Posted by Ilana Angel
On Sunday night of last week, while making dinner, I burned my left forearm. I reached into the oven to pull out the shelf and retrieve dinner, and the shelf hit my arm. It was an immediate jolt, but more shocking than painful. It didn't look like anything and I figured it was a light burn and not a big deal.
The next day while at work, I noticed that my sleeve was soaking wet. I couldn't figure out why, so I took off my cardigan and saw that I had a massive wound on my arm. I had forgotten about the burn but immediately saw how badly I had hurt myself. My tiny little burn was now a massive, gaping wound.
It had blistered over, opened, and was now two inches long and one inch wide. I had burned myself badly and it was deep. I was with a friend who is a chef, and happened to have some burn ointment as a trick of her trade. She gave me the cream and I put it on, not sure of exactly how it got so bad.
By Tuesday it appeared to be getting bigger. By Wednesday it was swollen, and today it looks as if a chunk of my arm was cut out. I am heading to the doctor as my little burn has taken on a life if its own. This burn has mirrored my week. Little things are turning into big things, and I am stressed.
It's been a bad week. For every step I took forward, I took two back. Little problems seem like big issues, and easy decisions have become complicated. The interesting thing is I didn't realize this was happening until I understood how bad the burn was. The burn has brought an odd perspective.
I have been going through the motions of life without really being aware of how I am living my life. I am not paying proper attention to things because I have been operating in cruise control. I have been ignoring things that need my attention and allowing my life to pass by without my participation.
I am not much of a procrastinator. If something needs doing, I do it, so it feels strange to now be in a position where I have a list of things I need to take care of. It sounds easy enough but some of the things on my list will require real time and attention, not just a quick fix to check them off the list.
This morning I am getting a grasp of it all and learning that in burning myself, I have discovered I am burnt out. I am going through the motions, putting on a happy face, and sweeping a lot of emotions and struggles under the rug. My tripping on the pile I've created was bound to happen.
I am a blessed and fortunate woman so I hate to complain, but I'm not much of a complainer and so sometimes it feels good to just bitch. Life is good but could it be great if I paid more attention? Has cruise control made me complacent and therefore settling for a life that could be better?
We spend so much time worrying about our kids, money, work, health, family, and the world in general, that a little perspective is needed. The things I worry about will be there whether I am stressed about them or not. Instead of worrying I must focus on eliminating what worries me.
My son is growing up and with one more year at home before he goes to college, is this worried and stressed out mother the person I want him to be with for his final year at home? I want him to look back at our time together and remember the fun, not the list of things his mom was working on.
I often think about what my son will remember about his childhood. Being raised by a single mother has challenges and rewards, and I want for his childhood memories to be shaped by the rewards, not the challenges. I need to remember that what I do now, is what he will remember later.
It is interesting that a burn led to such thoughtful reflection. I am disappointed with a few things, but also empowered. I may not be responsible for my disappointment, but I am responsible for how I channel my empowerment. It's time for me shake it all off and jump into my life.
No more cruise control. I am taking charge of life and fixing what does not work. I am going to focus on being the best mother I can be and enjoying this special time with my son. My little tiny baby is now a high school senior and I am going to embrace it instead of worrying about it.
Life is complicated and sometimes confusing, but it turns out we make it that way. We all get burned on occasion and it is how we handle the pain that determines how quickly we heal. I got burned, literally and figuratively this week, but I'm still lucky, blessed, and keeping the faith.
5.24.13 at 7:07 am | Burning myself has shown me I am burning out.
5.23.13 at 3:17 pm | Dating, divorce, death, and marriage, all require. . .
5.22.13 at 6:34 am | I am forever touched by this young man.
5.19.13 at 5:43 pm | JDate should be more of a mensch.
5.17.13 at 5:27 pm | I am never going on another coffee date.
5.14.13 at 4:36 pm | Love needs a kick in the ass.
5.19.13 at 5:43 pm | JDate should be more of a mensch. (349)
5.23.13 at 3:17 pm | Dating, divorce, death, and marriage, all require. . . (342)
5.14.13 at 4:36 pm | Love needs a kick in the ass. (280)
May 23, 2013 | 3:17 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Ending relationships is a very hard thing to do. When your marriage ends and you go through a divorce, it is simply crushing, and one of the most traumatic things someone can experience. When you have kids, there is comfort in knowing that the relationship will carry on in some form or another because you have children together. By comfort, of course I mean you sometimes want to kill the person that is occasionally comforting.
To clarify, I get no comfort from my ex-husband and he actually irritates the crap out of me, however, he is the father of my child and we are forever connected. If I didn’t love him, it would mean I did not love parts of my child, and I love every single thing about my remarkable son. I see his dad in him all the time. They look the same, laugh the same, have the same mannerisms, and I love those parts of him, so I love my ex-husband.
We share a child together and while we don’t really co-parent that much, we both love him and the time we spend with him is important. It is hard when you are divorced and your child leaves you to visit his other parent. You eventually learn to adjust and the comfort comes in knowing your kid is coming back and you will see them. When you end a relationship with a boyfriend, and there are kids involved, the outcome is very different.
My last relationship was more than just dating, we had built a family. He was incredibly close with my son, and me with his daughters. We were both parental in a lot of ways to the other’s children and now that we are done, those relationships are also done, and it is painful. My son feels a loyalty to me and does not want to talk to the man who hurt me, which while lovely, breaks his heart because he loves him very much.
I love his daughters. The younger one and me were close and shared many meaningful moments together. I nursed her when she was sick, supported her when she was sad, and loved her and her sister with all my heart. I have not seen her since the relationship ended and I am heartbroken. I saw the older sister to give her a gift for her college graduation, but have not see her since, and it makes me sad. I miss them.
They are not my children, and I was not married to their father, so there is no divorce where I can negotiate time with them. I lost my boyfriend and I lost his kids, and in doing so I lost a family that mattered to me. It is more like a death. I went from spending everyday with this man and his children, to them all being gone. I am mourning the loss of people who are simply living their lives without me in it which is a difficult adjustment.
I have had no contact with him for weeks and while I will truly never understand why he opted to end this way, I must respect his choices. I can only hope that those girls know how much I love them and my choice to not contact them is probably the same reason as their choice to not contact me, we are respecting their father’s choices. As for my wonderful son, I am proud of him for putting his sense of decency in front of his feelings.
Relationships are complicated and impossible to navigate properly when there are kids involved. This weekend will mark the college graduation of a remarkable young woman and I am sad to not be there to share in the moment with her and her dad. Instead I will be at the wedding of a friend and colleague of mine. I will watch a man I love get married, and will of course think of a man I loved, who simply disappeared one day.
Loss is difficult and everyone handles it differently. Whether you lose a job, pet, loved one, friendship, or relationship, emotions run high. There is sadness and anger, but we are also blessed that as human beings we have the knowledge that time will heal and life will go on. I am grateful for the memories I have and know that even without a custody battle, they are clear on how much I love them even though there is no visitation.
It will be bittersweet, but I suppose the best way to forget a sad ending is to embrace a new beginning. Love is grand and it is a blessing to be included in the moment that my friend embraces the hopes and dreams that come with marriage. I am going to have a great time and will dance the night away with my remarkable son, who has stepped in as my date. In the end dating, divorce, death, and marriage, all require you to keep the faith.
May 22, 2013 | 6:34 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Zach Sobiech has passed away after a long battle against cancer.
I am forever changed by this remakable young man and his story.
My hearfelt condolences go out to Zach's family and friends.
Thank you Zach. You inspire me to always keep the faith.
May 19, 2013 | 5:43 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
My last three long-term relationships were all with men I met on JDate. I only date Jewish men and so it makes sense that JDate would be my online dating site of choice. By choice of course I mean it is a necessary evil in the day and age we live in. JDate works if you are willing to take your time, not get discouraged, and remember that is its not JDate that works, it is you.
I would never have met these men where it not for JDate and I am grateful for that. The relationships ending had nothing to do with JDate and so my bad feelings towards JDate are not for the service they provide, but for the services they do not provide. JDate cares about money and money is important, but without customers they make no money, so we should matter.
I’m not a programmer and know nothing about how dating sites work, but if we live in a world where a man can walk on the moon and Kim Kardashian can become a millionaire for being a whore, then can’t JDate find a way to make their customers more important than money? It’s not brain surgery, it’s dating. We are paying to be there, so why not make it the best it can be?
JDate is a place for Jews to meet Jews, or those who are not Jewish but want to date Jews, can meet Jews. No matter how you describe it, JDate is for Jews. In reading one of their “Success Stories”, they felt the need to explain what aliyah was. Really? Jews know what aliyah is, and it is a site created for Jews, so why insult our Jewish intelligence with this crap?
I received an email this week on JDate by a man who has the exact same pictures posted that he had 10 years ago. Ten years. Would it be that hard for JDate to require their members to post current pictures? If they can see a picture has not been uploaded in ten years can’t they tell that member to supply a recent photo? All it does it help those who are serious.
People lie when dating online. It is typical, expected, entertaining, silly, fascinating, sad, and at the end of the day, not the end of the world. It’s just dating. If you meet someone based on certain things they say, and they are something else, don’t date them again. There are always risks involved in dating, even with people who are honest with you. It is a crapshoot.
I’m not expecting JDate to investigate every person who joins, just to help out in the most basic of ways. People will continue to lie because is the nature of the beast. People are lonely and desperate, but also hopeful and excited to meet someone new, so we all get it that there may be a stretching of the truth. It is human nature to want people to like you.
JDate needs to be a little more mensch, and a little less bitch. They need to remember that we are, for the most part, Jewish people, and there is a certain level of decency that we require from other members of the tribe. We will happily pay for their service, but we want to feel like they want to help us, not just take our money, laugh at us, and run to the bank.
I have written countless articles about JDate and my experiences with both dating men from their site, and the people who run the site. A few years back they contacted me and I met a couple of their employees for lunch, only to discover that JDate is completely out of touch with the majority of their users, which is a real shame because it doesn’t need to be like that.
I don’t know who runs JDate these days, but I’d love to have a chat with them. By chat of course I mean I would like to have a serious conversation with someone who is not 20 years old with no clue of what it means to date online. I don’t need to speak with a computer programmer or a membership specialist, I want to talk to someone who actually cares about me.
I am freaking hilarious! JDate does not care about me. They do not care about my opinion. They do care about my money and the fact is that they will continue to get it because JDate can and does work. While perhaps a little fragile this time around, I am a believer in love and know that love can be found in weird places, and nothing is weirder than the Internet.
I wrote the man with the ten year old pictures and let him know that I knew his pictures were ten years old. He informed me that I didn’t need to worry about it because he looks exactly the same. You need a tough skin to date online. You need a sense of humor and lots of wine to date on JDate. At the end of the day you just cross your fingers, and keep the faith.
May 17, 2013 | 5:27 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I had a coffee date yesterday that proved what I have always known: coffee dates don’t really work for me. It is an unnatural meeting and feels more like a job interview. I am too old, too intelligent, and frankly too cute, to play these dating games. If someone is interested in me, we should go out for a meal or a walk, not sit in a coffee shop checking off a list we have in our heads to determine if we want to go on a real date.
Not every date is going to lead to love, or sex, or even a second date, but at this stage of my life I can sit with a stranger, even if there is no physical or intellectual attraction, and have a conversation. Having that conversation sitting in a room with a bunch of other people having the same conversations is not cool. There are a million and one things that two people can talk about on a date, and having something in common is not required.
Why not take a leap of faith and meet for a real date instead of a quickie? Listen, quick can be good sometimes, but not on a date. Well that is not true because I have left a date after 5 minutes, but that was not a date as much as escaping someone dangerous. A cup of coffee is not a date. If I am going to go on a date I want it to be a real date. If I meet my Beshert I don’t want to look back on our first date as a quickie over coffee.
Each bad date gets you one step closer to love. It could also get you one step closer to getting a cat and an IV of wine, but either way, it is one step closer to something. My date last night was a lovely man. He is attractive, funny, open, and charming. It was impossible however to know if there was any connection. I meet my girlfriends for a cup of coffee. I go out with my son for a coffee to catch up. Coffee with a stranger is strange.
So, I have made an executive decision. No more coffee dates for me. They are awkward and weird, and I am not doing them anymore. I will exchange emails, I will talk with them on the phone, and I will invest enough time into a stranger for them to not want to be a stranger anymore. Then we can have lunch, or dinner, or go for a walk, or meet for a cocktail. Important to note that meeting for a cocktail is not the same as a coffee.
Meeting up for a cocktail, feels like a date, not an interview. I think most women would dress differently for a coffee than they would a cocktail. For example, I am wearing flats to coffee and heels to a drink. I am wearing lip-gloss to a coffee and lipstick to a drink. Subtle but important differences that change the vibe from that of work to pleasure. Dating is work, but should still be fun and not feel like a chore. Dating should be fun.
Sometimes I crack myself up. Dating should be fun? Dating is not fun. There is actually nothing fun about dating at all. Dating is brutal. It is full of angst and pressure. There is excitement of course, but it comes from the possibilities of where it could lead, not an actual date. Dating is just the vehicle used to find love. I am easing back into dating and as long as I stay away from coffee shops, I will be able to keep the faith.
May 14, 2013 | 4:36 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
The process of dating is really hard. When you are going on a series of first dates, it is also exhausting. It takes a lot of time to get ready, to engage in banter with a stranger, to convince yourself that you want to be there, and not at home in your pajamas with a glass of wine. Dating is simply a means to an end, and everyone’s ending is different. Some end in love, some end in sex, and many end with the simple hope that the next one will be better.
When we meet someone new for the first time we may think we are meeting Prince Charming, when in fact we are having dinner with someone more like Ted Bundy. It is actually quite scary and if I thought about it for too long, I would talk myself out of ever dating again. When I factor in my child, I think he should never date either. Dating is a risky business. The risk is too high for just sex, so I hope for love, and try to limit my expectations.
People are on their best behavior when dating, usually, and it is only with time that we learn all the details that make them who they are. Sometimes we never learn, or perhaps learn too much, but is it time that truly allows you to know who you are dating? Love is blind, which make us blind to the red flags that come with loving someone. How someone treats you when you are dating is important, but is that how they will be with you long term?
Are we are able to see clearly when blinded by love? When dating, is the hope for love enough to blind us? Why are we so easily blinded in all the ways that make love grand, but also in all the ways that break our hearts? That is the thing about love, there are no guarantees. Love makes people crazy. It also makes smart people stupid, kind people mean, funny people bitter, and nice Jewish girls pray to Jesus for their hearts to mend.
It turns out that Love is a bitch. Love teaches you how to fly, then breaks your wings. How can Love be so grand, and also be so bitter? Love and Karma must be sisters. Bitches. I know they are women because men are just not smart enough to screw us over like they do, which says a lot considering how much men screw us over. I am too scared and too smart to date for sex, so I’m stuck looking for Love. God help me. Wait, God help her too.
I am over Love and her devilish ways so I am not going to put up with her games anymore. I am looking for Love and when I find her, I am going to kick her ass. I am going show her who is boss. In return she will respect me, and my heart. She will treat me with dignity and decency and allow our time together to be grand and not hurtful. I am now talking about Love in the way that only a crazy person can. Damn her for doing this to me.
Dating sucks. It sucks a little more when you are 47 and surprised to find yourself dating again. There are fun parts of it of course, but still, it sucks. The real struggle is not to find Love, but to find the strength to keep trying, to avoid the animal shelter, and to not do permanent damage to your liver. Love is grand. She is also mean, nasty, vindictive, sarcastic and a pain in the ass. The only shot in hell I have to find her, is by keeping the faith.
May 11, 2013 | 12:44 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
In honor of Mother’s Day, I am submitting my mother's blog and would like to give 17 reasons as to why my Mother is the best, on account of the fact that is how many Mother’s Days she has had.
1. She is extremely uplifting. She tells me how proud she is of me, and how incredible my jeans make my butt look.
2. She is very attractive, commonly referred to as a M.I.L.T.T.T.D. (A Mother I’d Like To Take To Dinner)
3. She is quite humorous. She understands 60% of my jokes, which is 30% more than the average Canadian.
4. She doesn’t fully understand how to work technology. This is good because it makes me feel intelligent when she comes to me for help.
5. She is Canadian. Canadian’s are usually kinder and more well rounded than most Americans.
6. She is Jewish. This is fairly self-explanatory.
7. She appreciates the things I love. This doesn’t mean my Mother is a die hard Lord of the Rings fan, but she doesn’t judge the fact that I am.
8. She introduced me to the film “Love Actually”. This is a simply incredible film that I never would have seen if it weren’t for her.
9. She likes my cat. There is just something very endearing about your mother stroking your cat.
10. She likes my friends and my friends like her. Unfortunately, the downside is that my friends would rather hang out with her than me.
11. She is very good at cooking. Whether it be pasta, soup, or steak, I always walk away from the table feeling like the twice the man I was when I got there. Both metaphorically and literally.
12. She supports me in all of my endeavors. She has always told me to follow my dreams, and because of that, I am happier than ever.
13. She’s always willing to help. Everything from school functions, to my homework. (Not the kitty litter. I never get help with the kitty litter.)
14. She is short. This makes me feel much taller and stronger than I actually am.
15. She doesn’t like loud music. This aggravates me a lot now, but I’m sure I’ll appreciate it for some reason later in my life.
16. She has raised me to be Jewish. I’m becoming more grateful for this every single day.
17. Finally, my Mother has raised me to be me. She has never told me to be anyone different. She has been kind and helpful and supportive through thick and thin. Not all kids are lucky enough to have that.
I love you so much Mum.
You are a truly remarkable human being.
Happy Mothers Day!
May 9, 2013 | 4:10 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am not really a transitional kind of girl. I hate the dating dance and at this stage of my life am able to make quick decisions in terms of the men I want to spend time with. I have friends who swear by the "transitional man" method of getting over a love. A man that will get you back in the saddle so to speak, so you can mend your broken heart, and then meet the next man you will love. For me, I'd rather have a practice round instead of a transitional man. I'm not transitioning from anything. I had love, lost it, and want it again.
Yesterday I spoke with a single male friend of mine. He is in his 50's, divorced, successful, sexy, smart, funny, planted firmly in Judaism, and unable to find love. I have had a crush on him for years and don't get why he is not in a relationship. We spoke about dating and it was interesting to get a look into how a man's mind works. It is very different. Forget about Mars and Venus, apples and oranges, or black and white. They differences between men and women are far vaster than planets, fruits, and colors. We are just inexplicably different.
He spoke of being bored with meeting women for coffee or dinner. He sits and talks to people all day and so going out to talk is not appealing. It made perfect sense to me. Isn't the real test of compatibility whether you can be quiet together? I can talk to anyone, it's a gift, but being quiet with someone is a special thing. Relationships are not just about talking. Or sex for that matter. There is more intimacy in lying down with someone and listening to them breathe, than in having sex. Sex is important, but not necessarily always intimate.
I never invite men to my home unless we are in a relationship. My son lives with me, and meeting him must be earned. I will go to a man's home if I feel comfortable, but if that comfort fades once I'm there, I leave. My friend spoke of inviting a woman to his home on a second date. He loves his home, and thought having her over would be relaxing and less of a forced talking marathon, which dates can be. She took the invitation to mean he wanted a relationship, as home meant intimacy to her. Wrong, but understandable.
If a man is invited into my home, the place where I am my most happy and self-aware, in my mind it is a relationship. For my friend, inviting her into his home was simply another location for a date. Women are seeking signs from men to make us feel special. If we are invited to his home, we’re special. The truth is that if we saw a list of women invited there before us, we would see it is not special at all. Not everything men do and say has a hidden message of love. Men don't think like that, and women are unwilling to understand or believe it.
Couldn’t all dating for men be classified as transitional? How exactly will a transitional man help me? What am I looking for? I don't need to get married again, I don't want to have another child, I have my own home, car, and ability to support myself. My son does not need a father, and neither do I. I am looking for a friend, confidant, lover, and ultimately a witness. I want a witness to my life. I want to look next to me and know they have the same memories as me. I want to include someone other than my son and myself in my dreams.
Men are, in my opinion, better able to handle a transitional relationship. They can get from point A to point B with a few pit stops along the way. Women want to get from point A to point B quickly, with no stops in between. I am spending my transitional period with myself, and that is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I am avoiding some of the pitfalls that come with transitional dating, and a curse because I spend more time looking backward than forward. I am not sure how I am supposed to see a future when I’m facing the past.
Is the point of a transitional person to make you move on faster? Is fast really the way to go when mending a broken heart? When a relationship ends we focus on the heart, which makes no sense. You can fix a broken heart, transplant one that is not functioning, patch a hole in one, or make it slow down so you can catch your breath. The focus when suffering through heartache should be the brain. You can’t get a brain transplant, or path a hole in your brain, or slow it down so you can catch your breath. Heartache requires a new brain, not a new heart.
I like my heart. It loves deeply and openly. Is has compassion, empathy, hope, and love. My brain however, needs a little work. It is unable to acknowledge red flags, listens to the ramblings of my heart, which let’s face it, is a bit of a drinker, and seems incapable of learning from its mistakes. At the end of the day I am a bit of a mess. My heart, while lovely, is not that bright. My brain, while brilliant, is that that savvy. They are both important, but need to get along. If they could just pay more attention to each other, I’d be much better off.
My heart needs to communicate better with my brain, and my brain needs to acknowledge the feelings of my heart. They both mean well, and have my best interest in mind, but they both want to win the battle of love and in battling with each other, are making me a little crazy. Love s certainly a game, but it does not need to be a war. I am not sure who to listen to most days, which is simply exhausting. I am getting through each day, hoping to spend more time looking ahead than back, and trying to always keep the faith.