First Date Chronicles (3): Somebody Call Poison Control Because There’s Some Toxic Masculinity Invading My Space (Part II)

Happy Wednesday my friends,

Welcome back to my date with the douche, or as I’ll call him Putin. If you missed out on last week’s post, I encourage you to hop on there before reading this one. It will give you the full effect.

As a quick intro, I had a date with the most toxically masculine individual that I’ve ever met. Let’s begin…

One of the worst parts of dating during quarantine is the limited options when it comes to date locations. Unfortunately, this date was hosted at my place (this will serve as an important plot point later in the story). After having a 2-hour conversation filled with red flags the day of the date, I started to question whether or not I even wanted to go through with it. When he suggested tacos, my doubting immediately ceased.

It was action time, he rode up on his horse (technically a Ford crossover). I was greeted with a What’sApp notification from Putin that said and I quote: “Daddy’s home”. As you can imagine, it took a lot of willpower to answer the door after that.

For reference

He was immediately greeted with a warm welcome from Wentworth. I figured that was enough of a welcome, so I reached for the bag of tacos and walked towards the kitchen without even acknowledging his presence. If you can’t tell, I was beyond done before the date even began. To my surprise, he was actually quite charming. I thought that perhaps he just had trouble getting his points across as he had taught himself english. In fact, I had to teach him earlier in the day that bratty is actually not a term of endearment. I realized at that point that no woman had ever challenged him likely because of his looks and intimidating physical presence.

As I slowly started unpacking the tacos I noticed something strange. There was a stack of six, but only one was the type that I ordered. I asked him why he only brought one taco for me. Putin confidently replied: “It’s healthier for you”.

My Response

I decided to keep it classy since that’s the way my mom raised me. I will admit to passively aggressively chewing my ONE taco trying to get as much air in as possible to help quell my hunger. Our dinner conversation started quite light. He could be funny if he wanted to be, BUT then it happened. Somehow he managed to turn the topic of conversation to gender roles– an apparent obsession for him. He commented upon how I kept house and said that it was “more than acceptable”. He said that only women should be nurses and that males make better surgeons. I clapped back as the kids say. I had to explain the barriers that affect women entering into certain professions and the stigmas associated with men entering culturally “feminine” careers. He said that “being bad at something because you are a woman is not a barrier”. I honestly thought that I was being trolled at this point. The rest of the dinner consisted of heated debates regarding his backwards beliefs. To my surprise, he thought that the date was going well so he wanted to watch a movie. I thought “why not?!”. His ignorance had almost become amusing at this point.

I didn’t know that it was possible to be a toxically masculine Netflix watcher, but apparently it is. I picked up the remote and he snatched it out of my hand before I even had a chance to turn the tv on. I honestly froze…I realized that he reveled in wielding his physical dominance over others. I sat as far away as possible from him which he apparently took as an invitation to move closer. As we were trying to decide upon movies, I gave up on voicing my opinion because he would respond with “Dear, and then something condescending”. We, forgive me he, decided upon a movie. He then decided to turn his attention towards my relationship with Wentworth. He complained that I let Wentworth cuddle with me on the couch. He said that I should never put a dog before a man, and that going forward he would be the new King of my castle. He told me that I should put him outside, so that we could be alone. When I told him that Wentworth gets anxiety at night, he replied “Does it look like I care? I’m the man”. No one comes for my dog like that. I was pissed. I wanted him gone.

I tried pretending to be asleep. He took that as an invitation to wake me up with a kiss. I stopped him and told him that I like to take things slow. Nevertheless, he persisted. How brave of him right?! I then decided that plan was not going to work. While thinking of my next tactic, he decided to grab my face and kiss me again. I stopped him again and told him that I wanted to take things slow. He said that he didn’t understand the problem since I’ve kissed a man before. Ummm what?! I then pulled out the good ol’ fashioned it’s getting late and I’ve had a long day. He replied that he brought a toothbrush and we can get some rest. That’s when I really started panicking. I realized that I was trapped.

I came to the realization that I had one tool left to try and get him to leave, but it was risky for me…I had to use his toxic masculinity against him. This time I initiated the kiss. I drew him into it. I pretended to melt into his embrace. As soon as I felt the confidence in his kiss, I pushed him away. I told him that I tried, but it just wasn’t good. He immediately popped up, put on his shoes, grabbed his keys and left. I kid you not. He said that he wasn’t going to grovel on his knees like a little schoolboy. He admitted to having a big ego and said that he was over me playing games with it. I feigned surprise and asked him to stay (a trick I learned to push him further away). Wentworth, naive to the situation at hand, happily chased him out of the door.

That was the last I hear from here. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a great loss on my part.

Please stay safe out there while navigating these odd dating times. Let me know about your post first date.

Yours always,

EM

Me Crush Monday (3): If I Could Hold You in My Arms–An Essay to My Younger Self

Happy Monday all,

I hope that you had a restful and restorative weekend. For this week’s Me Crush Monday, I want to encourage you to write a letter to your younger self. The inner child inside of all of us that still needs to be nurtured and loved.

Write as if you know their future and you want them to receive as much love as they possibly can in order to prepare themselves for it. Write it with an understanding that they are naive to what is to come. Write it with an understanding that you deserve to forgive yourself for all of the meandering that life’s journey has taken you upon.

I wrote my letter this weekend after an incredibly difficult time. Mental health is incredibly important and often times I forget that I am the product of my experiences. I needed to remind myself that I was doing the best that anyone could do given my life circumstances. I needed to remind myself that my best may not look too hot as this point in time. I needed to remind myself that I need to actively heal from all stages in my life. I needed to remind myself that there is no right way to be. This is where I am in life and I’m pretty damn proud. This is my life and I’m doing my best to live it.

I have included a short excerpt from my letter to my younger self to help inspire you in your writing:

“Dear EM,

It has been awhile since we last chatted. I wanted to check on you on. I know that you’ve been going through a lot lately. Dad is gone. I hate to be the one to tell you that he’s not coming back. I hope that you’re taking care of Winter. He’ll be your best bud to the very end. Appreciate your time with him because dog years are real. He will be with you until you must leave him to go on your journey to higher education. He will peacefully cross over the rainbow bridge knowing that he gave you all of the love that any dog can give an owner. Your heart will break again– you’ll get used to this feeling. “

Happy writing my friends!

Yours always,

EM

Lessons from Therapy(2): The Weight of Nothingness

I remember the first time that I encountered the phantom that is nothingness. An indescribable weight. Unlike Atlas, whose form is bent and broken under the weight of the world upon his shoulders, there was nothing there. An unspoken and unseen burden. A loss for words. A loneliness. You see, there are many burdens that swallow the soul and break down even the strongest of beings. Yet they seem to be comprehensible, but nothingness is everything without being. There is not a panacea for this malady. No finger to point towards blame. There is… .

It evokes a soft plea for help. Others don’t understand. They may have felt this nothingness at some point, yet in its non-existent uniformity it still bears weight differently for different people. Nothingness was the weight that beared down upon me the first time I ventured into my therapist’s office. It seemed as if my body defied Newton’s laws of gravity as I felt myself sinking below the couch that was meant to support me; it was a metaphor for the discomfort that permeated every aspect of my life. I barely made it into the office that day. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I was dragged out of bed and still wearing PJs. I was greeted with a hello and a sincere compliment about my ensemble. She was greeted with a deluge of tears. That was enough for me.

Very few words were exchanged that day. To the outside world, it would not be seen as progress. It would not be viewed as the inception of a strong bond. No one would see what I’d discovered for myself that day, and that’s okay. I wasn’t there for anyone else. I was barely there for myself. I understood that I found a space to cultivate the words that would slowly unload the invisible burden upon my shoulders.

The first lesson that I learned from therapy was the very fact that I needed it.

Yours always,

EM

P.S. I am a firm believer in therapy…even if you believe that you are not struggling with anything in your life. Perhaps you’ve encourage others in your life to seek it out, but felt that you were unworthy of the same service. You are. I encourage you to seek out help if you need it or even if you don’t. It’s nice to share in a space without judgement.

If You, or SOMEONE you Know is in Crisis Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).

First Date Chronicles (2): Somebody Call Poison Control Because There’s Some Toxic Masculinity Invading My Space (Part I)

Happy Wednesday my friends,

I invite you to grab some popcorn, a glass of wine or three, and settle in to my date with the douche. Let’s call him Putin.

Part I: Enough Red Flags to Line an Ultramarathon

Before we begin, let me preface this story by taking full responsibility for ignoring the pre-date red flags. In my defense, he is Russian so I cut him a little slack 🤷🏽‍♀️.

I’ll list a few of the red flags below:

  1. His insistence that girls and guys cannot be friends…and that if we dated I would not be able to hang out with my closest guy friends 1:1.
  2. His very arbitrary points system. At first I thought that it was a joke about brownie points, but he’d reference it throughout multiple points in conversations because I was and I quote: “Trying out to be on his varsity team”.
  3. His insistence that cleaning would be 60/40 with me doing the heavy lifting. Furthermore, he said that was him being generous. Ideally, it would be 100/0. He also said that cooking would be 100/0.
  4. His insistence that if a girl is assaulted then it is her fault. She should know that every guy is potentially just trying to get in her pants…including her own father 🤢🤮.
  5. That I should stop dating other people and cancel my plans for the next week before we even had a chance to meet.
  6. Somehow all of his exes happened to be “crazy”
  7. His insistence that he has everything that a woman can want and that it’s okay for him to suggest changes to her. Any changes that she would suggest would likely be small and unimportant.
  8. His claim that he dated nothing but models and that he received acclaim for his skills as a lover

I know…I’m judging myself too. What the heck was I thinking?! I felt a responsibility to challenge his problematic ideas and a girl has got to eat 🤷🏽‍♀️.

Turns out the pre-date red flags were just the tip of the iceberg. Tune in next week for Part II to hear about the actual date.

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know about the types of red flags that you look for before a potential date.

Yours always,

EM

Some Potential Background Vocals

Me Crush Monday (2)- Never Going to Give You Up, Never Going to Let You Down

Happy Monday my friends! I hope your weekend was as hot as the dumpster fire that is 2020…oh wait I’m trying to be more positive. Anyways, let me know in the comments section how your list of affirmations came along.

For this week’s Me Crush Monday, I want to talk to you about body image. It’s something that many of us have struggled with at some point in our lives. For the lucky few, the major wave of the issue started and ended with puberty. For others, it is and will be a lifelong struggle. I’ve personally always struggled with body image. It’s not something that I easily admit because admitting it truly makes me feel even more self-conscious. There are times that I still get dressed in the dark and avoid mirrors. It’s not healthy per say, but it’s better than catching those glimpses of myself at the wrong angle that could potentially lead to me having a rough day.

For this week’s Me Crush Monday, I encourage you to talk about yourself the way you’d talk about your crush– respectfully, but with stars in your eyes. The way you talk about their smile, the way you talk about their laugh, their odd smirks, or their quirky walking gait. Instead of investing that energy into your admiration of someone else, give yourself the chance to view yourself through those rose colored glasses. For everyday this week, I want you to avoid those negative obsessions and obsess over one small, positive thing about yourself; the same way that you’d obsess over a crush. It’s easy to give other people credit for the little things that make them oh so lovable. We all deserve to see those things in ourselves. At the end of the day, your crush on yourself is the crush that carries the most weight. Learning to love yourself is difficult, but it will benefit you for the rest of your life.

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know about the things about you that make you oh so lovable 🙂

Yours always,

EM

Lessons from Therapy: Two Roads Diverged in the Wood and I– I Took the Most Convenient Path

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand many things about life. Bills do not magically pay themselves. You may hate your job, but you’d hate your life without one even more. Justin Timberlake’s frosted tips were never attractive. One of the biggest revelations of my life, however, is that not everything has to be incredible; if something is not incredible, it can still be extraordinarily meaningful.

Sometimes just doing is doing just enough– this is what I call the most convenient path. In essence, we all need to learn to give ourselves grace. Not everyone can take the road less traveled and that’s okay. We’re not all meant to be start-up founders. There is comfort in what is known. Our lives are complicated and many of us are just doing the best that we can. Instead of judging ourselves for not taking the road less traveled, we should appreciate ourselves for venturing to journey in the first place. No one said that life would be easy and we’ve all experienced doses of that to some degree. We deserve to give ourselves some credit.

Yours always,

EM

PPE Recommendation- Caraa Universal Face Masks

Hey y’all! I just wanted to hop on here to give a quick PPE recommendation. I happened upon Caraa Sports’ line of PPE after a long search to find reusable masks that did not irritate my skin and were breathable. After reading over 1,000 5-star reviews regarding the products, I ended up ordering a pair of their universal masks in the assorted marine colors . I am officially obsessed. The colors are even more beautiful in person and they are so easy to breath in. Caraa Sports’ masks might truly be the best out there.

A pack of 5 masks costs $25 and every mask purchase is matched with a donation to relief efforts. That is another reason why I wanted to share these with you. Your small purchase has the ability to help others by not only keeping your immediate community safe, but by also helping out first responders. I encourage you to check them out.

P.S. They just released a new line of fall colors.

If you end up picking some up, let me know if you like them!

Yours always,

EM

First Date Chronicles: We’re Not Really Strangers

For my first, First Date Chronicles I wanted to share a potential tool to help make first dates a little less awkward. I don’t know if any of y’all have heard of the game We’re Not Really Strangers, but it was recommended to me by a friend and it was honestly one of my best purchases of 2020. I thought I’d pass this along to y’all.

Per the game’s website: “We’re Not Really Strangers is a purpose driven card game and movement all about empowering meaningful connections. Three carefully crafted levels of questions and wildcards that allow you to deepen your existing relationships and create new ones. “

I could not agree more with the above description. I decided to use it on a recent first date. I’ve played it with friends during quarantine as a means of strengthening our bonds, but I thought that it would be interesting to bring the game into the romantic sphere. There are three levels, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too deep too early. Surprisingly, my date was incredibly open to it. It invited some of the deepest conversation that I’ve ever had on a first date. I seriously recommend you trying it especially during these difficult times when we must be more deliberate in our romantic ventures. I’m happy to say that we have another date planned for next weekend, so at least it didn’t scare him off lol.

Side note: I also think that some of the questions can serve as good prompts for journaling. I believe that we all lie to ourselves in small ways which inevitably alienates us from ourselves. I want to encourage you to not be a stranger to yourself especially if you are putting the energy into getting to know someone else.

Let me know if you end up trying it out. I’d love to hear more about how the game works out for you.

Yours always,

EM

Update: They’ve released a voting edition for those who are curious about that as well.

Thoughts for my Thoughts: “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”-Pericles

In honor of the emotionally draining election period we are going through and today’s voter registration deadline, I thought I’d share a quick quote from one of my favorite philosophers.

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”-Pericles

In summary my friends, please vote.

I know that this election is being touted as the election to end all elections but that is simply untrue. Our right and duty to exercise our freedom of involvement in public matters, has and will always matter. Please do not forget that regardless of the outcome or of the individuals running for office.

I encourage you to explore for yourself what you are the policies being proposed by both sides regardless of your political leanings. Empathy and compromise are the best ways to deal with this contentious time period.

I’d love to hear more from you. Happy debating my friends!

Yours always,

EM

Me Crush Mondays …because we all deserve to love ourselves the way that Kanye loves Kanye

In honor of the undoubtedly rough week ahead, I’ve decided to start a new series called Me Crush Mondays. I’m really excited to share this concept with y’all. Mondays signal the start to a new week, but they can also serve as a mini refresh/ source of encouragement if you allow for them to. Instead of getting the Monday scaries, we can all work towards shaping a positive habit or form of self care that energizes us for the start of the week. I’ve always struggled with Mondays and I wanted to share this idea with y’all as soon as it popped into my head. I hope that it may help you in some small way. Perhaps, you can inspire others in your lives to start the week off with a more positive mindset…I just realized how ironic my intro sentence is haha.

In all honesty, very few of us give ourselves the appreciation that we deserve. For this first Me Crush Monday, I encourage you to make a list of at least 5 affirmations. Take time to meditate upon them. Try not to make them general affirmations. Make them specific to you and your journey. On Monday, I want you to read them to yourself while looking in the mirror- when you wake up in the morning, when you take a lunch break, or whenever you have time.

I’ll share with you one of my first affirmations: You are strong for choosing to court the uncertainty that comes with pursuing your dreams in the midst of your deep grief.

Side note: As counterintuitive as it may seem, these Monday posts will go live on Sundays. I’m hoping that this will give you time to prepare yourself/ have something to look forward to on Mondays. Of course, all of these activities can be performed at any point in the week.

Feel free to share some of your affirmations below. I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget…