Are Weddings The End of Friendships?

bridesmaids

I recently saw this article “Why I Won’t Be a Bridesmaid” and loved the honest take on weddings from a non-bride perspective. Let’s face it, the wedding is all about the bride and rightly so. I love weddings, but there’s a lot I hate about them, too.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been a bridesmaid almost as many times as Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 DRESSES. I’ve had so many dresses and shoe styles and must-wear hair that finally, a few years ago, I decided I would never stand in another wedding again (unless of course it was my little brother getting married before me). There are multiple reasons I said I wouldn’t stand in another wedding again: the rules, the chaos, the Bridezillas, the selfishness of it all, the money, and of course, because I was starting to feel like I’d stood in far too many. “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” everyone loved echoing in my ear.

But a close college friend got engaged so I said yes. I couldn’t imagine not standing in her wedding and was so happy she’d asked. And then a close family member got engaged, so of course I said yes. Another friend actually didn’t ask and it was (to me) a sign she just didn’t care about our friendship anymore. Our friendship was over shortly after that.

Weddings are fun and they’re a great ritual in some ways, but this quote below strikes an all too familiar chord with me–about the fact that bridesmaids are expected to stand next to our friends as we begin to step aside and sometimes lose our friends. Things aren’t ever the same, regardless of whether our friends try to keep them that way:

I can’t be your bridesmaid because I think bridesmaids shouldn’t exist. l think it’s cruel to expect your fellow besties to invest considerable funds and time into proving we’re your friend…at the very moment you’re entering a union that, by definition, means we’re stepping aside for your new “best friend and partner.” – Faran Krentcil for ELLE

I speak from experience. Always having been the bridesmaid, it feels like some people use marriage as their cue to forget their old life and friends and forge ahead with someone new (and great) into a space where single friends aren’t as welcome. Especially single women. We aren’t a threat; we’re your friend. If your husband can only hang out with couples, might that be his issue? Or is it that you’re threatened by me, your friend? Why is it that men usually keep their friends but women sometimes abandon them?

I get that I’m the oddball and not chained down. But still, have you ever been a bridesmaid? If not, hear us out. We said yes because we love you and are happy for you. We wish you nothing but every happiness in the world. But after the wedding is over and your gifts are packed away, we will miss you. We’ll miss the nights we drank together, the trouble we got into and the laughs we had before this moment-that-changes-our-friendship. And even though we want to stand by you to celebrate the change in your life, we’re faced with the fact that things won’t ever be the same and the older we get and the more married you become (and the less married I become), the less we have in common.

I’m not advocating for the no bridesmaid law, but I am just telling you this: If you are married or “consciously coupled” and you feel the Stink Eye coming from your friend, consider that maybe it’s not jealousy or resentment but the pain of slowly losing a friend she will greatly miss.

At the heart of the “bridesmaid” concept is an inconvenient truth: If you’re getting married, you’re gaining another half…and also have less time for people who aren’t your One and Only.

 

When Dating Goes Bad

dating

Why men are confused about me, I’ll never know. I’m fairly straightforward and most people who have been around even a few months know the most basic things about me. Why men who want to change me or have a certain “type” of woman even approach me, I’ll never know. But word to the wise, take me as I am or fuck off.

Kisses.

After I posted a photo on Facebook about being on Tinder, an old friend from Texas hit me up. He was cute. An asshole, but cute. I figured, ‘What the hell? I can always just flirt.’ Flirting is fun. He was single. I was single. Fun, right?

Not necessarily.

A few days into things he talks about how he wants four kids. Four. 4. F-o-u-r. Okay, fine. He’s from Texas. I get it. They think everything has to be bigger to be better. The problem is, I don’t even know if I want children. I got a puppy and she’s adorable, but even as I’m writing this, she’s chewing up the lid to my water bottle. The one that I need for MMA class. Yesterday she destroyed a roll of toilet paper and the day before that she dug through the carpet. If a puppy is this annoying, how bad are kids? I was a nanny. I know the answer to that. (Hint: Very.)

I explained to Texas that I wasn’t sure I wanted to have kids and if I did, two would be my max. I was already starting to feel like this was the type of man who thought his ideas, dreams, hobbies, and things he wanted would trump mine. It turns out I was right.

The larger issue is that I’m a writer and as such, it’s a challenge to balance motherhood and writing. My writing comes first. I’ve heard plenty of writers who are also mothers talk about this difficulty and quite honestly, I don’t want children badly enough to sacrifice my career for it. And because I don’t already have kids, it’s easy for me to say no. At least for now. It’s important for me to say no for now anyway because I’m so busy. It’s times like these that I wish men could carry babies.

Texas said “That’s fine,” which really seemed to mean, “I’ll convince you otherwise later.” That’s not how this works. That’s not how ANY of this works.

We continued talking about kids–because that’s what any normal person would do a few days into talking, right? Turns out he was adamant about breastfeeding. As in, the lady needs to breastfeed or else. His kids WILL be breastfed and that is final!

Again, problematic for many reasons. One being, they’re my breasts. Two, it’s painful. Three, what if the child doesn’t “take” to breastfeeding? Four, again, they’re my breasts. Five, what if I don’t want to breastfeed? What if I want to work?

I was breastfed. I think there’s an amazing case for breast-is-best, but I don’t know that I will have the time to breastfeed a child if I’m say, in the middle of writing a novel. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

Should this be a deal breaker for a guy?

No, but the fact that he had such strong opinions about a woman’s body and life was a deal breaker for me.

It gets worse, though.

When I first started talking to him, I had been really adamant about not wanting to connect with men with sex first. I wanted friendship. I wanted to see if I liked the person and then see things develop from there. Friendships turned relationships are the absolute best. But there are few men who really can do that without pushing. He was no exception. He kept bringing up sex and finally I was frustrated enough to give in. Big mistake.

There was a moment in our conversation when he asked me if I would swallow his cum and I said no. It wasn’t like I said I wouldn’t kiss him, but he reacted really badly. Almost like he was throwing a tantrum. Almost like he demanded it. I told him he had been watching too much porn. He flipped out. The funny thing is, when I called him out on it, he backed off from what he said. Then I called him out on it again a few days later and he turned the tables on me. I was a hypocrite and had double standards, he said. I was an elitist who showed no empathy, according to him. When I wanted to talk about sex, it was okay, but when he didn’t, it wasn’t. He considered this a double standard.

I’m smart enough now to that any guy who demands I do something in bed, or throws a fit and attacks me when I say I won’t do something, is not going to work for me. If anything, that’s a really dangerous sign. And I’ve had at least one experience with a guy who made me realize that it’s not even worth it to continue talking to someone like that.

Beyond that, doing whatever you want in bed can be fun, but the cool part is that you (as a man or woman) get to decide what you are comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with. You get to say no whenever the hell you want and usually, the person you’re with likes you enough to just drop it. Maybe they love that. Maybe they’re disappointed, but most guys are just like “Okay.”

It gets even worse, though.

I get asked to mentor people all the time. I can’t mentor everyone. I have a small handful of close friends that I will do anything for, and another small set of writer friends who I help out when they need something. Beyond that, I work with my clients and that’s about all I have time for. My expertise is social media and branding, which is a big hot thing right now. Everyone needs social media credibility and few people know how to make it happen. Those of us who were into social media and blogging years ago have ridden the waves and survived. We’ve grown with the technology and even influenced it. Many of us are entrepreneurs in our own right.

And he wanted to be one. Usually, that’s really hot. In this case, it wasn’t, because you can’t be a great entrepreneur by riding someone else’s coat tails.

I got the vibe that he might not have been as interested in me as he was my “following” and “influence.” (Barf to those buzz words, anyway, but that’s what he called it.) I like giving people the benefit of the doubt, though, so I waited it out and decided to try to suspend my judgment for awhile. I’ve been known to make harsh judgments right away and later end up liking someone. But as time went on, he asked me to help him create a following online where he could share inspirational stuff. First, I think inspirational stuff can be done very, very well. People who do it right: Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Buddhists. But you know those looney self-help people? I don’t like that stuff. He said he’d pay me, but that bothered me even more. I was confused. Was this a professional relationship or romantic? I was offended. Anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem helping friends out, so if he had a question, I could answer it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get paid; but I didn’t want someone dating me just for what I could teach him. That’s just weird. And selfish and egotistical.

The day he told me he wanted to start a YouTube account to make money came after the day I’d posted on Facebook about all the millionaires on YouTube. Naivete makes people think that just because there’s a millionaire doing something that they could be the next. Internet millionaires earn their money, just like all the other millionaires in the world. It’s hard work, great work, talent and knowledge that make people successful. (Unless of course you’re born with a silver spoon. Then it’s your parents’ hard work/talent/etc.) It’s incredibly naive to think that you can just walk onto the scene and own it without having done anything.

People don’t just gain millions of followers by being online. Even celebrities don’t. It insults me actually, when people think creating a following online is sooo simple, and this was the impression I got from him. I got the feeling he thought because I could do it, anyone could do it, which means he didn’t value my intellect and skills. Look, I’m not saying I’m a fucking genius here but I work hard. Throw a little respect a girl’s way if you’re trying to woo her.

And don’t ask me for help creating a Twitter handle.

Leaving Los Angeles For Good

When I was a kid, the first thing I wanted to do after graduating high school was leave my small town and move to a big city. Los Angeles was the closest city to me so it seemed only natural that I would end up there. In 2009, I moved to the L.A. area and settled in for a few years, two jobs, and a college graduation later. This past December I started to really question whether I wanted to stay in L.A. or not. I loved so much of the city but the one thing I couldn’t get past were the people. It seemed so hard to meet really good people who were warm and caring. I’d met a few of them but they were so far away from me that even though we still considered ourselves living in L.A., it was an hour plus drive to see each other. I think the warm, caring types stay hidden from the rest of the city and as a result I met mostly self-centered, fake people who had a really hard time being honest about themselves and life. L.A. wasn’t where I found a good confidant. It was where I discovered the city was cutthroat and you had to hide your secrets from people who would use them against you.

Being a small-town girl, this wasn’t entirely foreign to me. I dealt with the Mean Girls of my high school and junior high while growing up. I didn’t confide in everyone. But after I moved away and joined a cult, I returned for college and reconnected with some really great friends. Friends I could tell anything to and friends who were supportive of me. When I moved to L.A., I did so to start my career as a professional writer. I didn’t realize I would miss my friends so much, but every year I was gone, the ache of not having them to talk to and share life experiences with really hurt.

I saw some of those friends this weekend and on the drive home with one of them last night, my heart felt like it wasn’t dead anymore.

hollywood

In my time in L.A., I’d forgotten just how awesome it was to have friends you can be honest with and can tell things to. Friends who see the best in you and support you no matter what. I’m crying a little just thinking about my talk last night and what it felt like to have my good friends back in my life.

It’s a great feeling.

It’s nice to know that I don’t have to worry about them using me or pushing me down to get ahead. When I have issues with falling in love with men who aren’t good for me, they don’t judge me and tell me I’m stupid. They don’t tell me to get over it. They listen and if they can’t say anything else, they say “I’m sorry, friend.”

Of course I do miss L.A. I miss the food, the weather, the beach. I miss the shopping and the mixture of city and desert landscapes. I miss the culture rich with music and film and all things artistic. But for me it just wasn’t the whole package.

A Weekend at Disneyland

disney1

Friends are the best. I spent the weekend with some friends at Disneyland and can I just say I haven’t had that much fun in awhile? Besides spending the past two years working my ass off, I didn’t really make a lot of new friends in the area. Thankfully, old friendships are always there. Here are a few pictures from the weekend celebrating my friend’s birthday with California sun, beer and lots of good memories.

disney1 disney2 disney3

Dating Advice from The Onion

best of the onion

Hat tip to my friend Keith for sending me this. I laughed way too hard.

best of the onionSome of the highlights from the article:

  • Remember to relax and have fun! Sometimes, the moment you stop worrying about finding that perfect match is the moment you’ll open your email and find an absolutely vulgar and disgusting email from a complete stranger.
  • Listing a minimum height requirement is a great way to weed out tiny men who would have treated you like a queen.
  • Put a Bible verse in your profile to show other men that you have a stifled, Puritanical sense of raw sexuality just waiting to be let out.
  • First impressions count. Before posting the photo of yourself pepper-spraying Occupy movement protesters, seriously consider if that is the image you want to project to the world.
  • Be willing to open yourself up to new experiences, like going on a series of terrible dates with men you despise.

 

 

When Dogs Are Like Toddlers

olive face

My life has been full…of puppy kisses and puppy breath. I adopted Olive, a poochon, last summer. I’m not gonna lie, the first year has been pretty rough. Without realizing it, I adopted a toddler. Puppies require way more work than I ever expected and I’m not going to lie, I have been grumpy all year.

I had to give up my sleep. I don’t think you realize how important sleeping in has been to my life. I love sleeping in. It’s been the number one reason I haven’t rushed into having kids. Sleep is beyond amazing.

After maybe three months, Olive started sleeping in bed with me and she slept all night (most of the time). Unfortunately for me, she would wake up around 5 am. Then 6, then 7, and now 8. I’ve learned to get up at 8 and then come back to bed for a few hours on weekends. Olive’s finally in a good place where I feel like I can let her chase Molly (the cat) around the house for a few hours while I sleep in.

Since I work from home now, she’s been doing amazing at being housetrained. She’s had a few accidents–some defiant ones–but otherwise she’s very well-behaved.

olive faceThe past few months were difficult for me, though. Olive being nine months old really was grating on my nerves. She was misbehaving, running away, having accidents, jumping out of her play area, chewing things up, eating cat feces, eating dead animals. I mean, the list goes on. We kind of hated each other.

Luckily, Olive had a few play dates with people who were not me and we got into a good system where I could leave her in her kennel for a few hours and get out of the house. I don’t know how mothers with toddlers do it. I needed a break and this was just a puppy. I can’t imagine what it would be like with a kid.

She’s been better about keeping herself occupied and not having to be my shadow everywhere I go. I love her new found independence and the fact that play-fighting with the cat entertains all of them. She’s a pretty good little dog and I think we’re going to get along just fine.

Now if only she could start taking four hour naps…

If you’re interested in more Olive, she’s on Instagram.

Wedding Stuff

wedding

We’ve been getting ready for a family wedding. It’s been busy around here. From spending days watching the bride-to-be try on bridal gowns to pinning wedding things on Pinterest, it’s been a lot of fun. On the last day we went with the bride to try on wedding gowns, she was intent on this other dress. It was a gorgeous dress. But there was a new gown in the window that she asked to try on that we had all been admiring. When she put it on, I teared up. I could envision her standing in the forest (the location of the wedding) wearing that dress. It was the first gown we all saw that we unanimously felt was “the one.” It’s interesting. I didn’t realize what a magical thing dress shopping could be until I cried over a dress.

Since finding the dress and bridesmaid gowns, things have kind of slowed down. We’re working on the bridal shower next and in the mean time, my mom and I are on a weight loss kick. It’s funny how this one thing kicked our butts into gear finally. Since the proposal we’ve been walking all the time and I even started running (and doing MMA more recently).wedding

Weddings can bring up so many mixed emotions. While I’m so, so happy for them, it’s also bittersweet because someone I love is growing up. A chapter in all of our lives is closing. As selfish as this sounds, we may not be the most important people in his world anymore. Relationships change after people get married, at least from my experience. Most of these mixed emotions have come and gone, but these are the big moments in life when you realize how much you love someone and how much you’ll miss things the way they were. I’ll always have the memories of times we spent together, but it just makes me miss those times even more.

My Cult Life Forum – Open Membership

Community-tree

In December I started a Master’s Commission Support Forum for former members of Master’s Commission. Since then, many others have joined the group. I’ve decided to expand the membership to include anyone who has read my blog and come from a similar background/story/experience. Membership is free, confidential and on a secret Facebook group. Members of all faiths or questioning their faith are welcome. The rest of the rules/guidelines exist here. Please read them in full before requesting to join.

To join: 

Contact me with your request and include your Facebook associated email address.

Friend request me on my Facebook profile.

I look forward to connecting with you in the group!

I Didn’t Cry

A run down of my second MMA class via Facebook status updates:

mma fb posts

mma army crawl fb post mma didn't cryThe key is-I didn’t cry. I wanted to, but I stopped myself. This actually came in handy the other night when I started my first Computer Science class. Not sure what it is about me and trying all the things that intimidate me and make me want to cry, but I seem to be on a kick of doing ALL THE HARD THINGS.

 

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