I present to you, Dimitri

So a girl was out with friends having drinks on King St (in Toronto). This guy approaches her and won’t leave her alone – keeps saying how *elegant* she is. She finally gives in and hands the guy her business card. The attached is an MP3 file of not one, but TWO voicemails this guy left her.

This goes down in the history books – especially the second voice mail. Ladies: this is what’s out there…. So have a listen…and a belly-laugh, and thank your lucky stars you are either single, or not with this guy!

Click here for the audio file.

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Today…

Today is one of those days when I just need to remind myself why I do it…  *Give Me Strength*

 

Help please

OK, so I am hoping I can word this email well enough to convey what I mean without offending anyone.

I am in the middle of a six week detox (#039) and the reason I decided to do this detox is because a) I got really sick and decided I should listen to my body and give it a rest, b) my skin has lost complete control of it’s ability to look smooth and clear, and c) I put on a few kilos over winter from all my comfort-eating and I want to lose them before summer and before the wedding.

My detox consists of a lot of No-No’s
No meat (fish ok)
No alcohol
No cow’s milk products (but soy and goat’s milk are ok)
No white flour-based products (but wholegrain and gluten free are ok)
No caffeine
No sweets

To be honest, I feel FANTASTIC.  My eyes are brighter, my skin is clearing up, I no longer feel lethargic and bloated all the time, and the best bit is, I don’t miss meat at ALL.  I am also so proud of my willpower and strength to resist especially when I feel like taking a small child’s life so I can steal the chocolate bar from his lips.

So I am half way with this detox and I am also midway through whitening my teeth with my dentist and a take-home whitening kit.

This has led to my fiance telling me that I am vain.  Yes, vain.  Which really pisses me off, frankly.  To my mind, if I was vain I would look in the mirror and go “yeah, I’m so hot” and be a little wrapped up in myself to boot.  Is that what you guys think vanity is?

I think my efforts to improve myself are mostly to feel good about myself and partially to stay physically attractive to my partner.  Yes, I take pride in the way I look and get uncomfortable when my clothes get a little tighter over winter, but essentially I know when enough is enough and I get off my arse and do something about it.

Based on his vanity accusations (and a few other very arrogant comments on his part this week), I have found myself really casting a negative and critical eye back on him.  I’ll admit that we’ve had a few jokes together about his weight.  He’s put on about 8 kilos since I first met him.  But to be honest, as a day to day thing it doesn’t bother me.  I’ll also admit that sometimes I wished he wasn’t so lazy and took more pride in his appearance, but most days that really just means I wish he brushed his teeth and showered more regularly.

So here is my dilemma, this week I have really started to feel negatively about his lack of interest in bettering himself, physically and otherwise.  This reaction (and I know it’s my reaction) is affecting my levels of attraction to him.  I made a really rude comment the other day, but immediately apologised for it because I knew instantly I was out of line.  But I don’t get apologies for being told I am vain…  I want to encourage and support him to take some pride in his appearance, eat better, do more exercise and show some initiative… but I don’t even know where to start.  Can you do that for someone that doesn’t care in the first place?

Help!

The Art of Romance in 2008

E is for Expectations

The long awaited next chapter in the Dictionary of Me, I’ll be frank and say I found it hard to come up with something for the letter E!

E is for Expectations

If I’ve learned one thing in my 30 years on this planet, it’s that very rarely do things play out as you expect them to. And coupled with that, I’ve learned that if I can diminish or limit or control my expectations of matters in which I have little to no control, then it’s a lot easier to remain positive and upbeat with life in general.

Another way of saying this is, life will continue to throw shit at you and how you deal with it defines and shapes the person you become.

I’m not a psychiatrist by any means, nor a trained anthropologist, but this is just one of those “laws of life” that I’ve observed over the years.

My expectations of myself are very high. I don’t have a problem with this though, because I have control of the outcome. I think this trait in me is why I have achieved a lot in my career, why I continually challenge myself to do new things, to grow as a person and to work on my flaws.

I am the first to admit that one of those flaws is that I struggle to limit my expectations of others. I like to be an optimist, and I think I can confuse optimism with high expectations sometimes. I think I can usually see the best in people, or see their potential, which often means I place expectations on them which are often higher than what they expect of themselves, which is always a recipe for disappointment (for me, that is!)

In no other area is this more profound than as a partner to Adam and as a parent to my son.

The word “expectations” is used regularly in my relationship when trying to diagnose the root cause of some of our more recurring issues. Thankfully it’s not one sided unrealistic expectations, so we’ve learned a lot from each other in diminishing this impact on our relationship.

It does freak me out as a parent though, because the last thing in the world I want is to make my son feel inadequate, or that he doesn’t have my approval.  In my view, this is one of the most damaging forms of emotional abuse (harsh words, but necessary to demonstrate the weight I place on this) that a parent can deliver to a child. Promoting a spirit of “wanting to excel and achieve” in a child is very different to setting them unrealistic benchmarks that make them feel like a failure when they don’t meet them. This is by far the biggest motivation I have for learning to modify and limit my expectations of others.

B is for Bitch

This is a meme that I will call the Dictionary of Me. It started over at Bella Dia’s blog and I found it on Cherry Blossom Adventures. Although I know I won’t be as disciplined to do one letter per day, I think it’s a great opportunity to open up to anyone reading my blog and also to help me fine tune my writing skills. I often post on here with a spare five or ten minutes, not giving much consideration to the style or composition, and it’s something I want to minimise from now on.

I encourage comments, because I find it hard to open up at the best of times, but it’s even more difficult when I don’t even know that anyone is listening. I encourage you to share back, particularly when you can identify with what I am writing. It’s nice to hear that you’re not alone!

_________________

B is for Bitch

Sounds pretty self-deprecating, I know. But it’s true, I am a B.I.T.C.H.

I could blame my star sign (Leos are very black and white, grey doesn’t exist for us!), or I could blame the global ratio of fools to intelligent life forms, but in reality, it’s my own affliction and I am ok with owning that.

My therapist will tell you that I suffer from Low Frustration Tolerance (or LFT).  My first boss will tell you that “Justine doesn’t suffer fools lightly”.  I might be know to say “you should know better!”.  But whichever way you look at it, I have a tendency to place high expectations on those around me and vilify them if they struggle to meet said expectations.

To me, and most of the world, that makes me a bitch. 

However, it’s something I’ve been trying to work on for years.  I believe I’ve made the most progress since last year when my Cognitive Behaviour Therapist explained LFT to me.  Just by making me aware of the irrational thinking patterns that lead to LFT made me realise how much I identified with it.  In fact, it’s safe to say that the whole notion of ‘how things should be’ has been a major limiting factor in most of my relationships and experiences to date.

Here is a recipe from the “Book of Stewing.”  The meat for the recipe is, “I must be accepted and appreciated by everyone for everything I do.”  Mix it with the batter of, “You must always support me and put me above everyone and everything else.  Spoil me without expecting anything from me in return.”  Sprinkle it with a seasoning of, “All circumstances must be exactly the way I want them and if they are not, my life is terrible, you’re terrible, and this place is terrible.”  These three ingredients, when mixed, will automatically turn on the “pressure cooker.”  Stew and seethe it all day long.  Note that stewing and seething will be often accompanied by “internal fire-works” that will heat the produce to a “raging” temperature :  A kitchen where this recipe is cooked drives everyone away except the Chef.  Later, the heat gets unbearable even for the Chef.    

I have, in the past, blamed my tendency to over-analyse situations or people for the anger and annoyance I feel for them (and the ensuing bitchy reaction).  But last year I realised that analysis of a situation or a person is only unproductive when the thinking behind that analysis is based on the premise of how things “should” be, or how things “must” be.

It’s interesting that I’ve only really come to realise how damaging all this can be when I’ve been involved with a partner who is also of LFT persuasion.  It’s the reason we have such raging arguements!

In 2008, I want to rid myself of LFT.  I don’t think it’s possible for me to get to the other end of the scale to HFT – that will take a while longer.  But one of my biggest goals of the year is for my partner and I to find ways to combat our LFT together.

Maybe then, I can change this entry to B is for Benevolence.

***

A is for Adam
C is for Chocolate

A is for Adam

This is the beginning of a meme that I will call the Dictionary of Me. It started over at Bella Dia’s blog and I found it on Cherry Blossom Adventures. Although I know I won’t be as disciplined to do one letter per day, I think it’s a great opportunity to open up to anyone reading my blog and also to help me fine tune my writing skills. I often post on here with a spare five or ten minutes, not giving much consideration to the style or composition, and it’s something I want to minimise from now on.

I encourage comments, because I find it hard to open up at the best of times, but it’s even more difficult when I don’t even know that anyone is listening. I encourage you to share back, particularly when you can identify with what I am writing. It’s nice to hear that you’re not alone!

_________________

And so I begin with A is for Adam.

Adam is my partner. We met in January 2005 when we were working on a television program together. Our interaction throughout the production of the show was limited, in fact it wasn’t until May 2005 that we had a conversation that lasted longer than about 90 seconds. According to him, he’d taken notice of me straight away, but said I looked ‘very important’ because I was always in a rush (LOL). Then one weekend, I brought my son to the set with me and at that point he’d assumed I was married. So the flirting was limited until the night of the wrap party, when several alcoholic beverages coupled with cheesy cover band music and a dance floor meant that we got a little more up close and personal.

Our versions of the story from there will differ, mainly because I went home early that night and denied him a drunken snog. He will also claim that I was the next person to make contact, when in fact it was Adam who emailed me the very next day. A week or so of flirtatious emails and he asked me out for a drink. Although he will claim it was me who suggested the drink.

Either way, we had our first ‘date’ on May 26th, 2005. It consisted of 6 bars, 50 or so drinks, limited food and 5 hours of non-stop conversation. We swapped shoes because we discovered we had the same sized feet. We swapped stories about our lives and our loves. We swapped spit at about 1am in a dark corner of Der Raum.

The following couple of months were very casual. I’m not one to ever rush into a relationship and overly keen guys tend to scare me a bit, so the casual development of our relationship was just my speed. Of course from Adam’s point of view – a perpetual bachelor with only one serious relationship to speak of in his 33 years – he was coming to grips with the possibility of committing to a woman with a child.

It was a Saturday night in July that we turned a corner into a serious relationship. I was having two of my dearest friends over for dinner and on the Friday night, I met a few of Adam’s friends and it was hard to miss the obvious ploy to have himself invited to my dinner party the following night. I cast a casual invitation as I left for the evening that night, and proceeded to freak out in the car on the way home. That casual invitation meant three things. a) he was going to meet two of my friends, whose opinion I valued highly, b) he was coming to my house which at the time was a 30 minute drive out of the city which in turn meant he would probably need to stay the night, which in turn meant c) he was going to meet my son for the first time. EEEEK!!!

That evening went surprisingly well, and the following morning the meeting between my son and Adam also went more smoothly than I expected (although I think I was flipping out about it to the point where I forgot to speak most of the morning). And so from there it was like a switch had been moved to the ON position and our relationship blossomed.

Since that time, like any couple, we have had our highlights and our lowlights.

The highlights include, in no particular order:

  • our two week trip to Vietnam together in May 2006, given to me for Christmas in 2005
  • the incredible email exchange and stolen phone calls while Adam was overseas for 6 weeks at the beginning of our relationship
  • our weekend away to Healesville in a cottage , just the three of us
  • our ten course degustation dinner at Momo‘s with two of my best friends
  • our New Year’s Eve stay in Palm Beach in Sydney in 2005 with two of my friends and two of his
  • our subscription to the MTC in 2006
  • our Christmas’ together in 2005, 2006 and 2007
  • our roadtrip up the north coast of NSW in December 07 and January 08
  • the friend’s weddings we’ve been to together

The lowlights cannot be overlooked, because currently we’re giving this relationship our third shot:

  • My birthday in 2006 was an unmitigated disaster
  • Our trip to Daylesford in 2006, which was a birthday present, was awkward and disappointing for both of us as we struggled with being on totally separate emotional pages
  • I called it quits the first time in September 2006, and we got back together a month later.
  • The period we were together between November 2006 and January 2007 was some of the most testing times of my life. Again we were not on the same emotional page and the efforts made to repair were undermined with feelings of hurt, distrust, dishonesty and retribution.
  • January 26, 2007 – Australia Day. In the morning I told Adam I could see the contempt he had for me in his eyes. We went to the Big Day Out, had an awesome day and then came home, tore each other’s hearts out and split up again.
  • In May of 2007, we stopped talking altogether after months of deliberating whether it was worth giving another shot. We both moved on with our lives; for him this meant dating another woman, for me this meant hours and hours of psychotherapy with a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and a string of so many incredibly unsuccessful dates that I considered writing a book.

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