Don’t be ordinary…

In love. In life. In parenthood. In anything. It’s a good rule – why be ordinary?

The above quote says it all for me as we head towards the big V-day. And I may not be going where you think I’m am with this. It’s not a “To heck with jerks! You go tell him where to stick it girl!” kind of thing.

We are all so incredibly unique. Nope – we’re not all special little snowflakes to be coddled and protected from every bump in the road. But we are unique.

No two people have exactly the same life experience, outlook, talents or challenges.

Valentine’s Day is bittersweet for many, sweet for some and just plain bitter for others.

We’ve heard it all, right?  ‘Love yourself first’ and ‘you can’t love another person until you love yourself’. And these are true.

We get totally sick of hearing them when  we’d rather have an awkward date with Mr. Not-Quite-Right than sit at home alone with take-out and binge-watching GOT one more night. There’s nothing wrong with going on that date if you are just looking for a fun night out, and everyone involved has a realistic expectation of outcomes.

But please routinely put in the effort to make those statements above true.

Don’t waste too much time on Mr. (or Ms!) Not Quite Right – buy yourself a treat instead – a handbag you’ve wanted, a ticket to a sporting event, a dinner out at a lovely restaurant – and it doesn’t have to be expensive – do it on a shoestring – a walk in the park or hiking expedition of your own can be so incredibly gratifying. Take a lesson in something you’ve been dying to learn – rock climbing or painting or whatever tickles your fancy.

Self-care takes a lot of practice – you might not have that rosy “I love me!” feeling. It doesn’t matter – do the thing anyway. Take the moment – if it’s nothing but stopping working on all the other things to read for 30 minutes and have a bath. Your heart, mind and body all three will thank you. (The rosy feelings do sometimes come! I promise!)

Next, let’s consider ‘Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you.’

A mouthful – I know. I’m no Oscar Wilde. But I think the point is important.

Once we remember how to love ourselves, we shouldn’t work so hard to love someone who doesn’t cherish all the parts of us at least as much as we do.

When you truly love someone, you even find ways to cherish the parts of them that drive you crazy.

My SO and I have this piece down. For example – he’s reticent. Completely. HUGELY. And it drives me totally bonkers most of the time. He doesn’t communicate AT ALL when he’s upset. Then I get upset because he’s not communicating – and then he’s upset that I’m upset, and it can get really stupid.

BUT – I’ve learned from his reticence. Running off at the mouth has always been a problem of mine – but being around him has caused me to slow down and consider more carefully the things that come out of my mouth. It has taught me that not everything needs an immediate response and sometimes it doesn’t need a response at all.

Still drives me nuts when he does it sometimes (and funnily enough was the most infuriating part to me about my dad! Wished I’d learned from him instead of waiting this long.) But it’s part of who he is as a person – and it does have value.

I *think* I’m teaching him something about empathy – which drives him bonkers. We have to stop before leaving DQ to say hi to the older fellow sitting alone with his cone. He has to wait for me constantly because I have a need to know EVERYONE’S story. I want them all. He was not previously overly concerned about other’s stories – or with sharing his own.

I think he sees through my crazy eyes that wanting to know about others, because you’re truly interested in their story, can be beautiful thing, and can create some wonderful bonds (and get you some fantastic stories!) He tells me routinely that it’s part of who I am – so he loves it too.

So if you’re going to be with someone, choose a person who is willing to think that you’re a special snowflake and treat you with all the care that should afford – but who’s also willing to push you and inspire you to being bigger, better and more than you were.

No one less is worth it – have many lovely friends and people around you – but don’t sacrifice your time and effort for someone who doesn’t cherish your soul.

Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you. 🙂

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Some bedroom-type rules for us gals…

Okay – everyone should read this post on Must Be This Tall to Ride

Seriously…

Right Now.

Have you read it yet?

Okay – now.

I LOVE Matt’s blog. It’s one of the few I actually manage to make it to most of the time when subscription updates come through.

I’ll bore you with similarities between his experience and mine later, but today I want to talk about sex. (Are you blushing yet? No? Okay – hang on, I’ll try harder)

So much of what he says NEEDS to be said, and I think some of it needs to be addressed from the female perspective as well. You need to go read this about his Magic Sex Potion for guys –  you’ll appreciate it!

While I 10,000% agree with Matt that a woman never ‘owes’ a man sex (unless he’s paid for it? You’ll have to read his blog to get it – and no this doesn’t address rape culture etc please see that note below), I think we have rather a good deal of  responsibility here.

If we run with the assumption that you’re in a monogamous relationship with a fellow (partner – I don’t care the gender – I think the rules apply) you’ve had *ahem* relations with, I think we need to follow some basic rules. ***

  1. Don’t lead him on. Don’t put on the sexy negligee and get him ‘riled’, if you will, with sexy talk and etc, only to let him down because he makes one comment that hits you funny. I’m not saying you’re obliged to give it up if he’s being a complete asshole or because he wants it now. I AM saying that we all know our lady-libido is tied to our emotions and mind, and it’s entirely too easy to let the emotional train jump the track and crash into the mountain-side for something that’s not worth the loss. It wrecks the entire evening. I speak from experience. Let it go – or shit – don’t – and fire back at him – let it be a little foreplay – and then go enjoy yourself – because you know in the end you really want to. It’s WAY better than laying with your mascara running down your cheeks with your back to him in some scraps of fabric that you don’t really want to sleep in anyway. ** Also don’t EVER go putting on the sexy stuff because you think you have to when you really aren’t in the mood – that’s just asking for trouble. Talk it out – then maybe bang it out – but don’t play mind games.
  2. Be Flexible. Yes – in all ways. 😉 A little yoga goes a long way for both of you. But seriously – this goes back to the previous point in not letting our emotions reign supreme. I don’t think it’s completely fair that we ladies always get the ‘last say’ if we’re grumpy, sad, tired, whatever the thing is today. I know you’ve been chasing kids, or fighting off the boss-monster at work all day. But if you’ve been talking up Thursday Night Sexy Time (because we all know we squeeze it in where we can between kids, cleaning, PTA, etc and so forth) for 3 days, suck it up (literally if need be?). Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it go. Literally focus on the sensations. Tell him you need some TLC and relax back and enjoy a bit of pampering. Then return the favor. It might take a little more work to ‘get in the mood’ but it’s totally worth it.
  3. Try new things! Be a little risky – look, just like Matt says – It’s difficult if you were raised in a conservative religious household to let go and ‘get your freak on’. It’s VERY hard to learn to let loose after morality has been beaten into your head for 20 years. Providing you’ve found a trustworthy (and I mean REALLY trustworthy) partner, be a little open to exploration! I’m not saying you have to do things you just can’t begin to stomach, I’m just saying that not all ideas are bad ones. That’s all. Getting the teensiest bit out of your comfort zone can be exciting.
  4. FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE COMMUNICATE. Okay gals – look. When we think we’re being very clear, half the time, we’re really not. Good grief, we confuse the hell out of other women in friend relationships, that should tell us something. Be very plain about what you do and do not like about your experiences with your mate! If they do something you love – make sure you tell them so – please don’t assume that they’ll remember you moaned a little extra that one time. Say to them, “Gee, Jim-bob, that thing you did when you ******* on Wednesday was frigging amazing – and it needs to go on the list of repeats please!” This one goes for the guys too. Tell us what you like and don’t. That’s the only way it gets better and better.
  5. Stop. It. With. The. P*rn. SERIOUSLY. Guys and gals. This is *not* what great sex looks like. These are not what normal people look like. People are lumpy and not airbrushed and waxed to the teeth at all times. As embarrassing as it may be, I can guarantee that some of the best sex of my life was when my legs (and so you can imagine what else) may not have been as smooth as I would have liked, and I managed to GTF over it. P*rn is not a substitute for a human, and if you cultivate an amazing relationship in ALL ways with your other half, you only need it if you choose you want it. And I PROMISE, guys, you’re never going to get the relationship you want when you’re addicted to it. I speak from experience again. If you can’t stop watching it, go get help – there are plenty of well-trained individuals out there who can help you stop and put you on the path to something better.
  6. Don’t kiss and tell – last one for now. I know we all love a good dish with our gal-pals over coffee or wine, and, yes, you will have that special friend or two that may know a bit more about this side of your life. But for crying in the mud – your sex life is *not* cocktail party or locker room fodder. If you want it to be amazing – keep it safe. And bitching to the girls about how he “won’t ever leave you alone” or “always wants it” will not improve your relationship or your sex life – communication, and possibly therapy, are the only things that will do that. And even bragging can break down the walls with your lover if they’re not comfy with it. If everyone is dishing and you get cornered – just let them know that ‘it’s amazing’ with a sly little grin and don’t divulge more. It leaves them guessing and keeps everything safe just where it should be!

So there – not a compendium by any means, but I think some good rules to start with.

I spent many years in relationships with sub-par ‘relations’ and feel incredibly lucky to have found someone who matches me well in these areas now.

But it’s partially because of what you’re reading above and partially because of Matt’s Love potion – I’ve found a guy who inherently knew how to make this potion – and it works. But he’d tell you from prior experience, that no amount of kindness can thaw a frigid chick either – so don’t be that girl.

Love to all!!

*** This is NOT meant to address in any way, shape or form rape culture or the implications therein. What you’re reading is written by a woman who has been a victim of this culture. It is intended to address, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, the responsibilities in intimacy we have to one we love in that way. That is all – if it pisses you off – well – sorry, not sorry.

Dear Mirena, it’s not you, it’s me… (Updated)

See bottom of post for update as of 2/8/17

***** Hi boys – warning, girlie TMI ahead. Skip this one, unless you’re trying to help a loved one through dealing with a Mirena nightmare, then read ahead. I’ll try not to be too gross*****

**** Also I am NOT a medical professional – blah, blah – this is just my own personal tale of Mirena woe – I’m not here to give you advice.****

*** If you don’t want to read my tongue-in-cheek rendition of this – skip to the bottom – I’ve listed just the facts there***

So, ahead we plunge – This is my story. It’s been a rocky road, and I know there are MANY stories out there of women who struggled with Mirena – and many more who had a great experience. No judgement or bashing here. Just my story.

 

Dear Mirena –

It’s not you… it’s me. Or maybe – it is you, actually.

Things started out so well about a year and half ago. You were a dream come true. Progestin to help with PMS mood swings, and birth control that no one had to think about – not that I had any need of the birth control, but it was nice to know it was there.

I’d had a VERY short lived fling with the NuvaRing just before we met – that was it’s own special disaster – and should have been a warning sign for me. But who am I to heed warning signs?! That’s just silly.

See, I don’t tolerate synthetic hormones well. I never have. I’ve been on and off birth control several times, and it’s never been great. Stomach upset, general malaise, and then the uncontrollable crying. That’s always the best.

NuvaRing had the same effect – within about 5 hours of insertion. I turned into a sobbing lunatic. I removed it immediately, but it took another 5 days for 5 hours worth of hormones to work their way out of my system.

I cried uncontrollably and at the drop of a hat. Despair was the tip of the iceberg. This was full blown hormonally-instigated depression that I couldn’t see clear of.

Now let me just say – I love the NP at my OBs office. I truly do- she’s gifted and intelligent and somehow manages to put you at ease in the most awkward of situations.

HOWEVER – medical professionals – I implore you. LISTEN to your patients. I know – you deal with some quacks. But when an otherwise reasonable woman walks into your office explaining that she thinks she has something similar to PMDD – it’s short-lived but intense and that her previous experience with synthetic hormones isn’t good, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY – STOP.

Listen. Please. Come up with a plan. One that takes into account ALL that she’s telling you. Most of us know our own bodies, and at least deserve a say!

I know, Mirena, I’m veering off track. I’m sorry. I thought we’d be a good fit too. Or I hoped anyway.

So the initial appointment was… painful… if I’m honest. A couple of days of cramping and  stabbiness – then, oh I don’t know, 3 MONTHS of bleeding.

Seriously.

But that’s within the range of normal I’m told.

So we power through that – and I spend a lot of money on feminine hygiene products so that we can continue our relationship.

Oddly just a few weeks after you and I get together, I have this odd episode of vertigo. It’s positional and VERY intense. The doctor, who knows I’ve recently had a cold, determines that it’s labrythitis.

So it fades after a while (read 2-3 months). But then I discover that I have more than a drink or two and my equilibrium completely leaves me. COMPLETELY. I’m on the floor. No matter where I am. Picking my head up off the floor is actually impossible, and this will last for approximately 10 -12 hours.

Back off to the doc I go – who thinks it’s Meniere’s disease. A specialist and an MRI to ensure that it’s not a tumor later – the ENT agrees.

Oh – and I forgot the hearing loss. That part is fun. It’s only in a certain frequency range and just in one ear. But it means I can’t hear the kids in the car – so we all yell. All the time. That’s nice. And yes – it’s tested and diagnosed by a professional. Is it recoverable? We have no idea.

So I cut out sodium. Because that’s one of the ways you deal with Meniere’s. My daily sodium intake is about 1000-1500 mg. Which is pretty low – salami and hard cheese – out (have I mentioned my love for antipasti?) Any pre-prepared food – out. But I sure as heck know how to ask for unseasoned meat at a restaurant….because that’s a skill we’d all like to have. Ugh.

So here we are, Mirena, you and I. You’re frequently uncomfortable. And I’m starting to feel down.

Did I mention that I’ve put on weight? Oh yes – 6-7 months in and I’m 25 lbs up. With no change in lifestyle to speak of. This is no laughing matter.

So now I’m depressed and uncomfortable in my clothes, and not eating salt. I’m hungry, grumpy, uncomfortable and well… miserable.

Oh, but you’re not done with me yet, Mirena – not even close – now you decide I need to be a little unsure about – OH EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE. Say hello to Mr. Anxiety.

Now I’ve experienced some mild anxiety before. I know what the heart racing feels like. I know what it’s like to talk yourself out of stupid decisions  (usually in regards to getting reassurance from a significant other) because you know how you feel isn’t ‘right’.

But this isn’t that.

This is certainty. Heart-pounding, heart-breaking certainty.

Mirena, you have had me plainly convinced that I’m a terrible mother, unloveable woman, with difficult children and an impossible life. It’s been completely miserable. And I’ve been so embarrassed that I kept it all in my own head. And that’s just ridiculous. You had me such a mess I couldn’t even reach out to those I love for help.

But no more Mirena – we’re over you and I.

And I already feel better. Just 24 hours in, and I feel like I have my brain back a little. I’ve done laundry. It’s not actually an impossible task. My sheets are clean, and my kids are happy. Look at that!

img_5643
This is my bed! I love it – and it’s all clean and nice – because Mirena no longer gets a vote!

I’m not unlovable, and you’re not in charge anymore. I’ve told people I love that you’re gone, and how I’ve been feeling and have nothing but love in return.

So thanks but no thanks – I don’t need what you have to offer.

Sincerely,

Me.

 

JUST THE FACTS:

  • Mirena was put in in March 2015 after trying NuvaRing. That was in for only 5 hours – which left me an emotional disaster. A couple of weeks later I had the Mirena placed.
  • Insertion was painful – and several days of cramping afterwards – OTC pain meds knocked the edge off, but could not get rid of discomfort.
  • I have a history of not tolerating synthetic hormones well – and minor history with anxiety. Never depression other than a short bout of PPD with both children.
  • Bleeding after insertion was 3 months long.
  • Weight gain began immediately and continued until leveling around 25 lbs higher about 7 months in. Was at about 130 pre-Mirena and have hovered around 155 since.
  • Weight has been impossible to shift – regardless of extreme dietary changes and consistent HIIT workouts and cardio.
  • Vertigo symptoms began almost immediately. I am *fingers crossed* hoping that my ‘Meniere’s disease’ resolves or improves as a result of removal.
  • Some Meniere’s symptom are  – tinnitus, or ringing in the ears – constant pressure in the ear – hearing loss – and loss of balance or equilibrium.
  • Moodiness began early, but has become increasingly extreme . Worst around PMS time. Loved ones relate it to ‘flipping a switch’. I’m okay, until I’m not. Then I’m impossible and inconsolable.
  • Anxiety has been VERY extreme. Relationship-sabotaging, with both family and friends.
  • Consistent but not constant discomfort randomly, but especially during ‘ahem’ relations.
  • Removed and almost immediate improvement in mood and outlook within 12-24 hours.
  • Began Chastetree Berry immediately after removal. This is something I keep on hand – it helps your body’s natural progesterone production. *fingers crossed* I’m hoping this helps to stave off the dreaded ‘Mirena Crash’. I’m also hoping that since my symptoms were so bad with it that removal is what is needed to stabilize everything!

** I am NOT telling anyone to go buy Chastetree Berry supplements and take them. They do work for me – but please get professional advice before taking anything new!**

I’ll continue to update this post as I see how this all plays out. If I haven’t updated and you’re looking for it – call me out, please!

Update 2/8/17

Sooooo – It’s been a while since the removal and here are the relevant things that have or have not changed.

  • Thankfully I did not really experience the ‘crash’ that so many people have. I was a little off for a bit – foggy headed and such – but nothing extreme. That has dissipated.
  • Crazy is totally gone. I get the mild stuff I used to always get a few days before my period (which I felt were extreme before I experienced Mirena bonkers), but there is none of the unbearable anxiety and weeping and despair.
  • Period immediately went back to what I’ve been used to my whole adult life.
  • Libido is much better than it ever was with Mirena and no pain during relations 🙂 .
  • Weight did not ‘fall off’ but I am able to work to lose weight, as opposed to breaking my back to no effect. I am still working through this 20 lbs but it IS moving.
  • Meniere’s symptoms improved, but not gone. (I wish I could say they were!) Fullness in ear is gone. Hearing loss has not improved. No ‘episodes’ since removal. I do still experience ransom tinnitus. I have maintained a low-sodium diet.
  • Mainly I just feel like ME – I have more patience with my kids and don’t constantly feel like I’m barely holding my life together. My circumstances have not dramatically changed – just my outlook!

If there’s anything in particular you’d like an update on – please buzz me!