Ageism. You hate it, right? I hate it myself!

Look at this picture

What do you see? Wait. What would you see before anyone tells you who they are or anything about their story? I see more than most, because I know the woman in this photo. Not personally, but she has been my idol since I was about age 10. (Well, I did find out that I am her 9th cousin a few years ago, but I’m not here to brag). 😉

To you youngsters, this is Madonna. She is a trailblazer. She is a business woman, she is a singer and a dancer and an absolute force of nature. She has been all of these things and more for over 30 years. She singlehandedly paved the way for young female artists today, opening the doors for their self-expression, taking risks in their performances, and empowering them in their sexuality and artistic openness.

Not a lot of young people know this. And if you do, you need to care more. Madonna matters. Not just in the entertainment industry, but for everything she has done and stood for outside of her career. She’s always mattered and she always will.

I remember seeing her for the first time on a Canadian video show (we didn’t have cable yet). The song was “Borderline” and I was 11 years old. I can’t eloquently put into words how I felt when I saw her, but it was intense for sure. Her attitude, her beauty, her style, inspired me at my young age. I wanted to be just like her. Fast forward to now, I’m 46 and still am inspired by her. Her past self and her present self both spark life into me. Her past reminding me of who she helped me become, and her present self because she can help me ease into my future with pride and confidence.

Ok. Back to this photo. To those of you who don’t know her, would you know how old she is? Would you know her rich past, everything she has done, all of the barriers she tore away to be who she was? Would you know that she has fought fiercely for and been consistently loyal to the LGBTQ community since she began her career?

Probably not.

This woman is viewed as an icon and a beacon of hope to so many people, and yet dismissed by so many others….she is dismissed for one reason only, and that is her age. She is 60 years old. Would you know that from this photo? Probably not. And when they find that out, well, what 60 year old woman can you name off the top of your head that looks and acts like her? No one. The 60 year old women you visualize are probably grandmas for God’s sake. And they all act a certain way. Not like that. They are grandma’s and they wear their hair in buns and wear cardigans and slacks. Not this 60 year old. She wears fishnets and stilettos. She’s not your grandma.

Madonna is an icon. You can’t deny that. But she is too old to be cool. Too old to be relevant. Too old to be sexy. To old to be promoted, and it’s bullshit.

If Prince (God rest his soul) showed up at age 57, and did his thing, he’d be hot, right? Damn. He’s talented AND hot. And 57. He doesn’t look 57, so that’s cool. He has charisma. And he’s SEXY. Men have the privilege to be seen this way. Aging makes them “distinguished.” It’s acceptable for men to be hot and talented and sexy at 57 years old. Not really fair.

My fellow humans. This is happening everyday to countless women. In any profession. We get older like everyone else, yet we are expected to maintain our looks. (Heaven forbid we get any kind of medical help for that), maintain our quick capacity to learn when we are training for a new job or just learning something new, and we don’t seem to have anyone rooting for us. This desperately needs to change, but it won’t without a serious shift in our thinking.

Off topic a little bit, I started watching “The Golden Girls” when I was around 10 (the same age I found Madonna) and I never once saw them as “old.” They were simply women. They weren’t even “different” to me. I thought Blanche was the coolest lady. I wanted Dorothy’s haircut. I think their fashion sense even inspired me for a while.

I was raised this way, though. Not that my parents sat me down and told me that people are worthy at any age. It wasn’t formal like that. I just learned from their example and never heard them once mention anything about anyone or themselves being “old.”

Anyway, now that I’m “older,” this has become a very important issue to me, and I need to be more vocal about it and more proactive. People need to be educated. It has been brought to my attention and affected me on a personal level in the past 2 years or so, when I have been beginning a new career. People don’t expect much from me and they expect me to make mistakes. My past experience in my chosen field which is quite extensive, doesn’t matter. It takes me longer to retain information and not get flustered while doing something new. I make fun of myself, I say “Oh my god I’m SO sorry” when I get something wrong or forget something. By doing this, I am contributing to these beliefs that being older makes you incompetent, and I’m going to stop that. It’s not fair to me or any other women out there trying to fight their way through the tech-savvy, ultra-ambitious energetic 20 somethings.

If change needs to start with me, then it starts here. 💪🏼💋

Women for women: the new feminism 

Someone just told me their colleague was fired, out of the blue. This insider knew that it was something of a “witch hunt.” This person was a woman. Why? Because she knew her stuff. She was capable. She had skills that her superiors didn’t, and her superiors were women.

 Well how about that.

This happens more often than not. We are all about feminism. Equality in the workplace. Being paid the same as men for the same work. Being treated with respect regardless of gender. But shouldn’t it be more than that? 

What about women working with women. The discrimination is the same. We work so hard to fight for equality with men, but do we realize what we do to each other? If you put a bunch of women together in the workplace, it’s likely there will be problems. The older employees are threatened by the younger ones and vice versa, and gossip starts, and before you know it, everyone is against each other. Nothing is equal. No one wants to help each other, no one wants anyone to grow. It’s all about keeping everyone down. Some have skills that others don’t, and instead of sharing knowledge, these skills are used as leverage to get ahead. This happens in the workplace daily, with no men involved. Women fighting women, with so much in common, but refusing to acknowledge it. We are competing everyday. 

Feminism has become a buzz word now, that people can twist into whatever they want the meaning to be. Showing your body, “freeing the nipple,” and such. That’s fine, but since the original meaning is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economical equality to men,” I think it should apply to women relating to women as well. We fight against men for equality, but what we don’t realize is, we fight against each other too. Women are threatened by other women. We all have different strengths, and that’s intimidating. More often than not, instead of lifting each other up, we will tear each other apart. This is often ignored and avoided, mostly because no one realizes it’s happening. It’s so ingrained in our culture, it’s “normal.”

Well, I think it sucks, and if it’s acceptable to change feminism, I’m changing it to women supporting other women. When we are all facing adversity, we should try to find comfort in each other. I’ll admit it’s quite a long shot, but what the hell. I’m putting it out there. 

When you’re always “the bad guy”

Throughout my life, I’ve always been “the bad guy.” People on the outside looking in have always seen my choices as wrong. Ok, maybe some of them were, but still. They were choices made in MY life. How do these affect them? They don’t. But still, I’m always the bad guy. 

I’ve heard it over and over. “You should do this” or “Poor so-and-so,” in regard to my personal relationships that are open and honest and consensual. I get dirty looks from people who have no place in my life, but of course, they feel the need to judge. 

All the time, we say Judegemental people are the worst. And when it comes to our own lives, yes they are. However, it’s human nature to judge. I do it, but I check myself quickly. I admit I judge the most when someone’s choices affect my life in some way. If they don’t, then I allow myself my opinion, but I’d never try to make someone feel like shit about their life. Basically, if you want my advice, I’ll give it. If not, keep doing what you’re doing. 

I went for a reading recently with my friend and spiritual mentor, Michele Nappi about this very subject. She said, “People judge you for your choices because they apply those choices to their own lives. They wouldn’t make them for themselves, so of course they’re wrong in their eyes.” I paraphrased a bit there, but her wise words made sense to me, and she’s right. I always think of this when I’m the bad guy. 

Of course there’s a big part of me that wants to call people out, or have someone that loves me come to my defense, however that never happens. I’m sure this must be happening to teach me something, but I haven’t figured that out yet. 

I’d like to be the good guy for once, but my life is so unconventional, I doubt that will happen. All I can do is repeat Michele’s words to myself over and over again. People will judge. People will treat me like I’m not worthy of compassion. For what? My life? Please. 

If you’re the bad guy, her words might help you too. She’s right. The hard part is, knowing it yourself and letting them be. 

It’s my journey. You can come if you want

So, it’s April 11th and Spring is nowhere in sight. Winters in Vermont are long, and they’re getting longer. This year, I’ve realized that seven months of cold isn’t working for me. The older I get, the harder it is to deal with. 

So, is it time for a change? I think it is.

I’ll be 42 next month. And I still feel 16 inside most of the time. It confuses me, and it also makes me question my life choices. I haven’t made great ones. Every decision I’ve made has revolved around someone else. A man, or a guy, mostly. (I think the title of “Man” has to be earned). For as long as I can remember, I’ve never made decisions that made ME a priority. 

I graduated high school in June of 1991. I got married that August. I was a child emotionally. I had no business getting married, but I couldn’t make it on my own. I had no idea what being a wife meant. Being part of a married couple. Or marriage in general. All my life, I had decisions made for me. “No, Jodie, that’s not meant for you.” “Ugh, whatever,” I’d say. But not this time. No one said this to me. I wish someone had. All I wanted was to get out of my parent’s house and be on my own. I had no idea I could’ve possibly done it by myself. It ended up being a three-year disaster, and I was divorced by 21. 

And then, there was another guy. Even though I thought so at the time, he didn’t deserve to be called a man. My life was on his schedule. He would dictate where I lived, what I would do. When I mustered up enough courage to tell him I wasn’t ok with this, his response was, “So I should decide to go where YOU want to?” He said this with a laugh like it was completely ridiculous that I should even question such a thing. I shut up. He had a way of making me believe that, and I did. After all, I should be grateful he was taking me with him, wherever that may be. It ended up being New York City, until I couldn’t take him anymore. Thankfully, at age 23, I could move back in with my parents for a while and not feel like a complete failure.  But still, I wasted three years of my beautiful youth on this douche. 

Blah blah blah, fast forward years and years, and I’m at a turning point. After being at the mercy of others, shouldn’t I be the one to decide my future? What is wrong with that, exactly? 

From the age of eighteen until now, I’ve allowed people to decide what is right for me. Will they still love me if I do this? Will they leave me if I do that? The worries are always the same, and so is the outcome. Everyone else wins, and I lose. I go along with them, and they live their lives, and I am just a passenger on their journey. It’s not mine. I want it to be, but it’s not. Eventually, my stop comes, and I’m right where I left off, with the emotional baggage I packed at the beginning, and a hell of a lot more. And there they go. Continuing their lives without skipping a beat, and I’m left wondering what in the hell just happened. 

Now, I’m not blaming anyone for this life I’ve lived. I’m responsible for every choice I’ve made, and even though I still feel angry about how I’ve been treated, it does me no good. I still beat myself up, though.

How did I allow myself to get here?

I’ve decided that I’d like to change things, even though it’s hard. To make decisions for myself, even if that means I end up making them alone. I mean, I know what it’s like having my life revolve around someone else, and it’s not working. 

I’m going to move away. Someplace warm. Not to escape from anything, but simply for survival. I deserve to be happy 12 months a year instead of 3 or 4. This time, I’m not moving with anyone. No one can come with me, and as terrified as I am that I’ll be forgotten, I can’t let that stop me. I just can’t. Lives will go on without me, but my life will go on too. And this new life might be just what I needed. Maybe moving forward alone won’t be so bad. 

This time around, this is MY journey, and I’m not just someone’s passenger. I’m I control of where I go and what I do, and if my relationships are strong and real, they will be able to handle the distance between us. After all, if I’m truly happy, I’ll be better at these relationships anyway. They might actually thrive. It’s almost exciting to imagine. 

My time is now. I’m working on my own happiness. And wherever I end up, I’ll make sure to have a guest room. Come visit me ☺️

Honesty

I haven’t written in a while, mostly because I’ve been reading so many blog posts. So many people have so much to say. And I’m just another one. So much to say, with such a small audience. I prefer that, actually. Yet, I haven’t wanted to write anything. Until today. 

If you know me, you know I’m on Facebook a lot. Mostly out of habit, and it’s a bit of an addiction. I love to see what people have to say. I haven’t posted much lately, but I’ve been seeing what others post, and I can’t help but notice when I see insecurity. It’s not a bad thing, just an observation, yet still frustrating. 

I know when people are feeling insecure. When they post things like, “Describe me in one word.” I can see through that. They might as well say, “I’m feeling insecure. Validate me.” To me, it’s so painfully obvious that I’m almost embarrassed for them, but not everyone feels that way. And not everyone sees it. 

People post photos of themselves posing beautifully with captions like, “Working for the day,” and it makes no sense. I mean, just post the picture of yourself. If you want to, just do it. I do. No caption is needed. If you caption it with something stupid, the whole thing looks stupid. Better yet, if the pic is great, make it your profile picture. 

Everyone gets insecure. I do for sure. And I usually don’t post it. But if I did, it wouldn’t be in the form of, “Describe me in one word.” I’d feel terribly transparent. I used to do things like this years ago, and I regret it now. It’s a false sense of validation and not at all real. Now, Facebook is for sharing articles, cute animals, and funny things that happen to me. If I need to work on myself, I’ll do that on my own. 

So, to my friends struggling with insecurity at the moment: You don’t need someone to describe you in one word. You’re more than one word. And you know this deep down. Most likely people will say, “beautiful!” Or “Loving!” Do they really mean what they say? You’ll never know. As cliche as it sounds, it’s how you feel about yourself that counts. You won’t get that from Facebook or Instagram. 

Sometimes traveling deeply within can get you lost

It’s winter. I truly dislike this time of year. I live in Vermont, and winter pretty much starts in October, and ends in April. If it weren’t for a job, relationships, and lack of money, I would have moved south long ago.

I dread it. The shorter days, the subzero temperatures, the isolation. I tend to feel all alone in life anyway, but when winter comes, it’s even worse. And every year, I vow to make this season better for myself. I read books from authors I admire, I read articles on spirituality related websites. The advice is always the same: Winter is a time to go within, to find yourself and look for answers, and awaken in the spring. Well, I’ve done that. I do this in the summer for God’s sake. I’m always traveling within. Always looking for answers. I think I’ve gone within too far, and I may have gotten lost.

Going within yourself is a good thing, really. I’ve done this and I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve visited the mistakes from my past, and I’ve found why I made them and why I continued to for years. I’ve examined my insecurities and why they’re there. I’ve also learned to take responsibility for my own crap, and that blaming others doesn’t work, and working on myself does. These are all the things I’ve learned while searching for those answers within me. Great. Good for me. But there’s a time when I should stop.

Too much isolation can sometimes bring on too much thinking, which is what happens to me. Instead of thinking about the things I’m doing right, I’m thinking about the things I’m doing wrong. Everything is my fault. I create stories in my mind. I don’t hold anyone responsible for their actions. Just me. This is what happens when I go within a little to far. It’s easy to do. Not just for me, but for countless others who want to better themselves and change for the better. We think. And think, and think some more, and it’s exhausting.

So, recently after some intense thinking that left me tired and unable to do anything else, it hit me that this may be too much of a good thing for me, and people like me. Trying to examine your life and make yourself better is good, but over examination is not. We tend to take the good things we’ve learned and twist them. Overthink them into something they’re not, which leads to more thought. More examining. More critique from our inner voice. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I forget the lessons I’ve learned, and I’m no longer proud of them. Instead, I’m analyzing myself even more, and finding more issues, and, well, you get the picture. Overthinking can be torture, and that is what I do.

So, as difficult as it is, we probably deserve a break from this. We need a vacation from our minds. Maybe instead of winter being a time to go within, it could use a few breaks of distraction. And a reality check too. This is something for everyone to remember, and to remind yourself daily. I’m going to do my best to do this:
I am not the stories my mind creates for me. I am not a victim of my past. I have learned from my mistakes, learned why I made them, and I forgive myself. I take responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings and actions, and I hold people accountable for their treatment of me. Just because I own my own issues, doesn’t mean that everything is my fault, and I can be disrespected. I deserve love and kindness and respect, from myself, but also from others. My expectations of others are no higher than I place on myself. I’m a person that appreciates the lessons, and is self-aware enough to not take my past experiences or my insecurities out on anyone. Since these are rare qualities, I choose to believe that I’m rather a good friend and partner. I’ve worked hard for this. Please appreciate me as I appreciate you.
Thank you

Soooooo, these are the things I overthink, and I’m done. I’m popping in a Golden Girls DVD and getting through one more cold winter night

Thank you for reading
Xoxo

The nipple doesn’t need freedom. The world does

Free the nipple. Is all over the place. Women wanting equality, wanting to not be objectified. Breasts are for feeding a child, not to be sexualized.
Give me a fucking break.

Breasts are many things. They feed children, and they are also something that sets us apart from the male gender. Breasts have been “sexualized” from the beginning of time. If anyone tells you different, they’re lying. I challenge any red-blooded male to tell me that breasts aren’t sexual. They are. Fucking admit that and own it.

Men have nipples, and it’s always been socially and culturally acceptable to show them. Women have nipples too, but we also have breasts. That’s the difference there.

I know that this whole “free the nipple” movement started with breastfeeding. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s not my issue, so I’m not even going to address that. My issue is the hypocrites. Both men and women. “Look at my photo with my boobs with this amazing push-up bra, but it’s not about my boobs.” And the men. I saw a comment on Facebook from a man recently, “Nipples are feeding tubes.” Give me a break. I’m sure that’s exactly what he’s thinking when he’s with his girlfriend (if he has one) “I have no interest in your feeding tubes right now. They’re for your child.”

This country has its priorities messed up. There are women in countries that aren’t allowed to show their ankles or their faces, for God’s sake. And this. “Free the nipple” is one of our goals. I feel it is arrogant and entitled and embarrassing. We have it pretty good here. Women can do what they want. We can wear whatever we want. We can say whatever we want. Not everyone has that freedom. I’m sure women who have to wear scarves over their faces in public don’t give a shit about their nipples.

The thing is, women are amazing, multifaceted creatures. We were gifted with breasts that are capable of feeding children, but they are also capable of attracting a mate. They are both functional and sexual, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why any woman would choose between the two. Why not embrace both? We have it all, really. We can be maternal and sexual at the same time. How amazing is that? We don’t need to walk around topless to prove that we are equal. We are what we are and we are wonderful. We should honor our bodies and not use them to prove a point. Appreciate the freedoms we have, because there are women all over the world that would love to have it all. Accept yourself as a sexual being, because we all are, and it’s ok.

So, I’m pretty sure the the rest of the world pretty doesn’t give a shit about freeing the nipple. I sure as hell don’t. I believe things like this make us look ridiculous. Find a real cause. Volunteer. Help the homeless. Fight for human rights. Real human rights, like helping those less fortunate have basic needs; Food, clothing, and shelter. Or animal rights, or whatever you want. You don’t need to show your nipples to make a difference for the less privileged. We have it good. Appreciate it, and put a damned shirt on.

Thank you for reading

A new year. A new me?

So, it’s 2015. A new year. For some, it’s a time to make resolutions. That’s very ambitious of you, but speaking from experience, those resolutions are usually hard to live up to.

I see them. “I’m going to work out 5 times a week,” sort of things. I’ve made those resolutions myself. If you can do that, great. Most of us can’t live up to those things. I learned this the hard way.

Every year, as soon as the clock stuck 12, I was going to be a new person. I was going to workout everyday. I was going to meditate everyday. I was going to be less sensitive. More outgoing. I was going to quit smoking/drinking/complaining. But year after year, I failed.

Then finally it hit me. Why do I have to change everything I am on this one day? I don’t, and I can’t. I learned it’s almost impossible to change every single thing at once. So I stopped making New Years resolutions. I mean, it’s nice to make a new year a clean slate for things, but I’ve accepted the fact that I’m human, and some ingrained behaviors and beliefs aren’t going to go away at midnight on New Year’s Day. I’ve set myself up for failure way too many times, and I’m over it. Failed resolutions are self inflicted pain. I’ve decided to go easier on myself this year. Exercise more, meditate more, eat better, and care for myself. It feels so much better than exercise 5 days a week, meditate everyday, eat salads all the time..blah blah blah.

I’m accepting things about myself that won’t change. Like my inability to workout 5 times a week. Please. That’s not going to happen at will. And I’m not instantly going to change how I react to things. I’m sensitive, I feel things. I’m easily annoyed. These are personality traits that cannot be changed by a simple resolution, and I’m finally ok with it. They may not be ideal, but they are a part of who I am, and I can’t rid myself of these things so quickly. Or at all. And why would I want to?

So basically, I’ve given up on resolutions. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that nothing about me is so horrible that I have to fix it right away. I’ve made it this far, and I’m still somewhat sane, so I must be doing something right. I’m going to set goals for myself, and take it a day at a time. It may be a new year, but there are no rules. I can try to do my best, and I can start over whenever I want.
❤️

That’s not me!

It seems that I’ve always had to prove to people that I’m a good person. I am, but I’m not someone to be loved by everyone. I’ve been through a lot, like most people, and I’m dealing with it all. My past isn’t pretty, but if I ask anyone, they all have shit they’d like to change. I hate it when someone says they have no regrets. That’s bullshit. I have regrets, and I’m not ashamed to say so. I would love to go back and do things differently. But I can’t, so I’m here now. And I’m trying to do better everyday. I fail all the time. I have negative thoughts. I swear all the time. I get defensive. And I beat myself up for that. But everyday I wake up and try to do things differently. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I’ve learned to take it as it goes. I still beat myself up though.

I absorb everything. I live and breathe emotions. When I walk out the door everyday, I feel like my feelings are written on my body, like everyone can see, and it’s overwhelming at times. My soul is out there. I can see something as simple as someone walking their dog, and it makes me cry. I notice everything, from the sunrise on my way to work, to someone sharing a smile with me. These beautiful things are all around, everyday, everywhere. I get disheartened at times, when the ego rears its head, and I get caught up in daily shit. Rude people in traffic, people scowling in the grocery store. When I smile at someone and it’s not returned. I become a part of it all.

I get negative. It messes me up. I’m an emotional and spiritual being, yet it’s so easy for me to get caught up in life, and hate everything just like everyone else does. Hate breeds hate. I’m guilty of contributing to that. I’m not proud of that, and I don’t want to continue feeling this way. How can a spiritual person get caught up in the chaos? Who knows. All I know, is that I’m aware that I have work to do. I read all the time. I find inspiration from amazing people. Yet I still get caught up in negativity.

I would really like to start practicing what I believe. All the time, and not just when I’m a good mood. It’s a daily struggle. People’s judgements, their bad moods, and their high expectations of me weigh on me. I know I need to let that go. It’s hard for me. It would be hard for anyone. Those things are heavy on my mind. So heavy that it outweighs everything else. My spirituality goes out the fucking window.

Deep down, I know things are ok. I can’t help being emotional, because that’s who I am. I feel everything, and I must learn that’s not always a bad thing. I just need to pay more attention to the good things I feel, and not the bad so much.

I’m moved by seeing an elderly woman walking her little dog. So what? I noticed this and I appreciate it. So, I’m mesmerized by the sunrise everyday. I’m a night owl. I don’t experience sunrises too often. I cry. A lot. Not always because I’m sad, but sometimes because I’m overwhelmed and awestruck by the beauty around me.

I’m not the person that gets sucked into the negativity of everyday life. What I really am is someone that notices everything. And I feel everything. Some things that others never see. I’m no longer going to apologize for being emotional.

It’s time for me to start walking my talk. I’m going to do it ☺️

Saying goodbye to a friendship

When I was 23 years old, I met Sunshine. She was 18 at the time I think, and her spirit lived up to her name. She was free spirited and loving. I was stressed out and cynical at the time, recovering from a horrible relationship. So she was like a breath of fresh air to me. We ended up hitting it off, and we became close friends. This was before the age of cell phones with texting, so we called each other and talked everyday. We used to go out dancing in Canada on the weekends, and would spend our days going for coffee and leaving silly messages on each other’s answering machines. We were there for each other through a few relationships, and we would chat until the sun came up at IHOP over coffee and pancakes.

We had wonderful times together, until she met her boyfriend, I’ll call Fred. Fred didn’t get me. He was a boy from a small town, from an upper class family, and he was very much an ass. I saw much less of my dear friend since she met him. I was a bridesmaid in their wedding, and that was pretty much the last I heard from her. Except one time, when she invited me over for lunch so I could see their new house. I couldn’t help but notice her lovely display of wedding photos on a table in her living room, that included everyone in their wedding party but me. I didn’t say a word, but I was hurting so much. I left her new home feeling like I would never go there again. It felt cold to me. So unlike the Sunshine I used to know. What in the hell was happening?

So, a few months pass, and she called to tell me she was pregnant. I was so excited. I loved the idea of being a part of her child’s life. Yet she was distant, and I could feel it. So, we arranged to get together so I could get to the bottom of it all.

We met at Olive Garden for lunch and I was nervous as hell. I was about to find out how she really felt. Why she had been so distant from me, why her tone during our phone calls had changed. So unlike her. So unlike us.

We sat across from each other, and I asked her the questions that have been burning through my mind for months, and my fears were confirmed. She admitted that her husband Fred didn’t get me, and he’d never feel comfortable with me being a part of their lives with their child. I felt like I was punched in the stomach. Was she serious? This woman that has known me and has been my friend for so long is not there for me anymore? She’s not fighting for our friendship at all? I sat there, crying into my unlimited salad and breadsticks, and feeling completely betrayed and completely broken. Sunshine was so special to me. She was the first real friend I ever had. And her pompous ass of a husband doesn’t approve of me. All I did was cry. And she sat across from me, showing me nothing at all.

I lost my friend that day. We never spoke again. It haunted me for years. I wrote her letters. Many letters that I never sent. Telling her how much she hurt me. I was angry. This lovely girl I once knew had turned into someone I didn’t know anymore. It took me a few years to finally let this go.

So, life went on, and I started to forget her and what happened. And she came to mind recently, about 10 years after our last encounter. I heard a song in a store at the mall that reminded me of her, so I decided to send her an email to say hello. She responded and we made plans to get together. We met for lunch, and it felt a little weird for me, but not as weird as I thought. We caught up and talked about our lives, and we laughed just like we used to. We had fun. Like no time had past. We hugged in the parking lot, and she promised to email me to get together again when her schedule freed up. I left feeling lighter. I had reconnected with my once dear friend, and we were both committed to nurturing our friendship again.

Well, we haven’t talked since that day, and it was months ago. No email, no text, nothing. Her words meant nothing, yet I’m surprisingly ok. I’m annoyed, but I’m not devastated like I was during our Olive Garden lunch date. Instead of feeling like shit by taking it personally, I just feel irritated. I want to say, “You’re doing this to me again?” Give me a break. She hasn’t spoken to me since that day, but I’m damned sure I’ll get a photo Christmas card of her “perfect family” like I have been for years. All four of them dressed up in red and white. Her gorgeous children and her “big fish in a small pond” husband. And her. Standing there with her fake smile and the image she has to live up to. That’s what’s left for me. Her image. The life she created with Fred that didn’t include me.

So, as I’ve gotten older and matured emotionally, I’ve decided not to take her actions personally. She’s living the life she’s chosen for herself and her family, and I’m not a part of it. Instead of feeling sorry for myself about this, I feel sorry for her. I’m a good and loving person, and a loyal and devoted friend. I know this for a fact.

So, goodbye, Sunshine. Just because we were close at one time doesn’t mean it’s always supposed to be that way. People come into our lives when we need them, and Sunshine was there for me and with me through some of the darkest times of my life. The dark times are over, and I’m ok. I’m not angry with her, and I’m no longer angry with myself. I don’t blame myself for what happened with us, which is good. I did that for a long time. I don’t need to carry that burden anymore.

So, when a friendship ends, it’s ok to mourn. I did, for a long time. Probably more than I should have. People come into your life when you need them. Sometimes, that’s not forever. If two people are willing to put in the effort, it will last. If not, it won’t. My memories of the Sunshine I knew are good ones. I’m grateful she was my friend when she was. I can’t change how our lives turned out, and I can’t make things as they once were. But I’ll cherish our history. And if she decides to email me someday asking me to get together, I’ll probably decline. There’s really no reason to try to fix something that will never work again.

And this is my lesson. Some relationships, even friendships, aren’t meant to last forever. Cherish what you once had and let it go. It will make room for the ones who are meant to be for you now.