Tammy Talk

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Being Alone is Good For You

We are now twenty five days into January, have made it through the busy holiday season and are settling into a new year.  Hallelujah!!  As much as I love Christmastime, it can be exhausting!  With the hustle of getting everything done, buying and wrapping gifts, making appearances to a long list of parties, and have you noticed, all the parties you WANT to attend seem to be on the same nights during the month of December? If you’re like me, when it’s over, you are just as happy to pack it neatly away until next year.

Now that things have quieted down, I was reflecting on alone time.  Do you feel that alone time is good for you?  Good for your psyche?  Good for your soul?  In general, life seems to be so hectic these days.  You work at the office, you work from home and even on your vacation.  And I am not even including the effort it takes to maintain your personal and social life.

As technology advances and the world moves faster and faster, many people find themselves overwhelmed with trying to keep pace.  You may find that you are drained mentally, physically and emotionally. You try to get the proper sleep, but you still may feel as if you didn’t get enough rest or feel refreshed for an extended period of time.

The best way to de-stress is by doing things we enjoy; retail therapy, taking a vacation, participating in sports or engaging in hobbies, all of which are beneficial.  Often times, being with friends and socializing with others, even in a “fun” environment, can pull from our energy.  Being alone and reflecting, turning our attention inward, is one of the best ways to not only recharge, but to also eliminate the unnecessary stressors in our lives.  Don’t ever be afraid to be alone at times

Actively being alone or engaging in “me time” for some, especially myself, means sleeping a day away or “Netflix and chillin’.” However, there is a difference between merely being alone and actively being alone.  One is intentional and purposeful while the other is a matter of circumstance.  When we are choosing to actively be alone, we consciously set time for reflection and to simply be with our thoughts. This means unplugging from all external stimulus.

In setting the stage for active alone time we have to remove distractions. A great way to do this is to go to a quiet spot or sit amongst nature. Go to a beach, a wooded area or a quiet park tucked away and leave your phone in the car or turn it off, to eliminate the temptation.  If you can’t take an afternoon to get away, set aside the hour before you go to bed as your active alone time. Shut off all of your electronics, yes, I know how hard it is to do, but it is important to get in touch with you.  If you have plans to go to lunch or shopping with friends during your free time, carve out time before or after to disconnect from the outside world and turn your attention inward. In time, it will be come a habit of nature.  Being alone is not synonymous with being lonely.

Actively being alone allows you to be fully present in the now.  Actively being alone helps us eliminate distractions.  It makes us conscious of what we are doing, feeling and thinking.  Worrying about the future, and being consumed with whether or not we will achieve our goals or create the life we’ve dreamed about makes us miss out on the beauty and opportunity that is in front of us, right now.  Learn how to be alone, and purposefully decide to love yourself enough to spend time with your thoughts. Once you’ve spent time processing your thoughts, you will find that your state of mind changes. Your mood improves and your outlook is better. Your loved ones will thank you for it and you will be a refreshed, better version of yourself.

There are always going to be moments where we are simply over saturated, and getting away for a week in the Bahamas to rest and recharge is not an option. This is where we learn to make do and create our own little oasis right where we are. We have to make time for ourselves. This should not be seen as a form of weakness, where being alone equates to being a lonely person. It does not mean you cut off from your social circle and keep to yourself. Instead, it is a form of mental exercise that will not only refresh our minds, but help restore our spirits to give us the type of true rest that can keep us moving towards greater heights in life.

So, on that note .. I am thinking this might just be one of those weekends for me!  Me, Myself and I, and of course, a little dog I call “Mollie”!

The Heart Wants What It Wants

In 1862, Emily Dickinson wrote, “The heart wants what it wants, or else it does not care”.  Selena Gomez sang about it in her ballad and Woody Allen tried to justify it for his involvement with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter.  Do you believe the inscrutable wisdom is true?

Throughout our adult lives, we are met, over and over again, with images and evidence of what love is or might be.  Love is a central theme in humanity across time and cultures.  It is also the main topic in music, films, novels, poetry and art.  But we all approach it so differently.  How does it affect us so deeply that even sane people have gone mad?  Is it even possible to understand romance in all of its significant forms?  The long-term and the fleeting.  The disheartening and the mind-blowing.  And how do we admit that our love lives are wild, complex, unknowable things?  And once we’ve admitted it, how do we go about interpreting or explaining the mystery?

I know, in my mind, I will play the scene out, dancing, singing, silence, or staring, creating these resonant spaces to concentrate on what it means to fall in love and why we even do.  If only for a moment, it is in these spaces, that I am allowed to fully feel the mystery for a while, if not be granted any sort of lasting clarity.  I believe the meaning of the saying is that emotions, such as love, are not under conscious, cognitive control.  You cannot simply decide to fall in love with somebody, no matter how suitable.  Just as you cannot decide to stop loving somebody, no matter how hopeless.

Psychologist’s say that these occurrences are hard to explain using the two most common theories of emotions.  The first being; the cognitive appraisal theory of emotions, which says that emotions are judgements about how well a situation fits with your goals, so that happiness is an estimate of goal satisfaction and sadness is an estimate of goal dissatisfaction.  On this theory, it should be fairly easy to control your emotions, because you can reappraise the situation and figure out whether falling in love accomplishes your relationship goals.  But, your emotions are never that simple.

The alternative theory of emotions are reactions to physiological changes, such as heart rate, breathing and hormone levels.  The physiological view of emotions fits well within the idea that the heart wants just what the heart wants, putting feelings outside of cognitive control.

If you were to combine these two theories, however, our emotions could be the parallel integration of both “cognitive appraisal and psychological perception”.  In other words, yes, the heart wants what the heart wants, but sometimes the heart wants what the brain wants too.  If this is true, we could all learn to better control the thoughts and ideas that influence our physiology based wants and desires, focusing such thoughts on developing healthy and positive values, beliefs and goals.  This way, our emotions will fall in line based on our thoughts and our biochemical functionality helping us to minimize our susceptibility to making really bad decisions about relationships.

I think you can decide to do things that increase the likelihood that you will fall in love with someone, such as deep, meaningful and intimate conversations and gazing into one another’s eyes.  And, you might try to fall out of love with someone by avoiding the person, focusing on their negative attributes, and/or becoming attracted to someone else.  Honestly, I think these are all unanswerable questions and assumptions.  At the end of all the daydreaming, staring, experiments, silences and questions, no one has gotten much further articulating our desires than Emily Dickinson did all those years ago.  The heart wants what it wants, or else it doesn’t care.


Put Away Your “Choose Me” Stick

How does it feel to be in a holding pattern circling over the possibility of the relationship that you want, hoping air traffic control will give you the signal that you can land and take up your slot?

Waiting for someone to make you a priority, to proceed to a relationship, to not break-up, to leave a different partner, or choose you over the many they are flirting with, or whatever it is that you’re waiting to be chosen for, just deprioritizes you.  If you prioritized you, you’d never be in a situation where someone not only has the power to decide your fate, but to leave a crater sized hole in your life.  When you are not co-choosing in a mutually beneficial relationship, it all becomes about one person working harder than the other, which by default, assigns greater “value” – they’re just not that special!

Waiting to be chosen is a bit like how some people go job hunting, they put so much energy into being the right person for the job, it’s assumed that it’s the right job for them.  Interview processes do actually involve you evaluating whether it is the right job for you, which will arise from the questions you ask and any other research you might do.  And how about if you get the job offer and then start evaluating whether it’s actually the right opportunity?  Some never get the job and take it as a huge blow of rejection.  Of course, it’s not a great issue with your job hunting unless you end up miserable in a  job that you knew wasn’t right for you but felt compelled to take it because you were asked, or you felt blah about your career, or you end up floating around getting job offers but never staying in a job for any decent length of time and always have one foot out the door …

One of the things that job interviews and dating and relationships has taught me, is that anything you get “rejected” by through the process of not being “chosen”, there is normally a very good reason why you wouldn’t have chosen them either.  The overwhelming majority of the time, you are already aware of the reasons, it’s just that you get sidetracked by your ego that needs that gold star of someone choosing you.

Love isn’t a decision, it’s a feeling.  If you have to decide to love someone, then you really don’t love them.  Love isn’t a choice.  It is inevitable.  You cannot force yourself to love someone, just like you can’t force yourself to stop loving someone.  It should be automatic, and if it is not, then it just isn’t real.

How do you know when you love someone?  You just know, but obviously if you don’t, therein lies your problem.  If you think you have a choice in the matter then you don’t know what real love is If you can’t figure out whether you love someone, then you don’t.  It’s as simple as that.  You don’t catch a few fish and pick the best of the bunch.  You wait for “the one” and if someone is not it, then you just move along.  No one wants to settle for someone that thinks they’re just “good enough”.  We all deserve better than that.

What may come as a surprise to you is that your ego needs you to own your power and get on with your life.  Don’t try to figure out why you weren’t chosen to be on the rowing team of a boat you don’t even want to be on, or a boat that you’ve already worked out is a bad ride and that you need to get the hell out of.

I’m thankful that whether it has been through actions or ego, I have eventually steered myself out of dodgy situations.  I am also thankful that I wasn’t “chosen” for certain relationships.  When I have been ready to own my power, it left me free to choose and be chosen for a relationship I genuinely wanted for healthy reasons.

This is your life … you must be the driver of your choices.  Hold your own and put away your “choose me” stick and stop playing the role that says, “how can I be the right one for you”?  You have control over what you do and do not participate in.  Choose positively!  One day, you’ll wake up and realize that you’re not waiting for them or wanting them anymore … You’ll  take a deep breath of relief and realize it was never meant for you.



Reinventing and Investing in Myself

  1. It is hard to believe that it is almost 8 weeks since my last blog post.  I have been so busy and a good portion of my summer has been spent in school and studying.  I never would have thought, at this seasoned time in life, that I would be “reinventing the wheel”, or myself so to speak.  After 30+ years in the medical field, I am embarking on a new career in the world of Real Estate.

It was an interesting experience to return to a classroom setting.  There were a handful of people that were around my age or even a bit older.  For the most part, I was surrounded by Millennials and Generation Z’s, as they call themselves.  Having been blessed with good genes, many thought I was apart of Generation X.  Shhhhh .. that was my little secret that I refused to divulge!  After I got over the butterflies of my first day, it felt good walking into my class with a pair of jeans, converse and a backpack on.  I was reliving my youth, only this time around, it felt even better!

You see, I had made the investment in myself.  It felt nothing like K-12 grade, or even college, because Dad wasn’t footing the bill.  I showed up early every day, studied every night and committed to paying attention.  Sure, there were times I felt a little bored with a particular subject, however, I was dedicating myself and my time to learn the material.  It didn’t hurt either that I have always been interested in Real Estate thanks to my family.  One of the most pressing questions I often heard about returning to school after age 50 was one of practicality; is returning to school practical for someone who should be close to considering retirement?

The truth is, the security of retiring with a substantial income, worry free housing and the good life deserved, after being employed for a lifetime, is non-existent for many. Instead, you are often faced and/or forced, with job replacement, unemployment and a market requiring skills you simply don’t have.  The question of age becomes moot as age does not determine practicality, just as retirement does not guarantee financial security.  The decision has to be based on survival.  Viewing your situation on the grounds of survival clarifies direction.  A more practical question to be considered is, “How can I survive comfortably as I progress into my retirement age?” If survival involves brushing up old skills or learning new ones, returning to school is a clear-cut, confusion free, decision.

Now that I have completed school, I am currently studying for my state and national exams.  Remember, if you’re going to “reinvent the wheel” be ready for a lot of naysayers.  Success is never a straight line, it’s a horrible, mischievous, roller coaster that will test your patience, will, and even your mental well-being.  Don’t ever lose focus and just keep trying.  When Elon Musk created the first Tesla, he didn’t say, “Man, I’m going to build a better car, by doing the same thing that’s been done before and touch it up a bit it.” He literally created a new type of car from the ground up to create a disruptive product.  Now all electric cars follow the Tesla format.  I am certainly not going to build anything like a Tesla and the empire that Mr. Musk has created, but  to quote a smart creative; “The mark of greatness is when everything before you is obsolete, and everything after you bears your mark”. — Dave Chappelle

Fingers crossed, wish me luck!  I hope to sell, sell, sell as I venture into my new career!!

How to Make a Good First Impression

For the last several months, I have been thrust into the labor pool searching for the perfect job.  I sure enjoyed life much more when I was the one perusing the pool of applicants.  I would typically form my opinions based on first impressions.

There is no doubt you’ve heard the adage that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.  What many people don’t realize is just how important a first impression can be.  Did you know that others judge you within the first 3 to 5 seconds of meeting?  In that short period of time, the other person forms an opinion based on appearance, body language, demeanor, mannerisms and how you are dressed.  It is nearly impossible to reverse or undo these encounters.  The judgement is made subliminally, so it is important to do your best to make a good impression, professionally and personally.  There are steps that anyone can take to improve the impression that they will make in these first crucial moments.

The Basics of Good Impressions:

  1. Be on time.
  2. Dress appropriately for the occasion.
  3. Address people respectfully, especially by their last name unless directed otherwise.
  4. Speak clearly and confidently.
  5. Always offer a firm handshake.
  6. Smile, smile and smile.
  7. Proper manners.
  8. Good eye contact.
  9. Be positive.
  10. Be attentive.

And the most important thing I will stress regarding a first time meeting, turn off your cell phone.  This goes for a job interview or meeting someone for the first time.  Your new acquaintance deserves 100% of your attention.  You’ll create a less than good first impression if your phone is ringing or text messages are heard coming through.

Not that many years ago, the first time you were seen personally or professionally, was either on the new job or in a social setting.  Now it is common for someone to Google you, find you on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.  Before anyone spends any face-to-face time with you, they have already formed some sort of opinion or decision about who you are, what you do and how you think.

In my opinion,  by participating in these forms of social media, you have made the decision to put yourself out there for the world to see and read who you are.  They not only see your face, but they have the opportunity to read what you’ve done, what you have to say and what others have to say about you.  For example, let’s break this down even more.

When someone sees your profile on LinkedIn, it should be a good representation of who you are in your professional world and how you wish to be perceived for your future.  It is your personal brand and it should be up-to-date and current with your most recent employment.  When in doubt, ask others for opinions on how they discern you.  And for goodness sake, please stop using LinkedIn as a dating site.  It is great to connect with others in and outside of your industry, but let’s keep this for professional use only.

Your photos on Instagram are visuals on your lifestyle and a reflection of your personality through photos.  When taking a look at your account, what would you think of yourself if you were a new employer?  Does it add up to how you wish to be seen?  What would a close family member say?  Or, your boss?  Best to keep this account Private if you have concerns.

If you are a Tweeter, take a look at your Twitter account.  Review your photos, your followers, who you are following and most importantly, what you are tweeting or retweeting.  If there are items that don’t align with how you want to be noticed, delete them.

These very same rules apply for Facebook.  Again, when in doubt, always make your account Private.  People don’t really need to know about you through friends and family or the games you play.  It is not about hiding the truth, it is about reserving parts of your personal life and not connecting it with the business side.  And, speaking of games, please do not send me any game requests folks.  I just don’t have the time or the desire.  And those pesky chain letters that we are supposed to forward, really?  Am I seriously going to have bad luck if I don’t comply?

Doing an audit of your social media, at least once per year, is probably a good idea.  People change and perspectives also change, so it is a good plan to review and update if need be.  Taking the time to go through and see how others might observe you is valuable.  And, aren’t you worth the time and energy to give the very best impression?


Strong, Independent Women?

When it comes to love and dating, there are two types of women; some who have amazing luck in love and those that have one disaster after another.  I recently had the pleasure of a 2 hour and 40 minute conversation with a terrific gal, who became a great friend, through a jackass we both dated.  We have surmised that we are part of the latter group .. the strong, independent, smart and at times, downright sexy females!  So what is the problem with these incredible qualities?

Well, for starters, men don’t know how to handle intimidating women, let alone date them.  Guys believe that these type of women are either bitchy or more intense.  Personally, men that feel this way would rather have a woman that they feel more power over.

A dominant man will feel insecure if he feels like you don’t need him.  Then, his self-esteem or ego tends to go down.  I would think a man would be happy to have an independent female, but many men like the feeling of being needed and depended upon.  Men feel empowered by women who are dependent.  Independent women are completely opposite and therefore, the disconnect.

Strong women tend to call men out on their bullshit.  You cannot get anything past these types of women and typically, they can see through the lies and the nonsense.  Let’s face it, that is going to scare off most men because what man wants any woman to know absolutely everything that they’re up to?

Amazing women always come with a weird side.  The coolest and most inspiring women have a uniqueness about them that is sometimes hard to understand, but that’s what makes them so amazing.  Some men have a hard time with women that march to the beat of their own drum and are a bit unpredictable.  Men don’t know how to understand them but that’s okay, these women embrace their weirdness.  They certainly don’t need for a man to approve of them.

Women who are super picky are not judgmental; they just know what they want and won’t settle for anyone that is not equally as amazing as they are.  Guys that can keep up, be real, be honest and love hard, are the only type of men they’ll accept.  If a guy doesn’t match up, they don’t stand a chance.  End of story.

These women are also intense.  They are intense storyteller’s, intense lover’s and intense in the way they communicate.  Unfortunately, intensity can be taken negatively.  Since they don’t have a problem in sharing who they are, it can be overwhelming for men who are on the conservative side.

A truly motivated woman has real goals.  When they wake up in the morning, their motivation isn’t to match with a hot guy on Tinder, Plenty of Fish or and land a free meal, meaningless conversation or compliments.  This type of woman will focus on improving her life with things that actually make a difference.  Such as learning, taking up new hobbies, traveling or embracing their careers.  Men who aren’t on this level can move on.

Women who have a strong head, great attitude and a poised way of carrying themselves have admirable maturity.  They don’t dwell on the negative and certainly don’t care what others think of them.  They do not get their self-worth from men telling them that they are hot.  And they certainly have no need to post umpteen selfies of themselves to make them feel good.  They are comfortable and like who they are.  Any guy who shows the slightest bit of immaturity doesn’t even stand a chance.

Although these women may be intimidating, they love the hardest.  Aside from being independent, bold and strong, they take pride in their relationship and will put everything they have into it.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but only strong men can handle this kind of love.

In reality, men are the ones that have a hard time finding these amazing women because they are like diamonds in the rough.  They can only be found when they look hard and have the same high standards and expectations that these women do.  Once a man embraces an AMAZING woman, he will never be able to go to another … and if he does, he is just settling!

Authentic Truth

There are many lingering thoughts that pass through our minds when we back away from speaking our full truth.  We are not honoring our needs by playing it safe and we are settling for mediocrity.  The inability to communicate authentically and truthfully is one of the most common issues for many of us.  Speaking from a place of resentment, criticism, comparison, low self-esteem, jealousy and fear leads to living an unauthentic life, leaving you feeling frustrated and unhappy.

I believe most of us have been raised to think that we really can’t speak our entire truth because of the fallout that will reign.  I also think one of the root causes is that we don’t learn how to effectively and responsibly communicate our needs without some form of fear, fight or judgement.  But really, what is the worst that can happen?  Perhaps you lose your job, dissolve your marriage, distance yourself from friends and family and find yourself all alone in the world.  Of course I am going to extremes here!

The truth is, over time, it hurts a lot more when we don’t speak our authentic truth.  Disease is created in our thoughts, our emotions and our bodies when we are not in harmony with our true calling.  Care to speak your authentic truth and witness a richer, more fulfilling life around you.  You will also attract others into your world who dare to take the same stand for themselves

To live your authentic truth you must listen to your body.  Our authentic self exists in silence.  In order to reveal that self, you must find stillness and silence daily.  We just need to listen to ourselves and be patient.  Treat yourself well and know, that with time, you will get to where you need to be.  When you know your inner truth, you can easily communicate that to others.  Trust your feelings and your inner voice will tell you what you need to know.  When we speak from a place of inner truth, we are speaking from a place of being authentic.  Some people may not like what you will tell them, but that will be a reflection of them.  We must remember that we are never going to please everyone all of the time.  But, if you are coming from a place of authenticity, you are doing the right thing.  To live an authentic life for YOU, you need to tell YOUR truth, not what others want to hear.

You must also lose your fearful mind.  How much of your day is run on autopilot?  The subconscious mind is what runs our thinking and our behavior.  It is the same mind that gets us through our day, helps us eat our food, drive our car and holds onto our past experiences.  The problem with this is where our negative “self-talk” comes out to play.  This is the part that has not been authentic and does not want to change.  The subconscious mind’s only job is to keep us safe, and as far as your mind is concerned, you are alive now, so therefore you are safe and no need to change.  The good new is, the subconscious mind is a faithful servant and when you give in to new behaviors that are beneficial, it will make that change fast.  To be authentic, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone.  If we stay in our comfort zone we will be staying the same, which means we do not grow.  Fear can be your biggest teacher or the roadblock to where you want to go.  It is up to you to decide.

Here are three quotes about Authentic Truth:

  1. “Prisoner of his own captivity.”  – Brandlynn Davis
  2. “Truth resides within each of us.  I’ve come to believe that authentic truth is not so much learned or taught as remembered in the deepest recesses of the soul (self), the ultimate essence of the spirit of which we all partake.” – Carlton D. Pearson
  3. “When you are accepting something as truth, make sure that it feels good for you.  Otherwise, you are accepting someone else’s truth and it doesn’t fit into your vibration.  If you stay true to your vibrations, you’re making the correct choices for you.” – Nanette Mathews

I have recently been reminded about staying true to “my vibration” and perhaps that is the reason for my blog topic.  It feels good to remain true to thy own self.



This Kiss

Faith Hill sang it about it in her ballad .. that pivotal moment of perpetual bliss .. it’s unthinkable .. this kiss, this kiss.  Kissing in the moonlight, on a rooftop under the sky, with the windows open while the rain comes pouring inside .. in sweet slow motion .. floating .. flying ..

Do you believe that a kiss is even more intimate than sex?  I am not talking about a mere peck on the lips, I am talking about completely engaged with another person’s face; your lips, bodies and minds connecting.  I think a moment like that is way more intense than a few thrusts of the hips.

I think a great kiss starts with conversation.  From the intonation of phrases uttered and the innuendo of words spoken to the restrained desire in the eyes.  For a kiss to be truly great, there has to be both a physical and a mental connection between the two people.

The perfect kiss is something that can’t be planned.  What makes a kiss great is spontaneity and the best part of the kiss is the moment right before it happens.  It’s almost like it never crossed either of your minds before that moment.

Every good kisser knows that you need to use more than just your mouth to create an unforgettable make-out-session.  Kissing with your hands is of the utmost importance.  The touch of the face, caress of the lower back, stroke of the head, pulling someone closer to you and the running of fingers through the hair .. ummmm .. now that’s good stuff!  And do you think it’s “eyes wide shut”?  In my opinion, if the kiss is worth it, then the eyes are definitely closed.  Although, a hot smoldering glance, where you suddenly stop, look deep into the others eyes and then continue, is definitely sexy!

Most modern men believe in a woman’s right to vote, a woman’s right to choose and a woman’s right to take control in the bedroom whenever she damn well feels like it.  But, interestingly enough, when it comes to puckering up, most men prefer to play things more traditionally.  Most men think that there is something just right about a man taking the lead.  A woman can initiate a kiss, just not the first kiss.

But what constitutes a bad kiss?  I am certain we have all experienced “how not to kiss”!!  You should never have bad breath or taste like smoke, onions or garlic!  Anything short of fresh and clean is NO good!  And the absolute worst of all has to be an unwilling participant or poor body language.  Dead fish kisses are the worst!  Someone that shows no passion, no sign of life .. RUN .. RUN FOR THE HILLS!  Bottom line, if you don’t like how they kiss, it will never work out, PERIOD!  END OF STORY!!


If You Haven’t Loved A Dog

This is dedicated to my “Bowie”

If you haven’t loved a dog, there is a part of your heart that has never opened.  My affinity for animals has always been enormous .  In fact, I cannot remember a time when I have not had a pet.  I have had dogs, gerbils, fish and cats .. but a dog .. to love a dog .. there is nothing quite like the unconditional love of a dog.

I have wanted to sit down and write about dogs, one little dog in particular, since his cancer diagnosis in July of 2016.  Every time I start to write, I get a lump in my throat and the tears just flow.  You see, he lost his battle with cancer on March 22nd, the day I had to make the most loving and selfless decision and allow him to Rest In Peace with the angels.  I still cry.  I cry every day.  To some, that may sound crazy, but to a dog lover, they are family.  The pain you feel, when they are no longer with you, is indescribable.  And if you don’t have children, like myself, these creatures become your “four-legged” kids.

“Bowie” was a Shih Tzu and the most lovable little boy.  Everywhere we went together, people would stop and compliment me on him.  He had the most expressive eyes and the cutest little tongue that strategically stuck out of his mouth.  He loved to swim and chase the baby lizards in the backyard.  He loved going on a weekend vacation with me to a Loews Resort, where your dogs are treated like kings and queens.  Out of all my dogs that I’ve had, he was my “canine soulmate”.  You see, every once in a while, a dog enters your life and changes everything.  From the moment I met “Bowie”, he turned my world around.

Who says your soulmate has to have two legs?  What connotes a “canine soulmate” you may wonder?  I will give you five examples:

1. “Bowie” was always on my mind.  I was always wondering what or how he was doing during the middle of my day.  There were weekdays that I wanted to just stay in and cuddle with him versus going to work.  Let’s be honest, its way more fun.

2. I would include “Bowie” in as many plans as I possibly could.  Taking him to see my family, a weekend jaunt, grabbing a coffee and sitting outside somewhere and even shopping at Target.  I am pretty much known for being the one to always ask the question of “do they allow dogs there?”  “Why”, you may ask?  I would never want him to feel left out, nor did I enjoy being without him.

3. The thought of losing “Bowie”, even before the dreadful cancer diagnosis, would make me tear up every time.  I would think every over-zealous dog lover would feel the same emotion.

4. I would spend more time snuggling with “Bowie” than my significant other.  You could ask my ex-husband and he would agree.  Fortunately, he understood my love for my furry companion.

5. “Bowie” is and was my family.  He gave me insight to unconditional love and responsibility.  I am lost without having him apart of my little welcoming committee.  He was my faithful little spoon and constant Netflix, cuddling and anything companion.  To have a bond with your pet that is relatable to mine, you are the lucky one!

You see, a dog is always there for you and “Bowie”, through our almost nine years together, was always my rock.  When I needed a hand, I always found his paw.  I rescued him at the age of three and we survived three moves, one job loss, a marriage and divorce, and almost losing my mother (his Grammy).  The final and most gut wrenching news was the devastating diagnosis that “Bowie” had bladder cancer.  The dreaded “C” word.  My beloved dog had C-A-N-C-E-R.  This dog had taught me so much about life and love and my world came crashing down around me.

“Bowie’s” behavior and mannerisms taught me to be a better person, for that I am certain.  He was always available and present in good times and bad.  He remained loyal and was by my side when I needed him the most.  He taught me to do the same.

“Bowie” was a great listener.  Like a human, he had two ears and one mouth and he used his in better proportions than we often do.  He taught me to do the same.

“Bowie” did not care about material things, which he always had plenty of.  He didn’t need expensive or impressive material items to make him feel happy or important or to win over friends.  A simple old tennis ball or rawhide bone would suffice.  He taught me to do the same.

“Bowie” embraced physical fitness by rolling over and stretching, enjoying a long walk or playing fetch in the yard, over and over again.  He taught me to do the same.

“Bowie” would fail and forget.  He would make mistakes, but he did not feel like a failure for very long.  Even after being scolded, he did not take it personally and he would quickly get on with enjoying his life.  He taught me to do the same.

“Bowie” was non-judgmental.  He loved me despite my looks, my personality, my job or financial situation.  He never held a grudge and he loved me unconditionally.  What a lucky girl I was.  He taught me to do the same.

My heart and soul is full because of this one little dog, named “Bowie”.  I miss him tremendously and I know there will always be a void in my heart.  You were my blessing “little man” and I am so lucky to have loved and been loved by you.  What a beautiful world it would be if people had hearts like dogs, just like my “Bowie”.

How To Tell If He Really Loves You

I would like to preface this with the fact that I am writing from my “female” brain and from “my” experiences and those of other women.  But to the men that are reading, substitute “he” for “she” regarding the women in your life.

Do you think all men are the same?  I felt compelled to write about this because someone once told me, at her daughter’s wedding no less, “All men are assholes, just find the one you can live with”.  Why has that always stuck with me?  The truth is, not all men are like that one ex-boyfriend or spouse you had, that either abused you mentally or physically or knew how to push all the right buttons.  I think there are many men out there that no one has the right to generalize all the apples in the basket because a few of them turned out to be rotten.

For some, you will face many men that will come into your life. Some will spellbind you with their charms and make you feel like a princess.  Some will put you on a pedestal, but at the end of the day, no guy can continue to maintain that same intensity of emotion.  And at some point, after all of those guys, he will emerge from some silver lining and bring such energy into your life, it will sustain for many years to come.  Of course it won’t always be perfect, there will be ups and downs.  Even movies have a climax and anticlimax.  But, at the end of the day, the forever kind of guy will be worth all the tragic moments and heartbreaks.  Think of Noah from the Notebook.  You will never underestimate his ability to pull you out of the deepest and darkest corners of your fragile insecurities and fears.  Of course he isn’t Batman or Captain America, but he will be “your man”.

You will know when they’re committed to you and the relationship.  When things go bad, that is when you realize the type of person you are in a relationship with.  Every relationship has problems, but that doesn’t mean that the relationship is over.  If a guy stays and works through everything with you (of course not if you’re a complete lunatic) then he is committed to you and wants to make sure things work out.  Anyone can bail when the going gets tough, that’s easy!  But, it takes a real man to stay.  He will show you, even when things seem impossible, no matter what the circumstances are, he has the ability to revive any flickering spark between you.  He will not take “no” for an answer and he will fight for you till his last breath because he knows that without you, his life is incomplete.  All the struggles and adventures and accomplishments will mean nothing if you are not beside him to celebrate life.  And you will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is “the one” you will want to spend the rest of your life with.

Communication is key to make any relationship a successful one.  A sincere man will not bottle up his feelings or keep things hidden from you.  He will want to share everything with you.  He won’t hesitate to share his childhood stories, some exotic adventure or some clandestine relationship because he knows he can trust you and he doesn’t want to conceal anything.  He truly adores you.  You are his confidant, his eyes and his everything.  And because of this, you will be able to open up to him without fear of judgment or condemnation about anything you have gone through in your life.  You will never regret sharing anything with him because he will always be supportive and genuinely listen with attentive ears and a caring heart.

He will make time with you a priority.  Time is the currency of a relationship and if he truly loves you, he will make this investment.  This doesn’t mean he will not pursue his career or other endeavors, but it does mean that he will prioritize and put you ahead of these things.  You will be the most important part of his schedule.  He will never see you as an interruption.

He will have a strong desire to protect you.  Protect you physically, emotionally, verbally, spiritually and financially.  Men have an instinctive, God-given desire to protect the ones they love.  Much more than just physical protection, if a man truly loves you, he will want to protect your reputation, your heart and in every way, because in giving his protection, he is actually displaying his love.

If he truly cares about you, he will know all the little things about you.  Such as your snort when you laugh, your favorite flavor of ice-cream or that Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Sound of Music are your two favorite movies.  And when he mentions this, you will feel like the luckiest girl in the world, because you know that he pays attention to the things you thought didn’t seem so important.  He’ll also be able to tell your mood by your facial expressions and he will be concerned.  He will ask if you want to talk about it, or respect if you don’t, until you’re ready.  He will never get tired of hearing what you have to say and to him, your life will matter more than his.  It will hurt him if you’re hurt and it will make him happy if you’re happy.  He will also remember a dress that you liked, or something special you may have commented on, and on your birthday, anniversary or holiday, he gifts that to you.  He has the ability to give you the happiness you surely deserve.

If he knows what to do in any situation, or has the keen intelligence to take control of situations, he is wise.  I am not saying he needs to be a genius, truthfully, you both need to have some sort of intelligence for whatever life throws your way.  But, a necessary street smartness is fundamental to make the relationship work.  There are certain situations which we cannot control.  And situations that take time.  But if he loves you, he will find a solution and you must give him the necessary time.  With the proper time and space, it gives him the ability to grow and to become a better, more prepared and responsible person.

He will remind you that you’re beautiful.  He will want to make sure that you see yourself the same way he sees you.  Some men are more vocal than others, but it doesn’t matter in what way they tell that you are beautiful.  What matters is that they make you feel beautiful.  Chivalry is a concept which is rare these days.  People think that acting like a gentleman will embarrass them.  If your man holds the door open for you before getting seated in the car, pulls your chair out in a restaurant, gives you flowers for no reason at all and reminds you how beautiful you are when you are least expecting it, this certainly means that he is falling for you at a rapid pace.  And if he continues all these things long after the infatuation period, long after reality has set in, he is a KEEPER!

He will never make you feel bad.  If you make a mistake, he will not hold it against you, nor be offended by something he knows you didn’t mean.  We are all human and apt to make mistakes.  A bump in the road does not mean deviation from what really matters; the relationship.  The secret to any healthy relationship is compromise.  If he is not willing to accept the little imperfections and mistakes that you are going to make, then it will be hard for the relationship to survive.  He will know that being right all the time is not as important as the bond you share.  He is selfless and is ready to sacrifice his desires for you at times.  And yes, that will mean accompanying you to that romantic tear jerker just so he can spend quality time with you.

If he accomplishes something big, but instead of just being selfish and giving all the credit to himself, he acknowledges you and gives equal appreciation to all the support you have provided him.  He also changes the “his” or “I’s” into “ours” or “we”, he is promoting a really positive and encouraging vibe into the relationship.  It encourages you both to try your best.  And, in the end, a person’s worth can only be measured by how true he is to his words.

We are all imperfect.  The guy that wants to spend an eternity with you will be aware of your flaws and he will never highlight them or make you feel badly.  Instead, he will slowly make you feel good about them.  You know, that little mole on your face or the scar on your arm, he will make you feel as if these are things he is actually proud of.  These kind of guys come only once in a lifetime and are not to be mistaken as frauds.

It takes all the strength a person has to admit his or her mistakes.  If the guy in your life can tell what he did to hurt you, he will not take it lightly.  He will legitimately feel badly and honestly apologize and make sure that it won’t happen again.  He will be able to differentiate between harmless and harmful.  He may say or do something that may turn your mood off.  He will know when to burst out with hysterical laughter or opt for silence.  Even if he disagrees with you, he will communicate with respect, thoughtfulness and patience.  He will want to be the one who wipes away your tears, not the one who causes them.  He will be in love with your fragile insecurities.  He will be able to tolerate anything as long as it means that it will not hurt the relationship.

There are many indications which you will observe to know if he really loves you.  These things will make you believe in his love.  He will show his love through consistency in both his words and his actions.  Love is a commitment and is displayed through consistency.  You will have a guy that is one-in-a-million, the one that will complete you.  If not, keep looking and remain optimistic and open to the fact that he is out there and looking for you.  When you find him, it will be a captivating moment.  All of your life, you have wished for normal, “your normal” and he will exceed all those expectations and set new boundaries of love, romance and chivalry.  It’s what you and I and every girl would want, right?  A guy who sets things straight in our lives and gives us the love we deserve.



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