Sunday, December 31, 2017

Embracing Me

I could focus on how the holidays are hard. Engagements. Baby Announcements. Births. It's a reminder that I'm alone and as much as I enjoy my freedom, it does get lonely. Or I could focus on the positives, which is precisely what I'm doing because #teamnofeels.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a huge Lady Gaga fan. Have been since the beginning. I finally got to go to her concert this past September and it was everything I could have wanted and more. She has a documentary that came out on Netflix recently which I obviously watched. Her opening monologue hit home. In it she is talking about the issues she was having at the time with her now ex-fiancé:

"And I'm just in a different time of my life now where I just kind of like, I don't know I just feel like my threshold for bullshit with men is, is just I don't have one anymore. I just don't care. I don't know if it's because I'm 30, I feel better than ever, you know. All my insecurities are gone, I don't feel insecure about who I am as a woman, and I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of what I have. I just feel more sexy and sexual and all that shit is better." Lady Gaga, Five Foot Two.

Her words hit home in a way I've never been able to completely vocalize. I've had a year of changes, and that's putting it mildly. New job, new apartment, overall a new life. I'm learning and growing still with all the changes I'm making. I finding what I want, what I enjoy, what I won't put up with, and don't care if that fits into society's mold. It's glorious; it's frustrating. It's invigorating; it's depleting. It's abundant; it's lonely.

I was having an off hours conversation with my manager. She asked what I was doing for New Years, and I told her I had a few invites but no solid plans at this point. She said it was her favorite holiday. It was the only time, when her children were young, she would ask her ex-husband to take their two children, and she would have the night to herself. Not to do anything fancy mind you. But rather to take an evening for HER. Sip her own champagne in the quiet of the house while taking a bubble bath. A night to relax for herself.

That's what I decided that regardless of the invites I have, I WANT THAT. This article by Jezebel only solidified my decision. So much of what I've done this year has been for me...why wouldn't I want to ring in a New Year with my fur-baby celebrating this new life I'm creating for myself? I don't need the glitz of going out to to a crowded bar, or worrying about paying a surge priced Uber to ensure getting home safely.

I get it, this makes people uncomfortable. Even the Treasurer at work made a comment as he left Friday that "Natalie's definitely going out New Year's" Nope, I responded, think I might be staying in. Shocking to everyone, apparently, how can this smart, hilarious, hard-working, attractive (according to some) woman not have won't-want-to-miss-it plans for New Years?!

I've realized that society formulates us to not compute an individual, especially a woman, as able to be okay with being alone. I happily shatter that fucking notion. I am the best I've ever been, alone. So good, in fact, that since my membership is due to renew, and since I only seem to (still) be attracting men that are the same age as my father, I've already discontinued my account for the beginning of January. It's been a year of me actively attempting to try online dating, to no success. I've decided I'm taking the entire month of January to NOT do any type of online dating, paid or free. I'm just going to focus on me.

I look back at my year and overall all the bad or frustrating events have been far outweighed by the good. And I'll be honest, I've made some of my own hurts. I'm not perfect, certainly won't claim to be, and can only hope I've learned from the mistakes I've personally made over the past year. But I've rediscovered my love of music and live music. I've gone to numerous concerts on my own. I've gone to a number of movies with lunches in between all by myself. I went to the beach about once a week this summer. I've learned to jet-ski, boat, and fish at my parents. I took a girl's weekend in September with a friend I haven't seen in ages. I became a godmother to my best friend's son. In October I took the most relaxing vacation I've had in years. I traveled to New York City a couple weeks ago for the new Star Wars movie with friends for the simplicity of the adventure....because I can.

Does it get lonely? Without a doubt. Thankfully I've gotten better at managing that loneliness. A few months ago when I was feeling down (before some family insanity occurred that we're still dealing with), I did something for the first time in ages. I reached out to my girlfriends. And they reached back out. And as shitty as I was feeling for being alone, I wasn't, and suddenly I had plans for a Saturday night. Just weeks ago I got an unexpected girls night dinner just from sending a random text. I'm so lucky, I have these girlfriends who want to be there for me, and I love each and every one of them. They support and laugh at all the mistakes I make along the way, and always give me a home to come visit to. I may not live in the area anymore, but seeing them always reminds me I can come home. We pick up right where we left off without missing a beat, no matter how much time has passed. For that, I am forever grateful. I have a family that loves me unconditionally, and no matter where we are in the country, when we're together the laughter never ends. The bond I have with my family and friends is one I don't take lightly, and am so grateful can't be broken.

So you want to know my plans for this New Year into 2018? Unlike years past, I will be alone, but I won't be crying as that ball drops. I'll make sure to have a pizza, some snacks, and all my favorite booze in the apartment. I'll have plenty of treats for Homer too! I plan on spending the day doing what I want: reading, watching movies, napping, dancing in my kitchen, maybe being responsible and doing some laundry (#adulting). I will take a bubble bath at some point in the evening. Just before midnight I will pour a glass of champagne and cheers to myself, with Homer my sidekick, with the promise to make to 2018 an even more fun and adventurous year than 2017. And I will promptly fall into the comfort of my bed at 12:10 AM after texting all of my family and friends that I love them wishing them a happy New Year. Because I can.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Threat Level: Me

My coworkers get such a kick hearing my dating stories. My two cubicle-mates are happily married; one with children finishing in high school and starting college, the other only a few years older than me with two young girls under the age of 5. My manager is a grandma who's had her share of life struggles with men. My VP is happily married man with three younger kids.

My manager has been checking out the construction workers in the building for me to see if there's any suitable guys. If that doesn't work they'll find another member of the Village People for me, they joke. My cubicle-mates banter that I should pull a Mrs Robinson to the 26 year old guy in accounting who just got a promotion and now has to drop off all the check requests to us.

They can't believe that I got ghosted by a guy after 4 dates because I have career goals. That one of the cute guys who approached me at the gym is married....well "separated" but still living with his wife and 4 kids. I am not in the least way interested in being a side piece thank you very much I've done that and am not a fan. I may not have the highest self esteem, but I at least know I'm worth more than messages on a secret encrypted application; I deserve to be shown off, go out, post pictures of me on your Instagram. 

Two Friday's ago I sat and talked with my manager for about 2 hours after work. We shared our stories of what we've dealt with regarding men. I confessed how as much as I enjoy being alone, and it doesn't bother me, it does get lonely. She mentioned to me how difficult it can be to be alone, especially as she said, when you have to go business events, because everyone will be bringing their significant others and you are alone. "You're now a threat", she said. 

I was first of all flattered that she thinks highly enough of me to see my career shaping enough within the company to progress to be attending future business events. I've been here 8 months, and I have no doubt that I've shown them I'm smart, hardworking, and able to tackle significant projects with little direction and accomplish them. I know that around the office my height is the first thing noticed and commented on, second only to my bubbly personality and a few of the women have pointed out my fun shoe choices. My manager and I have been stopped on more than one occasion in the hallway for some individual in a department I don't even work with to "does she work for you?" followed by a nervous yes, only to be told "what a breath of fresh air! She's always smiling and so nice to everyone. A fantastic new hire to have in the company". I joke with my manager that I'll try to stop embarrassing her around the office. 

I personally do not view myself in the light that other's do. I don't see myself as overly attractive, because thanks society, as a woman I'm not supposed to have an ego. I view me as the overly tall, nerdy awkward girl who has super random thoughts and still gets butterflies in her stomach when she talks with cute boys. I was taught to treat everyone with respect, and I do, from the maintenance people who come down our hallways each morning to our CEO when he walks by our cubicles. 

But I'm realizing that just because society has taught me I cannot be full of myself because I'm a woman, doesn't mean that I'm not attractive and that I'm not perceived as a threat. My eyes. My legs. My confidence. My intelligence.

Forget the fact I check in on my 92 year old neighbor below me regularly. Or that my sister and I visited my grand-mom for the past three weeks almost every other day while she was in a rehab for her fractured shoulder from a fall. Or that I stay late at work or arrive early to complete projects without prompting. There's no little billboard above me proclaiming my good deeds. There's just as society taught us, only my looks are what matter. And as a single, successful, confident woman, I'm a threat.

The guy I was hooking up with for almost a year had a girlfriend; I only found out I was his side piece when she opened an (unbeknownst) ill timed Snapchat last New Year's Eve and confronted me. I had another business contact's wife threaten me with whom there was nothing nefarious between us because I was attending a work event with him that she couldn't make. My Uber drivers into Philly always ask as soon as I get in their car if those are my real eyes or they're contacts. There's a gentleman here in the complex where I walk Homer, who since the first day I've seen him shouts "Hey Beautiful" each time he sees me, and the other day "I love you!" as he drove away. As mentioned earlier I had a guy approach me at the gym, we chatted it up until he asked for my number, and it was only then when we couldn't seem to find a time to meet up that he mentioned about his "separation".

I couldn't put my finger on it, I had this (drunken) discussion with my best friend's husband a couple months ago. I have this thing, I can't shut it off. He asked me who wants me to shut it off, and I said no one, but I keep attracting the wrong people. It wasn't until I read this passage, that it put into words what I'm experiencing. "There's nothing sexier than the woman emitting the pheromone of personal fulfillment". This isn't something I can shut off. It's me living my best life, and people are naturally attracted to that. 

I'm just me, and I won't stop being me, but I understand now how I can be perceived as a threat. I'm an attractive, smart, confident, funny woman who is comfortable in my own skin being alone. I went today to my own double feature movie. Between the first and second movie I grabbed lunch at the brewery connected to the mall. As I was wrapping up mine to go back to the theater a woman, all dolled up, sat two chairs away from me at the bar alone. She told the bartender she was meeting someone here, could she just have a water while she waited. She checked her phone constantly, adjusting her low cut, tight fitting top repeatedly, glancing at the door with every draft of cold air that wafted our way. I certainly didn't envy her, as I paid for my beers and meal, off to do exactly what I wanted for the day, not waiting for a man to walk in and validate me.

Most of the time, that is, because we all have our moments. I'm lucky in that my best friends all trust me, they haven't abandoned me because they see me now as a threat to their marriages. They're inclusive, check in on me, and always invite me along. They, along with my family, help me pick up my pieces when I'm feeling down and remind me that I'm someone who is lovable.  Hopefully me as a threat will eventually attract the right individual, but for right now, I'm just going to keep having fun living my ridiculous, random, adventure filled life. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I continue to be amazed at the way life works. I went back and forth for a very long time about what to do about my engagement ring and wedding band. Divorce is such a strange process. For those of you who have never been through it (and I hope you never have to) the engagement ring is a "contract" between you and your partner. As long as the engagement ring wasn’t “gifted” on a holiday, you went through with the wedding ceremony and were legally married, the contract has been fulfilled and the woman gets to keep the engagement ring. Since I can check all the boxes off to meet this criteria, the ring is mine (insert SmĂ©agol "my precious" voice here).

I was torn. Some people told me to have custom jewelry made. But do I really want to wear something regularly that was the cause of so much pain? Others told me to just sell the diamonds, scrap the bands, and build my savings or take a trip with the money I make on them. But I knew I'd never make back what they're actually worth. Ultimately I decided to take the lemons that were given to me and make lemonade.
Charo doesn't like selfies

I started this process back in July. I visited a local, family owned jeweler (not a large chain) and brought in my rings. As I sat and told the salesman what I thought I wanted, the shop dog (Charo, the Chihuahua) jumped up onto my lap and made herself comfortable. At that moment I knew I was in the right place. Dave helped shape my vision into something even greater than I imagined. At the risk of sounding like a braggart, I went ahead and spent an exorbitant amount of money on myself, visiting the store a total of three separate times to get my vision of the jewelry correct. The end result was my center engagement diamond custom designed into a necklace setting and the remaining side diamonds from my bands into stack-able rings. I won't lie, I felt guilty spending the money on myself, especially going so many years "without" while I was married in order to make ends meet. Then I remember that I'm worth it, and I'm the only one I've got, so why not take something that almost broke me and make it into something that shines.

I got the call that my pieces were finally ready towards the end of the day while I was at work last Thursday. Realizing the date was the 14th, it reminded me that it was about this time last year I had my court date. Flipping back to last year's calendar the irony hit me; it was exactly one year on the day that my divorce was legally finalized. Talk about timing.

Cheers to a fresh start
I scheduled to pick them up over the weekend and wasn't sure how I'd feel, having these new pieces but knowing where the diamonds came from. When I walked into the store Saturday the salesman I had worked with exclaimed (as he was with other clients) "Here she is! Every time she comes in here she's happy. I've never met someone who's always in such a good mood, I don't know how she does it." His co-worker, whom I've also spoken with on my multiple visits, was equally as elated and told me "I already asked Dave if it was okay to put the necklace on you, wait until you see how it came out! We're so excited for you". I closed my eyes (at their request) until the necklace was clasped at the base of my neck. When I re-opened them to look in the mirror, I wanted to cry. It was perfect.

That's when I knew that I had made the right decision to have the pieces remade. Wearing these would be to remind myself that I survived; that the painful experiences I went through have helped me learn and grow. My bubbly personality hasn't been lost, but rather continues to sparkle as I build these next new chapters in my life.

(If you live in the South Jersey area it's Family & Co Jewelers on Rt 70 in Marlton. They're fantastic, and tell them I sent you!)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chuck It

Apparently I freaked a good amount of you out with my last blog post. First and foremost, I appreciate every single person that reached out to me. Every day I’m reminded how loved I am, and what an incredible support system of friends both immediate and from the past that are willing to be there for me. For that I am truly lucky.

I promise I’m of no danger to myself or anyone else. I’m okay, really. But those of you who know me and my always annoyingly bubbly, shiney, she-must-be-taking-drugs-because-she's-always-so-happy personality, well, even us unusually happy people have our hard moments too. Some days I can fake it better than others. But when my life gets a little too heavy I write, because writing gets my feelings out of my heart and head. It’s my most cathartic release besides crying over a bottle of wine with my two favorite men, Ben and Jerry (well three, I mean Homer knows when I’m not totally myself either and loves to give me extra snuggles).

We all have our battles, we all have our struggles, we all have our grief that we deal with in our daily lives. This too shall pass, I know, and until then I’ll keep leaning on those who reached out to me to get me through the dark times. I keep myself busy and surround myself with people who want to be an active part of my life, and the rest will fall into place. Allegedly. Or we’ll get nuked and then no worries for anybody except the cockroaches. And Mick Jagger. The best thing is I know these feelings are temporary, and that I’ve survived so much worse.

I was talking with my best friend on our unexpected girl’s night a few Saturday’s ago about how I seem to be going through so many random emotions. As she lovingly labeled what I’m experiencing PTND (Post Traumatic Nick Disorder), she pointed out that while these seemingly random feelings are coming to light now is actually that for the longest time I was in survival mode. I couldn’t afford to feel anything except nothing in order to finish my divorce. It didn’t matter that my ex had another woman living in the house we owned, that he was buying her things with our money. It didn’t matter that more lies and deception from the years I was married to him were coming to light about finances and secret credit cards and bank accounts. I did what I had to do to survive, which was keep a level head and compartmentalize to no feelings about anything except getting to that divorce date.

But now the dust has settled I’m getting to live instead of merely survive. I’m coming up on a year I’ve been divorced. My home sold. I changed careers. I for the first time moved into my own apartment out of the area for said new job. I’m working on my annulment documents. I did it, I survived. And now I have the time to feel all the things I wouldn’t allow myself to feel during the process. That’s what that blog post was. That’s what this period of feeling down on myself, and sad, and all these raw emotions that sneak up on me is. It’s not just the feelings through my divorce, it’s the feelings I wouldn’t always allow myself to feel in my marriage as well. The lies, being unwanted, the obsessive cleaning, the deception, the guilt, the rage. I haven’t truly gotten to feel it, and it hurts.

My snuggle-puffins
Attempting to date doesn’t help. Digital screens has made dating horrid, frustrating, full of deception, and at times scary. As I lamented to my friend Jason about the creeps that keep messaging me, he said “maybe online dating isn’t for you”. And you know what, I think he’s right. There’s this stigma that if you’re single you should always be “looking”, but I’m already so tired of the process. I don’t feel like making the small talk via text messaging explaining all the changes in my life the past year and a half. I don’t feel like making time to try to meet up with a strange guy after work to sit at a bar and have awkward conversation that leads to nothing more than a slow ghosting fade.

It all came together as I sat at work realizing that I hadn’t heard from either of the two new boys from Match who had started texting me. I realized it wouldn’t matter if they had continued to text and actually wanted to see me. I literally have no free time starting tonight until Monday. My weekends from now through almost all of September are filled with friends, holidays, birthday parties, and adventures. I’ve booked an all inclusive vacation, my first in two years, with my sister in October. I’m going to see one of my favorite comedians in November when she comes to Philly. I’ve found 9 concerts from artists I enjoy that I want to see which fits in my schedule and one of those include, thanks to my brother, seeing my all time favorite band Brand New for the first time in 10 years when they perform at the Electric Factory in Philly. I’m still taking golf lessons and pushing myself to get stronger every morning at the gym. 
Brunch celebrating my
sister's birthday

One of the women to reach out to me after I posted a few weeks ago said it all fell into place for her when she stopped trying to micromanage her life. And maybe that’s what I’ve been doing on some subconscious level without realizing it. So I’m giving up. But in a good way. I’ve decided, as we say in my family, to chuck it in the fuck-it bucket. I still have until January free on Match, so I’ll use it until then but won’t be renewing.

Would it be nice to have someone to share all these experiences with? Of course it would, who wouldn’t want someone to be an active staple in their life? But even though I have my moments of not feeling enough, as one of my best friends sent me that post at the top of the page, I am enough, and if no one realizes that then it’s their loss. I’m going to keep filling my time with people and things I’d rather be doing, even if it is all by myself.

*Cue Celine Dion song*

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Grief Stage: Angry

When I can't sleep I write, so as Homer snores beside me in the bed I try to make sense of the ramblings that my brain just won't shut off. This isn't meant to be a "woe is me post" or that I regret the decisions I made, I just think it's important to put out there some of the more raw and real side effects that going through a divorce can have. Just because I wanted it doesn't mean it's all rainbows and butterflies.
From the book I'm currently reading - "The Missing"

My dad's best friend had sent me an article as I made the tough decision to file for divorce, which outlines how divorce is very much like a death; you will end up experiencing the same stages of grief. I feel as though with most things in my life, I'm not experiencing them in the "correct" order, if you will.

I was catching up on the latest season of Orange Is the New Black, and while not nearly the message being sent with the death in the show (I won't spoil it for those who haven't caught up), the girlfriend of the deceased says the following of how she feels now that the woman she loves is gone:

"That's the thing. I'm not sad. I'm angry. I hate everyone. Anyone laughing or smiling or being alive is fucking offensive to me and they should all just fucking die. And eventually I'm just gonna burn up from rage and I'll just be dust and I don't know how to make it stop."
(Season 5 Episode 6 14 minutes)

I cried my eyes out after that scene, because I know that exact feeling, since that's what I seem to be experiencing right now. I'm so angry now for not being wanted, not being enough for someone. I haven't just been alone since getting divorced, I was alone in my marriage, when my ex constantly chose his OCD over me.

The most meaningless things seem to be setting me off. I still actively avoid social media, forgoing the perfect Facebook posting of engagements, weddings, pregnancy announcements, baby births, and couples vacations for the sarcastic, heartless memes on Instagram. I know that I can't handle seeing everyone's lives put together, as mine is still being forged back from falling apart. 

And that's no offense to my family and friends because I'm guilty of it too; no one wants to put the ugly side of their life out there (except me, right now. You're welcome). I'm so happy that they're happy and clearly want nothing but the best for them. Some days though, I feel like I'm just flailing. The frustration of online dating certainly doesn't help with this fury.

My immediate reaction is to seclude myself, lick my wounds over a bottle of wine and the healing power of tears. I've been trying to get better at this and instead of pushing everyone away, keeping myself around people.

Much like the OITNB episode continues, I try to have an outlet for my anger. I workout daily. I plan fun activities for myself to get me out of the house. The amount of people who are shocked at the things I do by myself - the movies, dinner at a bar, Uber into the Philly to go to concerts or a festival - well what else am I supposed to do? I can't bring my dog everywhere, and if I didn't do things by myself, who would I do them with? I'd never leave my apartment otherwise.

I know I've gone through so many drastic changes in the past 18 months. I can't expect it all to fall into place so steadily with what I've done, and don't worry I'm not Hulk-smashing or crying at the drop of a hat. I try hard to focus on my accomplishments thus far: making the tough decision to get divorced because I deserve better, standing on my own two feet with a new career and my own apartment, and the vacations being planned before the end of the year. 

But some days you just need a cold bottle of Chardonnay and a good cry.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bittersweet Goodbye

This past week marks exactly three months since I pulled the ripcord on my old life, and parachuted completely into my fresh new start.

90 days and so much has changed. The first 90 days are what make or break you in a new career, or so I’ve read. You have 90 days to set expectations, leave impressions, let people know your work ethic and how you perform as an employee. Am I working longer hours? Sometimes. Am I experiencing new challenges, learning more, but still having fun? Absolutely.

It’s been a hell of a 90 days for me. The first five weeks in my new career path were spent commuting an hour and a half each way. I essentially walked out the door at 6 am to walk back in around 7 pm, eat dinner, sleep, and restart the next day. I had no social life to speak of, but I at least got to become familiar in the job I was taking over. I’m so grateful for my parents who helped me with Homer and had dinner waiting for me while I worked this insane schedule temporarily still living under their roof.

I knew an ending was in sight as I signed an apartment lease closer to work soon after taking the position. With the help of a moving crew and my family I packed up what I needed from my storage unit and moved into my own place. It’s small, but it's perfect because it's mine. There’s a lovely fenced dog park for Homer to run around in (not to mention friendly neighbors with friendly dogs) and plenty of sidewalks for us to take long walks. 

This is the first time I've been living on my own, and I love it. I went from college to engaged to married; so this is truly my first time living alone. I still deal with some of the neurosis from my ex which rear their ugly heads from time to time. I'm not always sure if I really want to clean something or it's a compulsion from my living with him. I will be the first to tell you I wasn't perfect in my marriage, but I wasn't the one who kept us in every Saturday cleaning and doing laundry. 

It's really the silly, simple pleasures I'm still finding and learning to enjoy. I went from having such a regimented daily and weekly schedule to the freedom of whatever I want to do with my time. Being able to come and go as I please. I can walk around with no clothes. I do laundry when I feel like any day or night of the week. I clean when I want. I'll cook dinner if I want, or pickup takeout on my way home. The only schedule routine I have is walking Homer and letting him run at the dog park. Even he seems more relaxed. I've rediscovered my love of music and have been to three concerts so far this year, with a fourth coming up in September. I've even started golf lessons this month which I've been talking about doing for years. My goal? Get comfortable enough to join the group at work that I'm on the email list for that goes once a week to play a round at the end of the day. 

Two weeks ago I went to the PIA convention to say good bye/pass the gavel officially for the Vice President to move up to President. It was bittersweet. It didn't hit me until I sat down to write the Thank Yous to my board a few days before heading down. I started to cry, and when I text a friend he said of course it's a lot, you're closing a chapter of your life. Truer words haven't been spoken. I miss all these people; they've been my extended family and colleagues for the better part of almost a decade. They awarded me with a lovely plaque for my service as well as a gorgeous collage that I can't wait to hang above my desk in my room. Leaving there on Sunday night was hard; it felt like a final good-bye. It's amazing to see how only three months into my new routine and I already felt so out of place being around my old one. 

For the past 9 years I've known exactly what that PIA weekend holds in store for me. This time that weekend was the first time I had no stress, minor deadlines, and for the first time I felt almost disconnected. I don’t miss what I was doing. Granted, I’m still learning so much, and everything is so new, and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge again that it's thanks to what I learned at the agency I landed where I am. I've been told our busy season starts at the end of the summer with renewals, so I know that there will be bad and frustrating days to come. But even in knowing that I still believe this move was for the best, and has improved my relationship with my family, or at least I feel as though it did. From what I’m told via other sources I’m leaving quite the impression with everyone I work with, and they are happy to have me on the team. 

I'm slowly getting into my own routine at home of early morning gym, work, dog mama balance, and fun. Work is starting to feel familiar on some fronts which is slightly frightening. I'm still saying yes to so many new adventures and continuing to get out of my own comfort zone, because that's where the fun happens! 

I still have my down days. I won’t pretend that everything is rainbows and butterflies and incredible times. I’ve cried myself to sleep and messed up things at work. But I dry my tears the next morning, readily admit when I've made a mistake, but the good still heavily outweighs the bad life I was living. If anything the biggest takeaway from my experiences this past year and a half is that life is too short to be anything but happy.  

The word brave gets thrown around a lot for what I did, and the remark that it took so much courage. In some part I can see that, not everyone would be wiling to completely uproot their life and make the drastic changes I did. In some ways I see it as just that, drastic and irresponsible. But how I know it was right is that I feel absolutely no guilt. Knowing that I gave my all, I have a clear conscious of my actions, and my gut tells me as much. I'm happy, have no anxiety, and seeing past photos of me, reading my past journal entires both public and private, I know I was a shell of myself. 

I refuse to ever lose myself again like that, because life is entirely too short. So I'll keep saying yes to new adventures, keep making seemingly terrible life decisions, keep having fun and enjoying every day doing what I want when I want. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Big News

It's funny how life works sometimes. To quote Florence + the Machine "Regrets collect like old friends" and to employ what she sings next, tonight I'm going to cut it out and then restart.

I'm a whole range of emotions right now.
Excited. Nervous. Super happy. Can't stop crying.

Today was my last day of work at my family's agency as I accepted a position that's outside the industry while still working with the knowledge I aquired. It was a difficult decision, and is definitely a bittersweet day as I'm leaving so many friends, contacts, and familiarity behind. For those of you reading who have worked for family, you know there's never a right time to leave.

Flashback Friday to dad being PIA President.
And me being awkwardly skinny. Those were the days. 
It cannot go without saying that I landed this new position thanks to everything I've mastered over these past 9 years at our agency. Had I not had the hands on learning thanks to my dad teaching me, there's no way I would have the qualifications for this role. Granted, I'm going to have an incredible amount more to learn, but I'm confident in my ability to adapt and thrive. For never having taken a business class in my life (what up fellow comm majors!) my experiences and on the job learning taught me more than any textbook ever could. They said as much in my interview.

To say I've been to hell and back over these past 14 months would be putting it lightly. I am grateful for everything the agency has provided me with both personally and professionally these past 9 years. But a complete life reset is what I need for me right now. Getting out of my usual routines, challenging myself on my own, and especially getting out of this small town to expand my social network.

What really hits home for me is I got this job thanks to the help of my network of women. In case you're wondering just how incredible we women can be, it's that these women, some without even knowing me personally all helped me get this position. One of these women will actually now be my new boss.

In case you missed it, this article recently came out about Alpha Women. I was enraged when I read it. I hadn't even thought of it since until today as I was reflecting on all that occurred in the past few weeks.

My desk never looked so clear!
Now in reading it I think it's important for me to thank these women. These other alphas, all succeeding in their industries and some in their personal relationships did more to help me land a new job than either of the two male head hunters I had. Now don't get me wrong, the head hunters may have not succeed had they been women either, but it's fitting to my point. I had one of them flat out tell me he was having a hard time marketing my resume because I didn't "have enough experience for me to go to a large brokerage or company."

Which was completely satisfying for me to inform him to stop distributing my said "unmarketable resume" as I landed a position with an $8 Billion (yes, with a B) global company based out of Philadelphia. But I suppose that was just sheer luck, right?

Please don't get me wrong, this is not meant to be a male bashing post. I'm fortunate enough that through my entire life, none of the males in it have ever said that I couldn't do something because I'm a woman. Not my dad, grandfather, brother, uncles, hell even my ex never held that against me. But I'm a proud Alpha Woman, and I'm not going to stop being me just to appease men who are uncomfortable with my confidence, leadership, and drive.

So I'm about to embark in what is likely the biggest adventure in my life. A new job, moving to a new apartment in a new area, and starting from scratch. I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

21st Century Dating

In the Online Dating system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the single women who are trying to meet nice men, and the men who are actually the worst. These are their stories. *DUN DUN*

The top two questions I currently get are:
1. Are your eyes really that color blue? (yes, I grew them myself, thanks)
2. Are you dating anyone? No? How is someone like you still single? (That's probably technically 4 questions total. Whatever, it's my blog I do what I want. I don't know how to answer that. I mean I think I'm pretty incredible but apparently I ask for too much. You know, no games, trustfulness, respect. So needy.)

Followed by the comment:  You should get online to meet men. You'll be married within the next year.

So I caved, not that I'm looking to get married again any time soon. I went on Bumble a few times (gave up on that completely for reasons to follow) and am only on Match as I paid for my membership with a coupon because guess who has two thumbs and loves a bargain? Plus on Match if I keep within the parameters and don't meet anyone in the first 6 months I get the next 6 months free. So it's a win-win in my opinion.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of doing online dating, here's a few things for you to keep in mind while reading. I'd like to start by saying my profile photos are not scandalous. I am fully clothed, no provocative poses, and no duck-kissy faces because you all know how ridiculous you look when you do that, right? My profile is sarcastic because I am sarcastic. And every "date" I go on I offer to split the bill because it's 2017 and I make my own money thank you very much.

Also please note that the examples below are just the men I've felt safe enough to actually meet in person. I've had multiple men contact me and within a few lines of chatting want to turn the conversation to sex. Now, I'm not prude but it's insane the way this era of messaging behind screens seems to make it acceptable. If we were sitting in a public bar would you still ask to play "naughty 20 questions" had I just met you 5 minutes earlier? How has this become such a mainstream practice?

These points being understood, how's it going so far? Let's recap:
- My first date leaves me having to pay for the entirety of dinner because he forgot his wallet after we had gotten carded when we walked in the door and he clearly had it then (said wallet fell behind him when he tried to replace it in his back pocket and he didn't think to look around his chair).
- A guy who said he was an empath and wanted to meditate with me because when he meditates it's when he can be most engulfed in people's energies. He wanted to be completely enveloped in my positive and genuine energy.
- A guy showed me a picture of his dick on his phone unprompted, not relevant to the conversation we were having other than he pointed out some older woman in the bar who is married that was allegedly trying to hook up with him. Apparently this is supposed to woo me.
- Another wanted to go hiking in the woods in the morning, alone before work, as we just started talking and hadn't met yet. The innuendo being that when we met up later at night we could get a hotel room and have sex since I'd know him better by then {sidebar, I did not meet up with this guy}
Bumble convo with blow off date
that has since found me on Match.
- A guy I genuinely liked, was getting along with splendidly, and seemed to be developing into something until his girlfriend of two years text me to ask me to stop whatever was going on between us.

I wish I was joking.

This next one is a strong contributor for my latest deletion of Bumble. At the last minute I decided to meet up with a guy as it worked for both of our schedules. He kept pushing back the time we were meeting at the bar even knowing I had a half hour ride to get there (himself too as he was out). By 10 minutes before I was supposed to be there (I was running behind at that point after trying to run errands to fill the pushback times) he messaged me that he still hadn't left. So I would have been sitting alone at the bar for a half hour until he arrived and I had enough. I messaged him since it was last minute attempt anyway why don't we just try for another day?  I proceeded to go see Rogue One by myself which was EPIC. He continued to message me for days after that which I didn't respond. Soon after, I delete the dating app and am now only on Match. He somehow finds me on Match this week and has since messaged me...TWICE...asking why I stopped responding on Bumble.

The attorney in our building at work recently asked me why we woman "ghost" and don't just tell men that we're not interested. That's a no-brainer: because it's easier than having to be harassed and belittled for rejecting him thus hurting his frail male ego. Don't believe me? Read the online dating article here (note, it's definitely considered a #longread). It's why I started following ByeFelipe on Instagram, which publish screen shots of the responses women have gotten when they've rejected men. It's disgusting, deplorable, and 100% accurate with what we women deal with daily in trying to online date.

Homer, the best snuggler
Okay Natalie, so Bumble obviously didn't work out for you. What about Match? You said you paid for a membership, that has to be going pretty well, right?! These are the actual ages of the last ten men who expressed interest in me on in no particular order (for those of you who don't know me, I'm just 31 years young): 54, 40, 39, 48, 36 (but he's in Monroe NY which google tells me is 4 hours away so like ya know, super close), 42, 45, 44, 62, 46. Of the men closer to my age and interest that I've reached out to on the site no one has messaged back. I have not met up with anyone from Match.

To say I'm disheartened with this whole scene is an understatement. Not that I'm looking to jump into anything crazy, let's be real I'm still working through issues from my divorce. But come. the fuck. on.  Grow up, get some manners, and treat a lady right. Chivalry, I am convinced, is utterly dead.

So if anyone needs me I'll be doing the required minimum to get my 6 months free on Match, but otherwise currently have more important things to focus on in my life than finding someone. Yes, everyone, I'm comfortable being alone even if you aren't.

- Dick Wolf did not produce this blog post but he probably should have since these events seem so outlandish they must be made up, but I can attest are all actual events. And if you didn't get that reference by my opening line then who are you and why are you even reading this?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


I have been getting a lot of flack for the past 5 (!!!) years since I posted this blog entry which basically stated that my brother didn't have any chores when we were younger because he is the favorite child.

Before the JMT (John Michael Truthers as he so lovingly informed me of earlier this week) try to delve deeper and find more of the lies I have allegedly told about him, I want to make a correction to above said blog post.

Dead sexy 
My younger brother definitely did chores around the house when we lived at home. He would without complaint empty the trashcans. And with two older sisters who have long curly hair you can imagine what a treat that was. He'd mow the lawn. He was the overall gopher for dad - going to help him fix anything at my grandparents, or my grandma's, or at the office, or around our own house. He helped build infamous tiki bar in the backyard of the house we grew up in.

Most notoriously though were the windows that broke, whether with him kicking soccer balls over the house and attempting the same with baseballs, and the laughs we now have about his shenanigans.

But the fact is (and as guilt would have it) he came through in a big way today and helped me score pre-sale Lady Gaga tickets for her second show when she comes to Philly in September. A simple gesture, absolutely. But I couldn't be more grateful that he immediately thought of me when he got the email that the pre-sale went live. This will be my first concert since college and as silly as it sounds I could not be more excited than I am at this current moment. It's the simple things really that I'm starting to enjoy more and more as I create this new path ahead of me.

Plus mom said if we don't stop bickering we'd be sent to our rooms without dinner. And I'm hungry.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 - Hakuna Matata

Well if 2016 taught me anything it's that I certainly have finally figured out my type of man...and that's liars. The first step to getting help though is admitting you have a problem, right?

Last Friday was a huge milestone for me, which if you follow me on Instagram you'll know I posted about. It was one year ago that day I made the decision (with help) to change the course of my life. So much changed in that year that I'm still marveling in the fact a full 365 days have gone by. 

Now is when I get the fun questions. Are you dating anyone? No. When will you start dating? Working on it.
I actually had an individual tell me that I should get online soon and "you'll be married in a year". Which is funny to me because who says I want to be married again in a year? Can't I be okay alone, forging my own path, enjoying the successes I'm able to achieve?

That last Friday morning I woke up, proceeded my morning routine of walking Homer in subzero temperatures, and then headed out to the gym before work (#humbleresolutionsbrag). As I drove my car the iPod I keep permanently plugged in finally warmed up from the cold temperatures and started playing on random. The first song that comes on is "Hakuna Matata" from the Lion King. "It means no worries,"  I sang along to the music blaring out of the speakers "for the rest of your days!"

And you know what, I realized mid-song that phrase is not a terrible philosophy for me to have in 2017. I don't need to have my life fully sorted yet. I don't need a "plan". I survived everything 2016 threw at me with my decision, and made it out the other side not only alive, but flourishing. My life is playing out exactly the way it should, one day and one decision at a time. 

That night I went home and celebrated my 31st birthday with extended family who were in the area for a wedding. The date, January 6th, was completely unplanned by any of us; one year and 4 days since my disastrous 30th birthday party, exactly one year from leaving my husband. It was the best, unplanned, thrown together, laughter filled evening and late birthday celebration I've had in years. If that's not a sign of the amazing things to come, I don't know what is.