Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lessons in Love

Hi ladies! Happy Valentine's Day! With the theme of love in the air, I thought I'd take the time to give you a few pointers I've picked up over the years. I've been through a lot in my 33 years and while I'm definitely no expert on love, I have been dealt my fair share of ups and downs some of which I'd like to share with you today. I figured it's fitting for today!

A little background on me for those of you who don't know me so well... like i said, i'm 33... i had a pretty... full... dating life from the ripe young age of 16 on... no i wasn't a hoochie mama (not the whole time anyway!) but i truly believed that in order to find my soul mate i would have to date a lot of fish and throw most back in the sea to even know what kind of fish i liked! i met my first (yes first, now EX) husband when i was around 21. We didn't start dating until i was 25 and eventually got married. the beginning of our relationship was great. we were both loved to party, had a ton of friends and thought we had it all figured out. we had a HUGE wedding, got 2 dogs, and a condo that i paid for... and then our marriage which was only 11 months old fell apart. Long story short, it involved a 2nd DWI for him along with him quitting his job and trying to open up a brand new business having no experience in either business or dry cleaning (yes he opened a dry cleaners, no he is not asian). So, 11 months. a little longer than the infamous kardashian-humphries drama, but still not something i'm very proud of. however, what i am proud of is what i learned in that period of my life. Followed by a couple of years of living on my own and finding out who i was. In that time i ended up throwing a few more fish back into the sea, and then i finally met AND MARRIED the love of my life 5 months ago. 

so without further ado i present to you "Shay's Top 10 Rules for Finding your Soul Mate" with some "footnotes" of personal wisdom to go along with them.

1. Life is too short to be unhappy, so seize the moment and find your happiness.
I was in a pretty bad car accident a few years ago. My SUV was t-boned by a pick up truck that ran a red light. I didn't have time to react, think or have my life flash before my eyes. BAM! I thought I was dead. After the jaws of life got me out of the car accompanied by 6 HOT firefighters, i was lucky enough to walk away with only a few scratches. After that, i realized how fragile life is, and how we never know when it could be our time to head towards the light. At the time, every morning as i drove to work, i would be wishing i was somewhere, anywhere else on earth. I fantasized about getting in my car and just leaving my life behind. EVERY.DAY. I felt trapped in a marriage and a life that I didn't know how to get out of. And i let it control me, i let it take me, i let it depress me. And then i realized, we only get 1 shot at this thing we call life, so it was time for me to own mine, reclaim it from all the mental and verbal abuse i was allowing to happen to me, take control of what i could and if my ex wasn't willing to give up his nasty drinking habit for OUR future, then i had to give up on him. It wasn't a happy ending at the time, but the happiness came eventually.

2. Believe. In yourself, in your partner and in love. 
This has been a repeating lesson for me over the years. Its hard to get back up when you fall down sometimes, its hard to believe there is someone out there that is a truly good person when you're so scarred from someone who wasn't so great. Its hard to believe that you deserve to find love and happiness, but believe me, you deserve it unless you're a mean girl. And i think you have to start by believing in yourself and in the power of love before you can believe in anyone else.

3. Trust in God.
Now, i'm not an overly religious person... i don't pray everyday (though i probably should) i dont go to church every week (though i probably should) BUT i do trust in God to guide me. I do believe that he has a plan for me. I'm not saying that He isn't giving me free will to make my own choices, but I know in the end, with His guidance, i'll end up exactly where i'm supposed to be.  

does it LOOK like i'm getting up anytime soon? i think not. hmpf.
4. Just when you think you can't get back up, get up!
My divorce really knocked me on my a$$. And there were days that i didn't want to face the world, face my family, even face my friends. But getting up and facing the music will only make you stronger. Just keep a positive attitude, try to learn from your experiences and remember "tomorrow is a new day".

5. If at first you don't succeed, try try again.
Because, really what else are you going to do? Be the old lady that has 50 cats? (Shout out to all the cat lovers out there!)
te hee hee...

Listen, i'm not saying the dating world isn't full of creepers... i've dated a creeper or ten in my past. like the guy that was a cop and told me he had unlimited access to any drug i wanted, or the guy that told me his nipples were "dry", or the guy who's pick up line was "hey baby, you're hot as F*ck" (what does that even MEAN? yet, i dated him for 3 months #fail) BUT... i met my husband on a night i was out with my girlfriends, having a good time, not looking for anything but being open to it. and if i wasn't willing to keep trying, we might not have ended up like we did.

our wedding day!

6. There are plenty of fish in the sea, date LOTS of them.

Because otherwise, how will you know what you like? Guys come in all different shapes, sizes (get your minds out of the gutter!) personalities and morals. The only way to know what you like is to sample what's out there (and my sample, i don't necessarily mean sleep with... unless you want to of course). And maybe have a few free dinners along the way! i kid i kid! Actually, i have kept in touch with many of my ex-boyfriends over the years, most of them are good guys... they just weren't the right guy for me.

7. Your girlfriends can be your greatest allies, don't lose sight of them

Yes, you're looking for love, but PLEASE don't be the girl that drops everything for a guy. Yes, i get it, you're excited, you're in love, you're so happy you shit rainbows and unicorns... and as your girl friend, i'm totally happy for you BUT i don't want to LOSE your friendship because you've met Mr. Right. Yes our bar hopping days may dwindle, but try to keep in mind there are other things we can do together - shopping, dinners, drooling over Edward Cullen... My girl friends were my ROCK when i went thru my tough times. They understood and didn't judge and tried to give me the best advice they could. But it was because I kept the connection going that whole time... I didn't just lean on them when I was in need... ya get where i'm going here?

8. Stand up for yourself.
Maybe the single most important thing i've finally learned (with a lot of help from my therapist). At the end of the day, no one is going to stand up for you except for you. And if you let someone mistreat you, walk all over you, take advantage of you, the only one you can REALLY blame is yourself. It took me a long time to do this. But when i finally realized what i was worth, it was life changing. I'm not saying not to be nice, generous, loving. But do not stand for someone that doesn't appreciate what you bring to the table. (Wow i sound like a self-help book huh?)

9. If you think he's "just not that into you", he's probably not!

As the book says, "if he's not moving mountains to be with you..." and honestly, i think this is true. my husband pursued me from the night we met. he texted me the next day and we went out that night. he knew what he wanted and went after it especially since i had a tight hot bod back then and skipped all the game playing and 3-day rule nonsense. your guy may not take as direct an approach, but if he's into you, he'll make it known. previous to my husband, i dated someone for a year and a half who wouldn't even officially make me his girlfriend. at the end of the day, i realized i wasn't enough of a priority in his life to have that status for whatever reason, hence, he just wasn't THAT into me. i said peace out and met my husband 2 weeks later!

10. He's not perfect and neither are you.
I mean, no one is really... many of us TRY to be, but there are going to be times when he messes up and there are going to be times when you mess up. And unless its a BIG mess up, try to learn from it and forgive. And hope he'll do the same for you. Bob Marley said it perfectly...

Well there ya have it. My wisdom passed down. I'm sure there's still a lot in life i have to learn like how to dougie. But, i've finally found my happy place. And I hope you find yours too. :)

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