Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

She is mom. Wife. Business woman. Delicate flower. Steel tower. She struggles to raise grounded amazing little people in a world of chaos, to contribute to a highly competitive career world, to tame the mom guilt that is a bi-product of her career, to maintain a hot, steamy relationship with her spouse of umpteen years, to convince her pig-headed toddler to eat the damn peas…and then she, one day, finds herself pining away for that sassy young anti-pea eating activist after he becomes a surly teenager with an endless array of new challenges to present to her. So many balls to keep in the air. So. Many. But she does. She may falter along the way. She may doubt herself. A ball may slip here or there. But she’ll catch it, and she will toss that ball back into the ring with grit and gusto. Because she is a circus juggling phenomenon. It IS her circus. It IS her monkeys. She is juggler and ringmaster.

She is every woman.

These are just the given day-in and day-out struggles. She may also find herself going head to head with some of life’s more generous and bountiful gifts…like the gut-wrenching death of a close family member, a debilitating depression following childbirth, a life-altering cancer diagnosis, a messy minefield of a divorce, a 2-headed monster called co-parenting, that famed mid-life crisis she keeps hearing about, a moment of pause when she looks in the mirror and wonders “Who the hell are you…and why didn’t you bring a younger, hotter, bouncier body with you?” The list of hits just keeps coming for her, as she incessantly treads water…both familiar, and not.

But she is every woman.

At times, she will feel inadequate. Alone. Unsuccessful. Terrified. Unqualified. Misunderstood. Taken for granted. Lost. She will join the sisterhood of bathroom hiders, wine soothers, and private sobbers. She will cry it out. Confirm to herself that life is over…that she is all alone. Once she feels she has successfully won this argument with herself (and the wine is gone), she will pull it together. She will regroup, refocus, and reassess the situation. She will understand that balls drop because of the gravity of life. She will wipe her tears and put in check her fears. And then she will realize that she was never, in fact, alone.

Because she is every woman.

She is stronger than she knows. Braver than she feels. Smarter than she thinks. More badass than she believes. And more resilient than she ever thought possible. It is her strength, her bravery, and her brains that will pick up the dropped balls and get them back into her juggling act. But it is her resilience that will restore her confidence after the fall. It is her resilience that will bring her back to her center, back to herself, ringmaster. The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. It is the act of “bouncing back” post traumatic event. And bounce back, she will. Each and every time. Back into the ring.

For she is every woman.

Speaking as a mom who has had more than a few balls to juggle, I can attest to the excessive and rotund plumpness of some. For example, the depression after the birth of my extremely premature one-pound son who wasn’t supposed to make it, the doctor’s emotionless newsflash that this very stressful pregnancy would be my last, the impossibly devastating decision to help my baby sister pass in peace after months of suffering on life support, the mid-life crisis complete with a career hop into the medical field (fueled by my sister’s passing) and the struggle of knowing that I had absolutely zero medical knowledge at the time, the ever dreaded breast cancer diagnosis that derailed everything familiar to me for a short time, and even the narrowly escaped divorce. Throw in there raising a beautiful adopted daughter who has challenged everything I thought I knew about life, and you have the new me.

She is me.

The new…older and more tired, yes…but more self-aware, more attuned to my own mental strength, more experienced, more confident, more determined than ever…me. She has learned what she never knew about herself. When faced with adversity, it is our instinct to look externally for strength, for peace, for advice. But true resilience comes from within. She has only to look in the mirror to find what she’s looking for. That woman looking back at her…she has always been there…just past the insecurity and fear. Just past the veil of uncertainty. She is brave. She is strong. She is smart. She is resilient. And the sooner she knows this, the sooner she can get back to her juggling act. Her monkeys are waiting. They are in place…most likely the wrong place. But the show must go on.

And it needs its ringmaster.

She is you. She is me. She is we. And we are resilient.

Juggle on.

Chick Hughes

The damp, dreary black of night, heavy with humidity, mirrors the state her heart. She buries herself under the bundle of bed sheets and blankets as if they shield her from the outside world. The sounds of raindrops dancing on the rooftop aren’t enough to help Madeline sleep tonight. But they never are anymore. She remembers when they were enough to make her forget where she was, even who she was, as she lost herself in the tantalizing tango from above. When they were soft and soothing…her eyelids their puppets as they willed her to sleep. But the rain no longer has that effect on her.

Since he left…every sound, every sensation was a reminder that he was gone. She could no longer disappear dreamily into the rain dance over her head. No longer sway gently in her dreams to the romantic raindrop rendezvous. Now it was different. Now she was a prisoner trapped inside the tango, unable to dance along…being tossed around in the chaos that is her heart. The raindrops and the metal rooftop colliding with heated intention and frustration, building her up only to let her down over and over again in cyclical misery.

There was pain in the rain. Pain in everything, now.

He was her best friend, her soul mate. Though she had never believed in soul mates, her connection with Trey challenged everything she thought she knew to be true. It was one of those things that a girl doesn’t believe in until it stares her square in the eye, stands its ground, and double dares her to doubt. Double dare or not, she did doubt. It wasn’t in her nature not to question. She could no sooner ignore her skepticism than she could stop breathing. So doubt, she did. Her heart and her gut, all the while, whispering to her that he was her soul mate, that the magnitude of this connection could be nothing less. But her brain, more trustworthy, continued to cast doubt with a louder, more authoritative inner voice. Surely she was just clouded by love and infatuation. Surely. How could she have fallen so hard, so quickly? She tried to convince herself that he had fallen just as hard. That he had to be feeling the same thing she felt. And she did for a while. But somehow she knew that her heart would pay the price for the charges her brain kept tallying. And just as she knew it would, the bill had finally come. And it was heftier than she thought. She wasn’t sure she would ever pay it off.

They had met 4 years ago. It was an accidental meeting. Right place, right time. Neither of them was looking. Yet it seemed they were drawn together, as if they were the last two creatures alive. The spark was instant. The flame, inevitable. From the moment they met, she craved more. Each hour spent with him only fed her addiction. She was starving and he was her nutrition. And she was sure she was his. Each time Trey touched her, she felt electricity that she had never known before. Each time he spoke her name, she felt she had never heard it spoken with such command and desire. With every meeting of their eyes, there was his soul…greedily drinking hers in as if his life depended on it. The sound of his voice was intoxicating to her…making her drunk with anticipation. They spent the next 4 years learning everything they could about each other. They needed to know every detail, big or small. Every flaw, or strength. Every humiliating story, or triumph. Every ambition, or disappointment. Every fear. Every laugh. Every turn on. Every turn off. He was the only person on Earth who knew her deepest, most private thoughts…with whom she trusted her innermost self completely. They shared the darkest of secrets they both knew could never be uttered to another living soul. And then there was the sex… When they made love, it felt as if she was more naked than she had ever been. Both physically and emotionally. They connected on a level so transcending, it seemed to defy possibility and mock all of their previous human interactions.

Trey and Maddy had quickly become a dance. When one moved, the other moved. When one reached, the other grabbed hold. They trusted one another with anything. With everything. They seemed to have no choice. Feeling bigger than the two of them, the universe had connected their cores. It had connected their hearts. There was some gravitational pull that kept their souls dancing along to a song only they could hear.

For Maddy, everything made sense with him around. Her purpose. Her existence. Life not only made more sense with Trey. It made her happier than she ever knew she could be. She never imagined something so perfect would ever end. Not really end.

But on a regular Monday, with no forewarning, it did just that.

Suddenly, Trey just disappeared from her life. She didn’t realize this immediately, of course. She called him, sent him flirty texts. But nothing. After days turned into weeks with no response, she became increasingly worried. Increasingly empty.

She did finally get one text from him, but only one. Three words, to be exact.

“I just can’t.”

She tried to talk to him…ask questions, beg for answers. But nothing. She had no idea what had changed. Nothing had happened, nothing she knew of… One day they were dancing along perfectly in sync. And the next, he had left the dance floor.

Time passed.

Trey didn’t call. He didn’t text. No apologies, no reasons, no regrets, no maybe laters, no anything. He just walked away. Why? Had she done something? Had he done something? Why didn’t he say goodbye? To Maddy, this was what hurt the most…the nothingness. Just. Nothing. Everything they had shared, the intense connection that rocked her existence, the love that followed…seemed to mean nothing. She had put her heart, raw and dependent, in his hands, with complete trust and confidence that he would keep it beating. He hadn’t. Everything they had, everything, had vanished.

It took, with it, all of her.

She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think. She could only feel. But feeling was too painful…too debilitating.

Her brain had convinced her heart of only one possibility. One possible explanation that flipped her insides upside down, stole her breath, and suffocated her heart with callous malice.

He had never loved her…

The raindrops are getting more intense. Maddy is trapped inside the, now, one person tango that is her heart. Unable to sleep, she tries to make sense of her heartbreak. It never comes. Frustration and loneliness. These are her dance partners now, as she steps on her own toes and falls time and time again. She lies in bed, predicting and dreading each and every treacherous raindrop.

Maddy pulls the cover over her head to escape the rain…to escape the dance…to escape Trey.

The drops are slamming into the rooftop as if begging to be let in. As if the world outside is too intense. And they, like her, need to escape.

The rain continues. The pounding on the rooftop. The pounding on her heart. No peace. No rhythm. No purpose.

She surrenders to the tears that are now refusing to be restrained. To her heart that is refusing to be silenced. Her tears become the rain. Her rain drags on, exhausting her.

And just like that, the rain stops.

The dance is done.

She lies there in the heavy darkness…listening to the silence.

Longing for sleep.

Longing for the dance that once was.
For the music she may never hear again.

Sleep found her…

Maddy woke to the chirps of her resident blue jay. He was at his usual post…a branch nestled inside the towering red maple tree outside her window. His chirps were an insult to the sadness she had committed herself to indefinitely. Damn bird. Damn happiness.

She rolled over to check her phone. Her phone illuminated one single text. From Trey.

“Hi.”

~Chick Hughes

After reading a recent article in the New York Times, “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry,” I was overcome by a myriad of emotions.  Anger and empathy dominating them.  Once again struck by the struggles of women who, bound by culture and fear, are forced to share their lives with men who lack the education and self confidence to embrace and appreciate the wild, fiery, passionate, dedicated (and, yes, at times dramatic and difficult) entity that is the female spirit.  In attempts to thwart off his own handed-down insecurities and assure himself that she will never have the freedom nor independence to see a life outside the one he deems “honorable,” he robs not only himself of the limitless possibilities promised by her ravenous spirit…but he robs her of a spirit that defines her, empowers her, and inspires her.  Leaving her trapped in a relationship void of love, in a body void of familiarity…where she can only be, say, or do what is dictated to her.

In spite of this centuries-old practice, some women still manage to find a way to thrive.  To write.

This ambitious group of Afghan women featured in the NYT article has found an emotional outlet in poetry.  Writing as a form of escape, a form of complaint, a form of freedom.  But they do so in secret because the act of expressing her feelings, her ambitions, her worries in written form is cause for extreme physical punishment at the hands of her husband, brother, or father.  The men they dutifully answer to are threatened by such things, seeing her expression as a possible flight risk from her strictly defined domestic role.  So, she isn’t allowed education or exposure to outside influences that may mar that role.

Feeding an unspoken fear as old as time…education leads to independent thinking.  And independent thinking leads to rebellion.

Damn straight it does.  Thank goodness!

Expressing oneself through writing is not only a source of therapy, expression, and self exploration for the writer, but also a source of strength, understanding, and inspiration for the reader.  Though separated by oceans, cultures, and cavemen hell-bent against evolution, we all have the desire and the right to grow and learn by literary means.

To inspire.  And to be inspired.

May these women continue to find both the strength and courage to inspire all women, as they have me.

_______________

I wish I may, I wish I might

Be a solitary bird lost in flight

Free to be, to love, to write

No glow of red, only green light

No tether, wrong, or right

Soaring high over mountains, cloaked in night

Shedding, ridding all semblance of plight

And fervently anticipating, with dawn in sight

A bold new rush of wind as I graze the sunlight

~ Chick Hughes

 

 

 

 

photo by: puFFin2006

~ Refined and reposted from 2011 archive

Ok, admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.  Ever ornery, I resent being guilted into expressing my love by corporate greeting card money whores.  Forced to say “I love you” their way…on their day.  Everywhere I look…cheesy cards, heart-shaped candy, and the foolproof red rose…guaranteed to make her shed her clothes.  Apparently.  “V” day could possibly be the most pressure inducing holiday of the year.  He’s feeling the squeeze to romance her, lest she be the only “unloved” girl alive who will secretly plan her vengeance on some random day when he feels all is right with his all too romantically challenged little world .  And, in appreciation for his romantic efforts, she feels pressured to give it up, lest he be the only “unlucky” guy alive, who will surely wither under the duress of an under-utilized appendage.  He’s sprung for dinner and a gift…and he’s sprung yet again.

Forced to stalk the aisles ablaze with red and pink lovin’ necessities, we buy (literally) into the holiday hype for fear our sweetie will feel unlucky in love. Scrambling frantically, and at the last minute, through hundreds of replicated pledges of love, we’re mere puppets at the greedy hand of the greeting card industry.  Five bucks to express someone else’s feelings and look the other way when the moment has passed and those feelings are tossed into the trash?  Creativity is dead, it seems.  A homemade card created from the heart is not only more romantic…it’s a thoughtful one-of-a-kind gesture, and you can be sure that thousands of other people aren’t pretending to love the same exact “gesture” while wondering if their heartthrob searched for hours on end or just grabbed the card nearest the exit route from the store. But hey, if retail giants say these token mass produced impersonal gifts will get you laid, who am I to argue?

But I do.

If cards, candy, and flowers were sure to set his sheets on fire with hot lovemaking (which is the true motive behind his romantic whim), you can bet the calendar would be inundated with more dreamt up “romantic” holidays.  One competing with the next on its panty dropping ability.  Men everywhere would make a daily pit stop at the local corner store to stock up on the “sure thing” card, candy, flower trifecta.  The male consumer population would redefine the term “convenience store.”   A quickie mart for the quickie smart.  😉

Obviously love is more complicated than that.  While it’s nice to be romanced on Valentine’s Day, we want to feel loved, supported, and appreciated every day of the year.  After all, there are 364 more opportunities to show affection…and to get some.  Attentive appreciation provides all the ammo our sweeties need to combat those 364 days chock-full of life’s not-so-welcome little surprises.  Fickle and unforgiving, life is unpredictable on a good day, hostile on a so-so day, and a downright bitch on a bad day.  Presented with twists and turns, ins and outs, ups and downs, we come face to face with everything life throws our way.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  And through it all, we want to know that our one and only will stand by our side.  That we can depend on that love, rain or shine.  Dependability plays a vital role in relationship success and is rated one of love’s most valuable commodities.  We want assurance that the one we love is there to catch us when life tosses us aside.  We want more than a lover.  We want a best friend.

Studies show that the happiest and most successful couples are also best friends.  A best friend is there when life is good…dancing and playing alongside us in life’s blindingly sunny rays of happiness.  A best friend is there when life is hostile…showing us a single ray of sunshine amid life’s ominous rain clouds.  And, most importantly, a best friend is there when life is a bitch…standing right there beside us providing shelter in the eye of the storm.  And when that storm passes, a best friend dances with us in the puddles, dries us off, and helps us move on.

On life’s sunniest and stormiest of days…we want a shoulder to cry on, a friend to rely on, and a lover to get it on.

No more holiday hype.

On Valentine’s Day, on a good day, on a bad day, on THIS day…be the best friend your sweetie needs.

Say “I love you” your way…every day.

 

Chick Hughes

Love when love doesn’t come easy.  🙂

And may your nearest redeemer for frequent flirter miles not be a 3 ft tall, grammatically challenged know-it-all.  Although, this little green ladies’ man seems to know his way around a flirt…and a skirt.  Once again, men are left scratching their heads as the whole concept of “size matters” is shot to hell by this image of a seemingly studly Yoda regaling women with tales starring the forceful magic of his “light saber.”   Tales so heroic, so sexually charged, they send women’s clothing plunging to a crumpled heap on the ground in a desperate plea of surrender.  Or so says Photoshop.

Captivating I am.  Seduce you I will.

Every Jedi knows the art of flirting is a mix of conversation, body language, and physical touch…and may just be our most vital form of communication.  It’s the foreplay to our foreplay, so to say.

We flirt because it’s a necessary road to reproduction junction.  It could be that the flirtee is just too hot to be denied our charms.  And it could be that it’s just fun.  Scientists say that flirting doesn’t necessarily mean attraction.  That, hot or not, we’re evolutionarily programmed to be sexually alert, on our toes, and prepared for passionate throes.  Married, single, or “it’s complicated” …our primitive libidos are in constant battle with modern monogamy.  So, even if we’re off the market, we flirt with potential buyers to humor our libidos…and our egos.  Met with success, or shaming mess, we flirt to advertise our assets…and remind ourselves we’ve still got it.  When we flirt, we display our creativity, our humor, and our intelligence…flaunting our stellar skills for withstanding whatever poo pies life may throw our way (selling ourselves as the optimal life partner).  But aside from our dung dodging skills, we spread our peacock feathers…display our bountiful (surgically custom) cleavage, our Baby Got Back bums, our Fabio-lously spray tanned flexing pecs, our firm afterglow-inducing light sabers.  Saying, without saying, “I got that good hit!  Don’t you want to bag me?”

We flirt.  We bag.  We ensure the survival of our genetic genius.  And we settle into family life.  We now have children to raise, mortgages to pay, bosses to mock, and spontaneity to block.  Burdened by an endlessly overwhelming list of chores and responsibilities that would make even the most devoted Family Guy pimp out his wife for a break, we don’t take time to maintain flirting fluency with our main squeeze.  The romance dies.  We’re merely roommates…without benefits…tending to chores.  Making it from one day to the next.  We get comfortable in the notion that our spouse isn’t going anywhere.  And realize…neither are we.  We’re in a rut.

It’s then that we realize that somewhere along the way, we’ve become biologically washed up.  With no sex life and no sex appeal, we’re no longer relevant to the circle of life.  We begin to feel unwanted and depressed.  We start to miss the flirt, the chase…the thrill of sexual possibilities.  Ironically, both spouses will come face to face with his/her own feeling of sexual loss.  However, neither will attempt to fill this void for the other.  Usually because we’re both too busy trying to maintain every other relationship in the daily grind…forgetting that a happy sweetie promises a different grind altogether.  We go out of our way to please other people.  Bosses, friends, co-workers.  Why?  Because we know that our bosses, our friends, or our co-workers can, and will, walk out on us at any time.  We don’t take these relationships for granted.  So we see the value in the work needed to maintain them.  But our spouses…we take them for granted.  We don’t work on the marital relationship because it’s the one place we think we can afford to get lazy and fall asleep on the job.

Divorce…and remarriage…statistics beg to differ.

The cold hard truth is…what we take for granted, someone just around the corner is all too eager to appreciate.

Whatever the cost to our social or family life, we’re drawn to flirty appreciation like an oompa loompa to shoe lifts.   It boosts our egos, stimulates our sex drives, and spices up our lives.  We need to flirt to feel special…to feel connected.  We need it emotionally and sexually.  So, if no one is flirting with us at home, we begin to feel stagnant.  We grow bored with our marriage AND ourselves.  And we’re all the more receptive to outside flirts.

Marriage is monotonous…on a good day.  If we want to keep it fresh and romantic, we can’t put away our dazzling peacock plumage just because we’re too lazy to strut it.  We need to continue displaying our assets.  Otherwise, life clouds our memory.  And we both forget why we fell in love in the first place.  The flirt, the tease, the challenge, the FUN…this is what keeps our spouse true and still believing in “I do.”

Why flirting with the one that matters…matters?

*  It’s adult play.  We never outgrow our need for play.  Make your spouse your toy.

*  It boosts both egos.  Flirting gives us a sense of power.  Whether we’re the hunter or the prey, we all enjoy a good chase. It validates our sexual worth.

*  It’s the language of love…promising the continual emotional connection we seek so ruthlessly.

*  It reminds our spouse that we’re still very much attracted to them…translation:  “I don’t take you for granted!”

*  It’s healthy for children to witness our playful love.  It provides them a sense of security and models a healthy, loving relationship.

*  It will eventually lead to sex.  Filthy, dirty sex…somewhere. 😉

Teasing Tactics:

*  Be witty and challenging.

*  Tackle a chore your sweetie usually takes care of.

*  Wear flirty clothes…or no clothes.

*  Snuggle…give back rubs or massages.

*  Engage in sexy, suggestive banter.  Remember, the brain is our most sexual organ.

*  Compliment.  Flattery will get you everywhere.

*  Send romantic/sexy texts or emails…either as yourself…or the sultry stranger who’s been lusting from afar.

*  Create a special hand signal (sign language) for a romantic/sexy message just between the two of you.

 

It’s our nature to follow the flirt.  When it comes to your sweetie, turn up your tease…

Lead the way.

Chick Hughes

“It’s not my fault that I fell for you, you tripped me” ~ unknown

 

 

 

 

Get your booty shakin’ and your sex life quakin.’  Or so say the sexperts!  It turns out exercise is good for more than buns of steel.  It also promises tons of squeal…in the bedroom.  Or maybe it’s the steel causing the squeal?  😉  Either way, that’s quite the incentive for squeezing in some sweat time.  But forcing that overstressed, overworked tired tushy to hit the gym and squeeze an hour of sweat from the sour lemon that is our day?  Not exactly ap-pealing.  The excuses mount, no?  No time.  No energy.  Too many chores.  Too little willpower.  But what if a regular workout routine were to increase our sex drive and deliver better orgasms?  Hmmm, squeezing a drop of sweat from that sour lemon of a day may just get us lemon-Laid!

Studies show just that.  Regular exercise does indeed deliver an enhanced sex drive.  Over a sustained period of time, sweating it out releases endorphins causing a “runner’s high.”  We feel good inside and out.  Working out elevates our mood and makes us feel calm, confident, and in control.  That confidence acts as an aphrodisiac giving us the gas needed to rev our engines and finish the race with a ‘bang.’  Men AND women who routinely exercise show decreased stress, enhanced sex drives, and better orgasms.  And the more intense the workout, the more successful the aphrodisiac.

After years of marriage, kids, work, and chores, we need all the self-seduction we can muster up.  Ruts and exhaustion make it easy to fall into a pattern of poor body image, lack of energy, and loss of sexual spark…especially for women.  Unlike men, women can’t pull rabbits from their hats (or snakes from their drawers) and forget all problems except a need for orgasm.  Every emotional issue and unresolved thought she has will accompany her into the bedroom.  Insecurity, distraction, depression, anxiety, chores, kids, that damn mosquito buzzing around somewhere in the room.  All flooding her brain leaving her little or no room for choreographing  and executing that strip tease she’d otherwise planned.  Bummer!

Perhaps one of the top sexual inhibitors is insecurity.  And women aren’t the only ones who bear the weight of a tubby devil on the shoulder reminding them of every imperfection.  Today’s men are just as body conscious…worrying whether they’re buff enough and up to snuff.  “Will she be satisfied?  Will I be enough?  Will she be disappointed?”  (Fellas, women are much less physically critical of their partners than men.  For her, it’s more about emotion and spark and less about six packs and rib-reachers.)  We all want to feel good about ourselves…good about what we’re bringing to the table.  And if we’re confident in that, dessert will be that much sweeter.

Research shows that vigorous exercise primes women’s bodies for sex.  That it gets us in the mood and makes us feel all hot and bothered.  Well, so does the sight of her sultry hubby vacuuming the floor or preparing dinner.  Now, that fantasy whopper could be a real panty dropper…if only it were utilized.  🙂  Clearly, exercise is hot…in more ways than one.  Not only do we feel more attractive and frisky when we work out…but sometimes, just watching taut sweaty bodies working it is enough to prime the most “out of service” sexual engines.  Then again…sometimes NOT!

Experts say the correlation between sex drive and exercise is the product of both physical and emotional stimuli.  Physically, when we exercise, we get our blood pumping.  We raise our heart rate and increase circulation…not only to our brains (which is the most sexual organ)…but also to the genitals.  With more blood pumping south, we’re open for business.  We respond quicker to sexual stimuli, experience heightened sensation, and are more eager to get it on.

Not only do we become more physically fit, more aesthetically pleasing, and friskier than usual…we also benefit emotionally…become more confident.  We FEEL sexier…more alive.  We’ve achieved eye candy status and we’re now confident enough to say “Eat me.”  Exercise is good for our self-esteem, our body image, and our state of mind.  It lowers stress, reduces depression and anxiety, and gives us a newfound love of self.  With a more elated state of mind, less stress to bog us down, and the empowering sense of sexiness, we become more comfortable with our bodies.  And therefore more open to new sexual endeavors and more in touch with our body’s sensations.  When the mind is free from stress and insecurity, it’s free to enjoy the body.  Inhibition demolition.

Promising less stress, less depression, more confidence, more sex, and better orgasms…exercise just rendered all excuses null and void.  It’s cheaper than therapy and the couch won’t be the only thing getting laid.

Arousal begins in the brain and travels south.  Working out makes us feel sexy and confident…and gets our blood pumping in all the right places.  If we feel sexy, we’ll BE sexy.

So feel the burn…and the yearn!  Shake it.  🙂

 

Chick Hughes

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” ~Carol Welch

 

 

Love is a merciless cycle with more white knights and horses’ asses than a mall carousel.  And there’s no getting off.  We woo, become two, screw…and someone says “we’re through.”  A heart is broken.  Tweet and Repeat.  When soaring high amid the heart-shaped clouds of Cupid’s fleeting bliss, the heart pays no mind to Newton’s Law of Physics.  But once the “gravity” of a breakup hits us, we have no choice but to free fall and come crashing down on Newton’s grim prediction… “What goes up must come down.”  If only we didn’t have to “come down” on a bed of meticulously filed, dagger sharp nails piercing not only the heart, but our entire body…one gut-wrenching teardrop at a time.  Turning us into a human shish kabob all too eager to throw ourselves onto a flaming grill and end our bleeding heart misery.  Supposedly, the pain we feel is only heartache.  But in actuality, the pain of a broken heart hurts everywhere.  Does it not?  When the object of our affection personally digs a great divide into the heart we’ve given them, we feel physical pain.  Inexplicable pain that no amount of “There’s lots of fish in the sea” or “That jerk didn’t deserve you” band-aids can cover up.  We’re “stuck on” the ex.

Screw the band-aid!  Anyone up for a tirade?

A broken heart leaves us coiled up in the fetal position crying hopelessly, cursing Stupid Cupid, and threatening to shove that magically sharpened arrow up his virginal baby smooth bare tuckus.  Rejection has a tendency to breed cynicism, no?  But baring the fangs of our inner cynic is a human knee-jerk reaction to the security breach of our too-vulnerable heart.  And usually the only retaliation we get.  The heart is our lifeline.  It pumps life into our body.  Broken heart, broken body.  And our body feels that break mentally, emotionally, AND physically.

So yes, love hurts!

But why?

Scientists studied party-pooping participants who were recently dumped, so the pain was fresh and frenzied.  The lucky lotto winners had their brains picked apart and studied by modern technology.  Brain activity was monitored while enduring physical pain from being burned with a hot probe.  And then again while enduring emotional pain from gazing upon a picture of the ex and regaling the experimenter with the low-down on how they were dumped.

FUN and FUN!

Though beneficial for the furthering of science, the details of the study beg the question:

WTF did these poor souls get paid for their participation?  Enough to pay for fallout therapy or just enough to drown the pain in Jose Cuervo, pass out, and send Jose packing down the porcelain throne?  First class ac’commode’ations.

Poor souls aside…what they found was that our brains don’t discriminate based on race, sex, religion, hypocrisy, emotional dismemberment, or a slashing from Jack the Ripper.  When it comes to pain, the human brain is all-encompassing.  These studies show that intense emotional pain activates the same neural pathways in our brains as physical pain.  So whether we suffer emotional or physical misery, our brains can’t differentiate.  We simply feel pain.  No wonder a broken heart is so crushing and debilitating.  We don’t know if we’ve been dumped off or bumped off.

Nor do we care.

So why doesn’t the brain distinguish between emotional and physical pain?  Because evolutionarily speaking, being alone is bad for business.  Experts suggest that we evolved to feel actual pain at separation to prevent our demise.  Many, many years ago, we were roaming the predatory wild and needed to avoid becoming an all-u-can-eat buffet for beastly, dragon-breath patrons.  In order to survive, we needed a buddy…a partner…a more appetizing distraction to enable our getaway, just in case a patron is doubly ravenous.  Being alone was dangerous.  So our brains evolved to send physical warnings to our bodies when we found ourselves all alone in the world.  Warnings in the form of pain.  Ouch!

Pair…or Beware!  😉

This is why we suffer so much when rejected…not only by a lover, but by our peers as well.  We know that as long as we fit in and blend in, we’re a shoo-in for survival.  We have an innate animal instinct to survive.  At all costs.  So when we find ourselves staring down the barrel of rejection with our one and only’s finger on the trigger, we hurt as if we’ve taken the literal bullet.  The realized risk of solitude and slaughter triggers a primitive fear that manifests itself as physical pain.  Our minds have convinced our bodies that rejection is more like dissection.  When cast aside, our protective layers are peeled away and our vulnerable insides picked away.  So, like every good romance story perpetuates, Together…GOOD…Alone…BAD!  There’s an old adage:  “The best way to get over an old love is to find a new one.” Out with old…in with the new.  Once we find a new love, we have a partner to brave the wilds with.  We’re no longer alone…no longer at risk.  We are two!  Over you.

All is good.

But in true cyclic form, and as Newton predicted, we’ll inevitably come crashing down and feel the physical pain of rejection once again.

And when we do…we can drown our pain at the end of lonely street at Heartbreak Hotel, where the hearts bleed and the tears flow.  Or…we can claim that vacancy at the Bates Motel, where the showers beckon…and the psychos bludgeon.  We won’t know the difference…apparently.  Pain is pain…to the brain.

Hotel? Motel?

Love is Hell!

Chick Hughes

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” ~ Winston Churchill

Here a chick, there a chick.  Everywhere a cheat, cheat?  Ok, so maybe not everywhere. But tweet this!  Women’s marital plates are now rivaling men’s when it comes to a little somethin’ somethin’ on the side.  A daringly sweet dessert to offset the mundanely sour entree, perhaps?  “Bone” appetit!    Her sweet tooth is her best kept secret…or worst wept regret, once she’s caught. But much like her fidelity-challenged husband, the looming risk of getting caught is not a sufficient deterrence.  Nope ~ the bootylicious boost in self esteem, the awakening shudder of the thunder down under, the thrilling drug-like high from being naughty ~ is worth it all.  Her “good girl” persona is Gone With the Wind.  She’s trading Scarlett O’Hara for the Scarlet letter.  “A” for Adventure.  And what does an attention-deprived, taken-for-granted, bored-with-herself chirpy chick have to say to her former doormat self?

Cluck U!

Despite its long-time, tight-lipped, deliriously denied existence, affairs of the female kind aren’t exactly news.  Though lacking the racy reputation of condescendingly conservative male politicians and their holier than thou erections, chick cheaters are and always have been flying just under the radar.  They are, however, on the rise and soaring high.  Inflation, in political terms.  Studies show they become more prevalent with the onset of her mid-life (what life?) crisis.  It’s during this mind-bending milestone that she begins to reevaluate herself, her career, and her relationship.  And realizes that somehow, she’s not as happy as she’d planned she would be.  She’s now had enough and is gutsy enough to stop settling for unhappiness.  To test fate.  She’s ready to take the bull by the horn…so to speak.

And he’s shocked by her sudden unhappiness and assertive affair.  Why?  Because rumor has it that women just don’t have affairs.  That infidelity is a no-wo-man’s land.  That women just aren’t that into sex.  However, rumors are notorious for being false.  Are they not?  And what else is a long-time sex-starved married guy to believe?  After all – in his house – a sexual advance ranks right up there with wiping boogers under the table in the “NO!  DON’T DO THAT!” hand-spatting transgressions.  No sex for you!  Rejection has become his reflection.  So, naturally, he assumes that if she doesn’t want sex with him, the last thing he has to worry about is her insatiable sexual appetite going elsewhere.

Contrary to popular male folklore, experts say she’s just as interested in sex as he is.  Sex with him?  Another question entirely.  But women ARE interested in sex. We’re sensual beings and need to feel sexy to be sexy.  If she’s not happy in her own skin, the last thing she wants is to flaunt the assets she’s so insecure with to someone she fears will criticize them.  Whether she knows it or not, she wants sex too.  But she needs to FEEL hot to act HOT.  So, light a fire under her!

Or she’ll find someone who will.

An affair is risky.  Dangerous.  It risks her security, her family, her reputation, her life as she knows it.  But she craves being craved.  So she rolls the dice with the knowledge that this bet could break her.  She’s operating on emotion, on a new love high, on her self-esteem’s desperate plea for pleasure – on anything but logic.  For a she-devil, scarlet letter wearing cheater, risk rationale is about as relevant as the dangers of a ceiling fan to this guy.  It’s fun to reach for the sky.  But if the shit hits the fan, it’ll rip her roots to shreds.  No pain, no gain…right?  The stakes are high, but her spark-starved ego is a gamblin’ girl.

Deal!

Why do women risk it all and stray?

~ She feels unappreciated, neglected, and lonely ~  She’s taken for granted.  This may be the most common reason women stray.  The drain of caring for the entire family with little to no return wears her down.  She needs to feel special, loved, appreciated, adored, and pampered too.  If all she’s getting is “What did you do for me?” and spends her days and nights playing maid – while HER wants and needs become distant strangers in the night – she’ll eventually long to join them.  She can only give so much before she wants to break free and live.  So when she finds herself on a dead end track to nowhere and someone comes along who makes her feel appreciated, adored, doted on, and alive again…she’ll buy herself a one-way ticket on a Runaway Train.

~ She feels something is missing, is bored with herself, and is looking to her inner bad girl to stir things up ~  She may have the perfect life.  Perfect husband, perfect kids, and so on and so on.  But she’s still missing something.  Someone she used to be…or wants to be.  So, she may look for someone who puts her in touch with her missing self.  Someone who makes her feel good on a new and forbidden level allowing her to escape the confines of the perfect wife and mother prison cell she’s created.  Someone who allows her to explore a world she’s not openly or socially allowed to be a part of.

~ She has low self-esteem ~ Child birth is not the baby-rattling picnic Hollywood has cast it to be.  She no longer feels like the firecracker he married.  She feels like an out of shape, out of time, out of patience mother.  That in no way, shape, or form translates into sex goddess.  Her motherly body is plaguing her with insecurities.  So when a new hottie makes her feel less like a frumpy mom and more like a still-got-it MILF, she goes back for more.  And more.  And you guessed it…more.

~ She’s seeking an emotional connection that’s missing with her hubby ~ She needs an emotional connection!  Always!  She needs him to listen, care, and empathize…not criticize.  She wants to be connected on all levels.  And if he won’t connect with her, another he will.

~ She wants an insurance policy ~ Scientists say evolution may be to blame.  That long ago, she would sleep with another man to ensure a back-up provider for her family in the unlikely event of her sweetie’s deathly demise.  A back up key to start her engine, in case the master key goes missing.  Also, modern day woman may sense when her husband has checked out emotionally and be lining up an alternate provider before he checks out physically.  The eternal planner.

~ She’s looking for an out ~ If she’s miserable in the marriage, she may decide an affair is an easier way to end the relationship.  Rather than initiating the split herself and dealing with his attempts to fix the problem.  If he leaves her, she’s free to move on …She is woman!  Watch her be passive aggressive!

Like men, women want to be adored and appreciated.  Affairs are simply an attempt to discreetly fill a void without breaking up the household, crushing her kids, and ditching a spouse.  An attempt to meet unmet needs while maintaining the needs of the family.  She’s a multi-tasker to the end.

Kids needs.

His needs.

Her needs.

Misdeeds.  😉

Chick Hughes

“One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again.”  ~Judith Viorst

 

 

Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater…had a wife and couldn’t keep her.  He must’ve been checking out some other hottie’s melons.  Marriage is challenging even in Mother Goose’s land of lollipops and twinkle, twinkle little stars?  Cheating is complicated, common, and anything but new.  Modern day men cheat on wives.  “Good old days” men cheated on wives.  As far back as man goes, he’s cheated.  And why not?  It’s so easy a caveman can do it. I’m sure from time to time, some burly unsuspecting cave woman found her Captain Caveman marinating his meat elsewhere.  Poor guy probably got the hell beat out of him with his own club while she grunted Bobbit-ish threats through her voracious not-so-pearly white stalactites making his “little friend” turtle shell into hiding.  Will he do it again?  Probably.  It happened, it happens, and it will always happen.  Some are able to take an affair to their grave.  Others have the dirty details publicly spread and embellished by our favorite go-to trash magazines.  We read about it, gossip about it, pass judgment on it, and think it will NEVER happen to us.  But rich, poor, hot, not…no one is immune to the sultry underbelly of cheating.  It’s the ominous cloud looming over every happy marriage.  If the atmospheric pressure drops just right, that cloudy threat opens up and rains its tears of betrayal all over us.  To borrow from Mother Goose once more…

It’s raining.  It’s pouring.  The old man is scoring.  So umbrella up!

Marriage is tough enough on a good day.  But after weeks of condescending eye rolling, incessant nagging, petulant arguing, and booty bang-less begging,  even the most loyal hubby is susceptible to temptation.  Wives wonder why?  The answer is usually staring her in the face as she shoots him down with “Not tonight…I’m too tired.”  Or disgustingly rolls her eyes at his every advance.  Or belittles him making him feel he can do nothing right.  Or meets his jokes and stories with utter disinterest.  If he’s constantly made to feel unattractive and insecure, he’ll welcome an outsider who refutes it.  Who wouldn’t?  But sometimes – even with all of his sexual and emotional needs met at home – he may still jump ship to explore another woman’s “dingy.”  Damn it!  What can I say?  It’s the nature of the beast.  But more often than not, he won’t take the risk and jump overboard if his ship is “tricked out” with all the bells and whistles.  Basic survival 101.

Studies show 60% of men cheat on their wives.  And 70% of those wives never have a clue.  I question that 70%.  Women are very intuitive, but may choose not to know to keep from rocking her own cushy boat.  Psychologists say human beings are socially monogamous by nature.  That we evolved to bond together for survival reasons.  Child-rearing, connection, and safety.  It’s nice to know someone has our back when we need to put the smack down on a mouthy child, when we need a shoulder to cry on, or when we need someone to give us a head’s up that some surly saber tooth tiger is about to make a meal out of us and ruin that one-of-a-kind designer fur sack we worked so diligently on.  Safety in numbers.  They say that although we’re socially monogamous by nature, we’re NOT naturally sexually monogamous.  We’ve instituted sexual monogamy to protect our social monogamy.  Because sex causes our brains to release the love drug, oxytocin, we know that a little nookie on the side could turn into a home-wrecking pookie at the alter.  So to protect that social monogamy needed to survive, we’ve forced sexual monogamy on ourselves.  But sticking to that self-imposed expectation tends to “screw” us over sometimes.

So why do men cheat?

~ He feels emotionally disconnected: Men may be sexual creatures, but they’re also emotional…shhh!  Don’t tell them that.  They need an emotional connection too.  Someone to caress them, love them, be there for them, show them affection.  Studies show almost half of men’s affairs are rooted in emotional dissatisfaction.  However, if the emotional connection is missing, so is the sex.  You do the math.

~ He feels under-appreciated: He wants to know he’s appreciated and adored.  To be your hero.  To know he’s winning when he makes an effort around the house, in the bedroom, with the kids, and with work.  If he feels he’s fighting a losing battle, surrendering to an affair (a woman who makes him feel like a hero, a winner, a sex god) will be that much easier.  If you’re not willing to do it, trust me…there’s someone just around the corner who is.

~ He craves sexual variety…he craves sex PERIOD: Men want sex. Men want sex.  Men want sex.  He’s biologically and evolutionarily hardwired to desire and have sex often.  Once a month is NOT often.  Twice a month is NOT often.  So buck up ladies.  If he’s not doing you, he’s doing somebody!  The relationship is more fulfilling to both parties when everyone’s needs are being met.  If he’s happy sexually, you’re happy emotionally.  And he’s oh so ready to please…when you’re on your knees.  😉

~ It’s easier than divorce: Divorce is costly, messy, and difficult on the whole family.  If he’s unhappy in his marriage, he may deem an affair a less complicated, less disruptive means of satisfaction.

~ He’s seeking a thrill: His needs may be getting met at home, but he’s looking for cheap thrills. Daring to execute forbidden taboos can be a high.  Don’t be afraid to turn your bed into a theme park and keep the thrills domestic.

Men are sexual beings, but they’re also emotional beings.  They long for the same affection, same touch, same adoration as women.  But they also want to get laid…OFTEN.  They don’t want to have sex with a lifeless uninterested object.  They want you to LOVE it.  They love you to WANT it.  The more sex you have, the more emotionally connected you are.  And the more in love you feel.  That’s what he wants.  He wants YOU.

He wants you to love him, adore him, need him, want him, lust after him, and screw him!  All the time!

ALL the time!

Men are naughty by nature…

Ballsy by biology…

And led by libido.

Love ’em?  Hate ’em?

LOVE ’em!

Chick Hughes

“Love is a game in which one always cheats.”  ~ Honore de Balzac

 

 

Communication is many things.  Heard, misheard, code word,  wrong word… and between couples, a 4-letter word.   Attempting to translate the alien language of the opposite sex proves to be difficult, frustrating, and, at times, futile.  In the words of Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wa wah wa wah wah wah wa wa.”  Or something like that.  Maybe this was some code language understood by the Peanuts gang alone.  But so often, I wish Lucy, in all her smart-ass future feminist extremist attitude, would yell from her desk…

“Enunciate bitch!  We can’t understand you”

Obviously, conversation doesn’t always equal communication.  One can talk endlessly without saying a thing.  And one can speak volumes without being heard at all.  Successful communication requires both speaking and listening.  I once read that we have one mouth and 2 ears…so we should listen twice as much as we speak.  Yet, we don’t.  The longer we’re together, the less we listen.

I sometimes watch older couples in restaurants…wondering what they’re talking about, how connected they are, or whether they’re existing side-by-side oblivious to the other.  Body language reveals so much about a couple’s mojo.  Many times, I’ve watched as a wife eats and jabbers on about whatever is on her mind.  She talks, but he’s not listening.  This person she’s conversing with hasn’t diverted his attention from the edible orgasm on his plate in 20 minutes.  He has no idea that she’s talking, let alone what she’s saying.  Yet, she yammers on…and on…never seeming to notice that her “communication” is being upstaged by the perfectly seasoned and sauteed carcass that’s giving him more oral action than he’s seen in a long time.  By this point of my stealthy stalking, I’m not sure who I pity more…they both seem immersed in their own worlds, bored to death, and hardly connected.  Their exchange, or lack of it, fascinates me.  I watch.  I analyze.  I wonder…

Would he “stand up” and take notice if she sandwiched that meat between her boobs while she spoke?  😉  I’m kidding.  Ok, so I’m not.  Of course he would!

Are they happy?  Or have they mutually surrendered to a lonely parallel existence?

Any long time couple can relate.  After years of “togetherness,” we inevitably lose touch without realizing it.  We assume that because we share close proximity, we’re also close emotionally.  And on some levels, we are.  Living together IS close.  Intimately personal gestures like putting ass to toilet seat while the other scrubs unmentionable areas in the shower requires a certain level of closeness — wouldn’t you say?  😉

But again, that’s physical proximity.  Parallel existence is not communicating.  It’s not connection.  It’s not enough.  Or so says the half of marriages that end due to loss of that connection.

Experts say there’s a reason we reach the “My husband/wife doesn’t understand me anymore” point in a marriage.  And that reason is lazy communication.  Research shows that we sometimes communicate better with strangers than with our own spouses.  That long-time couples get to know each other so well that we assume too much shared information..and consequently, share less.  The less we share, the less we understand, the less connected we feel.  When communicating with a stranger, we realize they know nothing about us.  So, we share more.  More detail, more emotion – more in general – in an attempt to be understood.  But when speaking to our spouse for the umpteen billionth time in a year, we mentally calculate (x number of years together = can read my mind).  We falsely assume they know what we’re feeling and thinking.  So we don’t bother to delve too much into it.

Like our bodies, our brains get comfortable…and lazy.  After winning over our partner in marriage, we may let ourselves go, not make time for exercise, and avoid giving our mid-section a little in-spection.  Our brains are no different.  We get comfortable and let our communication slide.  Maybe we eventually feel we’re repeating ourselves and stop.  Maybe we feel the other doesn’t care, so why bother.  Maybe we just assume he/she already knows…or should know what we’re feeling.  And when “he” doesn’t, watch out!  Because he should…right?  Our brains are devious and self-protective enough to convince us that it’s the “other” spouse who doesn’t understand “us.”  Or can’t read our mind.  The lazy brain prefers to shift blame elsewhere.  But to be heard and understood,  Express Yourself!

If we’re failing to communicate and stay connected due to comfort, maybe we’re, in fact, too close for comfort.  Sometimes we just get in a rut, take one another for granted, and grow bored.  But remember the beginning of your relationship?  When communication  wasn’t a chore?  When it came without effort?  Communication just was, wasn’t it?  We didn’t think twice about it.  What else just was?  Sex, cuddling, emotion.  It all goes hand-in-hand.  We communicate because we want to be closer.  We want to be closer to have sex and a connection.  So, a lack of communication will result in a lack of connection will result in a lack of sex will result in a lack of communication will result in a lack of connection will result in a lack of sex.  Round and round we go.  Where we get off – and don’t “get off” – we all know.  Splitsville.

We can walk around with our iPods, iPhones, iAlones tucked securely in our pockets every single day.  Reliably close.  But if we don’t plug in the headphones and listen, we won’t appreciate them and will eventually decide we don’t need them around.  Or someone else may steal them from our reliably close pocket when we’re not “listening.”

A happy couple needs three things to thrive:  connection, love, and sex.  Each relies on the other for success.  If one falls to the wayside, the others follow in a domino effect.

Maybe the man in the restaurant would be less into his meal and more into his wife if he knew she’d be into him later in bed.  After all, men communicate for sex.  Women have sex to communicate.

So connect, communicate, and fornicate.

Plug in, tune in, “come” in.  😉

Chick Hughes

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~  George Bernard Shaw