As this year comes to an end I think about how much I've learned over this past year. On January 1, 2010 I made a new year's resolution, which is odd because I never make resolutions- ever. But last new year's I was at home, completely alone, crying my eyes out because I couldn't believe how much I had lost and how alone I was. It was then when I sat alone on my couch with no one to celebrate with, no one to call or text a 'Happy New Year'- while outside you could hear crowds celebrating that I made my first and only resolution. I promised myself I would do whatever it took to be myself again and be happy with my life. I wanted to be the bubbly care free girl that I had lost over the past 7 years of my life- I wanted her back. I can say now I did just that this year. But instead of becoming that bubbly girl again I did even better. I became a happy, confident, wise woman. I kept my promise to myself- I actually surpassed it! I can't believe what a difference a year can make. This will always be a time in my life that I will remember and cherish. I met so many great people this year and I learned so much about myself- I couldn't ask for anything more. I am the happiest I have ever been. Part of it was my own doing but part of it was the people I met- they restored my trust in others, in humanity itself.
I know this post has nothing to do with submission or the lifestyle- but the subject is so dear to me I had to write about it. Plus this is a story of my journey and my life is not BDSM all the time. So I complied a list of lessons I have learned this year that have ultimately changed my life for the better. I hope it can do the same for others.
Money Does Not Equal Happiness
This was a tough one for me to learn. I admit before I was a very materialistic person. I wanted all these things and I wanted the best of the best. Whatever I bought it was brand name and high quality. I made great money and so did my ex in the beginning and we were doing ridiculously awesome financially. Anything we wanted we bought- no questions. But no matter how many pairs of shoes I bought or how many Gucci or Coach or Louis Vuitton purses I owned, or how big my diamond earrings were- I was still unhappy. My ex at the end of our relationship lost job after job until he decided he just wasn't going to even look for a job. So we then only had one income- our income was cut in half.
To make matters even worse- he took all our belongings of worth and sold them or pawned them. Usually they were my things and not his. I would come home to find many things gone- they just disappeared. Then he began to take things that had sentimental value. Things that couldn't be replaced. Like the pair of diamond earrings my Aunt gave our daughter. They were her very first pair of diamond studs and she gave them to my daughter as her first pair of diamond studs; her birthstone. You can't replace memories- even if I went out and bought an identical pair of earrings they wouldn't mean as much. After he took all our possessions and sold them- he cleared out our bank account a few times. So not only did we not have anything of value- there was no money to pay the bills.
After we separated there was no possessions, nothing to show for my hard earned money. Then this year I lost the final possession that meant something to me- my first house. Basically I'm having to start from scratch. Seven years of progress gone. But yet- without all of those possessions and money- I'm the happiest I have ever been. No amount of money or number of possessions can ever come close to the value of people in your life and your happiness. At the end of the day- possessions mean nothing.
If you give to others- do it because you want to, not because you expect something in return. A gift is a gift, not a trade. If you are only giving to someone so you will get something yourself then your heart is not in the right place. Don't get me wrong, it is nice to receive also- but don't let that be the motivation behind your generosity. To me seeing the joy and appreciation of the people I give to is enough to satisfy me. That is the reward. It shouldn't be tit for tat.
I used to get guilt trips all the time "Of course I care! God- I gave you diamond earrings for crying out loud! But what did I get? A guilt trip about not showing I care and a damn t shirt!" Um- two things buddy. One- you could buy me an island and it still would not make me believe you care. An island or any other gift wont make up for three years of completely ignoring me and cheating on me! Actions, love- they speak louder than words or gifts. Two- how the fuck am I supposed to buy you anything when you cleared out the bank account?!
Anyways- I learned to give without expectations of getting something in return because I am not one to give guilt trips, nor do I think it should be tit for tat- that's just not the way life is. So I give willingly because without that- it takes the joy out of both giving and receiving.
Just Be Yourself
I think girls are more prone to this than guys, but of course there's always an exception to any rule. At least for me- in my relationships in the past I've tried to change things about myself to make the other happy. Whether it was clothing, hair, weight or even personality traits. But I realized that makes you resent the person and it can make you very unhappy if you look or act like something you are not. If someone has that big of an issue with who you are- kick them to the curb because there are more than enough fish in the sea. There are millions of people on this planet- so one persons thoughts out of millions means nothing. We are who we are and we shouldn't have to apologize for it or change what we are. Either you accept me the way I am or you don't. Take it or leave it because this is me- beautifully flawed just like every other being on this planet.
Boys Will Be Boys
Women let me give you a tidbit of info that will save you a lot of time- you can't change a man. OK boys- you know I love you but I'm gonna break it down for the ladies. If you date a man and he is as immature as a 5 year old- 95% chance he will be that way for the rest of his life. If he's a cheater- there is no keeping that cock locked away even if you buy a chastity belt- he will find a way to remove it. If he is an asshole- he was born an asshole and will die an asshole. Men just can't be changed. The only thing you can change about a man is the way he dresses. But do you really want him to be the pussy whipped boy of the group that used to wear whatever shirt was closest to the bed on the floor and the least wrinkled- to someone that looks like a model in GQ? He will be the joke of his group of friends and he will one day resent you for that when he wakes up years from now and realizes his balls were stolen from him right before his eyes. Then he'll go through a midlife crisis trying to "find himself" and will end up with either an expensive sports car or will dress in nothing but leather, shave his head and buy a Harley. You really want that?
Yes- boys will be boys, there's no changing that. But just as you don't want to change for anyone- why do you think a man should change for you? You should accept him the way he is as well. I think this is the problem in so many marriages. For some reason women think once they marry a man- the ring is magical and will get rid of all the things you dislike about him. Then she'll bring up his faults that she hates and he's pissed because he's thinking "Woman! I haven't changed! I'm the same damn person you agreed to marry!" Exactly! So women- be nice to our boys and accept them for who they are because they cannot be changed- period.
Fool Me Once, Shame On You
It's ok to make mistakes- we all do. No one is perfect. Plus it builds character. But if you keep making the same mistake over and over again then there's a problem. Learn from your mistakes, or else you'll be like a damn moth that keeps flying into the light time after time until you injure yourself. Don't be stubborn and not admit you made a mistake- you will only hurt yourself in the end. Remember- it's OK, we all make mistakes.
It Is What It Is
One of the biggest things I learned- there are some things in life we just can't control. If you're like me you just have to accept that and realize we're not super hero's. We can't control others actions or the economy or illness etc. BUT what we can control is the way we handle the situation. You always have a choice in that. Something bad may happen to you due to something out of your control. But you could either sit and wallow in self pity and become a bitter old bitty, or you can accept it, move on and make the best out of it that you can. THAT is your choice. We can overcome anything- it just depends on whether you want to overcome it or not.
Every Second Counts
You have to live life to the fullest- don't look back with regrets. Squeeze every ounce of joy that you can out of each day- things change too quickly. Live in the moment- take it one day at a time. Don't worry about the what ifs in life or it will just pass you by. I've already let too many years pass me by and I have regret after regret. But now I'm actively living. I'm not going to waste another 10 years of my life worrying about what ifs. What's meant to be will be- just let it happen. Plus, you never know when your last day on this planet will be- or someone else you care for. Cherish the moments you have an take full advantage of them. I don't want to be one of those old ladies that's bitter and hating the youngsters because they are doing all the things I wanted to do at their age. No, I want to be 90 years old and on my death bed look up at my family and say "That was one fuckin awesome ride!" Yes- I'll say fuck when I'm 90 even!
No Expectations- No Disappointments
This may sound crazy to some but let me explain myself. Don't have expectations in life. If you're anything like me- life will never live up to your expectations. You can have goals- yes, that's actually great to have goals. But don't expect it to turn out a certain way because that will just create disappointment. Maybe it's because I have such an active imagination or because I'm a perfectionist, but when I have expectations- they are never fulfilled. So why set myself up for that sadness? If you don't have expectations then you will be happier with the outcome because you have nothing to compare it to. Goals- great! Expectations- not so much.
Free For All
Let me explain one of my opinions on poly relationships. Of course this is not my main reason for believing in polyamory- but it is one of them. You know when you're in a committed relationship and you've been together for quite a while- sometimes you may have moments where you think the grass is greener on the other side. Or you are tired of only having lets say chocolate chip cookies for three years, no other type of cookie, just chocolate chip. Even though it may be your favorite cookie- that can get boring. Say one day you see a peanut butter cookie- but it's off limits, you're committed to only chocolate chip cookies. Not to say you don't still love chocolate chip cookies- but now that the peanut butter cookie is off limits- it's that much more tempting.
You end up craving the peanut butter cookie, fantasizing about how it would taste, smell. You just have to have that damn peanut butter cookie or you will die! You just want a new flavor in your life. So much so that it becomes an obsession and you wont be able to control yourself and you just eat the peanut butter cookie in a fit of hunger. Then you feel guilty about eating and enjoying the peanut butter cookie because you told chocolate chip cookie that you were committed to it. That explains a monogamous relationship. In a poly relationship that peanut butter cookie is not off limits- you could have it whenever you want and still enjoy your favorite cookie- chocolate chip as well. Knowing that you can still have that peanut butter cookie eliminates that temptation, which in return doesn't make it quite as desirable then if you were told it was off limits.
In poly relationships not only can you indulge in both the chocolate chip cookie and peanut butter cookie- neither will seem bland because you have choices. You'll enjoy each cookie that much more. So in my opinion why make something off limits? As humans we are tempted all the time. Why make it off limits just so you have to have feelings of guilt for wanting more? We all have moments where we want more or a change. Hell- Adam and Eve couldn't even refrain from temptation!
If you're anything like me- you just love that feeling of the thrill of the chase. I love that cat and mouse game between two in the beginning of a relationship. But I also enjoy the intimacy and closeness that can only develop from a long term relationship and knowing the person very well. I don't like one more than the other- they both have their positives and negatives. They are different- but both thrilling. We all like that feeling of being wanted and sometimes when you have been with someone for a long time that feeling kind of fades at times. Or you want to be reminded that you are desirable to more than just one. I'm totally guilty of that myself. I live for that attention from others and I know a lot of us do. But again- I also love that close connection that develops from being with someone for a long time. But the minute one of those options is taken away from me- that's all I want, what I can't have. But if I know both are an option- just knowing it's available fulfills that need for it.
This is one reason I strongly believe in polyamory now. It doesn't put that limit on you. So you don't have to hold back and hide feelings. You're free to just live and connect and it eliminates those boundaries which in turn makes you able to connect with others at even a deeper level because you can be completely honest. Plus you don't have to give up one of your favorite cookies. You can have both and be even happier and more fulfilled. I mean hey- you may even be able to combine the two and have chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. Yum!!!!
Only You Can Prevent Unhappiness (A message from Smokey the Bear)
We hear all the time- "he/she makes me so happy." That's great- but another person should not be the only factor in your happiness. To be truly happy YOU have to rely on yourself for happiness instead of another. Someone in your life can ADD to your happiness but if you are unhappy by yourself chances are you'll be unhappy with anyone, no matter what. We shouldn't put that pressure on another to fulfill our happy tank- that's a lot of pressure. Plus if they're worried about your happiness- when will they have time for their happiness? That can be draining- worrying about two individuals happiness- I've been there! Give, give, give, give- a person can only give so much- you have to at least meet them halfway.
Also you wont be able to make others happy unless you are happy yourself. It puts a drag on the relationship if one or both are unhappy with themselves. That's not to say you should just be selfish and say "I'm only worrying about my happiness in this relationship! I'll do what I want no matter what your feelings are." No- relationships are about balance, compromise, working together. In order to receive you need to give and in order to give you need to receive. It takes both partners worrying about not only making your partner happy, but yourself as well.
Lean On Me
This one I am actually still working on. It's a tough one for me to grasp. That is- it's ok to lean on someone else for support when you need it, it doesn't make you weak- it just makes you human. Everyone has bad days and doubts at some point in their life and when you do have those days- it's ok. You don't have to be strong every moment of every day. See- growing up I was taught that you don't talk about emotions and you don't ever let someone see you cry. So for me I feel like I personally should have to deal with everything on my own and internalize it and don't let anyone see your weak side. But when I went through my divorce I realized I'm not Super Woman. I can't handle everything myself and sometimes you have to let things out and it's ok to cry. It's ok to feel emotions- we have them for a reason.
I have the communication part down pretty much. I can communicate with words. Emotions- I still have a problem with. I don't even like to cry by myself! Also it's a struggle for me to form the words in person how much I care for someone- I view that as a weakness also- caring for another. I can write down my emotions, type them out in an e-mail, text them. But to actually say them to someone- I'm working on that. I've realized sometimes it's ok and it helps if you look to another for some comfort. That doesn't make me weak- it just makes me human because I have emotions just like every one else.
So there- that's what I have learned this year. But- I'm not perfect, sometimes I need reminding of these lessons- I fall back into old habits or ways of thinking at times. But I am getting there. I just feel so blessed going into this next year. I have so much to be thankful for. A year ago I never thought I'd be this positive. I may be starting from scratch- but I'm at a point where I can make my life what I want it to be, starting from the ground up. Sometimes disasters are blessings in disguise. Never give up hope- without it you'll have nothing.
So lets raise our glasses and toast to the new year. I wish you all peace, happiness, love and luck in the new year. It's your journey- live it the way you want to.