*Let’s just consider it water under my vagina

*This post has been updated February 11, 2015.
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If you’ve been reading here a while, you know all about my body dysmorphia issues. My scale has been up and down so much, it should be a trampoline. From anorexia at 16 followed by the fun-filled cocaine and Taco Bell diet in my 20s, to my yo-yo struggles with comfort food addiction in my 30s, I’ve literally seen four different dress sizes cohabitation in my closet for years.

BD

I’ve been trying to eat well since my brain aneurysm diagnosis. Between that, therapy visits and moving my body more (walking), I’m realizing there’s something to this whole body-connection-thing. Having a nice figure is really just a side effect of being healthy.

Captain Obvious? Is that you?

Furthering that thought, having a happy attitude is really an added bonus – the sweet cherry topping – to our emotional, hot fudge sundae. If you’re mentally and physically healthy, the Happy and Hot will follow.  

Do I feel happy all of time, and do I walk around feeling like Cindy Crawford, circa any decade? Er, no. But more times than not, when I’m taking care of myself I’ve an extra bounce in my step, and in the right lighting, on a good hair day, after kicking back some champagne, I feel like a super model. Kind of.

I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

SBFor those of us in our 40s, we need to be ready to face middle-age with a healthier lifestyle. So far, it’s been a blast living in a body that can’t rally the way it did twenty years ago.

This will be the decade of Divine Decadence, like Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Without the hairstyle and cigarettes.

So how does one kick off a new-found healthy way of life? By opening

Christine Macdonald

Vacation Part One: Expectations, Honesty, Chemistry, Reality

There’s something about going on vacation that makes us feel like we’re nine years old again. Butterflies spin in our bellies, as we cross off each passing day building up to our departure. As the vacation countdown continues, we make last-minute trips to the drug store, check the weather forecast, and begin mentally packing our bags.

When our travel day finally arrives, we happily navigate space in our carry on luggage between the four pairs of must-have shoes, figure-flattering tops and our favorite pair of jeans – all the while, our minds fueled by excitement, begin to wonder:

  • What type of adventure will this be?
  • Who will I meet?
  • Will I learn anything?
  • Will I face any fears, or discover new ones?
  • Just where will the Universe take me?

It’s the very reason we take time for ourselves, away from our everyday lives. An escape from the mundane. To feel like that nine-year old; so carefree and open to limitless possibilities and opportunities.

Whether you’re on a Disney cruise with your family, a mountain hiking excursion with friends, or flying off to Hawaii with the love of your life, all vacations have ways of taking you outside yourself, on little adventures. The best ones take you outside your comfort zone.

The Universe really does have its master plan, and going off your personal grid of everyday routine is an excellent way to ride the wave. Some of the most amazing life opportunities occur as a result of stepping outside of who we are.  We learn valuable lessons about ourselves when we let go of who we think we should be.

Although I’m a pretty heavy thinker (ok, dreamer), I’ve never been much of a planner. Outside of knowing how I’m getting somewhere and which hotel I choose, my usual agenda is that I have no agenda. This behavior serves me well, but as I learned  on my most recent vacation – when other people are involved, and there’s not much structure to plans outside the “play by ear” motto, excitement flirts with expectations, which can turn in to deflated feelings when things don’t pan out like you hoped.

Part of my vacation was meeting up with an old man-friend. He’s completely wrong for me on almost every level, but we respect our differences and don’t judge. Nobody chooses chemistry; all we can do is choose to react or detract when it hits. When it comes to Patrick, the lightening bolt hit in the form of effortless conversation, a ton of laughter, and me trying not to step on his shoes as he spun me on the dance floor. A stripper with the moves, I was. A two-steppin’ twirly girl, notsomuch.

There are few people who get me – even less who share the same humor, love of music and panache for dancing (even if I shake my booty like I’m still on stage, and he spins the ladies around like the awesome entertainer he is). We both dance like no one’s watching, but secretly hope they do. We love adoration and attention, which makes us a great pair of friends who know how to work a room. Then there’s the sexual chemistry. We were cloaked in it from the start. To say Patrick has that certain je ne sais quoi, is an understatement. To believe I’d use a trite French term of endearment, and actually hear my voice attempt the accent, is Patrick knowing me.

The year we met, I was in a new town and just getting my feet wet back in the dating world. It had been a while since I felt such a powerful connection with someone, but powerful it was. Something greater than myself made me pounce him in mid sentence as we were walking. After Patrick’s priceless look of shock and my confident “oh, like you weren’t thinking about doing that?” reply, the floodgates opened and for the next few hours, it was tongue-o-polooza. All these years later, I still regard the night I met Patrick at that concert to be one of the best times I ever had.

Contrary to what you may think, as a stripper, I was still a lady – so there was no horizontal hokey pokey that night. Which I think, laid (pardon the pun) the foundation for an amazing friendship in the years that followed.

But here’s the thing about chemistry – it finds you. Every time Patrick popped back in my life, there it was. Like an old lover coming back for more. As time went on, each encounter we shared, via the phone, email or smoke signals, we untied the constraints of our lives and made time for one another to just be. We enjoy each other so much, but the reality of our lives is that between work, travel schedules, geography and anything else you can think of, a traditional relationship, with us will never be. Which, makes it even more exciting, naturally.

The Universe definitely has a sense of humor. Little bitch.

The planets must have been aligned in our favor during my recent vacation, because for the first time in ages, Patrick and I would be in the same town. Giddy with excitement, I was. And as time drew closer to our rendezvous, we began to talk about things we’d do, people we’d want to meet, and how exciting it was that we’d have three whole days together. The only snafu in this plan – was that it was starting to be a plan.

Patrick travels the globe for his career, and the reason he was in the same town as me was really a happy coincidence. I kept telling him I would roll with it, and he kept saying any second he was free, he’d find me. Sounds perfect, if the seconds he were free actually weren’t so few and far between.

The day I arrived was magic. Like no time had passed, we picked up where we left off years ago, and settled in to our fabulousness. A great start to our little adventure.

The next day, reality hit. After not hearing from Patrick except to learn via text, I should make plans without him – I was deflated, angry, hurt and confused.

Little did I know, I was knee-deep in an extremely valuable life lesson.

In all the build up of our reunion, I lost myself in the expectation of having something that really wasn’t meant to be. It’s like my nine-year-old self arriving at Disneyland, only to learn my favorite ride is closed for repair. As kids, we’d get upset, but it’s not going to stop us from enjoying the rest of what Disneyland has to offer!

After the let down of not seeing Patrick that night, I took a moment to process the reality of the situation, remembering it wasn’t about me at all. I was angry at the circumstance. But I still needed to let him know how I felt.

The reason I love Patrick to pieces, is that I can be a total girl sometimes and he doesn’t judge or use it against me. Boys want to fix it, but sometimes Girls just want to be heard. I knew Patrick couldn’t fix his situation, so I hesitated telling him how disappointed I was with this trip not turning out as we hoped. I knew he would feel pressured, but in order for me to move past this setback, I had to get it out. So I did. And he did. And later, when his work was finished, he found the time to see me.

“I’m okay.” I said with a hug hello.

“I know you’re not, but that’s okay.” He laughed nervously, as if to wonder how long I was going to give him shit.

We shared some laughs, and after a while, it was water under the bridge. The next few hours were spent laughing, dancing, meeting great people and riding our chemistry wave.  Saying good-bye to Patrick is never fun, because we never know when our paths will cross again. But I left him this time with so much gratitude and love for what I learned.

So much of what we take on in the form of disappointment or grief is based on how we build things up in our minds. My time with Patrick was not what we talked about, or how I imagined, but that didn’t take away from any of the moments we did share. As always, those little nuggets of time together are one for the books (or, Blog).

The balance of my vacation was spent with two of the most amazing women I know. We worked together 20 years ago as strippers in Waikiki, and, as usual, our stripper reunion was packed with all sorts of Awesome. Countless bottles of wine, going through old photos, sharing memories and making new ones. Wanna know all about it? I was hoping you would: Stripper Reunion.

 

 

Christine Macdonald

Soul Mates?

Most of us have been there. We meet the perfect person who we feel completes us. We like the same movies, laugh at the same jokes. We find ourselves saying things like “you totally get me”, “where have you been my whole life?” and “we are soul mates!”

Fast forward a few months (or years) later and the glitter is washed away with the reality of life. And after wiping our tears, we come to the realization our perfect partner was anything but.

After dusting off my heart from yet another failed relationship, I am left to wonder: is there such a thing as soul mates?

It’s been said that there are many love life expectations and myths that repeatedly trip up even the most intelligent and otherwise successful people. That the “Love of my life” feeling can get us in to trouble. The quote “you don’t know who the love of your life is until the last day of your life” gives us pause to reflect on the many people who’ve come in and out of our lives after thinking they fit the bill.

I remember Charlotte from Sex and the City sharing her views on the subject. “Everyone knows you only get two great loves in your life”. A statement she revised from her previous thought of only having one, but since her divorce, she upped the number. So which is it, I wondered. If anyone knew about soul mates, clearly it’d be Charlotte.

Then I came back to reality. Not a place I’m used to living, when it comes to matters of the heart. I much prefer flying on the heels of denial and illusion – relying on the bells and whistles of romance to carry me through. But even bells and whistles need maintenance.

 

 

Love takes work. It’s not glamorous, but it’s real.

So when do you throw in the towel? When do you realize it’s time to make a change, making yourself available for your real soul mate? Or.. .was your ex your soul mate at the time? Is there even such a thing?

At (gasp) 43, I find myself starting over, but I am in a good place. I’m taking the lessons learned in my past and building a foundation for myself – and the next man in my life. He may not know me yet, but I  know what he’s getting in to, and that is something worth believing in.

So tell me: do you believe in soul mates? Are you with yours – or have you had more than one? I would love to hear your story.

Christine Macdonald