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What No Ones Tells You About Real Love

So there I was…

Bare-bottomed, lying face down on a paper covered bed in a clinic in Costa Rica.

Isn’t this how all good stories start? And you might be asking yourself…“what does this have to do with love?”  

Over the last 5 days I had developed a severely painful abscess in the – wouldn’t you know my luck? – upper crack of my butt. It had happened once before three years ago, and I prayed that it would never happen again.  But it did. While living in the jungle.  In Costa Rica.

No matter how much I planned, and prepared, or how many lists I made, I could not have prepared myself for this hell.

I cried the morning I figured out what the discomfort in my backside was.  I woke up early to the sound of the howler monkeys and thought to myself “why does my butt feel so weird?” And then it dawned on me.  The pain was so awful that I couldn’t sit for days.  There was multiple doctor appointments, antibiotics, pain-killers…all of it.  It was bad enough when it happened in the States where my cool-ass, female doctor who I have had for years would have kind of laughed with me through the pain of the procedure.

But this time I was in the jungle. In a foreign country.  Where I only kinda speak the language (I’m trying!)

I was freaking the fuck out.

However, this time something was different.  I had Danny.  My boyfriend of 2 1/2 years.

From the moment I started crying with my mind spinning of all of my fears of what could go wrong, he has been my rock.

The first day, he walked an hour into town in hell-hot-heat to talk to the doctor at the clinic, and pick up pain meds and food.

After that, he made me wonderful meals every day from scratch.

He cleaned up after the “Kira Tornado” that seems to leave a trail of pillows, computer cords, crackers, and glasses everywhere I go; dispensed whatever drugs I needed at whatever time; rubbed my feet every night (which I will admit he does regularly).

At the end of the day, he has taken total care of me.  Doing everything to make me as comfortable as I could be during this mild medical shitshow in the jungle.

And yesterday, when he held my hand as I cried out in pain in the clinic, soothing me, sweetly pushing the hair out of my face, telling me to squeeze his hand harder if I needed to…I just cried a little bit of happiness.

This was one of the worst experiences of my life, but I smiled through the tears because my heart was full.  I felt true, real, unconditional love.
It makes me laugh now as I think that I spent so much of my life being the super-awesome, independent woman who didn’t need anything from anyone.  I could do it all myself.  Asking for help from anyone felt weak. Why would I want to do that?

My understanding of love had to do with perfect romantic moments in my mind like a montage in a romantic comedy. And none of those moments had me being anything less than super-awesome, funny, and adorable at all times.

The thought of someone loving me through the really, really rough (and pretty gross times) didn’t even compute.  If I had weaknesses, well I would just hide that shit. Because no one wants to love that, right?

But that is not love.  That is two people playing relationship. Like two ten-year olds playing Barbie Dream House.

Because what no one tells you is: you can’t love perfect.  No matter how hard you try. Love lies in the imperfections and vulnerabilities that we bring with us.  Only then can people show up and bring compassion, trust, kindness and love.

Now I know what real love looks like.  Like two flawed, imperfect people choosing to be with each other every day.

In only 2 1/2 years, Danny and I have loved each other through a move to a foreign country (and now a move back to Wisconsin), rehab, parent illnesses, my health journey, the ups and downs of owning a business, dog emergencies, opposite schedules, terrible jobs and yes, even a butt abscess.

And these tough moments, that bring hard conversations, tears, honesty, trust,..that is where the love gets better. The connection deeper.  This vulnerable place is where we get stronger as a couple.  It did not fall into our laps, we built this.

So as you move through your days, do people know how to be great for you?  Care for you? Love you?

Looking to learn how to be more vulnerable and build a relationship like this? Join me for the next Owner’s Manual Class!  Clarity on who you are, what you need and how to ask for it to build strong, beautiful relationships.

If you liked this…share it!

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How to Stop Giving Away Your Worth When Dating

{Sweary + ranty version of this article is available as a podcast here}

So today I have a favor to ask.  And it isn’t just for me, it is for all of us.

Ladies, can we stop giving all of our power away to men?  I mean, seriously?

Because in my nine years of doing this, I have encountered so many smart, educated, savvy, incredible women who, as soon as they get a sniff of love, lose all of their confidence and power.

True fucking story.

As soon as love enters the picture, they lose their power by:

Bending over backwards, losing themselves, and what we need while dating because we are afraid they will walk away.

Sleeping with people immediately because we are afraid they will move onto someone else.

Not speaking up about things when something feels uncomfortable because we are scared that they won’t fucking like us.

Faking orgasms!  Why would women do that?  

And that is really just the beginning.

Please understand, this article is not about putting down men.  It is about having a real discussion of why women are choosing and allowing bullshit in dating and relationships that gives our power and confidence away. Every. Fucking. Day.

Without even knowing it we are sabotaging  our relationships before they even get started.

Let me just give you a scenario.

You like someone. 

Maybe have been on a few dates. 

For the first time in a long time, you see potential!  The heavens have fucking opened up and there might be love here, people! 

But you know what?   As soon as the potential starts?  It all gets a little bit sketchy.

We start obsessively thinking and talking about them and the new situation. It’s like our new part-time job.  Where we get paid in crazy.

What does this text mean? 

Should I be upset that I haven’t heard from him for a few days? 

He said this…what do you think that means? 

Why do you think he did that?

Can you imagine how we could change the world if we took the time that we spent thinking/talking about dating and actually volunteered?  Gave back to your community or causes you believe in?  We would be changing the fucking world!!

And most importantly, no matter if we ask ourselves all of the questions that can drive us bonkers, we are concentrating on the wrong thing.  We are asking ourselves questions that we can’t really get the answers to and not asking the one question that actually matters...

Am I ok with this?  Does this feel ok to me?

THOSE Hot Pants, are the questions that matter.

If the answer is no to that question you: 

1) Tell them –  That is called a boundary and  here is how you do that.

When someone does something that doesn’t feel good to you, you:

    a) tell them what it is in a kind way.

    b) tell them why it is not ok with you.

    c) tell them what they can do differently.

Now here is the important shit! 

If they listened and respected it –  Woohoo!  We may have a real keeper here, people!  You have just started creating a potential relationship!  Look at you all grown-up awesome and shit!

However, if they don’t listen or respect that boundary then we have to acknowledge it and realize there is a good chance they are just not in a place to date you.  Because if they can’t respect that boundary in the beginning fuzzy-happy stage, are they going to do it any part of your relationship?

“But Kira,” you say, “isn’t that needy?  Or crazy?  I could never do that!”

Nope.  Uh-uh.  Let me tell you what shit IS crazy.

Expecting to just know what you need to feel good on a regular basis.

Expecting that they will just know how to love you.

Expecting that they know how to communicate with you, support you…all of it!  When you have never told them!

Now THAT shit is crazy!

Here is the love-truth I am dropping today:  

We can not be upset at someone for something we never told them.  

That includes all people in your life…  family, friends, co-workers, etc.

Did you tell them that you would love to hear from them daily? 

Did you say that you get triggered when people are late and how important punctuality is to you?

If not, then you are going to want to get real on what you need and be able to speak up about it.  That is not on them… that shit is on you.

So let me Brene Brown this shit up for a second!  What we are talking about here is called vulnerability and it is the core to have a deeper relationship.   

You know how scary that whole asking for what you need shit” is…  you will have to do that for the rest of your relationship –  that is what relationships are all about. 

However, if you can’t – this is what happens…

You can never create a deeper connection because that person can’t figure out how to be great for you or love you. If they can’t figure that out, it is hard for them to be part of your life and to stay long-term.

You know couples that get divorced because they “fell out of love” or some bullshit like that?  This is usually what happens – they never learned how to love and support each other beyond the honeymoon phase, so when things get tough, they can’t work through it.  They didn’t create a deeper connection by being vulnerable and asking for what they needed.

So in review: Not sharing what you need to feel loved and asking for it  = partners who don’t know how to love and support you = not creating a deeper connection = people leaving because they feel “like they fell out of love” and don’t feel connection to you.

I’ll tell you this from the bottom of my heart.  My relationship wasn’t built kissing in the rain, taking long walks on the beach or creating scavenger hunts for each other,  (Which we totally do.), or any of the other romantic moments that are sold to us on TV, in movies and books… 

It was built on the couch I am sitting on now as I write this.  Where I am crying over the frustration of my weight and health right now.

It was built standing outside of rehab last year, both of us crying as my boyfriend let go and sought help when he felt that his drinking was becoming too much for him to handle on his own.

It was built when we talk about our fears, our failings and where we need help and support from each other.

It is built multiple times a week if one of us is having a rough moment and the other one says “how can I be great for you right now?  What can I do?”

Because that is the shit that we do in this relationship.  

And that is what working, healthy relationships look like.

Bonus: do you think I worry for one second about cheating or about if he loves me?  Not a fucking chance.  We are working so diligently together on a future and being great for each other that I never have to worry about that shit.

He is my partner.  My greatest ally.  My support system and my best friend.  He is 100% in on this journey we call life.  I can not ask for anything more than that!

So do you want better relationships? 

Then let’s stop giving all of our power and confidence away to men. Because honestly, they don’t know what they are doing either!  So let’s start taking care of ourselves and each other.

How do we do that?

  1. Get clear on what we need in a relationship and have the skill set to communicate it.  Just a reminder that this is EXACTLY what we do in the Owner’s Manual. Check it out!
  2.  Start supporting our friends to take care of themselves in relationships and ask them to make us accountable too!  Encourage them to ask for what they need and speak up.  Say “I don’t think you are taking care of yourself in this relationship and I know you want to have an awesome relationship so how can you ask for what you need?” Be each other’s ally in doing this better!
  3. Start sharing this shit.  This article or the podcast that is on the same topic – much more “ranty and sweary”.  Let’s start getting on the same page and taking care of each other!  That’s how revolutions work!

So are you in?  Are you ready to take your power back?  If not for yourself, but for the awesome relationship you can create when you start by taking care of yourself!

Let’s fucking do this.

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FIVE TYPES OF GUYS YOU SHOULD RUN FROM

Have you ever met someone and wished you had a crystal ball to see into the future?

Would he like your friends? Your family?
Is he a good communicator?  Is he kind?
Does he have the potential to be that amazing partner-in-crime you have been looking for?

“Love is blind” is a quote I believe in whole-heartedly, but in a little different way than most. I find most people blindly look for love hoping to “bump” into the right person. They shit their eyes and start to just feel.  Looking for the connection, spark and attraction. Which in theory is good, but doesn’t help you figure out if they are someone you can actually have a healthy relationship with.

It is great if you have chemistry and both of you like The Walking Dead but if you aren’t aware of the all the other important stuff – core values, communication, deal breakers – you are probably going to wake up one day and realize you wasted your time and boy, that shit sucks.

I am not the dating fairy who can sprinkle magic dust and show you five, ten or 15 years down the line.  But, by keeping your eyes open, you’d be surprised how much you can really learn about a person without spending the next six months wading around in a questionable relationship.  Remember as you start to get to know them that when they show you who they are…believe them.

In honor of Halloween!  Here are 5 types you can watch for that you should walk (err…run) away from…immediately: 

1. Denny Downer Syndrome: He is a great guy but has been dealt a “bad hand.” He works so hard at everything yet no one notices or appreciates him. He is always getting the raw end of the deal and for no apparent reason!  Life is just always so tough. {CLICK HERE FOR FUN and push play.}

I am getting super fucking depressed just writing this. We all know at least a few of these people – the constant victims in their own life. The people that never get a break.  That life seems to keep them down so they can never feel good.

Listen, I don’t mean to sound callous.  We all have bad days and bad situations…that’s life.  But, the guy who is truly suffering from the “downer syndrome” is probably making choices that are keeping him unhappy. Keeping him in his situations.

Plus, not only will his negativity rub off on you, but it is exhausting spending all of your time listening to his problems and telling him it will get better soon.  My guess is if he can’t figure out how to solve these problems, he won’t have much to offer to a healthy relationship (much less to you, when you have an occasional bad day).

2.  The Overachievers: He loves his life! When he isn’t working 70+ at his full-time job, he is also working just as hard at his part-time business or passion. In his “free time” he is training for the Ironman or hanging with the guys. It takes him two weeks just to schedule a date.

This one is deceptive because we are excited about motivation and a full, exciting life.  Right?  But we are so excited we miss this red flag. Because as cool as his jobs or passions are, there is a point that you will need to wave your arms and say, “Excuse me, but, um where would I fit in?”

It is great that he has so many wonderful things in his life; but with a schedule like that he has unconsciously decided not to make relationships one of them. Healthy relationships are for real people who have space in their life. It is very important that your date has a life, friends, goals and passions. But, if this person doesn’t have time for dating, he isn’t going to have time for you and a real relationship.

3.  Anger Management Needed: This is a classic red flag ignored time and time again. I have heard women make all the excuses. He just has a lot of passion or he is particular about the way he likes things. Make all the excuses you want, but if he is yelling at the waiter because his steak isn’t prepared to his liking or is rude to coffee shop employees, you can safely peek into what the future might be like with this person.

We have all seen the poor woman who spends half of her existence apologizing for her husband’s rude behavior and unless you want to be that person, run – do not walk – in the other direction.

4.   Ex Trash Talker: “She was absolutely crazy. She was super clingy. I had no idea she would back her car into my truck 26 times.”

Anyone who is actually dealing with someone who is mentally ill is NOT going to speak about her that way.  Or fucking shouldn’t.  That would make him super shitty.

Most likely, he was in an unhealthy relationship full of fear (jealousy, zero trust and communication, etc) and that he helped make that way.  Plus, if it was that bad…why did he choose to date her for three years – heck, even six months – that was pretty much his choice. In fact, if his ex was so bad, why did this even get off the ground?  As my Grandma always said, “it takes two to tango”. If he let that person into his life and then stuck around for it, that was a choice and there was a reason he made it.

5. Mr. One-Upper: You volunteer locally.  He did a month long relief effort. You like alternative music.  He has hung out with Chris Martin, from Coldplay, numerous times.  They are like BFFs.

It is great that he has traveled the world, has had incredible experiences and seems well connected. Unfortunately in Mr. One-Upper’s eyes, your accomplishments will never be quite as good as his, your dreams not as big and your life not as important. He is never going to let you shine in the relationship and everybody needs to shine.  You want someone who can not only share and celebrate his experiences, but yours too!

Your Halloween Adventure:

Sit down for 10 minutes and journal the shit out of this…  Have you ever dated any of these types?  What other qualities have shown up in your past relationships that you should have paid attention to?  Is there a pattern here? A negative type that you keep going back to?  Why?

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The Best Gift To Give To Your Mother This Mother’s Day

It’s almost Mother’s Day…

and as I think about the mothers in my life it makes me think back to stories about my Grandmother that I learned a few years ago.

Now, not my favorite Grandma.  Because I do have a favorite.  My Mom’s Mom was one of my favorite people on earth and an integral part of my childhood.  And her cinnamon rolls still haunt me. In a good way.

But, no, I’m talking about the grandmother who I feel like I barely knew.  The one that I didn’t really get.  The one that, in all honesty, I was embarrassed of while I was growing up. She was ridiculously tough.  Smart as a whip. Very few teeth.  Pretty eccentric. To say she was a character is an understatement.

Then, she had a life-changing stroke. One that made her unable to recognize me anymore. I was only 9 at the time, so I came to mostly resent how this affected my family.

In the quiet moments over the last couple of years, my Dad has shared stories of this tough, eccentric lady who would walk everywhere (miles and miles even at age 83), lived in an old, dilapidated, farmhouse on a farm that she ran mostly on her own, as my grandfather was away traveling the world.  WHILE raising three sons.  In these stories:

I learned how hard she worked running a farm, raising kids as an unofficial single mom, and teaching full-time.

I learned how rough her life was as a child having to leave her mother after their father abandoned them, and her Mother couldn’t take care of them.

I learned how just how tough most her life was, and how it never really got easier.

The more and more I have learned, the more I am proud that I am her granddaughter.  

The embarrassment and resentment I had as a child is gone.  All I see now is how hard she had to fight to just live her life.  Raise a family. Put food on the table and clothe her children.  Try to live a different story than her own mother who had to abandon her own children.

It also makes me think of my own Mother who has had her own struggles of finding her footing as a woman, mother and teacher over the last 70+ years.  Finding her own voice over the years after not really having the chance to develop one as a child.

And I sit back and think about my life, and see the silly stories that show up in my newsfeed on facebook and in women’s magazines, well…it makes me embarrassed.

Embarrassed over the not very important things I spend my time worrying about.  My weight, not liking my clothes right now, the small details of my business, etc.  The pretty pathetic list goes on and on.

And in all honesty as I look around, it makes me a little embarrassed for all of us.  To know how hard our mothers and grandmothers fought for us and how much I look around and still see so much fear.

We keep ourselves in prisons of perfection, scared to fail and thinking that we will be judged by some invisible peanut gallery.  We worry that if we get out of our comfort zones and try new things, they might not work out the way we hoped.  They won’t live up to our unrealistic expectations. We might have to feel real life feelings that food, wine and Netflix can’t numb away.

My Grandmother didn’t have time to worry about being judged or failing.  She had to put food on the damn table!  She had a farm to run!  

So, including myself in the conversation, I want to ask you, what the hell are we doing here, ladies?

Why are we spending our days consuming unreal reality television, filtering the shit out of Instagram pictures, comparing ourselves to every other woman we know (and don’t) and shaming ourselves when we don’t measure up to our imaginary story about their lives?  Aren’t we better than this?

Didn’t our foremothers fight for us to have lives where we didn’t have to live so much in fear?

We need to stop the shame and blame and push ourselves out our comfort zones to start living with purpose.  

Having the bigger conversations that our mothers and grandmothers were not able to have.  We need to do the self-work to not make the same mistakes.  We need to break our family chains.  

Because of my mother, grandmothers and all the women before them, I get to have a different story.  A different path. I get to run a business I love.  I get to have a relationship built on partnership.  I get to travel and see the beauty of this world.  The list of luxuries goes on and on.

And honestly we owe them more than the silly shit that we are focusing on day after day.  We owe them for:

The 18 hour days they put in.

The voices that were not heard.

The walls they were up against again and again.

We can not take for granted the centuries of struggle we’ve been through to get to the place we are today.  I know we have a ways to go, but so much of that starts with us.

So I ask you to start here.  This Mother’s Day, sit down with your mother and collect the stories of your past generations.  Listen to the struggles, the triumphs, the obstacles and the celebrations.  Write them down or record them for your possible future generations.

Then I ask you to sit down and get bold.  If you don’t like your life, change it!  In 2016 we have the resources, tools and support systems in place to slowly start making our lives better.  For us and the women of the future.  Are we going to be the generation who had opportunities and chose to stay scared?  Because getting out of our comfort zones is scary?  

No, the Depression was scary.  The Black Plague was scary.  You going after a different job is not really scary. Rejection does not kill you.  Hunger and disease does.  

So if you have been wanting to see a part of the world…go book your trip!

If you are single, and don’t want to be…work on it! (I mean, that’s what I do…)

If your relationship isn’t going as planned, work on it!  I love this workshop.

If you are not happy with your health.  This coach makes my world better.

If you are struggling with parenting, get on it!  Start here and then go here!

Or find your own coach, therapist, expert, program, class that can help you shift what’s not working.  Because you don’t have to be unhappy and you don’t have to do it alone.

Together, we can change our stories and the stories for our future generations.  Just by working on ourselves.

If you can’t do it for yourself right now, do it for your Mom or your Grandmother who fought so hard for you.  

That’s the best Mother’s Day present you could give.  A better life.

If you liked this, please share it! Let’s start having the bigger conversations for a better life.

 

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We Are All About 5 Seconds From Bat Shit Crazy

Fuck if I haven’t been known to buy a ticket to the crazy train once or twice.

And as I am almost five months into something new and really awesome (Yes, thank you.  Thank you very much.) I can not even fucking believe how much the crazy has shown up.

Shit I thought I had taken care of YEARS AGO has reared it’s ugly head, laughed in my face, and reminded me both how human I am and how out of my comfort zone creating relationships can really be.

Let’s just say it has all been very, very humbling.  

And as I sit back a little chafed from my own experiences lately, I realize that one of the biggest fears about getting ourselves out there, meeting people, dating and creating relationships is that we will, well….. let the crazy hang out.

And nothing has the opportunity to bring out that crazy quite like love.  Right, Sugarpants?

When we even sniff the possibility of smitten, that usually logical brain that helps us make smart decisions every fucking day turns on us.  Like my 7th grade best friend did in Home Ec when we were making biscuits…..but I digress.

As we start to get deeper into the dating and it stops being just butterflies and THIS PERSON IS AWESOME ALL OF THE FUCKING TIME!!!!  The logic goes out the window and the thoughts and feelings start to take over.  

All of the feels.  All of the time.

For me, those dagnab feelings start swimming around in my head and make me question everything I know as true. Things I actually witnessed.  Moments I was a part of.  Truths, real conversations, all of it.

It truly feels a little crazy.  

Because here is a truth we forget about or maybe you have never really thought about before.  I want you to sit down for this one.  It is a biggie….

Our thoughts and feelings can be big fat liars.

As we go throughout our day we have thousands of thoughts and feelings running through our head. Observations, judgements, choices, all of it.  We have our own movies on play in our head as we act out the starring role in this thing called life.

However, here is the rub, all of these thoughts and feelings are not truths.  They are only perceptions.

And most of them are coming from places of fear or past experiences and actually have no real sense or truth in them.

Well shit. 

And HERE is the roughest part…it is our fucking job to figure out the difference.  Especially if you want to be awesome in your relationship.

We get so caught up in the thoughts and feelings or the story line that we abandon the truths.  And the truths are where love exists.  Where relationships move forward.  Where all the squishy good shit that makes you feel like the world is a beautiful place full of unicorns, glitter and cake lives.   Man, I love cake.

When we abandon our truths and give into the fleeting feelings of the moment, that is where fear takes over.  Getting us to a big fat fucking nowhere.  

Need an example?  Ok, no problem….I had a “moment” recently.  

Truly.  It’s a gift.  You’re welcome.

The awesome man I am dating and I have completely different schedules.  And of all the things you think about when you are creating a relationship and talking about love, the super unsexy things show up.

For us it is schedules.

He is literally sleeping when I am awake and vice versa.  

So in the pocket of hours that we get to see each other it is pretty much a guarantee that one of us is going to be tired.  Sometimes even exhausted.

So recently, as we are hanging out  I was just really, really tired.  I just couldn’t wake up.  My wagon was draggin’.  And if truth be told, I am not very adorable when I am tired.  In fact I can be quiet and just plain salty.

But I adore this man, and I really wanted to see him, so I just thought I would power the fuck through.  Right?

Well, let me throw in that I am also going through some emotional family stuff and am PMS-y.  Which good for you if you don’t get PMS-y, but I do and it really can help cloud the truths.  

So, through all of this, it was almost inevitable that a ‘moment’ might happen with D.  And it did.

He didn’t do something the way I wanted him to and I just stepped inside my head and started letting the the thoughts and feelings take over.  

I mean, not just thoughts and feelings….crazy shit that has no place in my head and certainly not in this relationship.

Does he not want the same things as me?

Is he not as attracted to me as I think he is?

I can’t bring this up to him because he won’t listen, right?

and then I went to the dark place….can I even do this?  Actually be in a relationship? Is this going to even work out? 

Spoiler alert:  Abso-fucking-lutely.  I am crazy about this guy.  This is so damn real I am mildly freaked out a good percentage of the time. There is so much goodness here I am still pinching myself on a daily basis because he keeps showing up and slowly creating something really fucking beautiful with me.

But that doesn’t stop the feelings and thoughts from coming.  Weird, crazy thoughts.  Untrue thoughts.

Thoughts that just lay there in my head.  Like my cat Leroy, on the heat vent, in winter.

That is where it is my job to know the difference between the truths and the perceptions.

And what people forget to tell you when they talk about love, soulmates and all the romantic stuff that takes up space in our head and becomes stories and expectations of our future relationship, is that it is our job too.

It is our job to control our thoughts that make us feel crazy and know the difference.

It is our job to know our truths so we can respond to a situation, not react.

It is our job to have enough self awareness to know what we need and the confidence to express it to that person.

We need to communicate like mother fuckers to stop hurting each other and start helping each other.

And if you can’t do that, all of this love stuff is going to be a huge fucking struggle.

Because as we expect more and more out of our relationships in 2015, we have to have some radical fucking knowledge about ourselves to be great in them.  Otherwise, we keep walking around with our feelings hurt or just plain uncomfortable and we don’t even know why.

Where healthy relationships lie is where your future partner-in-crime just gets to show up every day, know their own truths and work with you to create something awesome.  

That is all.  

That is why I have been working on something new for a long time in my coaching business.  It is called The Owner’s Manual.  It is the core of my research, coaching and beliefs.

The Owner’s Manual is extreme self awareness to understand how you work.  How you love, communicate, trust, think, process, etc.  So that you can know how you thrive in a relationship.

But most importantly, so you have the knowledge to open up that Manual and show it to the right person so they understand how you work. And feel good.  And you both can create love.  And awesomeness.

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How I Turned My Hookup Into A Healthy Relationship

It was actually a little awkward.

The night I met my boyfriend there were a few faux pas.  Actually, a lot. Actually, okay, there were a shit ton.

So there was nothing precious or magical about it really.  At all.

For starters, I was a little drunk…and so was he.  By a little I might mean a lottle.

And we went bowling.  Bowling, I say!  (By the way, I super suck at bowling and kind of made an ass out of myself.  He actually fell.  True story.)

Our first kiss was out back behind the bowling alley, near a dumpster.  Confession: This is not even necessarily new for me.  I have dumpster kissed before. 🙂  It was nice but a little sloppy.  It didn’t knock my socks off.  We ended up making out for a bit in my Mom’s car.  Yes, I am 16.

I met him in my hometown of 5000.  I don’t really like my hometown.  I try to avoid most things in my hometown.  Walmart in particular, because can you think of anything less sexy than Wal Mart?

Although I heard from him a little the next day, I then didn’t hear from him for almost a week.  I honestly had written him off.

Even the next time I met him, I was like….ummmm, I think he is really cute, but I am not sure.

None of it was a disaster.  If anything it was a little funny.  But the truth is this: it was all very far from beautifully romantic.

I didn’t think he was “the one.”

There was no love at first sight.

I didn’t know it when I saw it.

My heart did not want shit.

I just thought that D seemed lovely.  Kind.  Smart.  Interesting.  Sweet.

But here is the truth.  I am not a life coach that works with singles just because I find love and relationships fascinating….which I totally fucking do.  I also do this because I am learning as I go along.  I am invested in sharing my own mistakes and takeaways.  Because I’m keenly aware that what holds me back might also be the kind of shit that is getting in your way.

And look, I’m the first to admit that I haven’t always been so great at this whole relationship thingy.  I get nervous.  I get downright scared. I have sabotaged a lot of shit.

But that doesn’t mean that I give up.  

If there is one thing I have learned in my seven years of doing this, it is that everyone can have love and a healthy relationship if they are willing to do some of the really tough work up front. Including me.

So I kept going.  I checked it out, knowing that I would not know in a date or two if I could create a relationship with him.  Doing what I preach to my clients and on this genius site! 🙂

I taught him how to treat me by creating healthy boundaries.  What was acceptable and what wasn’t, so he could always win.  Because if both people aren’t winning, love can’t really grow.

I showed him how I liked to be loved and learned what he likes.  Because knowing how to make the other person feel loved, cared, and good is a huge part of making it work.

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone again and again.  This process has not been “freak-out-free.” The difference is in how I handled it, starting with my own shit. When things felt uncomfortable, I worked out on my own whether it was actually a problem or my own fears.  If it was a problem, I talked to him, with honesty and kindness.  Often, they were my fears and I worked through them myself.  Because love and long-term relationships don’t always feel comfortable for me.

I leaned on my life support team….a lot.   I don’t think that the person I date needs to be everything in my life and they certainly don’t need to hear every crazy fear I have in my head.  My life support team helped listen, clarify, talk me off the ledge and figure out what made sense and what just didn’t.

I separated the truths from stories in my head.   Man, are there a fuckload of stories in my head about my attractiveness right now, the complications in my life and if I am going to fuck this up.  But those are stories not truths and digging deep I was able to  separate the two.

Most importantly, I communicated all the fucking time!  Not obnoxiously, but I shared who I was.  How I work. Where I am imperfect. Where I need a little extra support.  Where I get nervous.

The result?

A beautiful, healthy relationship that is really working.

I can say from the bottom of my heart, I adore this man.  The best part is that all of this is very, very real.  We have gotten in the habit to talk things out the moment they come up.  Our relationship is even stronger after we fight (a place where I used to run away).  I trust him totally and completely. He makes me think, laugh and smile….regularly.

We are perfectly, imperfect together.  He is my partner-in-crime.   Working as a team to better ourselves and create a kick ass future together.

It didn’t matter if our first couple of dates were a bit ridiculous and not very magical.  Unless you think bowling and dumpster kissing is magical.  

It is what you do afterwards that matters.  

And none of this could have happened if I didn’t do the tough stuff that I described above.  Because from the beginning, I opened up my Owner’s Manual, scary as it was to do it, so that he could see inside.

YES, SUGARPANTS, WE ALL HAVE AN OWNER’S MANUAL.  

Just like a car or fancy schmancy smartphone, we all work in different ways.  The way we love.  Fight.  Process.  Communicate.  Each one of us is different and it is our job to know what is inside and then open it up and share it.

If we don’t know what is inside, how can we expect someone else to figure it out?

Don’t worry, I am here to help:)

So I have created a new process and am sharing it with you.  It’s called The Owner’s Manual.  I know, creative.

It is nine steps of totally awesome self-fucking-awareness to help you know what you need to know to create beautiful, healthy relationships. At the end of it, you’ll leave knowing exactly how you work (and `embracing the shit out of it) and even more importantly, you’ll know how to communicate it.

Here is what you are going to learn.

Step One: The beginning (pre-work and the first call)

We’ll start with a self-knowledge inventory to explore your thoughts and beliefs on love, divorce, sex, relationships and life in general.  This will help you understand what a New Relationship looks like and how to actually get it (not just dream about it).  You’ll walk away understanding how to make decisions based on love, not fear.

Step Two: Who the fuck are you?

We are going to dig deep and get to the core of who you really are.  Even the stuff you have forgotten or covered up.  We will understand your natural strengths and weaknesses, your personality profile and more.

Step Three: How did you learn to love?

You learned it from somewhere and it might not be helping you out.  In fact, it might even be leading you to what you are comfortable with instead of actual love.  We will be doing visualizations to uncover what you learned, find out your love language and identify what you are attracted to and why.

Step Four: Stories vs Truths (two weeks)

Is what is going through your head on a daily basis really the truth?  Or just wackadoo thoughts and stories you are making up that aren’t helping you AT ALL.  We are going to dig into what is on repeat in your mind and learn what we need to change it to.  You will learn how to tell your truths from your stories and start doing daily activities to build confidence and happiness.

Step Five: Creating healthy boundaries and trust

It is super hard to create amazing and beautiful relationships if you don’t trust and can’t create boundaries that make you feel good.  We are going to look at any people pleasing (trust me, it is killing you), co-dependence or those big fucking walls (you like to call that picky) you like to put up and pretend they are healthy.  You are going to discover Interdependence.  (Hint: That’s where everyone feels fucking amazing!)

Step Six: How the hell you communicate

How do you fight?  Process information? Have tough conversations? Express love?  We are figuring that shit out here.

Step Seven: Your life support team

Is your life filled with awesome people who support you, listen and make you feel great?  Or not really…Your future partner can’t be the only awesome person in your life.  You need a whole team.  It takes a village, people.

Step Eight:  How you thrive

Relationships rarely break up because of love.  They break up because people have not thought about and discussed the details of the relationship.  How you view money, parenting, sex, intimacy, sleeping situations, etc.  We are going to take all that we have learned and breakdown what feels good for to you. That way you’ll know just what you need to communicate so your partner in crime is on the same fucking page.

Step Nine:  Your Owner’s Manual

Now that we know you, we will talk about sharing it with others.  How to open up your manual and show others in a way that feels good.

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What I did right (and wrong) in the first six months of my relationship

Listen to the podcast version below.

PodcastLogo-150x150Can’t listen right now (cause we know you are probably at work!)? That’s ok, check me out on iTunes and download for your workout or commute! Check out all of our podcasts here. 

Or just read below:)

Sometimes I feel like I am on a reality show.  

A really boring reality show, mind you.

No, there is no island where you vote people off, or villa full of sexy bachelors, and the only star I get to  dance with is my cat Leroy.  He’s pretty much a legend though.  I know, you wish you knew him.

But back to the point: Relationships.

Relationships are always tricky, but dating and mating when you are a life coach who talks about love all day long has its own unique pressures.  Naturally, I want to be crushing it on all levels, all the time, because, well, I know a shit ton about how this relationship stuff should work! I’m here to speak for beautiful, healthy relationships after all – so shouldn’t my own model exactly that?

Well, sometimes I am crushing it, and sometimes I am not.

However, just like the cameras on a reality show, I am in 24/7 observation mode of how I am doing.  Yes, like my own case study.  I am my own Big Brother. Creepy, right? AND stressful.

Let me take a moment and tell you that my sweet and awesome boyfriend is super patient.  He watches me, amused, as my mind works 100 miles an hour, trying to figure out why I reacted a certain way to something.

Evaluating my own reactivity is pretty ridiculous and mildly exhausting, but fuck if I am not learning things about myself every single day.

So in the name of science (and all things ridiculous) I am going to share this case study with you.  Because I am good like that.  And I want you to know that even people who have a shit ton of knowledge and talk about this all day, every day, still have fears, freak out, lose their shit and mess up.

So here is what I did right (and wrong) in the first six months of my relationship.

Right:  Showed him who I was.  Full on.

Listen, I am a fucking handful. I am. Every part of me when I meet someone new wants to tuck a few things away that make me less than stellar.  We all have our own quirks, ways that we do things, the way we like things, personality traits, etc.  But from the beginning I was just me.  Fun but flawed.  Confident with insecurities.  A talker.  Passionate but goofy.  Now those all sounded indie movie cute, let me also get real here.  I also shared my struggles with my weight and body image right now.  My frustration with health issues.  Sadness over my Dad and his current health condition.  Also that I was messy, hate doing dishes, only wash my hair a few times a week and am in some form of pajamas 70-80% of the time. I was just absolutely me, because that person was going to come out anyway.

Why this worked:

I didn’t vomit out my life story and all of my problems the first couple times we met, that is just sabotage.  But I always showed up as myself.

It also allowed him to be absolutely him and I let him know pretty quickly in that I would like him for just him.  Because that is how I want to be liked.  I am working on things that I am not proud of, but ultimately what he saw is what he got.  And if he liked that stuff, we were in business!  So far, so good. 🙂

Right:  Took credit where credit was due.

There is a lot of blame game in relationships.  Even when we have behaved badly, we love to point fingers to the other person at what they did to illicit that response.  But no matter what happened in the first place, we are 100% responsible for our actions.  We have to learn how to acknowledge and apologize, but more importantly do the personal work to understand where those not-so-awesome actions came from.

As far as I am concerned, the thought of people “needing to handle you at your worst to deserve to have you at your best” is bullshit.  YOU need to handle you at your worst and be strong enough to step away, ask for time, talk to a friend or professional if you can’t control the words that come out of your mouth.

We all have moments-God knows I have had a few, but I apologize, learn from them and then figure out what the fuck provoked them so I can prevent them.

Because we are looking for a stable, consistent loving relationship people and it is NO ONE’S job to put up with your bullshit.  You can have a shitty day, talk about it, ask for hugs and support but you can’t lash out.  You are not 5.

Take care of that shit.

Why this worked:  

Trust is easier to build when we can observe someone who is responsible for their actions. We have less fear of getting hurt.

Right (and wrong):  Talked shit out like a mofo

You would think that someone who communicates for a living would LOVE communicating in a relationship.  Well, in fact I DO.  The moment I sniff that something is off, I am on it like blue bonnet!

Why this worked:

Right from the beginning, I set up that talking when there was even the slightest bit of a problem was the norm.  He was pretty thrown off by it because he had never been in a relationship where he worked through problems before.  But, we got really fucking good at it.  There was even a moment that we talked out a problem and hi-fived afterwards because we just kicked ass and both of us felt good.  One of us would bring the frustration and then figure out what felt good for both of us.  That kind of open communication is addicting.  We are not perfect at it, but we are pretty damn good!

When it didn’t:

Too much of a good thing is not always good thing. 😉  Although I find the psychology and human motivation in relationships beyond fascinating (even my own) enjoying the relationship is way more important.  As a chronic over-analyzer, if I am not careful I spend time thinking instead of doing.  This helps no one.

Right:  Created a support team.

In the beginning there were times where things were rocky.  And by rocky I mean I would freak out if I didn’t hear from him in the timeline I expected and if I even grabbed a sniff of getting hurt.  Honestly, it was all of my stuff from past dates and relationships.  And I knew it.

I believe that during that early time we need to have a couple of solid people in our lives as a reality check.  To talk us off the ledge, to stop us from sending that bitchy/crazy text, someone that gives us a solid outside point of view.  Because when we like someone a lot we lose a bit of reality.  As a former runner from relationships, I am so fucking scared of getting hurt that I will look for reasons.  My friends and therapists helped me keep that in check so I could show up and be great for him. And him for me.

Why this worked:

Relationships grow trust much more consistently, and faster, if people aren’t freaking the fuck out all of the time.  True story.

Right:  Asked for what I needed

As a recovering super independent person it is very hard for me to be vulnerable and ask for what I need in a relationship.  For a long time I lived in the fear of “what if I ask and they don’t want to give it”?  So I would just take on all of the shit and pretend that everything was OK.  Easier than rocking the boat, right?

Yup, until you realize that you are not really participating in the relationship or giving that person a chance to be great for you.  And if you aren’t really participating, it isn’t a real relationship.  Yeah, I fucking said it.

Want to know why people leave you easily?  Because they don’t know where to contribute.  If they can’t find a place to support you in your life, they aren’t going to stick around.  Everyone needs to feel needed in some way.

So I made a promise to myself and him, that if I was frustrated or needed something from him, I would ask for it. And told him to do the same.

And you know what?  He delivered!  It is amazing what people will do when you give them the chance to be great for you.

Why this worked:  

I got what I needed and he didn’t need to play the “guess what I am thinking” game. That game sucks and no one ever wins.  And when no one is winning, no one is happy.

The thing is, none of this was overnight.

I didn’t wake up one day and say “all is good!  I am going to be excellent in my relationships from now on!” Even with a shit-ton of knowledge of how to do this.  I had to get clear on what I really needed to feel happy.  Where my own shit was holding me back from that and how the hell to ask for it.

Without those things, you are just trying to fit yourself into other people’s ideas of a happy relationship.  That is going to get you nowhere.

After working through my stuff and getting clear, I know it is working.  How?  I am happy.  In fact we are happy.  Not because this is perfect, but because this is real and we are creating a partnership that works towards a better future. One where love can grow.

Now that is a reality show worth watching.

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Do you know how to solve problems in your relationship?

RIGHT NOW I’M SOMEWHERE IN THE SCARED SMITTEN PHASE.

One part crazy smitten. And one part scared shitless.

Zero parts “acting cool while liking someone.”

Here’s the thing…

This thing.  This new “like” – was totally unexpected.  I had no idea it was coming.

Prior to this, I had done a great job shutting off my emotions as I took care of my business (and myself). Dealing with the continuing journey of my father’s illness this year had been more than enough to handle.

So when someone great showed up, obviously, the walls shot up.

And by walls, I mean: forms of doubt in my head.

Like… I am not ready for this now, right?  Am I in a place where I can even create a relationship?  Fuck, I don’t even feel pretty right now. I haven’t kissed anyone in months.  Am I strong enough to do this?

Am I going to fuck this up?

Honest answer?  I sure hope not.

Because through all of the scared and the walls and the doubts that were (and are) showing up, there is a light of hope shining through. That light, which is always refreshing, is when two people are honest and real from the beginning.

And fuck if that is not totally grand.  

Is there anything more beautiful than two people willing to be themselves and ask for what they need?

Two real people showing up with all of their goods and not-so-goods.

Laying it all out there.

And just so we’re clear, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

In the process of being real and scared there are going to be hiccups.  Moments.  I have already had a couple.

But in this personal case study of me dating, I continue to learn and reconfirm important ideas.  So this is your lesson of the week, Sugarpants.

It is not the “moments or hiccups” that are bound to happen in anything real that matter to me anymore. It is the after.

It is how we talk it through.

How we solve the problem.

How we respect and care about each other enough to make sure that we are moving forward and feeling good.

Because if we are really doing this thing called creating a relationship (and so far we really are) we will be solving problems again and again.  It’s just part of the gig.

And as we sat there on Monday night after a “moment”, facing each other. Sitting cross-legged on the hallway floor.  Holding hands.  Smiling, searching and scared, something happened.  We talked about our fears.  Our insecurities.  We kicked down a few more bricks in those walls.

As a former “runner“, the beauty of this does not escape me.

I am reminded that the goal isn’t to be perfect.  To not have problems.  To not be scared in something as powerful as the potential of love and a healthy relationship.

It is to be able to work through those “moments” when they show up.

Because this isn’t a movie. It’s real life. And those moments are bound to happen.

Working through them, openly and honestly…

I don’t know if there is anything more stunning than that.  I can’t wait to find out.

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PUT DOWN YOUR FUCKING PHONE!

LET ME START BY ADMITTING SOMETHING….

I love my iphone.

It’s an iphone 5. Next to my macbook, it’s one of my favorite possessions.

If an electronic device could complete me, it would be my iphone.

It helps me do my banking, connect with friends, run my business, play walkie talkie with my life coach buddies, work out, listen to music.  It is the Beloved Wesley to my Buttercup.  I fucking love it.

However, I have also noticed that it is also really kicking my ass and holding me back from the real world.  

You remember the real world, right?  Where things like making out, water fights and other cool shit happens?  Man, I love making out.

More importantly the real world is where we all have conversations where we can actually see people’s faces and hear  intonations in the other person’s voice. You know, so we get what’s being said and don’t just jump on the crazy train?

Fuck.  Trust me, I get it.  Dating can be hard.  But I gotta tell you, we make it harder than it is.

Gather round boys and girls, it is story time where Kira shares her own personal tales  and looks like an asshole for your learnin’.  It’s kind of like Reading Rainbow….but for singles.

Let’s start at the beginning (it’s a very good place to start.  Yes, that just happened.)

I kinda like a boy.  A whole lotta kinda.

It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s unexpected and I’m currently somewhere in-between the 24/7 excited/nervous phase.

But as I put myself out there for the first time in a long time, fuck if I’m not learning a shit-ton about myself.  It is always an eye opening personal case study. I examine what I think I have figured out and make huge realizations about lots of stuff I haven’t!

And this time it is about fucking texting.

TEXTING!!!!  (Shaking fists at the air)

Something I have been so dead against in dating and relationships and it somehow snuck in.  I don’t even know when or where, it just did.

Most of my clients will tell you that when they first start dating, I advise to not use text.  Maybe a “I’m running late for dinner” kind of text but nothing that has emotion or is communicating anything that could be misconstrued.  Because shit – if that isn’t the stupidest reason for a new, exciting something to end!  Because of a fucking text.

But there I was, phone in hand last week, wondering where the fuck my texts were.

Guilty.

Now, of course, I am reasonably smart at this dating thing.  I am open, honest, try to be kind in everything I do AND keep my expectations in check.

But after 48 hours of not hearing from him….I had somehow managed to convince myself that he wasn’t interested.  I was kicking him to the curb in my mind.  Super annoyingly talking my friends’ ears off.  Talking about “concerns” that was really me trying to talk myself out of “the like.”

But here is the crazy pants part!  Only 2 days before, he had told me he was interested, numerous times, in real life!!!! Face to face!  With the sweetest kiss in the history of mankind to follow it!  

What the fuck is wrong with me???

Here I was, believing bullshit stories in my head about what the proper amount of texting is – without sharing it with him!

This is where I went wrong. It wasn’t about the texting.

I had let my fears in, and kids: they have no place hanging out in your head when you are trying to create love.

All of my past experiences had crept up on me. They flashed in front of my eyes, reminding of the guys that never called.  Never followed up.  Never did what they said they would do.  It was like a bad movie starring Mindy Kaling and Paul Rudd.  And I love Paul Rudd.

But looking at the male gender as a whole is pretty fucking stupid. No two men are really the same. And god knows I don’t want to be clumped in with the type of women who say their sole purpose in life is to be pampered and wear shirts that say “Princess” or “Diva”.  Yuck.

So when I finally saw him a few days later, it took everything in me not to make some snarky comment about not hearing from him much this week.  I checked myself before I wrecked myself. I did bring it up. But in a nice way. And you know what? He just looked at me and plainly said, “I am just not much of a texter.  I should have told you that.”

Fuck.

All of that inner turmoil for nothing. But even though the subconscious sabotage made an unwanted appearance, I am now able to jump off the crazy train and buy the big girl ticket for the sane train.  It’s never too late to ride the sane train. So I walked my talk, I did what I would tell my clients to do. I said “thank you for letting me know that” and then I asked him for a favor.  I let myself be vulnerable and asked for what I knew I needed.

I said, “for my sanity’s sake can you check in every day?  Nothing big, just to let me know you are thinking about me and still interested.”

He said yes.

It is surprising how smooth things can go when you ask for what you need 🙂

What are you not asking for?   Why the fuck not?

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THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM

So last week was pretty fucking amazing.

After years of hoping and wondering how to create a kick-ass, yet affordable, group that embraces life in ridiculous ways and better themselves….it all came to fruition last Sunday.

The League of Adventurous Singles (my new upcoming brand, by the way) launched last week with 60 members from around the world and I hope it keeps on growing.

Now, if I can just open a camp where singles from around the world can all come regularly.  And we can canoe, play capture the flag and have wine in a water cooler so it is on tap, my business life will be complete!

But I digress.

So, after I launched it at noon last Sunday, it all went pretty darn smoothly.  I added new members.  Sorted out some registration issues.  Welcomed people with the most ridiculous video I have ever created.

 

And after things settled down for a bit, I got in my car and drove an hour and a half to see my Dad in the hospital.  Where he has been since January 11th, when an infection nearly took his life.

I am actually sitting and typing this from his hospital room while he sleeps.

It was a rough morning of emotional outbursts of anger and swearing mixed with uncontrollable sobbing as he tries to comprehend what exactly has happened for about the 200th time. Sometimes he gets it, sometimes he is doesn’t.

Physically, his body has changed.  He still has a healing time of at least 6 months.  But the 5 months in the hospital has made him weak.  So he can’t walk anymore or barely stand.  Until he can stand and walk he can’t come home and see “his kitties” that he talks about every day.

We have no idea at this point if he will ever mentally be the father we once knew.  A beyond brilliant, but fragile man who loved The Goonies and Adventures in Babysitting, knew everything about cars and would call me about five times a day to just ask what I was doing.

I would kill for one of those calls now.

I am exhausted.  Emotionally and physically.  And I have nothing on my Mom who is with him at least five days a week or my sister who works all week and then visits on the weekend.

We have all had breakdowns and tantrums over the last couple of months and we just accept it.

On my good days, I just try to be happy he is still alive and and appreciate the time with him.  Even if it doesn’t feel like him.  On my rough days, I am tired, sad, sick of hospitals and that fucking smell, pissed off at things and downright not the version of myself that feels like I can take on the world.

I miss her.

I have filtered out friends, because you figure out who you really want to talk to when something like this happens.  Cancelled more than a few appointments with friends, clients and peers.  Taken a hard look at my life and then just ignored it because I don’t have the energy to actually deal with anything.

I have no idea what is going to happen to my Dad.  I have no idea if he will ever come home.  I have no idea if he will ever be back to a version of himself.  There are glimpses, but who knows.

I am not writing this as a sob story to have people feel sorry for me.

Many people deal with similar things with parents or loved ones.  Hell, I even hear stories regularly of friends or acquaintances who are personally dealing with cancer or diseases.  My life is easy compared to them.

But as I walk through my day, online and off, I realize that right now I am not the funny, reasonably charming, fierce as fuck force to be reckoned with who is hellbent on changing the world with love, swearing and scavenger hunts:)

I have moments where I am grumpy, introverted and hurting.

I have moments where I am am socializing with friends and feel guilty for taking that time for myself.

I have moments where I am pissed off that my Dad isn’t trying harder at physical therapy and is not his old self.

And in those moments I am not always pleasant Suzy Sunshine that I used to be and feel like I am failing at life.    I occasionally snap at people.  I have flipped off more than a few drivers.  I have yelled at my family.  Freaked out on a guy and made some questionable decisions.

And those people who judge me and may think I am a bitch.  Unfriendly.  Grumpy.  Disconnected.  They don’t know me.  They don’t know my story.  They have no idea of the life I am living right now.

And rarely do they ask.

Because in so many ways, we have stopped talking to each other.  We think we know people through their facebook posts, pictures and checkins. We judge people by the way they look, the car they drive, the job they have, the clothes they wear, where they shop, how much they weigh, who they date, what kind of pet they have.  The list goes on and on.

And you know what?  We don’t know fucking shit about anything.  Absolutely fucking nothing.

Most days you have NO idea of the battles that each person faces.

The struggles that they have.

The sadness, frustrations and worry that occupy their mind.

The pain they may be working through.

And we just sit back and judge them because that is so much easier.  It keeps us safe in our comfort zone.  Allows us to look at life in black and white.

Categorize.

She is this.  He is that.

This person seems to have enough of these qualities to get to hang out with me and that person does not.

It is fucked.

Every person has a story.  Every person is a complicated mix of emotions, reactions, projections and life experiences that make them so much more than we can see or even learn right away.

So how do we change this shittiness?

1.  Stop thinking you can tell if someone is great for you in the first 5 minutes.  The only thing you can tell in 5 minutes is that you are attracted to someone.  Woohoo!  Good for you!  Your trophy is in the fucking mail!

For the rest of us who are wanting relationships that last longer than the span of a fruit fly, be open to attractions that come slowly.  Are you looking for a relationship or a fuck?  You tell me.

If it is a relationship, are you living a life that is going to get you the relationship you want?  Think on that.

2.  Walk around with this sentence in your head at all times.  I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT THAT PERSON IS DEALING WITH, SO I AM JUST GOING TO BE KIND.  I didn’t say you have to kiss their ass, be their best friend or date them.  Just be respectful.  Here is a big fucking reminder.  “Those who are the hardest to love need it the most.”  

3.  Buy into the unknown.  There is no fucking crystal ball.  You have no idea on a daily basis who is going to change your life.  You are hoping it is the cute guy’s profile online that you have been flirting with, but it might be the funny but sloppy co-worker that you never really considered before.  Or your barista.  Or the person that fixes your car.  You have no idea the impact that different people will play on your life until you actually let them.

This starts with talking to everyone.  Smiling.  Asking questions.  Collecting stories.  Just like we do in the League.

What part of your life do people not see?  What are you holding back?

-K

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HOW TO STOP DATING BAD BOYS

OK…I admit it and I am not proud.

I used to really like Bad Boys.

No, I am not a huge fan of tattoos.  I am pretty accident-prone, so motorcycles scare the heck out of me.  I think black leather is a bit cheesy.  And piercings?  All I can say is OUCH!

However, for years, I had this image in my head of what a bad boy looks like (probably from the movie Grease when I was 5) and because I never dated anyone who looked like the above description I thought I wasn’t dating bad boys.

Boy, was I totally and completely wrong.

It turns out, bad boys are everywhere and you probably aren’t recognizing the because they may be disguising themselves as normal guys you work with and hang out with every day.  They could be cute co-workers, guys you volunteer with, soulful musicians, accountants, passionate artists and even the adorable nerds that make you want to understand advanced math.

Wait, what are you saying?  If even the adorable nerdy guys can be bad boys, is there any hope?

Why yes, yes there is.

Gather round…let me share a personal story.

My flavor of “bad boy” was disguised as the passionate, creative, wicked smart, super funny, cute guys.  10 extra points if they had a good accent.

Witty banter flowed like boxed wine and I always got a little stumbly when they would go into their 10 minute soliloquy on what they were really passionate about–usually music.  They made me laugh, think and smile.  They led me through some of the most romantic and swooning moments of my life.

You are probably thinking….wait!  I like that kind of  guy too.

I mean, who doesn’t?

What I am forgetting to mention (and loved to completely ignore) is that along with these fun qualities they also were brooding, narcissistic, passive-aggressive, non-communicators, completely emotionally unavailable and honestly…a little lost.

But don’t worry ladies…I could save them!  And kept trying over and over, thinking I was the exception–just like every Rom-Com told me.  I had exactly what they needed to realize their full potential. I was the one who could change them.

I would love them until they loved themselves!  

le sigh.

But in between the rare swooning moments, they took me on the constant roller coaster ride of wondering where we stood and how they felt. One moment we were all about each other, the next I didn’t hear from them for days.  Always left feeling sad, confused, frustrated and lonely.

I wanted to give up.  

But there was always a charming “bad boy” around the corner ready to take me on the roller coaster ride.

It took years of crying in my cornflakes, exhausting my friendships as they were forced to listen to conversation after conversation of confusion and frustration, that I finally had to get real with myself.

If I was riding on this dating roller coaster, I had to admit to myself that I was the one buying the ticket and I was going have to be the one to stop the ride.

It started by admitting that these so-called “bad boys” are not actually that bad.

At the end of the day, they were truly great guys who I don’t think ever meant to hurt me or lead me on.  They just hadn’t worked out their own crap to be able to be great for me and create a relationship.  Somewhere along the way they were not set-up for dating and relationship success.  They probably were not raised in a positive environment where it was ok to share their feelings.  They weren’t taught dating and relationship skills and overall, they didn’t even know what to do to be in a successful relationship.

Most of us don’t.

I couldn’t ignore that they also wanted to connect and feel love.  We all do.  They just weren’t in a place to do that successfully.

Funniest part is, many of them even warned me that they were not looking for a relationship for exactly these reasons.  However, I didn’t care….I believed that “Love Conquers All!!!”

LOVE would save the day!

All we needed was LOVE!

Um…..so heads up.  That is BS.

Because when I didn’t set up healthy boundaries, ask for what I needed, watch for signs of unhealthy behavior and walk away when it was not working…love couldn’t grow or even show up.

Blaming them just kept me in a place where I could be the perfect victim in the world of my own creation.  If it was all their fault, it wasn’t on me and that meant I wasn’t broken…right?

But playing the victim kept me in that sad, frustrated, unhappy place where nothing changed.  And if nothing changed I still didn’t get love.

It was on me to step back and look at my role in the situations.  If I wanted the situation to change, I had to change.

I needed to: 

Dig in on why I was getting into these situations.  Because what I was attracted to was obviously not working.

Figure out why I kept pushing away the guys who really liked me an would show up consistently. Because I did that. 

Find out what I needed to actually feel good in a relationship.  Because it is different for everyone.

Have the confidence to ask for what I needed.  Because I would hide my needs when I liked someone and it left me feeling lost and empty.

Most importantly, I needed to slow down, watch for unhealthy signs and be able to walk away if it isn’t working.

Because love and dating are not so scary if you know how to choose the right people and walk away if they aren’t ready to be great for you.  

Once I did that, I was able to spot the “great guy” who was available and ready to create an amazing relationship with me.  One where I wake up every day knowing I am totally and completely loved for who I am.

Are you ready to get off the roller coaster and break up with bad boys?  How can I help?

-K

If you liked this article, then get tons more dating genius just like this in my brand new FREE audiobook!  Download it here!

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WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I STEPPED OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

I am sitting in the Fort Lauderdale airport.

Nothing seems to make me more introspective than an airport.

People watching.  The buzz of excitement of either leaving for an adventure or heading home.

Putting on deep thought music, it allows me to reflect on where I have been, or more importantly, where I want to go from here.

Yes, the easy answer to that is always Italy for me, but I am meaning the fancy pantsy symbolic version….

Where the fuck do I go from here?

After three weeks in Costa Rica, listening to the ocean, seeing colors in nature that I had barely believed existed in real life and running my first retreat pretty darn successfully, I have some hope.  For me, my life and this business.

Let’s have a little true confession moment, shall we?

I have no idea what I am doing a good 73% of the time. Especially when it comes to this business.  Yes, I know what the fuck I am doing as a life coach for singles.  I am awesome at that shit.  I work my ass off to be great at that shit and it works.  But getting clients, marketing, social media, pr and everything to me is like the fire swamp.  I have zero clue whether or not flame spurts, lightning sand or ROUSs (Rodents of Unusual Size) are around the corner.

This. shit. is. hard.

I love that people look at my site and facebook and think I have shit figured out.  It makes me laugh.  Hard.

This retreat I just finished was 1000% out of my comfort zone.  I knew I could talk about love and relationships for three months straight, but planning travel, meals, tours and everything in between for ten women gave me the freak-outs.

In fact, as I was in the final planning phases with my friend David, who was cooking for us at the retreat, I repeated multiple times “I can’t pull this shit off!  What the fuck was I thinking?”

But by the end of it.  Seeing the women share openly, hug, swear, clearly care about each other and have some new positive perspectives, I just kind of breathed out.  Smiled.

I did this.

I did something that I had no idea I could do.

That is not only completely out of my comfort zone, but even my natural skills set.

And then something else flooded into my mind, if I could do this….what else can I do?

In my business, in life and in love.

What else can I do?

Somewhere along the way, people had told me who I was.  What I should do with my life.  What I am good at and what I am not.  They told me who I am.

The worst part is that I believed them.

I let them define me.

I repeat, I LET them and that is bullshit.

Last year, I went a six week road trip by myself.

This year I traveled to Costa Rica and ran a retreat and plan on doing the same thing in Italy this fall.

What else can I do?

I have my own fears.  Lots of them.  But I either let them control me and keep me in my comfort zone or I ask myself what I want to be and go after that.  No matter how uncomfortable.  Even in love.

The uncomfortable is always temporary but the success is forever.

What else can you do?

Adventure for today:

Journal the shit out of these questions.

What are you believing that others have told you?  Who are you letting define you?  After all that you have accomplished (which I promise you is a lot) , what else can you do?

How do you prove yourself and everyone around you wrong?

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WHY I USED TO BE FUNNIER

I used to be way funnier.

My sarcasm was as thick as molasses and could roll off my tongue spouting little drops of comical genius on even the most awkward situations.  I felt it was my duty to give my snarky (and of course hilarious) thoughts to the world at all times.

I worked at it like a full-time job.  Looking for that perfect moment where I could share my funny take on every situation to show you how brilliant I was and how much you should like me.

I was smart as a whip and I used my words to cut people down to size with my humor.

Watch the fuck out world.  I was always on a roll.

And I sought out “funny” guys with my kind of sense of humor too.

A wonderful night was never complete unless I was having drunken witty banter with a cute guy where we make fun of each other and the world around us.  Feeling slightly superior because look how funny and smart we are.

I would test them by putting them down and seeing if they could handle it.  Seeing if they could handle me. Because I was a handful and they better just know that upfront.

And if someone didn’t like my delightful humor, it was their problem.

Duh.  I was “just joking”.

They needed to lighten up and get a sense of humor.

I mean, what the fuck was wrong with them?

And the interesting thing is these guys who were into this weird, slightly masochistic banter, usually never panned out for lots of reasons:

a) how does a guy who responds to snark and put-downs actually feel about himself?

b) when I started showing my softer side underneath (which was hidden there the whole time), they didn’t know what the hell to do with it.

c)  and honestly…..it is fucking exhausting.  Keeping up that constant witty brilliance on both of our ends doesn’t allow us to ever really not be “on our game”.

And ultimately, all of it was a whole lot of bullshit.  It was a big ole defense mechanism and it kicked my ass for many years.

That supposed humor that I was sharing was not about laughing or making myself or others happy.  The ultimate reason for humor.  It was about fear of being real and hiding behind a wall of sarcasm.

So then I wouldn’t have to get close to people and I could have another thing to blame when it didn’t work out. Because being kind seemed really vulnerable and that freaked me the fuck out.

Hiding behind all of that sarcasm was a tough question I didn’t want to answer.

What if the real me wasn’t that great?  What if the person behind the funny-I-have-my-shit-together-awesome Kira wasn’t enough?

But it is.

Because it is all I have to give and that is enough.  Once I believed that shit got a lot easier.

I love a good joke, a sense of humor is a must and laughing until I cry is a regular goal.

However, where I put my effort now is working on ripping down my own walls so no one else has to.  Getting out of my own way because I know that I am capable of great love, I just have this amazing habit of stepping on my own toes.

Along the way I realized that I had much more to give than my snark.  That being vulnerable is a must if I wanted a relationship that didn’t suck.  That I could laugh, be funny and have a wonderful time without putting myself or others down in the process.  That testing others is about my fears and pretty fucking disrespectful.

Now I look for the intelligent, kind, funny, deep dive conversations where you get to explore and learn from each other and leaves you smiling..that shit is awesome.   I am all about that shit.

It is hotter than any exhausting, witty snarkfest any day and is getting you a lot closer to a healthy relationship.

Bring on the LOVE!

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WHY YOU ARE NOT DATING GREAT GUYS

It took me a long time…..

but there was finally a time after the therapy/coaching and hitting my head against the wall so many times I thought I had a permanent concussion from dating unavailable men, that something shifted in me.

One day, I woke up and didn’t want that shit anymore and I had to have a tough moment where I needed to fess up to myself that it was ME choosing them.  Again and again.

I was the one buying the ticket to the crazy train and that shit was on me.

After some pretty solid self work, I dated a great guy.  Before we start the applause and cheers, let me admit something to you…..it wasn’t fucking easy.

Things would be going well and then I would freak out.  For the weirdest reasons that weren’t even real reasons.

I would come up with excuses of why it would never work.

Talk myself out of it.

Push him away.

Quietly sabotage it because after years and years of shouting “where are all the good ones??” I actually had no idea what to do with one when he showed up.

It felt weird and super duper uncomfortable.  “This person likes me??  Don’t they know how ridiculous I am?  What happens when they see all of the crazy hanging out???  This could get really messy.”

I was talking myself out of it before any of the really good stuff could even happen.

At that point, I had to have the hard conversation with myself about why it felt wrong when someone kept giving me everything right?  

When he kept caring about me and then asked me to trust him.  You can read about that here.

Doing all of the things that I had actually been talking about for all of those years.

What the fuck was wrong with me???

So here is what I figured out during that time and I want to share some of my growing pains with you.  You’re welcome.

If we do not like ourselves very much, question our worth and if we are truly capable of having a healthy relationship, when someone starts to like you it just doesn’t make sense.

It doesn’t compute in our subconscious brain.

We learned when we were young that love looks a certain way (probably not a healthy one) and it just doesn’t match up in your head.

So instead of feeling good when someone kind likes us and treats us well, we have learned to know and accept half-ass, unavailable or partial love because that is what we know.  That is what feels comfortable to us.

That is what has become your kind of love and by the way, that is shit.

These are the moments, Sugarpants, where you have to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Having a hard time knowing if you do this?  Here are some tell-tale signs.

You will say that someone who likes you is “too nice.”

Even though they are doing what you know is appropriate, you will feel like it is clingy or too much.  “Why is he all up in my grill?  Why is he asking me so many questions? Why does he want to know so much about me?  Does he have an ulterior motive?”

Even though you initially thought they were cute, you now don’t find them attractive because what they are doing feels weird to you.  “Hmmm, are they really that cute?  I should ask my friends.”

They are too supportive!  (I am just shaking my head on that one, ladies.)

You may even think that they seem weak because they are making themselves vulnerable and available to you.  “Doesn’t he have anything better to do than ask me about my day?”

But this is some fucked up kind of bullshit we have bought into.

That a kind, healthy person who can give and receive love is too needy.  Yes, let’s throw away the guys that show up regularly, ask us questions and listen to the answers and have the ability to create something great with us.  Let’s do that.

Instead, we spend our days chasing the  unavailable guys because we are going to love him until he loves himself! Even if it takes fucking years!!!  We are in this to win this no matter how shitty it makes us feel!   Then we will have earned their love and they will never, ever go away!

Good luck with that.  Tell me how that shit goes for you.

The lesson:  if good people liking you makes you feel uncomfortable and you sabotage it, you need to step up and take care of that shit because that isn’t magically going to go away.  You are just going to keep dating people who are comfortable and most likely unhealthy.

What did I do?  I did something I never did before.  I told him my fears.

I shared what I was worried about.

I let him in on what I was freaking out about and why and more importantly what he should do when that happened to help me work through it.

I gave him the owner’s manual to my heart.  

So he could succeed and we could create something together.

I stopped struggling with myself and gave into the love.  I went all in.

Because love has to go both ways and for all those years I had learned how to give but forgot to learn how to receive.

It changed my life.

Ready to change your life?  Get in the Owner’s Manual!

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LOSING CONTROL IN THE NAME OF LOVE

I tend to write these posts mostly about my past debacles in dating and relationships.  Stories that I have reflected on, owned up to and want to share so you can hopefully check yourself before you make the same mistakes that I have made. You’re welcome, Sugarpants.

However, today is different.  I am standing outside myself, watching, learning and a little surprised.  Surprised how many things are coming from a really good, healthy place in the new possibility.

I am also aware how I like to mildly sabotage myself when I am not paying attention.

So there is that….

As I am processing all that is happening to me, I wanted to get it out of my head and share it with you.  Share what I am feeling.  What I am scared of.  Talk this shit out.

This weekend I was out for breakfast with my good friend, Life Coach/Therapist Mary Kay.  Everyone should have a Mary Kay.  She listens hard, calls me out on my shit and I always walk away feeling clearer and better.

I like to think I am my clients’ Mary Kay.

So we are having this tough conversation about a new possibility that I have been checking out and I am making sure that it is all making sense.  Sounding healthy.  That I am actually doing the shit that I preach.

And as we were digging into the deep, I all of a sudden started to question myself and then without noticing, “the crazy” went wild.  I started thinking of all of the ways that this could end badly.

What if I freak out and push him away?

What if I am disappointing in bed?

What if I get scared and bolt like I have before?

What if he just ends up not liking me once he sees how real I am.

What if I just fucking blow this?

Mary Kay listened quietly, as she always does and looked at me kindly. She then looked me in the eye and said, “Kira, you really like this guy.  You have forgotten how scary it is being that vulnerable.  But you can’t keep looking for reasons that this is going to fail.  You know that and I know that.  You are coming up with reasons so you can take back control.”

Wait!  WHAT?????

She explained to me that she saw this working with juvenile delinquents.  That being so uncomfortable in the space of not knowing how the courts were going to rule (probation, leave their home, an institution, jail, etc) they would act out and commit another crime just so they knew what to expect.

Shit just got real.

Although this isn’t mind-blowing, I have never thought about it like this.  But as I started to move through my head I knew that when things get scary and I am unsure of the outcome, I check out.  I never really realized it was because I wanted the ball back in my court.  I wanted to take control of the situation that felt out of control.

That I would rather end it than be in the unknown.  I am not so good with the unknown.

But that is total crap because as one of my favorite authors says, “To Love is to Lose Control.”

Because love and relationships are going to feel uncomfortable.  They are not always going to feel good.  There are going to be bumps, miscommunications and not awesome moments.  Your past will show up to haunt you and your fears will get the better of you some days.  There are not always going to be rainbows and unicorns.  You are going to have to be vulnerable and give up control for it to work.

However, great love and creating a beautiful relationship is worth it.

So close your eyes and get ready to jump into the awesome.

Let’s get uncomfortable together, shall we?

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HOW CHERRY CHEESECAKE CHANGED MY LIFE

Raise your hand if you are ready to see me make an ass of myself for the good of mankind…One. More. Time! 

Woohoo!

Well then sit back, grab a drink and join me for a ride on the life lesson train, Sugarpants.  The tickets are free.

 

During my sophomore year of college, I went home for awhile due to an illness.  I was seven layers of stressed and depressed and my body was taking the brunt of it.  They were dark, dark times.

In all of his awesomeness, my friend Chad visited almost every weekend.  My parents loved him (mostly for “dealing” with their bitchy daughter) and like every weekend, my mom had his favorite dessert waiting for him.

Cherry cheesecake.

This weekend was no different than others.  It was Saturday afternoon and my mood was channeling Grumpy Smurf (as it usually was during that time).  My mom pulled out the cherry cheesecake and asked me to serve it while she tended to Chad’s every need, hoping that he would become her future son-in-law.

Then the shit hit the fan.

To this day, I have no idea what exactly Chad said, but whatever it was it made me so pissed off  that I slammed down the cherry container spraying cherries everywhere.  On my mom, Chad, sister and all over the kitchen.  If that wasn’t enough,  I then grabbed a handful of cherries and wiped them across his face.

Yup. I did that. Did I mention I am a life coach?  Who is impressed?

After being stunned my own actions for a moment, I was instantly horrified and ran upstairs crying.  Sobbing uncontrollably.

I could hear my Mom shouting at him to “leave me and my terrible behavior alone, so I could think about what I had done.”  Apologizing to him, wondering how she could have raised such a horrible daughter.

As I sat on my bed, I could literally not even believe what I had done.

I could not believe that I could treat a guy like that who drove four hours every weekend to see me.  Especially, since at that point, he was my best friend.  He took the time to support me when no one else did.

Just like in the movies, I saw the montage of our entire friendship flash before my eyes, as well as, the inevitable ending that was bound to happen after the “cherry cheesecake incident of 1993.”  I sat on my bed exhausted, deflated, praying that the “break up” would be quick so it wouldn’t be so painful.

Or at least he wouldn’t be there to see how painful it was to me.

I heard the stairs creaking underneath his feet as he made his way upstairs.  A wave of nausea came over me.  As he walked into the room, I was crying too hard to even stutter out a “I’m so, so, so sorry.”  I just sat there sobbing, face red, nose running, paralyzed.

He looked over at me, smiled, walked towards me and hugged me in a way that I knew he wasn’t letting go for awhile.  We stood there for a full minute or two, just hugging, me crying and drooling all over his shirt.

Then he quietly said, “I shouldn’t have said that, I am sorry if I hurt your feelings.”

That actually made it worse.  My guilt took over and I instantly started crying more and the flood gates opened.  I started babbling through the tears and confessing (kind of like that scene with Chunk and the blender in Goonies)  about how I was a terrible person, friend, daughter and clearly fucking crazy.

I expected him to tell me he was leaving and never look back.

When he finally pulled away from me, he put his hands on my shoulders and smiled.  He then said something that would change me forever.

“I love you Kira and not just the good stuff.  I love the good stuff, the bad stuff and everything in between.  I love the whole Kira package.”

And that was the moment I felt it.

True. Unconditional.  Love.

It was life-stoppingly amazing.

Looking back, I realize that up until that moment I always thought love had conditions. I thought I needed to look my best, be on my best behavior and aim for perfect to be loved.  I mean who the fuck would want to love my flaws? There were so, so many.

However, Chad taught me that day when you get past the beginning with the pretty and exciting stuff, then the “real” you shows up -which it is going to end up doing anyway.  Even if we fight it.  But that is where the true love exists.  The good, life-changing shit.

It is not about the good stuff, but about the whole package.

Life continues to be a constant learning process for me and I will tell you that I have learned that in this crazy journey there is always a whole package, whether you see it right away or not.  That is what makes us, us.

It is in the crack and imperfections that we find connections.

I love the rush of a crush.  The excitement of new romance.  The breath-stopping need for passion.

But what I’ve learned is the love that shows up later is the most satisfying. I’m talking about the one that sticks around when you have had a bad day; no make-up on; your hair piled on top of your head; the one who leaves you with the delicious feeling of someone who knows you, asks about your day and actually wants to hear the answers.

Doesn’t that sound fucking grand?  I think it does.

What do you think?

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WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT LOVE FROM NEW GIRL

I really like New Girl.

From the zany antics of Schmidt, the adorkableness of Jess, to the sensitive slacker that is Nick (why don’t they do more with Winston??), it is one of my favorite weekly guilty pleasures.  And unless you have a cold, black, dead heart, you have been rooting for Jess and Nick since season one.   I am not gonna lie that their first kiss last season got rewound a few times on my dvr.

In an episode a few years ago, starting a brand new relationship, Nick and Jess decided that if they were going to finally make it work they just needed to go “all in”.  Whatever it took.

Of course that meant that they ended up in Mexico and Nick went to “resort jail,” not the average relationship journey.  However, I love that it backed up one of my favorite theories that I work on with my clients.

The idea of going “all in” for your relationship.

Now, don’t get me wrong, “all in” does not mean what a lot of people think it does.  Here is what it is not.

It does not mean sleeping with people right away before you even know if they are sleeping with other people.  Dude.  Stop effin’ doing that.

It does not mean thinking you are in love after three weeks.  You are not.

It does not mean starting to basically live together in a couple of months.  That is just cray cray.

It does not mean that you kick all common sense to the curb and blindly jump into a relationship because it “just feels right.”  Heads up:  you are not actually going to see who this person really is until about month three or so.  Yup.

So all of those things leave you bruised, battered and confused after six months when you realize the only things you had in common was good sex, your love of dogs and Mumford and Sons.

That doesn’t quite cut it, Hot Pants.

Then you cry to all your friends over your box wine that you thought they were “the one” and that you are giving up love for good.  Le sigh.

What you had there was not love and you know it.  If not, you need to call me, like yesterday.

I hate to break it to you but anyone can find someone they are super attracted to and think it is love.  That pretty much doesn’t mean jack.  It means you were super attracted to them.  Yay for you!  Your trophy is coming in the mail.

For those of you who are actually here to create a relationship that lasts longer than the life span of a fruit fly, here is what it does mean.

After you slowly get to know someone pretty great and you think there is real potential, there is a time you need to go all in.  You need to break down your own walls, trust them and really do it.  Open up communication and give the relationship a real chance.  Start it off right so you are not playing the power game for years where only one person wins.  That is exhausting and gets you on the fast train to unhappy, lonely relationships.

Awhile ago, learning from my mistakes in the past (there are a zazillion), I had the “all in” conversation.  It went something like this.

Let’s just do this.  Let’s just really like each other and go all in.

“Know that anything that might have come out hurtful was never intended to be that way, because the last thing that I would ever want to do is hurt your feelings and it probably came out wrong.  

If I am freaking out or something is bothering me, I am going to let you know.  Because I want us to work through it.  I want us to both win because we are creating something beautiful here and we are making it stronger every day.

I am going to put aside my shit and just assume you really like me unless you tell me differently and I hope you do the same.

Let’s never worry about it being too much or too little.  We are both doing the best we can and we are smart enough to ask for more or less in kind ways.

I am just going to fully trust you because I believe that if this isn’t working out we are both adults enough to talk it out and decide together to part ways.  Thanking each other for the time we spent and the lessons learned from each other.  Because choosing to be with someone every single day is truly a gift.”

Makes me happy just thinking about it.  That is what the beginning of real love looks like.

Because you see, the thing is there are no promises in love any more.  With the evolution of relationships, we do not need another person to survive like our ancestors did.  We get to choose to be with that person and have to make that choice over and over again.

At the end of every day we have to make sure we are “all in” to make it work.  Otherwise, you are never truly giving it a chance.  I know it is hard, but I am here to help🙂

-Kira

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WHY TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR SHIT IS SEXY AS HELL

There were many years of my life that I rode the Victim Roller Coaster.

(No, that is not a new ride at Six Flags.)

I lived in a world of sick stomachs and exhausting conversations that I would repeat over and over to every friend who would listen. Every day a new life-threatening drama that might ruin my entire existence.

I couldn’t understand why things always happened to me: Why my relationships never worked out like I wanted them to, why my job was always overwhelming and why life seemed to always pick on me.

There was an easy answer to this…clearly, I was cursed.  The universe hated me.

After moving to 3 different states in less than a year, I finally hit rock bottom.

I was in another job I hated.  Underpaid and underappreciated.

Another relationship that I thought had real potential, went bad.  Obviously, it was all his fault cause he just sucked.

I felt like all my friends were never really there for me when I needed them and had deserted me in my hour of need.

My parents were concerned but didn’t really know what to do.

What was wrong with all of the people in my life?  They needed to get their shit together!

Enter the best, most patient therapist known to man (next to my amazing friend Mary Kay-I just didn’t know her yet). Her name was Erin and she calmly listened to my problems, gave me a big hug and then did something that I really needed.  She kicked my ass and told me to get over myself.

Ouch.

And don’t think it was super easy to ask for help.  I was Kira.  Fierce and independent!  I could figure this out on my own, right?  Nope.  Turns out I had to hit my head on the wall over and over until I was too tired to try anymore.

Erin helped me realize that everyone can benefit from getting an outside perspective once a week.  Taking time to step outside their head and just make sure they aren’t crazy.  Plus, I know now it is vital to be able to ask for help to have a healthy relationship.  This was just great practice.

It wasn’t over night, but after months of a lot of tough-ass conversations with her, it finally dawned on me. Turns out my parents were actually doing the best they could with what they had been given. That I was CHOOSING guys who just didn’t have anything to give me.  That no friend should have to be a sounding board for my incessant whining where I complained about the same stuff over and over.  That I was picking jobs that were more about what I thought others would think was cool than what actually was a good match for me. That I wasn’t actually cursed and the universe didn’t hate me.

Thank God! Because curse removal seems like a tough gig.

The truth is most of the drama was because I made shitty decisions all of the time.  Especially in relationships.   (Kind of what we are doing here, right?)

Creating relationships where if they actually made it through the 76′ Kira Wall (which was NO small feat) I then would weirdly bend over backwards to be what I thought they wanted me to be so that they would for sure love me and keep me forever and ever. Like a My Little Pony.

But why would anyone want to keep someone who is one part snarky, one part freaked out all of the time waiting for them to realize I was a fraud who had no idea how to have a functioning relationship? Getting upset when they didn’t read my mind or know exactly what to do about some made expectation about our relationship that I never shared with them. I just wanted them to know me better than I knew myself and have me completely figured out like it was their full-time job.  Was that too much to ask for???

Did I mention all of that just made me look fucking crazy? I can’t believe that great guys didn’t want to date that! Weird.

Here is the best part, I then would bitch/cry about how they could do that to me! Hadn’t I been great to them? Bent over backwards for them? Changed for them? Done everything I could to be a wonderful girlfriend?

I was pretty much missing the whole point.

They just wanted to date the funny, laid-back, confident girl I had led them to believe I was. One who knew who she was, what she needed and had taken care of her shit enough to not vomit it all over the relationship. One who would talk things out instead of freaking out for no apparent reason. One that could relax and just enjoy how fun a relationship could be.  Because otherwise, what is the point?

With the help of Erin (and trust me, I was NOT an easy client) I finally had to decide to step back, put the pointer finger back in it’s holster and stop blaming. My parents, my job, my dates, my friends, all of it.  I had to realize it just wasn’t helping anymore. It wasn’t the knee-jerk answer to all of the questions about why my life sucked, but instead, a distraction from moving myself forward. It was time for me to put down the blame and start taking responsibility for my choices and the consequences that came with them.

She also told me by the end that I was a natural therapist and should go for it.  I choose life coach instead and created this kick-ass biz.  She is clearly a genius.

So Buttercup, if you are reading this and know that something needs to change, the change is here.  I am ready to listen, give you a hug and then kick your ass in the best way ever.  You won’t even recognize yourself after you will be so freaking happy and ready for love.

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ARE YOU ACTUALLY READY FOR LOVE?

At any give time since I was about 14, I thought I was ready to fall in love.  

Through high school crushes, adult heartbreaks and many others in between, I always stuck to the idea that I wanted to fall in love and be in a real relationship but yet seemed to be jinxed.

Unlucky.  A hopeless disaster.  Cursed.  I even had a few years  in my 20s where the old song “But Not For Me” was my theme song.  I laughed about it with friends, joked about it with strangers and secretly was sad about it when I was alone.

Not too long ago, I went back to my alma mater for my college reunion and it brought back the memory of a pretty embarrassing moment that reminded me of time when I felt that love was “not for me.”  But really, it was. I just wasn’t ready…

I met J through my friend Beth junior year.  She was “dating” one of his friends and he and I got stuck hanging out at after bars when they would sneak off to “date.” J was from the area and had moved back after college so he was a little older. (OK, 25 is not really older and the elderly jokes were probably pretty inappropriate.)  He was cool, funny, a photographer and easy on the eyes.  I instantly liked everything about him. We started “hanging out.”

He was different from guys my age.  He actually asked me to do things. Real things. He would take me to dinner and have conversations about stuff that didn’t have to do with school. He even drove me a few hours away to visit my best friend in Madison.  We always had great conversations and he made me think outside of my college bubble. It was refreshing, delightful and scary as hell!

I do not know when it happened but all of a sudden, I got nervous. Real nervous. It hit me that I could actually like this guy. Not just like him from far away or have an unrequited crush on a guy friend that I knew would never turn into anything. In all of those situations my heart was safe. I could actually like-like him.

Hold the phone….cause that shit is scary.

So I did what any sane woman would do: I blew him off.  That’s right, I just stopped answering and returning his calls. Awesome, right?  I know, I am really proud.

It seems almost laughable to me now how much I royally sucked in that scenario.  I always blamed love, but it was not love’s fault; it was ME who acted like an 8th grader and stopped taking his calls.  It was ME who did not realize that great guys like him don’t actually grow on trees or come along every day.  It was ME who watched him a few months later start dating my dorm room neighbor, eventually marry her and have an adorable son. I, who most of college, bitched with my friends every day about being single, did not put on the big girl pants when something great actually showed up.

Before becoming a full-fledged life coach, I had to do some pretty dark digging to really step back and become aware of why I was single when most of my friends weren’t. That process brought me back to J and many others like him. At any given moment that I was ”looking for love,” great guys were showing up. It is just that I wasn’t actually ready for them. I always had tons of excuses (he is too nice, I am not sure I really feel the spark or some other bullshit) that didn’t really allow me to give them a chance.

Plus, there was always a cute, clever, unavailable guy around the corner that had zero interest in committing to me.

Don’t worry though – I would stick around awhile for those unavailable guys, hoping that they would come to their senses and realize how amazing I was. Meanwhile, I never came to my senses and realized how great the nice guys were. The ones who cared about my day, listened to my problems, called when they said they would and genuinely were interested in creating a relationship with me.  Not some “are we dating or just hooking up” shit.

So, I pour my heart out in these articles (and look like an ass most of the time) to help you step back in your own lives and ask yourselves: are you actually ready for love or are you hitting your head against the wall, riding the roller coaster with guys that are never going to go anywhere?  Dating assholes and hope it just gets better and one day you wake up happy?  Sitting, waiting for texts that may or may not come?  Saying, “but I love him” and knowing on the inside that nothing you have resembles love?

Honestly, love is not going to let you down.  When you keep an open mind and love yourself, great people are going to come around.  Your job is to take care of your shit and be strong enough to accept it when it does.

Trust me, when you are ready, love will show up.

YOUR ADVENTURE OF THE DAY:

1. Are the type of people you are attracted to capable of creating a good relationship with you?
2. Have you ever let a great person go because you were too nervous or scared?
3. Do you like yourself enough to be in a good relationship?

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HOW I LEARNED TO DATE BETTER FROM WORKING ON A CRUISE SHIP

There was quite a bit of time in my life that I was Julie McCoy from The Love Boat, (minus the perfectly feathered hair).  I used to try so hard but I could never get my hair to do that.

Right after college, I was going through some yuck.  I was living with my parents and I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. After a chance meeting at a party, a brother of a friend told me that he worked on a cruise ship running kids programs and he could get me a fax number if I was interested.  Yes, this was before email.

I sat there with that fax number in my hands for weeks.

I was excited by the prospect.

I was curious about the possibilities.

I was freaked out by the complete unknown.

Could a girl from a small town in Wisconsin, who had only seen a cruise ship on TV actually go work on one?  Would I get seasick all the time?  I mean I didn’t do so great in the backseats of cars, how could I walk, let alone work on a constantly moving vessel.  Plus, the “balance issues” I have had my whole life that has left me on my ass in more places than I can count.

After about two months of hemming and hawing I finally sent in my resume having zero confidence that I would ever get a call back.

Well, I did and in less than two weeks I was on an airplane to one of the most fun and life-changing adventures of my life.  The beginning was not easy and there was many, MANY times I lost my footing or made a complete idiot out of myself, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Working on a cruise ship is like nothing else on earth.  Making decent money, traveling for free and living a pretty glamorous life is highly addicting.  It seems like the dream job that everyone thinks it is.  However, it is also completely weird.  Your needs are always set aside for the passengers, you have wackadoo rules because you are on actually living on a naval vessel and OH the drama!  Nothing creates more drama than a bunch of 20-somethings from around the world, who work and live together and are also consistently drunk and sleeping with each other.  We made Jersey Shore look like whiney babies with bad hair.  (And THIS was the 90s!  Where bad hair was born!)

Besides making out with (mostly) great guys from around the world, I realized a few years ago when I started coaching singles that during the five years I worked on ships I learned a lot of great skills that have served me well in the dating world.  They have become some of backbone of what I do with my clients.  I shit you not.  Who would’ve thunk it?

Just for you.  Four things I learned from working on a cruise ship that have made me a better dater.

1.  Socializing

There was many times in my years on ships that “socializing” was part of my job.  That meant for a full hour I would plaster on a pageant-worthy smile and walk around the ship talking to strangers.  Most of the time in a formal dress and heels.  The first couple of times I wondered who I had pissed off to have to reach this level of hell.  I had never been shy, but walking up to strangers who aren’t necessarily wanting to talk to you, was mind-blowingly scary.

The first couple of times I had butterflies the whole time and felt slightly nauseated.  But after a glass of champagne and some practice, it just wasn’t that hard.  I realized with a couple of quality questions in my pocket and the ability to listen that people didn’t mind me coming up and talking to them.  In fact, most of them liked it!

The best part was, once I got out of my head about it, I heard the most wonderful stories from people around the world. They had been through wars, epic romances and every great story ever told.  This was the beginning of my story collecting and I have been doing it ever since.

Why this is great for dating:  Though I loathed it with every fiber of my being at the beginning, developing this skill has served me in so many ways.  It took out the fear of talking to anyone, no matter the circumstances.  Whether it is in an airport, a martini bar or first date, I just sit back, collect stories and listen.  Deciding later whether or not I want to go out on another date.  It allows me to be present in the moment and let go of the expectations that make us nervous and a little weird anyways:)

2.  You can do this

I remember walking around Puerto Rico.  One of the first ports I got off at.  I didn’t really have any friends yet and I needed to get to Walgreens to buy stuff that I didn’t bring with me.  I had gotten some really questionable directions from a fellow crew member and just started walking the streets of Old San Juan to find it.  I very quickly got lost and was winding through the streets knowing zero Spanish.  I remember holding my bag tightly; almost wanting to cry and thinking over and over in my head “You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.”

I did finally find Walgreens and my way back to the ship, but what I really took away from that day and many other just like it, was the confidence that I could put myself in scary situations and safely get through it.

How this is great for dating:  I don’t care how outgoing I am, sometimes I don’t feel like going to a party, event or meeting new people.  Depending on the circumstance I can even get nervous.  I have walked into many new places and events with a “you can do this” chant on replay in my head.

You know what?  I can.  So can you.

3.  Smile and Hello

In the wacky world of working on ships we could actually be “written up” for poor workmanship or naughty behavior.  This scary notion kept us mostly inline and where we were supposed to be passed curfew.

Yes, we were adults with a curfew.  Dream job, right?

One of the things that was crammed down our throats we learned was that no matter where we were, we smiled and said hello to guests.  Walking down the hallways or even washing our hands in the bathroom, we were expected to look at the person, put on a smile and say hello.  Good days or bad.  Hangover or not.  When you were in passenger area that was not an option.

Sounds a little Stepford Wives, right?

How this is great for dating:  I don’t care where I am, walking down the street or in line for coffee, even years later, I still instinctually smile and say hello.  Sometimes people are caught off guard (because we have stopped doing this!?), but it has struck up some of the best conversations, made people smile and just overall helped me feel more connected to people.  Something that can feel missing in this technology filled world.

Ever feel like you want a super easy way to be more approachable or just meet people?  Put down that phone, smile and say hello.  It is the number one easiest thing you can do TODAY to change your dating life.  Seriously.

4.  This too shall pass

There was a not-so-awesome moment on ships where I found myself pretty tipsy, in a floor length formal, being shouted at by a guy I had been making out with, in our officers bar.  Honestly,  young Kira made many shitty decisions and I am grown up enough to admit pretty much deserved it.  It was very upsetting at the time and when I ran to my cabin crying and a bit heartbroken, I swore I was done with men for good.

I felt just like Jack in Brokeback Mountain:  “I wish I knew how to quit you!”

If I had a quarter for every time I said I was done with men in my 20s and early 30s we would all be going on vacation!  Santorini, anyone?

As I mentioned before, the drama ran deep on ships and I put myself in the middle of it many, many times.  Each time, feeling devastated and not sure how I was going to get through it.  This time, my life was surely going to end.

But it didn’t.

I always made it through.  A little battered, but stronger (and we only hope smarter), from the experience.

How this is great for dating:  There have been times where I thought I was done.  At the end.  So heartbroken I couldn’t go on.  The thought of trying again made me want to puke.  However, I made it through.

We can get into the mindset that  there is only one person for us and if it doesn’t work out there are no other options.  There are always options and when you give yourself some time to heal, you can start seeing the options open up in front of you.

No one can make us or break us.  

 

 Kira

 

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GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT: AN ODE TO MY 40S

So it happened.  Last week I turned 40 and man, I did not stumble gracefully into it.

Heck, I didn’t stumble at all.  I have been strategizing, worrying, planning, stewing, freaking out since the minute I turned 39.

Last year, on my 39th birthday, I was not in a stellar place.  In my life or my business.  On the night of my birthday, I sat down a little wine-soaked from dinner with some friends and had that life assessment that birthdays seem to bring.  It’s the gift that nobody asked for or wants.

After the pretty brutal assessment one thing was very clear. I needed to get my shit together.  Or the PG version that my high school band director would say, “I needed to get my poop in a group.”

I made a promise to myself in that moment that a year from now, I would not feel the way I feel now. I was in one of the toughest times in my life, feeling lost and heartbroken.  At that time, I had no idea what that “different” was going to look like, but I knew I had to try because I couldn’t live in the headspace I was in.

Out of that “try” came this site and a six-week solo road trip that took me halfway across the country reminding me that I am way tougher than I think I am.

Reminder: all of us are.

I would definitely say I am still a “work in progress” for all of my goals personally and professionally. I will be for a long time.  But as I got closer to 40, I started to notice a trend in my attitude towards life.  An attitude that at first I thought might be kinda Grumpy Smurf of me, but as I have moved forward have adopted it as my new mantra.

This amazing life-changing mantra?  “I am getting too old for this shit.”

But wait, Kira!  Where are the funny life lessons, contagious optimism and positivity that makes you like Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake and Funshine Bear all rolled into one?

Although when I think of someone saying “I am getting too old for this shit,” I too think of a wrinkly older woman, smoking a cigarette in Paris cafe describing how pissed off she is by most things in the world.

However, I think this one has some legs for awesomeness.

Here, is what I am “getting too old for.”  An ode to my 40s.

1.  I am too old for this game playing shit.

Dude.  I feel like in my 20s and 30s, so many conversations with friends were spent wondering about what people were thinking.  Talking around the obvious.  Doing anything to not have tough, awkward or scary conversations with people.

“Is he interested?”

“Is that person upset?”  

“What do they mean by that?” 

I would spend hours trying to decipher behavior or conversations like they were a Rubik’s Cube.  Figuring if I over thought it enough I would somehow figure out the complex puzzle’s answer that must be hidden in there somewhere!  Looking for the “a-ha moment” that didn’t exist.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

At this point, I only want to be real and that starts by expressing myself well to all people in my life and asking for what I need.  Having the tough conversations but in a kind and honest way.  Letting go of the confusion by asking questions.

Even when I am scared of the answers.

Knowing that the truth always is better in the long run.  Even when it hurts temporarily.

Here is what that looks like to me:

To always be confident enough in who I am, to let the person I am interested in actually KNOW.

When I choose to let people into my life and it is the right time, to let them know I am on their side.  That I am going to do everything in my power to be great for them.  That I won’t expect them to be a mind reader and will tell them what I need and when something is wrong.  That I am here, as their partner-in-crime, to work through the hard stuff.  That I am not here just to confirm that I am loveable, but to learn, grow and build a kick-ass relationship.  That is where all of the gooey goodness is.

That all starts with me and being healthy enough in who I am to hold up my end of the bargain.  I think I got it.  Who’s with me?

 

2.  I am too old for this drama shit.

Listen up people!  There are no work emergencies.  There are no friend emergencies.  And there are NO dating emergencies.

The only emergencies that exist are life or death emergencies.

Let’s put it this way, the only 3 a.m. call I want to be getting at this point better be attached to a last minute flight to Italy with a guy named Paolo waiting for me with wine and Naples pizza at the end of it.

Everything else is just a temporary, pain-in -the-ass, inconvenience.

I realize we all have moments, God knows I have had a few, but if you are calling friends with “emergencies” all of the time you need to check yourself, your choices and your coping strategies.  Because honestly life is pretty fucking amazing and it doesn’t need to be so damn hard.

If you are constantly riding the roller coaster, most likely you are also building it. Take a moment to look at the story you are telling others.  Is it a tale full of fun, happiness and adventure or is it sad, upsetting and a total downer.  Why is that?

 

3.  I am too old to for this trying to be perfect shit.

HA!  I just laughed at myself for even typing that!  That is all I can even say about this, I am so not perfect in any way.  If I actually sat down and started to over-think and critique myself about my life, someone would find me in a corner, curled up in the fetal position, simultaneously drinking champagne from the bottle while eating Chocolove bars, yelling for George Clooney.  The only man who could fix this disaster!

Here is the dealio, Milio.  I am seven-layers-of-ridiculous at most times and my life kind of oozes out all over the place.

And honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I would rather keep trying for the life I want and fall down sometimes, then trying to control every part of my world around me and end up freaking the fuck out every time things don’t go as plan.   Because rarely does anything ever go as planned.

If I make a mistake, I fix it.  If I offend, I apologize.  If I fall flat on my face, I may whine a little but then I pick myself and just keep going.  Try not to repeat too many of my mistakes.  Keyword in that sentence, try.

My after-40-life goal?  Wake up every day doing my best and riding life as the adventure it is.

 

4.  I am too old for shitty friendships.

Looking back on my 20s and 30s I had lots of amazing friends, but I also had a lot of “what the fuck was I thinking there!?”  moments.

As a person who likes to fix things, including people, I have taken on lots of projects.  I tend to see the potential in people but  as I learned the hard way again and again, you can’t be with people, on any level, just for potential.  Not only is it unfair to them (since they shouldn’t be hanging around someone who is waiting for them to change) but ultimately, I was just prolonging them from changing themselves.  The only way true change is made.

But here is the truth.  I chose those friendships.  Built them up to what they were.  Continued to stay in them LONG past I should, victimizing myself on how I never felt heard, appreciated or supported.

I am me and don’t get me wrong, I am pretty flawed.  But I want to be in friendships that feel good.  Where I feel heard, supported and they are in it to win it as much as I am.

Isn’t that kinda the point?

 

Adventure of the Day:

*No matter if you are 25 or 65, what are you getting too old for in your life?

*What needs to be kicked to the curb?

*How are you going to change it?

*How do I help?

 

 

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I ADMIT IT, I HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO FAKE IT

Yup, that’s right.  There have been many days where I have straight up, no holds barred, pulled most of it out of my ass.

For as cool as people think being a life coach for singles (or dating coach) sounds, it has been a whole bucket of hard.

I was not given a business model to follow. There were no super successful dating coaches instructing me from the wings like a pageant mom telling me when to smile or what to say when I am asked a tough question.  (I do, however, have pretty big hair.)

There have been many days that I sit in my favorite coffee shop/office nearly hyperventilating as my friend talks me off the ledge and plies me with the 3 “C’s”:  coffee, chocolate or champagne.

Since I started my business almost five years ago, I have questioned every fiber of my being and seen every fear that I knew, or didn’t know I had, show up and laugh at me. I have had months where I had to decide which bill was more important, watched my own dating life come to a complete stop more than a few times (turns out telling guys I am a dating coach is not quite the turn-on I was hoping it would be), worked 12+ hour days pretty regularly, and drank more coffee than I knew could even be consumed by a human.

So, you can probably understand how it makes me laugh really stinkin’ hard when people assume this passion and career choice has been an easy road that started with me waking up one morning and saying “I am going to be a dating coach!” with it all just falling into place. I learned very quickly to wake up most days and just “fake it until I make it.”  I would assess the day and my goals and just start working…. hoping for the best and trying not to lose my mind in the process.

So why do I do it? Why would I put myself through the daily struggle of my business when I had zero idea of what the outcome would be? Why would I forgo the steady paycheck, insurance, safety net and pretty much sanity of a normal 9-5 job?  Am I a thermos short of a Punky Brewster lunch box?

Well, maybe….but in all of this crazy hard of creating a business out of thin air, it turns out this experience has really made me a way better person.  This is part of my adventure called life and I have learned more about myself in this challenge I have taken on than I ever thought was possible.  I have taken those fears, looked them in the eye and said “bring it on, sailor.”

The best part?  I get to make other people’s lives better too.  Biggest bonus?  It turns out after all of this hard work and fakin’ it, I am actually really good at this life coaching stuff and it is starting to kick ass.

So, what is the point of me sitting here and sharing my fears, frustrations and crazies with you and what the hell does it have to do with with love?

Wait for it…

I see people coming to me all the time for answers, secrets, tips and tricks, anything to get love all figured out. They want me to get into their latest date’s mind and tell me exactly what he/she is thinking to understand why they are not calling, texting, sharing or doing things that people are “supposed” to do in a certain way or timeline.

They are hoping that if I can make some educated guesses they can fix the situation so it feels good and safe.  Thinking that if they know all the rules they can avoid the uncomfortable, the unknowing, the fear, and most of all, the heart break.

Here is the biggest secret I can share with you:

There is no secret.  There are no actual answers.  There are no real rules.  Even if you do everything “perfectly” on your part, you still may get hurt. There is no way to guarantee a certain outcome. There is no right way or perfect moments.  You are going to have to fake it like the rest of us.  And there is nothing more worth faking than the intricate and beautiful art of love.

There is only getting over any of your crap that might be holding you back, knowing yourself well enough to know what you need and being able to express that to a person who is actually able to love you back.  That is all there is.

Love, dating, and relationships are all part of our adventure. On those days when you are beating your head against the wall wondering, “Why bother?” or saying, “I give up,”  just remember why you are doing this…because ultimately we believe that real and true love makes us a better person. Love, relationships, friendships, dating all help you know yourself better and work on vital life skills like communication, self-expression, empathy and just learning how to take care of someone and letting them take care of you.  And, you know…. that love thing.

It isn’t always just about the good stuff, it is sometimes about all of the stuff in between that helps us realize how truly strong, powerful and wonderful we are.  Isn’t that why we are all here?

Adventure for the day:

Let go of the outcome and enjoy the deliciousness of the journey.  Stop looking for things to “fit” into your idea of perfect and the way they are supposed to look.  As spring finally opens up, look at how you can change your perspective to see everything as a success instead of a frustration.  How can you fake it until you get the hang of it?

Talk to me.

~Kira

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IT’S OK TO BE NERVOUS

My six-week road trip is almost over and after all of the hours and hours of planning, I realized I was pretty much right about only one thing…this trip pushed me out of my comfort zone hard and I learned a whole crapload about myself.

It has really been amazing.  I have explored new places, tried new things and met a ton of new people.  Although I kept my handy dandy smile on my face for a lot of it, I was really surprised how many times that I was really nervous.  That I quickly spiraled out of the place known as “The Land of Sanity” and wound up in “Crazy Town”.  Maybe you have been there….it is otherwise known as the little place in the back of my mind where all of my insecurities like to lie dormant.  Waiting to pop up as soon as I give them a chance.  Like those annoying moles in the Whack-A-Mole arcade game.

Here are some moles that popped up for me:

Is that Ivanka Trump?  Crap, I don’t have as much money as the rest of these people, they are so going to see that I am a fraud and don’t belong here.  Are there lynch mobs for somewhat successful entrepreneurs, who drive Dodges named Steve and are from the Dairy Land?

Wait!  When did I start looking like this?  Are you effin’ kidding me with those eye bags right now?  Where did those wrinkles come from?  I am literally aging by the minute.

Am I talking too much?  Shit, did I just say that?  Does this guy realize how attracted I am to him?  Am I making a total ass of myself?  Kira, shut up.  Seriously.

Do these younger people realize how old I am?  I hope I don’t sound like their Mom.  God, I sound so dorky right now…..

Where am I?  Is this GPS right?  Am I going to get lost?  What if they find me dead, along the side of the road and I am not even wearing good underwear????

All of those moments happened.  Usually more than once.  Due to the fact that I am consistently seven layers of ridiculous, there were so, so many more. But I am trying to keep this short today.

So, when those “slightly hyperventilating on the inside” moments showed up and the previous runner in me wanted to leave the situation, I realized one simple thing.

It is ok to be nervous.

I was out of my comfort zone, but ultimately I was still safe.  That being uncomfortable is just part of trying new things.  That it is ok if things don’t work out just like I was expecting. In fact, that is where the best surprises in life show up.  Overall, it is just not possible to connect with everyone, all of the time. That in weird, completely unrealistic worrying I was only sabotaging all of my awesomeness that makes me, me.

In fact, the only real danger in the situation was the insecurities that I had allowed to show up and only made me more nervous (and probably a little weirder.)

So one by one, I took a deep breath, grabbed that Whack-A-Mole mallet like I meant it and slammed them all back down.  Hard.

When real love shows up in your life, at some point it is going to make you nervous.  Things that are really, really good usually do.  With the chance of greatness comes the fear of rejection and loss.  You are probably going to hyperventilate on the inside.  You are going to question how you look, what you say and everything in between.  But it is ok to be nervous as long as you come back to all that makes you amazing in the end.

Love is worth it.

What are you feeling nervous about?

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TO TRUST OR NOT TO TRUST? THAT IS THE QUESTION

You know, I have always considered myself to be a pretty trusting person.  I leave my car doors unlocked way too often.  I am very open with a lot of my stories, even the ones that make me look like an ass.  (See every blog post I have written on this site.) In my younger years I was somewhat gullible because growing up in a small town in Wisconsin didn’t leave me with tons of life experience. I like rollercoasters…. a lot. Remember the trust falls, you do at camp or leadership trainings?  Yeah…. I kicked ass at those.

So you can bet I was surprised as hell when trust looked me in the eye not too long ago, challenging me in a 4th grade stare down. Turns out, I lost.

Here is another one of those stories where I pretty much look like an ass, but hopefully will make you reflect on your own thoughts about trust.

Awhile ago, I was exploring something new with someone pretty special.  Things had been going swimmingly and after a long time of my own self-discovery, I had finally found someone who wanted to meet me halfway.  He was crazy smart, down to earth and the kind of guy that when he started laughing I couldn’t help but laugh with him.  His accent made my toes curl and his sweetness towards me would instantly kick down any wall that had been left there from previous suitors. Here is the real kicker, though. He would ask questions, truly listen and every day make sure I was feeling taken care of.  True story.

Being a recovering “fixer,” that was very brand new in the slightly wacky world of Kira.  Although I was able to thrive like I had never had in a relationship before, I occasionally would default into the artist formerly known as “Freaked Out” and find myself not quite sure what to do with all of the…. goodness.

It was scary.  Having this person consistently and lovingly offer something of himself to me every day threw me off.  I had never known this and with this beautiful gift comes the fear of it being taken away; once you feel this stunning happiness that you never even knew existed, the thought of it going away is terrifying.

Finally, one night, way too late, we stayed up talking in a tough conversation.  I was feeling vulnerable, he was a little confused and I was immediately going to that place waiting for the other shoe to drop like it had so many times before.

Although we were having a healthy and open conversation, in my mind, I was waiting for him to tell me that he liked me and all, but was moving along. Sweetly, of course, because he was just that good of guy. I was waiting to hear that I had been too much of one thing or too little of something else, and it just wasn’t going to work out. I sat there that night knowing we would fix this, but wondering how long it would take him to realize that I was very imperfect, that the confidence I have fades away some times when things get tough. That I have messed up many times before. That I say the wrong things.  That tend to spill liquids and other things. And I spill a lot.

So, in the quiet of the evening.  Way too late for him since he had to wake up early to work, I sat there.  Silent.  Wanting to shout out my fears.  My insecurities.  My stuff.  My feelings for him that downright overwhelm me some days.  But as my mind was tired and running, I became scared that he might take one look at “the crazy” and run away.  Like so many had before.

So, I blurted out some kind of nonsense.  Mumbled something about fear and leaving and liking him.

And then, he looked inside of me, saw my fear and gently took it from me.  He quietly said, “I am here. It is time that you trust me.  I think I have proven myself to you and deserve that. Without it, this is never going to work.”

And you know what? He had.  Over and over again.  He was always there.  Willing to listen, laugh, care or tell me how much he liked my hair.

It was time for ME to step it up, ladies.  To put some trust in this incredible man who deserved it.  Because by me not believing in him, believing in the relationship and trusting him, I was subtly sabotaging it.  Pushing him away.  Buying a ticket on the crazy train although no one had done anything wrong.  A relationship can not grow or thrive without trust.  You will just keep hitting walls, fears and hurt until you have pushed so hard that you have given the relationship no choice.

We love to bitch about how tough dating is.  How many jerks there are out there.  How hard it is to find great guys.  How many times and ways we have been hurt.  But I will tell you this: even when you find it,  the really really, good stuff, it is still hard.  Then the battle with yourself begins.

But don’t worry, I am on your side, and we can take on the battle together.  I have an arsenal of awesome to help you out.

-Kira