As I write this post, I’m on my couch and it’s currently 1999. I’ve got Brandy’s, Almost Doesn’t Count playing throughout my house, I’m wearing my old Abercrombie sweatpants and an ex boyfriend’s old high school sweatshirt that I found in my closet. All that’s missing is a Capri Sun instead of my mint tea. I wanted to write about a totally different topic today, I really did, but beside the amount of requests I’ve received these past few months to write about almost relationships, the concept of “almost,” has been showing up a lot in my life lately.

I’m listening to the lyrics of this song and although “almost doesn’t count,” makes total logical sense…

Why is “almost” even harder to get over than full-blown?

What is it about almost relationships that, no matter how we move on in our lives (in spite of what could have (never?) been), keeps our hearts frozen in the time of what almost was?

The hardest breakup I’ve ever had to go through was the breakup of my codependent relationship with emotional grey zones. Black and white was always boring and immediately written off, but GREY?… I was IN.

I gravitated toward emotional grey zones because it gave me a valid license to spend my time (& tie my value to), trying to make black and white sense of what always was and always will be… GREY.

I needed to grey all of the black and white deal-breakers, initial red flags and ambiguity, so that I could buy more time in the land of limbo and have an emotional jerk off session with fantasies that my insecurities, hopes, dreams and delusion had labeled as reality.

The codependent addiction was simple – I needed emotional grey zones to feel a sense of irreplaceable passion, intensity, etc. and emotional gray zones needed me to stay relevant.

So how does this tie into almost relationships?

The only way that an almost relationship can EVER exist is from the seed of emotional grey zones and the fertilizer of blurred lines.

Emotional grey zones make us feel like we’ve been locked out of nirvana and finally got let in. They make us question how we EVER got on before they came into our existence. And because of the intensity and sexy, “keep-you-on-your-emotional-toes” fear that they ignite, we try to replace the FACT that there are too many “almosts” to count, with deciding to further INVEST into the belief of the emotional ponzi scheme/scam we’re playing on OURSELVES.

All of us have had that one person – the one person that wasn’t ever completely ours, but we so badly wanted them to be. The one person that was almost everything we could have ever dreamed of. This person made us feel like anything was possible… even Happily Ever After.

With almost relationships, there’s never any certainty as far as what you’re getting into (we immediately squash this fact though, by engaging in emotional philosophication, asking ourselves bullsh*t like, “what is EVER really certain in life anyway?”).

The terms and conditions of the what “almost” is keep changing as you go on because the relational foundation isn’t compacted in reality. The only black and white in the midst of so.much.grey, is that you are a part of (?) a 1/2 way, quassi-relationship with someone who may or may not be fully invested and may or may not be a part of your present (& future).

All the contradictions and confusion end up acting as the ultimate build up; an aphrodisiac to those whose hearts are in repair.

The problem with almost relationships is that although it may seem like there’s a level mutuality and accountability… it’s fleeting – and fleeting or “almost accountability,” is ZERO accountability.

There’s no commitment, discussion or promise of an actual relationship. You don’t dare bring it up for fear of “rocking your dreamboat,” which you’re convinced will result in abandonment. And they’re too comfortable getting the benefits of having a monogamous relationship without having to assure you through words and actions, that they’re being monogamous.

There isn’t a word to describe this kind of intense, exhilarating, momentarily beautiful but ultimately futile union except…

Almost.

Here’s why almost relationships happen, why they’re so alluring, why they’re harder to get over than an official, full-blown relationsh*t & how to LET GO:

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Neck and shoulder pain (tension too), is something that I’m struggling with BIG TIME right now.

I’m a firm believer that our trauma, pain, loss, memories and all emotions are stored in our tissues, organs and muscles. The first time I got acupuncture, the acupuncturist did what he referred to as a “trauma release” treatment on me. I can’t even begin to tell you the memories and emotions that came up. There was this feeling of euphoric (but also sad) overwhelm, memories that I had forgotten and so.many.things that I THOUGHT I had processed. I was crying, shaking, sweating and somehow shivering all at once, right under the heat lamps above me.

I feel like I’m now more in touch with my body than ever before. How? I’m living the benefits of my return on investment. By taking the time to (finally) listen to my body and feel what I’m feeling, I’ve stopped allowing fear to validate a quick-fix “solution,” in the name of numbing, justifying/excuse making, under the rug brushing and f*cktard dating.

Yet to this day, I still struggle with neck and shoulder pain, tension in my back and my TMJ will reappear from time to time.

I carry the weight of my emotional world in my shoulders, between my shoulder blades and neck.

As my favorite poet, Rumi once said: “the cure for pain is pain.” In other words, you’re not going to fully be cured or learn from pain just by experiencing it. If you can’t feel it, identify the northern stars and learn the lessons that are contained within the pain, you disable your own innate ability to heal, grow, become indifferent to the bullsh*t and EVOLVE.

This neck and shoulder pain I’ve been experiencing has got me thinking a lot about pain lately – particularly emotional and spiritual pain – and I’ve come to recognize that a lot of my destructive patterns, self sabotage, heartbreak, disease to please and reverse narcissism, was nothing more than a byproduct of my inability to be with my own pain. Not that I think I could have innately known how to be with it. As children, we are taught and conditioned to run from our pain, ignore it and find an immediate “solution,” (working out, going out, busying up our schedules, over eating, watching Netflix for 6 months straight, jumping into the next rebound relationsh*t, etc.). These “solutions,” more often than not, end up making us feel much worse.

What I do know is that in every oyster of hopelessness and pain in my life, there has always been a pearl of profound evolution and healing, not just of the painful circumstances and loss, but of myself.

And yet, I avoided pain like the plague. I mean… who wants to be in pain? I sure didn’t. No one does!

But when I honor and feel my grief and my sadness, when I allow it to work through me and manifest in tears running down my face and emotional exhales… I am cleansed because I have surrendered.

And in that moment, I know that I am single-handedly disallowing stagnation by creating movement instead of waiting for the next relationsh*t to jumpstart a engine-less vehicle.

What I’ve learned thus far, is that whenever I’ve chosen to sprint from my pain and avoid, another lesson is always on the horizon… ready to break me open even more.

The universe will always keep presenting lessons until we prove through consistency, that they are indeed learned.

So HOW is neck and shoulder pain related to this?

For me anyway, the neck and shoulder pain that I’ve been experiencing is the last residual remnant of pain that has been emotionally dealt with, but not physically. It’s the physical holding on of what was, still trapped in my tissues and balled up in my muscles.

Everyone’s budget and schedule vary, so I found 2 of the most financially assessable and “busy schedule approved,” solutions to neck and shoulder pain (+ SO MANY more ailments), that are convenient, easy and deliver RESULTS.

Here are my 2 go-to’s for neck and shoulder pain + tension in the back:

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Dealing with a breakup sucks.

Breakups are unbearably painful, scary, lonely, stagnation-inducing and addiction igniting. 

Insecurity paralyzes us from being able to put one emotional foot in front of the other. So, we STALK, over think, relay the story to anything with a set of ears and obsess over every.little.detail of what was, 24/7.

And of course, we’re only interested in engaging in anything that will ultimately cater to and validate the belief system that got us into the relationsh*t in the first place: “I am not enough.” 

Why?

As long as we have “proof” that we are indeed “not enough,” it’s a total license renewal to remain invested in the relationsh*t that was.

If you come from a place of emotional lack for yourself, you will ALWAYS attract partners and relationsh*ts that deal-breakingly, LACK.

& then… if you’re like I used to be, you’ll tie YOUR VALUE to THEIR LACK of character, connectivity, empathy, etc. (as if it didn’t exist before you were in the  picture).

Soon, you’re a full-blown addict, dealing with a breakup that’s robbed you of your happiness, your confidence and your Happily Ever After.

The most damaging part of addiction – whether it be emotional, behavioral or addiction to substance – is that it hibernates your instinct, disallows logic to be considered and amplifies your fear to the point of option-less, robotic-cruise-control submission.

Breakups are the most fertile ground for emotional addiction.

So HOW do you get clean?

Is there a way to get emotionally sober?

If you’re dealing with a breakup that has evolved into an emotional addiction which you feel completely powerless to, here are 5 steps to reclaim your power and reach emotional sobriety once and for all:

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Long distance relationships are hard, but they’re also exhilarating, passionate and are an integral part of a fairy tale that we’re convinced, HAS TO be right around the corner.

All of the greatest love stories, movies, books and poems involve distance at some point. And it’s always in that distance that emotional wrongs are righted and necessary realizations are made, so that Happily Ever After can ensue in a more solid, connected and enviable way than ever before.

I don’t think The Notebook would have been half as romantic if there wasn’t any distance between Ali and Noah at one point. As humans, we already feel unseen, unappreciated, misunderstood and unheard enough in our everyday lives. To be in a relationship with someone miles and miles away and STILL be heard, understood, empathized with, acknowledged, listen to, longed for and SEEN on such an profound level… that’s the ultimate. Am I right? 

“The scariest thing about distance is that you don’t know whether they’ll miss you or forget you.” – Nicholas Sparks

Although it is indeed scary, if you suffer from the disease to please, validation seeking and low self esteem, you’ll start to equate that never-ending fear factor with “passion.” You then become more invested in expressing your all-knowing existence than taking the time to investigate if a mutual connection and true love even exists.

I know many people who are in long distance relationships and they make it work; they’re really happy. I got lunch with a girlfriend over the weekend who was telling me about her long distance relationship and how it’s the best relationship she’s ever been in.

She asked if I had ever been in a long distance relationship. “One,” I replied.

I was so taken back by my answer, that I don’t remember much of what was said after that.

At that moment, I realized that although I’ve only been in ONE relationship in which distance was between us, nearly EVERY relationship that I’ve ever been in has been long distance.

I was a long distance relationship JUNKIE and didn’t even know it.

How?

In my past relationships, the distance wasn’t in physical miles. It was in emotional ones.

Listening to my girlfriend talk about her emotionally available and MUTUAL long distance relationship, I realized that you could literally be in bed with your partner on top of you and be in more of a long distance relationship than if cities, oceans and countries were in between you.

This got me thinking about long distance relationships – both physical and emotional – who they cater to, how to navigate them and how to ensure that the distance is never emotional.

Here’s what you need to know about long distance relationships…

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So many cultures celebrate holidays, traditions and festivities around the spring equinox – Easter, Holi, Passover, Norooz (the Persian New Year), Hanami (the blossoming of cherry trees in Japan), etc. – Why? Spring is the season of new beginnings. It’s the time of year when everything is in bloom. Animals awaken, the conditions are ideal and everything just comes to life again. The air no longer has the abrasiveness of winter’s chill and everything seems to be in the kind of order that you’re convinced, is how it was always intended to be. So, you commit to and embrace the new beginning, hoping for your heart to forget an ex that has somehow disabled the switch from ever shutting off. And then… it happens: you see him. Not just in your head and heart, but right in front of you. What do you do when you see your ex? 

What do you do when you’re suddenly face to face with the one person who, despite how deeply they broke your heart, you still compare everyone else to? 

When you see your ex, you convince yourself that everything you’ve worked so hard to glue back together is now irreparably unglued… but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Years ago, I dated a man that made me feel like I had never experienced anything before him. He redefined it all and was unlike anyone I had ever been in a relationship with – much older, very successful, an intellectual encyclopedia, well spoken, traveled everywhere, had an infectious sense of humor and a personality that was larger than life. I can still hear his laugh. I made many mistakes in the relationship, but his emotional unavailability and lack of empathy ultimately proved to be a deal breaker that no matter how hard I tried, my disease to please couldn’t salvage. It was one of the most painful breakups I had ever gone through, but after lots of stalking and tears, I finally found a way to put one emotional foot in front of the other (despite terribly missing what was).

Fast forward to about 9 months later. I had just finished having lunch by myself at Spago in Beverly Hills and was waiting for the check. All of a sudden, I.hear.that.laugh. With every antenna up, I turn around and see him in conversation with 2 beautiful women. Before I can look away, we lock eyes. He immediately excuses himself and walks toward me. I don’t remember much of our exchange because there wasn’t much that we exchanged – we said our hellos as quickly as we said our goodbyes. He seemed a bit uneasy, but I was uncharacteristically calm.

The one thing that I remember more vividly than anything though, was that for the first time in my life, I was INDIFFERENT. It was the weirdest thing. I went about my day after that and didn’t think about it at all. I didn’t even feel the need to tell any of my girlfriends that I had run into him. I didn’t spend the next month comparing myself to the women he was engaged in conversation with, trying to find them on social media or obsessing over how I looked and what I said. Pigs were officially flying.

That night, I got a text from him saying how great it was to see me. I didn’t respond, deleted it and never heard from him again. There was absolutely no ill will, just pure indifference.

SO, with it being Easter today and the start of a season that’s known for new beginnings, I wanted to share with you how to emotionally navigate when you see your ex.

Here’s what to do when you see your ex (& how to not let it unravel you):

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