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Smart Women Who Do Stupid Things (like drink and dial)

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There's just no way you haven't been there... from the movie Swingers.

This post was inspired by my own dumb moves, a very funny conversation with my girlfriends and one even funnier guy with a great ability to make me laugh. You can thank him for the Swingers video clip. Ladies, we need to wise up STAT. 

It’s been eight months since I got the memo that my husband was “moving out and moving on.” That’s a full spring and summer, and a good chunk of fall, full of rollercoaster days trying to “keep on trucking” with style and grace.

There’s no question that I owe getting this far to my incomparable support circle of friends and family. And, when I remember to use them, a smile and sense of humor that can match any bad day—two “essentials” for getting over and around the post-breakup hump and back into a little socializing with the opposite sex.

Not like I have any game, but having observed people while working at coffee shops or playing at bars and restaurants, it’s obvious that sending out a smile has a boomerang effect. And since a smiley face emoticon—and text conversation—only goes so far, it’s a lot better to take that smile on the road than to sit at home feeling blue because none of your digital communication devices are delivering what you want. (I mean, how many times can you check Facebook Messenger when you already have alerts set up?)

Along with smiles and wit, being able to laugh at yourself is also a valuable asset. I’ve got this last one down as do most of my friends, which makes Monday morning quarterbacking very lively. You guys can argue, but women are so much better about facing their sorry ass selves than men. On the flipside, we let a lot of things slide that we probably shouldn’t. For example, faux relationships that are grounded in texts and not much else.

There’s a lot of confused conversation going on between men and women because of texting and as much as my friends and I hate to admit it, our cluelessness about what’s really going on makes us a little loco and throws us right back into being 14. It also makes us do some really dumb stuff that we later regret because we’re so damn mind-boggled and can’t think clearly. Smiling is a handy trait, but Smart is where it’s at.

The single women that I know are beautiful, sexy, accomplished, nurturing, generous, brilliant, tough, perseverant and any other nicety you want to toss in. So why is it that they (and yes, me too) devalue their self-worth and put their romantic interests up in lights?

After kibbitzing with a few lady friends recently (because I’m the new kid on the block and need all the help I can get to not f-ck up the dating thing), it rose to the surface pretty quickly, just how susceptible to the siren call of Smart Women Who Do Stupid Things we are.

I’m still trying to break it down, but the big question is why women try so hard with guys that aren’t the best match (even if they are really witty, kind, fun and handsome) and completely overlook those who are more in sync and equally embody all of the above, maybe even more so. I get that we play the safe-scary game, classifying prospects based on projected hurt, but in this text-forward, voice deprived era of dating, it’s pretty easy to get that wrong. (Trust me, the guy that scares you is the one you want to be getting jiggy with; he wants to know the real, not game-playing you.)

Men are definitely not immune to stupid behavior or miscalculation. But women, with their golden retriever nature, try much more thoughtfully (and obsessively) to do and say the right thing, to ignore actions (what red flag?), put too much stock into words and want to right things when really, it’d be OK and probably smart to throw this particular fish back.

Worse, we write stories in our heads about guys that make them seem like rockstars, when a lot of the time they’re not half as fabulous as we are. (#truth)

Instead of seizing the upper hand, we create unnecessary drama (and expend A LOT of energy) and wind up getting ourselves hurt when we might benefit from doing the hurting. I’m not talking about first time out of the gate, botched rebound experiences; those are inevitable for anyone just getting their sea legs. I’m referring to all the actions and reactions to the opposite sex women put on repeat and that lead to a very self-deprecating state even when what went down wasn’t 100% their fault.

A good offense is a good defense. Or maybe it’s reversed. Regardless, sh-t happens and the only way around it, is through it.

Take 24 hours to cry it out and obsess about every thing you shouldn’t have done, then throw on Taylor Swift, put that smile on and Shake It Off. And call out the guy who told you that he didn’t know who Taylor Swift was while doing it. Then thank him for being honest with you and imparting a few life lessons that will prove valuable when you meet the next nice guy, who just might happen to be a better fit. If you’re lucky, you’ll wind up with a new romantic interest and hold onto the other guy as a friend, which in my book is a very sweet deal.

Speaking of male friendships, my ex once told me that men and women can’t be friends because there’s always the question of sex between them. (I don’t think I have to explain that frequent lunches with female business associates made this a bit worrisome.) I disagree.

Male friendships are the bomb in my book, and I have very happily met some pretty wonderful guys while navigating the single life. Not only do I appreciate a male perspective on both sexes, just like your girlfriends’, the menfolk’s sense of humor and subtle ball-busting is sure to make you feel a little less stupid for well, being stupid. And at least coming from my guy friends, the hugs rock. Platonic can be a very lovely place to be. Especially when you’re climbing down from the hot-crazy ledge.

Circling back to smiles, chalk one up for the boomerang effect: I just sent mine out into the universe and was rewarded with a big smile-making text from one Mr. Nice Guy. I’m going to call that, very well-timed—and a sign that I’m getting a few things right even when I feel like I just did a face plant off of a too-big ski mogul and landed with my skis, poles, arms and legs crossed in four directions.

I realize that I am greener than a Christmas tree, but here’s what I am slowly learning: We can play it smart without playing games and with shit-eating grins across our faces. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and a lot of really nice guys who are just as happy to have girl “friends” as we are to have them.

Now get out there and swing playa playa sistas. Just keep the drinking and dialing to a minimum.

One more reason women rock: McNally Jackson book reading

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Nothing But the Truth

Love seeing my name listed on the cover along with so many talented female authors.

In the better late than never category, and particularly for those in and around Soho looking for something to do this evening, McNally Jackson is hosting several authors in support of A Band of Women’s latest project, Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God: 73 Women on Life’s Transitions. I will be joining a group of women whom I have never met, and am so looking forward to reading an excerpt of my essay, a reflection on dropping my developmentally disabled daughter off at Chapel Haven in Connecticut.

It is somewhat ironic that as I read about this incredible transition for my daughter, I am experiencing another life-changing moment. I am not so sure when I’ll be ready to write this story down, but when the call comes for Volume 2, I will likely be the first in line. It’s been a wonderful opportunity and I feel so fortunate, especially at a time when I am working very hard to get back on my feet and back into life. I thank all the women involved for lifting me up with their terrific stories and storytelling skills, and for making me feel proud and accomplished, even if just for 15 minutes.

Check out the book here. And if you are in the neighborhood, please join me and all these smart, articulate women at the McNally Jackson book reading. 7pm.

Here are the details:

Readers this evening: Sierra Trees, Janet Hanson, Jessie Braun, Ashley Collins, Heather Kristin, Dawn Warden-Reeder, Kat Hurley, Abby Ellin, and Shannon Weisleder. Wine and refreshments served.

Location: 52 Prince St., New York, New York 10012-3309

Teens and food allergies: No fun.

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Proud mentor moment: The young girl who I mentor via Mighty Writers just had her first guest blog published. Her topic: the “no fun” aspect of being a teen with food allergies. Miss Rave’n-Dajon Coleman‘s blogging niche is sports, so writing about food, and not in a gushing way, was a bit tough for her. I think she got to heart of what she was feeling: It’s no fun having to think so hard about what you eat when you’re a teenager and have plenty of other things to deal with.

I am sure our blog host, Carrie Curry, will appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment. (We Philly Social Media Moms stick together.) And, if you have anyone in your family who is allergic to eggs, I also have a guest post on Chockababy, featuring non-egg recipes—another good reason to visit. Rave’n-Dajon’s post can be found on Chockababy’s homepage and also below. Thanks Carrie for putting Rave’n—and her allergies—in the spotlight.

My Allergy Challenge

Can you imagine being allergic to something you really love? Let me tell you about it. My mother describes the first time I suffered an allergic reaction. I was three years old and eating breakfast at daycare. I don’t know exactly what I ate but my mother later learned it contained egg products. After eating a small amount, my throat began to close, I couldn’t breathe, and I developed hives on my face. An ambulance was called and they injected me with medicine to stop the allergy attack.

As I got older I developed other allergies. I was not only allergic to egg products but peanut butter, walnuts, orange juice, oranges, strawberries, hotdogs, sausages, fish, bananas, grass, dust, cats, dogs, and not to mention soy, which is in everything you can think of.

I’m tired of hearing these words all the time, “Raven you can’t have that you’re allergic to it.” I especially hate when my mom gets worried when I try new foods. She stares at me making sure I won’t have a reaction. This makes it harder for me to enjoy discovering new flavors.

The hardest part about having millions of allergies is when you’re around family and friends and they don’t have to worry about being careful of what they eat. It’s so hard when ordering out with family. While they can order anything on the menu, I am limited to one or two items that I know won’t give me an allergic reaction. It’s tough to see everyone else eat everything while you are left out, but I have learned to live with it.

I have outgrown some of my allergies. I am no longer allergic to eggs, strawberries, orange juice, and I can now eat some foods that contain soy.

If you have a teenager in the house with allergies, you understand how challenging and frustrating it can be for both the parent and the teenager. However, it takes a lot of courage as a parent to allow the teenager the freedom to try new foods and not over-react.


Reflection & Prevention on Sandy Hook Anniversary

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(In collaboration with parenting strategist and licensed counselor, Tricia Ferrara, MA)

A lot of things are on my mind this week, but bubbling up to the surface is Sandy Hook’s anniversary, just hours away. I’ve managed to table my reaction regarding the public release of the 911 recordings (many news stations’ decision to not air them helped), but I’m a bit on edge amidst uncertainty over how the media is going to handle this very difficult and intimate memory in its retelling. The Associated Press’ decision to set up in Newtown has left me with mixed feelings, as I am sure it has others. Anyone following the news knows by now, that residents have requested that the media allow them to take in the day in privacy.

Before hearing that, I had been hopeful that the media would respect this request and refrain from deploying news trucks and reporters. Regardless, I have been, and still remain, anxious about what images will be shown on television; I could not watch any of the coverage last year when it happened; the radio broadcasts were barely manageable…

Like everyone else, it was too easy to put myself in those parents’ shoes, and to imagine my children in that scene. And a year later, I am in awe that these families, and this community, have managed to get up and participate in life, to do good things in the world and to stand together as an extended family. It is a beautiful way to honor those lost, and to honor the children, families and teachers that are very much alive today, filling Newtown with new, joyful memories. The people of Newtown have given each other the greatest gift possible in the aftermath of such tragedy: a future.  Continue reading

high anxiety: moving over to…

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…taking my blog to the next level—without destroying it in the process; the upgrade required me to restore default settings which amounted to a lackluster font. (Not an easy click to make since I am a font-forward writer.) But because I am so thrilled to be building a following, and want to be as professional as possible with this recent writing endeavor, it makes sense to step up and get in the ring where the big kids play. And, I also happily discovered a few fonts I can live with until the big switch is active. Then, I’ll be thinking on a new design, again to look as pro as possible. Showing personality is good, but doing it with truly slick style is even better. Feel free to send over any advice you WordPress design experts.

In the meantime, I’ll keep posting—and keep y’all posted. Ready, set, go…