The Voicemail

I don’t save many things…I’m not much of a memento keeper. I like to keep things simple, clean and organized. Some of you may hang on to old letters (I miss those days!), journals, postcards, concert t-shirts…you name it…I know you’ve got a stash of something (hopefully it’s legal)…Generally, I wish I had kept a few things…but because I like to move on to what’s next…I tend to not live in the past. For me, I love the idea of packing my belongings and setting out for a new adventure… no strings attached. Chalk it up to moving around as a military kid…or the fact that I have an undeniable desire to be free.

So, I don’t keep much.

But, I do have a voicemail.

One that I listen to when I need to be reminded how easy it is to get caught up in the whole “falling in love” thing…relationships or otherwise…

Almost a year ago, I found myself in the most bizarre dating relationship (thankfully it was short-lived!). I still don’t talk about it because it’s bizarre. Only a handful of people know of my embarrassment (the entire story!) and how I was completely naïve, rose-colored glasses…the feeling that if I just jump in and go with it, it’s going to be the BESTest story EVER. I laugh at myself now…because I let myself fall for a narcissistic attorney. I swear, he was good. Really good. So good he had a reputation in his community for being Prince Charming to so many other gullible women (unbeknownst to me).

I flew across the country to spend a week with this handsome, smart Prince Charming (with an odd name that made me laugh). I saw the red flags…but, sometimes you choose to ignore them because you choose to be vulnerable for once in your life. You trust. You spend the Thanksgiving holiday with this man (and his family!) who says he loves you…wants to be with you for time and all eternity. Oh my gosh…this was freakin’ fast but…what can I say? I was swayed.

In the end, I realized he may have written the book we call, “Games Dating People Play” but I had a few plays left of my own and this girl was no longer under the spell of Prince Charming. (I swear, it’s a wonder half of Salt Lake Valley wasn’t marching behind this Pied Piper.)

So….the voice mail.

It ended with, “oh, Rachelle? I’m madly in love with you.”

That. Made. Me. Swoon.

Today?

I laugh and shake my head. I still can’t believe I allowed myself to fall for it…stupid! But, what a story…even for this girl who typically has everything under control and is always calm, cool and easy going. There’s always that possibility you’ll take a risk and jump… and fall into a pit of crazy…instead of green pastures filled with butterflies…well, you know what I mean. 🙂

This guy was the ultimate “player” and that voicemail? Keeps me in check. Not just with dating but in every aspect of my life. Pretty, shiny things are not always pretty up close.

What do you save…?

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I have a testimony.

Part of my journey has been about dating…yes. But, it’s also been more about understanding who I am, what I want and how I’m getting there. After a big, life changing event, people will say they are starting over or have been “reborn” or are on a path of self-discovery…I tend to look at it as a re-set. You see, I don’t believe in “starting over” because to me it means wiping the slate clean and beginning again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for new beginnings. But in my case, I didn’t want to wipe the slate clean after my divorce. My life events have shaped me…molded me….burned me….without these regular twists and turns, stretches and refining, I wouldn’t be me. ME.

This is ME now. I’m grateful for the challenges, the many successes and the overwhelming support from so many. The unwavering love from my parents- the relationship I have with my brother and sister- and the cheering crowd of friends and colleagues- well, it never ceases to amaze me. I’m grateful for the love of my Heavenly Father who watches over me and my children and provides blessings that are sometimes too many to count. As I write this, with tears streaming down my face, I realize that my faith in God is stronger than before which gives me hope to keep pressing forward in the sometimes crazy, upside-down, sometimes unfair, usually better than I deserve….life.

I do believe in God- in a Father in Heaven who loves us…however, I went many years thinking it was a “nice to have” and probably wasn’t so much really meant for me, as it was for everyone else. As I look back now, I realize I felt ashamed as I experienced the feelings of inadequacy, regret, guilt, the inability to “measure up” to something I knew I was supposed to be…was told I was meant to be. The more I felt broken inside (all while looking perfect on the outside) the less faith I had in myself, and in God…which meant the more I had to rely on myself…the little bit that was left. I was raised to be independent and I didn’t really need anyone…or so I thought. It was easier for me to go it alone…amidst daily interaction with family and friends. They assumed all was right with the world and so it was. I was all right. Or so it seemed.

So, on the outside, I appeared strong and smart….independent and well put together. I never broke unless it was in private- tears on my pillow or flowing in the shower (as a side note, crying in the shower is the best…no streaks on your face!)

It took quite some for me to understand that I didn’t need to journey through this life alone…how boring and lonely is that?! It’s awful actually. Even in the dating realm…having as many dates as one girl can manage…still leaves me lonely and wanting more of something that just doesn’t seem to exist…anywhere. Where is that feeling of contentment, love and solace? Well, when you disengage from relationships and rely completely on yourself, there’s no support system. If you break, that’s it. Sink into an ocean of despair…and float away, never to be seen again…(not to mention completely water logged…ewww)

I woke up this morning, feeling prompted to share my testimony. Not sure who I was going to share it with…as I’m not married…no “significant other” to call and say, “hey, let me share this with you…” and…the boys were sleeping. I haven’t really shared my testimony in quite some time…here and there, I suppose with family or friends…in small bursts of conversation. But, I felt strongly that I needed to write it down. To express my love for a Father in Heaven- thankful for all that I have…my children…my health and safety. This week has brought lots of sad, tragic news that has caused me to reflect on so much…reminding me that I don’t give thanks enough for all that I have been blessed with in this life. I know that my own determination and drive…the personality and smarts that open doors and provide me with professional success, could not be possible without these blessings…

My boys need to know this.

They need to know I love them to the moon and back…and that will never, ever change. They are my forever loves. I’m grateful for their laughter, honesty, unconditional love and support, the hand-holding, the kisses blown to me from across a parking lot, the way they call me, “Mom.” I’m eternally grateful.

There are things I still need to work on…strive for…live for. It’s become apparent this week that the some of the goals I have…well, they are stalled because I’ve been taking the long road to get there…trying new maps and new routes…which is great in some ways because I’ve learned so much about myself. Again, I’m grateful for these new challenges and experiences. However, when we stick to the “map”…following the guidance provided (did I tell you I’m terrible at following a map?)…we usually get to where we’re going a bit faster, a bit less rumpled, and a bit happier. Ok, a LOT happier.

So, with that, I leave you my testimony- that with faith in God, strength and determination and a will to serve others…well, there is no other way to feel true happiness…for happiness comes from within and is meant to be shared, like rays of sunshine… reaching out to those you can’t possibly touch…but knowing they can feel that love…that energy…that happiness… from miles and miles away.

“It’s a Rental”…Save Your Money on This One…

popcorn

I usually consider myself a good judge of character. I can get a good read on someone pretty quickly and my instinct is right, 95%  of the time.

But, I’d say that percentage has been on the decline lately. When I look back at the dating mistakes I’ve made, I realize that my gut reaction is either to question more…or just walk away. However, for some reason, I’ve been too trusting…too friendly…too nice…to walk away from what might be a weird situation, something awkward or just something completely uncomfortable.

Online dating gives you a false sense of security. I have a tendency to say, “he seems like a really great guy!” and a good friend of mine will respond with, “you have no idea who this guy is.”  She’s right. But, nonetheless, online dating profiles, emails and the endless texting and phone calls, finally followed by that initial meet up conclude that, yes….we are too comfortable with each other before we even know each other. Sure, our instincts are sharp and we can read our dates fairly well…and those first, in-real-life (IRL) moments shed all kinds of light on chemistry and relationship potential…however, we still are more likely to make excuses for our date (I’m sure he didn’t mean to say that…he must be nervous) or persuade ourselves that this date does have potential…(even though he lives with his parents or can no longer get a security clearance because he was walked off the job- yikes!)

We allow ourselves to go from 0 to 60, skipping all the “foundation” parts of the getting-to-know-you process.

I think that’s why I find myself giving up on something 3 to 4 weeks in, because there is no substance…nothing real. Nothing to invest in. Does that make sense?

I used to think that endless dating meant lots of options…a chance to kiss a lot of frogs before meeting that prince.  By dating lots of people, you’ll eventually meet Mr. Right…right now. After some reflection, I think this only leads to Dating A.D.D – causing us to go from Plan A, to Plan B, to C, D, and even E….all within a one week period. It confuses our goals…muddles our judgement…it makes us second-guess our logic and plays with our heart.

For example:

The 33 year-old guy that seems to be well-mannered and pretty amazing (knocking me off my feet with sweetness) actually turns out be a complete jerk (after he learns you won’t be his friend with benefits and texts that he would “never date a hag with 3 kids”). Thankfully I realized this before getting in too deep…but it took several weeks of allowing my judgement to take a back seat.

Or, the 44 year-old guy that falls too quickly…(then I fall too quickly)…flies me out for holiday…introduces me to family…towel dries my hair and then sits behind me to blow dry to perfection…(crazy, I know this now…I was crazy for being swayed by the romance) and then I find out this is his standard operating procedure. My gut told me from the beginning…this was not logical, not normal, not workable. But, I allowed myself to “just go with it,” thinking that this could be something totally amazing…a fairy tale? Actually, more like a psychotic man who used his religion to make him appear to be the “perfect package”… the total good guy.

Or better yet..the guy that is a completely recognizable figure in sports media…who can’t leave his home without people watching his every move….and has everything to lose…does something stupid (over and over again) by sending me graphic texts and pictures of himself all while telling me “I’ve never done this before.”

I have other examples….but you get the idea…

Determining next steps is the hard part. I don’t want these experiences to contribute to a pessimistic, jaded single life. Some people call them, “pretty girl problems.” I simply call it: STUPIDITY

I try to use my best judgement. I try to be open to new ideas and situations…live in the moment and embrace spontaneity.

But, I’m really questioning the best way to handle the dating scene…because, let me tell you…it really does create quite the scene. The fault lies with me…I usually notice within the opening credits of the first act (that I should be walking away)…but I allow myself to stay with the story line, thinking things will improve and thus, proving me wrong (instinct?!) as the minutes, hours, days click by….

I consider it a winner if I duck out before the credits roll….and sometimes, I’m still sitting in the dark waiting to see if there are any extra scenes at the very, very end that would make it all worthwhile. But even the gigantic, refillable popcorn bucket doesn’t do the trick.

My radar is out of whack. I need to be re-calibrated.

Save your money on this one…it’s a rental….

 

photo credit

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Said I was Ugly

You sent me a message on Match about 2 months ago…said you were interested and asked if we could meet. Shortly after sending the first email, you realized that my profile didn’t include every race possible of those I was willing to date. You thought it was important to send a second email and chastise me about not being willing to accept all cultures, races, and ethnic groups. You said that made me an ugly person and you could never date me and how terrible I must be (much less ask me if this were true)… You made assumptions about my character, my personality and questioned my humanity.

Lucky for you, I don’t know you. I don’t care what you think.

However, you must have a terrible memory of how much I scarred you with my racist behavior.  While searching through countless faces of available women, I seem to have caught your eye once again (Heaven help me get off this site!). Now you’ve sent a third email, telling me how beautiful I am….hoping to spark my interest…

I’ll just make an assumption of my own…you have no idea what you want, where to find it, or how to get it. Bu,t because I’m sweet, I’ll give you one piece of advice: you can turn around now…because you an’t gettin’ anything here.

Sincerely,

Me

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3 dates in 30 hours

There are weeks I’m totally happy to be on my own…no dates. Hide the Match profile and hit the late-night movie in my pj’s (yes, I go in my flannel…no slippers). Or plan several happy hours with the girls…or….catch up on hours and hours of Scandal.

Throw in a few Latin Fusion workouts at the gym and I’m happy.

But, there’s something to be said about learning to be happy, by yourself. No trying to fill the gaps with dating A.D.D.(totally guilty) and endless nights out at the local “meat market.” 

However, there are times when you really need a great distraction…like the Christmas holiday without the kids,friends, or even family to celebrate with…so you meet up with a guy you swiped right on Tinder, who promises to cook you the best Christmas dinner ever (Goose, in fact….I was impressed!) Or, your ex is getting remarried and the kids are off on plane to the wedding…and all you can do is hope they’re having fun, enjoying the time with family and adjusting well to an additional set of grandparents, step-mom, and just a new family….a new chapter.

I try never to say no to new things and I’m open to being spontaneous….so the weekend that I needed a distraction from a life changing event, I say yes…to 3 dates with 3 different guys in less than 30 hours. 

It was the best weekend in a long time…and what made it great? These guys wanted to make sure I was busy, occupied, and having fun. They were looking out for me…genuinely care for me… and are always in my corner…

Thank you…Dating in DC doesn’t always have to = awkward

#LuckyGirl #Grateful

It’s Magic

Magic.

It can be pretty interesting, right?

I mean, if you’ve got David Copperfield running the show and you’re the only audience member? Even better.

Or, if it’s just some random teenager performing juvenile tricks with dental floss and balloons? NO. (think professional conference doesn’t check references and magician is really perfect for 5 year-old birthday party and not a group of middle-aged consultants. Oh my gosh..I just referred to myself as, gasp…middle-aged?)

But, what about on a date?

That was the theme this week….magic tricks. The first time, was quite interesting. I was blown away by the tricks…the ease and wow behind something so simple…yet, I had no idea how it was done. But he had me. (well, the magic had me). Tricks with sugar packets, lip gloss and a $5 bill (all separate tricks). Now, I can’t go into details because I don’t know the secrets behind every trick…although I did convince the magician to share at least one with me. Maybe I’ll try it out..but alas, I didn’t take notes and I’m horrible at trying to remember such coordinated things.

Here’s my absolute favorite.

ring photo

A ring made out of money! Super fancy and wayyy cool. I was impressed. Never had a ring made out of money before. I tried it on for size, exclaimed how amazing it was and tried to give it back…I mean, it’s money. He insisted I keep it…and keep it in the ring shape..of course!

So the magic tricks that particular night, were pretty awesome. It was different. Fun. He had my attention.

The other dates….not so much. Magic tricks involved sugar packets…and yes, there was strategy behind it. Logic. Negotiation. Persuasion…however, not enough for me to “oooh and awe” over it. (maybe the sugar packets were played out by that point?)

This guy lost to the other guy…the $5 bill guy. I mean, who can beat that? Unless you’re sawing me in half or something…then again, I won’t trust a “blind match date” with a saw…within 50 feet of me.

So, I say, use magic. It’s fun…easy….and pretty cool if you do it just right.

Your Tuesday Hotness Rating

If you’re looking for yet, another online dating site, you may have stumbled across DateMySchool.com. It’s another online dating service tailored to those in college or alumni – restricted to those with an .edu email address. You can search by age and location/proximity to you. The site was first pushed to NYU, University of California, Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard and MIT. Then it expanded to 350 schools…and then totaled about 1,000. It’s free, appears to be easy to use…and sort of reminds me of a “college Facebook.”

I’m not impressed. Maybe it’s because I’m almost 38 and not in college. Or, maybe it’s because each day, for the past 5 days, I’ve been getting this email:

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I guess I checked out the “Date My School” site many, many months ago….and haven’t checked it out since. Maybe it’s been 8 months or so? Now, I get this silly, “look how hot you are” email…comparing me to the rest of the world. Really? This is so completely crazy. It reminds me of high school days when we were trying to be the best looking, the best dressed, the smartest…

We’re out of high school. In fact, most of us are out of college…and in our 30’s and 40’s. I just don’t get it.

You seriously think I care about this rating? Does it make my day? No. And you’re sending me one EVERY day. Stop.

I can’t imagine what everyone else must think. What about those that are struggling with confidence and self-esteem issues? What a great way to wake up and be reminded about how hot you are…or not.

Dating is superficial, yes. I’m not trying to sugar coat anything. But, does this hotness rating really do it for you?

Let me know what you think…and if you’ve tried it.

…Now how do I delete my profile….

 

This is What You Get….

I’ve wondered why some of my girlfriends are a bit wary to try online dating….

I share the fun and the weird with them…the stories, the pictures, the adventures. Explaining that it’s worth a shot. Just try it…

And then I came across some very bizarre, kinky #CRAZY pics and I’m reminded why some might find this world a bit…well…sketchy….

 

 

 

bizarre

Is Online Dating for You?

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Last night, I was solo at one of the biggest “meat markets” in town. My fabulous friend and partner-in-crime canceled last minute, but I thought, I’m going anyway.

Blonde girl. Alone. Meat market. Sounds inspiring, right?

Luckily for me, it’s also the best “neighborhood”  spot for meeting people, outside of DC and Arlington. I know this spot well and it’s comfortable because i’m on great terms with the staff. So, it’s my go-to for first dates and fun with the girls. It’s also a great place to watch others experiencing their own first date…

As soon as I walk in, heads turn..you know that look…the one where the guys are wondering, ‘is that my date?” And the girls are thinking, “when is Match.com guy showing up?” After the Lionel Richie, “is it me you’re looking for?” glances, I say hello (hugs all around) to my favorite bartender and begin chit-chatting with the girls seated next to me. Before I know it, we’re talking online dating…the misconceptions, the difficulties and their lack of desire to continue the process…so they share with me their experiences. More and more people gravitate into our conversation and before I know it, I’m hearing that not one person has had success with online dating.

Average time spent online?

One week. 

Preference for meeting people?

Organically…anywhere but online.

Ok to meet someone in a bar? 

Totally 

Average age of those I spoke with?

late 20’s to mid 30’s.

Not one person said they liked it or would do it again. 

Half of those I spoke to said they were in a relationship.

They did NOT meet online. 

I found this very curious. 6 months ago, I was in the same place, solo…and the resounding answer was YES. Online dating works for them and most everyone was on Match.com. (I’ll add that 6 months ago, the age demographic that night was higher…late 30’s to mid 40)

Last night, no one was online and had no desire to be.

The pitfalls of online dating vary from person to person. But the consistent response? Let’s see what cute guy, Ted had to say…(he’s single and 27)

http://youtu.be/yO_W9MXXcuY

The stigma of online dating is way better than it was a few years ago, when people were reluctant to try it and once they did, would never dream of saying, “I met her online.” It was too embarrassing.

Today, it’s much more accepted and considered normal. However, people are still concerned with privacy, weirdos and just the ability to keep up with it all.

If you’ve never tried online dating before and are completely afraid of jumping in. I say try the Tinder app first. It’s free and easy…and most of all, it’s anonymous. Start out slow and ease your way into it. Don’t avoid online dating altogether,especially if you’re one of those super busy peeps and find it hard to meet people in an everyday setting.

Now get out there and date…go mobile.

photo credit

OKCupid Holding Back on You?

OkCupid….

Have you heard of it? Their tag line is “the best free dating site on Earth.”

Because this site is primarily free (unless you want to upgrade options), easy to use and is mobile…once again…you can find anything you’re looking for. If it’s casual dating to long-term…or even a Christian Grey type…it’s there. Profile pics range from:

  • men in sunglasses (Dislike!)
  • Regular people doing regular things (Like!)
  • shirtless torsos (Dislike!)
  • bodies without heads (think “I don’t want you to see my face because I’m a secret agent…or secretly dating while committed to someone else) (Triple Dislike!!!)
  • even someone wearing a mask….(Dislike by freaking me out!)

 

I’ve used it periodically…and have a tendency to “hide” my profile because it gets too dang crazy…the constant emails can make a normal person’s head spin. But, it’s hard to meet people, organically…”hey cutie in Produce section at Wholefoods…let me hold your bag of apples while you take down my number…” (I’m thinking that’s not going to work so well).

Here’s my question though. When you sign up for something, you expect to get what you THINK you’re getting. Access to everyone that you may match with…right? WRONG. Check out this email I received….

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Hmmm, I sort of feel like I’ve been missing out. On what? I’m not entirely sure. However, I feel like I was intentionally “held back” until I reached a certain status and then, poof! I’m now in the elite of cupids and arrows… floating around like some goddess…(that’s tripping over some very odd members). Is this fair? To be kept in the dark of interweb dating until you’ve proven you can hang with the best?

I don’t think it’s fair. Not one bit.