Sunday, April 24, 2011

Adventure Bowl
Guide for New Readers * How it Began & How it Works

Dear BlogHer readers - I have marked below in PURPLE where the blog picks up from where you read it on BlogHer.

A friend recently sent me a link to BlogHer and asked me why I don't write some blog posts there.  I thought it was a sweet suggestion.  She felt that many, many women have moments of their life where they go through depression and maybe they might find my experience of overcoming it (though I am always aware it might come back), helpful.

I wasn't sure which one of my blog posts to post on BlogHer - maybe I thought if I started at the beginning, the cause of my depression - which started on the day I found out my cousin was murdered.  It was then compounded because within a matter of months I lost my job as a comedy writer, ended my relationship with my boyfriend and my Mom went through such a long illness (er, um... nervous breakdown after my cousin's trial) that readers might think my life was... hmmm, what's the expression...

"A colossal bummer."

So I started my first blog on BlogHer with an Adventure Bowl story that glossed over my depression and went right to the fun part (I'm such a good Catholic like that).  I talked of how I finally decided that laying in bed, day after day, was just not working for me.  I didn't mention that at the time, I was rounding the 2 year anniversary of my cousin's death and thought it would be a really crappy way to honor his memory by being stuck in bed, the covers pulled over me, a bag of Doritos for lunch... you know, just like yesterday, the day before that and all the days before that.

So I decided I would take action.  Everyone had been telling me to read, "Eat Pray Love" and I did.  It INFURIATED me.  How was THAT book supposed to help ME?  I could barely shower myself or make even a bowl of cereal for myself - how was I going to travel three countries for a year.  Um... and with what money???

But I did respect the author's desire to take action.  Okay, I could "take action," too.  I did want out of this depression and I wanted out BADLY.  I had already lost so much.  "Okay, take action... I'll do it."

BlogHer readers - The Post picks up here!

I would put, in a bowl, which I named the Adventure Bowl, all the fun things I wanted to do.  It started with 20 suggestions and I could ad as many as I wanted, whenever I wanted.  The only rule, pick one a week - and no backing down, no excuses.  At first, I started off small - get a pedicure.  Go for a picnic in the park, eat a cupcake like I'm a little kid again (pure joy!), go to a fancy hotel and walk the grounds.

Basically, I was going to "Eat Pray Love" within a ten mile radius of my house and for under ten dollars.

I started to find the old me on these little adventures.  Find my smile.  Feel... happy.  I started to get more daring in what I would ad to the bowl - go paddle boarding, save up and go for a massage, test drive a Porsche, crash a fancy hotel pool.

It was these more daring adventures that boosted my confidence and helped me conquer fears.  When you start doing that, it carries over into other aspects of your life:  soon after (many months) I lost twenty pounds, I landed a dream job (I became persistent because I was ready to go after what I wanted - another great aspect of these adventures).  Additionally, I was becoming more social and I found myself standing up for myself more.

I still do the Adventure Bowl each week.  My favorite one so far?  Going jet skiing with one of my best friends and my sister.  I conquered a few fears - the ocean and the idea of losing control.  My sister swore I would be too scared to go fast on the jet ski but it was she who was begging for mercy when I was ripping through the water, and she who was clinging for her life to me :)

I was shocked by how many women on BlogHer read the post.  I know that going through a depression, for me, a situational depression, and working hard to overcome it, would resonate with a lot of women - I get so many amazing comments here and in the blog's email.

But when I saw today, that over 800 women has read that post, I was shocked.  But thrilled, too.  And many of those readers have come here - many reading this blog for over 2 hours at a time.

I just want to say thank you.  It really means a lot to me.  I like the thought that maybe it makes someone reading this blog, going through a hard time - feel less alone.  A single mom wrote me, she just wanted to get under the covers.  She's scared if she does, she may never come out.  I know what that feels like.  

While she enjoyed reading my story and thought the Adventure Bowl sounded awesome, she felt like I did when I read "Eat Pray Love" - who has the time or money for this?  

That's why I wrote today's post.  To clarify how I started off doing "adventures" that no other person, except one going through a depression, would consider an adventure.  If you are not getting out of bed because you are depressed, going for a pedicure, going to lay under a tree with a good book IS AN ADVENTURE.

Start off slow.  The only goal in the beginning is to get out of the house.  To put a smile on your face.  To remember the old you.  And to work slowly and gently to getting back to her.

I also explained that giving yourself these little adventures would give back to her family 100 fold.  Never feel guilty about taking time for yourself when ultimately, a happier more joyful you, makes your family happier, too.

I hope many of you will try an Adventure Bowl for your self.  I'd love to hear about what Adventures you would add to your bowl.  Also, if you have any questions, please let me know.  I would LOVE to answer them.  Thanks for stopping by :)



Friday, April 22, 2011

Welcome All New BlogHer Readers :)

I am so happy you've found me!  Feel free to subscribe if you want to know when a new blog post is up.  And I would LOVE for you to click on our Facebook badge and join our merry group of Adventurers!

So glad you're here!

"Life is either a great adventure or nothing."  Helen Keller


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Adventures in Dating
The New York City Edition

When I was dating in Los Angeles, there were challenges.  The biggest was me, in that, between going through a really sad break-up, losing my job, a death in the family, a depression, my mom being sick, I really did not care about dating.  AT ALL.

It became so far back on the back burner, it wasn't even on the burner.  In fact, I'm trying to rack my brain for someone I've even really liked in the last year or so and I'm not coming up with really, well, anyone.

(Sorry, if I dated you... I really am.  I am sure you were wonderful, charming, smelled nice and pulled out the chair but I can't quite remember your face... or name... again, sorry.)

I think around the time that I had surgery on my shoulder last year that things started to really come into focus, how I would want to live my life, what was missing and how could I make it better that I really started to think being in love or at the very least dating or at the very least, a drunken make-out would definitely make my life infinitely better.

Another prompting was my aunt saying that she imagined me to remain single much like an elderly friend of hers that never married.  Wait?  What?  Just because I had not been married off and pregnant like most of my cousins and friends in my small town by twenty-five, I was now destined to be a sad sack spinster? 


In New York, I started to notice that well, I was getting noticed more.  Maybe it was the beaming smile I seem to posses at all times, with everything seeming so new and wonderful.  Maybe it was because you can actually be curvy in NY vs. LA and it's not seen as a big deal.  Maybe it was just that I was more ready.

I put up an ad on a dating website and when contacted by a guy, instead of wringing my hands over, "Is he the right guy for me?,"  I decided to approach dating as merely a new way to see a city I didn't know very well and get to know someone who might become, at the very least, a good friend.

I had no idea what I was in for.

Here's a highlight reel of some of the dates I've been on:

1)  The Wrestler:  The wrestler let me know after about two beers that he um... really wanted to wrestle me.  I thought he was kidding.  He was not.  Did I know any grappling moves?  Um, no.  I soon learned this was his fetish... to wrestle girls.  I would soon learn that this little quirk would be NOTHING compared to someone else I was about to meet.

2)  The I Have A Live In Girlfriend:  He was a lawyer and I thought, too clean cut for me but I forced myself to give it a chance.  We had lots of flirty emails so I was excited that there was chemistry there.  A plus, he showed up in a suit - not too shabby.  By drink #1, he wanted to know if I was okay that he was "attached."  To what, I asked?  Oh, attached to his live in girlfriend that he knows is the The One and it's only a matter of time before they get married?  Yeah, I was not okay with that.  At all.

3)  The Bigly Made:  You'll think I'm kidding but this guy sent me an email that so put my jaw on the floor that I sent it around to each one of my girlfriends.  A cute guy "winked" at me on a dating website, I introduced myself and he promptly wrote back.  Seemed promising enough, until I read the email.  He wanted me to know that he and his last girlfriend had a wild sex life and unless I thought I could keep up with lots of vigorous sex with someone that was "bigly made" (right?  I don't have to define that for you, do I, ladies?) then, I probably was NOT the woman for him.

Oh, also, he does not believe in condoms because it cuts down on the sensation by 50%.  Good to know.  Andddddddd delete.

4)  The He's Just A Jiggalo:  This guy I was crazy about.  Butterflies.  Not someone I felt immediately attracted to in pictures but within five minutes of conversation, I thought, "He. Is. Amazing."  He was charasmatic, thoughtful, interesting - everything.  There was something so "Aw, shucks," about him that was more cute than sexy but that's what I want.  Meaning, there isn't a lot of innocence to guys in NYC, you have a feeling they have seen and done it all.  So there was a sweetness to this guy that really, really appealed to me.

But I ended up finding out (and it would be such a long story to repeat), that this guy, regularly took ads out on places like Craigslist looking for bored and lonely housewives.  You know... for sexual intercourse.  I did not believe it when I found out.  There was no way.  It was the opposite of everything I saw in him... until, I saw the ad myself.   (If five or more of you leave me comments that you want the full story, I'll give it!)

It really, really shook me up on a lot of levels:  Was I that naive?  Was I that attention starved that I couldn't even see when I was being bullshitted to such a supreme degree?  Was he some kind of prostitute?  It was f'ing crazy.  

He never called me after our great date and it left me really, really sad.  So I guess one upshot to finding this all out was, ya know, I'm not really looking to date hustlers and con men that might give me The Herpes.  So, he was a little easier to get over.

5)  The I Have One Hundred And Fifty Dollars For An Hour Of Fun:  Yes, this happened.  I was propositioned like a prostitute.  Which I howled with laughter after I received the email.  His name was Gary and he was tall with dark hair and blue eyes.  He even sent me a photo of him on a boat, an American flag waving in the background.  It was like he stepped out of a J. Crew catalogue.  

We agreed to meet and he sent me this email, "I can give you $150 for an hour of fun.  Nothing weird."  I wrote back, "I'm not a prostitute, Gary!  But thanks for the compliment."  He wrote back, "I know you're not.  I thought this way, it would be mutually beneficial."  I had no idea what he was talking about.  Wouldn't the mutually beneficial part be that we both had fun on the date?

WHAT WAS GOING ON?   What is wrong with these people????  I said, of course, absolutely no.  Which made him even more determined and he has emailed me, no less than 34 more times over this past month.  Just yesterday he emailed me again.  Okay, he could go up to $200 an hour.  Again, nothing weird.  DELETE!

6)  The Halitosis Hottie:  self explanatory.  I will admit to one thing:  he was so hot, and I was so "kissed starved" that I invited him back to my place and told him I had a weird "tooth brushing fetish" and would only make out with him if he used my tooth brush and brushed his teeth.  He never called me again.

7)  The Whole Foods Fetish:  This guy let me know he found Whole Foods arousing, especially the hot food stations.  I blacked out after that.

There's more.  But why not spread it over some more posts?!  The funny thing is, none of this has discouraged me at all.  (You have to remember, I'm giving you the worst of the worst here over the course of six months)  

I will say, I do believe, you get what you pay for and all these dates came from a free dating website.  On a date with a really sweet guy last weekend, he confessed he saw this particular dating site as "more of a hook-up site than a dating site."

Noted.  Time to upgrade.  

Okay, which one of these dates would have you running for the hills?  And anyone want to challenge me on a date you've had that was worse than any of these?  I'd love to hear it!