Untangling the Knot: Getting the Love you Crave

“What did you do last night?” Connie asked calmly.

By this therapy session, I was months into grief over my breakup. The raw pain of loss had waned, but not left. Shame had begun to seep in over the fact that I was still broken. I was depressed. I was embarrassed. Why am I still hurting?, I would think.

The shame of my lingering grief led me to spend a lot of time alone during this time. I probably watched It’s Complicated ten times. I ordered out a lot. (My outrageous credit card bill could attest to this).

But just the night before, I had reclaimed one joy.

“I cooked dinner for myself,” I quietly told Connie. I can remember my voice about this time: shaky, wobbly. Tears were always near. I continued, “I made sticky rice and grilled chicken, sautéed kale and sweet potato hash. Oh, and I opened a bottle of wine to go with it.”

Connie held me kindly in her gaze, “Because you are worth opening a bottle of wine for.”

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My Boyfriend Doesn’t Give Me Butterflies

“U got it, u got it bad, when you’re on the phone… hang up and then you call right back…”

As I belted Usher while walking Emily on UTC’s campus, my mind drifted to the old pingpong table that my parents used to have. Like most things from childhood, I don’t know where we got it, but it was always there, sitting under the eaves of our pool house. We would pop in the Now That’s What I Call Music! 8 CD to the boom box and listen to Usher’s “U Got It Bad” on repeat while we battled it out in the never-ending pingpong tournament.

That “we” included James, of course. James and I were inseparable for the summers of my childhood. We played basketball; we rode bikes; we walked to the convenience store; we jumped off the roof into the pool.

What else could there possibly be in life?

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What I’ve Learned From Not Being Pretty

When I was about ten years old, I decided I was going to be a cheerleader for Halloween.

Sounds normal enough, ya?

Thing was, at 10 years old, I was a hard tomboy.

I wore the same baby blue soccer shirt and black Umbro elastic-waisted shorts to school everyday. I cut my hair into a chili bowl. I prided myself on my 1st place pedal tractor pull trophy. I was aggressively not feminine.

But for whatever reason, that October I snuck into my sister’s bedroom, stole her WMS cheerleading uniform, and put it on. I strode into our kitchen where my mom and sister were sitting and declared, “I’m a CHEERLEADER!” with my arms lifted in a V-for-victory pose.

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I am NOT a Bird: Learning to Love Me for Me

Two nights ago, I Couchsurfed for the first time.

My friend Maggie and I wanted to explore Tallahassee on the cheap, so Couchsurfing seemed to be the perfect solution. Having never surfed before, I was hesitant. But as we pulled up to our host’s house, my caution melted away. The bungalow was quirky and thoughtful in all the right ways. The house number was hand painted on the front of the house in numbers as tall as me. The chairs on the front stoop were each their own color and there was a bike rack on the car in the driveway.

This was going to go well.

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The Honest-to-God Truth of Successful Relationships

Sometimes I wish you were dead.

That’s what Marion told her husband Don during an honesty exercise at a couple’s therapy weekend led by their therapist Ellyn Bader. Bader recounts in her book, Tell Me No Lies, that Marion had been unhappy for years in her marriage, but — not wanting to face the discomfort and shame of divorce — she had simply wished her husband dead. Wishing him dead was easier than facing the possibility of having to choose rejection and loneliness.

The story continues that later that weekend after their talk, Don nearly gets run over by a car. He turns to Marion after the scare and says, “Well, you missed your chance.”

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5 Ways to Troubleshoot Negative Emotions

About a month ago, I decided I’d had enough.

After the break-up, I fell into a pattern of crying through the workday, crawling into my bed at 4 pm, and staying there until I “went to bed.” I had fallen into a situational depression complete with reeling thoughts (“Why am I unlovable?”) and no energy. My lethargy resulted from what my sister calls “My Divorce Diet;” I was rarely putting nutrients into my body because food tasted like shredded paper.

I was stuck. And I couldn’t shake it.

At least, I couldn’t shake it alone. So, to find relief, I made an appointment with a hoo-woo-woo-woo doctor at the local Center for Integrative Medicine. The herbalist patiently listened to my emotional and spiritual woes and promptly let me know that I was stuck in the Earth element, which meant I was unable to let go and move to the other side of my grief. She suggested that my stomach lining was dysfunctional and that I was probably anemic. She prescribed me an herbal treatment to calm my thoughts and encourage healing in my stomach. She suggested that I aim for 50g of protein in my breakfast.

I was hesitant, but I walked out the door with a “Present & Centered” tincture in hand.

It couldn’t hurt.

About an hour after I got home from my witch doctor appointment, I got a phone call from my Western doctor letting me know the blood work I had done a few days prior was in.

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