Goodbye, Superstition

I’ve always kept my left finger unadorned.

As if that finger were sacred– to be saved for the future.

But today I decided otherwise.

Because that finger belongs to me– rather and some imagined future spouse. It struck me as not just hopelessly patriarchal, but silly, to continue waiting.

I’ve always thought of myself as someone’s future wife or future mother. I’ve always kept “The Big Picture” in mind, and that has largely governed my actions. It’s kept me  responsible and practical.

But today I define myself alone– without any other influence.

I am not a woman who considers parts of herself verboten unless claimed by a relationship. It may seem trivial, but I find it empowering.

I’m no longer passive.

I put a ring on it myself! It’s just cute costume jewelry, but I chose it.

And now when I look at my right hand ring finger, I smile.

I chose myself over superstition.

And I feel a new security in that choice.

 

On Learning to Fall, and Get Back Up: Self-Defense, Week Six Wrap-Up

This is class is enforcing to me that while I can defend myself, my core identity has not changed.

I’m a non-violent person. Learning combat skills does not change that.

It would never occur to me to throw something or hit someone first in anger.

I’d rather use my brains than my fists. And I’m realizing it’s NOT because I’m small.

It’s because I’m smart.

What I’m learning in this class is that it doesn’t feel good to be hit, or to hit someone else. I don’t like it. So really, this class is about teaching me more skills to avoid needing to defend myself from violence.

I’m with Mr. Miyagi. Don’t fight unless it’s your last resort. Unless your life is threatened.
But this week, we worked more on learning how to fall safely.

In the first few weeks of class, I was afraid to fall. I was worried about my head or neck getting hurt.

But now we’re learning how to fall correctly- to PROTECT AGAINST injury.

How to tuck your chin and protect your neck from injury if pushed.

And how to get up right away.

And I pop right back up. I’m quick and agile.

Is there a more valuable life skill?

I don’t believe so.

Resilience is about knowing no matter who or what knocks you down, you will rise. You will try again.

You will keep going. You determine your own worth and hold YOURSELF up.

I’m becoming a calmer person. I’m laughing more. I’m expecting less of others.

Because I feel less fear, my energy is changing. I love it.

Self-Defense Week Four Wrap-Up: Push-Ups to The Mat

Tonight I learned I need to focus on physical discipline.

Specifically, building my strength and endurance.

I’ve certainly got plenty of spiritual discipline.

But in class tonight, we did a drill where we had to do push-ups, mountain-climbs (sprinting in a push-up position, basically) and then drills on the bag with our hands and knees.

I got in position but could barely go down. I bent my elbows just the slightest amount. It was mortifying.

“Push-ups go down to the mat,” my instructor said.

“I’m weak,” I countered.

“That’s a good way to stay that way,” he said.

And I respected him for that. Am I going to just accept this about myself? NO.

I AM the runt in the class. And I’m going to use that prove that I’ve got the most heart.

I always attract strong, powerful men with a lot of intelligence. I’ve dated a MARINE. He told me several times how much I intimidated him. He was an officer.

I’m going to start re-directing my power toward MYSELF, rather than attracting others. Stop looking around me for validation and protection.

This class is total cognitive dissonance, because as a Catholic and a Christian, I’ve lived my life with the philosophy of being open. If someone attacks you, you back down. You’re deferential. You forgive.

But life is not forgiving. Life is brutal. It’s a war out there– you have to fight for everything.

Being fit and healthy is my first line of defense.

Tonight my instructor reminded us that it doesn’t MATTER if we’re tired or weak, we need to keep fighting.

“Until the threat is gone,” he said.

And this can be applied to anything.

I’m going to stop babying myself, which I am definitely guilty of doing.

A few times between exercises, he offered us a water break. I decided not to go the last few times. I felt good about it. I was fine. I didn’t need water.

I’m stronger every time.

I asked one of the other women about push-ups– what’s a good number to start with for me? She told me at one point she could do 63 in a minute. She told me to just do what I can and build from there.

Leaving, I told my instructor I’m working on my push-ups.

“I’m not doing the girl push-ups,” I said.

For The Honor of Grayskull! I am Enough.

I feel like I’m getting back into my joy groove.

I’m feeling a bit like Princess Adora, transmogrifying into She-Ra.

Shedding that tentative, innately female need to be pleasing. Opening my eyes, getting stronger.

I’m standing proud and speaking up in my life.

In 1985, I worshipped She-Ra! And Swift Wind, her airborne steed with the macho voice.

“He Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword,” is still one of my favorite movies. Princess Adora wakes up and sees that she can rebel against what’s she’s been taught to believe. She realizes she can defend Etheria, without anyone’s help. She learns to fight, to lead, to claim her identity.

She gains confidence that she can make it on her own. I’m getting there!

The cold air is making me smile, I chopped my hair recently, and I’m rockin’ my flannel!

I trust my gut. I’m feeling decisive and powerful. Moving forward and making small but important changes.

Fall is here and I had a wonderfully wholesome girls’ night in last weekend with three friends. We drank apple cider and got to know each other. I’m the neweset one to the group. Our friend Sharon invited us to her home and the plan was to watch “Frozen,” but we had so much fun with girltalk we never even watched it! It was just background music.

We took pictures and told stories. The cider was perfect and it was just what we all needed! We made plans for next time.

The best thing about being single is spending more time with your female friends.

And I’ve got some really great ones! Can’t complain.

Two Lions: A Short Story

By Amee Bohrer

*I wrote this several months ago. I’ve showed it to a few writer friends– and made a few small changes. Any feedback possible would be great– praise, questions, constructive criticism. Thank you. 

A female lion wandered alone, away from her Pride.

She was designated the hunter. Yet, something called to her beyond her prescribed role within the pack. She was not designed to kill. Knowing the Pride expected of her what she refused to do, she stalked into the wild to find solace. She alerted no one, and chose herself.

She did not wait for nightfall. Escape was chosen in the morning. The silence and the expansive space quieted her unrest, and she felt a peace. The journey was not a dangerous one—but lonely.

Following only by instinct, she meandered the plain. She was vulnerable, having left behind the cover of tall grass. She fell to rest when needed. Rolled in the mud, dashed to water to overcome thirst.

She did not eat. She did not hunt. Yet her strength increased with time.

Constantly, she passed by meals upon which she could have feasted.

After two months of traveling alone, she came upon an abundant field. A quarter mile away, a male lion strode to a water buffalo carcass.

Each step was powerful, his shoulders regal. Until he glanced back and saw that finally, he was alone.

His posture drooped. He hung his head. His mane was now patchy from relentless battles, ripped out except for a few bloody tufts. But he smelled her.

His neck snapped into position—his eyes intent.

She was watching in the tall grass, still. Not afraid.

She advanced on him, her head low and making eye contact. She permitted a low growl.

He dropped his eyes and settled into a submissive posture, wanting to honor her.

He tossed his head toward the buffalo carcass, and with his left paw tore the ripe abdomen open.

He looked toward her, and crept backwards a few feet. Waited. This was extraordinary for him– his appetite was raging. He was usually the first one to eat– he didn’t wait for anyone. And he ate until he was full– if others went hungry, that was their problem. He had become aggressive in this way after a lifetime of constant war. He was used to bigger males stealing what was his, even the females. He had learned to hunt in this way– though now he rarely fought unless absolutely threatened, or he had something to prove. But when he wanted something, he was used to getting it. He seemed passive to most, part of his strategy.

But she saw this danger in him– and respected it. But why such humility from a strange male? She registered his offer—a gift. The flesh sang in her nostrils. Suddenly famished, she licked her teeth. A crippling urge to feast.

Inhaling, she took three strides forward. And then darted left—away from this suspicious gift. Away from the male making an offering—who smelled familiar.

It had been years since she had felt anything like doubt. She was used to forging ahead alone. She was respected and well-liked in her Pride at home, but desperately wanted something more. She was different than her family. They were content, and she was itching for a challenge. She appeared very stoic to most, as she began spending more time alone with age. She had a low tolerance for politics. She appeared compliant. But she showed her ferocity only to those who knew her most. To everyone else, she was detached. Cold.

Conflicted, she stopped and glanced back. He was watching her.

He looked different than he would have, but the musk taunted her. It was covered up a bit– he was wounded. Could that be Asha? It was so unlikely– she had thought he was dead. She had grieved him.

The blood was still drying, but it covered up his full smell.  She couldn’t quite place who that male might be, but she wanted to go to him.-

Or attack him. She was tired of always winning. Sometimes she snarled at others, just looking for a worthy adversary. Even most males backed down from her–something about her intimidated them. It wasn’t her size– she was petite, even for a female.

It was her roar. She rarely had to defend herself physically– she was smart enough to evade trouble. But rarely, she would be overcome and would stand nearly paralyzed with energy. She was deaf in one ear, and compensated for this defect with a splendid roar– it was lower-pitched. Often, when others heard her in these moments, she was mistaken for a male.

She, too, was an Alpha. She longed to roar as loud as she was able.

A loud shot exploded nearby.

Frightened by this unidentifiable threat, she glanced directly at the male– and leaped. Dusk was falling.

In a nearby tree,  she took cover and settled into a restless sleep.

Resting Bitch Face? : Please Don’t Ask Me to Smile

It’s even happened at the dentist.

Waiting, I was reading a book. My dentist arrived to get to work, and felt the need to comment on my facial expression. Apparently I looked intense. Reading books does involve the brain– and emotions, as well.

Was something wrong? He had to know. I looked angry.

I stopped reading and looked up, confused. No, I was fine.

Is it shocking that my facial expression corresponds with my thought process? I can hardly believe this is unusual behavior.

More importantly, why does it seem to bother everyone when I display emotions other than happiness? Strangers, especially?

It happens at the most random moments: very frequently, at work.

I’ll be walking along looking for clients to approach or straightening up my display. And suddenly, I will be asked, “Why do you look so serious?” Or people will comment on my expression. I’ll be told that I look angry, or asked, “What’s wrong?”

Nothing. I’m thinking. How else should I appear? Am I supposed to be levitating constantly on a cloud of happiness, with a pleasant expression– or even better, a totally blank one?

Most often, it’s men doing this. But not always.

One female co-worker will always ask how I’m doing, and it seems no answer satisfies her unless I’m at the very least, delighted. If I say I’m good, her response is always, “Just good?”

My answers have become shorter and shorter because really, what do I owe this woman? Nothing. Why does she always need me to be happy, or something BETTER than good? “Good” is a pretty satisfactory state, at least in my book. We’re not close friends, we don’t hang out. Just say hello and sometimes talk at work.

Apparently I, too, am afflicted by Resting Bitch Face. Notice this term is never applied to men?

Have you ever heard someone joke that a dude who looks serious totally has Resting Bitch Face? Probably not.

But when a woman is anything less than overjoyed, everyone notices. Even total strangers.

“Smile,” they’ll say.

Why? I’m stumped as to why it makes a total stranger uncomfortable if I don’t smile. And why they get annoyed if I don’t oblige.

If I want to share my thoughts with you, I will.

But I don’t want to be told how to feel, or pressured to feel something different.

I *do* smile– when I genuinely feel happy. If not commanded to, I may just smile first at a stranger.

I smile when something wonderful surprises me. When I enjoy a memory, when I’m dreaming about something that could happen– a possibility.

If anything, I’m proud to not be a constant smiler. Because I’m not faking it.

But just because I’m concentrating on a book, a task, or thinking about something– I don’t need to explain or apologize for it.

This street artist, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, launched a project I really appreciate: “Stop Telling Women to Smile.” Please click and watch the video explaining what inspired it and showing the women she interviewed, who she then photographed and incorporated into posters she put up in places where they had felt harassed.

I don’t have Resting Bitch Face, and I’m fine, thanks.

I’m just a thinker.

A thinker whose face has changed with age to show the lines where her brow furrows, her forehead wrinkles, the outlines of her smile. I’m proud of a face that is no longer a blank, un-lined canvas, although I did enjoy it in my youth.

You’ll never find me courting Botox, trying to rewind time and freeze those muscles.

These lines make me human. They make me beautiful. They make me a woman who thinks and feels.

Don’t be ashamed of yours!

And remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation or an apology for your facial expressions.

What are your experiences with strangers talking to you or commenting on your apparent mood? Does it bother you or not?

Men and Body Image: in Praise of Nerds of All Sizes!

Dudes, relax. You’re sexy the way you are.

I was talking to a friend the other day, and he was talking about how he feels like he needs to eat more to gain some weight.

He’s definitely a nerd– and that’s a good thing! I always like talking to him, because he has so much to say and knows a lot about different things. There’s no pressure for me to talk then, and I can just listen and enjoy whatever he wants to share.

He’s got a couple of things he really likes, and he will talk all day about those things. I know nothing about either of them, but that doesn’t matter because it’s just fun watching him go on about them. I’ve learned a lot!

Then he started looking down and saying he’s going to start working out, “Because I need to gain some weight.”

“No you don’t!” I told him. “You look great.”

He didn’t believe me, but he smiled.

Not every woman is hung up on biceps and a six pack. I’m certainly not! I’ve dated some of those types and they’re usually really vain and obsessed with the gym. They just wanna work out and eat protein shakes, and they’re so obsessed with themselves that half the time they don’t even notice you. Not to say all guys that are “in shape” are bad– they’re not! There’s some great jocks out there that are happy and attentive and wonderful.

But it just makes me sad that this guy, this great guy, is holding himself to that standard and thinking that he’s less than.

I told him as much, and that it’s better to be smart than vain d-bag! That he should be proud of himself as is, and to stop this nonsense about feeling like he needs to be someone different. He’s got a fast metabolism. That’s not his fault!

I told him how often women pinch my wrists and tell me “You need to eat!” How often people criticize me for being too small, too skinny, etc. I have a naturally fast metabolism, I’m petite, and and I have delicate bone structure. That’s the way God made me! I DO eat, and I enjoy it. This is just how I am made. It doesn’t mean I have an eating disorder, and I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about not having a weight problem.

He seemed to feel a little better, when I told him that I get shit about how I’m built too.

Thankfully I’ve been blessed with boyfriends who were generously verbal about finding me attractive, and that’s helped me to have a great body image. But not everyone is that lucky.

Everyone knows that women struggle with body image, but so do men. Turns out, both genders are human!

Same goes on the other end of the spectrum.

And I say this with absolute truth. I would rather date an overweight guy who is kind and confident than a lean, “hot” guy who thinks he’s amazing and that women are disposable. Because that’s how a lot of the gorgeous ones are. They know they can get another woman, probably hotter than you, and younger– whenever they feel like it. They know exactly what to say, how to smile, and they have it down to a science. Dating is just a sales game for them. Those men have nothing to give, but they love to take.

And sadly, the only thing preventing a lot of “husky” dudes from a great relationship is themselves. If they could stop putting themselves down, talking about needing to lose weight, and getting angry about women rejecting them, they could notice the women who are probably interested in them. The women who laugh at their jokes, enjoy being around them, value their point of view.

My point?

Whatever you’ve got, is how God made you! Celebrate it. Stop trying to fit in, or change how you look.

Forget the mirror. Use your BRAIN! Just relax and be who you are, don’t hide your quirks.

There’s a lot of women, me included, who fall in love with quirks. And we’re totally relieved, because then WE are free to be our own ridiculous, quirky, nerdy selves.

Because lust doesn’t last. And what will keep a good partner around is your mind, your character. Not your success, not being “hot.”

I just like regular dudes. Not “hot,” not anything particular. But kind. Fun. Real.

The best thing about nerds is that they appreciate you. They try harder. They work hard to KEEP you.

And they’re just overjoyed to find someone else who is weird and happy to listen them nerd-out, so you can nerd-out together.

John Bender: Triumph of a “Loser”

My favorite movie has long been, “The Breakfast Club.”

And John Bender is the best character.

The entire plot centers around him, really. The iconoclast. The antagonist!

Yes, he provokes everyone. But he gets them to think. And by the end, each character has learned something about themselves and bonded with the other characters– mainly because of the shenanigans of John Bender.

However, Mr. Vernon presents him as a “loser.” One of the pivotal dramatic scenes in the movie centers around an argument between the two, where Bender refuses to back down and earns himself two months worth of detention. Vernon leaves feeling empowered, having exposed Bender’s weakness: his ego.

Vernon is a very angry man, and he takes it out on his students.

Every character is identified by a label in the movie– and Bender is the criminal.

Has he actually committed any crimes? That’s the assumption.

He’s stereotyped this way for several reasons: his rebellious wardrobe, his propensity for arguing. The fact that he takes shop, and maybe isn’t traditionally “smart,” like his peers. He’s an outsider. Yet, he has extraordinary social intelligence.

In the movie, he does have some weed on his person– and he encourages everyone to smoke up in the library. That’s the scene where they finally relax and break their stoic silence, glued to their assigned seats. Because of this, they begin to get to know each other.

By the end, it’s understood these five strangers leave friends. And Bender and Claire have even become an item. So have Andrew and Allison. Brian is alone, but vindicated because he writes the group essay for all of them.

It might look like he got manipulated into doing everyone’s work– but it’s a small act of defiance on his part. He’s nominated to be the group conscience, because “You’re the smartest,” as Claire says. The group trusts him enough to speak for them all, and he accepts the responsibility. Otherwise socially awkward, by stepping up to this task, Brian ultimately earns the respect of the group.

He writes a powerful, concise essay to Mr. Vernon– one exposing the authority figure’s own vanity and prejudice. And it’s a masterpiece.

Ahh, I’m getting off track. I love tangents!

Back to Bender.

How many people consider Bender a “loser,” by the end of the movie?

Only the most stalwart prejudiced masses, who define him soley by his looks and current status in life.

Anyone who chooses to look deeper can see that although in high school he may be struggling, he has an independent mind, and his defiance can be harnessed toward success later in life.

Maybe John Bender is just a late bloomer.

Vernon abusively tells the group that if they visit Bender in five years, he’ll likely be in prison.

As we learn in the movie, Bender has had a very tough life at home. He shows Andrew a cigar burn from his father. He’s aggressive and he yells, because that’s what he’s learned from home.

Yet, he also has a tenderness about him. His self-confidence is low, after a life-time of being conditioned to believe he’s “nothing.” That he’s just lazy, not using his full potential. Not smart in traditional ways.

He does need to learn when to back down from an argument, rather than needing to “win.”

But as we see in his interactions with others– especially Claire, he also is sensitive and loyal. He creates a diversion for Vernon, after looking at Claire with longing. It’s clear that he wants to spare her from getting in trouble. Thus, he directs the blame onto himself. Truly, that’s an act of courage. And they’re not in a relationship– but he clearly has a crush on her. However, he has no idea how to talk to her, and mostly ends up insulting her. Yet, she figures him out.

She becomes a bit defiant herself, whereas previously she was always concerned about what others thought.

The last scene is of Bender, striding alone and raising a fist in triumph.

He’s impressed a woman with his intelligence and defiance.

He is a leader, not a follower. He has redeemed himself with his peers. He’s beginning to believe in himself.

I bet that in 15 years, Bender ended up a small-business owner.

Along the way he made a lot of mistakes, but he learned from them.

And we’re all left inspired by the lessons of his stumbles, raring to sound our own roar.

He’s not a loser. He just takes longer to figure things out– because he wants to do it his own way.

And really, that’s about self-pride.

That’s a winner.

Objectivity and The Conservative Life

Recently, I wrote about how religion can be a damaging influence.

Tonight, I want to clarify that by saying that, I’m not putting down the idea of family or of the conservative life.

I’m not saying all religion is bad, either.

Being a former reporter, I’ve learned to look at things objectively and see both sides.

This morning I visited one of my oldest friends, who is a mother. Her little boy toddled around, and he is open and affectionate. I don’t get to see her as often as I would like, but he feels comfortable sitting with me.

I think that is a wonderful credit to her and her husband’s parenting skills, because he obviously feels very safe and is openly affectionate. I enjoyed having him snuggle up to me, and holding him was wonderful. But does that mean I will be a mom myself someday? Not necessarily.

The jury is still out on that one.

She talked with me, but always kept an eye on him as well. He clearly adores her, and she was delighted by the small things he did. He looks a lot like her also, with wild curls and many expressions that she makes. She’s a wonderful, happy woman who married her best friend and is in a marriage based on respect and equality. They talk all day long. They respect each other’s feelings, but also get out how they really feel about things as well. They’re not afraid to tell each other the truth. They both work, and support each other’s dreams. I have known her for over 15 years, and I can honestly say that marriage has made her a happier person. It’s enriched her life. She and her husband respect and love one another, and they balance each other out.

What’s interesting is that they are both also of different religions– but that was not an issue. They merged these two cultures, and did it with joy. They were in love, so they just made it happen. They are a wonderful example that you don’t have to stay within your own tradition or religion to find happiness in love, or to be happily married.

For them, marriage, family and religion are a wonderful center in their life together.

What does it mean to be “conservative?”

For many people, it’s defined by political beliefs. Many people assume that a conservative viewpoint is interchangeable with voting Republican. That’s not necessarily true.

Conservative can mean that your life is centered on family, that you don’t believe in sharing your problems with the world, that you’re careful with your money, and that you live a life of temperance when it comes to alcohol and or chemical substances.

Conservative is not necessarily a bad thing.

My friend has a phenomenal work ethic, a good job, a creative and charismatic personality that draws in everyone she meets, is a loyal friend that will never tell your secrets, and is a devoted wife and mother. She comes from a big family, and is naturally gifted as a mother. Being around her son and her family, she exudes this wonderful love. Yet, she’s also very protective when needed be. She’s not pretentious at all. She’s a big hugger. She laughs a lot.  I hold incredible admiration for her.

In some ways, she’s conservative. Yet, she also embraces and champions liberal causes.

I think all of this makes her a fantastic human being and one of my favorite people on the planet.

She’s like a sister to me.

For her, marriage has been something wonderful. She makes me believe in marriage.

Yet, there are many people who are happily single or in relationships but unmarried, who choose not to have children, who choose to focus on career, art, or travel or who don’t believe in religion. And they are equally happy, and I admire and respect them just as much.

And those choices are not any less valid.

An Unexpected Apology: The Unblock is Working Already!

So I guess unblocking my facebook is already having a positive karmic effect!

One of those on the list was an ex from 2011– and actually, one of the reasons I started this blog. He was the last person I dated before deciding, “Forget it! I have no idea what I’m doing with men. Time to take a sabbatical.” I then gave up dating and karaoke for Lent 2011, because they went together since I always met guys while I was out singing karaoke and I went all the time. I started this blog to hold myself accountable– if I couldn’t blog it, I knew i wouldn’t do it.

He had broken up with me over e-mail, shortly after we made it official. I hadn’t even had time to change my status! It was a brief relationship.

Back then I hadn’t responded to his e-mail– I just stonewalled him. That was my old defense mechanism. I always told myself that I was actually being “a good Christian woman,” since it was better not to speak anything angry or hurtful. But truly, it was the coward’s solution. I didn’t have the strength to admit my vulnerability– so I threw up a wall of anger via silence. And it only made them more hurt– and usually THAT is what ultimately severed any possibility of reconciliation or leaving things on “good terms.”  ‘

Back then, that’s what I wanted. I wanted things simple– done, with no possibility of return. No possibility of further hurt.

That was my deluded idea of being a “good Christian woman.” Except that does not work at ALL. Theoretically I was deciding to just “let it go.” Except I never DID let it go– my resentment just stewed. I felt spineless for not standing up for myself and being honest about my feelings. And when he replied this time, I impulsively let him have it. Then I blocked him, so he couldn’t respond.

But then I realized I had also withheld the possibility of a GOOD reply from him– and of forgiveness for both of us. And I knew that wasn’t right. I knew I was afraid of the possibility of forgiveness as much as I was that he would also be angry.

About five days later, I felt terrible and wrote him once more, saying that I hadn’t handled that well and I should have just admitted I was hurt rather than being so hostile. That I had liked him a lot and chosen him over someone else I also liked, because I thought he was serious about a relationship.

That’s when I wrote THIS post.

Not even 24 hours later, he actually REPLIED and gave me a very sincere apology.

It’s refreshing. I told him about the blog and he said he had found it online before and was impressed. I thanked him and invited him to follow it. I even told him that he had a role in its inception, and he wasn’t even offended! He wished me well.

I told him he ultimately made the right decision about ending the relationship, even if it stung. We just weren’t compatible. I thanked him for his honesty and told him he was forgiven. I asked him to forgive me as well. He may not reply, and maybe that’s all there is to it.

Regardless, I’m really proud of myself for breaking my cycle of intractable “all or nothing” stance on exes, and admitting my own immaturity and fault as well. I forfeited “the upper hand,” and look what happened! We both acknowledged our fault. We connected as two human beings who made mistakes and wanted to make amends. The bitterness is dissolved. The hurt is forgiven.

It feels amazing, to open myself to the possibility of forgiveness.

I’m going to challenge myself to trust myself– and others– as policy now. I’m just going to say what I feel– tactfully.

But this makes me wonder, maybe I should take the risk he did. Maybe some of my exes don’t hate me as much as I assume– time does heal.

It would at least feel good to make the effort, even if friendship isn’t possible.

If I achieved mutual forgiveness with an ex today, that makes me hopeful that my next relationship will be better.

My communication is healthier already.