Posted by Ilana Angel
Is it okay for a woman to change her mind? I know we have the right to do so, everyone does, but it takes on a different tone when women do it. We are perceived as flakey or wishy-washy or b*****s. Women are stereotyped as being overly emotional and unstable if we do the very simple, and permitted action, of changing our minds.
Even though I am fiercely independent and strong, I want very much to feel protected and safe. I can put up a pretty solid wall in the hopes of appearing brave and in control but at the end of the day if you look behind my bravado I am just a girl. I can get easily spooked which can manifest into the harmless act of my changing my mind.
A woman can change her mind for a lot of reasons, or more often than not, for no reason at all. It does not mean there is a change of heart or an emotional outburst. We are not unstable and unable to stay focused. It truly does not need to be a big deal or have to mean anything.
I have a date on Friday night. When we made plans we decided I would come out to the area where he lives. After thinking it over I feel a little odd driving out to a place that I am unfamiliar with and I would feel better staying in an area that I know. I am not going to get lost going there or coming home. Nothing bad is going to happen to me. It’s not in any way about my forming an opinion about my date. It’s not about my being flakey or wishy-washy, it’s not about me over thinking or wondering what he will think of me. All it means is that I simply changed my mind.
Men need to realize that women can’t always explain why we do what we do. Even if it makes perfectly good sense in our minds we sometimes don’t know how to articulate it in a way that you will understand. In fact, sometimes it’s not worth trying because we don’t even understand.
When all is said and done men just need to roll with it and realize that they will never totally get us and when they think we are pushing them to the edge and driving them crazy, they must remember that we are fabulous, they totally love us and above all else, they must keep the faith.
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September 2, 2009 | 10:53 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I think about my father, of blessed memory, every day. He is in my thoughts and my prayers and I find myself quoting him and smiling at memories. There are days when I don’t even remember that he has passed away. Several weeks ago I actually called his cell phone and then called my sister asking why it was disconnected. It’s never easy to lose someone you love and there is something about losing a parent that makes you reevaluate your own life. My dad, Robert Angel, was 63 when he passed away. That is only 20 years older than I am now.
My father was disappointed when I got divorced. Not disappointed that I was leaving my husband, he was actually pleased about that, he was upset that my dream of living happily ever after was ending. It’s unfortunate that he could not see me now because even though I am not married, and that was always my dream, I am in fact happier than I’ve ever been.
I always wonder if my father would approve of the men I’m dating. Even now at 43, I still crave his opinion. There has been a boyfriend that I think he really would have thought was fabulous and a couple that would have inspired him to roll his eyes and say in his English accent, “Ilana have you lost your mind. I forbid you to see that bloody idiot again.” He said it when I was a teenager and he said it when I was an adult. He always had an opinion about who his three daughters dated but for some reason he was a lot more vocal about the subject with me than he was with my sisters.
Yesterday I was talking on the phone with a man I once dated and he said something that made me feel like I was talking to my dad. They were words dad would have said and it caught me off guard for a second. I also spoke to a new potential suitor and he too said something that was so reminiscent of my dad that I made him repeat it because it was exactly what my father had said so many times. I felt like my dad was somehow here for a couple of brief moments and I wanted the world to stop so I could suck it all in before it was over.
I find myself seeing aspects of my dad in all the men I date. It’s so nice when I get a glimpse of him. It’s quite corny but when those moments come it’s as though he’s here telling me it’s ok and that I’m doing fine. Not only am I going to watch for the signs that show me know my dad is giving me his approval, but I’m going to pay closer attention when he tries to tell me I’m dating an idiot.
He will always be my dad and I will always love him and even though he is gone, he is in my heart and even if all the signs are in my head and not true at all, I don’t care. I like them. They give me peace and comfort and are proof that he will always be close if I keep the faith.
September 1, 2009 | 11:37 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Well my friends it’s been an interesting couple of days on JDate. What stops me from pulling my hair out is the lovely notes I’ve gotten from ladies telling me to stick with it because it works. I heard from one friend who knows a woman who got engaged this past weekend with a man she met there and another friend who I did not even know was on JDate for 8 years before she met the man of her dreams and is now happily married. So it can work. It does work. It will work again for thousands of people so I’m going to assume it can for me.
The purpose of these articles is to share my journey with you so buckle up kids because I’m honestly not sure where to even begin. We could talk about the man who wrote to let me know that he is a devout Christian, has Jesus in his heart and is on JDate because Jewish woman are beautiful and he thinks a life can be shared between a man, a woman and Jesus, regardless of what her religion is. I don’t really understand what he is talking about but bless him for putting himself out there and thinking outside the box.
Perhaps we want to talk about the 45 year old man from Argentina who is on holiday in Florida and has decided he wants to remain there so he is looking for a wife with the hopes of being able to stay in America. He is also not Jewish but is open to converting and wants to be clear that he wants a real marriage. He thinks if someone is willing to take a chance on him, he can make them happy and is dedicated to doing so.
We could discuss the woman who wrote me to see how JDate is working out for me and let me know that should I not find what I think I am looking for, she would be interested in visiting the option of a same sex relationship with me. She thinks I’m really pretty and I should stay open to it because it took her a while to realize that the reason she could not find the right man, was because she should have been looking for a woman.
My personal favorite was the man who was concerned that my profile picture, which is of my head only, means that clearly I am hiding something and he thinks it’s unfair that I posted a picture that appears to be someone very attractive which he is convinced is attached to a 300 pound body. I’m going to assume that particular gentleman has been searching for a very long time.
There is of course some good that came out of my joining again. After my contractual obligation of 30 days it would appear that I will have about 3 years worth of things to blog about. I also have a date on Friday night with a man who was very funny and charming on the phone. He really did seem lovely and made me agree to call him Mr. X in my blog if I decide to talk about our date. IF I decide? Like not not writing is an option? How cute is he?
As long as I keep my sense of humor, have no expectations, approach it all with an open mind and try to not be jaded or cynical, I will be fine. I commend all the ladies who are out there trying and willing to sort through the frogs in order to find a prince. I commend the men too as putting yourself on the line is hard for everyone. I’m right there with you. Be kind to all who reach out to you, don’t get discouraged, let me know if you need a pep talk and remember, above all else, to keep the faith.
August 31, 2009 | 11:15 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
My blog is about being single, a mother and finding love over the age of 40. I enjoy writing the blog very much. It’s cathartic and while when I started I thought I would write once a week or maybe twice, I’ve been writing every day. There is always something to talk about or something to share. Sometimes when I’m writing I actually laugh out loud at the things I say and other times I can feel sad, inspired, nostalgic or happy. It really is a representation of what my life is like now and I’m proud of it.
I don’t regret anything I’ve written and I love it when I get feedback from all of you. It’s nice to hear what you think, your shared experiences, your encouragement and your criticism. There are so many of you who have become “regulars” that I feel like we’re on this journey together. It is because of this connection that we have, which includes what I thought was an authentic care and interest, that I am simply flabbergasted that not one of you wrote to tell me to STOP when I mentioned I joined JDate yesterday. Really? Not one of you could take the time to tell me to run for the hills? I thought we had something special.
When I logged onto my computer this morning I had received 6 flirts and 19 emails. It sounds like a lot I guess but all it really is, is sharks smelling fresh blood in the water and swimming close. As I’m sorting through all the notes I can’t help but think to myself, “What were you thinking?” When I said I was going to give it 30 days and see what happens, could I have been just kidding? Could we all pretend that my blog from yesterday was all a big joke and can I take it back?
Let’s review: I got emails from a man who is in late 60’s and lives in Florida, a man who is 27 and lives in San Francisco, 4 men who have posted no picture which is a pretty good indication that they are married or in prison. I got an email from a man who is 52 and asked that I not be put off by the fact that he has never been married and lives with his mother and a man who I actually dated about 6 years ago and he has absolutely no idea who I am. I got an email from my girlfriend’s ex-husband who wrote that he always thought I was cute and someone wrote to ask if I go out on a date with him will I blog about it later.
Of all the emails and flirts that I got there were a couple that I thought had potential until I looked closely and discovered that one lives in New York and the other one has been separated for 3 months and is “getting his feet wet”. It’s not like I’m surprised or can even be disappointed. It is what it is and I went in with my eyes open. I must be patient, take it all with a grain of salt and have hope but no expectations. I’m going to look at it as a challenge. Can I get through the next 29 days without pulling all my hair out or throwing anything at my computer? I believe I can and I will.
I am going to go out on at least one date a week for the next four weeks. Yes I am! I am going to prove that if you are willing to put in the work, you can sift through the dirt and find a diamond. By dirt I mean compulsive liars and by diamond I mean someone who I would want to go on a second date with. A very realistic goal don’t you think?
I will embrace the madness today. I will try to forgive you all for not having my back and telling me to get out. I will keep an open mind and be kind to those who have shown interest. And though I imagine it will be a bit of a struggle as I step onto the JDate Hell Train, I will remember to keep the faith.
August 30, 2009 | 12:33 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I try really hard to live my life without regret because it’s such a horrible feeling. The hope is that I will learn from every experience and accept that I make the choices I do for a reason. I believe that even though lessons are sometimes hard to learn, if I view them as opportunities for growth then regret rarely creeps in. Now all this sounds lovely in theory but this morning none of it is true. I am filled with regret over a decision I have made yet I can’t quite seem to allow myself to undo what I have done. I have broken a promise I made to myself and it does not feel good. I really just cannot believe I would allow this to happen. I shall pray for strength as I have done the unimaginable. Yes it is true people, I rejoined JDate.
To clarify, JDate is a great thing. My last two long term relationships were with men I met through JDate so I know it can work. It’s not the idea of JDate that is troubling to me, it’s the knowledge that it’s going to take a lot of work and time and energy to see any results. I just took a look around and the faces are all the same, mine now included. I see men I dated in the past, men my friends have dated, men who were once married to my friends, men who wanted to date me and I rejected, men I wanted to date and they rejected me. In the 5 minutes I could stand to look around there were only a few faces that seemed to be new since my last visit almost two years ago.
The filtering process for online dating is exhausting. With my work, my son starting back at school and my writing I don’t know how I can possibly do it. I know you will find this hard to believe, but I happen to know for a fact that some people who date online LIE. Shocking I know! It takes so long to sort through the lies. The top three types of lies are 1) The “he is not really hurting anyone, he’s just trying to work it all out and bless him for trying lie”. This would be something simple like saying he was 5’10” when really he is 5’7”. 2) The “he read my profile and is now emailing me with all the right trigger words based on his false knowledge of me which makes me think he has a lot of potential” lie. This is someone who studies your profile, finds ways to weave himself into what you wrote which is instantly romantic but must immediately be translated into the fact that he is only looking for a booty call and he’ll be gone faster than he appeared. 3) The “I am looking for a real relationship and am so ready for love and you so get me and I’ve been hurt and you are the first woman who seems to understand” lie. These men are married, or in relationships or need a green card or are writing you from prison.
Oy Vey! I’ll be fine. If there is any truth to the third time is a charm rule, then it’s possible I could meet my last boyfriend this go around. It could happen. It really could. I could meet the man of my dreams on Jdate, there could be world peace, no child would ever be hungry and I could one day weigh 125 pounds. Anything is possible! I just need to go into it with my eyes, mind and heart wide open. No expectations. I will give it 30 days. A drop in the bucket in the big scheme of things and all it really requires of me is some time and an unwavering desire to keep the faith.
August 29, 2009 | 2:28 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I got divorced when my son was 6 months old. (It’s a long story for another time.) While it was a hard decision to end my marriage, it ultimately was the best thing for me and therefore for my son. In terms of my boy, it was the best choice I could have made because in setting myself free I was able to be a happy woman which allowed me to be a happy mom. Every situation is different of course and what worked for me would not work for everyone. My son has grown up with two homes and while he talked about us all being together as a family when he was young, he has no sense of drastic change to his life which sometimes happens when you get divorced and the children are older.
I sometimes look back and wonder about how my life would have been different if I had gotten remarried quickly. I was so focused on being a mom that it never occurred to me that I should spend time dating or finding a new relationship. If I had, maybe I would have gotten married again or had more children. It’s impossible to know how our paths would have been altered if our choices had been different.
There are a lot of things that are hard about being a single parent. There are struggles with time and money. Having to deal with the other parent and new partners they may have. The separating of holidays plus the stress of going to school and doing homework, all while shuffling back and forth between two locations, is very hard for both the children and the parents.
There are so many things that we can pinpoint as the toughest aspect of divorce. For me, the saddest thing about being a single mother is the pictures. I have provided my son with a wonderful life. We have travelled and seen things together that are so special and will be memories of a lifetime for my son. The thing is, there are very few pictures that document us doing them together. I have boxes and files full of pictures of my son and all that he has been blessed to do. I am a big picture taker and when I go through them I remember so vividly the adventures we have taken together. In the end though, they are pictures taken by me of my son with the occasional one of us together where I asked a stranger to take a shot.
If I could go back I would have been more conscious of the fact that I needed to have pictures of us together. Last night I went to services at my temple where I was honored by my Sisterhood for the work we did this past year. I have such lovely pictures of my boy on this special night but there is not one of us together. It’s such a shame. I’m going to try to break the habit I have of taking just pictures of him and focus more on having people take them of us together. For those single parents who are reading today, do the same. Stop and ask strangers to capture the moments you have with your children. You will be so happy you did.
My son will look back on the photos and remember the trips and the laughter and the fun and I know he knows I was there. They are memories that are so special and for that I am grateful. In the end it’s not necessarily the life I imagined for myself but in more ways than not, it is the perfect life. I love my son. I love every step we’ve taken together and even though I’m not in the pictures, I was there. When I see his smiling face looking at me from the photo, both he and I know that the reason he smiles so brightly is because I am the one holding the camera.
Have a peaceful and restful Shabbat. Take a picture of your kids and when they look at the camera know that you are there in the moment with them, sharing and laughing and keeping the faith.
August 28, 2009 | 5:19 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
It’s amazing how life can change in an instant. It only takes a split second for things to be turned completely upside down. No matter how hard we try to have all our ducks in a row and plan for the future, can we ever really be prepared for the shock of surprise?
The friend I’ve been nursing back to health took an unexpected turn and had to be rushed to the hospital. It’s been a crazy 72 hours of tests and surgery and overall scariness. Thank God she is much, much better and after some frightening moments, it would appear that she is now out of the woods and on the path to health. I am so pleased this chapter ended well and that a happy ending is in sight.
I was not prepared for the turn of events this week. From the perspective of the emotions I would feel or the physical effects of stress and no sleep, I was just not prepared. I was also not prepared for a trip to Cedars Sinai! I was about to spend 48 hours in a buffet line of yummy doctors, nurses, technicians and pharmacists and I was wearing an old pair of jeans, a t-shirt and was covered in my friends bodily fluids. Not really the look I was hoping for. That said, my bra and panties were a matching set! My mother always told me that a lady matched her undergarments and I always have. I was tempted to march around in my undies just to show they were pretty and to distract attention from my fluid decorated couture.
You can buy insurance, have a will, make arrangements and let everyone know what your choices are for yourself. You can do all this and still not ever be prepared for a shocking change. I am left with a great appreciation for my friend and her strength. For her family who are solid and loving. For my son who is the reason I do everything, for my family who give my life color and for my friends who are the most wonderful people I know. I want all those that I love to know it. I LOVE YOU.
If you are sad, lonely, bitter, afraid, alone or insecure, we have all been there and it will be ok. If life is great and you are surrounded by love and support then hold on tightly and enjoy each moment. Life is unpredictable and that is both fabulous and a little scary because our time is not guaranteed. If you have been at battle with someone in your life, extend your hand. For those who see the hand, accept it. Life is a miracle and we must all do whatever we can to live our best life possible and at the same time, allow those around us to do the same regardless of whether we know them or they are a stranger. For those who need it, want it, or have been waiting for it, my hand is extended.
To my friend who has struggled this week, I’m so thrilled that you are going to be ok. I love you with all my heart. You are brave and strong and beautiful. At the end of the day, when faced with an unexpected challenge, all we can do is smile, brace ourselves for a shock and keep the faith.
August 27, 2009 | 12:04 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
How is it possible that whenever you are feeling down on love, no matter what station you tune to on the radio, no matter what the time of day, no matter if it’s English or Spanish, you get a melancholy love song? And furthermore, how is it possible that when you get the one song that can put you over the edge, make you roll your eyes, shout out “Really?” and immediately change the station, the next stop on the dial is inevitably playing something by Air Supply?
As you know, my friend had surgery this week and has been recovering at my home. I met this friend through an old love of mine. I never really liked her if the truth be told because while for her he was just a friend, he always loved her and it was hard for me because I thought he was the great love of my life and deep down I believed that she was his. In having her with me this week and the intimacy that comes with taking care of someone, I am seeing him for the first time though her eyes and he looks different. I loved him as he loved her and she did not love him as he did not love me. It’s not complicated or particularly sad, it’s just life. There is no rhyme or reason to who we love or why and no explanation for who loves us or why. I tend to spend a lot of time wondering why things happen like they do and she has shown me this week that it does not matter. In the end we all love each other in the ways we are able and are better people for having walked the path together because we all learned and grew and are happy now. Regardless of how a relationship begins or ends, love remains the same. In her being here to heal she has helped heal me.
I will be sad when my friend leaves. It’s been a pleasure taking care of her and our friendship is now based on her and me and no longer has ties to the past. She is my friend and even though she is too young to even know who Air Supply is, I love her anyway. By love her anyway I mean is she kidding? She did not know who Air Supply was and when I showed her “I’m all out of Love” on youtube, she pointed out that it was released in 1980 and she was born in 1982. Come on! She is closer in age to my son than to me. It’s just not right.
I am grateful that I was able to accept her hand when she extended it in friendship and not allow my ego to interfere. Finding light in a place where you thought there was only darkness is a lovely reminder of why we should always keep the faith.