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Sea Hag
Attended Ship Wreck Island
Lives in Lady Emotion Beach
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My most read piece to date with well over 2000 hits.  The cat's outta the bag kids and the results are in.
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More snark from the Bay Area's surliest Seahag.....
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This is my latest Blog entry.  A humorous, soul searching look at women grappling with their sexuality.  Enjoy.
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"There's no way I'm going to this" I told my friend Amy.  It wasn't just that I was freshly dumped, and feeling tender about approaching middle age without a family of my own.  I had also spent the last twenty years working as a waitress for a living; not quit the expected career outcome of a former gate student.  And to top it off, in my spare time I was performing belly dance and burlesque in San Francisco nightclubs.  For many of my conservative classmates still living in the valley, I might as well say I'm a stripper and call it a day.  I'd already dealt with the small scale version of this reconnecting on Facebook, fielding questions like "What happened to you?" from those who disapproved of my lifestyle.  The very idea of meeting scornful schoolfellows face to face sent shivers down my spine.  I didn't have a husband, kids, a house, or even a decent car; the very hallmarks of adulthood.  So what did I have to show for myself?  

    High school had been socially challenging.  A rocky childhood had left me an introverted and insecure teen, outwardly rebellious and inwardly distrustful of people and their institutions.  As a result, I never felt like I fit in, and truth be told, I still didn't.  Go to my high school twenty year reunion?  No.  Absolutely not.  But when the day came I had a sudden change of heart.  For one thing, Amy had offered a sort of compromise.  "Screw the reunion" she'd suggested, "who wants to pay for that kind of awkwardness and bad food?  We're all going to meet at a downtown bar instead, and eventually everyone from the reunion is gonna end up there anyway."  This idea really appealed.  It was more like crashing the reunion than attending it.  I could handle that.

    But the fun of being a party crasher wasn't the only reason I'd changed my mind.  It had dawned on me that the people we went to school with are a lot like family; we didn't choose them, and we may not even like them, but for better or worse, they were there with us during those formative years - through acne and braces - watching the interplay of forces that eventually made us what we are twenty years later.  As such, our one time classmates are important mirrors in our lives; offering a unique perspective from which to reflect on who we have become, from the vantage point of who we have been.  Few people are better suited to witness the epic scope of our lives.  The fact that I was at a tender point in my own life's journey actually made this a perfect moment to take a long look at my path, by taking a short detour down memory lane.  I realized I was curious what time would tell about me.

      Thus I changed my tune and attempted to bolster my confidence with the following reminders.  It's true, I'd always been a little different from the others, and probably still would be; but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  I was, after all, the reigning "Most Individualistic" student of 1990.  Didn't I kinda owe it to everyone else to keep representing "that" girl; the one that was always just a little left of center?  As I drove my city beater into the valley from which it came, I stared into my reflection in the rear view mirror and reasoned, "You don't have to do this you know."  But she merely stared back at me, nervous but resolute; we were going in and there was no turning back now.
    
       So I headed into my hometown, and bellied up at the bar with Amy, waiting for the reunion to come to us.  Looking back now, I'll admit that perhaps drinking all afternoon is not the way to go when you plan on having intelligent conversations with people you haven't seen in a long time; especially if you hope to convince them your life isn't in total shambles.  Good thing for me, by the time the reunion aftermath rolled in; I wasn't the only one who'd been indulging in libations.  Yet despite copious cocktails, at the sight of my old associates, I'll admit, my teenage anxiety came crashing in around me.  I was frozen on my barstool, convincing myself with a cruel interior dialogue that I would surely be shunned, if not publicly ridiculed when suddenly Cindy Middleton called out my name and threw her arms around my neck.  

    As cheerful and sweet as ever, Cindy launched right in as if we hadn't missed a day.  "You're in SF now right?  Doing some sort of performance I think?"  There wasn't even a hint of admonishment in her tone, so I relaxed and filled her in a bit.  Much to my surprise, she lavished me with accolades.  "I look at all your photos on Facebook.  You look so glamourous for your shows!" she offered, adding, "You always were so creative."  Wow.  OK, not what I was expecting.  

    "Is that what you do full time?" she wondered.  I tried to make the word "waitress" sound as appealing as I could, mentioning the name of the restaurant I work in as an afterthought.  "Are you kidding?  I've read all about that place.  It's a hot spot for celebrities right?  With a famous Chef?"  True, I wasn't Flo taking orders while smacking on gum in a greasy spoon, but bragging about my job was a novel experience.  "Yeah" I nodded, slightly embarrassed.  "Gosh, I've always wanted to eat there" she gushed, "Maybe one of these days."      
    
    "What about you?" I asked, desperate to take the attention off myself.  Cindy explained that she worked as a hairdresser and was now living in Fresno.   "I really envy you living in the City!" she said, telling me of her lifelong love affair with San Francisco.  "Wish I could afford it, but living there is just too expensive" she sighed.  "I decided I wanted to buy a home, so I ended up staying in the valley."  Did I note a hint of apology in her explanation?  Maybe I wasn't the only one who was worried I'd be judged for my choices.  "It's true" I agreed, "By living in the city, I've pretty much given up on the idea of owning my own home; especially now that I'm single" I told her.

    "What about love?" I asked.  "Married?  Relationship?"  "Ugh, don't ask" she groaned.  I recently ended an engagement.  Turns out; he was already married!  Can you believe that?  I was supporting this guy too; bought him all kinds of clothes……. paid the mortgage, everything.   One day, he went home to visit his family in Eastern Europe, and just never came back.  When I called him, I thought it was his mother who answered. Turns out, it was his wife."  I was stunned.  Sure, I'd just had a breakup too, but damn!  It wasn't like that.  "Wow, I'm sorry."   "Oh well" she chimed in with a resilient chuckle, "What are ya gonna do?  I still have my home, and I"ll get over it."  

    As I ended my chat with Cindy, I had several epiphanies.  Once upon a time, I too wished I would someday live in San Francisco, and now it was actually my home.  True I didn't have a "career" in the traditional sense of the word.  But I did have a job at a cool spot that afforded me a life in the city I loved, and gave me enough time off to pursue my artistic interests.  Looking at it again through Cindy's eyes, I realized that perhaps I'd been a little hard on myself.  Sure, my old friend was a bit drunk and most likely just being nice, but after several more minutes listening to her describing my life as fun and exciting, I was really starting to feel more like a rockstar than a reject.  I was so thankful we'd reconnected; if only for a moment.  Perhaps attending this reunion wasn't so bad after all.  

    Soon, however, I was sharing a table with the ever popular, miss Jennifer Jones.   We'd been friends in 7th and 8th grade, but by the time we'd reached High School, we existed in such different social spheres we might as well have lived on different planets.  Encouraged by my conversation with Cindy, and getting more intoxicated by the second, I was ready to put my fears aside and shove off my status as a social outcast.  But regardless of how many times I looked in Jennifer's direction, she refused to make eye contact with me.  I knew I shouldn't let this get under my skin; but it was starting to feel like high school all over again.  She wouldn't have acknowledged my existence then, why now?  Bracing myself for rejection, I decided to force a conversation.  At my clumsy greeting, she turned towards me with a somewhat exasperated sigh and a roll of the eyes and finally gave a dour "Hello."  
    
    "What's up Jennifer, Long time…… how are you?" I asked, feeling stupid.  Small talk is already just about the most gauche thing I can imagine; and twenty years later small talk with someone who clearly doesn't want to have a conversation with you is in a category of social awkwardness all of it's own.  Where do you start?  What do you say?  It seems what would be expected is a play by play of our life achievements, a body count of kids, and a declaration of how happy we are.  That was exactly the conversation I was hoping to avoid.  When Jennifer answered with something far more deep and intimate, I was absolutely shocked.  

    Seeming somewhat fragile, she began filling me in on the story of her life.  She'd married her High School sweetheart, and had never left our tiny hometown.  In the years that followed she had two sons.  While the story started off sweetly enough, it soon took a turn for the worse.  Jennifer's first love developed a serious drinking problem, and after many hard years, had run her family into ruin.  After a messy divorce, he'd then tragically committed suicide, leaving her with a huge amount of debt, and two unruly boys to raise alone.  She admitted, "I never thought I would be this kind of parent: but I just can't control them.  My kids run right over me, and there's nothing I can do about it……"  Eventually, she did meet someone else; a kind man whom she loved; but their relationship had faced challenges.  She admitted to feeling unworthy of finding love again and guilty about bringing anyone new into this admittedly difficult situation.  
    
    I was floored.  I knew only too well the pain alcoholism inflicts on a family; having grown up with a drunk mother, but I'd never imagined that Jennifer Jones, who had seemed to have one of those magically perfect lives, would ever share a similar fate with me.  Earlier, I had assumed that Jennifer still considered herself too good to talk to me.  It had never occurred to me that maybe she was the one who felt insecure about exposing herself to me.   While I was genuinely touched that she'd chosen to share such intimate details of her life, I had to wonder, why me?  Perhaps she remembered childhood stories about my shaky family and felt that I would relate.  Maybe it was the Cosmo she'd been glumly nursing.  But could it have been my status as an outsider that made her feel like she could say anything without fear of being judged?  After some heartfelt words we parted ways, not necessarily as friends, but as two people who had shared an honest moment; one that had really made me reconsider both my own situation, and my assumptions about others.

    I was still reeling from this dose of reality when an unfamiliar voice sang out my name and suddenly Blake Roberts was sitting beside me asking, "How's life?"  I looked at him incredulously.  "By that do you mean my whole life?" I asked, bewildered, "Because, if I'm not mistaken, we've never spoken in our lives."  Blake chuckled and offered me a drink.  "I guess you're right" said the varsity swimmer, and big man on campus who, before tonight, I was certain didn't even know I was alive.  "Doesn't mean we can't start now right?"  With that, the best all around, and the all around geek toasted to our new friendship and began chatting about our very different lives.  

    While I was a working class artist, residing in a city, single and without kids, Blake had married the "expected" girl, had two children, and moved to a small town on the East Coast to focus on a well paying career and caring for his family.  He showed me pictures of a pretty wife, a beautiful house by the water, and two adorable kids.  I described what it was like to live with 16 people in an art collective, and the backstage antics of my world as a performer in variety shows.  Then as now, we shared little in common, but nonetheless we had an easy report.  Perhaps rendering each other's gardens greener, each of us seemed to enjoy existing vicariously through one another's  stories.  Still, I was slightly taken aback when Blake offered this; "Don't get me wrong, I love my kids…… and my wife for that matter.  But being married and having a family?" he shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know.  It's hard!  And having kids takes a lot of money and a lot of work.  What we have is a lifestyle, and it requires a substantial income.  I'm lucky if I even get to see my family I work so much to afford them."  I sighed, "I would have given anything to marry my X and have kids, but it didn't work out that way."  "Guess we always want what we don't have" he said with a grin, raising his glass to mine again.  And with that, we toasted, and he bid me farewell; heading off to continue circulating around the room.

    Perhaps he was right, I pondered, knocking back the rest of my cocktail just as Amy pulled me onto the dance floor.  As we boogied down to classic hits from our era, I overheard other bar patrons chortled under their breath, "What's with all the drunk, old people?"  To this I simply laughed.  I guess it was true; twenty years past graduation, well into our rich and varied lives, we weren't kids anymore.  Each of us had a story to tell; and not a single life was without some sort of hardship or regret.  Tomorrow we would go back to our regular routines, but tonight here we were, drunkenly shaking our asses and having a great time like we we were 18 again and didn't have a care in the world.   As the group on the dance floor grew smaller and more faded, Blake came bursting back onto the scene like a ball of energy.  "Where we goin' after this?" he beamed at the exhausted revelers, groaning their refusals.  Most of these folks had kids to wake up with in the morning, and were unaccustomed to late nights.  I, on the other hand, had no pressing obligations; no little ones waiting for me.  "Nobody?" he pushed, not wanting to waste a rare night of freedom.  When it was obvious nobody else was game, and I was decidedly drunk enough to no longer care what the others would think, I finally piped up.  "Well, I have a joint."  "Fantastic!" he exploded, taking my hand as our former classmates looked on in stunned horror.  "Blake Roberts is leaving here with her?  To smoke pot?" I heard one girl say in shock, watching as our most unlikely duo headed out the door.             Soon we were sitting in his parents SUV, hot boxing like Cheech and Chong.  In a cloud of smoke, Blake was recounting a wilder time in his life when he and an ex girlfriend had moved to Mexico on a whim.  "Living on the beach, taking each day as came", he recalled with a dreamy sigh, "that was the most free and happy time in my life."  Suddenly overcome with his revelry, he leaned excitedly into the backseat and pulled something red, white and blue out of the depths of the vehicle.  In a flash, Blake was barechested, removing his polo top and replacing it with an old high school Patriots sweatshirt.  "Still fits!" he stated proudly, as we both pretended to ignore just how snug it had actually become.  As our laughter faded into an overly long silence, I noticed him giving me a funny look, and before I knew what had happened, he'd swooped in and kissed me squarely on the lips.  I think we both sat there slightly shocked for a minute.  And when I smiled and said I'd better go, he didn't disagree.  As I walked away, he called out after me.  "Hey!  Thank you.  This has been the best conversation I've had all evening.  You're a cool girl, and I really enjoyed finally getting to know you."  With that, I kissed my hand and waved goodbye, leaving him staring after me as I disappeared into the night.
    
    It's probably a blessing that there's not a single photo of me from the reunion, or it's after party; no proof that I was ever even there.  What I remember as profound, probably appeared drunken and messy.  Even here.  But regardless, these unlikely conversations enabled me to remember that I actually had realized several of my life goals; to get out of my home town, to live in San Francisco, and to be an artist.   While I romanticized the idea of having a career, a husband, children, or a home, the truth was that no path was necessarily better or easier than another, and each road came with it's own set of costs, challenges and obstacles.  Perhaps I was still different from my peers, but that merely gave me and my life character, and allowed others to interact with me in ways they might not have otherwise.  I had to admit, attending my twenty year reunion was a detour worth taking.  Maybe I'd never been a homecoming queen, but as I headed back SF, crossing the sparkling Bay with the triumphant sky line looming behind, coming home had rarely felt as sweet.  
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  Are most women size queens?  Recently I polled an informal group of lady friends to ask a very big question; when it comes to choosing a man, how much does penis size really matter?  The results may surprise you.  Not one of the women I spoke to admitted they'd dismiss a man for being too small, but several claimed that there was definitely such a thing as not being small enough.  Several had frightened faces to match hilarious pantomimes of reveals that had been more than they'd expected.  "Where do you think you're putting that?!" was the distress cry of one friend faced with more than she could chew.  These women were all keen to emphasis the importance of a sizable heart, hefty sense of humor, or even packed pocket book over any profuse part of a man's anatomy.  While my ladies sported big dreams of finding love, it would seem that something burly in the jeans didn't measure high on their list of priorities.
    Perhaps nobody else will speak up, but I'm gonna be honest here.  I've met a man (or two) whose chimney cleaner was insufficient in tackling my dirt.  When one man I dated in college finally unleashed a pinky sized appendage after months of hot and heavy dating, I'll admit, I had obligatory sex with him to save both of us the embarrassment of aborting the mission mid-launch, but never answered his calls again.  Brutal I know, but true.  It was not by luck, but rather design that all the men I'd dated for any length of time had been amply blessed -- or could certainly meet a comfortable norm in the nob department.  If a man wasn't filling my sandwich with a big salami; there wasn't going to be a picnic.  Thus for me, the problem of size had never really come up (so to speak) when it came to my relationships.  That is; until I met Miguel.  
    It was a night in late Spring when I'd finally tired of sitting in my room crying over my X.  When some friends invited me to meet them in the Mission for a hilarious show, I surprised them all by saying yes.  I needed to go out, laugh, and take this first and important step towards getting back on the horse.  Since I don't actually have a horse, I took the next best and jumped on my bike.  While locking up in front of a restaurant across the street from the venue, I noticed a waiter watching me through the window.  My mojo was so rusty at this point I think I may have appeared confused when he first smiled at me.  After nearly tripping on a crack in the sidewalk trying to figure out if it he was actually looking at me, I barely managed to return an embarrassed grin in his direction before quickly rushing across the street towards my waving friends.
    Hours later, heading back to my ride with several cups of liquid courage now coursing through my veins, I  had a touch more swagger when Miguel came out to introduce himself to me.  "I kept an eye on your bike for you" he said.  Completely charmed by this act of urban chivalry, I smiled warmly and I gave him my name.  "I was just closing up" he said, "but would you care to come in for a night-cap?"  When my heart fluttered just a little bit; it felt like the first time it had beat in months.  How could I refuse.  I followed him into the empty restaurant.
    Three glasses of Argentinian red later, we'd covered topics from God to Gaga, and found plenty of common ground.  We were both moonlighting waiters with side jobs in the arts.  Both bicultural children of immigrant parents.  And, perhaps most important of all, both freshly out of long term relationships.  Suddenly, Miguel turned serious and said, "I don't know if I'm really ready to date anyone yet."  To his surprise, this declaration brought a huge smile to my face.  "Me either" I confided chuckling, suddenly feeling amazingly relaxed as I let out a huge exhale.  Over the next several hours, as we continued to share our stories, two things became very clear; neither of us was in a position to start anything serious with somebody new, but we were both smitten with this new connection we'd found in each other.
    It might be easy for your head to know what's best in a situation like this, but not as clear to your heart or your hoo hoo.  Thus, over the next several weeks you might not be surprised to learn that Miguel and I soon became inseparable.  It started with him cooking a dinner for me at his house; which to this day, stands as one of the most mouth watering meals of my life.  My affection for him escalated as I discovered regular offerings of flowers and little gifts left on my car.  A week later, after some convincing on his part, my crush sky rocketed after a long session purring on my back with his tongue skillfully stroking my clit.  When he didn't push for any reciprocation, I was convinced this guy was too good to be true!  I had to wonder, what was the catch and when was the bottom gonna fall out?  Putting my fears aside, it wasn't long before I decided that I was ready to take the plunge and introduce sex into our equation.
    When the big night rolled around, I was nervous.  Even though I felt really comfortable with Miguel, it was still a little strange to be with somebody who wasn't my X.  Maybe he felt the same, so we really took our time that first night.  Up to this point, I'd kept my petting pretty PG13, so I wasn't sure what I could expect after the clothes finally came off.  When the cat was out of the bag, and it wasn't the beast I was hoping for, I can't say I was totally surprised.  Generally speaking, Miguel wasn't a large man, and his penis was in perfect proportion to the rest of his body.  I'd hoped that perhaps some freak accident of nature had endowed him with one gift of abundant size, but no such luck.  Nonetheless, I wasn't about to let this one small problem get in our way.
    So I carried on undeterred, and you know what?  It was awesome!  What Miguel lacked in size, he more than made up for in stamina.  Not only was he voracious (we may have had sex five times that first night), he was an extremely giving lover.  By the time we fell into a sweaty post climax pile next to each other on the bed, I'd forgotten all about my former preoccupation with the package.  I wouldn't be repeating my college fuck n' run with the pinky man, this was going to work out just fine.  
    The next morning was punctuated both by the sweet afterglow of good sex, but also that hint of nervousness the first time you wake up with somebody new.  Miguel handled that in the best possible way; with a repeat performance.  Afterwards, as I showered while he made me breakfast, I wondered; had I been missing the boat all along?  Dating guys who brought little more to the table than their big dick?  When I thought of how giving Miguel had been in bed, I was embarrassed by all the men I'd let take their pleasure from me without reciprocation.  Was it possible that Miguel's short-comings were precisely what made him so fantastic?  Were less endowed men willing to work harder to make up for what they lacked?
    As the weeks went on, however, my size queen ways began to resurface.  Miguel proved continuously bounteous.  He was sensitive, giving, and generous in the ways that actually mattered.  But nonetheless, after the initial thrill of a new partner had begun to wane, in the heat of the moment I did find myself fantasizing about being split in two by a meat missile more than once.  As we lay in bed together starring into each others eyes, I felt a mix of emotions.  It seemed premature to fall for someone so soon after my breakup, but I was beginning to ask myself, was this the man for me?  And if so, was a ready to give up big cock forever?  Perhaps if Miguel could have read my mind, he wouldn't have chosen that moment to tell me,  "I think I'm falling in love with you."  What's a girl to do in a situation like this?  You can't say, "That's nice" or "Good for you" with an encouraging pat.  You either return the affection or you don't.  While I adored this sweet, well-disposed man before me, the bottom line was, packing or not, I just wasn't ready to hold that kind of space for another person.  I simply kissed him and we fell into a bout of amorous love making; but my heart wasn't really in it.
    Maybe Miguel could read my mind after all.  Even though I hadn't said anything, I think we both knew the truth.  And even though he'd said the words, I really had to wonder if he was truly ready for love himself?  A week later, I got my answer.  Very late on the night of a planned date he canceled last minute due to sickness.  When another week passed and I hadn't heard from him again, I knew it was over.  Was this my karma for kicking "Pinky" to the curb oh so long ago?  A "what goes around comes around" moment if you will?  Perhaps.  Nonetheless, when I called Miguel, and he finally broke up with me over the phone, I was livid.  "Really?  Like this!?" I asked, hurt by his emotional reversal and insensitive handling of our separation.  "Were you even going to call me?" I questioned .  "I don't know what to say" was his meager reply.  I wanted to tell him to "Grow some balls, and a dick while you're at it!" but I knew I wasn't being fair.  So I simply said a brief good-bye and hung up the phone.  I was resolved; once a size queen, always a size queen.  And to that I say ladies; gag on it!
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A girl can only eat so much ice cream while crying.  Soon, face and belly equally bloated, that evil little voice on your shoulder is right; you really are pathetic and nobody else will ever love you!  So now what?  It’s time to put down the spoon and the snot rag, and get on the phone.

Step 1; Hags!

If you’re a women, you’ve probably made the classic mistake of neglecting your girlfriends after you met that looser you thought was Mr. Right.  Now that it’s gone all wrong, you may feel sheepish about calling in the aid of your mislaid mistresses.  You’re right!  You fucked up!  But take this as a lesson learned and realize that your girlfriends have probably made the same mistake; thus they’re really in no position to judge.  Be further reassured that social etiquette will prevent them from mentioning this blaring over site until well after the initial crises has passed — and they will; but that’s another story for another time.  So call in the national guard of your lady friends and cry cry cry away on their shoulders.  This is your big chance to have an epic sized pity party and invite all your closest friends — so Indulge!  To maximize effect; just add alcohol!  Once they chime in about their loves lost and the men who did them wrong, you can officially call it a soiree!  And you know what that means?  Technically you’re social life is not over.  And also; there are still people out there who love you!  Why else would they put up with this kind of sub-standard treatment and still listen to your bullshit!  So guess what girl?  You’re not alone!  And furthermore you’re back in the gentle bosom of your hag sisters.  Stay there!  You’re gonna need need them in the days to come.

Step 2; Fags!

For some of you, this might conjure images of smoking a pack and a 1/2 a day until the pain of your broken heart subsides.  I’m not one to advocate for the tobacco industry; so snuff out those nasty butts and listen up!  What I actually had in mind was calling in the wisdom of our man loving brethren.  Do you think for one minute your lovely neighborhood fag is sitting at home listening to Tori Amos and boo hooing about the one who did him wrong?  Well, OK, yes, maybe for one minute; but then that’s it!   He’s out looking for some strange before the toilet paper roll has to be changed. 

As conventional logic puts it; the fastest way to get over one fool is to get under another!   Or, as a recently cheated on gay pal of mine put it; “I guess it’s time to go back to fucking boys who just aren’t that special.”  And that’s exactly what he did.  With a little no nonsense clear communication about his situation and the unavailability of his heart, he offered a cozy spot in his bed to his short list of former lovers and once fantasized about suitors, and found takers for his offer in no time.  While the saga of his break-up is by no means over, it probably felt pretty good for him to tell his X —now eager for reconciliation — that he’d have to think about it, while adding, “…..and while I think about it, continue doing what you want, because now I too am sleeping with other people.” 

Perhaps it’s more complicated for us women.  After all, we ladies tend to confuse sex and love more than men.  But when it comes to a post breakup get down, I think we can learn something from our fag friends.  Although your girlfriends might give prudent warnings not rush into anything new, a gay is gonna give it to you straight.  Let’s face it, there’s nothing like an orgasm for lifting the spirits and putting a little spring back in your step when your feeling blue.  After a breakup, your heart is broken, but your vagina is still working just fine.  Go on out there and get your groove back the old fashioned way — naked and writhing with someone whose name has slipped your mind.

Step 3; Bags!

After a breakup, you basically have an obligation to care for yourself like never before.  This will probably be really refreshing after all the energy you’ve put into your relationship and it’s aftermath.  Finally!  It’s all about you!  So get into it and really spoil yourself!  Perhaps there’s a special something you’ve been pining after for months but thought it was too extravagant to splurge on?  Well, here’s your chance!  Wether it’s that sexy pair of strappy and completely unpractical shoes, a Louis Vuitton bag, or a trip to Spain — don’t wait another minute!  Do something nice for yourself with some very external immediate gratification.

Once the retail therapy has commenced, however, you’ll probably find that your happiness, while intense, was fleeting.  So what now?  Ladies, this is where the real treat come in.  You’re gonna have to lighten your load; and that means giving up some of this baggage you’ve begun to carry around with you everywhere you go.  As friends become less sympathetic to your enduring drama, drunken evenings out grow old, and no amount of new clothes & makeup in the world could truly make you feel better, you’re gonna have to put down the bags and do some soul searching.  How did you end up here and how can you do it better next time?

It’s always easier to give advice than to take it; but rest assured ladies; I took a heaping spoonful of my own medicine, and I’ll be sharing the success and failures of my remedies as this blog continues.  Stay tuned for more messages in a bottle from lady emotion beach; and if you are in the midst of a breakup right now, start at step one, move down the list, and repeat; as many times as necessary until you’re shipwrecked no more.
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In her circles
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Have her in circles
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A story about searching for love, everywhere and anywhere, in the big city.....
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Humor on humor.  Please enjoy.
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Sea Hag

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Not everything that happens during a breakup is the stuff of tragic tales.  For example, loosing my appetite for months after being dumped gave me a much needed kick start dropping that "comfort" weight I'd put on during my long running relationship.  When my depression diet had done all it could, I decided to handle the rest the old fashioned way.  I laid off the proverbial bonbons and soap operas and got my buxom bum to the gym.  Sure, in the beginning I had to do a bit of self bargaining to get myself there, but after awhile, I was completely addicted to the endorphins; not to mention the new budding muscles I was discovering in my arms and legs.  Perhaps more importantly, I quickly found that gaining physical strength similarly affected my emotional state as well.  Before too long, melancholy theatrics were a thing of the past and a new life story had begun; one that had me feeling like there just might be a happy ending after all.

I'm not a morning person, so I frequented an afternoon weight training class taught by a no nonsense gay with boot camp demeanor.  Generally speaking, he seemed downright pissed at us - sputtering weakly through reps as he chided our general wimpiness - but I didn't mind his tough love approach.  Exercise was meant to be difficult; and toughing it out was a part of the process.  While I rallied for the difficult session ahead, I would often amuse myself watching the class which came before; a room full of uncoordinated, scarlet faced people gyrating somewhat lewdly to Latin music.  All in all, an embarrassing spectacle from my estimation.  As the classes shifted, and we serious weight lifters and our stern instructor took the place of these drenched, smiling dancers, I watched with mild disgust as students rushed into a line to hug their sweat soaked teacher, Don Julio.  Really?  Blech!  A bunch of star struck, smitten women hot for teacher.  This was my take on Zumba and I wanted none of it.  

But the next week, I had trouble sleeping.  Finding myself awake hours before my regular class would begin and restless for the gym, I think sleep deprivation must have gotten the best of me.  I decided to bypass my inhibitions, go to Zumba, and check out what all this fuss was about first hand.  Trouble was, I soon found out taking Don Julio's class was no easy task; requiring getting my name on a lengthy list, and braving a line of pushy women eager to claim territory on the dance floor.  Gym personnel were given the formidable task of managing the unruly group; the threat of mutiny quit real in the growing pandemonium of rustling sweatpants and squeaking tennis shoe rubber.  As I was pushed from behind by a Chinese woman half my size and twice my age, I started to question my decision to come.  But it was too late to turn back.  Once the doors swung open, these aggressive Zumbaholics charged, carrying me along in their wake.  Several arguments erupted in the aftermath as groups of allied ladies fell into turf disputes.  My gawd!  These ladies were behaving like this an Usher concert, not an exercise class.

Once hard battles had been fought and won, I found myself sandwiched unhappily into the back most corner of the room.  Though it was nearly ten after, there was still no teacher in sight and the anticipation was palpable.  When at long last Don Julio showed up, he looked like some short, less attractive B Boy version of Mario Van Peebles.  Was this really him?  The man these ladies were so hot for?  I was not impressed with the package or lack of punctuality.  My classmates, however, were undisturbed by his tardiness.  Rather than annoyance, he was met by a cheering crowd of grateful, eager dancers.  He said nothing; simply put the music on and began to dance; everyone easily falling into step all around me.  I was a fish out of water.  Sadly, from my corner, I could barely see what was happening, let alone follow the foreign movements.  So I sussed out the best little booty shaker in my vicinity and did my best to keep up with her.  As I moved clumsily through Salsa and Cumbia inspired routines, I noticed the usual suspects from weight training gathering outside, curiously watching me through the glass doors.  Ugh!  Now who was red faced?  With an exasperated puff of air I blew my bangs from my eyes, pin pointed the clock, and started counting the minutes till this nonsense was over and I could leave.   

As the next song ended to more jubilation from the crowd, suddenly everything changed.  Don Julio reoriented his position in the room, and just like that, my shitty little spot in the corner had become beach front property to the wavelike undulations of our smooth as silk instructor.  Ok, sure, I had to admit, this guy had some suavemente moves, but whatever.  All I cared about was finally being able to see well enough to actually follow the choreography.  Step ball change, with a pelvic roll, and a thrust.  It took almost as much effort to learn the sequence as to fight off my embarrassment to be doing these crazy moves in public, under harsh light, without the aid of several alcoholic beverages.  And then it got even worse.  

As Pitbull's Hip Hop anthem "Pause" pounded away over the speakers, Don Julio began rolling his hips around like the bastard love child of Elvis and Rico Suave.  Soon, he was making his way through the expectant ladies, hoping to be the next one flirted with.  When he stopped in front of me, I was mortified.  I dropped my eyes from his gaze, but now there was nothing to do but watch his hands lifting his shirt while caressing his own body, slowly exposing the brown, smooth, sweaty skin covering the rippling six pack of his abs.  Um, did it just get really fucking hot in here?  I looked around me for some sort of support or at least a witness.  I almost felt like I shouldn't be watching this.  Was this a gym class or a scene from Magic Mike?   I panicked and looked back up, but now he was starring right into my eyes, mouthing the words to the ridiculous song; "Look, I got what you need to get you hooked/ I steal all your hearts I'm a crook."   I pretended to be unaffected, but truth be told, I was giddy as a school girl.  Had he lingered I might have accidentally yelled out "take it off!"  Perhaps nobody else could tell, but exertion alone hadn't caused my face to flush like this.  Had this man straight up seduced me in the middle of a Zumba class?

After that, I was hooked.  I found out where and when Don Julio was teaching and made sure I was there too.  Some may call this stalking but it passed as a commendable commitment to my physical fitness.  Each week, I made sure I was in the front row with a look that said I was ready to take out anybody who challenged me.  And soon, much to my delight, my initiative paid off.  I was finally getting the hang of this dance style, learning lots of crazy new ways to pump my abdomen, pop my chest, or ride and lasso an imaginary horse.  Don't we all need a few of these moves in our repertoire?  And all the while I was lavished with plenty of special attention from the object of my desire; both on and off the dance floor.  When class was over, I'd slip into my bikini for a soak in the rooftop hot-tub, and before too long, Don Julio would break away from his entourage of devoted Zumba groupies to come chat me up over my steamy bath.  Just add bubbles and you had the sudsy makings of a dishy new daytime romance.  This was all going just according to plan.  

But the plot thickens.  Needless to say, I wasn't the only lady in class with a hidden agenda.  Soon enough, I was as familiar with the routines as the expected cast of other regulars vying for some of Don Julio's Dance Fever.  Perhaps most noteworthy of the bunch, a mother and daughter duo who never missed a class.  The two were hard to ignore, wearing color coordinated workout ensembles; kinda like a pair of Zumba super heroes.  The pretty young Latina was never without a fully made up face, and her mother sported a signature braid like a thick rope down her back.  Wonder twin powers activate!  But all kidding aside, I have to admit, at first I admired their close family bond.  I hadn't worn a matching outfit with my mom since I was eight.  There was something kind of sweet about this display of familial pride.  I fancied it a cultural difference, both charming and wholesome.  But then the music started; and let me tell you, my musings on innocence flew right out the window.  

If this young woman was a super hero, her super power was Salsa dancing.  Miss thing started whipping her hair back and forth, adding a saucy bump and grind to each dance sequence, working it out like a Solid Gold dancer.  I don't want to sound like a prude here folks, but I just don't think I could shimmy and shake it like that in front of my mom.  Her moves were sizzling hot and nearly screamed sex.  If this had really been a dance off, I'd like to believe I held my own for a song, maybe two.  But let's face it, I didn't stand a chance.  Maybe I've just seen too many episodes of So You Think You Can Dance, but it was clear; this hot little tamale had me beat.  Not to mention that her mom looked like she could beat me up, or at least put me in a choke hold with that braid.  Histrionics aside, I accepted that I was not only outmatched, I'd been out-Zumbaed!   

Several months after I'd stopped frequenting Don Julio's classes, I ran into another regular who was eager to dish to me about the latest scoop.  "Did you hear?"  Turns out, Don Julio had been dating a fellow Zumba instructor the entire time; although he'd never mentioned a girlfriend to me while we flirted by the jacuzzi.  But then; escandelo!  News broke that the well loved teacher had been having an affair with a student.  No surprise; his paramour was non other than that little salsa kitten herself!  Thus, after some public turmoil at the gym, Don Julio was forced to announce to a room of crying women that he would no longer teach classes at that location.  Guess I'd dodged a bullet there.  But lucky for me, I'm no less fickle than any other daytime drama queen.  It wasn't long before I'd lost interest in getting the guy.  And somewhere in there, while trying to shake my money maker into Don Julio's heart, I'd fallen out of love with that Latin Lathario and madly in love with Zumba.      

Over time, I branched out and took many different Zumba classes from a variety of great teachers; each with their own flair and style.  Going to class felt like taking a fabulous tropical vacation, and I couldn't wait for these lovely escapes.  As encouraged by my instructors, I left my stress at the door and spent the next hour of my life on a little international dance journey; imagining myself wading thru the tall dry grasses of the African Sahara; stomping under the Amazonian canopy, dirty dancing in a sultry Havana tavern, or giving Jay-Lo a run for her money as a fly girl in a Hip Hop video. Just as Zumba had transformed Don Julio into a pseudo celebrity and his student into the ultimate vixen; dance had the power to transform ordinary people or situations into something spectacular.  Once the music began, there were dozens of epic exotic adventures to be had.  As the heat and energy heightened, cheers emanating from the excited clan, we were like Zumba warriors.  Sure maybe before and after class, we were still as different as could be.  But there, in the middle of a gym doing Zumba, we men and women of all sizes, ages, and races were one human family; transfigured into a bumping, grinding, sweat soaked tribe once again.

OK, this might sound downright delusional to you.  Perhaps you're thinking, poor girl with a broken heart has gone and lost her mind.  I'll admit, maybe I've let my romantic imagination run wild a bit, but my response to that is, have you done Zumba yet?  And if not, what are you waiting for?  Why not join the 14 million people who are responding to the simple Zumba philosophy of "health and happiness and of loving everything you do; especially your workout"  No need to suffer at the gym when you can wiggle and strut your way to fitness; or as we Zumbaholics like to say; "Ditch the work out; join the party".  Sure I still like to lift weights, but I've left the boot camp behind.  True, now I'm one of those red faced people gyrating lewdly to Latin music; and you know what?  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I think my friend Angie put it best when she said, "In Zumba, everyone is a star."  I might look like a mess to the people looking in, but those of us in there dancing know the truth.
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Sea Hag

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This fits just right!
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Sea Hag

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BAR METHOD; A SPORTS BRA SCANDEL

Since my mid-life breakup two plus years ago, I've tried sundry methods for lifting my soiled spirit and bandaging my bruised heart.  While drinking, drugging, dining, dating, and doin it all ranked high on my list of mood enhancers, I've found that ultimately the best cure for my blues was a healthy dose of exercise each and every day.
Call me a late bloomer, but I'm pretty new to this enthusiasm for working out.  I was the girl in school chosen last for the team.  Someone who hid behind the back stop in avoidance of going to plate.  You'd surely have whizzed by me slowly walking some track while being screamed at by a disapproving gym teacher.  The popular phrase of the day "no pain no gain" did nothing to motivate me.  Exercise was for jocks, cheerleaders, and preppies; not for me. Thus is comes as a surprise to everyone, including myself, that I grew up to be someone who loves to work out!
My passion for fitness began to bloom in my early thirties and has been an ongoing evolution.  I am proud to say, at forty years old (not without some serious chronic injuries and a perpetually sore back) I am probably in the best shape of my life.  That said, I'm still always aspiring to increase my overall strength, flexibility, and fitness level.  Thus I was very excited when Connie, a girl-friend from work, suggested we sign up for classes at Bar Method; a studio promising "the most targeted body-sculpting workout" available.
Be prepared; classes at Bar Method are pricey, to say the least.  At $24 a class for drop ins, and a minimum monthly charge of $195 for unlimited classes; one would expect these ladies know what they're doing and get some serious results!  Lucky for us, the studio was running a special introductory rate of $100 for your first month of unlimited classes.  Excited, we signed up and made our exercise date for the first Monday in October.  
Upon arriving for my first class at the downtown SF location, all seemed in accordance with my expectations.  The modern lobby, lined with photographs of fit Bar Method ladies in action, was inspirational. The studio, with it's light, luxurious, spa-like feeling was comfortable and inviting.  The owner herself was working the front desk.  She was very welcoming as she introduced us to our would be instructor and ushered us down the hallway towards well stocked dressing areas and clean carpeted exercise rooms.  So far so good.  I changed into a my sports bra and yoga pants and headed into the work out room with enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, the pleasantries didn't last long.
Once in the studio, being instructed by an unsmiling instructor named Jenna, the mood turned serious.  Several times, as I got my bearings, the no nonsense teacher put her hands on me and aggressively forced corrections that my body wasn't prepared for.  Ouch!  They promise individual, hands on instruction at Bar Method, but this was more than I cared for.  I also began to notice that Jenna's comments seemed unnecessarily harsh.  Once, when one of the other students reversed her left for her right, she was snootily criticized, "We don't do our left side twice Nicky!"  As Jenna continued to praise some (even me) and chastise others for their efforts, I began to feel like she would have been more appropriately dressed in black latex sporting some kind of small whip.  My inner goody-two-shoes and avid approval seeker rallied to receive the stern teacher's encouragement, but my anti authority streak shrank under the oppressive seeming regimen.   
Despite these reservations, after my hour was up, I felt both exhausted and elated.  I could already tell how sore I was going to be tomorrow -- and I thought that was great!  This workout was exactly what I needed to augment my regular cardio heavy exercise schedule.  While we dressed, my eager friend asked me what I'd thought of the experience.  I assured her that I was excited to return, but I still wanted to check in with her about what she'd thought of our instructor.  I wondered if she'd had the same impression.
As we walked out the lobby, there were two women sitting at the front desk, and one of them was Jenna.  The receptionist called out to us cheerfully; "thanks ladies!".   Jenna, on the other hand, didn't lift her head in our direction or speak a word.  She remained, head down, ignoring us completely.  Again, this seemed really unwelcoming and cold to me.  After all, she was well aware that we were first time students, and we'd just finished an hour long session with her in an intimate, first name setting.  One would think maybe she would have asked us how we liked it so far, encouraged us to come back, or at least said goodbye.  When she didn't do anything, my opinion of her people skills continued to plummet.  
"She just wasn't a good teacher" my friend confirmed.  After taking classes at the San Mateo location Connie had been so excited to share Bar Method with me.  "Everybody there was so nice and encouraging" she added, confused as to why our first experience with the SF Downtown location had been sub par.  We agreed that you don't toss the whole basket of fruit over one bad apple.  We'd try out other instructors and hope for a better experience.  
Later that week I would have my chance.  I did my morning cardio at an Oakland studio near my house.  After a quick lunch, I packed up all the gear I'd need for the rest of my day -- water, check; special Bar Method grippy socks, check; change of clothes for work, check and check --  and left my house an hour before class was set to begin at Bar Method in the city.  I arrived fifteen minutes early, changed into my work out attire, and found a cozy spot on a bench in the hallway where I grabbed the nearest gossip rag.  As I sat there thumbing absently through magazine pages, the conversation of two women at the front desk was echoing down the hall-way for all to hear.  "Omigawd, I know….." one women carried on to the other, "I can't even walk into J Crew without spending $500…."  I could have done without being an unwanted third to their loud and somewhat banal conversation; but whatever.  Class would begin shortly.  
As the other students began to arrive, I occasionally glanced up and smiled shyly.  Suddenly I felt someone standing over me; to my surprise it was the J Crew enthusiast from the lobby.  "Excuse me" she said with a sour looking smile, "do you have some sort of shirt you can put on?"  I was confused.  "We don't allow you to take classes wearing a sport bra."  Huh?!  "Oh, I didn't know" I said simply.  This seemed fair enough, considering I was new.  It would have seemed that if anybody was going to tell me the rules, it would have been Jenna from my last visit, but I'd worn a sports-bra and she hadn't said anything about it.  "Well, do you have something else you can put on?"  the receptionist continued to press.  "No, I don't".  "Ah, well, we have tank tops you can purchase at the front, but we can't allow you to take class like that."  Wrinkling up my eyebrows I offered, "I wore a sports bra last time I was here, and nobody mentioned anything to me.  Can't we make an exception this time?"  "Sorry" came her unsympathetic response.  
I was fuming as I walked back to the dressing area.  Sure, I could have purchased one of their tank tops and taken class; but spending more money on a Bar Method labeled shirt I didn't want after this kind of reception was out of the question as far as I was concerned.  Once dressed, I marched up to the same women, now back at her post behind the front desk and said, "I'd like to cancel my membership."  "Why?  Do you have some feedback?" she asked innocently.  I was too angry to explain so I kept it short.  "Because that was ridiculous" I declared, and walked out the door.  
After this incident I looked at the website again, wondering if the anti sports bra policy was stated clearly in their media package.  In the new client area I found the following advisement; "Bring socks, workout pants (below the knee) and top (tank top/t-shirt, etc.)".  To me, the "etc" is vague enough to be inclusive of a sports bra.  However, in another area -- which I'd apparently overlooked -- entitled "policies," they are more explicit about the rules for attire, stating "Exercise pants to the knee or below (compression shorts must be worn underneath if pants are loose fitting), tops that cover midriff and socks that cover the entire foot."  Thus it seems the studio receptionist  had simply been maintaining the rules of the house, but I do believe that under the circumstances, a more client friendly business would have offered that I take class as is that day, but come prepared next time.  For me, this small adjustment would have made all the difference when it came to feeling mistreated as a customer.    
I can't deny the studio their right to have a dress code, but I also can't seem to shake this unsettling feeling I have about their policies.  What is this really about?  Even my co-ed gym doesn't have these kind of strict guidelines on attire.  On a practical level, wearing a sports bra enables me to watch my own body while drilling moves and working on technique; which is an important part of the process.  Covering my midriff with a T-shirt or tank top while working on core exercises seems counterintuitive.  But it's more than that.  Isn't exercise about getting in touch with our bodies and feeling good in our own skin?  To me, what you wear when you work out is very personal, and should reflect what makes you feel beautiful, free, and comfortable to move.  Having guidelines and restrictions about attire that don't seem to be grounded in practicality; that just seems repressive.  Bar Method, as a business predominantly run and attended by women, is in a unique position to be a safe zone for ladies to empower themselves and each other in every way possible.  Too bad this SF location has, in more ways than one, missed the boat on promoting that kind of welcoming environment for women.
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Sea Hag

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It was April fools day — no joke — and the waitress had just dropped off the mustard & catsup as my boyfriend dropped the bomb; “I think I should move out” he stated casually, proceeding to make a gaping hole in both his burger and my heart.  I tried not to throw up on the table. 

I sat there, still as a stunned animal, my eyes welling with tears as I watched the man across from me try to carry on a conversational tone.  “I just don’t see this thing working out” he explained.  After nearly three years together, this came as news to me.  This can’t be happening was all my numb mind could muster.  But happening, it was.  As my world unraveled before my eyes, two tins of frosty malts were slammed down on the formica by our gum chewing waitress.  “Enjoy” came her listless command.  Surely he’d chosen this ridiculous place in hopes of avoiding a scene, but as I felt a storm building in my chest, I wasn’t sure he was going to get his wish.  “You can’t tell me you didn’t see this coming?!” he insisted.  If this were a movie, perhaps I’d have thrown that black n white malt all over his face, “Like you didn’t see that coming you A$%@#*!”  A part of me still wishes this was how it had played out.  But instead, I simply raced from the room like a wounded animal, clanging through the belled glass doors, as “Sea Of Heartbreak” played on over the tinny sound system behind me.

Over the next several weeks, I would try everything to win him back.  Angry rants, gentle reasoning, and pathetic begging; none of which I’m proud of.  Don’t ask me why we continued sleeping in the same bed; but we did.  Our cramped city apartment didn’t allow us any space for retreat; so after long exhausting discussions, some strange mixture of habit and absolute fatigue would find us spooning on our shared mattress, where he would hold me while I sobbed myself to sleep.  After two weeks of this, neither of us could take any more.  I came home to a letter stating that he’d stay at a friend’s house until he found his own place, and come back for his things at an agreed upon time. 

It was over. 

A breakup is never easy.  Being 38 years old; I’d gone enough relationships to know what came next.  Uncomfortable as it would be, I would now have to weather those inescapable feelings of abandonment and rejection.  But what I didn’t expect was how my mid-life breakup had me asking some new more difficult questions about my future — because this time I wasn’t just saying goodbye to a man I’d loved — I was also giving up a man I’d hoped would father my baby.  

I had always been on the fence about having kids, but when I turned 35 the switch flicked.  Suddenly what had once been fine for someone else, but not for me, was my every waking thought.  As I caught myself peeking into strollers, gushing at dimpled faces and funny bowed legs, I knew It was official; I had babies on the brain and my proverbial clock was beginning to tick-tock. 

Initially, I viewed my new baby lust with scorn.  Surely this was a foul trick of my biology; not a genuine desire!  Simply some hormonal malady I could cope with; as annoying as PMS, but as such, temporary.  No such luck.  The years I’d spent with this man I loved had only strengthened my desire to see the culmination of our union in every way possible.  Now that he and I were through, I was filled with an overpowering regret; I had gambled my dwindling reproductive years on a relationship that had not worked out.  Now I feared I’d lost more than just my love; I’d missed my chance to be a mother.

As the reality that I was 38, unmarried, and without children began to sink in, a hodgepodge of derogatory labels such as spinster, old maid, and hag began to parade through my head.  I’d been fed the familiar fairy tale lore, filled with the promise of a prince, a sunset, and a happily ever after.  Where was mine?  It would seem from the moment Eve sprung forth from Adam’s rib; our place as women was prescribed by the side of our man.  College Feminism had added that even the word woman is derived from the Greek root word meaning with man.  Walk into any grocery store to be blasted by the trashy tabloid pity party for aging stars without partners or babies.  Clearly, it was not just biology that fed this insistence for partnership and family; but a backlog of cultural detritus fueling an ugly question I couldn’t ignore.  Was I less of a woman if I  didn’t have a partner?  And further still, if I would never have a baby?

Over the next several weeks my girlfriends came to the rescue and tried to convince me otherwise.  “There’s still time! ” they insisted, pointing out that women were now having kids well into their 40’s.  “You could always adopt!” was another common reassurance.  I knew these things were true, but it gave me very little solace in those early days after the breakup.  I was not 20 years old anymore, and starting over this late in the game seemed a daunting and ill fated task. 

Thus, this is where I begin my journey; wading through the spoiled remnants my former life as if a giant Tsunami had just carried all my dreams out to sea.   As my ship sailed on into the distance; a storm was brewing in my heart.  Left lonely on an island of one, wailing and miserable, barely making it out of bed to eat and work, I was a hag indeed. 
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