Stop Playing Nice

Good morning, dear Reader! The weather is such a tease here this week. A little thunder, a little lightning. A few gusts of wind. And yet…nothing. So anti-climatic. Sigh.

Nonetheless, it’s just cool enough to want to lie here in bed and write all day instead of getting up and getting dressed. Yesterday was just as bad, and admittedly…it was a ‘dry shampoo’ kind of day. For reference, I hardly ever do dry shampoo. It’s not my jam. But getting up after a week of vacation was also not my jam. And yet…here we are.

The vacation was lovely and much needed. Thanks for asking. I’m sure there’s a post or two in my brain – especially since I had an incredible spiritual reading while there – but that juicy bit of info will have to wait until later. March is coming to a close, and I promised you a post on HOW to let go of a toxic relationship. We covered the ‘why’ part here – and throughout the fall of last year. So…(I am the Queen of the Ellipsis, am I not?)

Grab a drink. Settle in. This will be short and sweet. (Like this whiskey I drank all last week.)

I wish I could say that leaving a toxic relationship was as easy as saying, “Go fuck yourself,” (Hello, Boston! I miss you!) but it isn’t. At least, it hasn’t been for me. I wager that if it were that easy, the relationship didn’t have time to get too terribly toxic, but then again, I’ve always had a high tolerance for bad behavior. The keyword there was ‘had’ – as in past tense.

But let’s get to the list, shall we?

1) Don’t ignore a gut feeling. When you know, you know. Stop second-guessing yourself. There’s a big difference between someone having a bad day and being a toxic asshat. During COVID lockdown, I know some of my friends were complete assholes. That’s not the same. Stress is one thing. Personality is quite different. Funny story: I recently had someone reach out to me about one of my exes. She asked me if she should ignore what she was feeling about a few things. Not wanting to sound like the bitter ex-girlfriend, I spared her the details of that relationship and simply replied “Good feels good. Bad feels bad. If you think it’s a red flag, I say trust your gut.” Then I blocked them both. I don’t need that kind of drama.

2) Don’t let your past cloud your judgment. Listen…anyone can keep their shit together long enough to take a selfie. In other words…sure, it was good in the beginning. It always is. That was then, this is now. And if you need more coaxing, read number 1 again. Now, I give everyone the 90 day probation period because Day 91 is, sure enough, when bad behavior will start to surface. By then you’ve seen them lose their shit at least once and you know how they react to stress. Like I said, I used to tolerate all kinds of nonsense well into anniversaries one, two, and three. Nope. Not anymore.

3) Don’t place unnecessary blame on yourself. Here’s the thing, Lovely…take responsibility for what is yours, but don’t carry around someone else’s garbage. Please repeat after me: I made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time. Toxic people are great at pointing their fingers at you, and if you’ve been under their influence long enough, you might even believe their narrative. I promise you, if you’ve let them get away with it for too long, that table will never turn. So, forget about turning that table, babe. Flip that fucker.

4) Remove yourself from the relationship. As someone who struggles with the ‘no contact’ philosophy, I get it. It’s hard. I, too, just wish everyone could simply get along. But honey child…you have to do it. Block those people and stop your creeping. As soon as my tenure with the volunteer organization I chair is up, I’m entirely off Facebook for good. People cannot ruin what they don’t know about, so be selective about who you trust with your deets. Feel me, dawg? You may have unfriended and untagged, but that shit is still around, and flying monkeys will not hesitate to give up your information. Don’t feed the monkeys…or the snakes. (While you’re at it, stop petting the elephants and donkeys, too.)

I know this is short, but I don’t know how else to put it. Toxic relationships will do a crap ton of damage. I’m all for couples counseling and working shit out…but come on now…what are the odds of that happening? Right. Babe, you’d do better playing the horses in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

I’m digging up an oldie here, kids, because this song seems fitting for today’s theme. Essentially, as I learned in Salem, sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself, not anyone else. It came across on a random playlist while I was sitting in DFW waiting for my delayed flight. It set me back a bit because I understand how alluring the pull and push of a toxic relationship can be. AND loving a person with mental health issues is hard. It really, really is. But sometimes the truth is: In toxic relationships you just have to realize that, no, we can’t just play nice. And sometimes you have to decide that you come first and you need to close that door.

Did you hear me?

You come first.

FFS, repeat this over and over until you believe it:

I. Come. First.

You might stumble as you leave, but you’ll regain your footing. I promise.

Stop Going To The Circus

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I hope my shouting didn’t affect that hangover of yours. If it did, well, you must have enjoyed the evening, and that’s all that matters. Me? I don’t deal with amateurs and value my life, so I cuddled up on the couch with John Cusack (“Serendipity”) and good wine. I expanded my mixology knowledge a bit by experimenting with expensive whiskey. I learned how to make a damn good Old Fashioned (Hint: Simple syrup and good bourbon. Do. Not. I repeat: Do not skimp.).

I also found a way to make “handcrafted” Amaretto, which I intend to make a dessert out of this weekend. But, alas, you don’t come here for cooking advice and drink recipes – although my mixed drinks are pretty damn good at times – so let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

The new year is here. The slate is clean if you want it to be. This is the time of year when folks decide to make resolutions and set goals, only to break or discard them a few months down the road. So, if that’s the way it always goes, how about we turn the tradition upside down for a change. Yes, instead of ADDING to our life (more gym time, more activities, more stuff), why don’t we SUBTRACT from it? I ended 2021 with this post and encouraged you to do just that, right?

So, what shall we get rid of, you say. Well, I’m sure you aren’t surprised that I happen to have some advice for you on that. So, grab a drink. Settle in. I have one main point today to get you started.

Got that drink? Great.

Put a cease and desist order on any toxic relationships. Toxic people are really nothing more than insecure, self-loathing individuals. And here’s a shocker for you: Every single one of us has the potential to be toxic. Our odds double if we are in a relationship with another toxic person. Newsflash: you can’t control the other person’s unhealthy behaviors, but you damn sure can control yours. So, let’s get to it, shall we?

1) Admit that you might be part of the problem. Oooo. Ouch. But, as ‘they’ say: The first part of solving a problem is admitting there is one. Even if you grew up in a loving home, never do drugs, get adequate rest and eat your veggies, everyone can be toxic at times. How do you know if you’re toxic? People will finally get sick of you, put on their shoes, and walk out the door. Simple as that.

2) Learn to like yourself. Yeah, let’s not even fast-forward to ‘love yourself’. Let’s take baby steps, and begin with simply liking yourself. Get some therapy – no, really, get in treatment – to get you over yourself. ‘Tis the season (as it gets colder and darker) to get a grip on this stuff. Waiting until April, when it is warmer and there is more daylight, to be a nice person again is unacceptable.

3) Let go of your resentments. Hey, I’m a Virgo, so I fully understand that this is no easy task. Virgos can hold grudges like no other sun sign, and we can even dream of ways to hide bodies if we are furious. I was so resentful for so long that I missed out on dating a great man a few years ago. He told me on our first – and only – date that “Maybe you should get over being so angry at your ex before you date anyone”. Hmmm. Ya think? Don’t tell him this, but he was right. What happened after that date? I kept dating other people with issues that compounded my own until I couldn’t do it anymore. One day I realized that being resentful was affecting most areas of my life. So, I got up, dusted off, and moved on. Best advice I ever got? Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown. Ask yourself why you keep going to the circus. Dang, that was good. (Oh, and that first date guy? After stalking my blog, he realized I’m fun now and finally asked me out again four years later. And bonus: He even likes expensive whiskey. Insert “Yay” gif of your choice.)


4) Act like a plant. Get more sunlight, drink enough water, talk nicely to yourself and you will grow. I’m not much of a gardener. I wrote about my black thumb here, but funny thing…the better I got at loving myself, the better off my plants have faired. Vow to save a life today – namely, yours – but also that sad-looking vine-thing you call a decoration.

5) Find some hobbies and volunteer to help others. The best advice my therapist gave me was to find three hobbies that would help me from being so self-centered: One to stoke my creative fire, one that got me moving, and one that made me money. She encouraged me to volunteer with children, so I stepped up more at my son’s school. If you help others and see that you are making a difference, you’ll feel better. It’s really hard to feel sorry for yourself when you see a child who has duct-taped his shoes together. Your so-called sorry-assed life is put into perspective really, really quickly.

6) Read a minimum of ten pages from a motivational book every day. You might read the Bible, but I encourage you to expand your reach. I personally love “The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F***”, but you do you (Not ready to read? Watch her TedTalk). Other great books to get your started are listed here. (Not a single Brene Brown book on the list. You’re welcome.)

The bottom line is that you need to recognize when you have headed down the slippery toxic slope. Here’s a great article that may help you figure out the problem. Here’s another one that may help you realize if, indeed, your relationship is toxic.

Sticking with my tradition from 2021, I leave you with a song today. If you click that link and you really do feel unwell, even though I make light of a lot of things in this blog, mental unwellness is not one of them. Please believe me when I tell you I understand depression, anxiety, and all those things bring to the table. So, I urge you to reach out and get some help. There’s power in doing that and you will get through this. {Chin up, tits out.} Claim 2022 as the year you stop going to the circus.

If you have any ideas for blogs in 2022, let me know. I’m putting together one that tells you how I raised my credit score from 480 (Do. Not. Judge. Me.) to 720 in a little under 24 months. It was all very empowering, and I never did have to give up wine or cut out Netflix in the process. Hint: It’s not magic. It’s a puzzle. You like puzzles, right? Good. Stay tuned.