The Revolving Door of Indifferent Friendships

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Something that’s always puzzled me about the nature of adult friendships is how fragile they can be.

One month, you’re texting regularly, having great heart-to-hearts and even getting together for coffee or a movie.  The next month, it seems like the person has become totally indifferent to your existence.  Or worse: Resentful of it.

Or maybe they just ghosted in your life and you don’t know what way they feel about you.

Does anyone else feel emotional whiplash whenever that happens?

I feel like it’s happened a number of times in my life – most recently, this week.

And each time it does happen, I’ve tried to analyze what exactly happened and if there was anything I could have done to prevent it. Continue reading

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7 Thoughts During My Second Florida Hurricane: Irma

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Florida had only been my home for two months when Hurricane Matthew stuck last October.

At the time, I faced the hurricane’s landfall with denial: Ignoring news reports and waiting until the very last minute to get gas and groceries (I got three cans of soup, a six-pack of Gatorade since water was out and some Cheez-Its. I figured that would do it).

Right before Matthew struck, it occurred to me I should do a better job protecting my car, which usually sits in a parking space outside. But the parking deck was full.  So I moved it into a reserved resident spot in the parking garage, hoping that person had evacuated.  I left a note with my number in case I was wrong.

Many neighbors and newly-formed friends in Florida offered to take me in but I opted to ride out the storm with my dog in my own apartment.

Luckily, although Matthew originally looked like it was heading straight for us here in Jupiter, it wobbled at the last minute – sparing us from a direct hit.

I figured I’d gotten lucky with Matthew: Even though I was grossly unprepared, God had protected us by sending Matthew further up the coast. I vowed to be much more prepared for the next Hurricane Season.

So when it became clear Hurricane Irma was heading straight for Florida, I went into preparation mode early.

I filled up my gas tank six days before it was supposed to make landfall.  I left my car indefinitely parked in the garage four days before it hit Florida.  We got a heck of lot more groceries this time (including bottles of water with electrolytes!). I moved all of my furniture away from my storm-resistant windows and even had time to put up hurricane shutters for my boyfriend’s friends.  And I stayed glued to the news reports for the last week, obsessively tracking Irma’s every move.

Originally, Irma looked likely to directly hit Florida’s East coast, including Jupiter.  But as the days passed on, it became clear that Irma was headed for Florida’s West coast instead.

And as I write this this morning, Irma’s outer bands are striking Jupiter.  But thus far, it’s not even as strong as what I experienced with Matthew.  And Matthew wasn’t much at all here save for a few moments of flickering lights and some scary minutes of wind howling and horizontal rain.

Perhaps that will change as the morning wears on.  And I know that already, Irma has caused a lot of wind damage, flooding devastation and even deaths across the Caribbean and now the Keys.

But while I sit in my apartment waiting for the storm to pass, I figured I’d take a moment to share my 7 thoughts on hurricane season in Florida:

  • A little preparation goes a long way toward peace of mind.  If a hurricane even so much as looks like it’s heading toward your area, go ahead and get the hurricane supplies before the crowds arrive at the stores.  You’ll save yourself time and maybe even money. Plus, the annoying task of getting prepared won’t be looming over your head. And given that a lot of canned items are good for more than a year, don’t count it as wasted money if the storm never comes.  Think of it as an investment in next year’s hurricane season!
  • Everybody could use a helping hand or a word of encouragement during a hurricane. At this point, I’ve been on both the receiving and the giving side of this.  Last year, as a new Florida resident, it meant the world to me when my neighbors and co-workers that I barely knew as well as strangers were offering to help me with hurricane preparations and were even opening their home to me.  And this year, I had the opportunity to help put shutters on an older woman’s house.  I also really appreciated all of the texts of concerns I got from friends in Florida and North Carolina. And as I’ve talked with more people this week, I’ve realized we’re all dealing with a lot of stress: Whether it’s the idea of spending days locked in the house with an in-law we don’t like or the threat of damage to our home or loss of life.  We could all use a sympathetic ear at this time. Besides, when everybody comes together during a disaster, we’re the best prepared for whatever the hurricane brings.
  • Stress-eating your emergency snacks days before the hurricane actually hits is a very real problem. I’ve almost eaten an entire box of cookies and freaking Irma hasn’t even hit the Florida mainland.   It’s actually a big joke here in Florida.  Everyone seems to break into the hurricane snacks a bit too early.
  • No one knows where these hurricanes will end up.  So prepare as best you can and then turn off the news.  If you expect the worse, there will be no need to waste time watching every single update. And I’m saying this as a former reporter.  I just feel so jaded that I spent so much of the last five days of my life being glued to the spaghetti models.  I mean, the models literally swung from as far east as just off the coast of Florida to as far west as the Gulf of Mexico.  Next year, when a hurricane looks like it’s heading my way, I’ll just go ahead with my worst-case scenario hurricane preparations and then ignore the news until the 6 hours before it’s supposed to hit my area.  Otherwise, what’s the point when things can change so much along the way?
  • Hurricane impact can sometimes feel like luck of the draw.  Right now, I’m sitting in my apartment with the lights on and the sunlight coming in, feeling bored as I’m looking at a glorified overcast day.  Meanwhile, my boyfriend (who lives five minutes away) is probably feeling like a mole as he’s staying in a completely shuttered home with the power out.  And just 30 minutes north of here, people are dealing with flooded streets and homes. It all doesn’t seem logical but take the hand that’s dealt with you, be grateful for what is going right and navigate conditions accordingly.
  • Be patient with yourself and give yourself the grace to do whatever you feel like doing as you wait out the storm.  Hurricanes feel like “hurry up and wait” sometimes.  There’s all this rush to get your supplies and to get boarded up and then… it’s just a whole lot of waiting.  Here in Palm Beach County, a curfew went into effect at 3 p.m. yesterday.  And now it’s 9 a.m. here and there still hasn’t been much of anything yet in Jupiter. The cabin fever is real.  So be patient with yourself with whatever you do during this time, whether it’s stress eating, binge watching Netflix while the power is on or catching up on work.  Heck, Thursday-Saturday, we pretty much just laid in bed and watched tv and went out to restaurants. Today, I’m cleaning up emails, reading  and writing.  Okay and also eating a whole box of cookies. So whatever it takes to get you through the storm, do it. Hurricane time (and calories) don’t really count.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Whether you’re dealing with extreme cabin fever or devastating flood damage, your mental health can really take a hit during a hurricane. So after you’ve done all the preparing and praying that you can do, enjoy a little laugh.  I do love that Floridians have a great sense of humor when it comes to hurricanes. And you don’t even have to look far to find some pretty clever memes or some hilarious Dave Barry hurricane commentary.  And remember: You’re not alone. We’re all in this together. And when the storm passes, we’ll be there as a community to pick up the pieces – or at least all the empty boxes of cookies.

Be well.

 

Made for Me – A Poem

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Six years in this place, you’d think I’d be stronger

Six years in this place, you’d think I’d be cured

But my defiance is growing, my defenses are down

Your cunning coup was all but ensured

 

The poor man doesn’t know I’m leaving him

The poor sap doesn’t know I’m already gone

He loved me right and honored me fine

But all I wanted was to be your pawn

 

I know when we’re reunited, you’re gonna hurt me

I know when we’re alone, you’ll chain me down

I’ll be on my knees begging for mercy

Knowing it was I who gave you the crown

 

Intrusive thoughts enter my head at night

Urging me to run toward your ambivalent arms

My weakness is what makes you stronger

My self-loathing makes me fall for your charms

 

You tell me you’re the only one who understands

You say my identity belongs with you

I believe you because I need a scapegoat

To justify why I’m feeling so blue

 

I know when we’re reunited, you’re gonna beat me

I know when we’re alone, you’ll turn on me

I’ll be on my knees begging for mercy

Knowing that there’s nowhere to flee

 

Did you miss me, baby?

Did you crave me daily?

The music and writing, the blood and the fighting

It’s like you were made for me.

 

Did you miss me, baby?

Did you crave me daily?

The music and writing, the blood and the fighting

It’s like you were made for me.

 

The one who truly loved me is long gone

And my fight for freedom has waned

And now I see you laughing over me

Knowing in your grip I’ll remain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting A Nude Beach For the First Time: My 60 Minutes as a Naturist

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If the sign outside of Haulover Beach had been any more nonchalant, we might have missed it: “Attention: Beyond this point you may encounter nude bathers.”

Even more casual was the transition from clothed to nude beach.  As we walked up the sandy path towards the beach, we encountered our first penis mixed in with bikinis and swim trunks.

Then, all of a sudden: There were just a few bikinis and swim trunks mixed in with an array of penises and boobs.

I had been excited to cross this Before-I-Turn-30 item off of my Bucket List.  But the cavalier approach to nudity sent me into a temporary panic.

Holy cow.  There are more penises flopping around than an orgy scene in a porno. There are more bare asses than the locker room at the Superbowl. 

And while there were a few women on the beach who had also decided to bare it all, there was a clear difference between the representation of men and women.

I wondered why the amount of men wanting to set their penises free was so much higher than the number of women wanting to liberate their vaginas.

I grabbed on to my boyfriend’s arm nervously as we searched for the perfect place to plop down.  We restlessly wandered almost all of the way to the end of the beach before we realized that the proportion of men to women was becoming more unbalanced, not less.

I can’t be the only woman getting naked among all of these men.  Even if they are gay (as I was sure a bit of them were), I’ll still feel like some vulnerable piece of meat, laid out in front of hungry wolves.

We turned around and headed back to the start of the nude part of Haulover Beach, where we’d seen at least a few other women.  And while the proportion still leaned heavily toward men (and most of the women had opted just to go topless and not all the way nude), I definitely felt more comfortable with the idea of getting naked.

We considered renting an umbrella to protect the parts of our skin that had never seen sunlight.  But $15 felt steep for the hour we were going to be there.

Instead, we found an older nude couple who had a huge umbrella and asked if we could sit under the edge of their umbrella.

They were happy to share.

The normalcy of the exchange was striking.

Sitting in the shade of Naked Older Hippie Couple’s umbrella with our bathing suits on, I felt my heart beat increase.

Am I really about to take off my clothes? I was all excited but now I feel like I’m going to throw up.  This is so surreal.

My boyfriend and I theorized who these people were and what their motivations were for being at a nude beach.  Were they perverts? Were they staunch advocates for the naturalist movement? How does one even end up on a nude beach?

Silence fell over us as we both looked around and pondered the inevitability of our mission. Continue reading

When Writer’s Block Got the Best of Me & How I Broke Free

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There’s a scene in Never Been Kissed where the main character Josie, who is a writer, receives such great news that she becomes speechless.  She has no words.

“That’s never happened to me!” she squeals excitedly. “Words are my life!”

Well, I found myself waking up to that same realization recently. Only, the speechlessness wasn’t momentary, it lasted for over a year. And the cause wasn’t something amazing happening in my life, it was the dreaded writer’s block finding another victim.

The realization that I had somehow gone months without feeling inspired to express anything, much less put the pen to paper, made me panicked.  All of a sudden, I felt like Ariel in the Little Mermaid, helpless without her voice.

Yet, for all my desire to get something out, I couldn’t quite figure out what that something was supposed to be.  I didn’t feel like I had anything to say and yet something inside of me begged to let it out. The dichotomy had me frozen in confusion.

“Writer’s block,” my cousin say. “Write about that.”

Hmm, what a novel idea.  Frankly, I had always assumed writer’s block was something that only lasted a few days or, at most, a couple of weeks. And I had always assumed that it only came up when one was working on a specific piece. I didn’t think it came up between works.

But as I dug deeper (ha, Wikipedia. I went to Wikipedia), I learned that writer’s block describes a condition where either a writer experiences a drop in creativity during the writing process (what I thought) or a writer is unable to produce new work at all. And evidently, it can be so bad that it can prevent writers from producing any new work for years!

Even more interesting were the causes behind writer’s block. Some of them include:

  • A writer running out of inspiration or becoming distracted by other life events.
  • Creativity being blocked by stressful circumstances in the writer’s life, such as depression, the end of a relationship or financial problems.
  • The author’s creativity drying up in response to the pressure to produce something – anything!
  • The writer feeling so intimidated by their past successes that they’re rendered impotent.

And I absolutely loved this excerpt from Wikipedia: “James Adams notes in his book, Conceptual Blockbusting, various reasons blocks occur include fear of taking a risk, “chaos” in the pre-writing stage, judging versus generating ideas, an inability to incubate ideas, or a lack of motivation.”

I started reflecting a bit on what was really causing my creativity blockage. Why have I only been able to write one blog in the last 13 months? Why do I have three unfinished drafts of blogs right now? What happened to the opinionated, introspective, mindful woman I used to be?

It wasn’t long before I started recalling some thoughts that I have had before, during or after any recent attempts to write:

Continue reading

12 Things I Plan to Do Before Turning 30

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Welcome to the Seeker’s Passage!

I’m so excited to be starting this blog on the eve of my 29th birthday. I previously had a blog that chronicled my mid-20s but decided it was time to step over to a blog that could travel with me through my late 20s and beyond!

I hope this blog is a bit of a continuation of the mission I started on my first blog, which is to “find my way and share my finds.” For that reason, you’ll find the same ambitious lifetime Bucket List as before.  But I also hope this blog evolves as I do.

So thanks for sharing this journey with me!

For my initial post, I thought it would be fitting to post my Before-I-Turn-30 Bucket List.  I scoured the Internet for the best recommendations of experiences you should have before your turn 30.

Some of them were deep like “Learn to Love Yourself Unconditionally” and “Forgive Your Parents,” which is beautiful but, A) Not necessarily something tangible you can do and then check off forever and B) Not necessarily something you would want to limit within the confines of a date on the calendar.

So I stuck with the items that I can feasibly and physically do this year.

I must say, I was pleased with how I have already accomplished a lot of the suggested goals at some point in my 20s. Continue reading