Little Birds

September 2021

I came out of my house the other day to go to breakfast at my favorite local spot Racheal’s. I got to the corner of 19th and Pine and suddenly saw these two little parakeets on the pavement together.

I was shocked and stunned to see these two tiny exotic birds right there on the sidewalk. I wondered where they had come from. Did they somehow escape from a cage in someone’s house? Did they just fly out the window? They’re caged birds and could hardly fly.

I carefully approached them to observe and then another gentleman approached. We were both amazed and he called the local animal hospital over on 20th street. They said they don’t take birds, just mostly dogs and cats. But they gave us the number of a woman on Facebook who looks after birds in Philly.

I called her but of course, no one answered. Another guy showed up and we tried to get the birds to hop into a little box that someone else had brought us. But they wouldn’t be caught. They would hop away. They could fly a little bit but I knew they had probably spent their lives together in a cage and didn’t have the strength to fly any great distance. We would try to catch one and he would flutter away but remain close.

I called the bird lady again and left a long message regarding the situation and the location. But I figured that’s all I could do. The other guy that had shown up told me he had to get to work so I was left with these birds.

But I had to get going as well. So as much as I hated to leave them I had to go. We’d called the animal hospital, I tried the bird lady, and there was nothing else I could do.

But here’s the thing. No matter what we did, the birds stayed together. The one bird, I’m assuming the male because he had the prettier plumes, wouldn’t leave his mate’s side.

I thought about the dedication of these terrified little birds. Two living things. Two little beautiful birds that could fly. The only species are other than insects and bats that could truly fly. And what did humans do? They stuck them in a cage. A prison that they could never escape from. Never to fly and be free and use the gift of flight they were born with. Now here they were, ironically free, and they wouldn’t leave each other’s side. They were out in a strange world. The phrase, free as a bird comes to mind. But even in their newfound freedom, they wouldn’t separate. All they knew and all they had was each other. Like the inmate that’s spent his whole life in prison, they couldn’t make it on the outside. They didn’t even know what the outside world was like.

It was so sad and yet uplifting. No matter how cruel I thought it was to capture these lovely entities and steal them from their natural habitat, they stuck together. That spoke to me.

Why can’t people just leave the natural world alone? The planet operates perfectly well without humans. But here we are. We destroy our habitat all in the name of growth, expansion, and industrial progress. Everything we need is here and it’s all free, and we choose to capture it, kill it, or monetize it. It’s so sad. We’ve kind of blown it as a species. It’s too bad humans can’t walk among the rest of the living things on this planet and try to live in harmony. Instead of killing it, conquering it, or destroying it. Humans aren’t so great after all.

I later came by the area where I initially found the birds. They were gone. So was the box. I’m hoping they were rescued by someone and the cute little couple are okay. Even if they ended up back in a cage somewhere. At least they’d be able to live out what remained of their little lives together.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

The Bizarre Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allen Poe is a Halloween Story Of Its Own

More than 150 years ago, Edgar Allen Poe, literary icon and father of gothic horror, died a dark and untimely death. His demise is shrouded in so much mystery, the story could easily be plucked from the pages of one of his books.

(Cue thunder and lightning.)

Edgar Allen Poe is a name synonymous with suspense and dark romance. His poem “The Raven” is a classic that still appears in modern pop culture, and yes, a football team named themselves after it. Without his book “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” the world’s very first detective story, we very well might not have the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. His beloved moody aesthetic has even inspired other prolific cultural icons such as Salvador Dali and Alfred Hitchcock, according to Biography.

And with the recent news that Mike Flanagan, creator of Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” will be adapting “The Fall of the House of Usher” into a series, Poe’s name is buzzing around yet again.

Though many of us can recite a famous morbid line or two, not everyone knows about the tragic life and utterly bizarre death of the Master of Macabre.

It seems Poe was destined to become well acquainted with melancholy, and even some scandal. Born to transient, alcoholic actors—both who died within a few days of each other—Edgar was sent off to a foster home when he was just 2 years old. Later, at age 27, he secretly married his cousin Virginia … who was 13. To be fair, we’re still not sure if this was indeed a romantic relationship. It’s certainly a conversation starter in cultural relativism circles though. Oh, did I mention that the controversial relationship was also cut short by death, when Virginia was overcome with tuberculosis? Are you surprised? Me neither.

Edgar Allen Poe’s child bride Virginiaupload.wikimedia.org

During his life, Poe was the poster boy for “starving artist.” Struggling to make any sort of money from his work, he resorted to gambling to pay off debts. Spoiler alert: It led to more debt … We’re talking burning your furniture to stay warm kind of poor. Not a good look. It eventually led him to joining the army to escape his creditors.

“The Raven” was Poe’s first worldwide success. Other works like “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” began gaining popularity and critical acclaim. At long last, the writing career he had pursued since the age of 13 was finally coming to fruition.

And then….DEATH! Behold, I’ll tell the tale.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poeupload.wikimedia.org

Once upon a midnight dreary … it was a rainy night in Baltimore, 1849. Election Day (more on that later), a man was found addled, immovable and in the shabby clothes of a stranger. That man was none other than Poe. He spent the next three days in delirium, flowing in and out of hallucinations and calling the name “Reynolds,” who to this day, is unidentified. The great poet’s last words ever uttered were said to be: “Lord help my poor soul.”

Though an official record states the cause of death as “brain swelling,” it has sparked much speculation and alternative theories.

There’s the good ol’ fashioned “beating by ruffians” theory, thought to have happened after friends left Poe in a drunken stupor. Or, for something a bit more sensational, the gang fight could have been instigated by a woman who “considered herself injured” by Poe. Seeing as Poe had a reputation for tumultuous romances, this is entirely plausible.

Then there’s a possible “cooping.” Don’t know what “cooping” is? I didn’t either. But Smithsonian Magazine defines it as “a method of voter fraud practiced by gangs in the 19th century where an unsuspecting victim would be kidnapped, disguised, and forced to vote for a specific candidate multiple times under multiple disguised identities.” It added that before Prohibition, alcohol was often given as a reward for voting. So basically, Poe could have been voted to death. You really can die from anything.

One doctor has hypothesized that rabies was to blame. This theory has a few reported kinks to it, however, as there was no evidence of hydrophobia. Yeah, apparently a common side effect of rabies is a fear of water!

A more modern theory developed when Poe’s grave was dug up and, inside his skull, an unidentified mass was found. A mass that studies now show could have been a lethal brain tumor. I, for one, could see a mind like Edgar Allan Poe’s eating him slowly from the inside in silent agony. And they say that you don’t have to be pained to be creative.

There are still other theories of carbon monoxide poisoning, heavy metal poisoning, and, yes, alcohol poisoning. Though that last one is a tad boring.

Portrait of Edgar Allan Poeupload.wikimedia.org

No matter which theory ends up being true, the legacy of Edgar Allan Poe is one that continues to bewilder, inspire, disturb and delight us. In a way, he is the absolute epitome of transfiguring the grotesque into the beautiful, both in life and in art. And his romantic, yet sorrowful spirit lives on in our retellings of his beloved classics.

Though he himself is nevermore, his poetic style will remain timeless forevermore.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Is An Unhappy Marriage Better Than Divorce?

Here’s how to decide for yourself.

Marriage, like the love that leads to it, rides many waves of change. And not all are fun. So asking, “Is an unhappy marriage better than divorce?” isn’t a yes-or-no query.

The answer, of course, ultimately lies with you and your spouse. But arriving at the answer shouldn’t be an arbitrary, heat-of-the-moment, feelings-only process.

If you’re at a point in your marriage where you’re contemplating “Is an unhappy marriage better than divorce?” we need to talk.

Ironically, talking — how much, how, when, with what intention — is often what’s missing in marriages on the threshold of divorce. In one way or another, communication is at the root of most problems.

If you research advice regarding staying in or leaving an unhappy marriage, you will get answers across the spectrum. And the black, white, and gray of them all will have just as many shades of suggestions and directives.

A person looking for a reason to leave will find one. A person looking for a reason to stay will find one. The availability of advice and justification for any choice is abundant.

And that’s why it’s so important to consider the source of the information, and especially to commit to complete honesty with yourself and your spouse. Ultimately the decision to stay or separate belongs to the two of you. So do the consequences of your choice.

Is an unhappy marriage better than a divorce? There will never be a blanket answer to that question. There can, however, be an answer for your marriage — but only if you have an unequivocal grasp on why you are unhappy.

Transitioning through the seasons of love can be confusing, conflicting, even painful. Sure, you may expect that the honeymoon won’t last forever. But how can you possibly know during the fairy-dust stages of falling in love and planning the perfect life that the magic dissipates?

Love grows, evolves, and writes its own story in the context of life. It has growing spurts and growing pains just like children do. And, just like children, sometimes you don’t fully recognize it. Sometimes it bores you to tears, and sometimes you just flat-out don’t like it.

But one thing’s for sure. Just as with children, if you aren’t paying attention to your love as it goes through its changes, you’ll miss it.

You may not even know if what you’re feeling is unhappiness or simply boredom. You’ll just be aware that the elation you felt in the early stages of love and marriage isn’t there anymore.

If you aren’t communicating consistently with yourself and with your spouse, you may misdiagnose your situation. And the last thing you want to do is make a lifetime decision on the basis of misinformation.

Is an unhappy marriage better than a divorce? The first step in helping you decide is knowing what an unhappy marriage looks like.

Below are several predictors of an unhappy marriage. Keep in mind that these are not reasons to give up. They are simply symptoms that, depending on number and intensity, can indicate a marriage at-risk.
  • Abuse
  • Addiction
  • Infidelity
  • The absence of sex and visible affection
  • Lack of genuine engagement
  • Leading separate lives
  • Drastically different values
  • Blaming one another
  • Fantasizing about life without your spouse
  • Disinterest in your spouse’s company
  • Control issues
  • Not fighting anymore
  • Feeling unheard
  • Unmet needs
  • Unwillingness to get help or work on the marriage
  • Criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and/or stonewalling

Research studies support what may be surprising to those who feel unhappy in their marriages and don’t see a path to happiness.

Unhappiness is almost always temporary. And there are normal, predictable places in a marriage where it is more likely to rear its dreary head. Like after the birth of a child, when everything changes.

Surprised? If so, consider further that those who stuck it out reported feeling happy in their marriages five to ten years later. (And no, that doesn’t mean they were “miserable” during the time between — only that they were happy they didn’t give up.)

If you’re feeling unhappy in your marriage and are wondering, “Is an unhappy marriage better than divorce,” consider the list above. Also, consider the gravity of any of the signs as they relate to your marriage.

There are a few situations in which the reasons for unhappiness may warrant a less tolerant decision.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

5 Signs You’re Not Over Your Breakup Yet, So Give Yourself Time

It’s no secret that getting over a breakup takes time, regardless of who ended things. If you just got out of a relationship — especially if you were together for several years — it’s only natural to need a minute (or, you know, a few) to heal and move on. Understanding the signs you’re not over your breakup yet and recognizing them in yourself might help you realize you need a little more time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, moving on doesn’t happen overnight.

While it would be nice to have an exact timeline for when you “should” be fully over someone, that’s not always realistic. Everyone is different. “This truly depends on a couple of things,” Chris Armstrong, founder of the relationship coaching company Maze of Love, previously told us. “If your ex was the one to break up [with you] and you did not see it coming, it could take several months.” On the other hand, “If you broke up with your ex and you had been mulling it over for a bit, it may only take a couple of weeks to a month,” Armstrong said.

If you recognize any of the following signs or behaviors within yourself, it might mean you’re not over your breakup just yet. Don’t be too hard on yourself, because everyone’s different. Trust that you will get there when you get there, and everything will fall into place.

1. You didn’t grieve the end of the relationship.

Dmytro Bilous/ Stocksy

You can’t truly move on from a breakup if you don’t let yourself feel sad, mad, or upset for a while. “Let yourself feel all the emotions,” dating coach Diana Dorell previously told Elite Daily. “Denial is a part of the grieving process, and the end of a relationship really can feel like a death of sorts. Trying to skip over how you feel or distracting yourself from your feelings is only a temporary solution.”

2. You still want to reach out to them.

It is so tempting to text your ex after a breakup, no matter how things ended. So, if you still feel yourself reaching for the phone, there’s a good chance you probably aren’t over the breakup. “Even if you and your ex aren’t communicating, give yourself a timeframe, [during] which you will commit to not reaching out to them in any way,” Dorell said “Once you get to that point, re-commit for another round,” she continued. “You may find that you don’t even have the desire to reach out.”

3. You still check their social media.

Studio Firma/ Stocksy

Social media can make breakups even harder. Being able to see what your ex is up to on a daily basis can make it harder to forget about them. “If you are following your ex on social media, be careful to not stalk their account and do check-ins with yourself to make sure you are not feeling sadness or anxiety from checking their social media pages,” Marline Francois-Madden, LCSW, psychotherapist, and CEO of Hearts Empowerment Counseling Center previously told Elite Daily.

At the end of the day, it might be best to hit that “unfollow” button.

4. You’ve held on to physical mementos.

You probably aren’t over a breakup if you’ve been holding onto something that belonged to your ex. A shirt, book, or blanket can hold too many memories to allow you to really move on. “Have a simple ritual to honor the relationship, and then release any objects that remind you of them. Donate, sell, throw away,” Dorell said.

5. You haven’t taken time for yourself.

In order to get over a breakup, you might need to take some time to love yourself. “One of the most important things to remember during a breakup is that heartbreak affects your physiology and your neurochemistry,” Elle Huerta, CEO and founder of breakup recovery app Mend, previously told Elite Daily. “Going through a breakup feels like going through withdrawal, so it’s really important in the early days to take extra care of yourself — make sure you’re walking or getting a little bit of exercise every day to get happy hormones flowing.”

There’s no real way to rush your way through a breakup, so don’t stress too much if you aren’t completely over the relationship just yet. It takes time and effort. Remember: Try not to reach out, hit “unfollow” if you can, and take care of yourself. Be patient and kind with yourself. Heartbreak is no joke, but with some patience, you’ll get there.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

The Horror You Experience When You Realize You’re A Rebound

The rebound is a natural part of the love food-chain.

Here’s a guest post from one of my subscribers here on WordPress. I really like her dramatic writing style!

Take it away!

“I don’t know HOW she could possibly move on from me THAT quickly!” I once blubbered to a friend, fat, salty tears sliding down my swollen face. My first serious, committed relationship had just come to a screeching halt, and I’d found out that in the same moment that I’d been nursing my broken heart by weeping into a bowl of macaroni and cheese, my ex had been on her third date with someone new.

“Oh, come on, Zara! She’s totally a rebound,” my friend rolled her eyes so hard she looked like she was being exorcised by a priest.

“You think?” I whispered. I felt my spirit spring up, like a baby meerkat; incredulous and hopeful.

“Zara are you stupid? She’s not even her type.” She filled up her glass of wine to the tippy top. “This bullshit won’t last a month.”

“You’re right.” I felt a sudden wave of relief wash over me. It was as if I’d just popped a Xanax! This new little b*tch my ex was carousing around town with? Well, she meant absolutely nothing. She was a rebound. A glaringly obvious rebound at that. A smug smile made its way across my distraught, dehydrated face. “Poor girl,” I purred flashing my bleached teeth.

We’ve ALL had experiences with rebounds, right? The rebound is a natural part of the love food-chain. We silently shake our heads when our friends claim to be in “love” with some floozy they started dating days after their breakup. We wake up in horror, overcome with a mean case of sudden repulsion syndrome when we realize the person sleeping next to us — the one we thought might be the next great love of our lives — was nothing but a rebound. We judge our exes for their rebounds and gab to our friends about how much better we are and what a downgrade she is and how embarrassing for everyone involved!

But what about the awful, degrading realization of *being* the rebound? Of having that revelation that *you* were the temporary floozy? Of being hit with the dark epiphany that you were nothing but a fleeting distraction, a pretty pink band-aid patching up a cracked heart?

It was a humid, rainy summer in Florida when it happened to me. While it might’ve poured so hard every single day that the palm trees grew cartoonishly big and plump, I was experiencing a drought as dire as Texas in 2011. Dating apps were new and while I swiped so hard I developed carpel tunnel in my right hand, I never seemed to match with anyone date-worthy.

Until I matched with a short-haired editor named Georgina. Georgina and I met up at a cozy Italian bistro and I liked her right away. We had one of those first dates that feels magical — like you’re about to embark on something new and glittery and exciting. We wasted no time suffering through the usual robotic small talk. We dove into the deep end of the pool right away. We discussed our childhoods, our career ambitions, our teenage traumas. We looked into each other’s eyes like we’d known each other for lifetimes. She drove me home and we passionately made out in the driveway, like two sex-starved gay teens having the first taste of their own gender. Before she peeled out of my driveway I received a text message. “I had such AN AMAZING TIME WITH YOU! Can we meet up again SOON!?” she messaged, thirstily.

I forced myself to wait ten minutes to respond.

“Me too. Let’s meet up!”

The next two weeks were a whirlwind of soul-baring dinner dates, libidinous sex sessions, ardent late-night phone calls, and poetic text exchanges.

“Isn’t this a little fast?” my friends said all at once, a lesbian greek chorus clad in dr. marten boots and flannel shirts.

“Maybe,” I admitted as I guzzled down my wine.

“Didn’t she just get out of a relationship?” the lesbian greek chorus dutifully sang. I hadn’t told them she had, but gays somehow know all the tea on other gays, regardless of where they live or where they’re from, or what social sorority they pledge to.

“Yes,” I smirked. “She’s assured me that the fire in her last relationship burned out a LONG time ago.” I smoothed my hair down like a true Republican lady and ignored their worried glances. What did they know about instantaneous love? (A lot because they’d all U-Hauled, but that’s beside the point).

One night, as I was getting ready for a date I felt a strange twinge in my stomach. Do you know that feeling you get right before someone breaks up with you? It sort of feels like you’ve been hit with an arrow straight in the gut? I felt that. “Don’t be ridiculous, Zara,” I said to myself. “After all, she’s the one who is more into YOU. She’s been pursuing the shit out of you. This is SO typical. You don’t, deep down, believe that you are deserving of nice things. Well, I have news for you! You are, babe,” I hyped myself loud enough to drown out the lingering doubt tickling the inside of my ear with its breathy whisper.

I arrived early and ordered champagne. I was wearing an amazing dress, a dark gray “fit and flair” that had an actual wire at the hem, which made it flute out at the bottom, like a bell. My hair was long and loose and my eyes were smokier than an Eastern European nightclub. My lips were fire-engine red. My nails were fire-engine red. I felt like a Real Housewife of New Jersey mixed with a chic London socialite. I twisted a faux ruby around my finger, sipped my champagne and tried to quell the gnawing feeling holding court in my chest.

My lover of two fervent weeks finally arrived. She ordered a canned beer, the least festive drink on the planet. The moment it was plopped down in front of her distant eyes, she cleared her throat, dramatically, like she was a politician about to deliver a speech to the people. “Zara. Look, I’ve had an amazing time with you.”

I looked at my hopeful glass of champagne and felt instantly depressed.

“But I think I rushed things a bit. I’m so sorry. I just got out of a really big relationship and I haven’t dealt with it yet. I’m not…”

“Ready. You’re not ready,” I cut in, finishing her sentence.

“Yeah. How did you know I was going to say that?” Her eyes looked a little paranoid like she was afraid I was reading her mind. I could’ve. But I didn’t. (It’s not classy to abuse your psychic gifts on a date).

“Because I’ve given this exact speech before,” I quipped. “To rebounds.“

“You’re not a rebound!” she raised her eyebrows defensively. “I’m just not ready.”

“Yes. But the next girl you date you’ll be ready for. Make sure she sends me flowers and a thank you card,” I grumbled, sliding out of my seat.

I did what I always do when my feelings are crushed. I went out. I met up with some friends at our favorite bar downtown.

“Can you believe it?! SHE ENDED THINGS. WITH ME,” I shouted to my best friend Eduardo.

“That sucks,” he said with dead eyes. “Let’s do a shot?”

“I don’t think you quite understand! I was her rebound. She used me!” I felt dirty, like that old rag you use to wipe down your kitchen and the windows.

“I get it. But it happens to everyone,” Eduardo paid for a round of shots. “It’s just the way life goes.” He passed me a little glass filled with clear liquid.

We tapped glasses, threw our heads back and inhaled straight tequila. My eyes burned so badly from the severity of the alcohol I felt like someone poured peroxide in them. “Am I f*cking rebound girl now? Am I that girl you project a fantasy onto because you’re heartbroken and need a warm body to make you feel whole again?” I shivered. I looked at my red nails. Hours ago they looked shiny and vibrant, now they looked desperate. My nails have no chill. My dress has no chill. I have no chill. My thoughts spiraled out onto the street.

“It has nothing to do with you. You know that. You’ve had rebounds. We all know you don’t even see a rebound. You plaster your own ideas onto their faces. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, Z. Get over it.” His eyes were no longer dead. They were young and alive.

Like me.

Suddenly I felt my feet rooted into the bar floor. Eduardo was right. While it’s a blow to the ole’ ego to be a rebound, it’s not the end of the world. And maybe it’s good for us to be a rebound. After all, isn’t their a famous Sufi saying about how “When the ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has gained,”? I’ll do anything to strengthen my spirit! Because I know that bitch will long outlive my frail-ass ego.

So if you’ve just realized you are a rebound, I want you to release your pain into the ether. Because you haven’t really lost anything worth having.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

How To Find Love Again After Having Your Heart Broken

Never give up on finding love.

Unless you’re one of the lucky few, dating after a breakup makes you feel vulnerable in a way that you haven’t felt for years.

Until recently, you’ve enjoyed the stability within your previous romantic partnership. Now you’re experiencing the immense ambiguity of not knowing when, where or if you’ll meet someone worthwhile. Finding comfort in being single is first on your journey of figuring out how to find love again which, of course, is your ultimate goal.

The good news is that you’re presumably wiser than before. You’ve probably learned from your past relationship. You’ve got a fairly good idea about what worked well and what didn’t.

You’ve probably thought about what you want (and what you won’t tolerate) in your next relationship. It’s likely that you’re determined to do things differently in order to avoid repeating past mistakes.

If you’re like most people in your situation, you may wonder how you fit into the dating scene now that you’re older. You may want to know how to date more efficiently so that you’re not wasting your time in the wrong places with the wrong people.

This is what you need to know to lay the groundwork for effective, fun dating that’ll lead to a great, lasting relationship.

Here’s what to remember as you work to find love again:

1. Don’t tell yourself you’re too old for love

You’re definitely not too old to find love. You’re just older than you were last time.

Like you, single people in your age range tend to have the wisdom of experience. Men are more interested in a woman’s personality. Women are less prone to drama.

Many people are still attracted to youthful energy, passion, and optimism — which lives within all ages!

People of all ages date, fall in love and get into long-term, committed relationships. Wanting love is a primal, human desire and it doesn’t go away as you age.

2. Don’t be afraid to try online dating

Be friendly and outgoing toward everyone. Single people are everywhere, and you’re more likely to find them when you’re fostering connections and friendships.

Use technology to your advantage. Research effective ways to date online and learn how to best use those sites. Remember that no one was born knowing how to meet people via online dating sites, so just go with the flow!

3. Forgive the pains of the past

Dating behaviors have changed a great deal over the years, so forgive mistakes and misunderstandings. Some people have never dated — they met their exes through friends, work or school and got together in a less formal way.

4. Don’t mistake attraction for being a “sure thing”

Attraction is simply an opportunity to get to know someone better. It is not a sign that they’re “the one.”

5. Date more than just one person

You can’t tell how things will turn out after just one date. If you think you can, you’re telling yourself a story. Continue dating several people until you find someone who is equally excited about the prospect of forging a relationship.

Take time to get to know the person who most interests you (as well as several others) before committing to one person. Don’t waste your time by committing to someone who only sees you as one of several options.

6. Don’t let yourself get swept away in the “courtship” stages

Courtship requires different skills than growing and maintaining a relationship. Don’t assume that someone who is a great date will also be a great mate.

7. Don’t rush things

Dating isn’t efficient. It’s about getting to know people and discovering whether you care for each other and if your values, goals, and personalities are in alignment.

You can’t tell if someone is right for the long haul until you’ve known each other for an extended period of time.

8. Watch for emotional baggage

Everyone has baggage, and you’re accountable for yours. Wait until you’ve gone out several times before gradually revealing personal details about your life and relationships.

Don’t allow your date’s baggage to become your problem. You’re seeking a potential partner, not a therapy project.

9. Find someone who shares your values in a relationship

Many people date because they’re seeking a relationship, but part of dating is discovering if the person you’re seeing wants one with you.

10. If you want lasting love, don’t settle for a “player”

Some people are dating because they are seeking no-strings-attached companionship. They only want a play pal or a friend with benefits. Most will casually mention it as you’re getting acquainted.

If you continue to see them after they’ve told you they aren’t interested in a real relationship, they will assume that you are also looking for something casual.

It helps if you see your return to dating as an adventure. You don’t know who you’ll meet, but if you embrace your new situation, it’ll definitely be entertaining and, ultimately, rewarding.

 

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Most Young Women Today Unhappy, Stressed About Sex Lives, Aussie Survey Finds

New study reveals sexual distress is a serious problem for women, with one in five battling at least one female sexual dysfunction.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Depictions of sex and sexuality in the media are largely idealized and unrealistic. Real life between the sheets, on the other hand, is usually more complicated. Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not for another. Women especially are portrayed as symbols of sexuality across our culture, and according to a recent piece of research, the pressure to live up to those stereotypes is causing serious stress in many young women.

Researchers at Monash University surveyed nearly 7,000 Australian women between the ages of 18-39, and found that just over half (50.2%) routinely experience sexually-related personal distress. Another one in five report having at least one female sexual dysfunction (FSD). A few common examples of a female sexual dysfunction would be feeling pain during intercourse, or an overall lack of sexual arousal.

Sexually-related distress can be defined as feeling embarrassed, stressed, guilty, or unhappy with one’s sex life and sexual performance. Among the 50.2% with constant distress, 29.6% did not report a sexual dysfunction, while 20.6 reported at least one FSD.

The most frequently cited FSD was an overall poor sexual self-image, causing distress in 11% of participants. One’s sexual self-image can be related to obesity, feeling self-conscious about living with a new partner, or breastfeeding, just to name a few topics. Dysfunction related to arousal (9%), orgasms (7.9%), desire (8%), and responsiveness (3.4%) were other common answers.

Prescription medication may have a hand in many sexual feelings of anxiety; 20% of surveyed women reported taking a psychotropic drug, such as an antidepressant, and these substances often have a negative influence on one’s overall sexual life. However, the use of oral contraceptives was not found to have any effect on sexual functioning.

“Sexual wellbeing is recognized as a fundamental human right. It is of great concern that one in five young women have an apparent sexual dysfunction and half of all women within this age group experience sexually-related personal distress,” says senior author and Professor of Women’s Health at Monash University, Susan Davis, in a release. “This is a wake-up call to the community and signals the importance of health professionals being open and adequately prepared to discuss young women’s sexual health concerns.”

In total, 6,986 women took part in the research, all hailing from various areas across Australia. Each woman filled out a questionnaire that asked about sexual desire, arousal, self-image, and orgasms. Participants were also asked about any sexually-associated personal distress. Questions on demographics were included as well.

Roughly one third of respondents described themselves as single, 47% had a normal BMI, and just under 70% reported being sexually active within one month of taking the survey.

A particularly interesting finding was that women who reported “habitually” monitoring their appearance, and admitted to largely basing their own self-worth on their appearance, were almost always less sexually assertive and more self-conscious during sexual or intimate acts with a partner. Overall, these women also reported less sexual pleasure.

“The high prevalence of sexually-related personal distress signals the importance of health professionals, particularly those working in the fields of gynecology and fertility, being adequately prepared to routinely ask young women about any sexual health concerns, and to have an appropriate management or referral pathway in place,” Professor Davis concludes.

 

 

How To Deal With Sadness Around The Holidays, According To Experts

“Hey, We’re all here for you.”

If there were ever a time of year that energy hangs heaviest and most potently on humanity, it would probably be the holiday season. If you feel sad during the holidays, even knowing that it’s a common experience doesn’t always make the ache dissipate. But there are simple things you can do to cope that might make the twinkling lights and constant carols easier to bear if you’re in the midst of a rough time internally.

“Holidays may serve as a strong reminder that things in our life are not quite where we want or expect them to be,” Dr Victoria Chialy Smith, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice, tells Bustle. “We may feel a wide variety of emotions including longing, regret, anger, sadness, and depression.”

Smith says the unresolved feelings the holidays can evoke are understandable. Perhaps you’ve experienced loss that feels particularly hard this time of year, or the financial expectations of the season leave you feeling you stressed and self-critical. Smith says to first and foremost give yourself permission to feel the sadness and heavy feelings. There is no need to get on your own case about not being full of cheer and serenity.

“Meet all of these difficult emotions with compassion,” Smith says, and think about doing that by staying grounded in the present when you start getting a wave of old memories, regrets, longings, or difficult emotions. “Try to stay connected to the peace of the present moment by tuning into your breath or what is immediately going on around you,” she says.

Dr. Jo Eckler, a chronic illness coach, clinical psychologist, and author of I Can’t Fix You Because You’re Not Broken: The Eight Keys to Freeing Yourself from Painful Thoughts and Feelings tells Bustle something similar. Don’t squash down the feelings you’re having, and don’t feel the need to act like your blood is made of glitter when you’re actually feeling bummed. You don’t have to pretend.

Eckler also points out that this time of year is “a ripe time for the comparison trap.” Disengage from compare and despair behaviors, though, friends, be it on social media, in conversation, or just in your own head as you walk through the holiday markets, feeling a bit glum.

“We see images of families laughing together in handmade matching PJ’s and frolicking, or super lovey-dovey couples,” Eckler says. “And even though we might have good families or partners ourselves, it’s hard to live up to a posed picture.”

 

As for the expectation to get on board the holiday activity train? Well, especially if parties, gatherings, and celebrations feel triggering, there is certainly no need for you to be the belle of each holiday ball. But that said, isolation is something you want to avoid when you’re dealing with sadness or symptoms of depression, Dr. Rebecca Cowan, of Anchor Counseling & Wellness, LLC, tells Bustle.

“When people become sad and depressed, they tend to want to isolate, and this only worsens these symptoms,” Cowan says. “Balance is key, and so is implementing a self-care plan.”

That means things like sleeping, eating enough, sharing with friends, doing things that make you feel relaxed and happy, and Cowan says, getting some sunlight. At least 30 minutes a day.

Counselor Jessica Eiseman, based out of Texas, tells Bustle that it can also be helpful to begin to create your own traditions, to make the holidays something you can enjoy. She brings up the term “un-holidays.”

“Maybe you don’t fit into traditional standards or expectations for the season,” Eiseman says. “Maybe you don’t celebrate at all or you take a trip by yourself. The most important piece being that you create some meaning based on what you enjoy and brings a little peace, if not happiness.”

Eiseman also says that if you aren’t already, visiting a therapist can be really helpful. And if the feelings seem to be worsening, or they are affecting things like your appetite and ability to sleep, do reach out for professional help as soon as possible.

And remember, it’s really OK to feel the heaviness this time of year. It’s palpable, and we are sensitive creatures! Just do what you can to take care of you. Consider it a holiday gift to yourself.

 

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Tales of Rock – Kurt Cobain Kills Himself Twice

“Like Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, he was 27 years old when he died.

And let us not forget Amy Winehouse who also died at age 27.”

Few musicians’ experiences with drug abuse have been as complex and intense as Kurt Cobain’s. For proof of this, see the index of Charles Cross’ 2001 Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven. If you check, “Cobain, Kurt Donald; drug use of…” you’ll basically be instructed to read the entire book. He started off heavily averse to heroin; during his formative years, a friend suggested they try it and he stopped hanging out with him in response. He eventually tried the drug; when asked how it was by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, he shrugged, “Oh, it was all right.” But his habit escalated.

By the time Nirvana appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1992, Cobain was so deep in heroin addiction that he was vomiting and barely able to stand right until the time came to perform. He somehow pulled it together long enough to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Territorial Pissings” on live television. In March 1994, Cobain attempted suicide for the first time by washing down a large dose of flunitrazepam with champagne while in Rome. He nearly died and ended up in a coma for a day (Novoselic claimed that, mentally, he was never the same after this).

Within weeks he was back in Seattle, crashing on his daughter’s junkie nanny’s girlfriend’s couch and popping out occasionally to purchase speedballs and burritos. Cross quotes the girlfriend as saying, “He’d sit in my living room with the hat with the ear coverings, and read magazines. People came and went; there was always a lot of activity going on. Nobody knew he was there or recognized him.” By the end of the month, Cobain was given an intervention and packed off to rehab in California. But he soon escaped the facility by scaling a six-foot wall and, improbably, found a seat on a flight back to Seattle next to Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan.

Despite beef between Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses, the two bonded, finding a great deal of common ground as famous musicians from the Pacific Northwest with heroin problems. Once back at his house, Cobain reattempted suicide and this time he meant business. He injected a lethal dose of heroin and then blasted himself in the head with a shotgun, effectively killing himself twice. Like Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, he was 27 years old when he died.

And let us not forget Amy Winehouse who also died at age 27.

Another sad rock and roll tragedy. Showbiz is the only industry that eats it’s young.

Check this out:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/27_Club

A footnote from phicklephilly: “I never understood suicide. You get one chance to be here, why leave early if you don’t have to? Suicide’s for quitters. I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression my whole life. I’ve beaten the shit out of them both (without drugs) and now we’re all on the same side. Suicide is always a long term solution to usually a temporary problem. I just don’t get it, Kurt. I was in a band when I was younger. It was an amazing experience. Kurt, you play music for a living. You’re in a famous genre inspiring band. You’re surrounded by a gaggle of moist women. Your bank account is full and your nuts are empty. WTF?”

 

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