Dating: Are Values Lost?

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You shouldn’t say too much. You should be reserved. You should, you should, you should. Blah! But…we’re supposed to put ourselves out there. Hmm. Contradict much?

Single in today’s world. Oh what a difference from many years ago. Everything is social media now. I mean EVERYthing. It’s tough for someone with old-fashioned values. Pick up the phone and call. Ask on a real date. If a man is truly interested, he will do those things. Not so much now. Interested now can be liked posts, private messages or maybe a text. Woohoo.

So much is done from behind a screen. Including the many filters that make an average person look like a supermodel or Bradley Cooper. No one over the age of 25, has a flawless, smooth and perfect like a baby doll’s face, face. There are birth marks, scars, dark circles under the eyes, freckles, blemishes and sun spots. We all have experienced this. This is why I’m ever so grateful for concealer, to camouflage the dark circles under my eyes. True fact, if you suffer from any allergies, you will most likely have them. Oh, and if you’re a tired or stressed out parent or workaholic, you’ll have them too. Not many are immune to them. It’s life lived.

Can we just accept people for how they really look? Our parents did it. Yes they did, there weren’t photo filter apps back then. So what happened? Social media happened. While it’s an incredible feature to stay connected, it has its downfalls.

We get stuck living in our social media world. A world where we are liked for the person we present ourselves to be, our perfect lives and are absolutely perfect face and bodies that are plastered everywhere. Facebook, is not Bodybook yet there are many barely clothed bodies all around there, filtered of course. It’s no wonder a man expects that when he sees it in his news feed daily. It’s become a fantasy without them even realizing it. They are fantasizing about a woman that doesn’t even exist. The real woman behind the social media images, has flaws both physical and emotional. But are they really flaws? I think not. It’s character. It’s who they truly are. It’s what makes them who they are, take it or leave it.

Imagine if we went back to old school flirting and dating? I remember receiving a message on Facebook from a stranger trying to flirt and it said, “Nice chest.” That’s it. Really? Do you really think that’s going to make me run to you? Is this what society has become?

So how did you know he was the one? Well, he said “nice chest” and I just knew! Yeah, good luck saying that at the wedding or to your pastor or wait, there probably won’t be a wedding because the ship will never set sail if that’s his introduction. That’s the foundation of it. No thanks. I require more substance. Much more.

Respect – It seems to be lost, drowning and almost extinct. It takes TWO. Both sides, men and women. Ladies, if you want to be treated with respect, then you must respect yourselves and that starts with what you allow. You have boundaries. Use them. You don’t have to accept any disrespect from anyone, including a man. If you are posting half-naked images on social media yet want Mr. Wonderful. Guess what? You’re going to attract the men who want the half naked woman, well naked woman really. You want a man who will want to know your brain, your heart, your soul? Set the tone and be patient.

Men –  if women you hardly know or don’t know are flocking to you based off some images and a few posted words, there isn’t much there to sustain. It’s swooning. Believe me, their doing it on other pages as well. It’s like a kid in a candy store. It’s the attention. Let’s face it, men you want the attention. We get it, really we do. However, many of you want the real attention. The kind that has real meaning. The kind that sets you apart from the rest. The kind that makes you feel appreciated for…you.

Men, you set the tone as well. Make it about your values, not your muscles.

You want a solid relationship, maybe a wife, children and an overall future to build with someone? Why on earth would you go for the one who’s taking it off for the world to see? Of the 2010 Census population, there were 151.8 milion men in the world. If her images are online, there are roughly that many men who can view it, give or take. Let’s think about this for a second. Do you think she would turn away or ignore the attention from other men enjoying her images? It could happen. Is it likely? Nope. Why else do it? If she loves being half-naked, great…there are plenty of places to do that other than online, right?

Ladies –  I get it. You want to find the man of your dreams. Something of value. Showing a thigh, or side breast isn’t going to be enough to secure the deal for decades. There are millions of women who will do the same, and men will look. Give them more, yet less. If they don’t bite, it’s not the right fish. The right one will be intrigued not in lust. If lust was enough, we’d have more marriages and less divorces. You have to find something sustainable. Intellect is how I connect with someone. I have been out on dates with some fascinating, intellectual people who I connected with and the conversations lasted for hours, even friendships built. Then, there are the others who couldn’t stop focusing on themselves and how great they are or look. It was cheap and dull. Yawn.

110.6 million unmarried people in America were age 18 and older in 2016. This group made up 45.2 percent of all U.S. residents age 18 and older.

To attract what we want, we must put it out there and be patient. I’ve done the stay reserved and quiet way, and the put it out their way. There are pros and cons to both, however, I will say you could do both. Be somewhat reserved, don’t offer up everything about yourself, leave some mystery, something to talk about later. Yet, put yourself out there and let it be known this is what you want, however be specific with yourself that you won’t settle for just anyone. There will be plenty of suitors (well they think they are), knocking on your social media door, however, you don’t have to give attention to all of them or go out with any of them. Be selective.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be patient. Become the person you want. What you reflect, will find its way to you. You want a respectful, wholesome, good person? Be that person and they will come.

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Listening to the Ache Within

She knew she needed this. Someday, she thought. Someday.

The thought had run through her head but most importantly through her heart thousands of times until one day she thought, why am I not taking this seriously?

Born and raised near the ocean, the salty air was a part of who she was. Between weekly boat trips and diving or fishing, to standing on the backyard dock watching sunrises and sunsets, it all had become a part of her soul.

One of her most memorable dives was in the Keys, 102 feet deep, very limited visibility, she shot her first hogfish. It was a proud moment for sure and later that day at another spot, a shark paid her a friendly visit close by. Face to face with a school of barracuda was far scarier as she held a stringer of dead fish they desperately wanted. Her dive partner shot a barracuda to get them to swim away so she could safely surface with the catch.

She had many memories of various ocean experiences. She knew she could never be far from the thing that had fed her soul since she was a child. Perhaps it’s time to spend more time in or near the water she thought after neglecting herself of the gift of being there, however something kept tugging at her heartstrings. As much as she would fight it, it was with her all the time.

She had reached a point in her life where she recalled how she had lived the busy city life, and on the water where things tend to be a more of a mellow “everyone is on a vacation” approach and later in a rural yet growing community that once was far from everything. Three major times in her life of diverse surroundings. Something was left. The tug at her heartstrings felt like unfinished business.

The country life. Although she didn’t live far from the country, she longed to be a part of it. The laid back, casual Saturday night bonfire to watching the rain on a Sunday afternoon on the porch was something she wanted badly. On her mountain vacations she felt peace at the outdoor mountain life. She could just feel herself breathe. There weren’t a million things going on in her mind, it was just peaceful.

She knew she needed this. Someday, she thought. Someday.

The longing became an ache in her soul. God was pushing her to pay attention. She began keeping her heart and mind open to it. What you put out into the universe, comes back to you. She stayed open to the possibilities and started on this part of her journey. She fell in love with different pieces related to the country life. Trees, animals, seclusion, the serenity of it all.

She was ready. She thought how she just wanted to walk around and get her feet dirty with her ponytail swaying in the breeze as the sun sets over the trees. She wants to hear the silence of it all and bring the mountain life to her.

She reflected on the eras of her life and how each one was. This one, the last half of her life, she wants to devote to listening to that ache and putting it to rest. Iced tea, front porch and the love of her life is where she will be.

The Journey to Freedom: Chapter One

E539FA2C-45FC-485D-AC5E-3F3F1098CD06A small town girl, the worst she’d ever been in trouble for was receiving a speeding ticket. She gave back, she worked hard, she volunteered, she loved unconditionally and many would describe her as so thoughtful and caring. She had heard it her entire life, even from “him.”

She thrived on her integrity and her character. It was important to her. She always wanted to do good. Even to this day, she would thank God for not having a revengeful bone in her body. She had seen it far too often. It gets us nowhere. As she would tell her children, be a part of the solution not the problem.

Life was normal except for the verbal, emotional and physical abuse. She was ready to leave. In fact she had tried years prior. He refused to go to counseling. We can’t live like this she’d say. She tried everything but he wanted their lives to stay the same. If we went to counseling, he would have had to address his issues. The issues when the monster in him came out. There was no way in hell he was going there. She couldn’t live like this anymore but needed courage.

The days continued, she prayed all the time for God to do something. One day He did. It was not what she was expecting.

A few weeks prior, he had another episode. She asked him again if he would please go to counseling, even alone without her. We can go separate if you want? No, he said. We can’t live like this though, she told him as they sat on the bed.

She made a huge mistake. She asked again. Trying to fix what was going on. Big mistake.

He jumped across the bed and got on top of her, straddling her body then grabbed a water bottle she had been holding, poured it all over her face and squeezed his well over 200 pound, tall framed body into her pelvis. She could feel it starting to crush. It hurt so badly against her smaller frame. It was hard for her to breathe.

“Stop fucking asking me! Leave me the fuck alone,” he shouted and pushed his body onto her more. It was horrible. She tried to squirm away and out from under him, but she couldn’t. He wouldn’t stop. She felt like this is it. This is the day. He’s going to do it.

God was with her though. She thought, this is not happening to me. Not today. She put her hand on his thigh as it was near her chest and she pushed with everything she had and twisted her body as much as she could with over 200 pounds on her.

Somehow he moved slightly and she broke free. She jumped up saying I’m calling the police! This is it, I’m calling them. She had never called before. Not once during any of the other times.

He freaks out and says, please don’t call. If you call, I’ll lose my job and then, what? Please, he begged again. He convinced her not to call.

The next day, while he was at work, it was business as usual. At some point they talked and he started arguing with her. Soon after, she received a text with a picture saying, “remember this?” She couldn’t make out what it was.

She looked closely and realized it was his leg. “Look what you did to me,” he said.

Oh my God.

It was a scratch on his thigh. She had no idea but it must have been when she pushed herself away. Are you serious? He thought it was great. This was a game to him. Her heart froze in that moment and she realized he had reached a new low.

More lows followed.

Gaining Weight to Fight Sexual Harassment

“I took pride in gaining weight, changing my body because it would shut them up.”

You’re hot. Wow, you’re gorgeous. You’re so beautiful. You have an amazing a–. Your body is amazing.

After hundreds of comments or as some would call “compliments,” she had enough. It’s one thing if these said compliments are coming from a significant other and even that has limits.

Sure she had compliments of you’re so easy to talk to, I love your brain, you’re so intelligent. You’re an amazing person.

The physical “sexy” comments would always outnumber the other. She could be standing in a line and would feel the man behind her breath on her neck that’s how close some would get. Strangers. Inappropriately too close. In her space. No respect. Then, she would become a b-tch as some would call her because she would react. Now, she’s the one with the problem. They approached her and did this and she’s the one who has a problem? Interesting.

Are we really surprised by any of this? I mean really? Sex is everywhere. It sells just about everything. Innuendos and attempts are made to conquer what they want. Instant gratification.

Whether in a relationship or not, it always happened. The sexual comments from strangers, acquaintances and even male friends would continue.

She loved her body and was happy with it in all its imperfectness. In this era, we see many men flock to absolute perfection in a woman’s looks as possible. If she’s not perfect, they move on. It’s like a kid in a candy store. Women are everywhere in all shapes and sizes.

She became more and more aware of the body comments or “compliments” as they thought and it had a severe negative impact. She recalled being on a date at a fine restaurant and all he could talk about repeatedly was how gorgeous and hot she was. It became so nauseating she was ready to fake a medical episode to get out of there. She never went out with him again even after he tried.

The years of comments and catcalling took a toll. She was done. She felt cheap, worthless and more. Subconsciously she started to neglect her body and realized hey, I like this. She didn’t care about her body anymore so they won’t either. Yes!

She began to really like her new body even though she had always preferred to be healthy and athletic as much as possible. She was even further away from “perfect.” Therefore…this was perfect for her.

She took pride in gaining weight, changing her body because it would shut them up.

Or so she thought.

It didn’t work. Sure she had less attention at times which let her be free but it didn’t truly stop them. She wanted them to stop. She didn’t need them or their comments. She was ok with herself. She struggled with wether a significant other would comment too much on her physical appearance. It was as if she wanted them to be negative and then she would know everything was “safe.”

She was trying so desperately to change her body further but the impact was only damaging her. She was still getting attention which included unwanted advances.

She thought she had perfected the weapon to cure the years of feeling cheap, worthless and like a piece of meat but she hadn’t.

In fact, after she gained weight was when a man who she knew for years, including her hotter and skinnier years…raped her.

Sea of Embrace

As she walked a long the shore, her eyes set upon the ocean however her mind wandered.

She looked to the waves of emotion for answers. It was as if the ocean was beginning a new chapter. It was cleansing of a storm as the thunderous waves crashed into the shoreline.

She embraced the wake that had turned the ocean floor upside down, stirring it all and shaking it to its core because she knew crystal clear beauty awaited days from now once it settled. Clarity would arise.

She took comfort in knowing her rough waters would soon be an ocean of calmness & wisdom.

Easing Your Mind

Thoughts racing, I should have, I could have, why didn’t I? The stress builds. Anxiety kicks in. Possibly depression next.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Because society says we should. If we’re not jammed full of appointments, events, bills, phone calls, emails, errands and more, we’re obviously lazy.

If you’re head isn’t spinning and you’re not a volcano ready to erupt, well what is wrong with you?

What’s wrong with you is, you get it. Congratulations.

Taking a step back, reorganizing, prioritizing and most importantly saying no, is hottttt right now. Why? Because people are realizing they’re burned out. They’re over the BS and want PEACE.

Peace, happiness and joy starts within. Society can tell you how you should be however only you know how you should be. What fulfills you and recharges you. Those are things you should do. Society isn’t going to be there comforting you with a big hug and a shoulder to cry on when you feel like you’re not doing enough or aren’t perfect. In fact, it will give you a zillion articles to read on how to do more and why you should improve.

Stop the madness already.

Let’s go back to the basics. It’s easy. Take out a sheet of paper. Write likes and dislikes. Pros and cons. Write down in each one, what brings you joy and stress. Start reevaluating your life and knock these things out or add to it.

Really, its that easy. Take ownership of your life. You don’t need to read a lot of how to and why articles. Sometimes we really do need to just go back to the basics of a simple piece of paper and a pen.

Now get going. You have homework to do.

Invest In People

Can we bring back the days of real phone calls, real conversations and overall real interactions?

Relationships of all types are falling a part due to this major ingredient that's lacking.

What's surprising is, many aren't intentional. People meant one thing but it came across as another due to lack of communication. Email and text are the worst at misreading. Something that's supposed to make our lives easier, is actually hurting us.

We need to get back to basics and or start picking up the phone and dialing. As much as plants need water, humans need interaction. That's how we grow.

I can't tell you how many times I have personally experienced a misunderstanding due to an email or text. Things are taken out of context.

It's time to stop emailing and texting when it comes to relationships of all sorts and call or meet in person. Ideally in person is best. How else are you expected to have a relationship if there's limited to no personal interaction?

We all know life is short. Make the effort and watch your self worth benefit. Feed your soul. Let's face it we all need friends and communication.

Invest in people. It's worth it.