Go Figure…

It’s January 21st and I haven’t written anything original in over a year. I can’t say why, only that I have been a busy  lady, busy living other people’s lives and not creating my own. I was just perusing old posts and I think that the theme became very centered on me finding the real Mr. Right, which side tracked me from finding myself.

These last 10 months I’ve been prepping for a new goal… figure competition. You know, the kind of competition where girls and guys put on the skimpiest of outfits, prance around stage, only to have their bodies be judged by someone else? The kind of competition where the bodies glow a bronze-like orange, with ever so bright white teeth, and you just want to feed everyone a cheeseburger ? Yeah.. that kind of competition.

It’s been quite the journey. I started out in February of 2015 by trying a ketogenic diet, but this was too strict for me, and it put stress on my already strained relationship. I then transitioned to “if it fits your macros” diet and found a lot of success when I was actually weighing and measuring my food. It seemed so tedious and time consuming, not the kind of eating I was used to doing; which consisted of coconut oil and meat. The weighing part was annoying and always seemed to get in the way of actually enjoying my meals. The good news was that I wasn’t limited to broccoli, rice, oatmeal, fish, and chicken. The world was my oyster, as long as it fit my macros… bloody hell.. how was I to make three meals fit my macros??? This was a challenge.

The transition from being a Crossfit junky to a pure Gym Rat was different. I wasn’t used to using machines and isolating muscle groups. The experience was humbling to say the least. I thought I was strong until I attempted a tempo style leg press and leg extension. Starting out with thirty five pound dumbbells for bicep curls was pretty stupid too!

Ten months later and I am in the zone. I generally prep my meals for the week so I know exactly what I have left for snacks and desserts. I’ll post some of my favorite recipes and food hacks tomorrow because it can be quite overwhelming. I’d do anything to help someone else NOT spend hours on end in the grocery store staring at nutrition facts.

My workouts are all programmed by my coach, Kyle Glickman;  I just have to go out and tackle them. If you see me staring at my iphone for a few minutes, it’s because I am looking up an unfamiliar movement on YouTube. Hours in the gym have morphed into an hour and a half and cardio isn’t all that bad when you’re watching Netflix! It will be interesting to see how I feel about all of it as the show gets closer, but for now I can handle it.

Never attempt a lifestyle change without talking with your loved ones and friends. It’s important that everyone is on board with your goals. People feel uncomfortable when you’re not eating what they are eating, drinking alcohol with them, or can’t spend as much time hanging because you have to walk that 400 calories. This is especially important if you’re in a relationship; because your significant other may get jealous of the time you spend with “My Fitness Pal”, Pintrest, and your $20 digital food scale You have to make sure that you’re both on the same page and they’re going to be supportive of your goals and the means in which you’ll need to obtain them. Bottom Line: You’re going to need some cheerleaders-and if your people aren’t in your corner you’ll need them to sit the flock down.

Now is the time when I give my thanks to all of my friends and family who have been extra supportive and “in my corner”. I so appreciate you!!!!! I can’t tell you how awesome it has been to walk the 400 cals with a friend or have someone push me through a tough super set. I appreciate those of you who have just said, “awesome, keep it up, so proud”. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

pull downs

 

Tabata to Body repost 2011

What’s Tabata you ask???? Sounds like a crazy torture device or some greek dish right????  WRONG. Well, actually, it is kind of akin to a torture device (those of us who have experienced it can attest!). Tabata is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Their groundbreaking 1996 study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, provided documented evidence concerning the dramatic physiological benefits of high-intensity intermittent training. After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity in his subjects, along with a 14% increase in their ability to consume oxygen (V02Max). These results were witnessed in already physically fit athletes. The conclusion was that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could do more to boost aerobic and anaerobic capacity than an hour of endurance exercise.

 

A Tabata workout can be performed with just about any exercise: sit-ups, pull ups, jump rope, thrusters (not the hip pumping gyro action you’re thinking of), squats (yeah especially when you rest at the bottom position), sprints, cycling, YOU NAME IT.  Work non-stop, full on for 20-second intervals, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for a total of 8 cycles. You should be well into your target heart rate here- so don’t pace yourself. This whole workout lasts a total of 4 minutes… yep FOUR. Don’t let it fool you though, it’s four minutes of hell- especially when your doing tabata through a four exercise circuit (16 minutes), like we did today, as many reps as possible in each interval- 8 intervals of 20 seconds on 10 seconds rest for pull ups (count your reps-or count the lowest rep in the bunch of 8, I didn’t realize I was supposed to do that today, so we estimated based on my total), rest 1 minute- then on to push ups, rest one minute-sit ups, rest one minute-then squats. I don’t really understand the concept of counting the lowest number and then adding them up- seems to me like people would then pace themselves???? Anyone have an answer to that. I AM the google queen, so I could probably look it up, but I’m feelin’ SUPER lazy today.

Back to the FOUR minutes- You’ll be amazed at how intense just four minutes will feel. Still a skeptic??? (I took this straight from www.crossfit585bjj.com, they did such a good job of explaining) You may think you’re burning more calories doing “Cardio” type work outs (running, rowing, eliptical, cycling), but it’s what’s happening after the exercise period that’s most important (check post WOD recovery for more on this). The intense intervals in tabata training are so taxing to your body; that it can take up to 2 days to recover; meanwhile the typical “Fat-loss” calorie burning incurred by “Cardio workouts” ends when you stop moving. That equates to about an extra 48 hours of fat burning when doing high intensity interval training (HIIT)!!! Scientifically, these intervals lead to a huge EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) causing your body to burn calories to get back to normal.
Some of your goals are different (better power, long distance running with a faster pace, and/ or better work out times), but the studies found that this type of training not only builds your Aerobic capacity (Up to an increase in VO2max (maximum oxygen volume) of 14% in only 6 weeks) but your Anaerobic capacity as well (up 28%). What does this mean? More power, better endurance and better times!!! For you Long Distance Addicts, studies have also shown that excessive aerobic exercise can lead to muscle loss, testosterone degradation, and does not increase anaerobic capacity.

How much HiiT should you be doing? Kyle Glickman, Strength and Conditioning Coach and Nutritionist, says, “no more than 10 minutes of HIIT for the beginner athlete.” This means high interval for 20 seconds and rest for 40 seconds.
Want to learn more about Tabata and some tips on how to incorporate this type of training into your fitness routine? Click These links:
http://www.tabataprotocol.com/
http://www.tryingfitness.com/tabata-method-4-minutes-of-intensity/

Interesting interval tabata workouts for the advanced athlete:
http://ezinearticles.com/?2-Intense-Tabata-Training-Methods-For-Advanced-Athletes&id=2493763

Life is short.

I haven’t been totally motivated to write the past five months, so much has happened and unhappened. I’ve made so many new friends, maintained very special old friendships, and have celebrated life and have mourned the loss of life. A colleague of mine recently lost his battle with cancer, two of my friends have lost their wives to cancer, and one of my former students was killed. Life is short.

Life is short… It’s so crazy to me that we can enter someone’s life for just a brief moment and then something happens to disconnect those ties and the people vanish from the life you once knew. I have been so wrapped up in my life plan that I failed to see what was true around me. This plan for life has created a lot of anxiety and has taken the love out of life and the life out of love. I should practice what I preach… just be, let it happen, just be… be what? Be who? Be where? Be when? Just be present… means being in the moment and not thinking about the future. What would happen if my life didn’t go according to plan? What has happened???? I’m still here, I’m still learning, I’m still loving, I’m still breathing.

Life is short… People come and go and regret can burn in your brain forever. Taking chances and being vulnerable is what makes life happen-not taking chances means being stagnant; and being stagnant is a slow death. Brene’ Brown talks about the power of vulnerability and how the most successful people make themselves vulnerable because they took chances and pushed through the pain of failure and humility. Check out her ted talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en

Life is short… I don’t ever want to live with regret of what could’ve or should’ve been. I hope you don’t either… I’m not sure about most things and I always make mistakes-like 10 every minute… but I do know that you’ll never know if there is a possibility of something unless you put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable-to all the feelings and possibilities. Be vulnerable, be open, and allow yourself to feel and fall… know that everything is not always the end.

 

Be-Leave

I’m walking out the door into the world of the unknown. I’m scared and weary, but I’m not alone. I have myself-my strong, beautiful, emotional, smart, fierce self.

I found myself in a cycle-a hamster wheel of running the mill and not really ever getting anywhere. Life felt so familiar, the agony comfortable. I felt I was frozen in a dream where my hopes were not reality and I was settling for fifty percent instead of demanding one hundred. The value of who I am is high and the cost is worth it. I realized, I can BE or I can leave. To just “be” meant not taking a risk-it was the safe route-the treadmill in a safe container. Leaving meant walking out the door and allowing life to flood my soul to create space for what I truly desire.

I feel like I’ve been running around naked for the past few years, exposing way too much of myself to the world, offering what is most sacred to be seen. I’ve decided to put my clothes back on to leave something for the imagination. Some things are private and not to be shared…. I have decided to hide some of what I have written in the past in order to be able to start with a clean slate. Again, I bring up Danielle LaPorte, who in her video about making it happen says, “start fresh, clean slate”. So… I’m going to start fresh with a clean slate-I want to keep some things close to my heart, to share only with those who I hold near and dear.

I am being, but I am leaving some of who I have been at the door in order to make room for more of who I really want to be. I prefer to live with intention, optimism, pragmatism, and a little more privacy.

 

Photo from: http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/big/9121

 

It’s ABOUT TIME!!! (but also about a bunch of other stuff)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After one month of dating Mr. Right I can honestly say that I’ve never been in a relationship that has been so easy. I can’t explain why or how-I can only say that it seems as though Right and I are on the same page and we both seem to want the same things out of life.

I am so very aware of living in the moment and being present with Right. We truly enjoy being with one another and have made a pact to continue to engage in compliment soup du jour. We joke about it sometimes, but I think we both recognize the significance of honoring each other every day and how great it feels to get those compliments. He slacked a little bit last week, but (in his defense) we were with each other every day and small compliments were voiced each day. At any rate, yesterday, I received an email from Right bulleting seven compliments to make up for the past week. I got that email and it brightened my day-made me feel so special, and it reinforced for me that he continued to see the value of it as it pertains to our relationship.

Again-I am being tangential, my purpose in writing this is about timing. He and I often look at each other and say, “Why the hell didn’t we meet earlier?” or “How the hell did we get this far without getting to know each other?”. My answer is often the same, “Timing”, it probably wasn’t the right time. You see, our paths have not crossed just once before, but seemingly throughout our lives at ages 7 and 10, then again in high school, and then again in CrossFit. There are other small connections, but generally speaking it seems there was no good reason why we never actually talked or hung out in a group setting. How did we actually meet you ask??? No, not from CrossFit or mutual friends… in a sea of potentials-after years of being at an arms reach-we discovered each other on Match dot com (just another piece of evidence to prove that sometimes you just gotta put yourself out there).

Several of my past relationships have ended in both of us damning the timing of our meeting-“it just wasn’t the right time”. Perhaps it wasn’t the right time-perhaps it wasn’t the right person-perhaps it wasn’t the right circumstances… Either way, I have always been one to think a lot about “timing” which has often left me clinging to the idea of “if it’s only about timing-he could still be the RIGHT one, so I should stick this out”, but in the end only leaving me with lost time!

In the movie, “Sliding Doors” Gwenyth Paltrow’s character misses the train, which would have gotten her home early enough to catch her boyfriend in bed with another woman resulting in a break up and her meeting the man of her dreams. The movie illustrates the consequences and possible alternative endings for missed opportunities or being in the right place at the right time. In the end she meets the man of her dreams regardless-perhaps the timing was right-perhaps that was her fate (which I hate to believe-fate suggests the inability to be able to change your life).

So here’s the question…is it about timing? Is Right my soul mate? Is it about the stars aligning? Or was it fate-were we meant to be together no matter what?

Well I most certainly have an answer-I don’t know!!! The thing about being with Right is…he’s the right person right now. We are ready for each other and all of the craziness that we might bring to the table. When I say craziness I simply mean that we both have quirky personalities and find our immaturity amusing, so much so that we often dissolve in fits of giggling-even when a situation could have gone in the opposite direction. We both realize that life is short, there’s no use in getting upset over spilled cheese plates, honesty is the root of trust, boundaries are important for developing respect in our relationship, and talking about stuff that is bothering us is way more useful than holding it in and holding it against the each other. Sharing our lives with each other allows us to continue to maintain our friendships and not lose our own identities. Laughing is the perfect tonic for dissuading potential arguments over the small stuff; and giving each other some daily compliment soup not only fills our hearts, but warms our souls.

 

***I decided to change mystery (not so mysterious) man’s name from Sam to Right… it just feels better that way.

Compliment Soup Du Jour

(continued from 12/22)

The last blog I wrote, I mentioned a date. A date with a very unique man who readily rose to the challenge of my Dear Future Boyfriend blog. We knew each other not more than 2 hours at this point-though we’d exchanged several emails and texts; and apparently crossed paths during elementary and high school, along with several CrossFit events.

A few hours following my last post I received a text from this handsome, hairy faced man stating, “Oh-I read your blog post… Very interesting, next time perhaps you could refer to me as “stud muffin” or “beautiful guy”, or maybe even “oddly sexy awkward bearded man” (I’m willing to compromise)”

In my response I promised him a proper introduction-with his permission of course-and I also promised him a special nickname. I mean-he’s gonna need a really good nickname if he’s going to be featured in my life with subsequent mentions in my blog. My friends see photos and they say, “wow he’s HOT”, I walk into restaurants to meet him and the waitresses ask me, “are you with the tall handsome man?”; he has a great sense of humor, has rescued cats, does CrossFit, has a beard, and he’s so tall I literally come up to his nipple when I’m not wearing heels. So what shall I call this man who just appeared in my life-but has actually always been nearby-we somehow never met, but always seemed to be brushing shoulders in passing? I racked my brain and cannot come up with anything really good and I want to get to the point of this story so, for now I’ll call him Sam, after his cat. I’m hoping something will come to me in the next few weeks-but for now Sam will do.

Now that we have that out of the way (hope this suits you Sam), I’d like to talk about a little project Sam and I set out to participate in following our second date.

It started when we were exchanging texts and he revealed that he has difficulty slowing down when playing sports because of his height and momentum-and while playing soccer he clothes lined some girl-which he said he felt very badly about. I laughed and said-“well it’s good you have other redeeming qualities-I can look past that one” to which he responded, “what might those be?”. I then provided a long laundry list of characteristics that I admired in him and coined it “compliment soup du jour”. He replied that he wasn’t expecting that, he was thinking just sports, and thanked me. It got me thinking though… what if we set out to say one nice thing every day from start to… who knows when. What would happen? Would our nice words to each other set the tone for the day? Would we be in a better mood and treat others a little more kindly? I don’t know… and am not sure how to measure that-but I can measure my own mood and reactions.

I’ve read about couples who set out to have sex everyday, couples who abstain from sex, couples who set aside time each week or month to review their relationship and to check in with each other, but never a daily compliment. I wondered how it would affect the future of the relationship if it just started out open and honest-one nice thing that keeps me here-kind of note.

I wanted to try this little experiment at the start of a relationship, but we weren’t quite there yet-though we had all of the trappings of amazing potential. I was nervous to bring it up… though neither of us were having difficulty throwing compliments and words of admiration at each other…so maybe he’d be up to it????

I mentioned my idea at dinner and he was interested. Once again he said, “I can try”.

We have been exchanging compliments in texts, email, or via conversation every day for a week now and I have to say it’s the highlight to my day. Some days I spend time thinking about which quality I want to compliment (because there are so many) and other days it comes right to me. I asked him how he felt about the exercise and he said, “I feel like it’s helping me-open up, understand you more, and I really like giving you compliments-more so than getting them”

In the interest of keeping some things private I’m not going to share the words we exchange… but I will share with you the feelings and reactions I have when I receive those gifts each day…

My soul beams, I feel warmed and get that ushy gushy feeling, I think of his thoughtfulness, I’m surprised and flattered, I get butterflies, and anticipation for the next time I will spend time with him.  Most importantly though-his willingness to participate (on some days even initiate) has left me feeling lucky that I have such a man in my life.

Just an aside-I told my friend H about the little exercise and she text me a few hours later-“I told my husband about your compliment thing and he loved it.. we started it today-he even went first!” Completely reinforcing my putting it out there idea-because you never know who will be inspired by your actions or words..

 

Pomegranate Salsa

Pomegranate seeds are the anti-oxidants of the gods.. or so they say. Who are they??? I have no clue, but they say it!

 

My friend Rachel Chafee made this lovely dish for a recent holiday party and I’d like to share her genius with all of you. More of Rachel’s recipes can be found on her blog- Life without bread and butter.  Rachel suffers from many food in-tolerances including-but not limited to gluten, dairy, and soy. Her story is worth reading if you find yourself struggling with gastrointestinal troubles.

At any rate-here’s the recipe:

1/2 pomegranate seeded (see video below for a great tutorial on the cleanest easiest way to do this)

1 cucumber (chopped)

1/4 red onion (chopped)

1-2 limes (juiced)

Cilantro (chopped-add to your taste)

Jalapeno (chopped-add to your to taste)

1 clove garlic (chopped)

 

Add all ingredients and mix in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips.

My favorite are the “Way Better” simply so sweet chili.

You will yield the best results if you refrigerate and wait one to two days before serving-then all of the flavors combine and it tastes soooo much better!

Try adding pear, apples, avocado, or watermelon-all tasty combinations.

If you are strict paleo this is a perfect salad dressing-or side salad complement to a nice white fish or poultry dish.

 

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Fries

Oh I love me a good parsnip! Pronounced Pah-snip if you’d like to sound regal and of English high society. I had some root veggie fries at a recent holiday gathering with friends and decided to create my own version… hope you try and enjoy!

 

2 sweet potatoes

2 parnsnips

olive oil

garlic powder

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

course salt

freshly ground pepper

 

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) cut vegetables in matchstick form-only thicker than match sticks-more like french fries-haha

3) pull rosemary in a bunch and twist a little to bruise the leaves and release the oils-then finely chop

4) Put vegetables in a large container for tossing with oil (I like to use a zip lock bag, though that’s not totally green)-the amount of oil used will vary-but you don’t want the veggies to be slick-at the same time you don’t want them to be dry-so start with a little-toss-and add more as needed. You may want to try some of that olive oil spray to lightly coat the vegetables

5) in a separate bowl-combine garlic powder (1-2 tsp), rosemary, salt, and pepper-stir it up

6) add spice bowl to vegetables while tossing-making sure all spices are distributed onto the veggies

7) spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes on the middle rack. You may need to toss them half way through-check for burning edges

8) broil on high for 2-3 minutes for a final crisp-again-watch for burning edges

9) EAT!!!!

Note: the image is not mine-I borrowed it from http://prairielemon.blogspot.com/

The stuff we put out there….

I was hopeful that people would start sharing their lists with me and with the world wide web, and guess what??? They did! I’ve had so much feedback regarding the last post. I don’t know if it was the energy I was putting out there or if there was a fear of being honest and open about what each of us wants for ourselves-perhaps my jump off the proverbial cliff inspired others to take the leap as well? Whatever the reason, I feel humbled. I am just so amazed at the effect that just one person can have on people around them. I put my thoughts and feelings into words and BAM there was a reaction. It’s like a raindrop on calm waters, a loud bang in a peaceful night, or a push of a domino. People were talking about what they wanted or continue to want in their relationship or future relationship. I received numerous emails from people I haven’t spoken to in years-people I speak to everyday, and people I don’t really even know very well. It reminded me that no matter how big or small- the waves we create have an impact on something or someone-who then react and in turn their reaction touches someone else, and it keeps going-the ripple effect so to speak.

This is not about tooting my own horn or asking for recognition, it’s simply about putting it out there. What is it that you want in your life? How do you want to feel? How do you want to be known? Who do you want to be?

I met a man the other night-a first meeting-kind of an impromptu date. He said to me, “I read your blog post, it’s kind of overwhelming, and I’m not sure I will be able to do all of those things.”

I thought about it and my response went something like this-and if I didn’t actually say it verbatim-this is what I meant, “you know-it’s not really about following it all and strict adherence to the guidelines-it’s more of a declaration of who I am and what I’m looking for and what I know I cannot have in my life again. It’s a living document to be revisited throughout life. If you really like me and you want to be with me and we align then you’ll try your hardest to respect all of what encompasses Jess Hayden-you will TRY. It’s really about the kind of guy I want to be with-the kind of man who will demonstrate respect for me and our relationship-a cultivation of integrity. It’s about the kind of man I choose to be with.”

His response was simple, “well-I’m willing to try.”

You just never know what will happen when you put it out there…. (to be continued)

Dear Future Boyfriend

I stumbled across a blog from the amazing Danielle LaPorte a few months ago. This woman is uh-mazing. She speaks to my heart, soul, and brain! Sometimes I channel Lady LaPorte when I need a cheerleader on my shoulder… quotes such as “everything you have ever done, in the history of humanity, has brought you to this point; that’s a whole lot of life force on your side” and “Care more about being accurately and precisely who you are, than caring what someone might think about you” resonate clearly within my whole being.

I’ve found myself single once more, but this time I’m actually enjoying the dating scene. I’ve met a variety of totally awesome men-some who I could see in my future, some who I think were dear and sweet-but couldn’t see a spark in the dark, some who are just dusting off their dating pants after coming out of a long-term relationship-who need a few more dates (not me) under their belt so they can get the cobwebs out, and some who aren’t totally sure they’re in the right place to date. It’s been a truly wonderful experience and I thank all of them for assisting me in my road to relationship journey-which continues to evolve each day.

At any rate-a recent blog-“Dear Dudes” was delivered to my email a few days ago by Danielle LaPorte.  As I pilfered through my inbox-as one does when their inbox is flooded with advertisements and junk-I saw her email and I opened it. My mouth dropped as I read this most profound letter to all of the GOOD MEN out there… I found myself nodding and laughing and thinking-this isn’t just for all of the GOOD MEN, this is also for the GOOD WOMEN to study-because her letter projects/radiates/shouts out what women should be looking for in a GOOD MAN. It’s like cliff notes for guys on how to treat a lady-how to read a lady-and how to “dance” with a lady-or really it’s like cliff notes for GOOD people in general-and how to treat each other when you find yourself smitten.

I realized as I read the Dear Dudes-that I had a few of my own that weren’t included. I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE if, as you’re reading this, you become inspired to write your own “Dear Dude” or “Dear Lady” because this isn’t just about what ladies want-it’s about taking off the masks and making declarations and objections to the universe about what we all deserve and have the ability to give and receive. The objection part is really just calling people out- objecting to the universe when we see people subconsciously or consciously self-sabotaging their potential for finding a deeper love in a partnership. Whether the Dear Dude or Dear Lady is for you, for me, or for some fantasy person out there… do it..write it.. declare it… make it happen!!!! I want to see those declarations and objections in my comments section!!!! I realize this is a risk and I’m willing to take it-just remember to please keep it tactful!

Dear Future Boyfriend,

1) I cry a lot. Please don’t let this scare you-I cry when I’m angry, I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m touched by the struggles or kindness of others, and I cry when I’m frustrated. When I cry, I only need you to touch my arm, squeeze my hand, beckon me into your arms, or kiss my forehead. I need nothing else-no words, no comforting pats on the back, no rationalizing or talking it out… just be present with me in the moment without trying to fix anything.

 

2) Which brings me to fixing-when I tell you of a dilemma I might be facing, please don’t try to fix right away. I need listening and then a question, just one question will do, “how can I help?” I promise I will tell you exactly what I need-it might just be the nearness of you.

 

3) Messy-I’ve always been a messy person and somewhat ashamed of it-but I’m now learning to embrace it. Be forewarned-I’m not OCD-but I’m also not a disgusting slob and I enjoy a clean living space-it gets done when I get around to it. It’s ok to light a fire under my ass sometimes. I accept it.

 

4) I speak my mind. I say what I’m thinking-sometimes there’s no point to it at all-just airing out the brain and purging. Along with this-I’m working on my filter-I tend to give gifts of TMI – again- I’m working on it and am very aware.

 

5) If you want to keep me interested-pursue me and keep me engaged-touch base with me at least once a day-I don’t need full on text or phone convos-just a check in. I want to be pursued-I’m worth it and you’re worth my attention too. This could be disastrous if I’m not that into you-it’s a risk we all take when dating though, and I promise to be up front with you if I’m not feeling it anymore.

 

6) I talk. If you want to tell me a secret-make sure you tell me it’s a secret-I like sharing, but won’t if asked not to.

 

7) I have amazing friends and want you to get to know them and want them to like you, but it makes me uncomfortable when you text, email, call, or meet up for drinks with my friends when I’m not around. However irrational or jealous or insecure that sounds-it’s how I feel. Please respect my feelings and don’t misinterpret it for being controlling. So, unless you’re making benign arrangements (borrowing a saw, a camera, a pan) or plans with me in mind (purchasing a gift, trying to figure out how to apologize, or conjuring up a surprise)-please don’t cross the line. My friends are my life-line, my support- I wouldn’t ever want to feel any reason not to trust. Becoming too friendly with my friends creates blurred lines for everyone. I promise to adhere to the friends rule as well.

 

8) Family-please don’t introduce me to your family unless you really like me and can see yourself with me for the long haul. I tend to get attached and find it really difficult and unfair to break those connections when a relationship ends-even though I know it has to be done. Conversely-you want to get to know my family and want to share the time between yours and mine. Family is sacred-wait until you know. This includes your kids-please-if you have kids, don’t introduce me to them until we have decided we are in it to win it. Maybe down the road it doesn’t work out-but I’m not going to meet your kids until you and I are both sure that a life together is what we want. In the mean time-I can deal with the inconvenience of not being able to see each other when you have your children. It’s not fair to your kids if one of us is not totally invested. Your kids will respect you all the more for waiting and not having a turnstile of women in their lives-I promise you-if you truly love me and want me in your life-your kids will too-after all- I’m a GOOD WOMAN too.

 

10) I like surprises-flowers, little gifts, notes, sweet texts… I like- keep it coming- also my friends like to see me liking and that means BIG things for you all around.

 

11) I am always rooting for you. I like you after all and want you to come out on top. I may disagree with what you are doing or have done-but I want you to do well and will try to make that happen-ask me for help if you need it.

 

12) Planning & Dating-I like to know that you’re thinking of me and want to make sure that no other guy is going to sweep me off my feet while you’re not around. So… make a plan for when you want to see me next.

 

13) I need a strong man by my side-tell me like it is-don’t be wishy washy- games and flirting are fun, but be direct and if you’re not feeling it anymore-be a man and tell me-stringing me along is so not cool.

 

14) Must love or like cats and dogs. I have a cat and a dog-they are a part of my package. I may compromise on sleeping arrangements if you are allergic, but they’re a part of who I am and I will not get rid of them.

 

15) I have a heart of gold-I am a helper and a giver. I will often do things to show you just how special you are to me and to let you know I think about you even when you’re not around. Accept these gifts of gratitude and please see it for all that it’s worth-it’s because I believe you’re worthy of receiving tokens of my love and appreciation for being present in my life-not because I’m obsessed or trying to bribe or manipulate you. If you ever feel like you are unworthy or I’m manipulating we need to talk.

 

16) If we happen to come to a crossroads and we part ways- know that I have break up boundaries and that I need time to heal. I can’t go from girlfriend to good friend over night. It takes time for energy to shift and for love to change from romantic to friendship. When I don’t respond to emails or texts it doesn’t mean I never ever want to talk to you- or are playing games or being manipulative-it just means that I need more time. I will let you know when I’m ready-if you don’t respond to a text or email from me I will assume that you aren’t ready. I will also promise to retreat back to the life I had before you appeared-again-I need my friends to be my friends during this time and assume you would need your friends to be there for you. I’m not asking anyone to take sides or to call names or point fingers-I’m just asking for space.

 

17) I love to cook, I’m an adventurer of food, please adventure with me… it’s so much fun to cook for someone else.

 

18) I need physical contact-I like a hand on the back, linked arms, forehead kisses, back massages, and compliments whispered in my ear-think Eric Clapton “Wonderful Tonight”. On the flip side-I’m not into making out in public or excessive PDA in front of an audience-don’t be offended if I swat you off when I don’t feel it’s appropriate-trust me-I like you and can’t wait to have my hands all over you-just not in front of the faces of friends and family.

 

19) Drugs-no thank you. Alcohol-enjoying a few beverages here and there is fine, but you don’t drink excessively and you know when to say when. Cigarettes-if you smoke an occasional butt when we’re out don’t expect me to kiss you until you wash your mouth, hands, and face. I hate it and would prefer you don’t ever do it-in fact smoking is a deal breaker for me if done one a regular basis. Cigars-I might take a puff once in a while and that’s your philosophy too.

 

20) I love that you are intelligent, articulate, witty, and hilarious-you make me laugh, have an appreciation for the arts, history, literature, and science and enjoy learning. You’re like an urban cowboy-you’re adventurous, handy and like to get your hands dirty, but you clean up well. You like the outdoors and are always pushing me to get outside and enjoy it with you. You’re handy and can fix stuff around the house-if you don’t know how to do it you’ll figure it out.

 

21) You have your own interests and appreciate that I have mine-we know how to make time for each other. I promise to always encourage you in pursuit of your goals and know that you need time for yourself and I need the same. I’m cool with it all as long as you can carve out some time for me (see #12).

 

22) Last but not least-talk. I believe in talk therapy-you are open to that as well and not afraid of what that means. I believe in talking and being honest with each other no matter how much it might hurt-I can take it and will be interested in it. I don’t mind goofing around and being silly, but some subjects are sacred and require a certain level of seriousness- I believe that we should talk with intention-don’t throw stuff out that we don’t mean and can’t uphold later on. If you’re annoyed, happy, want to kill me, feeling unsatisfied, think the sex could use some spicing up… TALK. I need a man in my life who can cry without being ashamed, who can be controlled in his temper-but talk it out without acting, who can be honest with himself about his feelings and who can share those feelings with me-you are this man.

 

So, I think that’s it… though I’m sure I will come up with more as I journey.

 

I’m looking forward to meeting you…

Love,

Jess xoxo

 

P.S. Please access Danielle LaPorte’s letter here-I have only added my own individual needs to hers. If you think it’s too much-it might be for you-we are all beautifully complex human beings and this is absolutely WHO I AM! Again-I invite you to write your own notes to the current man or woman in your life, to the future man  or woman in your life, or to the fantasy person in your life…..

 

PPS. I realize that some guy friends in my life have objected to this letter by Danielle… they say-why do women think that we need to give them something to complete their happiness? I say, “did you read anything about us wanting you to make us happy?” I say, “look in the details of the fabric… it’s about how we know we operate-it’s about men too-I mean-this could probably be written from a man’s point of view as well-it’s not really gender biased-it’s just that women tend to put their feelings out there more often than men… not ALL men, just more often-it’s a fact-our brains are wired differently” Here’s the thing though… I feel like Danielle is giving all of the men out there the key… the key to breaking the code… you can resist it or you can study it and figure us out… it’s not a list of demands or specific rules per se… it’s just what we talk about and wish for our friends, for ourselves, for our universe… OK.. that’s enough.. write on you writers!

 

 

 

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