are like cottage cheese!”

Anxious to get involved, another woman quickly thinks to herself and goes, “You have great legs! I mean, I would kill for your legs.  Mine are super short…I look like a penguin.”

And thus the game begins.  When it’s your turn to speak, you have two choices:

Say something positive about someone ELSE

 OR

Say something negative about yourself 

This game is quite frankly…pretty gross.  And like I said…no one wins, no matter how many cards you have to play.  This game is what causes so many of us to look at our bodies every day and see it as a combination of problems to be fixed.  This game is what causes us to take a healthy, functioning human body and view it like this:

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To be fair…I loved my calves

I mean…seriously…what the f*ck.

We need to quit this game, and we need to quit it now.  Your body is not a problem…it is the one thing you are guaranteed to have until the day you actually freaking die, so it’s time to start honoring it, and all it does for you.

Now look…We all have that little voice that speaks to us every time we look in the mirror or see a photograph of ourselves.  That’s where the “body shame game” starts: at home…in our own heads.

This voice sneaks up behind us and says: “Hey…you’re not actually happy with what you’re seeing here, right?” It points out our thighs, the texture of our skin, our rolls of body fat.  It does this so often, that when it’s time for us to actually talk about our bodies, those are the only things we have to say.  We define our bodies by what is wrong with them…so I think it’s time we start re-defining what we view as problems:

Stretch marks:

Yes…I have them.  They are a result of a dark shameful  period in my life where I put A LOT of weight in a short amount of time.  The doctors called it puberty.  I called it hell.

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Before puberty: The “no stretch mark” glory days

And that’s all stretch marks are… signs of growth and change.  They show us how adaptable our bodies are.

Did you have a baby?  Did having the baby leave you with stretch marks?  Now you don’t want to wear a bathing suit because you don’t want people to notice them? I completely get that…but…i’m sorry…I may have trouble noticing them because I’m busy being in complete awe that you GREW A HUMAN in your body.  Where there was NO human…you made one…and now it’s here… walking around and talking and stuff.  That’s amazing!  And your stretch marks…they are a badge of honor that show everyone that you loved someone else more than you loved yourself.

Did you lose a lot of weight?  Now you don’t want to wear a bathing suit because of your stretch marks?  I completely get that but…no.  No wait, I don’t get that.  You freaking FOUGHT for your new body.  Blood, sweat, and tears for this new body.  Those stretch marks are your battle scars for winning a war most people never even have the balls to start.

Body Fat:

Yes, I have it.  I also have the luxury of eating food everyday.  I have the luxury of not having to walk miles for my food. I have the luxury of never knowing what it’s like to have to be hungry.  And If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’re like me.

We don’t know what it’s like to have to be hungry…so why do so many of us spend our time time trying to starve ourselves?  Why do we try to convince ourselves that body fat is something we are supposed to eradicate?

Bringing up body fat is ultimately the Ace of Spades in the Body Shame Game.  Girls and women love to bring up the fact that they need to lose weight.  Please don’t play that card.  And if someone you know needs a way to feel good about their body fat, please remind them that their fat rolls are the only thing that will help them survive the next famine.  Seriously.

Thick thighs and thick arms: 

Instead of trying to make these body parts smaller, can we please just try to make them stronger?  Get off the elliptical and get onto a pull-up bar.  Stop with the crash diets, and go and get to know the squat rack.

And if you don’t want to do that, at least acknowledge and thank your body for giving you arms and legs that work.  None of us have any…freaking…reason to ever shame the body parts that allow us to get from point A to point B and allow us to pick up and hold people and things that we love.  None of us.

Faces: 

My face…I used to hate how it looked when I smiled.  Im assuming a lot of women feel this way (would explain duck face). I would hide my face when I smiled or laughed.  It was a cool time in my life.

But then I found that a lot of people in my life made me smile and made me laugh, and I didn’t want to shield myself from those experiences by putting a hand up or turning away.  We all need to live life by putting our best face forward.  And your face…well…it’s your best face.  And it’s wonderfully your own.

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Just smile

So, the body shame game.  Needless to say, I don’t play it anymore.  When I look in the mirror, that little voice that used to dominate every view I had on my body has no choice but to say, “sure…I guess you look good.”  It’s not easy at times, sometimes, after a hard day or experience, that voice still has a lot to say.  But just like a drunk friend at a bar, I let it talk at me, but not to me.  I let it ramble and rant until it has nothing left to say, and then I get on with it.

I don’t play this game when my girlfriends bring it up either.  I don’t even try to re-assure them about their bodies anymore, because by doing that, all I’m doing is validating that “voice” in their head that is speaking for them. And I don’t want to talk to it.

 I don’t shame my body anymore.  And because of that, when I look in the mirror, I’m able to see a true reflection of who and what I am on the inside…someone who is happy and healthy and loving life.

So ladies…honor your bodies.  You would not let someone else call you fat or ugly or thick…so why are you letting yourself talk to yourself that way? If you don’t like something about the amazing vehicle you have been given, you have two choices: accept it or change it. Don’t shame it. 

And ladies, gentlemen, who ever is reading this still.  I want you to stop talking to “that voice” in your head.  Stop giving it power over you.  You are valuable. We all are.  And no matter what that voice is saying, whether it’s telling you that you’re not good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough… whatever it says, please just know one thing…

It’s lying.

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Disclaimer (read if anything slightly upset you in this post):

I KNOW body fat is a huge issue for so many people.  We all need to honor our bodies by keeping them healthy, and some people do NEED to lose body fat to be healthier versions of themselves. Im not talking about that type of body fat.  I’m talking about the “shame game” version of body fat  where we agonize over things like having a slight muffin top when we don skinny jeans.

Also…this is not a “woe is me” post.  I’m aware that I have no reason to feel bad about my body.  But then honestly, neither do you.   We ALL struggle with these issues.  No matter how we look to other people, it’s ultimately how we view ourselves that define us.  

And for over a decade, I didn’t see what a lot of people may see when they look at me…I saw a girl with gangly wrists, a fat tummy, and oddly placed knees.  The purpose of this post is to show you that for a long long time…I did struggle with body issues.  It wasn’t easy for me, and realistically… it should’ve been.  It should be easier for all of us.

Stop Saying, “I Don’t Date Short Guys.” You Sound Awful.

“He’s super cute and nice but…I don’t date short guys”

I can’t express how hard I want to laugh when I hear a girl say this.

After ALL of the crap we give guys about appreciating us for the unique angels we think we are, we sit around saying this nonsense, with almost NO hesitation, to our friends, at dinner tables, and worse of all…to guys we know.

It’s awful.  Epically awful.

Now don’t get me wrong…we all have “a type.”  You are entitled to liking whatever it is that you want.

But ladies, we have been BATTLING to eradicate body shaming  for years and years now, and we are making some major progress, we really are. There’s a long list of things that men are just not allowed to say about us and our bodies in public domain.  So then why should it not go both ways?

Just because historically body shaming has been directed towards females by men AND women, doesn’t mean we get a break when we do it.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel this way about dating shorter men, I’m saying it’s horrible, awful, and hypocritical to be saying this stuff out loud.

The measurement of a man is not in how tall he is, it’s in how much he measures up in your life. He may not stand tall, but does he stand up for you and the people he loves?  Does he support you? Does he bring things to your metaphorical table? Those are the things that should matter.

Once again, I’m not saying you should want to date short guys… just stop saying it without realizing the double standard you are very openly playing into.  Stop saying it because you are basing someone’s value on something they have no control over.   Stop saying it because your words are hurting other human beings.

And come on…We know how it feels when people do this to us, when they make us feel like less of a woman because we have small breasts, non-existent hips, short legs etc.  So let’s stop trying to instill the cycle of insecurity that has held us back for centuries onto men. We all know where that leads.

For the first time in a long time, many guys are working on themselves and their friends…challenging each other to be better partners and allies to us.  Don’t you think we owe them the same respect?   

Gentlemen, if a girl says this to you or around you in any way shape or form…avoid her.  And if she SAYS she doesn’t want to date you because of your height, let me be the first to say: Congratulations.  You dodged a very basic bullet.

Oh, and ladies, if one of your friends is dating an amazingly great guy who is barely taller, just as tall as, or <heaven forbid> shorter than her, and you feel the need to bring that up publicly as a “con” when discussing their relationship…please hand in your “opinion card” because you’re no longer allowed to have one on this issue.

With men beginning to step up to the plate on issues like gender equality, it’s becoming harder and harder to excuse women who perpetuate these double standards. And remember…I’m a girl’s girl…I WANT to be on your side. But ladies, we are wrong on this one.  Very very wrong…so it’s about time we start treating the men in our lives with the very same BASIC decency we have been fighting for for the past few hundreds/thousands of years.