I’m alone tonight… but I’m far from lonely

3ae9980e0575f7ebad3dc04448db5f30The noise outside my Hollywood apartment tonight is maddening…. For hours police helicopters have circled this high-rise with spotlights shining, every dog in the neighborhood is barking and I can hear neighbors cursing from balconies as if yelling at animals 12 floors below is going to change anything…

This is no different from any other night with the exception I just can’t block it out. I used to hate 2:00 a.m. because I was so lonely. I’d look out from my Florida condo at the TV blue windows of other sad souls awake in the middle of the night and want to reach out to them. That was a miserable period in my life, I cursed the moon for taunting me and the sun for bringing another day. I don’t live that way anymore, because I’ve experienced a new way to live, and for once I know the difference between being alone and being lonely.

The stereotypes that often come with leading a single life are generally categorized into one group: loneliness. It is so often assumed that those who have not yet found that special person who makes the world a little brighter are experience those god-awful waves of loneliness. In reality, there is a magnificent difference between being lonely and being alone. Being lonely is that kind of aching that resonates in your chest. That dull, constant feeling that follows you around all day long. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or whom you’re with, it’s impossible to shake that feeling.  Typically, these feelings are most prominent after recently losing that person who made your world a little brighter.

Being lonely comes with so many side effects: memories, insomnia, and confusion. Loneliness encapsulates the best parts of your life and forces you to notice their profound absence. Loneliness makes you wonder why—why you? Why can’t you catch a break, why haven’t you had a simple stroke of luck? Loneliness is that prominent, gaping hole in your life that just can’t seem to be filled regardless of what you do. Loneliness is the 3am thoughts that haunt your dreams. Loneliness is that song on the radio that you have to turn off the second it comes on.

But being alone is a different situation completely. Being alone is a state of being; loneliness is a state of mind. When you’re alone you’re forced to realize all the things you don’t have, sure, but you’re also forced to realize all the things about yourself that you couldn’t when you spent your days memorizing someone else. Being alone is taking the time to really think about what you want from someone the next time around, because you are going to do everything in your power that you never suffer from that lonely disease again. Being alone is sitting under a tree for an afternoon and reading a book, and enjoying every single minute of it. Being alone is doing things by yourself, but also doing them for yourself.

Of course, there are those times when being alone crosses paths with being lonely. It’s those times that you’re shopping for a new dress by yourself and you can’t help but notice that couple on the corner of the street. Their happiness radiates, and you remember the days when that used to be you. For a brief moment that dull feeling aches in your chest, but it doesn’t stay. Being alone can be the most empowering experience of your life. If you let the loneliness consume you, you’re going to lose that rare chance to figure yourself out. You can always find company in yourself. Loneliness is going to try to force you to find that company with another person. Everyone has a place in the world, though, and yours shouldn’t be inside someone else.  Being alone is an art; embrace it. Now, if the helicopters, dogs and neighbors would shut up… I could go to sleep!

This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell  

 

Am I an alcoholic or do I have an alcohol use disorder?

So am I an alcoholic or do I have an alcohol use disorder?

If you think you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, there are a few questions you can answer and find out what medical experts know regarding substance use disorder, formally known as alcoholism and drug addiction.

New research has found that alcohol use disorder (AUD) is an often untreated epidemic in the United States. Do you have an alcohol use disorder? There are 11 symptoms you should understand.

Globally, alcohol use disorder is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders and leading causes of sickness and death. In the United States, alcohol use disorders and binge drinking have increased in recent years. Unfortunately, only 19.8 percent of adults with a lifetime alcohol use disorder ever seek treatment or ask for help.

The skyrocketing increase in alcohol consumption by American women is considered to be the driving force behind the nationwide escalation of binge drinking. Across the nation, binge drinking among women increased more than seven times the rate among men.

So how is alcohol use disorder diagnosed?

There is a book used in the medical community called the “DSM-5”, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition) for diagnosing alcohol use disorder. Read the following symptoms and note any you have experienced over the past 12 months. You might be surprised what you learn.

The Eleven Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

  1. Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.

  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.

  1. Craving or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.

  2. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.

  3. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.

  4. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.

  5. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.

  6. Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.

  7. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.

  8. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol or b) Alcohol is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

The presence of at least 2 of these symptoms indicates an alcohol use disorder (AUD). The severity of an AUD is graded mild, moderate, or severe:

Mild: The presence of 2 to 3 symptoms.

Moderate: The presence of 4 to 5 symptoms.

Severe: The presence of 6 or more symptoms.

Conclusion: If You Meet 2 of the 11 Criteria for AUD, Reach Out and Ask for Help

Alcohol abuse has the potential to destroy people’s lives. Hopefully, raising awareness of the eleven symptoms for diagnosing alcohol use disorders will lead more individuals to seek help if they have two or more of the eleven symptoms listed above. Please remember alcohol and substance use disorders are not a sin or a nasty habit or a moral issue… substance use disorder is a disease. Help is as close as your computer… www.recovery.org is the perfect place to start… it’s free and filled with useful information.

This is my journey… this is my life.

Rob Cantrell

What does it mean to hit “rock bottom” with drugs and alcohol?

IMG_20150316_204549Tonight, MJ & I went to the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, actually we went to the front of the line with other people trying to get a ticket for the show or, at least, see a celebrity. The glamour and glitz of living in Tinsel Town  can’t be described in a few short paragraphs… it’s like no other city in the world. Even for those on the outside looking in, there is no place I’d rather be. Everything about the night and our lives for that matter reflect the choices we’ve made together. Our worlds could not be more different, but together life is an incredible adventure, a type many people only see on TV.

After dinner downtown, we took the subway back to our Hollywood apartment and saw the other side of life. For 20 minutes a man screamed on the subway train about someone he loved, people moved, and people gasped and people fidgeted with iPhones to look occupied and unconcerned. They succeeded.

As we approached our street just off Hollywood Boulevard, we watched a man light a meth pipe. Within seconds, the man flew into a violent rage and violently beat storefront windows until he collapsed on the sidewalk. Exhausted and psychotic, the man once again began smoking the pipe slumped against the wall next to a famous person’s star. No one stopped or attempted to help him because there was nothing we could do. He was violent, psychotic and under the influence of crystal meth. The police and paramedics in Hollywood have no interest in a drug-addled crazy man on the boulevard… there are hundreds of them. What makes him special? Take a number …. no one cares!

The reality of addiction is only a small percentage of addicts will end up homeless and psychotic like the man I’ve mentioned. Most have jobs, families, friends and may even live in your home. To tell someone abusing drugs and alcohol that they will end up in the gutter or worse in the gutter under some guy selling themselves for drugs is useless. No one wants to listen, and they won’t believe it if you tell them. Let it go… that isn’t your job to preach to them. Realize they are battling a disease, not a nasty habit. Their lives are just as shattered and empty as the man beating storefront windows in Hollywood.

Imagine addiction, be it drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling or smoking as an elevator in a tall building. You can get off on any floor you wish. There is no reason to take it to the basement, even the basement at Macy’s is full of stuff no one wants… so why go there?

Chances are you’ve heard of the phrase “rock bottom” a time or two in life. Maybe you’ve had a friend who hit rock bottom, or you’ve been there yourself. To hit rock bottom means that someone has ended up in a very sad place in life; perhaps the lowest point that person could go. When it comes to alcoholism or drug addiction, rock bottom could be a near-death experience, legal trouble, or the loss of a partner or children. It could also mean experiencing a mental or emotional breakdown. Either way, rock bottom is a terrible place to be.

One good thing about hitting rock bottom is that it frequently serves as a huge wake-up call to get some professional help. I remember a couple of “rock bottoms” in my life where I finally admitted I could not live without drugs and alcohol, and that I needed some serious help. Good news is that I did finally reach out for help and began a journey of healing and recovery from several things. It had taken many, many tries before I was able to get off the addiction elevator but I finally walked out and thank God… haven’t looked back in 3 years. It was nothing I did on my own… I sought help… I listened and I accepted a life that is working for me.

If you feel as if you are at rock bottom, or close, seriously consider reaching out for help. You can do so in a variety of ways, including calling around to get yourself into some counseling, attending a 12 Step recovery group, getting into a rehab, and more. There are some online support forums… just google “addiction help” and you’ll find several which are fantastic for learning and engaging with others, but you may also need some face to face help. Keep that in mind.

Being at such a low spot in life’s hard. You may feel hopeless, useless, and think that you’re just a failure with no future. I assure you these feelings are temporary, as you can begin a journey to get through your current situation and feel better down the road. I will tell you it will require you to do some things differently, and it will require effort on your part, but the result will be so worth it! Take it from someone who has been there.

Your rock bottom is simply the beginning of a new and beautiful life that you can create one day at a time.

This is my journey… this is my life.

Rob Cantrell

This is why I love my dad…

IMG_20150605_190539I hate funerals… not because of the passing of a person from this life to the next, that’s simply part of the package deal when you’re born. There has to be an exit strategy, or we’d all be stuck carrying on the same conversations at the same miserable jobs with people we honestly would never associate with outside of work.

What I hate most about funerals is people pour their hearts out about how much someone meant to them or provided for them or changed their life. Seems a little late  when the host of honor has left the building. They didn’t hear it, and no one in the audience wants to hear it… say what you need to say while the person is around to hear the message.

Here’s my message to my dad…

My dad is the kind of guy that has gone through life unnoticed. I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about him… anyone. I’ve never seen him smoke or drink or act inappropriately. Wait… I take that back; I remember as a kid, a guy at a Volkswagon dealership overcharged him for a repair and when my dad complained the man made some smart ass remark and dad punched him in the face… bam! Right in the face… at Tom Bush Volkswagen in front of God and everyone! At 6 years old … that was cool!

My dad comes from a long line of nice people. They work hard… they stay on the same job for 30 years… they buy homes, have children, vote, and enjoy quiet lives. These are the types of people that don’t look for problems, so problems don’t look for them. It’s a real life with good results for those who finish the race. For those people, nice things are told about them at their funerals.

My dad was a high school dropout who lied about his age and entered the army as a teenager. At 21, he was out of the military and back in high school getting his diploma. Upon graduation, his father offered to buy him a gas station or help him through college. My dad knew life would be better with an education, so with a wife and two kids, he entered MTSU and started building a life… that’s when I came into the picture.

My dad always provided for his family. He never made a lot of money, in America, school teachers are financially punished for educating the next generation of success stories. I won’t get started on the disparities in fair and just wages, especially when it comes to teachers other than to say it sucks!

Dad always worked two jobs; he taught high school during the day and the GED program for adults at the community college at night. Every summer he would leave Florida to work on his master’s degree at Western Carolina. That took years to finish, but he did.

In my lifetime, my dad has been a teacher, a janitor, a pest control man, a security guard at a grocery store, a Gideon, a sports announcer, a Sunday school teacher and a decent guy.

Each morning, he would get up early make breakfast for me, kiss me on the forehead and tell me I was his “little buddy.” He washed every item of clothing I ever owned, hung it on hangers or put it away. On Tuesday nights, he would bring me a donut he picked up at a little place on 103rd Street on the way to teach night school. In a world of uncertainties and variables, he was my constant.

In high school, we were always together. He was a history teacher and football announcer. He was at the dances, fundraisers, swim meets ( yes, I was a swimmer), senior prom, senior trip, field trips… he was always there. It was during my teenage years I realized people genuinely liked him. I understood why… he was a decent man.

For years, I was no one’s idea of a dream son. I have crashed and self-destructed so often and so severely there is no reason I’m still alive. During those days, the stability that I grew up with remained with me and waited for my return to life. My dad calmly and patiently stood near and picked me up, brushed me off and waited to see if I would make it. Finally, it happened. I got clean and sober, and he was there.

I owe him an enormous amount of love and respect because he deserves it.

Thank you, Dad!

I love you,

Your Little Buddy…

It’s Valentines Day…. love yourself!

 

8c1de691d8c0d7c17a38ad484121f51cI love the feeling of being in love or falling in love or thinking about love. I’m normally not happy when the “love buzz” ends and I’m stuck with yet another mistake or as Madonna calls it a “substitute for love.” My first Valentine’s Day in L.A. was spent with a friend at some swanky little bistro that held about 20 people. It was cramped and overpriced with candles and that stupid red glittery confetti people put on tables at parties. I hate that stuff… it’s like “oh, look! There’s festive shit slung everywhere… this is going to be a great night!”

What I remember about that night is paying too much for a “lovers meal” created by Chef Blah-Blah and looking at all of the Malibu Barbie & Ken looking couples wearing too much cologne and laughing too much and too loudly. No one in the room seemed at ease in the environment… and I was feeding off their anxiety. I’d given up on love so long before that meal that someone should have picked up my tap as an act of loser charity.

My friend is one of those guys who is lucky in life… he’s a wealthy doctor, drives a BMW, owns a loft in downtown LA with an amazing view and looks like an underwear model. We both have enjoyed pampered lives… he worked on his and I got lucky and fell out of the right woman at birth. It doesn’t matter how you get to a place as long as you get there …

My friend was freshly out of a relationship and about to dive back into it with the same person. That never works for me… I tend to throw a match on things and watch them burn. No one has ever asked me back for a repeat performance. What does that say about them? Hmm?

On the subway home that night I wondered what other “single” horny people could do on Valentine’s Day alone…. This is what I came up with….

Valentine’s Day is usually a day to spend an exorbitant amount of money on gifts that typically cost half the price the other 364 days of the year: flowers, candy and even dinner prices get tripled because of all the suckers going all out on every Valentine’s Day purchase. Since you don’t have to worry about spending half your mortgage on gifts that don’t make it to the end of the week, take half of that money and spend it on yourself. Buy that guy gear you’ve been eyeing since before Christmas, splurge on a new wardrobe or just drop it all on a guilty pleasure like a massage. Be your own Valentine. Do whatever the hell you want. Declare it a “Me Day” and go out and have fun. No one will even notice. They are all too busy crying and whining because they are not in — or sometimes because they are in — a relationship.

Have A Party

You were invited to a couple of parties but respectfully declined because all the festivities would include couples. Why not go for a little while anyway? Drink and eat on another guy’s dime and still leave with time to go out and hit a couple of bars after the party hits the wall. You never know — a few single women could also be in attendance, upping your chances of getting a little box of chocolates of your own on V-Day (yes, that was supposed to sound perverted). You could also hit a bar, go to a show or anywhere else where other single people are hanging out.

Veg out

Do nothing at all. Being single on Valentine’s Day is the one time you’re allowed a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card to spending money on sports tickets or a headbanger band in a crappy part of town and extracurricular activities your imaginary girlfriend would probably disapprove of. Just stay home, veg out on the couch, fart, and be glad you’re not dropping a couple of bills on overcooked steak and watered-down drinks. You can go out next weekend and rub all the money you saved in your hitched friends’ faces.

Tear it up with your buds

Men always have at least one or two single friends. It’s just the law.  They’ll be spending Valentine’s Day alone as well. Spend the night with the other guys who don’t have a significant other. Don’t settle for the typical night; make it a colossal night. Go for dinner, drinks, to a bar or even for just a night of gambling at someone’s house. Blow off some steam and forget all about the love-and-hearts crap. You also don’t have to worry about any of the holiday talk creeping into the conversation unless it’s: “Man, am I glad I don’t have to waste time on that Valentine’s junk.”

Do the usual

It’s Valentine’s Day. Alone. Big. Farking. Deal. Just because it’s a day that everyone else is celebrating doesn’t mean you’ve got to observe and celebrate. Just pretend it’s an average day: go to work, go to lunch, go for after-work drinks, flip on a Netflix movie and do all the things you’d do on a normal, boring day. It only lasts 24 hours, and you spend the majority of that time in bed or at work. It will all be over soon.

There’re lots more you can do if you’re going to spend Valentine’s Day alone… 

This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

 

Kooli … the peeing pug

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When I got to Hollywood, I had nothing. I also didn’t have any problem finding an apartment because a guy with a pug is almost considered a safe bet. Neither of us looked like we were going to bring the bar home at closing time. However, I have done that in the past!

Things were looking up for me. New place… new life… a new chance to start over. Things were not that rosy for Shmuli, the pug. Realizing he needed a friend as much as I did, I went to the only source I knew to solve his problem…. Craigslist! Did I mention I’m always broke, so Craigslist is like Macy’s for me.

One day, I found the solution… An ad for a 6-month-old pug about 30 miles from my apartment. The terms were perfect, bring $300.00 in cash and leave with the dog. There were no papers, no certifications, no food or bowl or collar or name… just come and get it!

What is it about pugs? People put them on the “reduced for quick sale” table and hope someone will take the things. At least, that’s what I’ve experienced.

MJ & I drove for what seemed an eternity in Los Angeles traffic to buy Shmuli a new friend… so if he turned out to be the Tasmanian devil and it utterly despised me… I didn’t care… I was buying that dog.

Dude.. I was not prepared for my future!

The GPS sent us to a forgettable neighborhood on an ugly street and an even uglier house. It was one of those 1940s one story places with a crappy chain link fence and a gate with a huge aluminum “G” on it… I suppose the “G” family lived there in the past.

Everything about the place sucked. As I got to the gate, an Asian woman met me at her “G” spot and asked for the money then said she’d be right back. There was no meet and greet… this was a “no return” dog, and she wasn’t interested in conversation. This felt like the old days when you had to go to the shitty neighborhood to buy weed from a guy who kept it under his couch… I was having flashbacks.

In a few minutes, the woman returned with the cutest dog I’d ever seen. My dog Shmuli is cute because he’s so ugly… this dog was cute because he was cute. The woman explained it was left in the yard by a previous tenant who was deported back to China. It was never allowed in the house and would run away if given an opportunity. She didn’t like dogs and especially this one because it would not heed to her commands. The look in her eye told me she felt sorry for me… the look in Shmuli’s eye (he only has one) was excitement.

On the sidewalk, in front of the ugly house, Shmuli had made a friend. I’d never seen my pug actually excited about anything. This was a monumental moment and I didn’t care how untrained the dog was … I wasn’t going to break Shmuli’s heart!

Realizing this beast had no name I had to come up with something cool… Shmuli is named after my cool Rabbi in Jacksonville, Florida… Rabbi Shmuli Novack, a guy of great importance in my life. I thought it only fitting to name the new dog, “Kooli”… it rhymed with Shmuli, and I thought both he and the Rabbi were cool. I have a hard time thinkng too far out of the box!

This is where all the cuteness ends… I’d just purchased the Anti-Christ and moved it into my apartment.

First, Kooli is not a puppy… he is a midget! He’s like Verne Troyer, the actor who played Mini-Me… you have no idea how old he is and it doesn’t matter because you just can’t help wanting to pick him up and hold him.

I’ve learned that a dog will pee on things to mark its territory or find its way home or leave a message for other dogs that they are new in town and love long walks on the beach and have no sexually transmitted diseases… so “let’s meet and see where it goes”. Pee is like Facebook or Match.com for dogs… it’s the polite thing to do. Poop, on the other hand, is just rude. Poop is poop, and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

When we got Kooli home he peed on everything in the place……….. everything! There was nothing I could do to stop the dog from raising a leg and baptizing everything on the 8th floor of our apartment. I tried a trainer, books, YouTube videos, crate training, Pavlovian therapy, diapers, pull-up pug pee pants, pads, shock collar, scheduled outdoor pee breaks to the same spot and a vet. Nothing and I mean nothing was going to fix this dog. Yelling didn’t help, and praising didn’t help anything.

What made the situation worse is it only peed on my stuff. I’m not exaggerating … ONLY my stuff! If I got up from the sofa, it peed on my cushion, if I got out of bed, it peed on my pillow, if I ate in front of the table, it peed on the coffee table. One day I was walking into my home office, and the dog was in my chair attempting to pee on my computer keyboard. How much pee can a pug possibly hold… the thing is like a camel!

Kooli never lets me out of his sight. I’m convinced he thinks I’m going to steal something. The dog not only keeps me under 24-hour surveillance, but he also has to touch me. No matter where I am some part of his body must be touching mine. It’s creepy and drives me nuts.

I finally took Kooli to a Hollywood Pet Nephrologist (kidney doctor) to see if he could help and learned a few things. There was nothing physically wrong with Kooli other than the fact he’s deaf. His lack of hearing explained why he never seemed offended by the profanity I spewed at him. It also explained why he always felt a need to touch me. Touching was his way of sensing my reactions. It was his Helen Keller moment. I also learned Kooli has no sense of smell.

The doctor broke an ammonia ampule in front of him; the kind used when people faint and got no response. I’m sure if he could smell he’d appreciate the hell he’s created around him…

Kooli doesn’t hate me. Kooli has made some bizarre bond with me and is sending out his message that we’re some team. He’s never quite sure what is going on around him, but he wants me to know that he’s there, and he plans on staying no matter what life throws at us. I get it now… I still hate it, but I get it.

I am a damaged person; I know there are many others out there reading this. We seem always to find one another and are drawn to each others experiences, seeking understanding and hope. We get each other, and the joys and travails of our lives, a secret, unacknowledged world. We have secret codes, winks, and shrugs. They all say the same thing: I know. I met one at the gym the other day, he smiled at me and shook his head. I knew.

Kooli is a damaged soul traveling in a world he doesn’t understand… but for some reason, he identifies with me. He knows when I’m upset or happy or lonely. Kooli is Kooli… nothing more and nothing less. There’s a certain comfort in imperfections… they don’t always smell like a bed of roses… but eventually, you realize nothing that’s going to last forever does.

I better buy some Febreze at the store today.

This is my journey… This is my life.

Rob Cantrell

You’re never gonna love me … are you?

I was at dinner tonight listening to an attractive woman tell me about her birthday. It was a week of celebration with friends and family and some guy she chose to call her boyfriend. They’d been dating for nearly a year, and the relationship was going nowhere. She clearly wanted something she would never find with that man and hadn’t suffered enough yet to walk away…

What is it about the unobtainable that makes us want it so badly?

There are certain people to whom you’re attracted who are just plain toxic, regardless of whether you’re dating or just hooking up.

There’s an insatiable irresistibility about these people, in the way that they are close enough to you just to be out of reach.

It’s like you are constantly grasping for the threads of hope they dangle in front of you, whether intentional or not, but you somehow still find your fingers slipping into thin air.

You fall flat on your face, and it’s not the first time you’ve done it, nor the last.

You love seeing this person’s name light up on your phone. You would do anything to see him or her genuine smile. You crave the way he or she looks at you when you’re alone together.

But, you’re looking into his or her eyes, and you’re not quite getting the reflection you want.

There’s a disconnect, a sense of distance that tells you he or she isn’t quite present with you and never will be, despite how badly you want him or her to be.

He or she can say you’re beautiful, and you want to believe it because the words reach a part of you that makes you ache with both pleasure and pain.

A part of you seeks the pain this person gives you. It’s a twisted cycle of going back and forth to this person, and you can’t stop yourself from returning because of all the possibilities you convince yourself await.

“Maybe, this time, will be different,” you tell yourself with willful naiveté. You know better, but you turn a blind eye, anyway.

The issue in being the one who always gets hurt is rationality takes the backseat in driving your decisions. You know perfectly well what is happening, what the consequences will be and why it’s not good for you.

I love the words James Taylor wrote about this very topic

“Do me wrong, do me right

Tell me lies, but hold me tight

Save your good-byes for the morning light

But don’t let me be lonely tonight…”

You’re well aware there’s a difference between someone who treats you like a priority and someone who treats you as an option.

Usually, rationality does eventually win, but often, it takes a while to get there. Your emotions trump the bald truth screaming in your face because you give in too easily to your desire to wrap your arms around his or her neck again.

I suppose this can be perceived as weak and emotionally immature, and to an extent, it is.

We’re told never to settle for less than we deserve. So, why do we do it? Does giving in to temptation and giving up some of our power to someone who doesn’t regard us as high as we deserve to make us lesser?

Perhaps, it just makes us all the more human to be foolish, hopeful, vulnerable and stubborn, all at once.

We purposely won’t listen to our friends’ advice, acutely aware of the damages that will arrive after that long-anticipated, most likely drunken, kiss. All we want is for them to want us, too.

Getting hurt is one of the most intimate experiences you can have with someone else. It happens to even the strongest among us because we all have feelings and memories of which we are reluctant to let go.

But, I realize that while you may not be able to control how you feel, you do have control over how you allow yourself to be treated.

As much as we’d like to believe people would change for us, they, realistically, never will. It’s important we recognize and accept that.

There’s only so much you can tolerate, and part of the solution is figuring out your limits and what you ultimately want for yourself. It’s not easy when you find yourself slipping back into old, familiar patterns. But, in the end, your happiness is in your hands.

Some people, no matter how much we are drawn to them, are not worth that sacrifice.

This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell