Always a reception…..Never a bachelorette party

….there are certain things in your life, that you have to make really tough decisions about……one of those decisions…..which is the absolute best day of many people’s lives….is planning your wedding day. We all know, especially us that are married….that the milestone of marriage is a really big deal to the bride…..its her day & her way. Generally, the wedding ceremony is by far the cheapest if not freest part of the actual wedding planning…..the reception on the other hand can be a financial sticker shock. And the hardest part………..the Guest List.

Over a course of 6 months, I had 4 friends who got married….and as the song says….they did it their way. Some of those decisions left many surprised, confused and even conflicted on what exactly to do with the cards that were dealt.  While we all know that it’s not about us, but about the bride….that doesn’t negate that there are 2 sides…one side who is making tough decisions on what to do with the plans and budget they’ve set…..and the other side who has shared highs, lows, boyfriends, then ex boyfriends, husbands, then ex husbands, tears, laughter, milestones…the list goes on.  You are close…not just some see ya when I see ya kind of friend.

Wedding invitations for some can be likened to standing outside a club in Miami or New York waiting to see if you will be picked….but for true friends…we liken it to witnessing a day that you have been waiting and couldn’t be happier for, for just as long as you have been friends.  We’ve watched you grow…..and to watch you open a new chapter in your life….is the ultimate charm.

To sum it up…..2 friends eloped….and no one knew until they posted on Facebook they were married in another country and state……1 didn’t invite any of us but decided to have a small intimate extremely close friends & family wedding which was simply beautiful by the pictures……..and the other invited us all….and had an absolutely beautiful wedding and reception….the downside….some of us are still trying to embrace a relationship with a new husband that has on a few occasions…given us the impression that we may not even be worthy of her friendship.

With all that said…………each of those scenarios equated to some hurt feelings, conversations of conflict regarding what to do, should we do and what does the etiquette book say to do.  When you’ve never been put in a particular situation before…..its hard to really figure out what to do between suffocating your feelings and doing what’s right.

When we make decisions in life they have ripple effects and impacts on those that are closest to us.  We all have that friend who does exactly what they want to do regardless of the impact it has on others, the friend who is very blunt and no holds barred, who doesn’t have any issue bringing issues to the table to get them talked about, who says what they think needs to be said regardless of whose feelings it hurts, who you know loves you and all of your crew but won’t dare coddle us, or our feelings for that matter, and who we all wish would realize that sometimes…you just need a hug.  That while we respect their opinion….our feelings should not be diminished or made to seem insignificant.  In fact….their issue may not be the only issue we are experiencing which catapults us into vent overdrive.

It’s not our decision of what folks decide to do on the day that starts a new chapter in their life….all good friends support all types of decisions made by their friends, even if we disagree or the outcome of the decision requires us to suffocate our feelings, vent to another friend, or simply silently cry about it.  Whatever the outcome is, when shared, our personal feelings should not be dismissed…we have been left with a purse to hold of missing out on the things that friends plan…..bridal showers & bachelorette parties…..the 2 best things friends can do for their friends.  Why is it okay to give a baby shower…..but the traditional bride to be festivities are negated??

In the end….there is almost always a wedding reception and never a traditional bachelorette party in these cases because…well….the wedding already happened.  Kind of defeats the purpose of being a traditional bachelorette when you are married…there goes the suck for a buck and the body shots!!

What we do know is that our friends are joining(or have joined) the ranks of the happily ever after. And as friends we are responsible for ensuring that our friendship stands the test of all things through communication, respect, empathy, appropriately placed sympathy……and leaning on the shoulders of those in your crew to bring you back from the edge no matter the circumstance.

Here’s to embracing the choices our friends make with sensitive life milestones….and to the other side who makes the best of it & continues to love their friends no matter what……through the good times, the not so good times, and the even better times……CHEERS!!!

 

 

…..Got SAD?

What is SAD??…..The dictionary defines SAD as:

  • unhappy: feeling or showing unhappiness, grief, or sorrow
  • causing unhappiness: causing or containing unhappiness
  • regrettable: unfortunate or to be deplored

The Mayo Clinic defines SAD as (aka SADD – Seasonal Affective Disorder Disease Seasonal affective disorder): ….a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.

For as long as I can remember…..fall would come….& so would my mood. It wasn’t until after the birth of my second child, after the second bout with post partum depression…..after I thought I was cured….that I realized something just wasn’t right.  So back to my therapist I went…..& the diagnosis was recorded…….you have what is called….Seasonal affective disorder.  I stared blankly thinking for the love of God….can’t I just be normal??!! Post partum depression goes away……SAD……well….not so much.

Every year I wait…..counting down the days until the cloak of gloom wraps its loving arms around me. I fight him like a prize-fighter in a ring every year….it feels like the exorcist…I’m in there…but that ugly head turning cra cray is on the outside puking…..suffocating me….strangling me…..consuming me….until spring.  I’m a text-book SAD case…..symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months….sapping my energy and making me feel moody, useless, tired, crabby, ungrateful, very sad, and angry.

I almost had it down to the day…..but as the seasons change within themselves without rhyme or reason & mother nature takes on her Sybil persona……the days become blurred…..the days get shorter…..the nights gets longer….the timing gets off….and I’m sent into a spiraling episode of self-doubt, confusion & irritation.  And then….as quickly as it came….its gone…….and then…..its back…gone…back….gone……OMGoodness!!! Can we say dizzy??  When you have winter, spring, summer and fall all in one week…..imagine how I feel!!  There is no amount of light therapy, drugs or meditation that can fix all those emotions.  It’s like a bad case of stomach flu….you hover between a trash can & the toilet waiting to see which is gonna come out first……your happy….or your SAD.

Depending on the day…..you could unknowingly transfer your emotion to an unintended party who has no clue what you are going thru….& the sad part is….(pun intended)…that person could be going thru something to & now you’re all in a tangle of I didn’t mean its & I hope you can understands……..but they can’t. It’s only for the fall and winter…and then you’re back to normal…..but….for some…..its too late.

In a previous blog I wrote about the Rules of Dating Engagement…….the 90 day rule - Some people act different during certain seasons.  Until you have experienced a season of SAD…..you have no idea what the rest of your life will bring being married to it.  Its like the twilight zone…….you go back in time at the same time every year.  It’s like a bad habit that rears its ugly head to suck out all your forward motion.  It takes a compassionate soul to understand.  It’s really no different some days than PMS….but its dictated by the seasons…its like a psychotic mood swing that doesn’t know if it’s up or coming down.

For those who suffer from a mental health diversion…….it will define who your real friends are…..who your around the way friends are…..and who you can depend on when the seasons go cold.  A hug, a word of encouragement, inclusion…..all ways to keep any one suffering from depression in the here and now.  SAD is a different kind of depression…..one that is not easily diagnosed without a historical pattern…..one that sneaks up on you in the dark & attaches itself to your soul.  A disease that goes dormant in the spring and summer…..hibernating in the off season waiting for a consistent rainy day, dim sun, and cold air to breathe life back into its soul less corpse.

I’ve yet to meet a perfect person…..some are just better at hiding their demons than others.  Everyone has a crabby day……some more than others.  Mental health is a serious number that lacks the attention it deserves.

Here’s to compassion, awareness, strength, empathy, therapy, good days, bad days, good friends, loyal friends……..and the wisdom to know the difference.  CHEERS!!!

Got Control…ling??…….

How many of us know the difference between a controlling and “needy” partner? ….I will give you a minute to think about it…….5,4,3,2,1…..There is NO such thing as needy in a relationship between a man and a woman.  Children and pets are needy….spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends are not.  Long term boyfriends and girlfriends in my mind are actually the watering hole where seeds are planted to grow what your future may look like.  We have all heard about the perfect partner who gets married and turns in to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde….but for the most part….people exhibit warning behaviors prior to marriage.

Let’s start with a few examples………..feel free to pause & reflect during these….if you have experienced one or more….then you either are at peace with the way you live, a happy co-dependent or on the edge of divorce.

Example Number One:  Girls Night OUT or IN                                                          The girls have made plans.  Doesn’t matter what the plans are….it could be a milestone birthday, just a birthday, dinner, a movie, shopping….even something as simple as scrapbooking.

Inevitably, somebody in the group…usually the same suspect(s)….will end up not being able to go and if they do go…not staying for longer than a couple of hours.  Why do you ask?  Because the husband or boyfriend has gotten into their head……who knows what they say…but its the trigger that paralyzes them into not going to keep the peace…or staying just long enough to get back home at what the husband or boyfriend believes is a reasonable time. Um…the only person(s) that controlled my goings and comings like that…..were MY PARENTS!!!

Example Number Two:  Girls Vacation Trip                                                             One thing I love to do….is TRAVEL!!! Especially with my girls.  From the adventurous plane rides, to the people watching together, to the family style sleeping, to the belly aching laughter, faces hurting from smiling after my “we are in Hawaii” picture-taking and tears from our heart-felt confessions.

Once again……there’s the friend you invite….who hems and haws….because she is trying to figure out the best way to ask her husband or boyfriend to go.  Um…..screeching car hault!!!…are you kidding me?? The only person I have EVER asked permission to do something from is…..MY PARENTS!!! (are you getting the common theme here?) When you are married or in a long-term relationship your “permission” questions are framed differently.  Its not…can I go? Its…..the girls and I are planning a vacation in yatta yatta….what does your calendar look like so I can plan daycare or after school activities accordingly?  See the difference???

Now the only person not agreeing with the above right now…..is the CONTROLLING husband or boyfriend.

Example Number Three:  Power in Words                                                                This example is more for those who have experienced the feeling of being guilted, pushed around, made to feel less than, made to feel like they should change, made to feel like they should distance themselves from the friends they hold dear, made to feel like the only time spent should be the two of you….the jealous man who starts fights in bars, accuses you of cheating, accuses you of flirting, accuses you of caring more about your friends than him……that man is an insecure man, a man with his own demons or secrets he’s fighting…..a controlling man, a man who goes from passive-aggressive to aggressive with no in between …..there are key words and phrases that should make you pause, reflect and turn those words into an action plan.  As always with men and women…there is a bit of a double standard….why you ask?…because men are considered the head of the household who should hold their wives in the highest regard and treat them better than they would treat themselves.

To control another human being who you did not give birth to, who is not your blood relative, who is an adult just like you….whether you are a man or a woman says that you are insecure and feel a loss of power when you don’t get your way.  Many of us deal with the rules of engagement in relationships (see 3, 90, 1 year Rules of Engagement blog)….there are deal breakers and I can live withs………many of us live with the not so bads for our children, for financial stability and for appearance.

For those who have made the choice to deal with the deal breakers thru divorce, I commend you for the strength and courage that it took to take that step.  For those who continue to live with insanity……your day will come.  If you’re not married….don’t DO IT…getting married will not change the behavior.  For those living with the not so bads….maybe someday…it will get so good that you will thank yourself for staying.  To the husbands who are controlling…..own it…..and fix it….or you will lose half of everything you have built.  Whether that’s thru divorce or thru dissociative behavior from your wife.  Boyfriends….will become inconsequential.

Here’s to realizing the difference between controlling and needy……to understanding the neuro linguistic programming associated with why we act the way we do….to understanding the goal, the feelings and the behavior associated with how we communicate.  Let go….let live….let love…..let’s CHEERS!!!

….Whose your Zodiac?….

Many of us have taken a peek at our zodiac sign out of curiosity as to what astrology claims is our personality along with fun facts such as, who we are compatible with and what our best occupation would be. And many of us….read our sign and think….whoa….that is totally me!!

Well….I’m a Capricorn….the 10th sign of zodiac represented by a goat with a fish’s tail and extending from December 22 to January 19. My high level interpretation of myself is…
1. Outgoing aka social butterfly
2. Hard worker aka work hard play harder
3. Perfectionist aka get it right the first time
4. Task master aka do your job or your assigned chores & I won’t have to micro manage you
5. Loyal aka I got your back….but if you stab me to death(meaning you have had a lot of chances)….you will be sliced from my pack
6. Hates surprises aka I want to look good if I’m gonna be at a party aka hates to be embarrassed & I don’t like to be caught off guard because of something my children did & I have no explanation to back them or nail them to the wall
7. LOVES TO SHOP aka a teeny bit materialist at best
8. Community rebel rouser aka loves to do community service and pay it forward
9. Rule follower aka only if it’s posted …the 10 commandments, airport, street signs, directions etc…with the exception of speed limits
10. Planner aka extremely organized…wants to know the plan and logistics in advance
11. LOVE my family and friends aka will cut a crazy person for ya
12. Likes to be invited even if you know I can’t come….aka hates to be alone and left out

So what does my Zodiac sign say?? I looked it up after writing my high level interpretation of myself….and it says:
Personality Traits of a Capricorn….
•Good organizational skills
•Neat & tidy
•Practical
•Realistic
•Strong work ethic
•Materialistic tendencies
•Conventional
•Respects authority
•Egotism
•Cruel taskmaster
•Servility
•Excessive perfectionism

Likes…
•Simple food
•Antiques
•History
•Responsibility
•Not being pressured
•Unconditional love
•Privacy
•Elitism
•Family

Dislikes…
•Untidiness
•Disorder
•Being teased
•Familiarity
•Surprises
•New ideas & paths
•Loneliness
•Being useless
•Public embarrassment

Hmmm….pretty close wouldn’t you say? So for those of us who need a little self-reflection for pure entertainment purposes….write down who you think you are….and then Bing your sign.

Here’s to self reflection….sometimes looking in the mirror does not return the real you….CHEERS!!!

Chivalry 103……

If you have read my blog…you would know that chivalry is one of my all time favorite most special experiences ever. Chivalry is not dead and if we continue training generation after generation….we may soon find that it becomes hip and popular again. Chivalry 101 and 102 should be mastered by now…..so let’s move to the next steps…….these next tips are best trained during the late teen and young adult years.

Helping a lady with her coat……To institute this action you can do it one of two ways.  Fast track training would be to hand the coat to your subject, turn around, and put your arms in the putting your coat on position.  Slow track….put one arm in …. and ask for help with the other… either way continue this action until they simply know what to do.  Unfortunately, once summer comes…….you may have to retrain the next winter.

Walking on the outside of the street……my daddy NEVER let my mom and me walk closest to the street.  He would always move to the outside thus protecting us from any impending danger such as a run away car or kidnapper.  This for some reason always seem to melt me most.  To institute this training, simply move to the inside of the street everytime you are walking on a sidwalk.  This by far is the easiest chivalry act to train. Most men won’t question your action.. but like pavlov’s dog…they will just know what to do the minute they hit a sidewalk!

Chivalry is best trained by both parents….regardless of living situations…a male child can always learn how to respect the opposite sex through consistent demonstrations of cater and candor.  Some women are feminists and feel they can open their own door, pull out their own chair and put on their own coats…..that’s fine for them.  But this girl….enjoys the special attention and action it takes to be mindful and observant of a woman.  Whether they know her or not……A gentleman is always noticed for his manners & charming ways.

Here’s to well trained…well crafted….chivalry mastered men…and here’s to the adults who instilled its art form….may the gift of chivalry never die…..and the exceptance of its grace never be shunned…….CHEERS!!!

I’ve got your drag……..

There are times in life when we experience a moment in time that brings us down.  There are times in life when we may go thru a spell of what feels like unending sadness. There are times in life when our sadness is purely seasonal….kinda like allergies…you suffer a bit….when the season is over….you’re fine. There’s the very real stabbing of post partum depression that sucks you out of your normal life into bouts of crying for reasons you can’t explain to highs of extreme manic energy…but for those times in life….most people bounce back and never feel that pull of darkness again.  .. But for some people…..the struggle to see the light is a daily battle.

We all have those friends who make self deprecating remarks about themselves and you think…what the hell are you talking about?? We think you are fantastic, beautiful, fun, life would not be the same without you…..but to the receiver of that information…..the ears are on auto pilot deaf. Depression is a serious, aching, desperate feeling of unworthiness. A low point in a deep hole that appears to have no light to see a way out.

Most people can’t handle people who are depressed in their lives because they see their behavior has negative. But what they fail to realize is that when their friend is deep in that hole….its like a possession. You’re in there…..but you can’t get out…you’re screaming but nobody hears you…..the exterior of you is demonized by a cloak of dark clouds.

So…..what do you do? You can seek therapy, you can seek free counseling thru your friends, you can busy yourself…..if you believe in a higher power…you can pray for God’s healing. Usually we start with free counseling from our friends. Why do we do that?

I liken friendships to that of a flock of birds. The saying goes…birds of a feather flock. We see them flock on trees, power lines, by the water….and in a V formation in the air. But..did you know that only some birds really fly?…why? Because they take turns catching each others drag to keep them afloat and to conserve their energy. Birds travel in flocks just like friends do. They travel in flocks for several reasons…but the reasons most comparable to humans…is to socialize, protect each other, and to use the surrounding air they fly in…in the most efficient way. Their air….is our friends words of encouragement, shoulders to cry on…..and deep tight hugs.

So for those of us who are going thru a dark spell, who are coming out of a massive dark cloud, who fight on a daily basis to stay afloat…..just know…that a good friend…has your drag…so conserve your energy until you have the strength…to have their drag….here’s to birds of a feather….may they continue to flock, your wings become lighter and your soul soar…..CHEERS!!!

Girl Code 101…..

Through out life we establish friendships. Those friendships can start from kindergarten and potentially carry through our lifetime til death do us a part. Depending on your personality, you either have a core group of friends, several different groups of friends…or very little friends at all. Some women prefer to have more male friends because they believe girls are petty, catty, & an exhaustive presence to be around. But through it all….there is something called…..the GIRL CODE. Men have Man Laws or Bro Codes to live by….just like women do.

So let’s kick it off……..here are my personal top 5 plus one. There are many others but these are a good start to a solid respect for the Girl Code.

Sex – If your friend slept with him…..you can’t. There are some exceptions to this rule.
1. 60 years has passed
2. You get permission
3. You get married to him — this is a good thing

Dating – DO NOT….under any circumstances diss your girl for a man you are merely sleeping with. If there are NO rings on your fingers you are not obligated to be at his beck and call. Its called Training 101…..that’s another blog to come…but here’s a tidbit….Men will act how you allow them to. If you set clear expectations that you have forged a bond of friendships and you have plans with said girls…that you will not break those plans unless there is an emergency or death. You have many days and many nights to spend with him….your girls deserve your committment to their time. Just as you would want your girl to do the same. At the end of the day….when he is GONE….your girls will still be there. Once you are married….there is no such thing as a diss….because at that point…its a matter of whether you are allowing yourself to be controlled by having to ask permission to “escape”…..that’s another blog to come…..stay tuned.

Truth – In all cases be open and honest with your friends. While it is hard to share your feelings to others especially when you are angry with them….it is a disservice to them to exhibit passive aggressive behavior or stew in your own juices. At some point you will boil. Real change comes from having enough comfort to be really honest and say something very uncomfortable. Try it…..

Facebook Defriending – We are now in a social media craze in which our friendships are now closely connected to cyber space. If you are going to defriend a “friend” on Facebook, give them the courtesy of the “why”. Because by defriending or blocking them on Facebook without telling them speaks volumes to who you are as a person, reality and real life. If you can’t be honest and upfront about your friendship on Facebook then how are you supposed to develop true meaningful relationships in reality? Do you have something to hide? Do you think that your friend won’t like you anymore because of your views? If they are truly a friend…….they will still like you and quite possibly be able to help you with whatever your controversial feelings may be….OR…they just may agree with you….but as a friend…give them the opportunity to know the “why” you feel you need to defriend or block them.

Trust – If your girl(s) ask you to keep something confidential…..DO IT. If they want the whole group to know….they will tell them. We all have a friend or two out of our group that we feel more comfortable telling “secrets” too…..its not that we don’t trust the others in our group….its just that we can sense as humans who can understand what we are going thru most. There will always come a time when the girls get together in an intimate setting …. and share. Share what they are going through, share what they are feeling and share what hurts them or makes them most happy. LISTEN…..sometimes its just easier to do that until they ask you what they should do or for your opinion. The ability to do that is a continuous work in progress for everyone.

The Plus One:
Respect – this isn’t really GIRL CODE…its human nature code. Always give it and you shall receive it. If you aren’t getting it, speak on it, as there may be some underlining feelings that your friend is not telling you that you may be able to pull out of them to squash the feelings of animosity….and LISTEN to their feelings. Don’t diminish their perception of reality…because its their reality whether its real or not.

Girl Code is important. Just like Man Laws and Bro Codes are important to men. Friendships are built from mutual respect, understanding and trust. Respect the Girl Code and you will not be talked about by the rest of your crew!!….here’s to friendships…the good, the bad, the best and the even better times…..CHEERS!!!