How To Use Empathy to Rule the World

howtoOxford Dictionaries defines empathy as “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” What a perfect description right? It sounds so simple, yet can seem so complicated; empathy may be a difficult concept to wrap your head around at first.

I first learned the art of empathy when I was about 17 years old. In my thirties now, I’ve had plenty of time to master these skills on each a personal, professional, and social level.

It’s always interesting to me how some people seem naturally graceful when it comes to empathy. Like they came right out of their mother’s womb and immediately aquired the amazing talent of relating to everyone around them.

And then there are the ‘others’. The ones who would have to learn these skills to obtain them because it’s just not ultimately in their personality to think like that. When empathy is used by either party, the results can be the same. The ‘others’ however, will obviously have to try even harder to truly reap the benefits of this gift.

Lucky for me, I’m definitely the type who is naturally empathetic, so once I got the concept of how I could use it to my advantage, it was like a freight train took off and nothing was going to stop it. Lol. Empathy is awesome that way!

So the story goes something like this: I got my very first job when I was about 17 years old. It was a humble position; working as a bag-girl at our local Safeway (a grocery store), but it was great for a beginner in the work force like me.

The funny thing is, working there taught me more about empathy and true Customer Service than I ever thought possible. It opened doors for me I never expected. Let’s just say that Safeway’s 3 week Customer Service Training Program was extremely thorough and definitely world-class, so I got VERY lucky with that one.

It was in one of these training sessions where a supervisor drilled ideas… errr…I mean… taught me (over and over) the most important part of how to function as a truly empathetic person.

More specifically, he told me to, “Walk a mile in the shoes of another and only then will you understand how they really feel.” Now at first, my 17-year-old brain just thought he was being a cryptic bastard. But after a little contemplation, the light bulb finally flicked on and I just got it.

I realized that by asking myself how I would feel as a customer, a friend, or a lover in the same situation, I could better understand the perspectives from all sides of the conflict and therefore come to smarter and more likeable resolutions for my problems.

For example: as a bag girl, I would often have to deal with customers who were extremely rude. Some were so angry or upset that they would be screaming and causing a real scene. In these circumstances, there was a very clear procedure that Safeway taught and empathy played a big role in their success.

Their whole slogan was “the customer is always right” so it was my job to make sure the unsatisfied customer walked away happy no matter what. By putting myself in their shoes right there in the store, I quickly learned the truth about how easy it actually was to subdue a yelling or angry customer. It was like magic. Just by simply listening, understanding, and acknowledging their troubles, I was often able to diffuse a difficult customer without too much trouble. I’m telling you, it really does work like a charm.

So in a professional sense, anyone that has to deal with people (whether they are your peers or your customers) will benefit from using empathy. It can increase your interpersonal skills with co-workers. Not to mention that your customers will begin to feel like you really know them and pay attention, so in return they will provide the loyalty required to maintain a successful career. Yay!

Bringing empathy to the table in your social life can also allow you to relate better with your friends. Ultimately, if you are no longer able to understand where your friends are coming from, you will drift apart or cause a rift. It’s human nature.

Empathy is extremely important within the social circle because of this and can be used to make acquaintances feel more comfortable and connected with you than ever before. You might even find that they want you around so much, you’ll suddenly have a hard time choosing what to do each weekend.

Having the new empathetic you around is a real pleasure that they will definitely seek you out again and again.

Note: to really amp up the mystery and appeal here, I always try to exit social situations on a high note. This leaves your friends with the constant impression that they like having you around. This is because you haven’t stayed long enough to get on anybody’s nerves yet. Hehehe.

Anyways, empathy can also bring an intimate relationship to a gratifying new high. Chances are, you are probably more empathetic with your partner than you would be with just about anyone without even thinking about it. This is because you share more of life’s current circumstances with this person, so they are the ones who will ultimately feel the most for your situation. This causes a natural empathetic viewpoint.

When you are consciously using empathy with your partner, they feel more valued, listened to, understood, and loved. It really is a wonderful way to show appreciation for your loved one and helps to keep the lines of communication open and flowing.

Think about it; if your partner was intently listening to you and then showing recognition with their words and actions on a regular basis, you would probably be feeling pretty good about them too. It’s win, win every time. [wink]

So whether you’re dealing with a professional, social, or an intimate partner, I hope you can see just how truly valuable empathy can be. Because it does work so well, it has proven to me (many times) that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a valuable skill to practice.

I hope you can benefit from my lesson, too. Are you an empathetic person or are you someone who views empathy as weakness? Feel free to share your thoughts below. I’m always interested in what you have to say.

Resources:
Oxford Dictionary Online

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What I Love: Fridays

TGIFHappy Friday everyone! I hope you all have a great weekend coming up! 🙂

Since I didn’t share a true confession yesterday, I thought I’d kick off the weekend by letting you in on a little secret of mine: I love Fridays!!! Yes, LOL, it’s not the most risqué admission, but Fridays really are the only day where I tend to get friskier and smile just a little bit more than usual.

The excitement that most Fridays bring to me is unparalleled. It’s like a big old glass of sunshine on a cold winter day. I live to spread my enthusiasm on the last day of the week and I’m not ever going to stop, either. So there. ;p…

Anyways, smiles and giggles kicked into high gear, Fridays are the highlight of every week for me. It’s the reward I get for working so hard; a time for indulgence and play; or even just a visit with friends and some relaxing conversation. However you do it, Friday brings the relief of knowing you now have a few days off to relax and to finally take some time for yourself. Ahhhhh-mazing!

Fridays are just awesome, so TGIF all around!!! I love them with all my heart and I know I’m not alone. It’s time to celebrate!! Friday is here and it’s the best night to dress up, put your party shoes on, and let loose!! I love it so much!!!

So be beautiful and have an amazing Friday night for yourself! You deserve it, of that I’m sure. God knows I’ve read some great posts out there this week! 😉

And how will you enjoy spending your Friday evening? Do you like to dress up and get out there too? Hit me up below & we’ll chat soon. Cheers and TGIF all! 🙂

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What I Love: Confessions

Confessions

“Confession: An acknowledgement that one has done something about which one is ashamed or embarrassed”  ~Oxford Dictionary Online

Confessions can be juicy, exciting, incredulous, or just downright delicious. Once exposed, these secrets can provoke reactions ranging from empathy to cynicism to absolute abhorrence and/or disgust. The most enticing confessions are the ones that most people can relate to but few will actually admit to. Everybody in this world has a deep dark secret to confess (don’t think you’re the only one) and for some, the need to express these feelings on a broader scale (with or without anonymity) is part of a larger healing process.

Whether you confess to a priest in a church, a best friend by your side, or a complete stranger on the internet, the urge to share our secrets is surprisingly strong. The need to be freed from the torment of repeated thoughts and to make things right can be overwhelming at times, to say the least. While I’m not exactly sure why this is, I just know it to be true for some people, myself included.

That’s why I think that the “Confessions” page from Vancouver’s The Georgia Straight is a great sounding board for all the embarrassing confessions of the world. Its format is simple, the premise is clear, and the lure of all the juicy tidbits is intoxicating. Honestly, I spend so much time checking back there for updates, I’ve thought about emailing them to request a warning about their insanely addictive properties.

Reading the often strange confessions and then the even stranger replies, you may feel like you want to laugh in hysterics, cry with anguish, or even just scream right out loud at your computer. This is definitely normal. The Georgia Straight mixes a dose of reality with a hint of anonymity creating a safe (yet opinionated) place to vent your frustrations. A place to let your secrets flow. It’s seriously awesome and addicting too. It’s the only website that I frequent so much my favourites button completely wore out at one point. [wink]

So what is it that I love today? Confessions. The website and the action itself. And both are great, in my opinion. In fact… I might just indulge in some confessions again right now…. Errmmm… gotta run, but before I go – do you like confessions too or are you someone who prefers not to indulge in juicy gossip? Feel free to spill your guts in my comment section. Cheers!

References:
The Georgia Straight Confessions Page
The Georgia Straight Home Page
The Oxford Dictionary Definition of Confession

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What I’m Thankful For: My Bed

ThanksI’m one of those strange people who has a very strong attachment to my bed. It’s a constant longing for, really. It’s quite odd. For some reason, I have unconciously associated my bed with my “home”, leaving me to crave it’s cottony-fresh touch at any chance I can get.

Sometimes, my bed even feels like my best friend. If I have a bad day, it wraps me up in its warmth and supports me like nothing else can. It’s the first place I’ll go when I’m giddy too, so I can roll all around with excitement and scream into my pillows until my lungs hurt.

If my bed could talk, it would tell all kinds of secrets that only an intimate partner would know. Most certainly in this day and age, a girl has got to keep hold of as much dignity as possible. A great bed will hold all your deepest secrets safe and protect you from probing inquiries as well (yea, I went there).

So thank god for my personal cloud of down; my own piece of horizontal paradise… As strange as it seems, I’d be completely lost without my bed as my home. When I need a soft landing or if there’s a secret ready to explode, it will always be the first place I turn to. And I am grateful for it.

So I have to know… Do you feel the same way about your bed? Attachment issues to another inanimate object? Let’s chat about it below.

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Why I No Longer Crave ‘Bad Boys’

WhyAll it took was a chance meeting and a three-month relationship packed full of trouble to realize that the temptation that is the ‘bad boy’ no longer held the same charm for me. That heady pull and dangerous attraction I once felt was now replaced with a sense of appreciation for a true ‘good guy’ instead.

So here’s my story…

I’ve always been a ‘good girl’ who has, time and time again, found myself instinctively attracted to ‘good guys’. Yes, I really did mean to say ‘good guys’ – LOL. I know… it’s rare, right? A self-proclaimed ‘good girl’… looking for a ‘good guy’…? It’s like an anomaly or something. It’s definitely not the typical stereotype that’s out there in society to date. That’s for sure.

It always seems to me that my girlfriends are drawn naturally to the ‘bad boy’. And the shadier the character, the better too. Rationality clearly does not play a part into this type of decision, so this kind of lust must manifest on a deeper level somehow.

Our North American culture often perpetuates this stereotype with books, movies, and music dedicated to the subject. These outlets often paint a girl’s obsession with ‘bad boys’ as fun or exciting instead of troublesome, as these relationships can be.

Occasionally, I would find myself out with my girlfriends and I would wonder what the hell these girls – these quality girls – were thinking. They repeatedly chose men that lied, cheated, disrespected, and maybe even abused. It never seemed right to me and I always gently gave my opinion, but was careful not to cross any lines. I did my best to avoid this type of relationship and kept my eyes open to the typical signs as much as possible.

That’s not to say that I’ve never dated a ‘bad boy’ myself, because I definitely have. One relationship in particular jumps into the fore-front of my mind every time I think about this topic. It’s probably because he looked just about as ‘bad boy’ as they come and he had the attitude to match.

I met Ryan* while driving home in my car one Summer day (I was in my 20’s at the time). He was SO amazingly good-looking (oh yes, he really was – sigh) I just HAD to pass him my phone number through the window. I could barely believe it when he actually called me later that day and asked me out on a date. I was in heaven and couldn’t wait to meet him again the next day.

Right away, it was obvious. He was a REAL ‘bad boy’ and counter to that, I was acting like a doped up Lil puppet and I couldn’t even stop myself. I found it completely impossible to form a single thought of my own around him. It was like I was high off his energy or something. I was so entranced by his looks and charm, I had become a starry-eyed zombie. Just like those girls. It was absolute craziness.

Basically, it would take me a week to type out all of the trouble he got me into over the course of our relationship. It was that much. Instead, I’m just going to list some of his worst offences below to give you an idea of the kind of guy I’m talking about.

• On our first date, he stole a wallet from a gas station bathroom and used the funds to pay for our dinner. I should’ve known there was a problem right there, but I continued on anyways because he was so captivating. Somehow, he managed to make me believe it was fateful instead of illegal, so I accepted this behavior, when I shouldn’t have. I felt really bad about it later, too.

• My friends disliked him immediately and he was not helping things by being an arrogant dick, chugging their liquor, and magically getting me to do things I never would’ve done in a million years. He even hit on other girls in front of me without a reaction. My friends could see his disrespect and my disregard, so they hated him for it.

• He ran up and over a car in a campground, denting the hood and roof, and causing thousands of dollars in damage. I did not think this was very cool, either. To make matters worse, he was arrested for doing it right in front of most of my family. Oh yea, it was the first time they met him too. Family vacations can be very entertaining at times like this. -eyeroll- Most of my family hated him after this.

• He yelled at my sister and drove like a maniac in my car (I let him because I was unable to say no to him at all). At one point, his driving got so bad, my sister was screaming and thrashing about in the back seat trying to get him to stop. I was afraid, but still mesmerized, so I just remained silent. Then he sped us through a construction zone (almost hitting a worker and causing many others to jump out-of-the-way). This lead to a registered letter threatening legal action and now my sister hated him too (we were only reprimanded in the end and he was not allowed to drive my car anymore).

After alienating all my friends and my family, I was still unbelievably enamored with him and was completely under his control. Things were starting to cave in from all directions now and I was constantly defending him to everybody. It was strange that I still couldn’t see the problem clearly.

Now some of this will be embarrassing to admit, but it’s all true, so I’m going to continue to the end no matter how painful it might be to recall…

One night after all of that, I invited about 50 of my closest friends over for a house party. Ryan is with me (despite the groans of my friends) and not even an hour into it, he’s pissed drunk and starts acting like an asshole in front of everyone (what else is new?).

It’s still really early and things haven’t even begun to get good but Ryan starts demanding that I take him to bed because he’s already done. I was quite upset about this departure (as were my invited guests), but I went downstairs to bed with him anyways because I was still all caught up on him.

We start getting frisky before going to sleep and it’s not long before I start grinding away in the girl-on-top position. Honestly, I was enjoying myself quite a bit and everything seemed ok, but things were about to take a turn that I wasn’t expecting.

With my eyes closed, I’m trying every trick in the book to seal this deal for him and suddenly, out of nowhere, I hear something strange. Snoring. Loud snoring too.

No… it couldn’t be… No…

But it was. OMG! Quickly, I opened my eyes and looked. Yep. He had fallen asleep.

Now, I’ve had enough accolades in my life to maintain my confidence when it comes to my sexual prowess. That was the least of my worries. Instead, all the trouble he had caused and everything I had put up with came flooding to the surface all at once. Instantly making me furious.

I realized that I had enough of his shit and suddenly, I was fuming. I was so angry, I actually beat on his chest with my fist and yelled at him, but he was in such a deep sleep, it didn’t even wake him.

Note: This was not the first time I had noticed that it was impossible to wake him up. Once before that, we had fallen asleep with my arm trapped beneath him. It took me over an hour of screaming and fighting with his dead-asleep body to get it back and he never woke up the whole time. This was nothing new for Ryan.

Anyways, I digress. He’s fast asleep and I’m pissed off, so I did the only thing I knew would make me happy in this situation. I went straight into the bathroom, got my shaving supplies, and went back into the bedroom. Without remorse, I proceeded to get even by shaving all his pubic hair off.

Ahhhhh… That felt better. Then I went back upstairs and partied until late into the night with my friends (who thought this was awesome).

Now I don’t usually advocate any ‘getting even’ technique. It’s a childish thing to do in most cases and may even contribute to retaliation and/or a dangerous situation. Please do not take this advice to heart. I just mention it because it’s true to the story, what I did caused no real damage, and (in this instance) it worked like a charm.

In the morning he never did ask me about it at all and I didn’t offer the information either. I was in a great mood but he was uncharacteristically quiet and he left as soon as he woke up. LOL. I’m not sure if he had an idea about what happened to his once thick pubic mane or not, but I really could have cared less. I assumed that he was probably very confused and embarrassed about it, but he didn’t have the guts to ask. So I didn’t tell.

Finally, my obsession with this ‘bad boy’ was over. Bigger than that, I found my attraction for all bad boys was gone. Just like that. I no longer saw them as a good-looking movie-character type of bad-asses. Instead, I saw assholes who would never treat me right instead.

Needless to say, I broke it off with him shortly thereafter. Our relationship had just become too much trouble and I could no longer support his bad behavior. My friends and family could sigh with relief. I had finally seen the light.

It became painfully obvious to me that I’d much prefer a guy on the ‘straight and narrow’ to a true ‘bad boy’. Never again did I secretly pine away for a guy with a mischievous glint in his eye. I had been through this experience and was not going to repeat that exchange no matter what. Because of him, I no longer craved the ‘bad boy’ lifestyle and was left with a new appreciation for the ‘good guy’. Instead. 🙂

So now I wanna know about you. Do you find yourself falling for the same jerk over and over? Or do you like the good guy too? Let me know. I’m always happy to hear from you.

*Name changed to protect his identity/anonymity

We’ve Been Tagged

Well here you are. Thanks so much for coming. 🙂 You may find yourself as one of the lucky few to have been tagged by me. Or maybe you’ve just stumbled upon this post out of curiosity. Either way, I’m glad you’re here.

If for some reason you find that after reading this you are no longer happy to have heard from me, I sincerely apologize. Feel free to delete this post as it will not hurt my feelings at all. I mean… I didn’t originate this plan, so it’s not that big of a deal, but I would like to get to know more about you.

Anyways, I myself was tagged by rossmurray1 and since I have nobody else to point the finger at, I will urge you to focus your attention on him as well. I don’t know him at all, but I’m sure he’d love to hear from you. 😉

So being that I’m pretty new to this whole blogging thing, I figured that I may as well go ahead and give this “Tagging” a shot even if it is against my better judgement. It might be a good way for you to get to know me a lil bit better too. So enjoy and here goes:

The rules:
1. Post the rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and eleven random facts about you.
3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

LilMissFox

Here is a picture of me writing away to my heart’s content. 🙂

And here are my 11 Random Facts:

1. I’m a typical Aquarian astrology-wise, so that means I can be quite eccentric at times.
2. I only wear coconut scents and perfumes and nothing else. Yes, even in the Winter.
3. My recent obsession with boating has got me buying waterproof gadgets regularly.
4. I always have something big going on so I can spend my free time planning.
5. I have more camping gear than I care to admit & I frequently do it in high heels.
6. There are so many bags and boxes saved under my bed, it’s incredible.
7. I successfully managed 21 people nationally when I was only 21 years old.
8. I’ve been a severe nail biter my whole life, but last year I just stopped. It’s weird.
9. I have 3 tattoos, but they are all hidden. I named one of them “Frank”.
10. My bf & I wear matching lucky charms. We’re both Snakes in the Chinese Zodiac.
11. I was born at exactly 4:20am. 😉 Lucky me!

Here are the questions given to me:

1. What’s that behind you?
My Bed. Care to join me? wink-wink.
2. Scooby-Doo or Looney Tunes?
Scooby-Doo.
3. Are you sure?
Oh yea! My spidey senses tell me so. #420conspiracy
4. Where do you go to find peace, and do you need reservations?
No reservations required. I head to the water. Mmmmn… it smells SO good.
5. What’s the best thing a complete stranger has ever said to you?
“When you’re 30, you’re gonna look like you’re only 20, you look so young!” – LOL
6. Would you rather visit a museum or shop for shoes?
My weekend plans depend on your answer so think about it. I said THINK!
I really thought about it and sorry, shoes win out. Did someone say sale? hehehe
7. No
8. Come up with a better one then, if you’re so smart.
I’ll try. This has been magic though…
9. I was at the liquor store one day stocking up on wine – five bottles to be precise.
As he was ringing them up, the clerk said, “If you run out, we close at 5:30.”
Witty or rude?
Rude. Just plain rude.
10.Getting dressed with the shades up is like _________. Complete this simile.
Flirting with your top down. Gotta keep em’ guessing, ladies. I try to be good…
11.Is getting blog-tagged more work than you bargained for at this point?
Yea. Pretty much. Especially that last question. Geez. (jk)

Finally, here are my 11 questions:

1. What is your favourite meal? Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?
2. Do you have any moles and if so, where is the strangest place one is located?
3. If you could stay a certain age forever, what would it be?
4. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
5. Which celebrity do you think you look most like?
6. What was the best kiss you have ever had and why?
7. Where would you go if you could get a free roundtrip ticket to anywhere?
8. Is there anything you collect? Or maybe a favourite hobby?
9. Would you be ok with hiking in an area where there might be bears?
10. What is your go-to snack? Are you the sweet, salty, or savoury type?
11. Can you hear the fanfare? Confetti to you! Did you enjoy the ride?

Thanks so much for getting this far. It is alot for one ‘Lil’ blog.

Here are the people I tagged. I chose them because I liked their blogs and wanted to get to know more about them, too. The special ones are:

thelonelymonkey
Simply Single
Ordinarygirlinbrum
Crumpled Confessions
GratitudeEquation
The Trials and Tribulations of Miss Poly
Theclbray
All Things Jen
Americanblackdude
K.

Final note: There was one more person I tagged, but I accidentally deleted their information and am unable to link them. As soon as I figure out who it is, I’ll add them as well. Cheers everyone!

Valentine’s Special – My Crazy Valentine’s Eve

crazygirlIf you’re a close friend of mine, then you might get to brag that you were there the night I had the craziest Valentine’s ever. And while there may be many memorable Valentine evenings in my past, this one stands out as the worst for me. It was also a turning point which allowed me to make a decision about moving on.

So it must be written, but please note that this took place about 10 years ago and I’m a very different person now than I was back then. For example; then I was the Road Manager for a rock band and now I’m a Customer Service Manager for a corporate agency. A bit of a different lifestyle — just sayin’.

To get an idea of where I was at this particular Valentine’s Day, here’s the set up.

I had just found out that my boyfriend of almost 3 years was cheating on me with a mutual friend and I had very recently broken it off with him. I was out (with friends) on Valentine’s Eve trying my best to drink away my sorrow.

Now I know that drinking this particular night probably wasn’t the smartest idea ever. I even thought that at the time, but I was young and dumb. The lure of numbing my feelings with Vodka and my friends’ persuasion won out so I decided “Eff this!” and kicked off my Valentine’s party at full tilt.

We headed straight to the bar (I’m not sure which one, nor did I care) and all I can remember is dancing, drinking, and a blur of men hanging around. We’re doing shots and partying all over and the next thing I know, I’m in a strange car on my way to a party… I think.

Yep, we arrive at a house party (about an hour and a half away from my home), it`s packed with people I don’t know, and there are couples kissing everywhere. Damn!

I’m pretty sure my head wasn’t screwed on straight the entire night. It felt like I was just floating along on a cloud and everything seemed to be covered in a haze. Detached is how I seemed at the time. I was devastated and heart-broken but determined to move forward in every way, so I just kept partying. Like a robot, really.

I have to say that my friends were trying really hard to keep things light for me. They were keeping track of me and making sure I was ok, but I could tell that I was quickly turning into a Valentine’s mess. I couldn’t stop it from coming. I was just floating along in my mind, I got too drunk, and found myself lost and confused in too many ways.

The pinnacle of that party is when I burst into sobbing tears in front of everyone and took off running. Yep… I ran. I had no shoes on and I just took off, like a blur. From a house in a city where I wasn’t familiar with anything. Worse yet, it’s 4am in the morning, it’s cold, and I have no jacket.

I had no idea where I was going, but I knew I had to sob hard and run away fast. My urge to move forward and to push my bad feelings out was SO strong and I was way too drunk for any rational thought.

That’s when I was grabbed from behind by a big muscled guy. He spun me around and dragged me back to the party kicking and screaming at him the entire way. My friends (are good friends) who weren’t about to let me take off like that. I found out that they sent him after me because we weren`t in the nicest of neighborhoods (thank god for good friends).

So I found myself back in the party once again. Black make-up smeared all over my face and reminders of Valentines Hell all around me. It seemed like there were even more couples kissing and smiling and laughing than before.

Out of nowhere, a familiar feeling… Yep. That urge to run is back. And it’s even stronger. Only this time, I’m smarter. Because I’m even more determined.

I pretended to get it together a little (so as not to arouse more suspicion) and I gathered my shoes, jacket, and purse. It was tricky because I was seeing double, but I was working it out pretty well, considering. I then stole my girlfriend’s phone and found a quiet corner at the party to make a call I hadn’t made in years.

A drunken, puffy-eyed, me slurs/sobs into the phone, “Mom… Can you pick me up? I don’t know where I am… Here’s a stranger to tell you…” and I hand the phone to a random passer-by. Well, it worked because when the phone came back to me, my Mom told me she’d be there in an hour and a half. OMG – Thanks Mom & some random guy!

I have to say, the next hour and a half felt like an eternity. I spent the entire time sitting there all sad, watching all the couples, bursting into tears, and taking off.

I know I took off at least 2 more times because I can remember the big, muscled guy was getting madder and more stern each time he had to chase me down. I gotta say though, I was pretty darn determined.

Finally, I snuck off to the bathroom and managed to get out the front door without anyone noticing. I was free! And as if it was meant to be, my ride came along with perfect timing. My mom found me down the street about 2 blocks away looking like hell, wobbling around with a wine cooler in my hand, and tear-stained cheeks and clothes.

Thank god for my Mother. She didn’t even question driving to get me that far away at 6am in the morning and it was a huge relief to finally see her. I collapsed into the front seat of her car and called my friends to tell them that I was ok and that I was going home now. My personal Valentine’s hell was finally over.

The next day was when a funny thing happened to me. After all that (and a killer hangover), I reflected upon the events of that evening and I realized something important.

No cheating ass man is worth the amount of trauma I caused myself that Valentine’s Eve. Suddenly, I snapped out of it and realized that he wasn’t worth another tear to me. I was done. I couldn’t take any more and I wasn’t going to fall prey to bitterness about it anymore either. He had done enough damage.

It was because of this night that I began the long process of healing and moving forward. I really believe that something was pushing me forward that night (literally) and I saw the true purpose of that more clearly as I reflect back.

In the four years after this, I worked hard to build myself up and to gain the proper respect that I should have had for myself to begin with. Now, I’m no longer a drinker (so this situation would be unlikely to ever repeat), but it brought about a lesson that I will never forget.

No man is worth that much heart-ache, not even on Valentine’s Day. Forgive (for yourself), pick your head up (as best you can), and move forward. You deserve it.

Now I’ve shared mine, but now I have to know. What’s your craziest Valentine? Feel free to share below.

Taboo Raindrops – Why I Love The Rain

Why

What would you do if faced with a bad weather forecast containing heavy rain?

Love it or hate it, the falling rain can be as sexy and fun as it is wet and miserable. I learned this first hand growing up in a city that boasts twice as much rainfall as London, with an average of 161 days of the wet stuff per year. The “temperate rain forest” that is Vancouver, British Columbia has ingrained in me a unique fondness for rainy days that when expressed out loud, has my friends wrinkling their noses at me with disbelief.

All too often in polite small talk, I hear people chatting away about the weather. Openly conspiring against the rain; despising the rain; even crying over the ruined plans and inconvenience of it all. Sometimes they speak as if a few raindrops are an impending death sentence or something. Like the world is collapsing at an alarming rate and all will not be right again until the sunshine comes out and saves the day.

Would you sympathize with their bitter disappointment upon hearing that there is nothing but “periods of rain” for the foreseeable future? Not me! And that’s for sure!

Instead, my friends and family are regularly subjected to endless discussions detailing exactly what I love about the rain. Sometimes, they even have to deal with me forcing them to go outside (with or without an umbrella) to take a deep breath or two on the most fragrant of rainy afternoons.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I still feel for all the couples who planned their outdoor wedding only to be forced to move it inside Grandma’s house at the last minute instead. I can empathize with anyone whose travel or holiday plans have been delayed, cancelled, or ruined because of a freak thunderstorm. And I most certainly understand the gravity of a heavy flooding situation and what it takes to clean up after a natural disaster like that (been there, done that).

The rain can be very powerful and so a little advance preparedness goes a long way with smoothing things out. For me, I almost always choose to look on the brighter side of things instead. The silver lining, if you will.

Much to the groans and eye rolls of my loved ones; when faced with a typical rainy day, I regularly go on and on about the rain. With an excitement that is only matched while attending an amusement park, you can frequently catch me saying things like:

• “O-M-G, I LOVE the rain!!!”
• “It’s a perfectly gloomy day today!”
• “Ooooh… big fat raindrops!!- my favourite!!!”
• “Feel the misty rain between your palms — it’s incredible!”
• “Ahhhhhh, the sound of the rain on the windows is SO relaxing!!”
• “Mmmmmmn, the rain freshens up all the flowers! It smells SO delicious!!!”
• And, “Seriously, you gotta get out here and smell this!!!”

My love of the rain started when I was a little child who loved to read. Nothing was more relaxing or exciting to me as curling up in a rainstorm with a great cup of hot chocolate and a good book. Reading for hours at a time while listening to the soothing sounds of nature’s tears cascading upon my window became a regular habit. It created a place for me to let go and slip away from the world. Almost like meditation. Silently, I would hope for a perfectly gloomy day. I would be really happy about a bad weather forecast while everyone else was sighing, sulking, and wishing for something brighter and cheerier instead.

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the power and passion the rain could actually bring and I began to see that there is a sexy side to the rain as well.

About three years ago, I found myself about to embark on a camping trip with a new boyfriend who was (at the time) a tenting virgin. Low and behold, the forecast was calling for rain – and plenty of it. So, I’m watching the news channel like a hawk and praying for a change, only to finally have to give into the fact that it was just going to be wet and sloppy no matter what.

Because I am a camping maniac, I had weathered a storm while camping before and I was scared to death that my new boyfriend would turn into a whining, complaining, soggy, jerk much like how most people would react if they were put in that situation.

It didn’t even take us an hour upon arrival and I had already learned that this boyfriend was definitely going to be a keeper. Instead of bitching and complaining about the terrible weather, he did the unexpected and left me with just about the hottest memory any girl could ever have.

All around us, people were hiding in their tents; nobody seemed overly prepared for the unexpected rain and some were even packing up and leaving it was so bad. That’s when my boyfriend asked for my largest tarp and he ripped off his shirt and began to string up a cover for our tent and table. He had never done this before and the trees were sparse so I could tell it was trying his patience, but he held it together admirably. I have to say, in fact, that we were the only ones all weekend who were able to eat outside because of the great job he did.

Because of the almost disastrous rain on that trip, I will never forget two things from that weekend. The first is the way my new boyfriend looked with his muscles rippling away and water droplets washing over him as he put that tarp up without so much as a grunt. He looked so amazing with determination written on his face and not a single word of complaint. I’m pretty sure I fell in love with him right then at that moment.

The second would be the mesmerizing sound of the rain falling on our tent every night while we slept. It was like a symphony of toned droplets and with each one that fell, it created a romantic soundtrack to what could have been a nightmare trip instead. Looking back, I don’t think there could have been a better song to my ears.

So I guess my point to all this is: Love the rain or hate the rain, if you live in a temperate rain forest, you will have to deal with it one way or another. My suggestion would be to try to embrace natures amazing drops as much as possible and make the best out of any soggy situation.

Complaining and whining changes little, but enjoying the rain for what it is might just even make things better than expected. What attitude will you take next time you’re caught out in a perfect gloom?

Reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Vancouver