You Win.

Not sure how to write this without sounding childish, but here goes. I have this friend who is ultra-competitive, passive-aggressive, and for lack of a better way to say it copies everything I do and and then tries to pass things off as her original ideas.

For instance, I get a new car–she gets a better new car. I start a “cleanse,” and she posts 90 pics of her new paleo meals–cause she’s paleo now. My kid gets an award at school, and hers enrolls in astronaut camp or some shit.

I know it should not bother me, but it is so ANNOYING!! I can’t really cut her out of my life, and she’s not a bad person … but this behavior drives me crazy.

Hi Honey,

My gut reaction: You must be super-fabulous if someone is trying that hard to be like you. Do you wanna be friends, lol? I promise I won’t copy you 😉 Seriously though, if your life wasn’t so awesome, your friend wouldn’t be trying so hard to emulate your behavior–even while trying to pass your ideas off as her own, which is incredibly annoying.

When I was in 8th grade I told a friend about a pair of shoes I really really wanted. The next day she showed up with the exact shoes I was coveting. I was so pissed, and my mom told me, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But when I finally saved enough money to buy the shoes, it would look like I was copying her. Ugh. Never got the shoes. Lived to tell the story.

Side note: That full quote is “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Well well well, that’s a bit harsher. Oscar Wilde does not play.

But through elementary and middle and high school, I’ve used the same sentiment 5000 times or so with my own girls. And it’s actually started to ring true to me. Even though I still get really fucking pissed about it sometimes. Especially when someone tries to pass off my words or ideas as their own. Work in progress, folks.

During my brief stint as an avid churchgoer, I shared one such annoyance with my pastor about a person who–while actively disliking me–followed my blog and periodically plagiarized my writing in her own posts. His response stuck with me: There’s no such thing as an original idea. Think about it…what you wrote? You probably got the idea from someone else. Most likely someone you admire or who at least inspired you in the moment. So try re-framing it in your mind. No, that person is never going to give you credit, but you can give yourself credit, knowing that you’ve inspired someone else. Even someone who doesn’t like you. That’s something.

Circling back to my original sentiment, I think you must be pretty freaking amazing if your friend wants so badly to be like you. Yes, I agree with you 100 percent, her behavior is super-annoying. But here’s the thing: She’s not fooling anybody. And so what if she is. You are living the fabulous life she is trying so hard to create. You already won.

I really mean it about being friends, and as all my friends know, I’m not even currently interviewing new friends. But I’d make an exception for you 😉

 

Eternal Sunshine and Other Nonsense

What do you do when your kid has a broken heart? 

Oh honey…that’s the worst; isn’t it?

Seeing your baby hurt is awful. Terrible. Excruciating. I would rather have another spinal headache than see my children hurt.

Last week, I was at the middle school selling slushies at lunch and witnessed this interaction: A 7th grade girl walks over to a table full of 7th grade boys and says to one: “‘Susie’ wants to know if you are really breaking up with her?” Without looking up from his chips, he nods his assent. Girl returns to her table and delivers the bad news to ‘Susie.’ ‘Susie’ gives Chip Boy a death stare, and her friends console her. Chip Boy continues eating completely unaware of the devastation he’s delivered.

I don’t know about you, but I fell in love with a few Chip Boys before I met my husband. And I met my husband at 17. We know these things are gonna happen. It’s normal growing up stuff. What can we do? Be a soft place to land…Listen. Take them shopping. For ice cream or alcohol depending on their age? Try not to offer too much advice…Offer some advice? Gently remind them that while it feels like the end of the world it’s not. I don’t know what works. Does anything really?

When I was younger–a month or so ago–I wanted to physically harm people who hurt my kids. But that doesn’t work because the kids who hurt our kids are someone else’s kids. Broken hearts can make mama bears violent.

Seriously though, there are no perfect solutions but lots of right things. The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a mother is universal: When love is your motive, your actions will always be right. Of course I’m talking about genuine, authentic, unselfish love and not ego-driven assholery wrapped up in claims of: I’m only saying or doing this because I love you.

There’s no magic to fix broken hearts. No “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” I’ve searched. We’ve got to breathe through the pain and hopefully walk away with the lesson that it came to teach us.

Fuck that, right? I hear you. I’m sorry. I’m with you. Me too.

xoxo

 

Fabulous at Forty

Out of nowhere when I turned 40 I gained 20 pounds. I can’t get rid of them. Seriously, I feel trapped in my body with these guests who have overstayed their welcome. No matter what I do: exercise, eat right, barely eat…I just can’t lose these extra pounds. WTF?

Oh honey, you are preaching to the choir. You, me, so many other 40+ women I know. I read a blog I wrote a few years ago–pre-40–kind of bitching about my weight which was, at the time, 15 pounds less than I weigh now. I wanted to go back and shake myself.  

For real though.

But, we grow and change and so do our bodies. I don’t feel the same on the inside as I did in my 20’s or 30’s; do you? If we could imagine our bodies as an outward representation of all the wisdom and life experience we’ve gained, maybe we could find it in our hearts to be a little kinder to them–unwelcome extra pounds and all.

Lysa TerKeurst wrote a great book about our relationship to food and our bodies called Made to Crave. In it is one of my very favorite quotes in life: The scale only measures the weight of your body not your worth as woman. Praise the lord and Lysa–love you, girl–let’s all tattoo that somewhere. Or if you aren’t into that, maybe write it on your bathroom mirror or in some noticeable place right near that godforsaken scale.

Let’s support each other. If you need a pick-me-up, or a place to vent about those stupid pounds, I’m here, friend. Promise.

xoxo

You’re Already Amazing

This sounds so petty that I feel awful even writing it…but I’m jealous of my friends. It seems like they are all in great relationships, with exciting careers, moving forward with these amazing lives, and I am stuck. No man. A boring job. Blah. I love my friends so much and don’t want to feel like this.

 

Oh honey…I am sorry you’re feeling blah, and I promise you I feel your pain. It can be difficult to see others–even people we love–realizing dreams when life seems to be in a holding pattern for us. It’s hard not to compare ourselves with others or feel envious of their achievements if we feel like life keeps handing us lemons.

I promise you we have all been in this situation–even your fabulous friends with their great relationships and careers and lives. One of my favorite quotes is by Stephen Furtick:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Goodness, isn’t that the truth? I wish I looked half as my own picture right now (thanks, Amy). The truth is, I’m in yoga pants, with my dirty hair in a bun, drinking a cup of coffee I’ve warmed up 3 times (update the dog just drank it) and smelling cat pee somewhere near–or on–me.

Sometimes, I think we view life as having a limited number of opportunities … as if someone else’s success makes our own less possible. Your friend didn’t snag the last good man or great job, love. The universe is a place of abundant opportunity. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling bad, but if you aren’t happy with where you are, by all means realize that you have the power to change your circumstances.

And honestly, honey, I’m guessing if you are surrounded by such fantastic people, you are probably far more amazing than you can even imagine.

xoxo

Wanna chat? Great!

K I N D N E S S

My 14-year-old is getting mean-girled. Some friends recently decided they don’t want to hang out with her anymore and so have been leaving her out of activities and basically shunning her. Additionally, she’s subjected to the constant barrage of social media exclusion–We’re all hanging out and having so much fun without you. She didn’t do anything to provoke this behavior–that we know of. I feel so bad and want to help her. Any suggestions?

Hi honey, I’m so sorry. Mean girl shit is the absolute worst. I feel like I write more about this than any other subject. And I wish all of my thinking and reading and writing and ruminating had elicited some illuminating insight, but the fact is: It sucks. We can’t fix it for our kids. We can learn to accept things and people at face value and seek to bring positive energy to each interaction, but being mean-girl’ed hurts.

I see this meme all the time, and I agree wholeheartedly, but I think it’s even more important to be kind and raise kind people. I encourage my kids–and myself–to remember that others’ actions are never about us. Our perception is that it’s personal, but it never is. When someone’s behavior seems to be meanness directed at us, it’s coming from a different place. A place that has nothing to do with us.

Try empathy. Imagine that you’ve been in a position where you didn’t act as the best version of yourself. I’m certain most of us would admit having been in situations where we could have been kinder.  

I try to remind my girls to remove the personal aspect of things in dealing with mean girl bullshit. People might leave you out. “Friends” might gossip about you. That hurts, and it sucks, and it’s awful, but it’s temporary. Your actions define YOU, and other people’s actions define them. Don’t leave others out. When people do and say mean things, it’s because they’re suffering with something internally that we may not know or understand. Shake it off and move on. It’s not yours to carry.

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m sorry your daughter is dealing with this. It’s shitty. I encourage you, sweet friend, to hold your precious girl close and remind her that this won’t last. We have all been there. She is NOT alone. Don’t take these unkind actions personally no matter how personal it seems.

Be kind. To yourself. To others. You’ll never regret that.

 
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Monday Blues

My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for what seems like forever now. We’ve tried the traditional method(s). We’ve miscarried, been turned down for adoptions, and failed at IVF. I’m feeling frustrated, sad, defeated and like giving up. Can you say something that makes me feel better?

Oh, honey…I’m so sorry. I wish I could say something magical to make you feel better. I think one of the hardest struggles we face as women is the desire to become a mother when it seems like the universe is conspiring against us.

I feel you. I really do. Here’s the thing: You aren’t alone. When you are in this situation, it feels like you are completely alone, the only one suffering, the only one who has ever dealt with this monumental despair. I promise, you aren’t. It may seem like women all around you are getting pregnant without trying–without even wanting to get pregnant. It sucks.

I know so many women who have been through this, and I hear the same thing over and over: It will all be worth it someday. The pain, the disappointment, the despair will dissipate when you’re holding your baby in your arms. The baby you prayed for, hoped for, never thought would happen. Don’t give up. Allow yourself to feel the sadness and grieve the losses, but if you really want to be a mom, don’t give up on that dream.

I am holding you close to my heart, sweet friend. And I know that so many of my friends who are reading this share your heartbreak and are holding you close and sending you positive energy as well.

Happy New Year, honey

“How are you always so happy?”

Those who know me really well, my  husband for instance, are saying, “She’s not. She’s a damned mess 75% of the time.” And that’s the truth. I’m not always happy. I try to put on a happy face. I try to be happy. But sometimes, I’m not. You can read all about my malaise…my dark place on Adventures in Overthinking.

I try not to overthink here. Or give advice.

But here’s my answer: I’m not always so happy. I try to put stuff in perspective. Count my blessings, cliche as it sounds. Remind myself that whatever unpleasantness I’m experiencing is temporary. Shift my focus to something that makes me smile. Meditate. Do yoga.

And sometimes I take to my bed. Cry. Throw tantrums. Feel sorry for myself. Eat a bunch of shit. Drink too many beers.

No one’s always so happy, my friend, please don’t hold yourself up to a false standard. We’re all struggling in different ways, and if someone seems to have a perfect life, you can bet under the surface they’re paddling like mad to make that way. Or to make it appear that way to themselves or others. Good for them. We’re all in this together. Your success is mine. My happiness is yours. Let’s do a better job of cheering each other on in 2017!

Wanna chat? Great! send an email to: hihoney.jfz@gmail.com

Fear Sounds Like Your Worst Enemy

I have been so afraid to “launch” this website. But I realize now that my fear was based on what people would say about me. How people would judge me. So I said to myself exactly what I thought those would say:

Who does she think she is?

She’s not a good writer.

She’s fake.

She’s full of herself.

She needs attention

What kind of credentials does she have?

She’s a bitch.

She’s stupid.

And then I realized: Being a listener is my gift, and if I don’t use that gift to help people, then that is actually selfish.

So I listened to a lot of podcasts. And I read a lot of books. And Liz Gilbert, Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed and Glennon Doyle Melton gave me the courage to cast that fear of rejection aside. I’ve learned that some people will criticize even your most kind and genuine efforts, but that shouldn’t stop you from being kind and generous.

My goal in making this website was not selfish or ego-driven; it was motivated by the desire to help people feel heard and validated. It’s so important to have someone who listens to us. In so many conversations, other people are only waiting for a pause so they can respond. They’re so busy formulating their opinions or coming up with a witty comeback that they can’t process what we’re sharing. Not very many people hear, and fewer actually listen.

So…here it is, friends. Be kind 🙂

Hi Honey…

Lots of people are quick to advise, pass judgement and tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. But what many of us really want instead is for someone to be with us, listen and hold space for our thoughts and feelings while we come to our own decisions.

Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” That’s how I felt about this. I wanted to create an “anti-advice” column. A space where people could write in and feel like they were sharing feelings with a girlfriend. Hence, “Hi honey…” since that is how most of my conversations with my girlfriends start.

Thanks for visiting. While you’re here, expect radical empathy, loving-kindness and unconditional positive regard. And please come back often 🙂

Wanna chat? Great! send an email to: hihoney.jfz@gmail.com

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