I'm a woman... hear me roar!

How I'm climbing the ladder in high heels, revelling in life's many obstacle courses, finding, keeping and losing love then bouncing back and always playing to win. All in high heels! Yes, I'm a woman, hear me roar!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How to get over him... Quickly.

Let me make one thing clear: this has nothing to do with love.

I’m no expert at love. The very word makes me nauseous and sets my body to a defensive mode. But I have had my heart broken once or twice. Badly. By some pathetic loser by the way. Luckily for me, I’m a quick learner it seems. I made ridiculous mistakes of cosmic proportions and learnt a thing or two.

So, if you feel a looming break-up is coming your way (trust me, we can all see it coming!), read, learn and gain wisdom from the mistakes of others because you don’t want to make them all!
For the ladies who have “been there done that” and, hopefully, out of the “single jungle”, enjoying the safety and comfort of Tarzan’s little love-nest high up on the treetops, I dedicate this to you all. I hope it tickles your evil, funny bone.

Delete, delete, delete… all traces of your ex.
I used to have an amazingly sharp memory. Thanks to my over-reliance on the mobile phone, the only number I remember now is 911 (honey, it only works in the US!).If your memory is better than mine, there are two phone numbers you know by heart: your mum’s and your ex’s. So, in your quest to “get over him”, first, delete him from your digital memory store starting with your mobile phone. Erase his mobile number, email, work phone, home phone, his best friend’s number, his mother’s number (especially!).

If you’re both on Yahoo Messenger or MSN, close those accounts right now. And, please, get a real social life.

Then remove every piece of clothing, toiletry and dirty underwear he left behind in your bathroom. And no, don’t even think of washing and neatly packaging these into a bundle for him. The concierge has closed and will not be re-opening. Ever.

Change the music in your CD player. It will change the music inside of you.

Whatever you do, DO NOT call him… ever.
It’s pathetic, really. What are you hoping to accomplish? No, you won’t get him back because he’s not coming back. Ever. Even if he does, it’ll only be overnight. Believe me when I say this: you don’t want that! The bottom line is if he dumped you, he’s not into you. Sound familiar? The word on the street is true. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Ok, so there are those lucky people that get back together and live happily ever after.

In the movies!

If you’re living in the same world as I, you know it’s the exception, not the rule. Sadly, most women seem to think, hopelessly and to their detriment, that their situation is somehow always an exception, as if they live in a parallel reality where the rules of engagement do not apply because for some unknown and far-imagined reason, their parallel world is immune to life’s cruel veracity. Well, it’s not and you’re not. The rule of life rules, unless the odd exception, freak-of-nature-type event occurs. And it rarely happens. The sooner you realise that, the better.

So, in your moment of pathetic weakness, it’s completely understandable and even acceptable to max out your credit card for much needed retail therapy. Even indulge in uncharacteristically obscene behaviour including binge-drinking, a drunken pash or two with complete strangers, or hysterical emotional outbursts in embarrassingly crowded places. Just make sure you’re in the company of people who give a damn about you … your friends.

Scream. Cry. Laugh. Do whatever it takes to flush him out of your system. But for goodness’ sake, do not call your ex.

Should I return the gold watch he gave me?
Are you kidding me? It’s yours. Keep it. Or better yet, take all the valuable items he’s ever given you to cash converters – the gold necklace for your birthday, the beautiful pair of earrings last Christmas and that gorgeous bracelet for Valentine’s Day. Then buy yourself a new pair of Jimmy Choos! It will elevate your height as well as your mood.

Trust me, turning his precious little gifts, which are rightfully yours, into cold hard cash will satisfy a scorned woman’s desire for sweet revenge. Albeit briefly. But who cares? Right now, little victories are what you need to get you over the line. And over him.

Let’s be friends?!? … Yeah, right!
Oh, please! This is worse than calling your ex. I’ll be brutally honest because it’s the only way to get to the truth. If you, in any way, suggest that you wish to remain friends with an ex who dumped you like vomit, you’re up to something and it won’t do you any good.

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to be friends with an ex. I am friends with most of mine as a matter of fact. But if you haven’t gotten over him, and I mean really gotten over him, and you’re the one pushing or making an effort to “remain friends” with the “dumper”, most likely, you are driven by ulterior motives. You’re so much in denial, you can’t even admit it to yourself. So, let me make this clearer for you: he’s not coming back. Wake up and smell the stench because you’re standing on a gigantic pile of horseshit collected over the years starting from when you believed in the myth of Cinderella and his prince, up to the time you thought Ricky Martin’s hot. Apparently, Ricky Martin’s gay! And Cinderella divorced his prince two months later: they weren’t compatible, after all!

So, think long and hard about you’re real motivations. Life is good but it ain’t a fairytale.
If he’s the one wanting to remain friends, well, beware. Remember, or have you forgotten already, he dumped you. So it’s neither an invitation for renewed romance nor for any kind of “real” friendship you want or need right now.

Let me tell you a little secret. Most guys, unfortunately, are cowards. They’re scared to death of hurting our feelings (because we all go “emotional” on them!) and will do anything to weasel their way out of very difficult situations. The fact is, if he wants you, and I mean want-you-so-badly-it-hurts kind of thing, there are no mixed signals. He’ll come and get you, don’t you worry about that. On the other hand, if he’s not really in to you, he’ll leave things as vague as possible, non-committal if you like, that way he can’t be held responsible for anything that happens. Sad but true.

So dear friend, if you really want to get on with life, make new friends and resurrect neglected friendships. I bet your old friends have been waiting for your call for months.

Get a life…a darn good one!
The sweetest revenge is to live a happy life. And it’s the only way to live.

But first of all, change your sheets!

Call your friends. Dance around the house in your underwear. Or naked, if you prefer. Attend a party (fully clothed!). Drink good champagne. Wear amazingly red lipstick. Strut around in ridiculously high stilettos. Visit your hairdresser.

Smile.

Chat up a good-looking guy at a funky bar. Wear perfume. Flirt. Play games and play it cool. This time, you’re the predator, not the prey. Take a risk.

You’re so sexy. Who wouldn’t want you?

And if you’re still afraid to step back out into the “single jungle”, here’s a tip: run an ad for a male flatmate. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. Tarzan might just come knocking at your door.

Live life. It’s the only one you’ve got.

P.S. And just to be clear, I’m in a very happy relationship with a beautiful man who adores me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

There's someone in our life named "Vicki".

Vicki's her name
Each time we meet for coffee, Vicki has a litany of stories about the terrible things that happen to her. All the time! It seems as if the whole world is against her. It's unbelievable.

Life is one big drama
There is so much drama and conflict in Vicki's life. And it's all created by the people around her, especially those closest to Vicki. They're mean, vile, inconsiderate, disrespectful, nasty, and ignorant. They say and do things to her that completely ruin her day, and she just can't believe it. These people make Vicki's life more difficult than it should be.

Collision course
Listening to Vicki lament about the horrible things that happen to her over our coffee-catch-up affects my mood too. All of a sudden, my latte with half sugar doesn’t taste too good anymore. My favourite baked New York cheesecake tastes more like baked chalk. My thoughts start racing with images of life’s pivotal moments when unpleasant things were happening, driving me to learn important lessons in life and compelling me to make critical decisions about what I wanted from people and from life. Like boyfriends who cheat: Not worth a tear. Friends who steal boyfriends: They deserve each other. Colleagues who bully: Return fire! Or that time in freshman high when I tripped and fell over, landing unceremoniously on a wet and muddy pile with my skirt up my face and my Winnie-The-Pooh undies in shameless public display. All in front of the cute guy I liked. Aargh! I haven’t recovered from that!

Then I start feeling like Vicki’s topsy-turvy world is crashing in to my relatively peaceful existence with great momentum like a white ball on a pool table spinning out of control and heading straight for the eight ball that is me. Only this time, there’s no landing into a safe pocket.

And boy, do I want to run away from Vicki as fast as I can!

But Vicki is a friend so I soldier on.

Dirty little secret
Vicki absolutely LOVES to talk about all the bad things that everyone – her lazy work colleagues, her arsehole-of-a-boss, her infantile sister, her crazy brother, her stupid friends, her cheating ex, her noisy neighbours, rude strangers and the whole messed up world - is doing to her. And Vicki would absolutely hate it if I told you something you should know.

Vicki secretly gets satisfaction from feeling that she has it “tougher” than everyone else! Yes, that’s right. She finds comfort in knowing that everyone else is screwed up and wrong. It makes her life easier. And when people don’t do or say things she expects them to do or say, it ruins her mood.

It’s not her fault!
Somehow Vicki is never wrong or ever at fault. And the rest of the world’s problems, issues, and the way they look and talk to her are the reasons for her frustrations and disappointments. It gives her a big migraine and a bad case of diarrhea.

May be you’ve met Vicki?

Well, you have because everyone knows “Vicki.” Vicki is short for “Victim”, and we all know her. Everyone has a Vicki in their life. It could even be you.

Vicki is emotionally draining. She’s the kind of person you don’t want in your life. She’ll blame everyone else for all the wrong things that “happen to her”. And guess what. It’s easier for Vicki because it releases her from taking responsibility for her actions and from dealing with the unpleasant things that happen around her. Her victim mentality will drag you down with her. Needless to say, Vicki never gets far with any close personal relationships either.

Who cares about Vicki?
But what if Vicki is someone you care about? What do you do then?

Frankly, I wouldn’t know. I can only take Vicki in small doses. Any more than that and I’ll be visiting my masseuse daily and signing up for emotional acupuncture.

But here’s a piece of advice. If you decide to do anything, you have to do it “right” or you’ll risk losing the friendship. That’s if you want to keep the friendship in the first place. I don’t know what that “right” thing is, nor do I know when the right time or place is to do that “right” thing, if there is such a thing.

But here is what I said to my friend Vicki:

“Vicki, I love you and I care about your happiness. You are my friend and I want you to live a happy life. When I see you unhappy, disappointed and frustrated with life and with the people around you, it hurts me because it’s costing us the kind of friendship we used to have when you were happy and positive about life. And I want my friend back – the one who lived life like the blessing that it is. I care so much about your happiness and I want you to be happy again. Think about all the people whom you feel have done you wrong and whose friendships or relationships have turned distant and tell me one thing, what did it cost you?”

I’m not sure what impact my words made on Vicki. Some say she’s a recovering “Vicki” with periodic withdrawals. But she remains a friend... in small doses.

Thanks to Christian Carter who, through a small chapter in his ebook “Catching Him and Keeping Him”, inspired me to further explore and write about my friend “Vicki”. Melded with my own style, I borrowed his text to tell the story of “Vicki”.

My search is over!

Meet Darryl - a dark-haired, athletically-built surfer, handsomely shy and imposing at the same time. He's also a consumer of organic food, has a self-proclaimed ability to impress the ladies with his recently acquired cullinary flair for French cuisine (which I'm yet to see). And ... wait for this... one of 11 children who grew up in a farm near a surf and beachside town aptly named Fish Creek - population 201!

Wild boy
He's confessed to a drunken "pash" with a receptionist at an after-work soiree. And in his earlier career days, Darryl committed the one-night-no-strings-attached-thing with his assistant. Discreetly of course. Or so he thinks! Then recently, he was hopelessly talked in to a "date" by his brother-in-law's kid sister of nineteen, whom he absolutely claims to have no interest in. Rather an instinctive need for survival through cowardly evasive tactics (just like all men of course!) lest the brother-in-law discovers this allegedly one-sided, close-to-incestuous teen-love foray.

Cold and wet
To top it all off, in one very cold and wet episode in the middle of winter two nights ago, he caused a massive flooding of hot water in my apartment that gushed out of the washing machine and sent my body to hypothermic temperatures as I scrambled out of a freezing cold shower. I have to say I've found the perfect flatmate!

I like him anyway
The only thing that digresses from his somewhat awkward but delightfully endearing qualities is the sordid truth that he's also a lawyer by day - a commercial litigator to be more specific - in some top law firm. But since we each have our own empty lives to live, flourishing careers that add years to our otherwise youthful looks, and hard-ass bosses to please by day... I'm not complaining. I've got enough on my plate.

As you can imagine, I always look forward to coming home to my new flatmate and his quirky ways.

And the best thing I like about him? Darryl leaves the toilet seat down!

I went to war.


I don't like fights
I recently had a huge fight with a good friend and I must admit I hate social confrontations! Absolutely hate it! I pick my battles and only choose what's worth spending my energy on because, honestly, I think most of the issues we face in our daily lives are trivial. And I'm not one to sweat the small stuff.

But dont *bleep* with me
So, when my friend and I started arguing about "who-the-hell-knows" we came to a point of no return. Yup! We had a fiery exchange of hurtful words that friends should NEVER, EVER say to each other under any circumstances. And I'm not talking about the "f" word. Not from me anyway.

Acts of war
The long and short of it is, something happened that in the absence of clear communication of intent, signalled an all out war. And when it comes to war, I'm a master strategist - cool under pressure, great tactician. Don't be fooled by my soft exterior. Inside is a strength of a woman to be reckoned with.

So there I was. Cool, calm, collected. Delivering my fatal blow like a war general directing his infantry to the enemy's final end.

And in the middle of it all I saw my friend. Broken. Defeated. Left in the dust.

And I... I was losing my friend. Completely.

I saw my friend
In the heat of battle, I saw through her. I saw her fears, her troubles, her pain. And I felt it all. And I understood.

Yet, I was emotionally detached from the "battle". My thoughts were clear. I knew what to do. Instinctively, I knew how to reach her.

Powerful words
I started to speak her language:

"I have let you down. I care for you and I care what happens to you but I have let you down."

Those words changed everything.

Lessons from the war
The fact is, it takes two to tango and we both have let each other down. But I learnt that to resolve any conflict one person must take the first step to recognise that they have played a part in it and acknowledge that their actions have hurt the other. Only then will you have the power to stop the war and start speaking in the same language.

The question is, will that person be you?

Wanted: Single, White Male.

I recently posted this ad on a local real estate site:

"Young, female marketing executive looking for a clean, friendly, reliable 27+ male professional with an active social life and an equally healthy lifestyle, to share a large, stylish, 2 bedroom art-deco apartment in fantastically located Hawthorn."

Yes, I'm hunting for a flatmate. And if you read between the lines (and if you're a girl like me) you know exactly what I'm looking for: a successful, intelligent, attractive, physically fit, single, white male - a potential partner perhaps if it were not for my "currently-happy-in-a-relationship" status.

Of course I'm not doing anything insidious! I have the blessing of my man-at-arms who gave me the "it-doesn't-bother-me-babe" shrug (or was it a grunt?) when I asked (read "told") him of my intention to share my beautiful abode with the opposite sex. To ease him into the situation, he gets to pick my new flatmate from my shortlist of eligible bachelors... "because, babe, you're so much better at reading people than I am".

Wink, wink...

Signed, sealed and delivered!

Seriously, I prefer male company at home. Who am I going to call when I need the light bulbs changed? My ceiling is extremely high! I have hundreds of high-heeled shoes but they're utterly useless in these situations!

Or fix broken taps? The closest thing I have to a spanner are two pairs of kitchen tongs.

Or move heavy furniture around when I feel like redecorating just for fun? No thanks. I prefer to train at the gym and dance to loud music whenever I feel the need to flex some muscles.

Plus, males, I find, are easier to get along with. They're simpler and less complicated. You can say what you mean and mean what you say and it's over in two minutes. Unless he's gay, and in which case you're looking at a big cat fight!

So there. I want to share my large, stylish, art-deco apartment with a sexy, intelligent, attractive, successful, single man!

Jealous?

Nice girls don't get the corner office.

I have worked my sexy butt off these last few years and found that one doesn't get anywhere by being "nice" - at work that is. Especially if you work alongside the male counterpart.
I do.

The only chick in a marketing department, I was initially taken aback by the boisterous, aggressive and seemingly belligerent behaviours of my male colleagues in the boardroom. In my first of many boardroom meetings, I sat there without a word or movement in my new pink suit that nicely framed my perky bosom, as if someone's cut off my tongue and immobilised my petite frame. Whenever I tried to say something remotely intelligent, they'd throw me a blank stare like I had no business being there.

"Hey, I've got a masters degree and a list of contacts you can only dream of" - of course, I was only thinking that.

Confused and intimidated by it all, I resolved to be "one of the boys" - a beer-drinking, straight-talking, emotionally repressed workaholic in high-heels. Add power-dressing to my daily repertoire and there I was, basking in the glory of my boardroom triumph. I finally look, walk and talk like the boys, therefore I must be one of them. Guys relate to logic - that much I've learnt.

Now, life at work is a breeze. My colleagues call me "mate" and my boss refers to me as "Robbo". Not exactly an endearing salutation for a sweet little thing but in "men-speak" it means he regards me as an equal. And, yes, I've got my corner office and a big fat pay-rise that matches the boys. I'm happy with that. For now anyway.