Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Sex Was Great! Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby! Part IV

Remember Kelly Lebrock’s annoying Pantene commercial in the late 80’s? “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!” It was a great line, and we all used it… picking on each other, laughing at ourselves, and basically taking it for what it was; a joke. But there are women out there who will tell you that beauty is a curse. Being really, truly, drop-dead gorgeous … the kind of gorgeous that turns heads when you walk into a room, the kind of gorgeous that doesn’t require make-up, hair styling, or flashy clothes. The kind you can’t get away from… it can be a major curse. I do understand that. I mean, imagine trying to talk to someone; trying to make a point about something, and having them so mystified by your appearance that they couldn’t hear you. That’s got to be severely frustrating. So, too, I find, is being “great in bed.”

Yeah, that’s right… I’m bragging… I’m great in bed. Deal with it. If you want to think I’m telling you I rock the house down because I want you to be jealous or because I’m trying to get attention, think again. (For the record, I’ve been celibate for the past year. The reason why, at least at first, was a heart so horrifyingly broken that the idea of anyone touching me was just too much to bear. I couldn’t even deal with dinner, much less deal with sex. I did go on one date a few months back. Nice guy; pretty easy on the eyes, polite, articulate, we had a lot in common… but when the check came and I realized the date was coming to a close, the idea that he might try to kiss me chilled my blood so cold that I couldn’t even fake a polite excuse. I haven’t bothered with attempting another date. If you’re out there, Jim, sorry about that. I know it’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s the truth of the matter: It wasn’t you, it was me. Lately, though, the celibacy has been because I haven’t met anyone I want to sleep with, and, as far as sleeping around goes… been there, done that.)

I’ll be the first one to tell you how much I adore sex. The pleasures of a man’s body are positively boundless. There’s a reason why, when people have incredible experiences in life, they compare them to sex. It’s because sex is the be-all, end-all of our existence. You can argue that point any way you like, but great sex is better than great anything else. In my early twenties, I went through a period of unabashed promiscuity that would make a hooker blush. Don’t ask me how many men I’ve slept with because I honestly don’t know. And, FYI, I’m not ashamed of that. I’m not proud of it, either. It just is. I was young, I was pretty, I was built, and it seemed I could have any man I wanted…so I did. I loved the first time with each one so much; it was such an exhilarating feeling. I don’t know about anybody else, but for me, first times are just about the height of physical sensitivity. There is no more erotic feeling than that of the first time you touch someone and feel their body temperature, their heartbeat, their skin against yours. The tension, the nervousness, the newness of it all is something you can never, ever recapture.

I just wasn’t someone who was ashamed of my body, or uncomfortable with my sexuality, or even concerned with lady-like modesty. I never quite understood the concept of Catholic guilt, even though I was raised Catholic. I wanted to experience the men I dated, not just run down some scripted small talk, be paranoid about spilling salad dressing on myself and then sit by the phone hoping he’d call the next day. I still can’t stand the thought of that; it’s so phony. I’m a passionate person and when I met men I think it was obvious that, although I wasn’t throwing myself at them, I wasn’t like most women, either. Maybe it has something to do with being raised predominantly by my father, but for whatever reason I’ve always identified more with men than women. I just find that men are easier to talk to, easier to get along with, more easy-going in general. So, I spent a lot of time with them. Men are so terribly attractive to me. The way a man’s body feels, the sensation of the muscle tone underneath their skin, the smooth yet slightly abrasive sensation of a freshly shaven face, the deep gravelly tones of a male voice, the Adam’s apple, and honestly, there is nothing like a pair of big, strong hands on a man. Testosterone just makes me weak in the knees.

Aside from the sex, each one of those men had some kind of impact on me. These dates weren’t just a pick up followed by a tawdry one-night stand. I didn’t see each guy one time and say “See ya!” I dated them, just nobody serious and nobody for any extended periods of time. The dates always involved a lot of conversation, most times on a pretty deep level. Beyond the bedroom, there was a lot of learning and sharing going on with them, and it was equally as satisfying. I never slept with anyone I didn’t want to sleep with. I slept with all of them, and it was because I wanted to. If that makes me anything less in anyone’s eyes then they’re shallow and they don’t know a whole lot about life; and dare I say, they’re somewhat repressed. This was a period of exploration in my life and one that I enjoyed and wouldn’t trade. Dating all of those men was wonderful, and yes, sleeping with them was, too. I don’t apologize for it, I got a lot more than sex out of those men, and anyone who uses anyone else for just sex isn’t having all that great of a time.

One of the greatest things I learned from them was that what really, truly turns a man on above and beyond anything else, is a woman who is confident enough in herself, comfortable enough with herself, and has the self esteem to let go of her inhibitions in the bedroom. In a committed relationship, men do equate sex with love. They do see how you relate to them in bed as a sign of how you feel about them. Whether you trust them, whether you’re honest with them, whether you feel bonded to them; they seek that out physically. Whereas women want open, honest, intense conversation and think that relationship bonding  develops from that, and want to know what men are thinking, what they’re feeling, what they dream about… well… men simply aren’t as complicated as all that.

Men want open, honest, intense shared sexual experiences. Men want that from you because when you let go, when you share yourself, your fantasies, your inner trollop with them, (hmm… how do I put this delicately?) it makes them cum like a goddamn freight train from hell. Truly, that’s what they want to share with you. They want to give you that same thing back. If you want to have that open, honest, intense conversation that will bond you with your man, try starting out by talking about sex. It’s not to say that’s ALL that men want, but it’s a definite crossroads between the sexes. And if you open up to him about sex, he’ll open up to you about other things.

Now then, I told you all that so I could finish telling you this: There are times, for me anyway, when being great in bed has come to haunt me. Men I’ve slept with in the past, old flames and men who broke my heart so badly I can scarcely believe it will tell me how amazing I was in bed, and although the logical side of my brain knows that it’s meant as a compliment, the feminine, more emotional side of me remembers the conversations, the laughter, the inside jokes, the shared experiences that took place outside of the bedroom, and just wants someone who once made love to her to say, “more than anything else I remember your heart.” And leave off the “and the sex was great!” Somehow, though, I suppose that knowing I gave them my heart when I gave them my complete and honest, uninhibited self in bed, I should be flattered that they recall the physical aspects of our relationship so fondly. Those men who’ve broken my heart, they remember a woman who was a hellcat in bed. A woman who was willing to explore, a woman who indulged their fantasies and made them feel like mighty Zeus – and they all made love to me that way, too.

After all, I loved each and every one of them with everything I had. Each of them brought about physical and emotional sensations with their very existence; first with the way they looked, their smile, their voice and their scent, then with the way they spoke and expressed their thoughts, and then the feel of their skin, the texture of their hair, the vast differences in the way each of them laughed and touched and kissed and made love. And each of them, each of these very different men never ceased to surprise me in their minds, or in their hearts. They were never what I expected but they were all great, and I wouldn’t trade one single experience, broken heart or not. But please, boys, remember, though I may have torn the roof off of your bedroom, and yes, the sex was great, I am a whole person with a lot to give, and aside from sex, I also gave you my heart.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Side Effects Of Blogging

Writing The Power Of ME may cause: altered friendships with men, feelings of being ostracized by other women, frustration over people’s misinterpretation of your intentions, mouse shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, unwanted advances, back ache, headache, loss of anonymity, writers block, objectification, unfriending on Facebook, fear of parental readership, sudden uncontrollable bursts of creative energy at inappropriate times, secretarial spread, neglected housework, lack of gym time, burnt food that you forgot was in the oven, random sentimental blubbering, a feeling of pressure to deliver articles on a time schedule that doesn’t actually exist, obsessive checking of “blog stats,” a permanent case of sore neck, strange emails, and an intense desire to write a book.

I’ve been pouring my thoughts out in this blog for a few months now, and I have to say, I really do enjoy it. I mean, aside from the side effects, some of which I anticipated and some of which I didn’t, it’s really been a great experience for me. A couple of years ago, people were suggesting to me left and right that I should start a blog. I was dead set against it. (Honestly, I can’t remember why.)

It took me a long time to finally decide that I not only wanted to start one, but what it would be; what it would contain, what I would call it, and what my goal was in doing it. I thought and though about it. I asked people questions about their blogs, I read blogs, I wrote things I thought I might want to post at some point, all of which, incidentally, I ended up deleting. Finally, one night late last year, I realized that the blog had to simply be called The Power of ME, and that it had to be about not one thing… but everything. I realized that what I really wanted to blog about was life, and life is a wide range of subjects.

Since then, I’ve written about quite a few different things, and had quite a few different reader reactions to what I’ve written. Most have been good, but there have been some things that have surprised me. I fully anticipated a little weirdness to come up over the posts that are about sex, and a little weirdness did happen, but sadly, I have seen some people bow out of my circle of friends over the past few months. Is it directly related to what I’ve written here? Well, I can’t honestly say with 100% certainty, however it seems rather ironic that each time I post something like that people have backed into the shadows and disappeared.

I don’t know if there’s a misconception about why I write about sex, in addition to the other topics. So, although I did do my best to explain why I wanted to write about it in the first post I did ( ) it seems to me that people may be under the impression that I’m writing about it for the sake of “getting attention” or for “shock value.” I can assure you, neither of those reasons are the case. It is honestly because I think that sex needs to be talked about in an open and honest way without shame or fear between partners. It is honestly because I think it should be taught to pre-teens and teens in school, in church, and by parents. It is honestly because I think everyone should be able to discuss issues with their doctors without tripping over their tongues. It is honestly because I think everyone should be able to relax and enjoy their sex lives and not feel inhibited or as though they’re wrong, or bad, or weird. How can I honestly expect you all to be open and honest with yourselves and each other if I’m afraid to be open and honest with you? I’ve never believed in “do as I say, not as I do.” I believe in putting my money where my mouth is. (*Thought you might get out of this post without some of my beloved clichés, didn’t you? Sorry! Never gonna happen!)

As for some of my other topics… I post whatever’s on my mind. Some days you may like what I have to say, other days you may not. Some of my opinions you may agree with, others you may not. No matter what, though, many of you have told me what you think, and whether that feedback is about my subject matter, my opinions, or even my writing; I appreciate it all and I respect it all. I write because my head is always filled with words. I write it all down here in order to share opinions, to make people think, and to entertain. So, please keep reading. Please feel free to share your opinions, and please know that despite the side effects, The Power Of ME is a pill I intend to keep taking.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Laverne Wore An 'L'

Once, in a fit of outrage and confusion, blubbering and screaming in a fashion that jilted, heartbroken people sometimes do, I sought an explanation from a friend. I thought, “He is the smartest person I know. His is an opinion that I respect more than I can say. If anyone on Earth has the answers … it will be him.” Through tears and hyperventilation I demanded to know: “What in the hell is so goddamned scary about letting someone love you?!” His reply was simply this: “The fear of letting that person down.”

I am a Gemini. Some say Gemini is the sign of “dual personality.” (That’s a nice way of saying “freaken ‘schitzo.”) In my case, I guess there is a deep truth to the idea of duality, at least in some ways. If I were meeting someone for the first time, I would describe myself as “intensely private.” It’s true. Those of you who know me, and those of you who are reading this blog regularly… stop giggling! The fact is that I can be a very guarded and reserved person. I’ve been accused of being outright snobby at times. I would say that aspect of me comes into play over the idea of anyone being “in my business” so to speak.

But the other side of me is totally the opposite. If you were to ask any of my closest friends what my biggest personality flaw is, they’d probably tell you that I wear my heart on my sleeve entirely too much. That I say too much, share too much, and that I don’t guard my heart at all. That I leave myself open to getting incredibly hurt, and, often times that is the exact result. I admit, there are times when I  open my emotional veins and bleed out to someone and I would venture to guess that this is why people sometimes find me “scary,” or “intimidating,” or just “too much.”

I have told many, many people that with me, they will never get bullshit. I honestly believe that life is too short to hold back. The last thing I would ever want in my life is to have held back from someone, and then find that I could never speak to them again. Never tell them what I felt. I suppose most people know what I mean by that. For me, though, this extreme need to be open and honest is deeper than your average never-go-to-bed-angry theory. For me, the idea of holding back what’s really inside of me feels like playing games with another person’s head, and I refuse to do that. That’s not to say I have no tact. I wouldn’t walk up to a friend and say something mean and hurtful; that’s not what I’m talking about here.

What I’m talking about is the expression of emotion. I’m talking about telling people what you treasure about them. I’m talking about expressing love, respect, admiration, and passion for someone. While that may not seem like such an out of the ordinary thing, it seems that when I do it, I’m perhaps a little more over the top than people are comfortable with. It also seems that when it comes to loving people, my deep-end is maybe a little deeper than some are willing to swim. I would describe myself as a passionate person. Others describe me as “scary as hell.”

I guess that’s what my friend meant. It seems to me, lately anyway, that there are people who literally feel burdened by the love of others. Like it’s a responsibility; like it’s something they have to live up to. Like being loved is some emotional birthday present, and when it comes time to reciprocate, they aren’t sure they can afford to match what was spent on them. And here’s where being loved by ME gets really scary. See, I won’t tell anyone that I love them unless I honestly, truly love them. What does that mean? It means:

Unless I can accept a person for exactly who they are, flaws and all, faults and all, quirks and all, then I will not tell them I love them. And… if I tell them I love them, although I’m still capable of being angry with them or being disappointed in them, I will still love them even if something should force one or both of us to walk away. And if I walk away, or if they walk away from me, I will still love them.

This applies to everyone; relatives, friends, lovers, little green men from space and pink elephants. So why is that so scary? Well, evidently because most people are used to getting lied to and screwed over. It seems that most people are used to the word “love” being handed to them like a tissue, to be used and disposed of. They are accustomed to people saying it and not meaning it. They expect to be disappointed. They expect to be hurt. They expect to be treated as though they’re loved for a little while, and then kicked like a tin can. When they hear it from ME, at first, it’s great. But, then the words, the meaning behind them, the truth of that love all become crystal clear and undeniably real… and it gets heavy. It shines like a diamond and they wonder how costly it’s going to be? They test it; perhaps it’s only a cubic zirconium! When it cuts glass, though, some find that they can’t write an emotional check that big, not that I’ve ever asked them to.

So what happens to me? ME, with my big red velvet heart embroidered on my sleeve, bleeding love into the streets like some overly-sentimental idiot? Well, as I said… often times I get hurt. And here’s where my friends tend to really get pissed off, both for me, and at me. When I love someone, and they hurt me, I refuse to hate. I refuse to seek revenge. I refuse to become hardened and soured on love. I insist on forgiving. There are times when, hurt as I may be, I will even love deeper. “Why?!” they demand to know, “Why are you telling this person it’s ok to have hurt you?! Dammit, protect yourself!” But you see… that’s just it. It doesn’t matter one way or the other what that person does or doesn’t know. If I love them 20,000 leagues deep then that will be the depth of my hurt, regardless if I tell them I still love them or not, my hurt remains the same. There is no “protecting myself” from that hurt.

And why forgive? Why love deeper? Why not let the anger phase of grief settle into your marrow and harden you into stone? Well, I’ve tried that, to be completely honest. I’m not exactly sure why, but it just doesn’t ever set. I may burn with rage and fury for a while, but ultimately, (and sometimes, unfortunately for me) love tends to conquer all. It may change; it may turn from a love that I felt for a lover to the love that I feel for a friend. But it will always be there. I can’t change it. I can’t make it go away, and I can’t hold it back. I believe that anyone I love is worthy of it. Worthy of having that love, worthy of respect, worthy of admiration, and, as such, I will tell them so. If that’s scary, well… then I will always be the scariest woman alive.

Life is too short. I have said it a thousand times and I will say it a thousand more. If you love, then love with everything you have and if you get hurt, well, that’s part of life and you cannot hide from it. Ah, yes… time for a cliché. If a tree falls in the woods, and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a noise? If I can judge by heartache, then yes, it does make a noise. Because no matter what I say to you, if I love you, and you hurt me, but you don’t know the extent of my hurt, I’m hurt just the same. There is no protecting ourselves from that hurt. But a life without love… might as well not be a life. So LOVE BIG. Love strong. Love unconditional and don’t fear heartbreak. Hearts heal. I promise you. Mine has, and I will love again.

Meanwhile, I will proudly continue to wear my heart on my sleeve, just as Laverne wore that 'L' on her lapel.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Speak Low

I’m a very firm believer that it is the simplest things in life that bring the greatest joys. It is the small, simple gestures that mean the most in relationships. It is the basics that we always come back to in life because basics aren’t boring; basics are needs. There are times in life when we forget how awesome the simple, basic things really are. We begin to concentrate on bigger, shinier, brighter, more complex, multi-faceted, over-the-top rather than tried and true. It’s a sad thing, in my opinion.

I’m quite sure that somewhere in female DNA there is something hard-wiring us women to love the depth of the male voice. There’s something so… ‘meow’ … about a really low, really growly voice on a man that we can scarcely contain ourselves when we hear one. It’s almost a universal quality that women like about men. Some women may say they don’t like big muscles, or some women may like a man who’s really tall and shun the shorter ones but you never, ever hear a woman say “Hmmm… no…. his voice is too deep. I don’t like that.” The fact is that a deep voice on a man is sexy as all hell. I don’t know the science behind that fact, but I’ll tell you this: When a man with a really deep voice speaks low and slow to me… whatever it is in our feminine wiring that makes us want to attack like a wild lioness takes me over and won’t let go.

Tonight, as is the case on many nights, I drove home listening to the soundtrack from the most recent Rambo movie. I love that soundtrack. It has balls. There’s a wild, intense fearlessness to it. I also have a CD from a Scottish band called Albannach that, although not quite as ferocious as Rambo, brings up that same primal, battle-ready feeling and I listen to it quite often, as well. I also have a disc of wild thunderstorms and rain, again the sound is deep, rumbling, intense… nature at its angriest. And finally, a handful of discs filled with Native American inspired music, all of which are predominantly the sounds of drums and warriors singing proudly. The common thread through all of these discs are their link to the masculine voice.

If you’re a man, I wonder if you’re aware of the intense power you have over women with the depth that resides in your tone? Do you know that you can give us goose bumps just by speaking a certain way? I firmly believe that the concept of “whispering in someone’s ear” as a turn on came not from a woman whispering to a man, but from a man… one who knew this power well, and didn’t whisper, but spoke low and soft into the ear of a woman. When it is done correctly, as a select few of the men in my life have figured out, the claws of a wild lioness could do no more damage than mine, and yet for all the raging passion it brings out… carefully chosen words will turn the lioness into a purring little kitten.

Shall I tell you which ones? Hmmm… no… the select few who’ve figured it out may hold the secret of what makes ME purr… but each woman is different. We are mysterious creatures, yes, but always come back to the simple, basic things that make you male. Always appeal to the simple, basic things that make us female. Speak soft and low … it is primal, sexy, irresistible, and it’s so, so delicious as a woman to hear the depth of the male voice in an intimate and sensual way. You needn’t go overboard, just be your sexy as hell male self. It is the simple fact that you are Y and we are X that turns us on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Backbone: Part I

Having a backbone is really a beautiful thing. I remember when I got mine… it was 1988. I had just graduated high school and I was working for this woman who was… well… without getting too catty or derogatory… an over-made-up, tacky, obnoxious, self-important, classless, tasteless, bitchy bottle-blonde who thought her shit didn’t stink. (Ooh, was that out loud?? It was?? Aw, what the hell…) She had one of those names that just sounded that way, too, you know? I won’t say what it was… but you all know the type. Even her signature was a wildly flamboyant always-too-big-for-the-space pile of loops and swoops. And of course… she only signed documents with her own pen. You know the kind… one of those silver ones that looks like a javelin.

I worked for her for about three months. The entire time I endured insults, snide remarks, probing questions about my personal life that were none of her business, and, my favorite part, late evening run-ins with her alcoholic husband. He would show up at the establishment stinking drunk and proceed to move things around, mess with the cash register, bump into things with his lit cigarette, and in general be a pain in my ass. I knew that the next day, she’d want to know why each and every thing was moved, how items had gotten burn marks in them, etc… and if I ratted him out he’d show up drunker the next time. If I didn’t rat him out, even though I’m sure she knew it was him, she’d blame me. In fact, many times when things were broken or missing, she would question me with those fake fingernails in my face, accusing me of being a clumsy idiot who didn’t care about her shop.

There was a pizza place across from her business, and I would go there for lunch. That is, at least, I did for the first few weeks I worked there. They seemed nice enough, the pizza guys. Until one day, one of them said to me: “You really work for those crazies over there? How can you stand it? I don’t know if you realize how messed up they are since you just started, but if I were you, I’d get out of there.” The next couple of times I attempted to get lunch there, they’d heave sighs and look at me as if to say “If you like it there, you must be one of them.” I started bringing my lunch.

After those three months, things finally came to a head. I was standing at the cash register, and she came up behind me and made a face which I clearly saw in the mirror. Then she started sniffing, and finally said “What kind of shampoo are you using?” I said “I don’t know it’s whatever’s in the shower. My parents buy it.” She wrinkled her nose and said “Well, it smells awful. You should buy your own.” That tore it. I shoved past her into the back room, pulled my keys out of my purse and started twisting my copy of the store’s key off of my key ring, the whole time muttering to myself that I’d had it, screw this, no job is worth it, and probably calling her every name in the book, I can’t really remember. What I do know is that she heard me, came into the back room, and demanded to know what I was doing and what I was mumbling about. “If you walk out that door right now,” she tried to warn me, “don’t you think you’re getting a reference from ANYONE here!”

Now, in order to truly appreciate what happened next, you must understand that in my life, up until this moment, I had been the kind of person who would quietly walk away. I’d only ever raised my voice to siblings, and we all know that doesn’t count. I was always the type who, when faced with confrontation, might say a word or two, but generally in a calm manner, and mostly in the hopes of diffusing the situation. See, I was born with broken hips (that will be a post for another day) and because of that, my family had always been super-protective of me. I was something of a chicken because all I ever heard in my life was “be careful,” so I guess I thought something catastrophic might happen if I wasn’t. Still though, I was half Italian, and this day, I found out that I sure as hell had the temper when I was pushed far enough.  

I wrestled the key off the ring. Her annoying voice was ringing in my ears and I felt something inside me just pop. It was like the lid had come off a pressure cooker. I saw that happen once; it was a loud, scary BOOM and the lid hit the ceiling in less than a split second. The food that had been inside the cooker went everywhere all at once; I had never seen anything like it. That was how I felt. Yet, in my red-visioned rage, somehow my brain slowed its thought process down enough for me to get out every single thing I’d wanted to say for the past three months. The voice I heard coming out of my own mouth was not mine. It was deeper, it was almost a growl; it was the voice of someone who might bite into you and tear you into shreds like a rabid animal. I was walking towards her… slowly… determined… shaking that key in her pudgy, clown make-up face the way she’d always shook her finger in mine with those ridiculous fuchsia acrylic nails.

“Are you kidding me?!! I don’t WANT a reference from you, you rotten, miserable, bitch! A reference from you would be an insult!!! Just who the hell do you think you are, anyway?! What makes you think for even one second that ANY of the things you’ve said to me since the first day I got here were ok?! You are such a nasty, conceited, rude, insulting, TACKY bitch - I don’t have any idea how I’ve managed to stay here as long as I have! Do you know that the people across the street think you’re crazy? They do! I’m ashamed to go get lunch there because they ask me why I work here. Did you know that? I’M ASHAMED TO WORK HERE!!! I’m ashamed that people see me come in and out of this place because they probably think I’m like you!” I had backed her into the bench against the wall at this point, and was still shaking the key in her face as I continued, “You really think I’d do two weeks notice? You really think the way to get me to NOT walk out the door right now is to THREATEN me?! THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! You think you own me; you think you own everybody but you don’t. You think you can scream and yell at everyone and treat them like shit and they’ll do whatever you tell them to do, but I WON’T. I’ve had it with your shit. Here’s your fucking key. Good luck finding ANYONE to take this job and last as long as I did around here. You better figure out how to treat people!”

I honestly don’t remember driving home. When I got there, my father, who is my absolute hero in this world, my mentor, my rock, and the person I probably respect the most in life (along with my mother) was standing in the front door waiting for me. Obviously, the bitch must have called. I didn’t know if he’d kill me for quitting my job, but as I got out of the car and saw the look on his face, it was clear he wasn’t angry with me. Two simple words: “What happened?” and I told him my side of the story. He listened, and, when I was finished, he said, “Well, she called and she asked me to have you call her back. I think you should call her, but, why don’t you go take a shower first. Then you’ll calm down and you’ll be able to talk to her.”

The shower did calm me down considerably, and I did call her. She apologized up and down; clear back to my first day on the job, and asked me to please at least work two weeks notice so that she could find a replacement. I agreed to do so; after all, I had to find another job, too. In the meantime, I needed the paycheck. When the two weeks were up, she bought a chocolate cheesecake for my last day, which is my favorite thing, and gave me a nice letter of reference. Maybe my freak out taught her a little something? I like to think so, anyway. But even if it didn’t; it taught me something.

It’s not only OK to stand up for yourself, it’s imperative. You all know I love clichés, so here’s one more for you. IF YOU DON’T SHOW PEOPLE THAT YOU RESPECT YOURSELF, THEY SURE AS HELL AREN’T GOING TO SHOW YOU ANY RESPECT, EITHER.

…..and… once you stand up for yourself that very first time, you realize it’s not all that difficult to do, and you walk through the world with a kind of confidence that you just can’t fake. People can sense that. The inner confidence you have will be enough in almost every situation to keep people from trying to stomp on you, believe me. As for those who take it as a line in the sand – well… let them try and cross it, and then show them what’s on your other side. Treat others as you’d want to be treated, but don’t take crap from anyone. There are people who will cross you in this world, believe me. It’s how you allow them to treat you that determines your situation.

Peace first, and if all else fails, show ‘em who’s boss.