Single Again

Single Again....

Those were the words my ex-boyfriend recently posted on his Facebook page that caused the flood of inquiries from our mutual friends.

But it worked out well. Explaining the situation over and over again helped me to be able to talk (and blog) about it sooner than I might have otherwise.

I spent close to two years with a man who was almost perfect for me.

I remember an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie was rambling to a new guy she met about how hard break-ups were. She said "....and the older you get the harder it gets because the men you're breaking up with aren't wildly inappropriate for you anymore. You don't get out of the relationship and say, 'Whew! Glad I dodged that bullet'." Such is the case with this break-up. This is officially my first break-up where the silver linings are few and far between. He wasn't a bullet.

I'll start this by saying this won't be an over share on the sad details of our heartbreaking end. I've always tried to be somewhat discreet, leaving out the goriest of details in my relationships, never ever talking bad about the father of my child and always respecting the privacy of others. I've always liked to believe that I have enough social sense to recognize what things are sacred and what things are appropriate to share in a public forum. There have, however, been a few blogs that I had written when I was in a really bad place where I ended up going back and editing them or removing them altogether. Which leads me to the first point of this post, how I intend to conduct myself post-break up.

With dignity.

I see it often on Facebook and personal blogs. Over shares. Awkward, make your family and friends uncomfortable while simultaneously making you look crazy, over shares. It's often someone post-break up who is blinded by rage or the pain of rejection to the point where they, once a normal person, seem to lose all class and self-respect. I don't want to be that person. I fear maybe I even was that person at one point in my life. But that's definitely not who I am now.

There's part of me that struggles with feeling a little crazy and unbalanced at times. Constantly checking my phone and wondering what he's doing. Does he miss me as much as I miss him? Has he already met another woman who made him forget about me and that's why he's not texting?! There's part of me that wants to blow up his phone with texts in the middle of the night. There's moments of rage where I want to attack him and others for my broken heart.

But I don't.

Because all I have left right now, in addition to my aching heart, is dignity.

So what does one do when all her dreams of happily ever after fall apart?

Well, in my case, she has a "break-over". I actually can't take credit for this term. It's from a good friend of mine, who happens to be an audiobook. The book is called "It's Called a Break-Up Because it's Broken". This book has seen me through some pretty tough times and, when I turn it on now, it's an old friend that comforts me in my weakest moments.

I've actually become pretty good at break-ups. Here's the thing about me. I hate to be sad. I know, you're probably thinking, "um, that's everyone, Tammi." And I'd have to respond, "Ehhhhhh, I don't know about that."

I believe some people almost feel that they are punishing others to hold on to pain and suffering that someone else may have inflicted. They feel certain crimes are unforgivable and that by letting go of them, they are releasing the person who caused the pain from responsibility of it. News flash! Unless they are found guilty and punished by a court of law, they already aren't responsible. And, sure! You could harass them and make their lives crazy (until they get a restraining order against you) but you still are suffering waaaaaay more than you could ever make them suffer. While someone else initially caused our pain, WE are the ones responsible if we choose to keep reliving it over and over again.

So when someone hurts me, I get mad, I get hurt, I cry hysterically then I get over it. Okay, so I haven't gotten to the getting over it part of this break-up but, hey, give a sister time!

Back to my break-over.

After the initial fog of crippling, want to die pain of a break-up starts to lift, I always start to feel this beautiful new promise in life. I even felt it a few years ago when I was going through my horrible depression. Sometimes I wonder if being in an "on-again/off-again" relationship is what really created such a drastic life change for me because every time it would happen, I would find this strength and resolve that I couldn't find before to change myself in amazing ways.

And I've discovered along the way that the fastest way to get REALLY depressed at night is to not do the right things for myself during the day. Going through the day with the pain and anxiety of a break-up makes me work out extra hard, eat perfectly, organize everything, clear my to-do list. My goal is to get to the end of the day feeling so in control of my life that it overrides the sad out of control feeling that darkness seems to bring during a break-up.

Whenever I feel myself focusing on him, I shift the focus back to myself. Sometimes I actually drop to the ground and do push ups or burpies. I do something to redirect the energy back to myself and I automatically feel energized and more positive because of it.

So these are things I've learned over the years.

However, in addition to all these things, this break-up is different in a couple key ways.

First, I have a very full life with a lot of things that fill me up. I think this is SO important! When you make a man your life and that man is suddenly gone (for whatever reason), BAM! You now have no life! I have a career I love with promise of more and more growth. I have hobbies that fill my free moments. An insatiable thirst for knowledge. A son who lights up my life. A family and friends who give me hugs and make me laugh during the dark moments. Even this blog provides me with an important outlet that allows me to heal while connecting with and often helping others. Without all this, my life would feel so empty right now. I would feel like I HAD to have him back because, otherwise, why would life be worth living? This often leads women (me being one of them in the past) to get back with a man that isn't right for them. However, when a woman has a strong sense of self, not only does she not need the man to complete her life (no matter how painful it is without him) but she also recognizes that she deserves all the love and adoration that a strong, beautiful, complex woman deserves. She holds out. Maybe even forever.

Which leads me to the other big difference between this break-up and others. When I would break-up before, I would always look for a new man. And I mean immediately. This was actually kind of my calling card my whole dating life (which started at about 13 or 14 years old, had a marriage in the middle of it, and then picked right back up immediately after I got out of the marriage). Other than a very brief time a couple years ago when, to be totally honest, I was still occasionally sneaking up the mountain to see my ex, I've never NOT looked for a man. This time I can honestly say I have absolutely, positively NO interest in finding a man. First, my relationship that just ended was beautiful and deserves the respect of a proper mourning period. Second, and most importantly, this is MY time! I don't have another 2 years to give to yet another guy to truly get to know him and see if it works out. I can whole heartedly declare that I am FINALLY enough!

Instead, I've started reconnecting with old friends, planning some girls' nights out and working on myself every chance I get. My career, my body, my son, my soul.

In yoga last night I had tears running down my face at one point. I didn't look to see if anyone could see. I didn't care. I was completely at peace with the perfect swirl of pain and joy of finally loving myself enough. I am allowing myself to truly feel the pain. Not out of some kind of sadistic cause but because I'm not going to run from it anymore. My ex can't be replaced. The empty spot can not just be filled by the next warm body, by food, tv, alcohol or any other band-aid. I am at peace with the empty spot where he once was. I will soon start letting the other areas of my life spill into and fill that empty spot but, right now, it remains as a place of honor for what we had because, good or bad, it was my experience and a chapter in my life story.

Maybe one day I'll go on some dates with some cute guys. Maybe someday I'll be single no more. Hell! Maybe some day we will come back together as slightly different, perfect for each other, people and get our fairy tail ending after all. But this is certain. I'm done looking. I'm done compromising. This is it. This is the one life I get and I'm going to sop up every last second of it with the succulent, complete and more than enough singleness that is me. <3

Drive and Learn

Anyone who is a friend, client or within earshot of me for more than five minutes knows that I love audiobooks and podcasts. I've already created a list of other educational material here such as audiobooks and movies.

However, the thing about podcasts that makes me love them above all other modes of education is that, in addition to being free, they are full of the latest, most relevant, information.

Podcasts are a great way to stay informed on the subjects that interest you most. They are also a great way to get a daily dose of motivation to help keep you on track toward you goals.

Here is the list of podcasts that I always stay completely up to date on:

Less Doing Raido with Arie Meisel. started in early 2011 as a blog of productivity and wellness hacks. It quickly developed into a framework for optimizing, automating, and outsourcing everything in people’s personal and professional lives. The blog covers email management, never running errands again, better sleep, cognitive performance, organization, and even stress management with the goal of making everything in your life easier.

It's no accident that I listed this podcast first. Arie's podcast is my favorite so far. He covers everything from how to be healthy and fit to how to streamline your to-do list and stop wasting time.

Underground Wellness Radio with Sean Croxton

Underground Wellness is a resource for TRUTH in fitness, nutrition, and health. Get informed and improve your health by joining Sean for a weekly expert interview.

I love Sean's podcast so I want to establish this before you listen to his podcasts. His intro is horrible. It's all grainy and he kinda yells "Whazzup! Whazzup!" It makes him sound like a basement weirdo but this dude knows his stuff and gets some amazing guests on his show so give him a chance.

Fat-Burning Man with Abel James

Abel James is a pretty man with a catchy title. Which probably lures many in but I would guess also turns many away. Don't be put off by the shirtless pics and the singular sounding title. Yes, Abel James cares about being fit and keeping body fat low but his bio-hacking knowledge and diverse collection of guests offer cutting edge knowledge on all things food and fitness.

Get-It Done Guy with Stever Robbins

I actually found Robbins from a the Less Doing podcast. He was a guest on the show. While I don't enjoy his podcast quite as much as Meisel's, I still automatically download and listen to all new episodes because it's definitely worth the listen.

Cut the Fat Podcast

One of my most favorite podcasts (and one I always recommended that my weight loss clients listen to the first five episodes of) has decided to yank some of their most valuable material to make a buck. They've also stopped producing new material. Their podcasts starting #34 are still available on their website for free so take a look if you'd like as this is still very valuable information but I'm not going to provide a link from my page because I'm very disappointed on how they decided to start trying to capitalize on the loyal following they had obtained.

Super Nutrition Academy Health Class with Yuri Elkman

Okay, now we're are getting into podcasts that I don't religiously listen to. One of my issues with Yuri is that he often has very specific interviews that don't pertain to the whole population (like the more obscure diseases) and his and his guests' views can be a little too extreme. Not to say that their views are wrong but I reach a point where I start to get depressed and discouraged to learn things like my shower could be killing me and the things in the air I can't do anything about. That being said, he has some really good content that you can pick through and listen to when all your other favorite podcasters haven't came out with any new shows in the last few days.

So these are my top picks (all available on iTunes by the way) but this barely scratches the surface. And while the genre of podcasts I listen to is pretty narrow (although I do listen to parenting podcasts as well), there are as many subjects covered in podcasts as there are crowds to enjoy them, so get to listening!

The Ugly Duckling Syndrome

Yesterday my (almost 6-year old) son and I went exploring our local area on foot. We were walking to a park we had never been to before. On the way we saw two rather ferocious looking dogs ahead that were running around barking aggressively at us. I stopped us and told him that I wasn't sure that the dogs were on leashes and that maybe we should turn back. Just then I looked up again and could see a chain jerk tight on one of the dogs as it jumped up. Then I noticed a rather rough looking woman sitting in the yard looking at me like I was an idiot for being afraid of her obviously chained up dogs. Before I could say that they were on chains, my son took my hand firmly and tugged. He looked up at me with the bravest look on his little face and said, "Come on Mommy, I'll protect you." I kept my knowledge of the leashes to myself and allowed him to bravely lead us into danger.

To that woman, I was a fool. To my son, as he would tell me later, I was a lady who needed to be protected by a gentlemen. That experience could mean two things to me. I could have a chip on my shoulder about the judgmental look from the woman or I could embrace the fact that my son had a chance to be a hero and protect his mommy, who he obviously must love and value a lot. I choose the latter.

A few years ago I was in a bar. One of my favorite non-mommy, non-healthy things to do is to find some good live music in an unassuming bar, sink into a dark corner and nurse a beer while I people watch. I love to see them laughing and dancing and just study the dynamics of different types of people in one festive place together. Well, the person I was with that particular night tried to shame me for not getting up and dancing and socializing. He said I was a knot on a log. I argued that I love to do those things (which I do!) but I liked to people watch too. In retrospect, I wish I could go back, being the person I am now and simple shrug my shoulders and say, "This is what I like." 

So how do these two stories relate? They are all about perspective. I have spent most of my life being the ugly duckling. Too freely sharing my feelings, being weird, being too enthusiastic, too dramatic, too this and that. Only recently have I come to learn that I am not "too" any of those things, except to a select few who are rude enough to point it out. 

When I worked in an office setting, my loud dramatic expressions were frowned upon by somber business men. Now, in the fitness industry, I am hugged and thanked for my explosion of personality on a fairly regular basis. Am I everyone's cup of tea? Most definitely not! But neither are you. And neither is anyone. 

In this life we will always be ugly to someone in some capacity. We can choose to define ourselves by the opinions of the few or we can choose to define ourselves as the ugly duckling, simply misunderstood and absolutely beautiful in our own space. Once again, I choose the latter.