Category Archives: Life

A Better World Incorporated

We’re still three weeks away from Halloween but stores have already started to put out their Christmas decorations.  While each year I become disheartened by the commercialism of the holidays being thrust upon us earlier and earlier each year, the plastic ornaments and strands of garland are also a reminder that there are those who are already working in the true spirit of Christmas, charitable organizations seeking donations to give the magical wonder of the holidays to children and families who otherwise would be without.

The holidays are a time to believe… believe in miracles, believe in hope, believe in the good in mankind.  People are kinder during the holidays, maybe it’s because so many religions and cultures have a reason to celebrate during the month of December.  Christianity celebrates Advent and the birth of Christ, Judaism commemorate the rededication of the Holy Temple during the eight days of Hanukkah, African-Americans honor their heritage during the week of Kwanzaa, Buddhism marks the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautauma on Bodhi Day and Paganism observes Yule, the Winter Solstice.

For so many, their days aren’t filled with parties and presents, they are filled with hunger and sadness.  Their numbers are greater than you might think, in fact the effort to bring as much cheer to those who are suffering is so enormous, charitable organizations work all year, the month of October is critical for donations.  For organizations like A Better World Incorporated (www.abetterworldinc.org), the number of people they will be able to help during the holidays is decided by the generosity of others during the month of October.  They are already asking for new toys and donations via Paypal on their site.  It might seem early for some of us, but for non-profit organizations like A Better World Incorporated, every day and every penny counts.

I know those behind A Better World Incorporated personally.  They are the most selfless and generous souls you will ever meet.  For the CEO, the holidays for more than a decade haven’t been spent with his own family, they have been spent with the families of the thousands whose lives he has touched.  He distributes coats, toys, meals, compassion and kindness.  Many of his efforts are focused on terminally ill and impoverished children because like the children he helps, he still sees the wonder in the world and all of its possibilities.  He helps families of wounded soldiers because like my beloved Saint Michael, he has the heart of a warrior.  The Corporate Secretary who handles the daily operations fights every single day for what is good and right.  She is a woman of incredible strength who serves her community and works to make the world better for all.  They take nothing for their time or talents, everything they collect goes to someone in need.

What’s great about A Better World Incorporated is the different ways they try to help because their mission is to help as many as they possibly can wherever there is need.  They know winters are cold and people need both clothing to keep them warm as well warm memories.  They know those who risk their lives for their country don’t stop being soldiers when their injuries prohibit them from going back into combat, that’s when the real battle begins for a wounded warrior.  They know each and every child deserves to be able to have those carefree moments that kids are supposed to have no matter the horrible circumstances of their realities.  Right now they are trying to give as many children as possible the magical wonder of the holidays, terminally ill children who need to know more than IV tubes and other children who need reminders of the good and hope in the world.

Anyone who has ever done charitable work knows its not a choice, you do it because you can.  The causes closest to my heart have always been animal rescue shelters, education and helping impoverished children.  I guess for me it’s about bringing awareness to injustices, using my voice to fight for those who can’t and to help future generations develop their own voice so they can fight for what they believe in.  I’ve always been extremely lucky in the support I’ve gotten for my causes but I know not everyone is as fortunate as I have been in encountering such generosity.   Even if you can’t give, always be kind to those who are just trying to make a difference.  For those who seek to better the world, nothing soothes like witnessing acts of good, nothing frustrates more than apathy.

I’ve received some pretty incredible gifts in my life but the best ones have been the ones I collected for toy drives for impoverished children, the vast majority of which lived at a homeless shelter in the Bronx.  I was overwhelmed by the generosity of others.  The first drive I did, I hoped I could get enough for one fun gift like a toy, one practical gift to keep them warm that winter and one educational gift like a book for each child, I wound up collecting enough for that plus one additional toy.  After I passed out the first toy and told the kids they could open them, I didn’t think it could get any better than the joy I felt as they ripped open their gifts and squealed with delight.  A boy who was eight or nine ran up to me, there was a piece of wrapping paper still attached to his gift trailing behind him like a kite tail and he threw his arms around me, almost bringing me down.  I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction, his face was buried in my waist, and I told him, “aww, you’re welcome” as I stroked the back of his head.  He looked up at me, tears glistening in his sweet doe eyes and he said, “this is the first present anyone ever gave me”.  I was a little confused and confirmed, “this year?” and he shook his head as he replied, “no, I mean ever.  Nobody ever gave me a present before.”  I blinked back tears, thought of the pile of birthday gifts I got when I was his age that was taller than I was, and suddenly was surrounded by the rest of the kids who wanted to hug me too.  I learned that for most of those children, those were the only gifts they would receive for the holidays.  They wrote construction paper thank yous which I put where everyone who had contributed to the drive could see them, a lot of the cards bore the same sentiment, that was the best day of their lives.  Seeing how much joy they gave to children inspired more generosity.  It’s a wonderful and addictive feeling to give happiness to children whose lives knew hunger and cold, who didn’t have the security of a home or a bed of their own, but for one day got to experience unexpected excitement of wrapped gifts that made December more than just another cold month.  With each year that passed, I needed to bring one more person with me to help distribute the gifts I collected.

Efforts like that are never solo endeavors and they inspire greater acts of charity.  That’s why charitable organizations like A Better World Incorporated are so important.  When we give, we get back more.  We gain an appreciation for everything we have and we receive a nice little dose of the warm fuzzies knowing we have brightened someone else’s life.  I don’t know who contributed the first gift that little boy ever got, that’s what’s really great about group efforts, it could have been anyone.  So really everyone gave him the first gift he ever got in his eight or nine years on this Earth.  Everyone gave him a happy memory he will always have for the rest of his life.  Everyone gave him knowledge that as uncaring as the world can seem sometimes, there are still a lot of people who do care.  As much good as we have in this world, we still need to make it better, no one should ever have to search for it.  Whether it’s by donating an item, making a monetary contribution to a charity or the giving of our time to help another human being, it’s the responsibility of each of us to make this a better world.

blogheartsignatureLove,

Lola

Traveling Companions

Recently I wrote about encouraging others to do good because sometimes I feel like gestures of kindness and good deeds get forgotten in the every day.  I wanted to share a remarkable story about an incredible display of goodwill I received on the way to visit my family for my Dad’s 70th birthday.

I’ve been ill for the last year, the diagnosis was Grave’s Disease which I don’t think is the right diagnosis, something is wrong with me masquerading as hyperthyroidism.  I’m weak all of the time, everything hurts, I have heat intolerance, tremors, a raging spinach addiction, any activity leaves me so short of breath to the point I sound like a walking obscene phone call, parts of my body inflate on their own and the mood swings make me my own one woman show.  On one sleepless night, I thought about how in the event of an unholy union with John Mayer, if I was his inspiration for “Your Body is a Wonderland” the song would have been titled “Your Body is a Haunted House” and would have gone something like this:

You are the Grave’s Undead
Your tremors shake the bed
All Exorcist in the head
Discover me
Calling a priest

You smell like Cheese Whiz and Hamster
Your boobs like bra monsters
One pair of puffed out eyes and
Your sizzling fever

And if you want love
I’ll fake it
Doggie paddle
In prescriptions
Take all your spinach
And bake it
This is bound to be vile

Your body is a haunted house
Your body is possessed (I’ll use holy water)
Your body is a haunted house

Something about the way your hair is soaked with sweat
Makes me so happy I’m not your rhinestone barrette
You tell me to go to hell and I know it’s because you’re in pain
But you were so much hotter before all the medication weight gain.

You want love?
I’ll fake it
Doggie paddle
In prescriptions
Take all your spinach
And bake it
This is bound to be vile

Your body is a haunted house
Your body is possessed (I’ll use holy water)
Your body is a haunted house

Damn baby
You scare me
I know you’re sick so sick so sick
But you look so gross it hurts my eyes

Your body is a haunted house
Your body is possessed (I’ll use holy water)
Your body is a haunted house
Your body is a haunted house

So tremors and insomnia are part of my every day but trying to get to the airport was especially brutal, I hadn’t slept in over forty-eight hours, while walking to my closet to get my suitcase, I lost use of my legs and bit it hard on my wood floor.  The attempt to pack left my apartment looking like someone had broken in and tossed the place.  I could barely move and when I saw the clock, I prayed, “Jesus, please let the plane be delayed, I can’t miss my Dad’s birthday celebration” and about three seconds later my e-mail chimed alerting me of an hour delay.  I was in awe with how quickly Jesus works, that’s impressive turn-around time on a prayer.  I didn’t know that on US Airways, no matter how long the delay, you have to be checked into before the flight is originally scheduled to leave so I had to beg the ticket agent to let me on the delayed flight.  The agent said I couldn’t check my bag even though there was still an hour before the flight was scheduled to leave and I was whisked into a small private screening area, I’m assuming for VIPs and tardy passengers who look skilled in the art of a hissy fit.  Because I was planning on checking my bag, it was taken to the back counter for an agent to find my shampoo and conditioner which were over 3oz each.  My underwire bra set off the metal detector, so I was asked to take off my ring and watch and run them through the scanner in a bin.  While while I was patted down with my back to the conveyor belt, my ring mysteriously disappeared from the bin.  It was nowhere to be found.

I have absolutely no sense of direction so I’m not exactly sure where I was in the airport but a flight of stairs was pointed out to me by my airport sherpa whose own journey ended at the bottom of the stairs.  I said, “you’ve got to be kidding” as I attempted to lug my suitcase up the stairs.  I was weak, severely shaking, my vision went black a few times for a few seconds, I could barely get myself up the stairs, let alone what was now a very creative interpretation of carry-on luggage.  Suddenly I heard this enchanting voice with a soft sexy Spanish accent say, “you seem to be struggling, please let me help you”.  A tanned hand brushed over mine as he took my suitcase from my hands.  My eye keeps traveling up the dark navy tailored suit, to silvery blue eyes, dark slightly salted hair until I realized my 6’6” chivalrous hero looked exactly like Crown Prince Felipe of Spain or his doppelgänger.  The gentleman was returning to Madrid, he only had been in New York briefly.  Prince Felipe is on my top ten all-time crush list (that will be my next blog post), so the encounter left me wondering if Spain is just filled with tall dark and handsome men who look like Prince Felipe.  Hola, Marinero.

When I got to the gate, I started having seizures.  It was overwhelming to stand and everything went black as I felt hands guiding me onto a seat.  I didn’t realize I had been sweating so badly, another woman handed me a napkin for my face.  I told them it just wasn’t a good day for me, and mentioned what happened to my ring.  A little while later it was announced the flight would be probably be delayed an additional five hours.  When I checked in, my seat had been switched to the back of the plane and since I was having problems standing, I went to the counter to have my seat switched back and see how definite the delay was.  The line was excruciatingly slow, I had to grab ahold of the counter and hung on for a few minutes when a man whose wife was next berated the entire US Airways counter staff for blindly ignoring a fellow human being who was suffering and could barely stand.  After an agent took care of me, I headed to where a seat was, falling over a man and landing ungracefully.  The man I tripped over got me a glass of water, the group of ten people expressed concern and wanted to know if they could help me in any way.  I decided maybe I needed food from the bar a few feet away, one of the women who had helped me offered to watch my bags. Despite not having the burden of anything to carry, I still lost my balance and clipped her husband.

After eating the hotdog and returning to the group, I fell asleep.  When I awoke, a significant amount of time had passed, the entire area of the airport was empty with the exception of those ten people.  Everyone else on that flight had spread out, they were either drinking coffee at the food court or booze at the bar, those ten people stayed with me to make sure I was okay.  They kept the seat next to me open, the concern with which they were regarding me made me guess I had experienced more uncontrollable muscle movements while unconscious, I was so touched, they were my guardian angels, they gave up hours of their life, caffeine, liquor, or other distractions, to make sure a total stranger was okay.

I was one of the first people on the plane.  When the guy who had gotten me water passed by me, I said, “my hero”.  He blushed.  The other nine smiled at my thank you’s, they hoped I would be okay.  The next day I felt better, I was back to my regular tremors.  Maybe it was sleep depravation on an already taxed system that caused my neurological system to fail like that.  I like to think that was the answer to my disheartened concern about good becoming extinct, I wasn’t looking for signs of it that day, it found me tenfold.

Today I returned home from my trip and found my diamond ring.  It was in one of the tiny front pockets of the suitcase I had left with the woman when I got something to eat.   I tried to think of how it could have gotten there, the suitcase was already on the table being searched for my large shampoo and conditioner bottles when I took the ring off, it remained there during the search for my ring.  I never use those small pockets, they’re too impractically tiny, but always neurotically check them when I unpack.  I can’t think of how my ring could have gotten in there.  Maybe a TSA agent found it, checked my flight info, tracked me down, saw me asleep and tucked it in my bag?  That scenario seems implausible, after all, the TSA agent who took a brief glance at the belt before declaring it gone told me it would go to a lost and found if somehow it showed up.  The return of the ring in that tiny pocket I never use is truly a mystery to the point I think there’s a lesson in it.  There are some things in life we just aren’t meant to keep, we can appreciate the purpose they served without ever feeling the need to replace them, they remain part of our past.  But when something comes back to you despite the odds, then there’s a reason you were meant to have it.  I think it’s like that with people, we aren’t meant to have the same companions on our entire life’s journey, roads diverge and we can’t travel all of them, but sometimes along our own individual paths, we intersect again with the people we are meant to.  There’s someone I haven’t seen in a long time who I’m supposed to meet up with soon and never before in my life have I so badly needed to see him, to just talk with him in the way we used to, there’s so much I want to ask him, his thoughts and opinions have always mattered greatly to me.  I don’t want to see him, I need to see him, and I’ve found there’s a huge difference between want and need, need is want clarified, need resides in your heart instead of your head, need is the call that alway gets answered, need is what intersects your path.  There’s a comfort in that, just like with the ten strangers who came to my rescue at the airport, we get what we need in the moments they are most essential, although we might feel like we are alone at times as we are traveling on our life’s journey, we’re never truly without companionship.

redheart

signature copy

Ten Types of Guys You Should Avoid Dating

In the quest for love, we discover that the search for our happily-ever-after is more of a hard-fought battle than Disney’s wand-waving romances led us to believe.  As human beings we have an innate desire be part of a set, to find the other who is our match.  There’s no enlisting with Love, at some point we all discover we have been drafted and suddenly we find ourselves in the trenches, discussing battle strategies with our friends.  When one of our comrades in arms is struck down by Cupid’s misfired hollow-tip arrow, we drag her back to the foxhole where she can be tended to by heartbreak’s medics, Ben and Jerry’s and Sara Lee.  No matter how many times we feel we’ve been mortally wounded by love, we still go back up to the line because we know it’s worth fighting for.

Dating is a lesson in humility.  When we look back at our dating history and the romantic buffet that was our twenties, we discover we were Mr. Magoo when it came to matters of the heart, stumbling along blindly and more often than not getting through it by sheer dumb luck.  In our twenties, we’re still trying to figure out who we are while the opposite sex is trying to figure out how to get into our panties.  Somewhere along the way, we discover what we want in our match through the trial and error of our dating experience and our own personal growth.  Recently my friend Tricia and I were sharing our romantic war stories and she suggested we each compile a list of ten types of men we’ve dated that we think women in their twenties should avoid.  I’ll provide that link when she’s got hers up. So for now, here are my Top Ten Types of Men to Avoid in Your Twenties, some are mistakes I’ve repeated more than once in my Mr. Magoo severely near-sighted hunt for love:

1. The Bartender – Sure the man who gives you alcohol is performing a sacred role, after a few of those cocktails, he starts to look appealing.  He’s saying all the right things and suddenly, you’re at his Off Off Off Broadway play and you’ve got HIS lipstick smeared on your face.  Of course you had to kiss him, there was nothing nice to say about his portrayal of General Custard at his last stand with Stuffing Eclairs, he was unconvincing as both an army commander and a pastry filler.  You wonder how the hell you wound up there and the reason is simple: a bartender is an expert at the lines that work on women because he hears them all the time.  And he uses them, on a lot of other women.  But when he insults your intelligence with the “come up to my apartment, I won’t try anything, I just want to lay next to you” line as he has you pinned between a lamp post and a hard place, he gets irked you didn’t fall for it.  When the relationship tanks, and it will because he’s got a constantly replenished supply of vulnerable women with alcohol-lowered defenses, what you wind up missing isn’t the guy, it’s the bar.

2. The Professional Comedian – Despite having an almost eidetic memory, I can be like an amnesia victim when it comes to dating.  I have dated two comedians.  I like to laugh, I like people who make me laugh, so why not date someone who can have a theater full of jaded New Yorkers roaring with laughter?  Well, you don’t get to date that guy, he exists only on stage for the duration of his set.  In actuality, he isn’t screwed up like the rest of us, he’s so fucked up, he needs the thundering of packed laughter to drown out his own horrifying thoughts.  The first one loved my breasts because they reminded him of his mother’s, she would walk around in a tattered bathrobe, nipples protruding from the tears in the fabric, and because of his Oedipal Complex, a bowl of Cheerios gave him a raging erection.  The second was a dark cloud, he saved all his funny non-suicidal thoughts for his audience, I got the doom and gloom.  One morning I asked him to please pass the orange juice and he replied, “why, we’re all going to die?”.  I responded with something like, “Huh. Well, do you have an ETA on this whole death thing? ‘Cuz I have a nail appointment tomorrow, I’m just wondering if I should cancel it”.  He glared at me as he always did when I attempted to say something vaguely clever and started stabbing his eggs.  And that was the day our relationship died, fortunately I was still able to keep my nail appointment.

3. The Professional Male Model – Never date anyone who is prettier than you are.  Because no matter how attractive you are, when people see you together, they are going to assume you are the platonic friend or sister or AA Sponsor of the male model you are with.  Let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of guys out there who are of that caliber of hotness, so people tend to take notice.  Even the cat he claims belonged to the ex rolls his eyes at the pairing.  The problem with dating a professional male model is that you think you’re going out with this hot piece of arm candy but suddenly you’re sucked into his fragile world in which he’s tired of being judged by his appearance, he has thoughts too.  EXCEPT HE DOESN’T.  When you mention the Electoral College, he doesn’t think it’s that great of a school because he’s never heard of their basketball team.  You discover he likes you because you don’t see him as a cologne ad, you see the person inside, you listen because you’re interested in what he has to say.  Except, you’re really not listening, you’re blocking out his voice while you try to think of ways to get him to take off his shirt.  You basically become the dude in the relationship. There are plenty of attractive men out there who aren’t professional models, they’re not quite as shiny, but you should sleep with them and fantasize about the model, that way your bathroom doesn’t suddenly get claimed in the name of Aveda.

4. Guys Named Stewie – There are adult men in this city who go by “Stewie”, if one asks you out, just say no, because they won’t let you rename them and the first date they want to take you on tends to involve driving to some remote location in their van with tinted windows.  There’s only one person I think who should ever go by “Stewie”, Stewie Griffin from “Family Guy” and he’s a fictional matricidal baby.  An adult male who goes by “Stewie” probably still hasn’t outgrown his Mommy issues.  One of the first Stewies I met was at a bar in the Meatpacking district.  He looked like Johnny Depp, which normally is a good quality in a man, except he looked like Johnny Depp in “Edward Scissorhands”.  My inner Winona was a bit captivated by his paleness, we exchanged e-mail addresses.  For our first date, he wanted to go rollerblading in Central Park.  Now call me old-fashioned, but I think a date that involves sweating and knee pads should really be more of a fifth date kind of thing.  Oddly enough, what wound up nixing it for me wasn’t his odd black leather outfits, it was his telling me he had sex with a man because he thinks every man should know what it feels like to be fucked at least once.  He actually meant to sound sensitive, to illustrate that he knew what sex was like for a woman, but that’s a skewed perception of sex, it’s not a power struggle with the man being the automatic victor because he wields the sword. I mean, He-Man may have the power, but he gets it from the Sorceress who is the guardian of Greyskull.

5. The Billionaire – My Mom used to tell me that it’s just as easy to love a rich man as it is to love a poor man.  She was wrong.  I once dated a guy who was so rich, he totally forgot about one of the bathrooms in his penthouse.  One of the ways in which “Sex and the City” lied to women is that Mr. Big had far too much time for Carrie.  Men who are extremely successful have to work hard to keep their billions, especially in this economy.  You date around their schedule, they’re not used to hearing no, so if you’ve got your own meeting that ran late, they don’t know how to process that, and more times than not, it sends them into passive-aggressive tailspin.  If your goal is to be a kept woman then this doesn’t apply to you.  But if you want your own life then The Billionaire isn’t the guy for you.  He runs the relationship, he tells you when you are going out and where and every now and then, you’re stuck sitting around in your apartment in Spanx and an uncomfortable dress because he forgot to have his secretary call to cancel because something came up.  Sure, it’s nice being picked up in ridiculously expensive cars, not having to worry if your date is going to have to sell his blood the next day if you order the lobster, but after a couple of months of dating, you wind up trying to figure out what’s wrong with the relationship and you realize, it’s not because he’s a Met’s fan, it’s because he treats you like an employee and not a girlfriend.  I actually have more respect for gold diggers because of that, it requires a lot of patience to be in that kind of relationship, but for me personally, I’d rather buy my own shiny baubles than sit around waiting for the phone to ring.

6. The European Businessman – Sure he’s hot, he’s got a French accent and a sweet apartment his company keeps in the city, but when European men travel, they’re less about the souvenirs or romantic notions and more about the sexual conquest.  I met a gorgeous chiseled Italian man on a plane once, a thorough masterpiece of masculinity, after having ruled him out as a potential serial killer, I went to his company’s posh apartment where he was staying.  I suggested things we could do that afternoon, all of which he shot down.  I excused myself to use his restroom where there was a Costco-sized case of condoms on the counter. I pulled out one of the strips, stormed out of the bathroom, condoms trailing behind me like a Safe Sex Kite Tail, and flung it at him. “That’s pretty presumptuous, don’t you think, a giant case of condoms?”  He shrugged and said, “what, I’m a man, you’re a woman, come here…” The European Businessmen know chicks dig the accent, and they think they can shortcut their way into the sack with you.  That’s fine if that’s all you want, just don’t start entertaining romantic notions that there will be some Hollywood ending where he’ll stay for you or he’s secretly a prince and you’ll go live in his castle and live happily ever after.  But, if you’re someone who likes mixing European Businessmen with your pleasure, a fun little trivia fact is that European men tend to have larger penises than American men.  Fully erect, the average American male penis is 5.08 inches. Leading the pack of fully erect European men is Hungarian men at an average of 6.5 inches, followed by France at 6.3 inches, the Czech Republic at 6.26 inches, The Netherlands at 6.24 inches, then Italy at 6.19 inches.  France and Italy make the top five of countries with the best lovers while America is in the bottom five because American men are considered rough in bed, for which I blame porn.

7. Drummers – A band’s drummer is Girl Kryptonite, far more dangerous than the lead singer because the drummer is usually towards the back of the stage, partially in shadow making him all the more mysterious as he bangs out a primal beat.  He’s better in bed than his fellow musicians, but he tends not to have a bed to call his own, leading a nomadic lifestyle.  Drummers tend to wing it a lot, both personally and professionally.  I was shocked to learn there are drummers out there who can’t even read sheet music which takes away from their musician appeal.  At some point the amount of space his drum equipment takes up in your apartment outweighs his skill in bed and you oust him from your life.  They are both the best and worst boyfriends you’ll ever have, exhilarating for a brief period of time, then there’s the dark ring they leave around your soul’s tub that takes a lot of scrubbing to get rid of.

8. Your Friend’s Stalker – Yes, it does seem illogical to date your friend’s stalker, but can’t one woman’s stalker be another woman’s really really attentive boyfriend?  The answer to that is no.  In college, I made that mistake. The guy seemed genuinely sweet, not bad looking and I figured he just fell for the wrong girl.  I’m pretty good at establishing boundaries and my friend wasn’t really the firm type so I figured the whole stalking thing was just an emotional misunderstanding.  I of course checked with her first to get her feelings on the matter and she dove for the phone, gleefully setting up a date for us before I even knew what was happening.  After the date, which was just okay, nothing special, this guy was suddenly omnipresent.  I would flinch when the phone rang and suddenly I would see him everywhere, in front of my door reading a book, hanging outside of a coffee shop I didn’t even know I was going to until five minutes beforehand, at my spot in the library.  After expressing annoyance at his creepy behavior, he called me to ask me out on another date. I used the “this isn’t really a good time for me to be dating” which I assumed all men knew meant “I don’t want to go out with you” but then he asked if I had an idea of when would be a better time for us to date at which point I said, “Never. Don’t ever call me again, don’t ever wait around for me again, not in the lobby, not in front of my door, not in the cafeteria, not anywhere.  I do not want to date you now or ever.” It was hurtful, but it got rid of him.  As the saying goes, if he stalks you once, shame on him, if he stalks you twice, shame on you.  He turned out to be the least terrifying of my stalkers, but please be careful, there are some crazy men out there with a lot of extra free time to go with their lack of boundaries.  Every woman should know self-defense.

9. The Faux Artist – Even worse than the obsessive self-absorbed Artist is the obnoxiously arrogant Faux Artist because he has no actual medium, but still fancies himself a Renaissance Man. He is never wrong and is easy to spot. There will be some pictures of tree branches taped to his wall, he will be wearing black jeans and a black t-shirt, he will pronounce words like “Notre Dame” and “hors d’oeuvres” properly and will be bored with everything, with the notable exception of the sound of his own voice as he recites some of his truly dreadful poetry that will end with the word “cold” or “alone”.  In his opinion, no decent music has been written since the end of the 19th century, which he will attempt to prove to you by dragging you to German opera.  Just say nein.

10. The Not-As-Divorced-As-He-Claims – Married men have been slipping their wedding bands into their pockets and telling their wives they have to work late since they realized they might actually be able to get away with it.  Once I pointed the ring finger tan line out to a guy trying to pick me up and he said he had vitiligo, the very rare skin disorder Michael Jackson claimed he suffered from, except it affected just that one finger.  In your twenties, you have to become hyperaware of the signs of the wolf in single man clothing and every now and then, one slips passed you.  I dated a handsome charming lawyer who told me he was divorced.  I couldn’t imagine any woman letting this guy go, he was too good to be true. Something was up, I started to suspect he wasn’t as divorced as he claimed, I only had his cell number and a Yahoo e-mail account. When pushed, he admitted he wasn’t divorced yet, they were still in the separation process.  I told him, that’s fine, it still didn’t explain why he never invited me over to his place or why I didn’t have his home number.  “Well, that’s because, it’s complicated… we still live together…”.  I told him it didn’t sound complicated at all, most married people lived together.  “She has no idea that you’re separated, does she?”.  I don’t think he directly answered that question, I vaguely remember him saying something about the Discovery Channel, that’s the last time I saw him.  If you don’t object to having an affair with a married man for moral reasons, then there are logistical considerations.  You never come first and your romance suddenly has a lot more factors, mainly the wife and kids, their lives and schedules start to impact yours. Men almost never leave their wives for their mistress, you wind up getting the short end of the stick while he gets to have his cake and eat it too, you deserve better than that.

So now that I’ve told you what types of men to avoid, I’ll key you on the most important quality a man could possess: kindness.  I tend to go for the genius type and while I enjoy being intellectually engaged, only a gentle compassionate soul can be entrusted with the heart.

blogheartsignature

Love,

Lola

Ten Rules of Real Life Friendship

As technology has evolved, our interpersonal relationships have devolved.  We live in a Twitter world where we limit our self-expression to 140 characters or less.  On Facebook, everyone is assigned the label of “Friend” no matter if they are a business acquaintance or someone with whom we used to put glitter heart stickers on our shoes as we daydreamed about what we wanted to be when we grew up.  People insidiously LOL each other, often the laughter being hypothetical.  We have so many different ways to communicate with each other and yet we’re leaving the most important words left unsaid.

I try to remember to keep up on Facebook.  But it’s hard, some things you might say to some people, you wouldn’t necessarily share with everyone.  So instead you wind up clicking “Like” on someone’s picture of a very obese cat.  I just started a blog Twitter account a couple of days ago, @LoveLolaHeart.  Oddly in a few hours last night, I lost half of the followers I gained the day before.  I don’t think it’s something I said, so I hope they are okay, I’m a little worried about them.  I’m not a Twitter expert, so I hope there are no such things as Twitter Pterodactyls who might have carried them off in their talons.

Despite all my Facebook friends and real world friends, there’s only one person who I pour my heart out to on a daily basis and that’s Lise.  I think we all need that friend we can share our crazy thoughts with without worrying about her judging us.   Someone who would be our biographer if we ever became famous but who loves us too much to ever write the true story.  Even though Lise lives in Seattle now, she knows about the big things and the little things because we e-mail each other almost every single day.  Good friends listen when something is important, great friends listen when something isn’t, in the e-mails from the last few days I’ve told Lise some of the nicknames I’ve been given over the years, the reason I go back and forth on purple, what my superhero name would be, the one thing the men I have loved have in common besides being geniuses, the weather condition that makes me a little batty, the name I gave my color printer a few years ago, who I was with on the day I skipped my college graduation ceremony, the people I want to shake sense into, the odd food combo I sometimes go out in the middle of the night to pick up, the whodunit of the mystery novel I’m working on, the one deal breaker for me when it comes to men, I’ve recounted two semi-scandalous tales, attached a picture of what I would want the engagement ring to look like if the only man I’ve ever wanted to marry proposed to me and I’ve shared the depth of my knowledge on how to survive animal attacks.  We’ve talked about everything from art deco settings to a haunted restaurant to bear spray, that’s a lot of territory.

The reason Lise and I have remained close friends for over a decade is that we both put effort into our friendship.  We have common interests and similar outlooks on life, shared experiences, but it isn’t similarities or my respect for her as a human being and artist that makes her an amazing friend, it’s because her friends are important to her.  No e-mail, call or text ever goes unanswered, distance doesn’t matter, we stay connected whether separated by the distance of two cocktails or nine states.  In addition to a major recent move, Lise is married, is an artist and a producer and has enough familial drama to fuel an HBO series.  But she makes the time to connect with the people who are important to her, she is never too busy to be a friend.  She makes me laugh and makes me think, comforts me when I need it and inspires me to be a better version of myself.

I think in today’s society, we forget about the effort it takes to maintain relationships.  We answer a post on Facebook, we Tweet something or Pin It and that gives us a false sense that we are still actively participating in someone’s life as a friend.  Interestingly, Lise is both an expert on social media and real life friendship, she knows what it takes to keep a presence strong online and in someone’s life.  Here are 10 Rules of Real Life Friendship, what I’ve learned about being a great friend has been inspired by friends like the one I call Lise on this blog to protect her real identity.

Ten Rules of Real Life Friendship

1. Being a friend is like being in the mob, you keep secrets.  There’s no Witness Relocation Program for friends who snitch so that means there’s no Share Button when it comes to a friend’s confession.

2. Friendship is both eternal and time-sensitive.  Never leave a friend hanging.  Answer texts, phone calls and e-mails within a reasonable amount of time.  An acquaintance understands life gets busy, a friend is thinking WTF.  If you need to interact with something that doesn’t require a lot of effort, get a cactus, friendships can’t survive desert conditions.

3. Sometimes there aren’t solutions to problems in life but when a friend tells you about a problem, simply listening can provide all the comfort she needs.

4. If your friend wanted to be judged, she would have called her mother.  Friends accept each other for who they are, we’re all flawed, if we want to feel crappy about our short-comings we have the rest of the world for that.  Remember, no matter how bad your friend has screwed up, you’ve probably done way worse.

5. Encourage each other.  Behind every great success story is one person who said, “I think you should do that.”  We all have self-doubts, they are the ghosts that came with the house, sometimes all it takes is one person to believe in you to believe you can conquer the world.

6. You are obligated to say the new girlfriend of your friend’s ex has nothing on her.  It doesn’t matter if the new girlfriend is a Nobel Prize winning Victoria’s Secret model.  Any woman your friend’s ex dates doesn’t measure up because doesn’t have all the wonderful qualities your friend has, her ex was crazy to let her go.  You never date a friends ex, even if you are willing to talk about how much you suck in comparison to her, it’s a betrayal.

7. Friends don’t post Girls Gone Wild photos of their friends on Facebook and if they do, they certainly don’t tag them.  When you tag a friend, it shows up on her Facebook page.  Do her friends, relatives and co-workers really need to see her dancing on a bar?  I give my friends editorial control of the pictures I take of them.  If they don’t like pics of themselves, I toss the photos.

8. Don’t be a flake. If you continuously make plans and cancel, your friend will start to think of you as someone who doesn’t show up for the little things so she’ll start to question whether or not you will be there for the big things.

9. Fair-weather friends are part-time friends and therefore don’t qualify for friendship benefits.  Friendship is like how marriage is supposed to be: for better or worse, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do you part.  We all get knocked down in life.  A friend will rent the forklift if that’s what it takes.

10. The truest friend is honest and cares so much about her friend that she is willing to tell her anything, even if she is afraid it could get her excommunicated from the friendship.  The people around Amanda Bynes right now aren’t real friends, if so, the iPhone she uses to upload videos of her sucking on a Sour Patch Kid and update her Twitter status would have been the first thing to go out the window, not the bong she allegedly threw out the window that she’s claiming was a vase.  Friends don’t let friends throw things out windows, they don’t let them shave their heads if their extensions feel tight, if it looks like they are going to call a cop “Sugartits”, they start singing “I’m Henry VII, I Am” loudly, and if they say, “I’m going to make a film called Glitter” they strongly suggest making s’mores as an alternative activity.  Behind every epic meltdown is a girl without a friend.  Friends absorb the shock from the crazy.

blogheartsignature

Love,

Lola

Spring Cleaning

Every Spring, most of us perform a ritual known as Spring Cleaning.  We part with chipped vases, use the lone sock survivors of the Dryer Wars to polish our furniture, compile all of the scattered to-do lists into one really long one, use the plastic bins we bought months ago to reorganize holiday decorations, donate items we know we’ll never use, fix what’s fixable, throw out the rest and bask in the glory of our accomplishment for the nanosecond that separates the victorious conquering of clutter and the moment the first speck of dust falls again.  I’m sure there’s some anthropological explanation behind Spring Cleaning, it probably has to with Spring mating and the subsequent phenomena of nesting, preparing the home for the new arrival, which has become encoded in our evolutionary DNA, irregardless of our reproductive status.

Nothing feels better than getting rid of clutter.  So why is Spring Cleaning all about our physical surroundings?  Rarely do we think about all that we keep within ourselves, all of the memories and emotions that don’t serve us.  Without realizing it, we can become emotional hoarders.

One of the things I find most fascinating about the human experience is that even though just one year is made up of 31,536,000 seconds, none ever the same, the reasons behind who we are really is contained in very few of those seconds.  Everything we do we can trace back to a handful of moments that define us, and everything else in between is clutter that’s packed on top of it.  When we become emotional hoarders, it becomes harder to locate the reasons behind our emotions because of everything buried on top of it.  When we find ourselves repeating behavioral patterns, the only way to ever break them is to understand the why.  For that we need to throw open the doors of our emotional closets, see what we’ve been storing in there, pull apart our psyche’s collective whole and do some Spring Cleaning.

We store a lot more memories and emotions than we realize.  Hate is the easiest thing to locate within ourselves because it’s the black tarp covering everything else, it muffles all of our other motives.  Sometimes in life it’s hard to forgive people who have wronged you and that’s understandable.  There’s a quote you sometimes see written on top of a picture of a rainbow or a heart, “Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”  If you can’t forgive, then cauterize the wound until you can forgive, because if you fill your thoughts with hate then your head is filled with hate.   You have to release it or it will define you.  Don’t give someone who hurt you that power over you.

The best thing you can find within yourself is love.  There are thousands of different kinds of love and hopefully you have the entire set.  Sometimes you’ll find a love you didn’t even know you had.  Sometimes love is life’s greatest magician, it’s a master of misdirection, an experienced showman and it can saw you in half without killing you.  Love is always a keeper.  As humans, we’re equipped with infinite storage space for it.  It will keep you warm when you’ve got nothing else, it will light your way through the darkness, it well help you see where you need to go, and it will cradle all the other love you pick up along the way.

Between the love and hate is a spectrum of emotion that can help us or hinder us.  Something like stubbornness, normally a negative attribute can become a positive force if we use it to refuse to let obstacles get in our way as we pursue our goals.  One of the most harmful things we can store is blame.  People tend to pack a lot of blame into their emotional closets.  They hold on to the events they feel have brought them down, they are indignant, they cry out against the unjust cruelty of life, they wonder why them.  The problem with holding onto blame is that it’s a tight ball of emotion, if you don’t uncoil it, you can’t see that embedded within it are your own actions.  It’s easier to think that we don’t contribute to the bad in of our own lives, but the problem is if we don’t uncoil blame and take responsibility for our contributions to what has happened to us, we start to think of ourselves as victims.  Blame is contagious, it will infect everything within us.  What matters isn’t what was thrown at us, it’s what we do with it.  Everyone gets knocked down from time to time, but we make the choice as to whether or not we stay down.

I’m an emotional hoarder of hope, which doesn’t sound so bad if you’re a glass half full kind of person, but when you realize you’ve been sabotaging your own love life for two decades because you fell in love with a man you can’t have because of circumstance and you can’t let go, you discover hope has claws and fangs and a freakish amount of upper body strength.  Emily Dickinson wrote: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tunes… without the words, and never stops at all”.  Emily Dickinson was basically a shut-in who would barely leave her room in her parents’ house towards the end of her life.  If hope has feathers, perhaps that’s to lift us up high enough to drop us on our ass.

So what do we do when we just can’t get someone out of our mind?  In the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, a couple has the memories of their relationship erased so they won’t have to live with the pain of the break-up.  It is of course science fiction, but it raises the interesting question of whether or not we would steam clean our minds to rid it of anguish if we could.  In the end of the film, the couple decides to begin a new relationship from scratch, thus ending it on a hopeful note as most Hollywood films do.  Perhaps as a society we only want to watch stories that have a happy ending because hope is something innate to the human experience, we endure the anguish of a tortured love story because we are unable to abandon a need within us to leave it open to possibility, no matter how remote.  We need to believe in happy endings because if we don’t, there’s really no reason to go on, we are all out of necessity optimists whether we care to admit it or not.

The film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” gets its title from a poem by Alexander Pope entitled “Eloisa to Abelard”.   The words are hauntingly beautiful, it tells a tragic love story.  Eloisa is unable to forget about her love Abelard and she muses how lucky those must be who memories aren’t tortured by an impossible love:

“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!

The world forgetting, by the world forgot.

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!

Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.”

The poem is based on the true tragic love story of  Peter Abelard, a twelth-century French Philosopher and Heloise who was an exceedingly intelligent and beautiful woman twenty years his junior.  Under the pretext of furthering her education, Abelard convinced her uncle, Fulbert, with whom Heloise lived that he should move in with them.  Abelard and Heloise became lovers, when the uncle found out, he objected to the relationship, and kicked Abelard out of his home.  Abelard and Heloise continued a clandestine affair and conceived a child.  Abelard and Heloise secretly wed and left their child Astrolobe with Abelard’s sister.  Fulbert found out about the secret wedding and exposed it, Heloise denied it and went to live in a convent.  Her family assumed Abelard had cast her off so they did what any other batshit crazy vindictive bloodthirsty relatives would do, they broke into his house when he was sleeping and castrated him.  Peter Abelard, now minus his Peter, became a monk while Heloise became a nun by default.  Even within their religious lives, their devotion to each other remained unwavering.  In one of the many love letters exchanged between the two, Heloise wrote, “But if I lose you, what have I left to hope for?”

The love story of Abelard and Heloise is one of the most celebrated true love stories because it is a testament to the endurance of love despite tragic circumstances.  People want to believe that love doesn’t need physical proximity or even physical expression to remain strong because it doesn’t, love is the most powerful force there is.  While life presented many obstacles to the two lovers, they are together in death, their remains united in a tomb at Père Lachaise as a symbol of true love.

If a love is the most powerful and enduring force there is, then can any love story ever truly be considered tragic?  Perhaps the real tragedy is those who have never loved so deeply that they can’t understand how someone can remain bound to another no matter how ridiculously insurmountable the odds seem.  When you look deeply inside yourself, disassemble your entire psyche, examine all the pieces of your life, when you are able to release anger, uncoil blame, recognize your flaws, make peace with every single moment that has gnawed at you, pull aside all of the noise you’ve put in your life to try to not be in love with someone and you are left with a love that is so deeply rooted inside of you it controls the beat of your heart, all you can do is acknowledge that it’s there.  No matter how much you want it not to be, it’s as a part of you as hope is and you’ve just got to work around it because it’s not going anywhere.  Trust me, I’ve spent twenty years trying.

blogheartsignature

Love,

Lola

The First State Becomes the Eleventh

Delaware has become the eleventh State to legalize same sex marriage, so the US is one state closer to the remedying of a civil rights injustice.  I’ve always been a fan of Delaware personally.  Because I have absolutely no sense of direction, I always wind up there when I’m really trying to go to Pennsylvania… or Massachusetts… or Maine.  I don’t know how it happens, I pop in a roadtrip mix CD and suddenly I’m in The Small Wonder State.  In my many accidental trips to Delaware, I’ve found it’s got nice people and solid rest stop vending machine selections.  Historically, Delaware was the first to ratify the United States Constitution, build log cabins and host a beauty pageant.   And it is now way cooler than 39 other states.

I honestly can’t comprehend why same sex marriage is an issue.  I have seen some really hateful uses of glitter on picket signs from those who object to same sex marriage because of their religious views.  First of all, shame on those people to use something as happy as glitter to threaten eternal damnation.  I believe in freedom of speech, but everyone knows you use black Sharpies for hate-filled messages on signs.  Secondly, if those people truly believe two people of the same sex who want to pledge their love to each other and legally join their lives together are going to burst into flames and spend the rest of eternity trying to give the underworld a fabulous new look, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States firmly establishes a separation of church and state, so religious beliefs should play no part.

As a Catholic, I know there are a few mentions of homosexuality being a sin in the Bible.  For instance, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”  I’ve got to say, if that’s Heaven’s door policy, pretty much everyone I know has a hell-bound handbasket with his or her name on it.  The way I’ve reconciled the differences between Catholic doctrine and my own personal beliefs is by bearing in mind that the Bible was written by men and men make mistakes.  I’ll give you just a few examples off the top of my head: Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth’s contract to the Yankees, Napoleon thought, hey, I should totally invade Russia, best idea yet, Hugh Grant cheated on Elizabeth Hurley, Captain Joe Hazelwood crashed the Exxon-Valdez because he totally missed that giant sound, Jack Nicholson made “Man Trouble” and John Mayer is responsible for the douchiest song in history, “Your Body is a Wonderland”.  No one’s perfect.  In addition, the dates of when the Bible was written are a little hazy because writers back then weren’t paranoid about their work getting ripped off.  The Gospel of Luke isn’t even a first-hand account, it’s based off of The Gospel of Mark and possibly some other documents which are believed to have existed but have never been found.  So if parts of the Bible were written years, decades, even centuries after the fact, isn’t it possible some details got fuzzy and maybe not everything was remembered correctly?  Some of the stories which made it into the Bible were passed from village to village by word of mouth long before they were ever written down.  What if one guy mumbled and it’s hobosexuality that’s actually a sin.  A lot of language corruption has also happened along the way.  One example of this is St. Josaphat, his name turned out to be a linguistic corruption of Buddha.  That’s right, Buddha is a Catholic Saint.  The discovery was made in the mid-nineteenth century and has been acknowledged by the Catholic Church.  The Buddha’s Feast Day remains November 27th, but the Catholic Church doesn’t buy a Fudgie the Whale Cake to celebrate.  What if the word for homosexuality was very close to the ancient Persian word for creepy clown sex… white make-up smearing all over, red noses bumping into each other, angry painted-on expressions making it impossible to tell if it’s consensual, the inevitable, “is that a machete in your pocket or are you happy to see me” jokes, those big shoes making for logistical inconvenience.  I could see there being an objection to that.  I’m leaning towards the creepy clown sex theory, but if God appears to me in the form of a burning Prada suit, then I’ll reconsider my position.

There are those who object to same sex marriage because they think it tarnishes the institution of marriage.  I’ve got news for them.  If two men or two women getting married makes their marriage seem less special to them, then the whole same sex marriage thing isn’t really the issue, the issue is their own marriage sucks.

I really would have thought political leaders would have figured this out by now, but we can completely solve the country’s economic issues by making same sex marriage legal in all states.  The reason is simple, gay men know how to throw a party.  Most gay men I know think red plastic Solo cups are an urban legend.  When I go to one of their parties, I’m the cheapest thing there.  They will throw extravagant galas because their new stationery came in, can you imagine the economic stimulation that would happen if they had something truly joyous to celebrate, like being able to get married?  The floral arrangements alone would knock unemployment down to the lowest in US history.  Not only are the 39 hold-out states depriving citizens of their civil rights, they are depriving the rest of us of some truly kick-ass parties.

Love,

Lola

Twenty Signs You Need A Pity Party

Charlie Chaplin said, “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” The problem with being one of life’s players is that we don’t have the luxury of understanding the plot points as a complete story, there are acts still to be written.  When our present derails, it’s not the future we look to for hope, it’s the past we turn to for understanding.  We try to figure out what events led to the tragic pile-up that has become our lives and inevitably we ask ourselves,  ‘how the hell did I get here?’.  Once upon a time, I was girl who went to film premiers and Vanity Fair parties, charity events at the Waldorf, sat behind home plate at Yankee Stadium and Orchestra Center at Broadway shows, my last date to a wedding has an Academy Award.  Over the years I’ve been proposed to several times by men who I sincerely hope were joking because how could they not see they possessed the inexcusable flaw of not being the man to whom my heart belongs.  I should probably get that back from him since he’s not using it, hopefully it still works.  Somehow somewhere along the way, my storyline got derailed and I find myself stuck between present and past, longing for the days when I was caught between the moon and New York City.

Even though everyone who is wallowing in misery feels like no one could possibly understand the depth of his or her anguish, rock bottom is surprisingly crowded, a lot of people are in the midst of a major life suckfest.  We pass the time by playing Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock with each other’s tragic life circumstances.  No matter how much your life feels like the victim of a bear attack, there’s always someone whose boyfriend’s infidelity Polaroids cover your rocky health.  If you think your misery might enjoy a little company, here are twenty signs to help you determine whether or not you should be sending out Save the Dates for your very own Pity Party:

1. You haven’t done laundry in so long you’ve already used up all of your regular underwear, granny panties and the fancy underwear, including the pair with the sequins that slice your skin when you sit and makes you look like you had a roadside C-section.  You’re saving the last clean pair for a special occasion.  The valance you hung up to dry the last time you did laundry is still on your closet door, however.

2. Your neighbor hasn’t been home in weeks and you are starting to suspect that it has something to do with the iTunes playlist you have on 24 hour PermaRepeat comprised of just four songs: “Love Remains the Same” by Gavin Rossdale, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins, and “Fallen” by Sarah McLachlan.  You can’t blame him, you’d get away from you too if you could.

3. You secretly hope there’s an Evil Monkey living in your closet because your clothes have been feeling tighter and your best case scenario is there’s an Evil Monkey shrinking them.

4. You catch a reflection of yourself in your peripheral vision and at first, you think you’re looking at someone who recently escaped from a bell tower.

5. The plant you’ve had for years suddenly seems to be dying of boredom.

6. You have two stalkers, one looks like Senior Citizen Home Jabba the Hutt and the second is far too gorgeous to be romantically interested in you so you assume he’s either the word’s worst private detective or a hitman.

7. The guy from the café where you order your salads and cookies recognizes your voice and knows all your contact info by heart.  When you joke that soon you will be able to place your orders telepathically, he notes that he already is able to sense when you want an apple turnover.

8. You order Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” as your summer beach read, it feels a little more “Sweet Valley High” than you remembered.

9. Your hair is so greasy, you don’t need an elastic band to hold it up in a ponytail.

10. You really miss your old ghost.

11. When you are cat-called by someone admiring your “juicy” ass, you spin around expecting to see Sir Mix-A-Lot, but it’s a fifteen year old kid and apparently you have no authority to ground him.

12. You realize your entire life’s philosophy is actually a Kenny Rogers song.

13. You’re sent a gorgeous arrangement of flowers and immediately know it’s not from any of your romantic prospects because it’s way too nice.

14. You go to unbutton your pants because they’re cutting into you and realize you’re wearing sweatpants.

15. You have six different types of sweatpants: dress sweatpants, every day sweatpants, lounging sweatpants, sleep sweatpants, cleaning sweatpants and work-out sweatpants which you really just use when all your other sweatpants are dirty.

16. If it weren’t for Facebook, you’d be thoroughly unaware of current events.

17. Because you are able to predict who the culprit is in every crime show you watch within the first five minutes, you toy with the idea of either opening a psychic detective agency or becoming a television writer.

18. Your dirty dishes have become a feat of engineering because you lack the energy to wash them so an attempt to cook something involves a harrowing round of Dirty Dish Jenga.

19.  Weird things are growing out of the vegetables you forgot you bought months ago in an abandoned attempt at healthiness while others have liquefied, making your entire vegetable crisper look like a messy alien autopsy.

20.  You briefly consider alcoholism as a new lifestyle choice, but all that exhausting glass lifting requires more physical exertion than you are capable of doing.

Scoring:

If you don’t identify with any of the above, your unicorn probably resents you for having it so good.  Unfortunately, you are going to need to be careful of unicorn puncture wounds, they’re going to be hard to cover up for your Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover.  But lucky you probably has a whole bunch of leprechauns who would be happy to spread around some of their gold for extra airbrushing.

If you identify with 1-2 of the above, don’t worry, life naturally has its ups and downs.  If your life was perfect, you’d be a Disney character.  Two-dimensional sex is probably a bore, that’s why all those fairy tales end with “and they lived happily ever after” following the nuptials, there’s no magic in Cinderella sitting around knitting or Prince Eric’s frustration with Ariel’s hoarding.

If you identify with 3-5 of the above, you are walking a tightrope between lovable slovenly curmudgeon and the object of the revenge fantasies the person you are living with is having.   Your mail person is probably secretly judging you.  Maybe get your own place because if your depression goes super-nova, you won’t have to listen to anyone bitch.

If you identify with 6-8 of the above, you should get a reality show immediately to document your downward spiral.  You will be contractually obligated to make at least five erratic Twitter posts a month and do something terrible to your hair.   If you don’t want to go the reality show route, just start asking people “don’t you know who I am?”.  You will want to become pissed off at the following things: the sun, laughter, historical inaccuracies in television and film and the color orange.

If you identify with 9 or more of the above, congratulations, you are Dickens-tragic.  Come join us, we won’t make you wear corsets, we won’t make you do anything, we just don’t have the energy, come bask in the glow of our apathy.

I think the reason misery loves company is we need a human connection with fresh eyes to help us see the answer to a problem we’ve been staring at too long.   Albert Einstein described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Because we don’t have the advantage of looking at our lives from a distance, it’s the people around us who provide us with enough clues to connect the dots and figure out what we need to do differently to get the desired outcome.  We’re used to celebrating life’s happy occasions, but we try to bury our unhappiness under blankets and try to deny that part of our lives exists if anyone points out the blanket bulge.  It’s in our darkest hours we discover the truths about ourselves that are embedded so far within our psyche, we need an archeology team to help excavate them.  These truths enable us to make the changes we need to achieve the outcome we desire, surely that deserves as much of a celebration as all the other events for which Hallmark makes a card .  Did a wise philosopher not say, “you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life”?  If bad is a fact of life, then surely it deserves some kind of recognition.  I think people really should throw Pity Parties because even if the guidance of the people who know them best doesn’t help their situation, at least there’s cake.  And really, how bad can life suck when you’ve got cake?

 

Love,

Lola

The Church of the Holy Spook

White smoke today announced Catholicism has a new leader and no one seemed more surprised by the selection than Jorge Mario Bergoglio himself.  Odds had him at 33-1 despite his being first runner up in the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Bergoglio took the name Pope Francis, which at first seems an unusual choice for a Jesuit to pay homage to St. Francis given that he’s not of the Franciscan order, in fact Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope, but it makes sense when you consider that St. Francis devoted himself to apostolic poverty and look at how Pope Francis has lived his life as a Jesuit.

Pope Francis is an extremely humble man, he has forgone the comforts that were standard issue for a Cardinal, instead of a chauffeured limo he took mass transit, he lived in a small apartment and cooked his own meals.  Great, so the new Pope can cook and I can’t.  The simple way in which he has lived his life soon was all over the internet, newsworthy because it is such a departure from the way in which modern church leaders live.  When Bergoglio was elected Cardinal by Pope John Paul II, he heard of fundraising efforts to celebrate the appointment upon his return to Argentina which he nixed, asking that the money collected instead be given to the poor, he needed no public laudation but the poor needed food.  This humility is not completely radical, Catholicism has known figures who abandoned materialism, needed no praise for their work, focused on the poor, there’s one famous guy you may have heard of, his name is Jesus.  His Apostles did it too, it was all the rage once upon a time.

The voting of Pope is a political process but he’s not a political man, it’s rumored that in the last Pope election, Pope Francis was so devoted to Pope Benedict that he asked the other Cardinals to vote for Pope Benedict.  One Cardinal leaked a description of the moment when it looked like the papacy might go to Bergoglio instead of Ratzinger and upon casting his ballot beneath Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment”, Bergoglio looked up, his expression saying, “God, please don’t do this to me.”  It’s hard to imagine anyone wouldn’t want a promotion and the Cardinal has refused to comment on Bergoglio’s alleged reluctancy the last time.  Upon his election today, Pope Francis asked that everyone pray for him which shows he gets that he has been entrusted with a sacred duty, this isn’t about the cool hat for him, he’s never someone who sought the spotlight and that’s the kind of person we need in it.  He’s Catholicism’s Spiderman, he understands that with great power comes great responsibility.

It’s going to be an extremely challenging road for Pope Francis.  First of all, he’s a 76 year old man with one lung who is now leading all of Catholicism, he likes real people and the Vatican is filled with religious politicians so that makes me wary that his election might have had something to do with his gentle nature, perhaps some of those involved in the current Vatican financial scandal thought he could be more easily controlled.   If that’s the case, they probably have underestimated him, he is very much against Catholic Opulence, he might clean house, I can’t imagine he takes kindly to money laundering when people are starving in the world.

The contributions Pope Francis makes to Catholicism might be to return its focus back to the Bible and religious leaders behaving as apostles.  But Pope Francis most likely is not going to bring about reform in other areas, he’s socially conservative to the point some of his beliefs have been likened by the Argentinian president as being from the Middle Ages and the Inquisition.  He opposes gay marriage and thinks gay adoption is wrong to do to a child, he’s also against contraception.  Someone with such antiquated beliefs is unlikely to give the okay for women to become priests.  And I doubt he’ll tackle overturning the celibacy policy for priests sadly. Historically, Pope Francis might wind up being a political tactic to put a kinder more humble face on Catholicism for a few years, a temporary poster boy. Normal men have a life expectancy of 76 years and this 76 year old man has one lung, realistically how much longer will it be until the world is looking for smoke again?

Pope Francis has only been pope for less than 24 hours so it’s impossible to know what changes he will make, instead we can only look at how he’s lived to this point.  He’s not naturally charismatic like those who were considered the front-runners for the papacy, but he is sincere.  He is a man who has washed the feet of AIDS patients, held the hands of the destitute, cried out for compassion for the poor, encouraged others to help single Moms whose job is so hard but so important and refused to be cut off from the people he served because of his title, instead he walked amongst them and their worries became his worries. The last public figure I can recall trying to reflect their spotlight on those in need of global attention in a similar manner is Princess Diana.  She was initially shy and awkward publicly but it was endearing and she used her position to bring about awareness on a global scale.  She was the People’s Princess and Pope Francis could become the People’s Pope but it’s not going to be an easy road for him, he’s going to feel the seclusion she felt, have the pressures from those within the palace walls trying to maintain centuries of rigid tradition and the world will be watching his every move.  Both are hard jobs, both come with shiny baubles, but the Pope has less room for error, after all, his choices effect a religion at a time many describe as one of crisis and the over one billion Catholics in the world.

In Shane MacGowan’s song, “The Church of the Holy Spook”, there’s the line, “Give me that Church of the Holy Spook I don’t need nothin’ new”.  It’s a song about drinking and inherited religion but it begs to ask the question, given all that we’ve seen, all of the scandals, all of the things we don’t agree with, isn’t the Catholic Church all about tradition?  Do people really want reform or do we just want someone we believe is holier than us driving the bus so we can feel secure about being good Catholics?  Despite all the scandals that have come to light, there are 15 million more Catholics now than there were three years ago, so it’s not like Catholics are jumping ship.  Our new Pope is a conservative so how much new can he really bring?  Has the role of Pope become like the British monarchy, which wields no real power, but as figureheads they give the people a semblance of stability?  Let’s hope Pope Francis will invigorate Catholicism more than Kate Middleton’s baby bump has done for British royalty.  Maybe Catholicism should take a cue from the monarchy and let women into the Vatican, when you think about it, it’s the women who marry into the family who get the People magazine covers, Kate doesn’t need a Twitter account.

Love,

Lola

Faith

I found God again, He was right there where I had left Him.  It’s been a long road back to my Catholic roots but on Ash Wednesday in one of the grandest cathedrals in the world, I was finally able to look around and say it’s good to be home.  At a time when news cynics are calling the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI a crossroads for the Roman Catholic Church, I’m more sure than ever that I’m on the right path.

The Catholic Church has the most extraordinary mission statement, it’s called The Nicene Creed.  I think of The Bible as our handbook, the Ten Commandments gives us Management’s Employee Rules.  There are three things I don’t quite agree with the official Vatican policy about, I don’t know why women can’t be priests, I believe priests shouldn’t have to be celibate, and I don’t understand how homosexuality could be wrong because all love comes from God.  Women were permitted to be priests until 494 AD when Pope Gelasius decreed women don’t have security clearance to perform the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.  The Roman Catholic Church hasn’t totally been able to nix female attempts at priesthood, in 1970 Ludmilla Javorova was ordained as a Catholic priest in Czechoslovakia by Bishop Felix Davidek due to the priest shortage there but in 2000 the ordination was declared invalid and overruled.  There’s a general shortage in the priest pool in the world right now because of the lack of men willing to give up sex forever and you’ve kinda got to see their point.  I just don’t think celibacy is natural, it’s certainly not a long distance sport.  It’s also not doctrine, it’s church policy, some of the Apostles were married and had children and up until the 13th century, priests were permitted to marry and procreate, but celibacy became a more convenient practice to the Church, priests didn’t have the distraction of a family and upon their death, their money went back to the Catholic Church.  Doctors can be on call, so why can’t priests?  If it’s a money thing, throw more bake sales, I will happily add cookie baking to my overall religious observance.  With homosexuality, I get that the Bible says men and women are supposed to get married and repopulate, but people are born straight or gay, I certainly don’t look at any of my gay friends and think sinner, I think, OMG, those shoes are fabulous.  My gay friends are way better people than I am, my friend Adam has the most enormous heart of anyone I’ve ever met, he’s generous, genuine and giving, he always makes sure to make you feel special and loved.  An amazing gay couple I know tied the knot over the weekend and to have ever spent even a few seconds in their company is to know what Love looks like, the way they look at each other is how I want to be looked at, you get a Love contact high when you’re around them, I can’t imagine that’s not part of the Love God give us.  If there’s anything I would like to see addressed in The Catholic Church, it would be those three.  But I can’t say I accept that the Virgin Mary was an Immaculate Conception and pick and chose the rest, faith is not a sandwich, you can’t make substitutions, we should ask as many questions as we need to about the lettuce and mustard, appeal to God for other ingredients, but ultimately, when you’re hungry enough for the whole sandwich, even if you don’t like the jalapeño peppers, that’s when you’ve found your faith.  70% of Catholics feel priests should be allowed to wed and reproduce but that means 30% of all Catholics still maintain a desire for celibacy to remain in tact. I’m one of few who still wish mass was still celebrated in Latin because for me Latin is kind of like the linguistic equivalent of the Euro.  But to quote the Rolling Stones, “you can’t always get what you want.  But if you try sometime, you might just find you get what you need.”

While I still don’t know all of the answers, denying that my soul is Catholic would be like denying that my eyes are hazel which admittedly I tried to do for a while by wearing blue contacts.  One day I looked in the mirror and thought, “what am I doing?  What I was given is much more beautiful than Acuvue can create”.  Being Catholic means you have to be able accept that faith means not having an explanation for everything.

We’re currently a little more than a third of the way into The Year of Faith.  I can’t say anything more brilliant on Faith than Father Peter John Cameron, O.P. who was the keynote speaker at The Crystal Cathedral on The Magnificat Day of Faith.  I found this immensely inspirational: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3iTpM9F7bY.

I had the privilege of working for the man in those Dominican robes many years ago.  He once told me (and by once, I mean repeatedly over the course of a few years) that I need to sort out want and need and offer my need up to God, don’t assume God will automatically fix my problems, I have to ask.  Father Peter knew me better than I knew myself, he even predicted when I would figure out how to keep my heart open.  It only took losing almost everything I held dear to figure out what he meant.  I was laying in darkness with the shards of my former life around me, wondering why God had forgotten about me when I heard Father Peter in my mind say, “offer up your need to God”.  So I thought about what I really needed and I asked for three things.  I told God, “I need to know that good still exists in the world, I need help back up because I’ve been knocked down so hard this time, I don’t think I can get up on my own, and I need a direction because I have no idea what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.”  Immediately I knew the difference, that was the first time I ever prayed with my heart instead of my head.  Two days later, all three of my prayers were answered.  While I got the emotional boost I needed, God had a point to make, so when I was hailing a cab after a meeting one evening, my knees inexplicably gave out and my back locked.  Despite a dear friend offering his arm to help me, I shook my head and told him I was fine.  I stubbornly tried to get up on my own but couldn’t, I kept trying but I had to finally had to admit defeat and tell him, “I need your help, I can’t get back up on my own”.  Hearing myself say those words made me realize, God hadn’t forgotten about me, I had forgotten how to let Him into my life.  That’s impressively insolent, somewhere along the way I thought I knew how to take care of myself better than anyone, even God, and despite that, He waited for me to be ready to accept His help.

I had about a week and a half back amongst the living before getting struck with an illness that once again had me unable to get out of bed, it didn’t feel like depression, though, I knew it was physical.  I had to spend an entire week in bed to just gather enough strength to walk out my apartment door, lift my arm to hail a cab and go to the doctor’s.  Finally the bread crumb trail of test results revealed that I was very lucky to have been able to physically make it to the doctor’s at all.  The specialist I had pulled strings to get an appointment with because she is the best in her field looked at my test results which were far beyond anything she had ever seen, she stared at the paper, shaking her head and finally said, “I should admit you to the hospital immediately but I’m afraid of eliminating whatever potential environmental or dietary factor that has kept your system from completely shutting down. I’m also afraid of the effect hospital germs would have on you.”  She ran some more tests, indicating concern for my liver which should have been the first to go in a chain reaction of organ failure but the lab results revealed my liver is in pristine shape which was even more shocking considering I have first-hand knowledge of what I’ve done to it over the years.

So why did I get sick after going through all that I did?  I’m not sure.  Maybe I needed to experience a first-hand miracle to go with my answered prayers because I’m just that clueless sometimes.  It’s been a very challenging road back to functioning but on Ash Wednesday, despite being extremely weak, I went to church because getting ashes is the only pristine record I still hold as a Catholic.  On the way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral,  I started talking to God a couple of blocks from the cathedral, in hindsight I realize I probably looked like a crazy person, I guess I’ve spent so much time in my apartment alone, I forgot that other people could see me.  I asked God the question that has plagued me for twenty years, the one that has made me feel unworthy, the one that made a confession priest drop his Bible twice at a church closer to my apartment. I asked God, “Please send me a sign.”  Instantly, I got hit in the head with the warm disgusting splatter of pigeon poop and I thought, “oh, crap, God’s pissed”, thinking that was the answer to my question.  A very nice woman at a bank let me clean up in the bathroom in the back and I high-tailed it to St. Pat’s as fast as I could in my weakened state.  It turns out that the pigeon poop wasn’t a warning shot, it was the means to get me to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for more than just ashes, I went to confession, sat in the pews and prayed.  The heart that I had finally learned to keep open suddenly healed, it was as if the Holy Spirit’s brilliant white light entered my body through my heart, radiated outwards within me, bathing my soul in His Love, smoothing out the jagged broken pieces within me and making me whole.  I got the answer to the question I had posed to God right before I got pigeon pooped, He wasn’t angry at me, He was leading me home to the church.  I must have been at St. Patrick’s for hours, I didn’t want to leave because I finally felt at peace.

I am four for four in terms of prayers being answered.  I marvel at that, it’s so humbling to think God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth with all of existence to take care of, personally answered all four of my prayers.  Me.  A girl who bakes but doesn’t know how to cook, who swears too much, sleeps too little, considers Fleet Week Holy Days, says what she thinks before thinking about what she says, is terribly flawed with impure thoughts that would make a porn star blush, and a stubbornness that would make mules protest, “don’t lump me in with her”.

In addition to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Mary, Catholics have saints who help us out, too.  Lise asked me to say a prayer to Portuguese St. Anthony the next time I’m at St. Patrick’s, I’m so touched she would ask me to say a prayer on her behalf to the saint who has helped her all along the way during her adult life.  I was taught by my Mother to pray to the Blessed Mary and ask for her help.  I’ve always been obsessed with angels, the beings who serve as guardians of humanity and have felt a special draw to the Archangel Michael, the “General of the Angels” who defeated Lucifer, helps the sick and rescues the souls of believers.  Michael is both a fearless warrior and a gentle loving protector, in a spiritual bar fight, I would want Michael to be the one who has my back.

I love being Catholic and I think I appreciate Catholicism even more because of how far I had wandered off.  When Father Peter at the Magnificat Day of Faith spoke of the people stuck at 3:59pm, one minute away from salvation, I broke down and cried because I knew how overwhelmingly infinite the chasm of that one minute felt and how impossible it seemed to cross.  I had been living within that one minute until Ash Wednesday when I asked God for a sign, got smacked in the head, and was led by God back home to the Catholic Church so I could have that amazing transformative experience.  When I finally sat back in the pew, I took a deep breath, looked at my watch, I’m not sure why, I had nowhere else to be, and saw that it was 4:03pm.  And then I realized why I had looked.  I lifted my gaze to the vaulted ceiling, tears of relief streaming down my face and said, “It’s 4:03pm.  I made it.  Thank You.”.

 

Love,

Lola

 

A Frightening Encounter

Today there is a violent unstable homeless man still out there on the Upper East Side because of the lapse in time between my 911 call shortly after midnight and the arrival of police.  The man was hitting the light post and mail box with his fists on a corner, spewing rage, looking for something to break when he spotted me about twenty feet away trying to figure out what I was going to do if he tried to attack me.  The man screamed, “fuck you bitches” at me (I was alone, not sure why he used the plural, unless he was lumping me in with my gender) and the deranged man started to come at me.  I ducked into the doorman building I had already decided I would go to and called 911 as the doorman watched the homeless man return to the corner where his rage-filled fit had started and begin his attack again on anything in his sight on that area of Manhattan sidewalk that his insanity claimed.  I asked the 911 operator to send the police immediately, he was still there and I was safe but I was worried he was going to kill someone.  The 911 operator asked for a description and I replied, “he’s the guy who is still on the corner screaming and attacking anything in sight, you can’t miss him, please send someone now”.  The 911 operator ran through a series of questions about the man, although from his voice, I felt like maybe I was describing someone whose description he needed me to confirm, in my head it seemed so ridiculous, while I had some understanding that this was probably protocol, I kept thinking the police station was maybe six or seven blocks away, if they just sent someone they could see what the homeless man was wearing for themselves.  It felt very surreal, in the back of my mind I started to wonder if the 911 operator was going to ask if the insane attacker enjoyed long walks on the beach and the smell of rain on an early autumn day.  After the call, I sat for a few moments, thinking about my answers regarding the man’s clothing, it was a dark coat, black, it was dark though, could it have been navy or a dark army green that looked black, I was more concerned about him coming at me than his clothing, no it was definitely black, my first answer to the operator was right, then for some reason, I pictured Joan Rivers on Fashion Police criticizing what he was wearing, “I mean, come on, we’ve seen this look before, it’s so Boho Bleak” with Kelly Osbourne chiming in, “I can see where he was going with this, but for me, it really needed tailoring”.   Apparently, that’s what happens to my thought process when I’m worried about the people in my city being hurt by a maniac, my brain turns E!. Then I watched the street for sign of the police, the doorman keeping an eye on the enraged homeless man who eventually wandered off before the police arrived.  Two cop cars showed up because someone else fearful of this violent man had also called 911 so a car had been dispatched for both calls. I don’t know if that person saw the homeless man try to go after me or if the homeless man tried to attack that person or if it was a witness.  The police drove around the block but couldn’t find him.

Six months ago, a homeless man I had previously told the police was mentally ill and violent stabbed a woman in a grocery store.  In December, another homeless man murdered Ki-Suck Han by pushing him onto the subway tracks. In the 22 seconds before Han was hit by an oncoming train, people took cell phone photos, but according to reports, those near him did not make an effort to pull him up from the tracks.  What is wrong with the world?  He was someone’s husband and father, his daughter wished she could tell him just once more that she loved him.

The system is clearly failing, failing to protect the citizens and failing the mentally ill who are wandering the streets.  The slow response time spoke volumes as to priority, even with someone else calling 911.  As a woman, it’s terrifying, I know self defense, but this man in the early hours of this morning was punching steel, so clearly he has a high pain threshold in the state he was in.  As a human being, I know he’s mentally ill and needs help.  And as a New Yorker, well, I’m disappointed with the men in blue and the law makers, sorry Mayor Bloomberg, as much as I respect how you run this city as a business, there is a major problem here with those in the homeless population who exhibit signs of mental illness and violence but who the police say can’t be touched until they actually attack someone.  And in the past, when a homeless woman started screaming at me for no reason, spat in my face and kicked me, not too far from two police women, they  shrugged it off, saying the homeless woman was just crazy.  I know lots of people who are terrified of this woman, scared one day she’s going to push someone on the tracks or start stabbing people.  So the police say they can’t do anything about the mentally ill homeless until citizens are attacked and when the mentally ill do attack, if no one dies or make the news, well, they’re just crazy and crazy isn’t their department.  Whose department is it?  And why are police officers, who I’m assuming are not trained psychiatrists otherwise crime would need to be by appointment, making the decision that an attack on a person, if not severe, is somehow acceptable.  I’m in no way saying that everyone who is homeless is mentally ill, but if someone goes up to a stranger, starts screaming at her totally unprovoked, spews saliva on her face and strikes her with force, causing a contusion, then that action needs to be reviewed by a trained professional in my opinion.  There’s a difference between mentally ill and pissed off, I see it every day on the Upper East Side, the super skinny women who are cranky because they haven’t had a carb in a decade.  They yell at the shop workers and walk erratically in heels like civilized angry people.  It’s not a fair analogy, I know, because the homeless sometimes eat.  Seriously, these women might have Chanel but they are in a perpetual state of starvation for fear their husbands will leave them for a newer model.  The homeless have every right to be pissed off, too.  These cranky women’s tiny dogs pee on their stuff and oh, yeah, they don’t have homes.  Pissed off, fine, it’s New York.  Batshit crazy violent, no, that needs a time out with a shrink.  The man today, clearly exhibiting violent behavior, attacking a mailbox is a federal crime, the others would fall under local jurisdiction I’m assuming, needs to be evaluated by a mental health care professional.  The NYPD motto is Fidelis ad Mortem.  For those who didn’t take Latin because the Latin teacher was really hot, that means Faithful Unto Death.  Well, I feel like the NYPD cheated on me today.  My hero was the doorman who let me in and watched to make sure that man didn’t try to come into his building, he was New York’s Finest in my opinion.

This encounter has left me feeling very scared and alone.  Fidelis ad Mortem.  Faithful unto death.  It has a slightly different connotation when it comes to service, but I think I’m starting to understand why people get married, why they pledge “’til death do us part”.  I never was a girl who dreamed of her wedding day, I thought if one day if I had to do it for some reason, I would keep it small, which I sort of have kept to myself because I know my Mom has some horse-drawn carriage fantasy for me.  I think if you’ve got to do it, smaller is better, I’ve seen far too many brides get sucked into having a wedding they think they should have instead of the wedding they want.  It bothers me that still not everyone in this country can get married, if I can chose not to get married, why can’t someone else chose to merely because they love someone of their same sex?  Marriage is a strange thing in general, the vows contain a pledge of fidelity which I have seen broken so many times in my life.  The concept of marriage has always seem flawed to me, people should be together because they want to be together, not because of a piece of paper.  And I’ve always wondered, how would I be sure that someone else wasn’t out there better suited to me.  Despite my having been the other woman, I am actually a very faithful person.  A long time ago, I told a boy that I would marry him when we were both the age I am now, because by now I would have seen what I needed to see.  I’ve seen a lot, and the encounter reminds me I’ve also seen too much.  I sometimes wonder if had he not died, if he would have kept the promise we made in our early twenties.  I’m pretty sure I would have but it’s easier to think so when dealing with maybes.  Life is full of maybes, today was a big one.  Maybe if I hadn’t seen the doorman and been safe behind his doors, perhaps that insane man would have seriously hurt me instead of scaring me.  I know for certain it would have been nice to have someone here when I came home, perhaps he would have been with me when I encountered that man and it would have been less terrifying.

It never really occurred to me until now that while there’s so much left in the world I want to see, I can see it with someone else.  If having someone there for the bad would make it better, than wouldn’t having someone there for the good increase its enjoyment exponentially?  I think its time to upgrade my single status for good.  Being a single woman dating in New York City has actually been a lot like what happened shortly after midnight today; you evaluate your options, decide on a safe exit strategy and run like hell when necessary.  Today I escaped harm from a deranged violent man, I mean, could finding someone I want to spend the rest of my life be all that much harder?

I had a dream about that boy from my early twenties not too long ago and he told me that this year I will fall in love with the man I’ll be with for the rest of my life, he said it’s a love that’s been worth waiting for.  Everything he’s dream-predicted has been spot-on thus far, so I pressed him for the identity of my happily-ever-after.  His impish grin prompted me to tell him, “I know who you want it to be, I know it’s not him though.”  He smirked, to which I replied, “okay, now you’re just screwing with me.  It cannot be him, I would know it.  He’s also… no it’s definitely not him.  So who is it?”  I searched his face for a clue, demanding a name, which he coyly refused to supply.  He assured me that I will have a moment where there will be no questions, no doubts, I will know who it is and we’ll be happier than we ever imagined possible. Well, he’s never dream-lied to me before and it’s a lovely thought, isn’t it?  I guess that’s why in life, we humans go through so much to find love, people enter into marriage never thinking they’ll be amongst those whose marriages don’t make it.  I think without hope, we could never find love.  So here’s hoping all of us still searching find the love worth waiting for.

Love,

Lola