Posted by Ilana Angel
Everyone has their own set of rules when it comes to friendship, myself included. Those rules can get complicated when you are in love with your best friend, but that is another blog for another day. When it comes to a girlfriend, I have a very specific stance. If trust is lost, the friendship is over. I will and have walked away from people that I invested in, loved and trusted when they betrayed a confidence.
If you can’t trust a girlfriend, who can you trust? My best girlfriend Anjelica and me have been friends for 21 years. We have been through marriage, divorce, babies, love, heartache, and a fight or two. We have pissed each other off and needed to take a break, but we always come back together. That said, neither one of us has ever betrayed a confidence. Not one time.
The truth is that while I know a lot of people, and have many acquaintances, I don’t really have many friends. It takes a lot for me to trust, so my friendships are selective. I have trusted people too fast, shared with them, then had them betray me. I simply cannot get past it. I am at a stage in my life where quality matters more than quantity so I stick close to people I have history with.
Something happened today that made me think of a former friend. I would have loved to talk to her because I think she could have helped me, but I could not call her because she hurt me by sharing a secret I told her in confidence. It got me to thinking about the rules of friendship and if I am too harsh in my unwillingness to forgive her. I wonder if it is due to age or gender.
I decided to reach out to women I know and ask them what they thought the number one rule of a girlfriend friendship is. I spoke with J who is 16, S who is 25, T who is 37, B who is 46, and D who is 58. I asked them all the same question: What is the one thing that you would make you end a girlfriend friendship? All five women, from all five age groups, answered the same.
They used different vocabulary, but the bottom line is that for women, the breaking of a confidence is a deal breaker between girlfriends. 58 year old D dropped F bombs when saying how she would feel if her best friend told one of her secrets. 16 year old J was thoughtful in her response and I could hear hurt in her voice from just thinking of such a horrible thing happening.
Their answers were the same because at our core, women are the same. We expect that a man may lie to us, but a girlfriend is never supposed to lie. There is an inherent belief we will stick together, so when that trust is broken, we cannot forgive. I am amazed at things I have forgiven men in my life for in comparrison to things that have ended girlfriend friendships.
In speaking with these women I don't necessarily feel justified in ending this particular friendship, but I do feel more comfortable with my decision and the thought of contacting her is gone. I am a loyal friend who will always keep a secret so if my friends can't do the same, I will let them know, with a very colorful vocabulary, that we are done. They will be out and I will be keeping the faith.
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March 13, 2013 | 12:03 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
On my way to work on Tuesday I heard that three Victoria’s Secret Angels were going to be at The Beverly Center mall doing an appearance. One of the girls was Candice Swanepeol. She is a South African beauty that serves as the screensaver for my 17 year old son’s laptop. In an attempt to be a cool mom, I called my son and told him we would go.
It took him a minute to catch his breath and even asked me what was happening. It was the cutest response and I was so happy to take him to meet his dream girl. I got him after school and we headed to the mall, which is about 30 minutes away from my house, give or take 10 minutes depending on traffic. He was excited the entire trip and it was adorable.
We arrived at the mall and headed to Victoria’s Secret. Well. There were so many people there I quickly calculated we would be in line for approximately 3 hours, give or take 10 minutes. I sent my kid to get in line and headed to the store to scope it out. I quickly learned if I spent $75 on swimwear, I got a VIP pass and moved to the front of the line.
Well. I went shopping. I bought a super cute white lace beach over up, and a beautiful pair of bikini bottoms to go with a top I already own, I paid for my goods and called my son to tell him to come to the front of the line. He hesitated to give up his spot but he came. I showed him the VIP pass and he almost passed out. He was now next to meet the angels.
I had to show my receipt when I took him to VIP and in doing so noticed I was charged incorrectly. I hung out with my kid, snapped a picture of my boy with his future wife, then went back to the register to show them there had been a mistake. The cover-up I bought was marked $48.50, but I was charged $69.50. It was then that I discovered Victoria’s secret.
If you are a total bitch, or a complete moron, you can get a job at Victoria’s Secret! Who knew? The woman who did my return rude, abrasive, entitled, and sarcastic. She fixed the price then told me I was $2.00 short to get the VIP photo op. I told her to just charge me the $2.00. That is when the bitch transformed into a complete moron before my eyes.
She did not understand what I said and insisted I shop for something or else. Really? Or else what? You are going to kick me out? Make my son give his picture back? You are selling underwear lady, not on Mob Wives. I was grossed out by her and would have told her off had it not been so ridiculous. I ended up buying a $15 cosmetic product to raise my total.
Would it have killed her to be nice? The mistake was hers not mine. She overcharged me and never bothered to apologize for that, only yell at me for trying to rip off Victoria’s Secret. Again, really? I paid 50 bucks for a piece of lace and I am ripping you off? I work hard for my money and if Victoria’s Secret does not appreciate my choosing to shop there, they can F off.
Back to the angels, they were lovely. Candice asked my son what his name was, and when he told her, Alessandra Ambrosio said hello to him by name. Then Karlie Kloss told him she really liked his sweater. Well. When you are a 17 year old boy “I like your sweater” translates into “I think you are as attractive as you think I am and we should get married one day.”
My son is beyond excited. I spent $100 to buy his happiness and it was worth every penny. I won’t be frequenting Victoria’s Secret anytime soon, which is a drag because I like them and own many of their things. That said, if you don’t appreciate my hard earned dollar, you don’t get my money. They might want to retrain the bitch from The Beverly Center store.
My son has one foot out the door on his path to adulthood and it makes me proud and sad. Moments like this are rare and for him to tell me I made his dream come true was wonderful. He may not hold my hand anymore, or let me kiss him in public, but he loves me and will always remember that his mom, a real Angel, took him to meet his first Victoria’s Secret angel.
Important to note the drive home took over 2 hours. There was an accident so we opted to take a canyon road home and it was a nightmare. We were stuck with nowhere to go and it was insane. Still worth it, but just barely. Will my son remember the hellish ride we took for his dream to come true and reward me by doing his chores? I’m keeping the faith.
*** I received an email over the weekend from Jill Hamilton, who is a Supervisor in the Social Media Department of Victoria's Secret. She asked that I give her a call and I did. We chatted for a few minutes and I explained to her exactly what happened when I went to the Victoria's Secret store in The Beverly Center here in Los Angeles. She was professional and supportive as she listened. She let me know she was embarrassed by how I was spoken to, and assured me this is not how VS conducts business, and even gave me a case number to let me know it was being looked into. While she could not change what happened, she would work hard to make sure it did not happen again. I was very impressed that she did not try to blow smoke up my ass by making excuses. She owned the situation and was focused on fixing the problem, not judging me.
I don't know what will happen to the bitch who served me, but I hope she gets some retraining and learns that our money matters and she needs to be kinder to the people who help pay her salary, because if we don't shop, she has no job. As for Ms. Hamilton, she changed my view of Victoria's Secret. I left the Beverly Center convinced I would never shop their again and Ms. Hamilton proved that one bad apple does not need to ruin the tree. She allowed me to see the entire tree and I will tell you her taking three minutes to talk to me erased the bad taste in my mouth from 20 minutes of the bad apple. Bravo to her and to VS for reaching out to a little old blogger like me. At the end of the day customer service does matter and Vicroria's Secret won back a customer because they know that every voice matters, whether or not that voice has a blog.
March 11, 2013 | 8:05 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I had a lovely weekend. I spent time with my son, the Englishman, and myself. I helped my son with a school project, caught up on some work, and went out for dinner and movie with my boyfriend. On Sunday I did something I have not done is a very long time. I recaptured my youth and took a nap. Not a quick power nap, but a full on three hour slumber.
On Sunday my son was back at work on his school project so the Englishman and I went for a long walk. When we got home we watched Chelsea pull out a brilliant draw against Manchester United, then went into my son’s room to check on him. He was on his bed working, so we sat down on the couch in his room. We were chatting and at some point we both fell asleep.
It was glorious and much to my surprise, we napped for hours. We were snuggled up on the couch and it was heaven. We don’t lie down in my son’s room ever, so it was as if we were on vacation in a new place. I’m not one to take a nap, but it truly felt like we were away on holiday and were basking in the lap of luxury. I woke up feeling rested and content.
I can remember a time when my son used to nap everyday. He would wake up happy, loving, and ready for the next part of his day. The truth is that I woke feeling the same way. Naps are necessary so why do we outgrow them? I think everyone should take a daily 30 minute nap. The world would be a happier place if we got a chance to relax and refresh.
I often say that there are not enough hours in the day. I often say that I m tired. I never say I need a nap. There is something wrong with that. I work hard and I rarely get enough sleep at night because I’m not a great sleeper. Does it not make sense that the best way for me to get my needed rest is to nap? I think I have found the key to success: napping.
I have not quite figured out how I will explain this revelation to my employers, but I will come up with something. It may mean I escape to my car for 30 minutes a day, but naps are in my future because they work. Just as they worked for our kids in day care, they work for adults in real life. Feeling tired and in need of some peace? Take a nap.
It is Sunday night, and even with Daylight Savings time kicking in, I feel rested and ready to tackle tomorrow. Beyond that, I am ready to go to bed because I think my pre-sleep will actually help my sleep. I spent the day with the two men I love, relaxed in a real way, and napped like I was a baby. Not sure I can make it a daily ritual, but I am keeping the faith.
March 5, 2013 | 7:43 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Love is a great thing and I am blessed to have it in my life in many different forms. I love my son, parents, sisters, brother, nieces, nephews, and friends. I love them and am loved in returned which is special and something I do not take for granted. I have been thinking a lot about my future lately and that has me wondering about love. I am a person who tries to learn from yesterday, am thankful for today, and hopeful for tomorrow. Does that apply to love or is love exempt from the formula?
I am thankful for love every day. I think having lost my father I am aware that love can be taken away from you. I was able to tell my dad I loved him when he was dying, but he was so sick I’m not sure he understood how much. Life is fragile and love is elusive so if I love you I want you to know. I am not reserved when it comes to declaring love. I tell my son constantly, say it in daily conversations with my family and friends, and end conversation with these people by sayng I love you because saying it matters.
I am at a transitional point in my life in terms of my work and being a mother. My career is changing slightly, in wonderful ways, but still changing. My son is a junior in high school and starting to think about colleges and moving away from me. The thought of him leaving is terrifying and exciting, but I don’t think about it too much because I want to focus on him now, but also because I don’t allow myself to think that I might actually enjoy the phase of my life where he is away. Everything I do is with him in mind.
Does it make me a bad mother for thinking I will enjoy his being away at school and my being more independent? Will my love for him be defined differently if he is not here with me all the time? Yesterday, for the first time in over 17 years of motherhood I had a vision of my life with my son not living in my home and not only was it interesting, but I felt okay. As soon as I acknowledged to myself that I would be okay, I felt horrible and it made me cry. I can’t breathe at the thought of him going so why was it okay?
I define myself as a mother so I feel like a bad mother for having even a fleeting thought of my life as okay when he moves out. That got me to thinking about being hopeful for the future. When I think about the future I think of it in terms of my son’s dreams, not mine. I want to be thankful for every minute my son is home with me so that I have those memories to relive when he is away at school and building his own life. I want hope to embrace this time in my life my son.I want him to know his dreams are mine.
I want to allow myself to look forward to my own future, not just that of my child. Love is defined by yesterday, today, and tomorrow. All the experiences, lessons, mistakes, and joy come together to shape who we are, and in the end I am a great mother. I have done my job and while it has not been perfect or easy, it was been done well and my son is proof of that. I am allowed to fulfill my own dreams because they do not take away from his. I can plan a future because I have earned it and my son wants it for me.
When my son leaves for college I will sit in his room and cry. There is no getting around that. I will also plan a trip to the Maldives. I will sit on a beach and marvel at teh stellar job I did. I won’t feel guilty for not feeling guilty about it. Who am I kidding? I will feel guilty about sitting in luxury while my son plugs away at school, but a cocktail and my memories will make it better. I am a mother but also a woman and allowing myself to have the dreams of both is okay. I am planning my future, and keeping the faith.
March 4, 2013 | 7:21 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Today I drove a Dodge Ram truck for the first time. I am not sure what happened exactly, but when I got behind the wheel I changed into another person. The shear power of this machine changed everything. I suddenly felt invincible. I am not quite 5’4” and it was hard to even jump up to get into the truck, but when I did I felt like I was 6 feet tall. I instantly changed from a little Jewish girl from the valley into a badass broad. I am used to driving a little car, and while aggressive and not afraid to use my horn and flip the bird, I became fearless. I drove that truck like I owned the road and people needed to get out of my way.
I am always surprised when I see a woman driving a big truck because it is not a vehicle that suited women to me. When I see a woman go by in a truck I figure she likes country music, owns a pair of cowboy boots, knows how to line dance, and has a boyfriend called Bubba. I never thought I would ever want to drive a truck and to be honest they scared me bit because they are so big, but boy was I wrong. There is nothing sexier than a chick in a truck and I completely loved it. The strangest thing was that when I sat in the Dodge Ram I instantly felt proud and patriotic. There is something very American about driving a truck and I loved it.
As I drove, and was literally looking down on the little cars around me, people looked up and nodded hello. Men gave me a sexy and flirty smile and women looked longingly. It was hilarious. I was the Queen of the road. I never knew driving a big truck would be so great. Once I got the hang of it and understood how big and powerful the machine was, it was an easy drive. Cruising the streets on a Sunday afternoon in a Dodge Ram is heaven. I asked my Twitter followers if any of the women drove trucks and I was surprised to hear back from quite a few. One wrote that driving a truck made her feel touch and sexy and I couldn’t agree more.
I found out that one of my followers actually drives a FedEx truck, which is awesome. One woman wrote the first time she drove a truck was at age 10 with her Grandpa and she now owns that very same truck, which is amazing. Women wrote of feeling safer in a truck, loving being so high off the road, and digging how people admired them as they drove by. When I see women driving trucks now, I will admire them, envy them, and know they are tough, sexy, and strong. I am a short, Jewish, city girl and I love driving a truck. Not only do I love it, but I am really good at it. My driving skills transferred perfectly from a little car to a massive truck.
I am a few years away from turning 50 and I’ve been thinking about how I would mark the half-century milestone. I have now decided that perhaps a new truck would be the way to go. If you are a woman who has never driven a truck and want to channel your inner badass, then I suggest you get behind the wheel of a Dodge Ram and hit the streets. It is empowering, exciting, satisfying, and sexy as hell. I’m getting ready to go to work in my little car and it is a depressing. If I pass a woman in a truck today I will smile, feel a pang of jealousy, wave in support, then start counting the days until I turn fifty, think of the color I want, and keep the faith.
March 1, 2013 | 7:21 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am not a “Tiger Mom”. In fact, in reading the list of things tiger specialist and author Amy Chua says make her one, there is nothing tiger mom-ish about me. I am proudly a Jewish mother in many of the ways Jewish mothers are stereotyped with, but I am also a dictator mom. I discovered that this week when I was having a heated discussion with my teenager and in the span of five minutes said, “Because I said so” a dozen times. Oh dear.
We have been arguing about homework and it is stressful. I am a very hands on and hovering mother. I make no excuses for it, nor do I think it is a bad thing. I have a wonderful human being for a child and since I raised him on my own. I take credit for his being a responsible, kind, caring, smart, generous, funny, and sincere mensch. I love him and am proud of who he is and how he conducts himself. I am truly baffled by our arguing.
I don’t understand how it is that we are on such different pages when it comes to his homework. I won’t get into the details because I want to respect him and our relationship, so you will need to trust me when I tell you I am right on this one and he is wrong. Period. The fighting got me thinking about what kind of mother I am. I know a lot of mothers and I am more unlike them than like them, so what does that say about me?
My kid is number one in my house. There is nothing I would not do to make this kid’s life happy, healthy and whole. I am not perfect, but I am dedicated to him and very clear about how blessed I am to be his mother. I don’t take him for granted and don’t put anyone or anything ahead of him on my list of priorities. That is how I am as a mother. I get sad when I screw up with my kid because it feels like I’ve wasted time with him.
He will leave to college in a year and so I want his time with me to be great, not full of fighting and nagging. I clean his room for him because he will have his whole adult life to do that. I do his laundry, prepare his meals, and it is my pleasure. I will leave the nagging to his wife, but I imagine there won’t be too much of that because while I do these things for him, he has been taught to do them on his own and is good at it.
I am Jewish and so of course guilt is a tool I use when mothering, but there is a difference between trying to guilt your kid into something and shaming them into something and I don’t shame. Things my seventeen-year-old son deals with are nothing like what I dealt with when I was his age. In retrospect, my life was easy compared to his. I remember thinking life was hard and my parents were out of touch, but it is nothing like now.
Kids today are dealing with issues on a much larger scale than my generation ever did. My generation smoked pot and dropped acid while kids now can buy heroin at school. My generation worried about getting pregnant if they had sex, kids now have more sexually transmitted diseases than I can even list. I had an hour of homework every night and our kids have hours and hours of homework every single day. It is much different.
I don’t remember what my life was life before I had a baby, but I remember everything about my life as a mother from the second I found out I was pregnant and fainted, to the first time I felt him kick, to the second he was born, to the time he asked me to marry him, to his first day of school, to his Bar Mitzvah, to his first time taking the car on his own, and every single second in between. I love him completely and he knows it.
One would think that my home would be a democracy, but no. I am a dictator and what I say goes. My child thinks I am ridiculous, my Englishman thinks I am bossy, my mother laughs that I have become her. I want my son to be the best he can be and for me being the best means happiness. I don’t care what career path he chooses, as long as he is happy with it. I don’t care who he marries, as long as he is happy, and she is Jewish.
I use to have a swear jar in my home as I am known to cuss. A lot. I once wed my kid $100 in one week so that jar went away. Cussing is part of my vocabulary and so we deal wit it. We have a new jar however and a buck is going in every time I say, “Because I said so.” I don’t want to be a dictator; I just want homework to be done without fighting. I want to gently release my son to fly away, not have him fly the coop.
Being a mom is rewarding beyond compare, but it is also really, really hard. There is no right or wrong way; whatever you do to make your kids happy is the right way. If my son looks back at his childhood and remembers it as happy, then I have done my job. If one day his response to his own children is “Because I said so”, then I have done my job well. All I can do is pray I’m doing okay, try to stop being a dictator, and keep the faith.
February 26, 2013 | 7:49 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Do you ever take stock of your life? I don’t really look at my life in terms of an arc of time, but I am aware of how fortunate I am and the blessing I have been given. I am also aware of my struggles and how certain aspects of my life are difficult. It is that awareness that leads me to gratitude for the good, and courage to face the challenges. Life is both simple and complicated. It is so easy to get in a rut and feel sorry for yourself. It begs the question, am I worrying so much my life it is passing me by?
Love gives me strength. The love of my family, my child, my boyfriend, my friends, and myself, sustains me when I am feeling weak. I am lucky to have love and joy in my life, but lately I find myself thinking about my fear more than my joy. It’s not fear of something specific, just fear of making mistakes I guess. I am struggling with decisions about my career, how I parent my child, how I stay connected to my family when they are far away, and how to accept that I have found love and don’t need to test it.
I have been wondering if I am so busy getting through life, that I have forgotten to live life. Someone I have known for over 20 years died today. She was in her seventies and had been sick so I knew her life was coming to an end, but I am still in shock at her passing. I had not seen her in many years, but we spoke regularly, and at every crossroad in my life she was there to guide me. I suppose my fear today is in knowing that I will need to talk to her again and she is gone. It is a very sad day.
I have been thinking about my son and if I am being the best mother I can be to him. He is my only child and I have raised him alone so I am overprotective and a bit of a hoverer. I know I need to start letting him go, but I am so fearful of his going off to college that I want to hang onto him every second that he is in my home. I am excited for him to start his adult life and I am thrilled he will go college and follow his dreams, but I don’t know how I will breathe when he is not under my roof and in my sight.
I have been thinking about my family and if it is time for me to go home. Not for a visit, but to live. I lost my father and want to be with my mother more. I miss my sisters so much that it hurts. I miss my brother and feel like I am missing out on watching his kids grow up. They never knew my dad and I feel an obligation to tell them stories so his memory is kept alive. I left for an extended vacation to Los Angeles 22 years ago and told my parents I would come home soon, but I am still here.
I have been thinking about my boyfriend and wondering if love can be real if there is no definition. We are in love and that is all. That is everything. We are not getting married, moving in together, or having a baby. We are simply two grown ups who enjoy being together. We share a remarkable friendship grounded in love and have built a life together. Even though we have only been dating a year, there is a history being built. There are ups and down of course, but luckily the view is good from both locations.
Maybe the lesson here is not to worry about where we are in life, but rather to enjoy the view. When you are on top you can look down and admire where you have been, and from the bottom you can look up and dream about what you will see on your way to the top. My friend once told me if I spent all my time worrying about finding happiness, I would be too busy to know I found it. My friend was wise and lovely. She gave me light in the darkness, and reminded me that I was worthy of happiness and love.
While the circumstances of our meeting were unfortunate, I will be forever grateful that this remarkable woman came into my life. I suppose it is human nature to evaluate your life when someone you know dies. I feel sad and inspired, angry and happy, grateful and resentful. I am blessed to have loved and her and lucky that I was able to tell her how much. In our darkest times can come truly wonderful gifts and she was a gift to me. I will forever keep her in my prayers and do my best to honor her teachings.
I want to be able to live my life and watch it at the same time. I want to live it in a way that leaves me exhausted from joy, not stress. I want to watch it so that I will always remember all the happiness and blessings that have been given to me. I want my son to look back at his childhood and smile at the journey we took together. I want my boyfriend to know that he is a dream come true. I want my family to know that even though I am here, I see them in my dreams and love them from deep in my heart.
Raising my son is the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had and taught me what love is. Being in a relationship with a man who makes me better is exciting and intimidating. Being away from my family is painful and lonely. Working everyday is exhausting and challenging. Creeping up on 50 is interesting and weird. Sharing my life with all of you is scary and important. I would not change a thing because when all the pieces are put together they create a life worth living and the ability to always keep the faith.
February 21, 2013 | 6:53 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook and I have watched it a dozen times, just this morning. I had no idea who Shane was, but in watching this video I have done a little research and discovered that Shane Koyczan is remarkable. Watch this video. It is important, it is beautiful, and it matters. Everyone should see it, share it, understand it, and learn from it.
To Shane, I fell in love with you this morning.
I am a fan, and I am keeping the faith.