That’s Amore

I took a picture last night from the San Gennaro festival on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, New York City. These two lovebirds happened to be sitting right in front of me and I purposely included them in my picture because they looked so cute and into each other.

Could it have been a first date? Possibly. Maybe a couple who broke up and got back together? High school sweethearts? Who knows.

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20’s V. 30’s

It’s amazing how much things can change in ten years. I often laugh at how different I am now in comparison to ten years ago. What used to be considered “fun” is no longer desirable. What used to be important now seems so trivial.

Here is a little list that I’m sure many can relate to and maybe you’ll get a good laugh from it. Feel free to add any other items you can think of or if you are older, let me know how this list will change once again.

Enjoy!

20’s: Party all night then go straight to work

30’s: Party then needs to call out sick from work

20’s: Doesn’t get to club until midnight

30’s: Prefers daytime activities so they can be in bed by midnight

20’s: Loves being in big crowds and is tolerant of being bumped by random ppl

30’s: Gets anxiety attack and flips after being bumped more than once

20’s: Likes going to clubs and house parties

30’s: Likes dinners, shows or paint and sip

20’s: Drinks one too many cranberry vodkas even though history shows the night will end leaning over a toilet

30’s: Drinks one glass of alcohol and can’t keep their eyes open

20’s: Go to work/school then come home and get ready for your night out while listening to party music to get you pumped up

30’s: Go to work then come home and get straight into pajamas and watch your DVR recordings

20’s: Gets pissed if plans get cancelled

30’s: Prays that plans get cancelled

20’s: Enjoys hearing all the latest gossip

30’s: Too tired and concerned with paying my bills to worry about other people’s drama

20’s: Thinks life will end if relationship doesn’t work out

30’s: Looks back on past relationships and thinks “thank goodness that didn’t work out!”

20’s: Self conscious about being naked in front of a partner and critiques every “flaw” she has

30’s: Looks at her body and thinks “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly!”

20‘s: I can’t wait to get home and talk on the phone for hours

30‘s: “Eh, we’ll talk when I see you”

20‘s: I can’t wait to live on my own and work and pay bills and be independent

30‘s: “OMG it’s like I’m working just to pay bills!”

Beware: Proceed with Caution

Have you ever dealt with a toxic person? I think most of us have come across this person at some point in our lives. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky and if you have, I think you will be able to relate to this post.

There will always be people we don’t necessarily click with, people who don’t share the same interests as us. However, some people are just plain toxic. You can interact with these people, but interactions have to be kept at a minimum to prevent the negative vibes from having an effect on you. Keep your distance from people who are never happy for the next person. People who have a hard time congratulating someone on their accomplishments. People who feel the need to constantly one up on others. In today’s society, we refer to them as “haters“. These people are very toxic and the root of their toxicity is low self esteem and a fragile ego. They have low feelings of self worth and therefore, can never be happy for the next person. How can someone who is not happy with themselves be happy for others? They can’t.

These people will never admit to being unhappy. They constantly brag about their accomplishments, their money and everything else that they have that is desirable to mask their feelings of inferiority. People like this are dangerous because they can never be a genuine friend. A friend is someone who is happy for you when something good happens, someone who listens and wants the best for you. Someone who tries to lift you up when you are feeling down. Toxic people do not display these traits. It is okay to be acquaintances with these people but maintain a safe distance as they always have ulterior motives.

Someone who feels the need to compare and to put other people down are in a constant state of self Judgement. They will never feel completely fulfilled because there are always people around them who they have to do better than. Their sense of worth and validation comes from proving that they are better than the next person. This person struggles with low self esteem and low confidence and the only way to lift these levels up is through somehow convincing themselves that they are better than you. This person only talks about their life, their hardships and their struggles. They probably do not really know anything about you because they have never cared to ask. Even if they have asked, it is just to find something new to one up you on. This person will even buy things that you have or copy your hair style, your nails, etc to prove that they do it better or look better. These people will talk badly about others because they are secretly envious of something they have, whether material or non-material. They talk badly about their “friends” when they’re not around yet smile in their face. If their friend accomplished something or is happy about something, the toxic person will smile and say congratulations but inside, they are waiting for you to mess up. Have a relationship that you are happy in? They secretly hope it fails. Boyfriend proposed to you? They wish it was their boyfriend who proposed. Got a new hair style? They will now go out and get a haircut. Going to Florida? They will now go to Europe. They are in a constant state of competition and enveloped in a never ending cycle of envy and hate. Sometimes, people envy the non material things you have, such as love, admiration, confidence etc. They are threatened by your confidence. Your independence. It kills them that you are happy.

My advice is to keep these people at bay and only disclose generic information to them as they don’t even really care and will just try to add it to their list of things to compete with you on and to talk about. Toxicity and negativity are contagious and you know what they say, “misery loves company”.

The Art of Saying “no”

So often in life, women find themselves in situations that they don’t necessarily want to be in, however, time and time again, comply and go along with it. In this particular post, I am referring to romantic/ intimate situations. My thoughts are based off of personal experiences and experiences that I have known friends and acquaintances to have found themselves in as well.

There are women out there who are strong-minded, strong willed and do not hesitate to say no. However, there are also many women that do not have that strength. How often do we hear about women who went along with an uncomfortable and undesirable sexual/intimate situation with a man when inside, that was the last place they wanted to be? Verbally, they say yes or maybe nothing at all. Inside, they are regretting putting themselves in that situation and just want it to be over.

I know I have been in that boat before and I’m sure there are plenty of women that can relate. I struggled with the fear of speaking my mind or “ruining” the mood. Fear of losing the interest and desire of the other person. Fear of looking boring or “prudish“. Fear of looking like a tease because if I didn’t want to do anything, I shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Fear of losing the interest of this other person who I wanted so badly to like me. Thinking that this will give me some higher standing in this other person’s life. Or sometimes, going along with it “just because”.

The older you become, the more wiser and confident you become as well. At least for most people. Some women even in their older age are still trying to please other people even if it is at the expense of their dignity and pride. I am happy to say that I am not that woman anymore. I haven’t been for a few years now and I have never been more confident and comfortable with myself. In fact, the more you do what you genuinely want to do and the more you turn away undesirable situations, the easier it becomes. It is very stressful worrying about what other people think. It is very stressful doing things that don’t make you happy. Once you learn the art of saying no with no additional explanation, a huge weight is lifted off of your shoulders and it is very empowering.

Many women feel the need to explain away their reasons for saying no. Many women are uncomfortable with saying no. The first time I said “no” it was a little awkward to be honest, because I don’t like to make other people feel rejected. This other person most certainly felt rejected and it was written all over his face. He persisted and asked several more times and I flat out said “no“. When he asked why, I said “because I don’t want to“. I ended my statement there. He got out of my car and I went home and to be honest, I felt good. I kept my dignity and my pride and I didn’t have to worry about feelings of resentment or shame later on. Once you know what it feels like to put yourself first and to love and respect yourself, you will never turn back. This confidence spills over into all aspects of your life and it is amazing how good it feels. Men will say “you’re mean” or “you have an attitude” but that is okay. That is a normal reaction to being rejected. I’m okay with “being mean” if it means I can walk away with peace of mind.

You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”.

The recent media coverage of Aziz Ansari has evoked many writings and posts and articles about women going along with similar, uncomfortable situations and I hope that we, as a society, can figure out a way to empower women and give them the confidence to know that it isn’t okay to just go along with it. To have the confidence to realize that if saying no makes you less desirable in someone’s eyes, then they are not the right person for you. To know that their pride and integrity is worth more than gaining the affection of a man for one night. To know that it is okay to reject someone and not feel guilty about it because at the end of the day, if you don’t, someone will still end up feeling bad, except it will be you.

Miscommunication leads to complication

The title of this post is a line from Lauryn Hill’s ‘Lost Ones’.

I have never really been good at confronting situations that bother me. This includes everyday, typical misunderstandings. Often in the heat of the moment, I get so blinded by my emotions and so caught up in the feeling of rejection or resentment that I have a hard time putting my feelings out there and simply telling the person how what they did made me feel. I have often avoided opportunities to seek clarification on something that might not have been a big deal but because it wasn’t addressed at the time it happened, ended up snowballing into something more serious, sometimes even resulting in loss of friendship.

I think most of us have been in this situation. We assume the motives behind someone’s actions and then don’t talk to them again. Or we keep it inside and tell ourselves that we will just let it go, but then when we see the person involved in what made us upset, we have an attitude or a look on our face because the thoughts are rolling through our head. So many times someone has done something that bothered me and the next time I see them I have a look on my face that shows I am upset. The person will then ask “what’s the matter” and I reply “nothing”. When really I could have just expressed what bothered me and ended it right then and there.

I think with age and maturity comes self confidence and the less we seek approval from others. I am learning, although not completely there yet, to be more open with my feelings and not worry about how it will make me look or worry that I will offend somebody. This doesn’t always mean that it will result in a happy ending. Some people might get defensive that you confronted them. Some people might not talk to you again after that. But that’s okay. It is better than pretending that you are okay everytime you see this person or holding in something that is really pulling at you. I do think, though, that more often than not, it will result better than not saying anything at all. Sometimes the other person didn’t realize how what they said or did offended you or hurt you. Sometimes there was no malicious intent from the other person and confronting them helps you to realize it was actually very innocent.

When we don’t seek clarification, we assume and our assumptions, in turn, affect how we act towards the other party.

Recently at my job, maybe about a month ago, a woman at my job told me that something I said offended her. She has a heavy Brooklyn, Italian accent. She paged someone over the intercom. I then called her at her desk and mimicked her accent and said she reminds me of Marisa Tomei. When I saw her later that day, she told me that I hurt her feelings. She said that it is her pet peeve when people comment on her accent and she is tired of hearing the same comment from different people. I told her that I was only joking and I have a Brooklyn Italian accent as well which many people point out to me. Although it does not offend me when people point out my accent, it did offend her. She told me that she is letting me know it bothered her because we are friendly with each other and she didn’t want to keep it inside and give me an attitude. I apologized for offending her and I will not comment on her accent again. After that, everything resumed as normal between us.

So next time something bothers you, say something. You would be surprised how much better you feel after getting that weight off of your shoulders. You would also be surprised how more often than not, people are understanding of your point of view and want to clarify the misunderstanding. If they are your friend, they will listen and respect your feelings and explain. If they take offense at you confronting them or get defensive and act differently towards you afterwards, than it is more a reflection of them than it is of you.