I’m Ready!

Today is not New Year’s Day yet I am already thinking about my resolutions and goals for 2016. It is actually the day after Christmas, and after a month of eating anything and everything I wanted, I am actually excited to get started on my “Get Fit 2016” journey. I’ve been enjoying mashed potatoes, pasta, French fries, toast and cookies. All of the fun things that get me to my highest weight ever, the things I won’t be eating from now on. I know how much better I feel when I eat healthy, with fresh fruits and vegetables. I know how much more energy and strength I have when I work out. And I can’t wait to get there again. So I’m not waiting another week, I am starting today.

Months ago I wrote about my intent to kick the soda habit. At that time I was only one week in but I think announcing to the “world” helped me stay accountable and on track. I posted my progress on Facebook and kept count on a calendar. I think the thing that made my new habit stick was not wanting to go back on my word, or start over. When I saw that I was on day 50 of no soda I felt so good about accomplishing that number that I didn’t want to lose. I am now 6 months without my beloved high-fructose corn syrup Coke-Cola and Pepsi and although I miss it often, I no longer like the taste, and am proud of myself. So I am going to try that same approach with my weight loss and fitness journey and hope my pride won’t let me quit.

I am starting slowly this week as a transition phase before starting The Whole 30 program Jan 1-30. I will be tossing out the table full of cookies and pies that we have so much of they don’t even look good to me anymore. Sometime this week I will make a final trip to Five Guys for my favorite bacon cheeseburger I have been craving lately, I will take my kids to a movie and eat my favorite salty popcorn, and I will drink the new bottle of wine I already bought. But in between these last few indulgences I will also be incorporating the healthy foods back in. Today for example I’ve had green tea, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and chives for breakfast and a salad with apples and pears for lunch.

I am a little iffy on the exercise plan right now. I have totally been in the mood to workout lately, however, I’ve had a couple physical limitations. Stitches in a high traffic area that shouldn’t be stretched, pulled, or have extra weight tugging on it. And a shoulder that has been hurting for a month. I have no idea what is wrong with it, could be arthritis or something torn on the inside, but doesn’t seem to be getting better. Hurts when I move it certain ways or apply body weight on it. So I am going to have to start small with walking and build from there. I am actually toying with the idea of signing up for a friend’s “Couch to 5K” running group. Or maybe joining the gym on the corner. But don’t hold me to it yet, I said I’m toying with the idea. I’ll keep you updated.

Anyway, I am very hopeful that I can make permanent changes in my life. Now that I was successful with removing one bad habit I have proven something to myself – that I can do it. I just have to remove many more and add some good ones and I’ll be golden.

Wish me luck, and most of all willpower.

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Thirty-Seven

I am thirty-seven years old. I think I am at that age where you decide to take good care of yourself to stay healthy , young and active, or to let yourself get older. It is definitely a conscious choice that needs to be made. My husband already decided to let himself go years ago to be old and seems to have no desire to change his mind. Not me, I want to take the you healthier, more active route, but it is not easy. It is a constant life change that I need to practice.

I have weeks where thirty-seven doesn’t phase me. These weeks I do 3-5 workouts of 30-60 minutes each, and I feel great. I feel stronger and more athletic than I was in my twenties (although I am still not athletic). Some weeks I remember to take my vitamins and try to make healthy food choices. Although I am never perfect I certainly feel wiser than in my younger days. These are the weeks I feel like I am taking better care of myself than ever before. Even when I can’t see results on the scale, I feel better and younger inside. I forget my age. I swim or wrestle with my kids. I bounce on the trampoline. I dive off boats. Life is great.

Then there are the other weeks. Weeks where I drag and drag and drag. Getting to bed too late and ditching my early morning workouts for thirty more minutes of sleep or a drowsy bath instead. I forget to take my vitamins. I eat pizza, chocolate and Doritos to settle my cravings. My eyes grow heavy at my desk each afternoon from three to four; until I do the head bob and have to get up to walk around. I am desperate for a nap I never get when I get home at night. These are the weeks I feel my age. I am sleepy, my mind is not fresh or alert, I am sluggish, my eyes are droopy. I don’t have the energy to keep the housework or take the kids to the park. I only want to lounge around. I don’t like those weeks but am having one right now – coming off a vacation and my period, I haven’t exercised in 4 days – and today I am certainly feeling my age.

It just reminds me that I can never stop. Going forward I will always have to exercise and eat right to keep feeling good. Any breaks I take, just take me backward into sleepy despair. That is an exhausting thought.

Well, maybe next week…

Why a Woman Goes Sour

Men don’t understand women. Women seem complicated. Well guess what? They are complicated. We wish men only knew how much. If only they could be in our shoes for a week – they’d finally understand why we are so overwhelmed. We are not only ruled by our hearts, hormones and emotions, but also our endless stream of thoughts. Men, do you know why we never believe you when you say you aren’t thinking about anything? It is because women are never NOT thinking something. We’re always thinking about 3-7 things at the same time. Not because we want to, because we have to. We are built that way apparently. We can have multiple things on our mind, like a stovetop with front burners and back burners, but never empty. We cannot turn it off (except with excessive alcohol to numb the mind, which is probably how you got us to begin with).

 Woman is a world of difference from girl, lady, or female. I don’t even feel like a female anymore. The sweet girl, the lovely lady were beat out of me years ago. Now I’m a mentally and physically exhausted, mouthy, sarcastic, untrusting. pushy ballbusting bitch. I’m too busy with important things to care about my fingernails or eyeliner or the latest fashions, or being polite to people who piss me off. I’ve never in my life curtsied or been kissed on the back of my hand. Men hold the door open for me or kill spiders for me even less often than my bra & panties match, which is rare. And much to his despair I do not spend all my time thinking of ways to make my husband happy. No, none of that is me. I am not saying I wouldn’t like to be those things – its just not in me right now.

 No, I am an educated, urban woman in 2013 which means I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have to put my children first and try my hardest to raise them into decent human beings that will not one day shoot up their school. But I also have to earn money and work my ass off in the corporate world to make 77% of what my male counterpart makes. And yet it will be he who gets the promotion over me despite the fact that he is all bullshit talk and I am the brain and the follow through, because they assume that me being a mom means I don’t want to travel. (Have you met my family? Please, send me away.) I work 40 hours a week outside the home and then am still expected to do all the housework (because my husband is too lazy and in 12 years of marriage I still have not figured out a successful way to motivate him), as well as half of the cooking and meal preparations. I am the social committee responsible for family events, play date coordination and even all communication with HIS parents. If the kids don’t have clean pants for school, it is my fault I didn’t get the laundry done. If they forgot to study their spelling words, it is my fault because I didn’t remember to make them. If the kids haven’t showered in a week it would only be because I didn’t start their water and make them do it. And after I’ve read each of the boys a chapter and put them to bed, do the dinner dishes, feed the cat, etc I am then expected to suddenly feel sensual and sexual and service my man? How can I when I smell like a sweaty combo of taco meat and dishwater? When all I want to do is either read a book, take a bath, sleep or watch my favorite TV show. Have a little escape from my own reality. Sure he has enough energy for sex, he’s been laying there watching American Chopper all night. Do you see why women are resentful? Do you see why we go crazy and are no longer fun? Getting married and having a family takes every ounce of energy and every ounce of tender love, enthusiasm, and sweetness out of us. That’s why the twenty-year-olds seem more appealing to you men than the thirty-somethings – you haven’t ruined them yet.

 How do I feel as a woman or a wife? I feel bitter, harsh, naggy, and under appreciated. Am I a good wife to my husband? Emotionally, No! I know this and am helpless to change it because my responsibilities and workload as a mother, worker, and director of everything takes everything I have. I have no energy, nor desire, to try to change myself to be better to HIM. The same HIM that puts me in this position by not sharing a fair load of house duties, by not being sensitive and understanding, by never taking care of me. I am taking care of everyone all the time.

Oh, and on top of my family duties to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, it is also up to me to help make the world a better place: recycle, save the polar bears & rain forests, donate to the poor, fight pedophiles, raise money for cancer research – the list never ends. No pressure at all, right? 

So do I feel honored to be a woman? Not really. Only the honor of creating life, having and loving children with all my heart. The rest of life is so much more difficult for us than for men. They are the lucky ones that have us to do everything for them. I’d say maybe its only my lazy husband, but 75% of my friends have the same problem (or had the same problem before their divorce). So now you know  why we are overwhelmed harpies who just might stab you the next time you say “What you making me for breakfast woman?” Please save a woman from going bitter, thank your mother/sister/wife/daughter today (and give her a shoulder massage).

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

I’ve had many goals & dreams in my life, some such as career goals have changed many times. When I was six I wanted to be either an animal farmer or a teacher. When I was twelve I wanted to be an architect. When I was seventeen I wanted to be an accountant. When was I twenty-one I wanted to own a nightclub, when I was twenty-six I just wanted to feel like my college years had been worth it, when my babies were young I wanted to stay home with them but couldn’t. And off and on many times throughout my life I wanted to be a real estate tycoon. But there was only one small window of time – I think maybe ten to eleven – when I wanted to be a writer. I wrote a couple short stories for school and for fun. But my other aspirations took over. I do remember writing a number of heartbreaking poems in Junior High – so full of angst, drama and emotion – but those were to express myself, I never thought about it as a profession. And once the onslaught of mandatory writings in school: research papers, oral reports, book reports and major projects took over; well I never saw writing as fun again. Thank you college for ruining that.

So my adult years had been completely blind to the possibilities of writing as a passion or a career. I continued to feel under-utilized, under-appreciated and under-paid in the corporate world, battling with depression, sense of failure, and overwhelming chaos of trying to raise my kids, do everything, and work outside the home. Now, I’ll tell you a little secret; throughout my life I have had very vivid dreams. So many times my dreams were like movies that played in my head and sometimes I was in them and sometimes I wasn’t. There were just make-believe people doing whatever it was: sometimes love scenes, sometimes scary or action sequences – but always a pretty well developed storyline. I would wake up and think wow; I wish that had happened to me. Or wow, that was cool. Or wow, where the heck did that come from? I would lay there and think about it for awhile. And then months or years later down the road the scene would pop into my head again and I would find myself imagining what would happen next, adding on to the scene in my head and building on it. Daydreaming. I had even thought this story should be a movie; maybe I should be a screenwriter. But the movie industry is tough and no way do I want to live in Los Angeles. So I just kept on with my ordinary life. I never told anyone. Honestly sometime I spent so much time in my head, I was a little afraid it might mean I was developing multiple personality disorder or something.

One day I was home from work sick and was watching Oprah. She had Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight Series on. I had just read all of those books twice and was really into them at the moment. They had brought back my love of reading. Stephanie talked about how the whole idea for Twilight came from a dream she had and she felt like she had to write it down. That’s when it clicked for me. If she could write a book from a dream and become a multi-millionaire, maybe I could too. I didn’t have to be a screenwriter for my ‘stories’ to be made into a movie, I could write books and then maybe they’d get picked up for movies too. So then the question was, how hard or easy was it going to be to write a book? Would I be any good at it? I started typing one of my first storylines into the laptop in September 2009. That story had a lot of gaps that I wasn’t sure how I was going to fill them all in. I wasn’t feeling it. So I did outlines of the other stories in my head so I wouldn’t forget all my ideas. The week my husband was gone elk hunting I started writing the biggest story in my head down in a notebook. I started in the middle. I knew it was the middle but I just chose a scene and went with it, later writing other parts of the story before and after. The story flowed. I wrote and wrote and didn’t want to stop. It ended up feeling much easier and more natural than I thought. I used both paper and laptop, switching back and forth depending on the situation. If you have young children you would sympathize, everytime I’d sit down at the computer to type the kids would be crawling onto my lap or begging for something to eat/drink/do. So some nights I would wait until the kids went to bed and then write until midnight, force myself to go to bed, and then get up at 6:00am for work the next day. I was exhausted, but it felt so liberating. As cheesy as it may sound, it felt right, like that was what I should be doing and I couldn’t believe I never thought of it earlier. Where the hell has my head been all these years? Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

I kept my book writing a secret from everyone except my husband for many months afraid that people would think I was crazy, unrealistic or would laugh at me. After many months I finally told my mom and my two best friends and swore them to secrecy. But I still wouldn’t let anyone read anything I wrote or even tell them what the story was about. It felt too personal, and I was too nervous of being discouraged. Within the first year I’d written around two hundred pages, but then things settled down. I had a harder time finding the time to write. You see I work a forty-hour work week outside the home and it’s not something I can change. Without my day job we wouldn’t be able to pay all our bills, nor would we have medical insurance, life insurance or a 401K. My day job is priority, not because I love it, but because it supports my family and my children come first. It allows me to give my kids a better lifestyle than I had at their age. And so unfortunately, the writing gets pushed aside often. I haven’t lost my passion for it though, nor the drive to get it done. I have over 300 pages now but it is full of holes. I’ve written the scenes that are clearest to me and now I need to go back through, put everything in order and fill the gaps and transition things. Also, I did something else kind of crazy in the midst of writing this book over the last three years – I actually started three others. Yes, I have four books going at the same time. None of the others are as far along as this first one, but sometimes those storylines just pop into my head, I get on a roll and go with it. I have to get this stuff out of my head while it is fresh. I don’t want to forget. So I may work on one story when I can for a month, then switch to another for a week, then think of something I can add to another one and jump over to that. I thought I might be breaking some kind of writing rule or at least be crazy for doing this back and forth, but then I read an interview with Nora Roberts and she said she often works on two or three stories at once. I was like “Yes!” I am not a freak.

Since my words first hit paper I’ve started slowly moving in the right direction to have a writing career. I took a creative writing class with my Aunt that was very eye opening. I am reading Writer’s Digest magazine. And I’m following many authors, bloggers and publishers on Twitter. But I started feeling like the more I read articles on ‘don’t make this mistake’, ‘use these words instead of these words’ etc it started making me feel nervous about my writing style and slowed things down. The more I read about the rules of writing the more stifled my creativity is. So I’ve since decided I am just going to write the way I write. I do go back and edit scenes often, rewording things as I read back over them after I’ve had more sleep, but for the most part I am going to get my story down and then I will let the editors do their job when it comes to grammar particulars. In January I made my New Years resolution to have one book completed by December 31st so I could start the new year of 2013 sending off queries to literary agents. It is September again – the three year anniversary of my start date – and I may not be done by the end of the year. But I am not going to freak out about it. Right now I have to raise & feed my children. Sure it would be easier to raise my kids if I was a full-time writer right now but I’m just not there yet. I know I will someday see my dream of having a book published come true. It just may not be in my thirties. Maybe it won’t be for five more years (because I’m sure I’ll have a couple years of rejection letters before I get picked up), or ten, or after my children leave the house and I have lots of time on my hands, but I will see this dream through. For the first time in my life I feel like I am doing what I truly lovely and will be happy doing.

When someone you love drives you nuts.

I remember telling my mom once when I was in my early twenties that I wanted a man who was an intelligent successful businessman, but was also outdoorsy rugged type in his off hours. I never was attracted to the totally dumb or lazy guys no matter how hot & dangerous they seemed – I wasn’t in to danger. I wanted to make sure I’d always have a roof over my head and a clean criminal record. I wasn’t a gold-digger either though and was comfortable dating in the middle of the scale. I was a smart girl in school and had big dreams and lots of potential. I was probably smarter, at least on paper, than most of my earlier boyfriends – but they had their strengths too: outdoors, mechanics, etc. and it wasn’t an issue. In the end, I married exactly what I had set out for – a college-educated accountant with mad wilderness survival skills. My husband can camp, fish, hunt, survive the end of civilization, and over pack enough to support three families every time we leave the house. He’s a very handy guy. He has every tool imaginable, can build furniture, and fix just about anything. He spends his down time watching the History Channel, Military Channel, DIY, American Chopper and Deadliest Catch type shows – never the silly light stuff like I like. If we need something done and it’s not in his repertoire, he gets online and learns how to do it. He is a very handy person.

So what’s the problem? The man drives me absolutely insane! He is way too smart for my own good. If I had to do it again, I would never marry someone smarter than me again. He is a total pain in the ass! I never win a freaking argument (even when I’m right). I never get away with anything. I never get out of anything. I am constantly critiqued on everything by someone who thinks he can do it better. It makes the old high-school boyfriend seem so easy to be around (oh wait, he was also a cheater because apparently he couldn’t say no to anything).

Now of course an intelligent husband is not a bad thing. It obviously has its good points. He’s responsible, has a stable good career with higher earning potential, and our children are freaking brilliant. After every Parent-Teacher Conference I thank God for their good genetics and learning abilities. I have never been bored in our conversations (as few & far between as they might be). These are all good things. But, at times, it also makes him a dickhead. I miss being the smart one. I hate always giving in and walking away from the argument because there is no getting through to him. I hate never getting my way, or not getting it without a big fight first. He is so stubborn. I cannot convince him of anything – I can tell him the exact truth about something – – anything — and he never has faith in what I say. He has to find proof for himself. He always assumes he knows more than I do, or that I’m getting the story wrong. He tells me, “You wouldn’t want a yes-man”. Oh really? Let me tell you what Mister, after eleven years of never hearing the words “yes dear, whatever you want dear” I certainly do want a freaking yes-man, maybe even a mute one.

So as you can see, the one area my smart husband is an idiot in is dealing with women. Even an illiterate loser convicted felon boyfriend could probably tell you that when you’re wife/girlfriend is upset, to say “Yes dear. You’re right dear.” Even if he doesn’t truly believe it. Eleven years of marriage, two years dating before that, and my husband still refuses that mindset. He still thinks being right is more important than being happy. And he still thinks being in control is better than having peace. My six-year-old has more sensitivity and empathy for people than he does.

We’re not bad people. I’m sure we’re not the worst relationship in the country. We are faithful to each other, come home to each other every night, no physical abuse, no lies, we are both active in raising our sons, we both have a good sense of right and wrong, and we both contribute income to the family. We just both have opinions and like being in control. We are both perfectly capable of getting along with other people. We just argue with each other A LOT. Why? Because he’s that way, and I’m not going to take shit from anyone, and we are stuck in the same house together ALL THE TIME! Sometimes its more joking banter and sometimes it causes real anger. I feel that he puts on a ‘better than thou’ air and acts as if I am a silly, ridiculous, airhead. And I don’t let him get away with it. When I feel I am being talked down to or he hurts my feelings, I lash out. I always come back with both barrels a blazing (verbally). I stand up for myself constantly and don’t let him get away with anything either. But the man is a freaking rock that I break against time and time again. And it is freaking exhausting!

That’s why everything is an argument. I am a strong independent minded woman and I don’t need someone telling me “that’s not the way I would have done it”, or that I made a bad decision, or that my hobbies, likes or dreams are a waste of time, or my thought process isn’t rational. I don’t agree. I have a brain of my own and I survived quite well on my own before him. I think everyone should have hobbies and dreams, otherwise life is no fun. And I am tired of someone standing in my way of things I want – even if it’s something as tiny as what color to paint the damn bedroom wall. I also think we made a mistake in taking down all filters once we lived together. I think a couple still needs to keep some filters up so you are as nice to each other as you are to strangers. So all this means nothing in my house ever seems easy and it wears me down constantly.  I am sure I have massive anger management issues that could take years of therapy to solve. (That’s why I write.)

And yet, am I ready to give up on my marriage because of an egotistical argumentative husband? No. I at least have not been pushed over that edge yet. I do value the sanctity of marriage and take divorce very seriously. I worry about effects of it on my children – both if we were to split and also if they are raised in a house of non-peace. I weigh it all the time in my head. I certainly don’t want my boys to grow up and treat their women how I feel I am treated. I want them to be more loving and doting. But you never know how people will turn out – I was raised in a very loving home, my parents showed lots of love and affection to each other and me. I also knew they fought too though. My parents never criticized me and look at me now – I can’t take criticism worth a shit now that I’m in the real world. Maybe my kids will be stronger. I don’t know. I have not come to a cut and dry answer or solution yet. I do love my husband and like the idea of keeping our family whole. But I also wonder if we could all be happier without the bickering. It’s not all bad though, we still have good times and good conversations. He’s a good man in more areas than he is not. And sometimes I think he is the only man strong enough to put up with me. Because let’s face it, I’ve become a total bitch too.

Do I wish I was telling my husband how sweet and handsome he is instead of calling him an asshole? Yes. Do I wish I spent more of my time singing his praises than rolling my eyes? Yes. Do I wish we loved each other so much we felt like we would die without the other one like when I was seventeen? Hell yes! But that just isn’t adult reality. Being a grown up in a marriage is not rainbows, hearts and make-out sessions. It is bills and arguing over whose night it is to cook or do the dishes, how to discipline the children, and the horrible man smells stinking up the bathroom. Do I wish my man appreciated my qualities, hobbies, talents and humor? Yes, so much so it hurts. And if I was to say that to him, he would tell me he does appreciate those things about me.  But if he has any idea how amazing I am, he never shows it. Any good self-esteem I have comes from my mom and my friends and my own heart … and my therapist who did tell me I was an amazing strong woman…and she’s a professional, she knows what she’s talking about.

 PS – after spending the afternoon writing this, my hubby called to remind me to pick the kids up from his parents house today instead of daycare, and you know what… I had forgotten that and probably would have driven to the wrong place had he not called. So maybe I am a total airhead that needs his reminders. What the hell do I know?

Half Sisters, Whole Friends

I started writing this as a piece on half-sisters. But as I wrote I discovered what a huge part my relationship with my half-sisters has played in trust issues in my life. Man, writing is turning out to be such great therapy for me. And it’s free!

So anyway, here is where I started …

What does it mean to be a half-sibling? In some families it might not make a bit of difference – family is family and they love each other just the same. That’s how it should be. Unfortunately, that is not my family.

Let me start off with some background. I have three half-sisters, all a few years older than me. My Dad had two daughters with his first wife, my Mom had one daughter with her first husband and then they got together and had me. As an infant and toddler of course this made no difference to me. But growing up, I noticed more and more how different my relationship with my half-sisters was than other sister relationships I saw. All siblings squabble over toys or tattle on each other. That is natural. But in the non-squabbling, softer moments of life, sisters should be comforting, understanding, mentoring, co-conspirators, bonded for life. A girl’s big sister should be the one person in the family she turns to for embarrassing questions or tells her secrets to. A big sister should be who you’d whisper to about your first crush, first time you got your period, or lost your virginity. I never had that. There were fun moments few and far between the long absences and awkwardness. And there was a year or two in my early twenties I was close with my oldest sister. We had fun together and shared some good laughs. But it didn’t last. It was never easy and rarely ever comfortable. I always felt insecure around her. It didn’t stop me from trying though, but I always came away with hurt feelings or scarred self-esteem. What I am now realizing is that we lacked this thing called trust.

With my sisters there was no trust that we’d have each other’s backs. No trust that there was unconditional love. No trust that our parents loved us equally. No trust that they’d be there for me. No trust that I could confide in them without them turning on me and using it against me. Not even trust that they wouldn’t try to steal boyfriends just to spite me. I wonder when this began. It’s hard to imagine a baby or toddler having automatic lack of trust. And yet, I know it was there far before my teen years. I remember incidents when I was seven or eight, when my sister would write made up things in my diary and then leave it open for my mom to read it to get me in trouble. (Like what kinds of REAL things could an eight year old do to really get in trouble? Not the same things a thirteen year old thought of, that’s for sure.) There were times when my sisters dared me to moon vehicles passing by, or locked me out of the house until my parents came home, tried to teach me to smoke cigarettes, or dragged me along to parties when they were supposed to be babysitting me. I always felt like they were trying to embarrass me or get me into trouble. And if their friends picked on me, all the more fun for them, they never stood up for me. They teased me when I had crushes on the older boys, they let their bitch friends slap me, and the time I blew up and would never take it again was when I was seventeen and one of my sister’s friends threatened to sleep with my boyfriend because he was hot. She said this shit to my face! I think I threw a curling iron at her if I remember correctly. So yes, I have a definite mistrust of those who called themselves my sisters.

And this is where I ended up…

It is only coming clear to me now that this treatment is what has caused me to have issues with girls in general over the years. Now, I won’t say I have a hard time making friends or getting along with girls. Granted in my college years it was much easier to make friends with guys. I had a lot of guy friends I loved hanging out with, but let’s face it: most started with an initial thought of trying to hook up with me. Or vice versa. But as fun as my male friends were, most were still not the ones I would divulge my emotional thoughts and weaknesses to. No, we went drinking and rafting and watched Adam Sandler movies. But I’ve always had a best female friend or two or four. Some have changed over the years; some are still by BFF’s from High School. A girl needs her girls to dish about that mushy stuff that guys hate. I think I can generally make friends and keep friends easily. My friends become closer to me than family. I have some friends that I feel like are my true sisters at heart.

However, there is a certain kind of girl I can be friends with and a certain kind of girl I absolutely cannot. And I typically know within about ten minutes of meeting someone which category they fit into. I must have a built in bitch detector after all those years of abuse. In my younger years the bitch-to-good person ratio was much higher, probably due to where I lived, but now with maturity, age, wisdom and a better attitude on my end, it has gone down. I estimate that about 30% of women fall into the ‘could never be friends with’ category. And being a ‘bitch’ isn’t really the deal breaker – heck sometimes I’m a snippy bitch – its what kind of bitch they are. And what kind of person they are. It is the difference between a ‘don’t let people walk all over you’ and occasionally mouthy type, versus a ‘purposefully deceitful and spiteful to others’ type. There is a big difference. We’ll call them strong women –vs- evil conniving bitches. I’m talking the Courtney’s & Blakely’s of the world (for you Bachelor fans). The women who obnoxiously over-use their sexuality to get what they want, then flaunt it in other women’s faces. The women who lie and cheat. The women who compete with other women just to win, not because they actually want it. The women who set other women up to fall then laugh about it behind their backs. The women who are so easy to hate when we see them on TV. Yes, these women really do exist in our communities as well. In my world they were the Angie’s, Red-Sonya’s and Jaquelyn’s. These are the women I don’t trust and I don’t have time for. These are the women I might accidentally give the stink eye to as if just to say “I see you, I know you’re evil”.

You see I am a firm believer in the sisterhood/friendship code. You don’t sleep with your sister’s or best friends’ exes (or currents for that matter). You tell your friend if her boyfriend is cheating on her. You back up your friends when others bad mouth them. You protect them from bad situations when you can. Twice in Junior High and High School I set aside interest I had in certain boys because my best friend liked them. And even when they didn’t like her back, I still never went for it because it would have hurt her feelings. Once at a bar a guy my sister liked was flirting with me. She told me I should go for it, but I was like no way, you like him (plus I was 21 and he was like 40). A couple years later, that same sister ended up marrying a guy who had dumped me. Awkward!

I never wanted to be in a sorority because of my perceptions and mistrust of other girls. The more women you were exposed to, the more there were to cause trouble for you. I was so used to these types of women that when I joined Mary Kay for a couple years I actually had a hard time believing that the women there were really that nice and supportive. I assumed it was fake because I just wasn’t used to women helping each other succeed. It took me a long time to believe it. Now that I am open to it, I notice women helping and encouraging each other all over the place. In business, Twitter, Facebook, other mothers at school. So I am more willing to give people a chance than I used to be. I had a bad tendency to assume the worst. Now I look for the best. My Evil-Conniving-Bitch detector still works great though and steers me clear of those girls. Luckily as an adult it is a lot easier to avoid the ECB’s out there (unless you work with one).

And how is my relationship with my half-sisters now? Non-existent. I was tired of being the only one trying so I gave up. And you know what, even though I have occasional guilt, overall I am much happier without the stress and insecurities that went with it. My true friends make me feel alive, happy, fun, appreciated, understood, loved, accepted, and chosen.

Anyone else have similar sister issues? Do you have a loving network of friends that encourage and insire you? Anyone else have a built-in Super ECB detector? (Obviously Bachelor Ben Flajnik doesn’t)

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