The Sweetest Boy She Never Knew

A guest post by Meredith Simonds.
His name was Jeff. I don’t remember how we knew each other. We didn’t have any classes together. In fact, I don’t know that we’d ever exchanged a word. It was like we didn’t need to. We were both shy and there was this sweet warmth between us that came through in our eyes and our smiles just fine.

But just in case there was any question about our feelings for one another, our best friends cleared it up. Ashley and Tommy conferred on the matter, then reported back to us.

Indeed, I liked Jeff and he liked me.

Soon thereafter, it happened.

Jeff asked Tommy to ask Ashley to ask me if I would go with him.

(In case that means something different to you than it does to me, to go with a boy meant to be their girlfriend, even though there was never much going anywhere together at all.)

It was a dream come true.

The boy I liked wanted to be with me just as much as I wanted to be with him. So you can imagine my response, though you’ll probably get it wrong. I said no.

Maybe I was afraid of my feelings, too young to feel the intensity of love I sensed could develop between us.

Maybe I was afraid my family would be moving again soon, which we did about once a year, and it would only end up breaking Jeff’s heart and mine.

Or maybe I was afraid of what people would think. Jeff wasn’t popular. I wasn’t either, but I was new in this school and thought maybe I still had a chance.

Whatever the reason I said no, I don’t remember any such reservations occurring to me before he asked. Like when I had been entertaining the thought of being with him in my head. Or flirting with him in the halls. Or telling my best friend to tell his best friend I liked him.

All I know is that as soon as I said no, I felt like a terrible person and I deeply regretted it.

Maybe we would have been one of those couples who falls in love when they’re kids. He would have been the only man I was ever with, and me the only woman for him. We would have been married 25 years now, with five kids and grandkids on the way.

We would still make love every night, hold hands every day, and be the best of friends.

Or not.

Maybe I wasn’t a terrible person back then; maybe I was listening to my gut.

Maybe Jeff was really the first in a long line of jerks I subsequently dated. And maybe I said yes to them – ignoring my gut that knew better – because I felt so bad about rejecting him.

I don’t mind the mystery.

Meredith Simonds is a writer living in Los Angeles and founder of Plenty Woman, a website for women ready to believe we are everything anxiety says we’re not: Beautiful. Lovable. Powerful. Important. Smart.

Why Spam Might Be The Key To Happiness

I think most of us have become so conditioned to spam email that we just simply delete it and move on with our day, accepting it like those little gnats that fly up our noses in the summertime.

Like, if you’re going to be outside, gnats are going to fly up your nose sometimes. If you’re going to be online, there’s going to be pop-ups and spam in your email.

What do those gnats want anyway? What is up my nose that is so damn enticing?

I’ve examined my cavernous nose closely, and I just don’t get it.

In any case, spam texts are getting to be a thing. And I have to admit that I find them even more annoying and intrusive than spam email.

So, I’ve decided to have fun with them, to experience them with a sense of joy, instead of wishing I could find the person sending them and burn their house to the ground while all of their neighbors watch and I yell, “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!”

Because I’d probably get in trouble.

And who has time for all that?

But yeah, so the key is to handling spam texts is the key to so many things in life.

And that’s to reframe the experience.

Instead of getting pissed off, let’s have some fun!

I Don’t Hate Republicans, But I Hate That Word

So, Chachi endorsed Donald Trump.

Yeah, whatever.

But he said something that struck a chord with me.

He claimed that some of his liberal Hollywood friends are more conservative than they think but they just hate the word “Republican.”

I agree. I’ve hated that word since the Dark Times, since the presidency of “W.”

To me, a registered independent, and many others, it’s a word synonymous with hate, bigotry, a disregard for the poor and suffering, and tax breaks for profitable, billion dollar corporations.

It’s a word that means women are too dumb to decide what to do with their own bodies, young people need to be sheltered from evidenced-based sex education, and there are limits on who intelligent, consenting, tax paying adults are allowed to marry.

It’s a word that says the bible is all we need. That it can in fact replace the constitution and the modern sciences.

It’s a word synonymous with, “No we won’t do anything Obama wants to do. Period. We won’t even listen. And we don’t care if anyone notices that we aren’t listening.”

Now, before people get all angry and send me hateful messages, take a breath and continue reading.

I’m talking about BRANDING here.


Have their been some great republican presidents?

Hell yeah!

Have they done some amazing things?

Hell yeah!

Do current day republicans have some valid concerns and good ideas for moving this country forward.

Maybe? I don’t know.

Because those people and ideas never get through.


Because the brand has weakened.

The marketing sucks.

Sure, some people eat at McDonalds. But to a lot of us, McDonald’s represents garbage food with almost no nutritional value.

Because the brand has weakened, even though they have salads.

Chipotle also has salads. I like Chipotle. And their food is healthier. Or so I believe.

Because that’s their brand.

So at this point in our country’s history, with the Republican Party in such disarray, it seems they have a lot of work to do to change many people’s opinion of them. But it’s also an opportunity. I hope they take it.

And you can say that I am completely wrong in my opinion and impression of republicans.

But that would help me make my case.

Because this is how a lot of people see the GOP, no matter the reality.

One cannot argue with how someone sees them. They can only try to present themselves in a way that changes opinion. Actions are louder than words.


And I don’t hate republicans. Let me go ahead, with my one finger typing method, and type that again in all caps.


There are some that I love dearly. One I have a huge crush on. And several that have created jobs for me that I’m very grateful for.

But I hate that word.

Why Men Are Scared Of Children

This is a guest post by Sarah Fader, who called me out to write a post for The Goodmen Project. So, I called her out here.

Once upon a time, I was on Twitter lamenting about not finding love. I was saying how I attract emotionally unavailable men. Out of nowhere, this dude that I have never interacted with comes along and replies:

“Children scare men.”

It took me a moment to figure out what the hell he was talking about. I presumed he meant that the concept of having children was not desirable to men. But then my brain started playing around with the idea and I imagined my two kids dressed up in monster costumes standing in a dark hallway deliberately trying to cock block me.

That was pretty funny.

Though I was relatively certain what he meant by the scared children comment, I wanted to confirm that he was making a mass generalization before I retaliated. I asked him what he meant and he said that when a man finds out that a woman has children, he becomes afraid. I prodded him and wanted to know what he meant by “afraid.” He went on to say that men do not want to raise another man’s children.

This was seriously one of the weirdest interactions I’d ever had on Twitter.

I felt like he was making a lot of assumptions. Every man is scared of children? Children are not scary. They are fun and weird and sometimes they lose their teeth and get money for it. They love chocolate and ice cream and they say weird, funny stuff. Why would men be scared of children?

But then I realized that he was kind of right.

One time I joined a dating website for 24 hours. I was chatting with a nice guy. We spoke about our random jobs that we had in our three decade adult lives, our pets, hobbies, and favorite movies. Then he found out that I had kids. He stopped replying to my texts and disappeared. I started to believe that weird Twitter guy was on to something.

I still don’t know why men are terrified of children, but I do know that it’s lame.

Single moms want to have romance and some semblance of a sex life too. Why should the fact that I have children make me any less attractive?

I think that is discrimination and it’s just plain ridiculous. I love my children and they also drive me crazy. But, they are a big part of my life. They come with this package that is Sarah Fader. So, if you love me, you love them.

You also love chocolate pudding pie. I’ve decided that you do.

Men, please stop judging women if they have children. Don’t write off a woman as undateable just because she has two little shorties she lives with. Those children are her universe and there is also room in it for you.

If she likes you.

Sarah Fader recently released a collection of her essays from around the Internet and you already love her because you read this article and you want to buy her book.

Learn more about Sarah and connect with her at

Why The New Star Wars Movie Means So Much

School basically sucked.

Maybe it was the almost cinematic brutality of Catholic school, the perceived oppressive and sinister nature of the Catholic religion, or a pretty intense undiagnosed anxiety disorder, mixed with the awkwardness of growing up which I had absolutely no skills to handle.

There was a nun who dug sharp pointed fingernails into my scalp if I got math problems wrong. She could throw an elbow at a kid’s head nasty enough to impress a Thai boxer as she walked through the rows of fourth graders. This was discipline. This was managing a class with fear. There was the shouting and the shaming. And I remember sitting behind my best friend as he pissed his pants because you could only use the bathroom during lavatory time.

Add all that to the mean-spiritedness that children foist upon each other as they’re first developing their identities and learning how to navigate the world socially, and you get trauma.

In any case, the one thing I had to get me through this time in my life was Star Wars.

Yes, it’s true, even if that seems silly or trite.

Star Wars gave me a way to evade my life. As a student of Buddhism today, I realize that retreat from reality is rarely a healthy goal. Still, the benefits of escaping the madness at that time cannot be understated.

VHS players were starting to show up in most American homes, which meant you could tape your favorite movies on cable channels like Home Box Office.

Of course I taped Star Wars.

And escape I did, at every possible moment. In math class, I’d daydream and create galactic adventures in my head. I learned I could totally disconnect from my environment and travel to that Galaxy far, far away whenever I wanted.

That’s not always a great skill to have. I never did learn much math. But I was learning some important things via George Lucas’ space epic. Things one would think I should have been learning in a private school, a place where I was instead learning how not to anger my handlers.

Star Wars taught me about honor. It taught me about discipline, and introduced me to the idea of the peaceful warrior. I learned about kindness, empathy and not taking advantage of someone just because I might be stronger or more powerful than them. I learned that fear leads to anger and anger leads to the dark side.

I learned about justice, right and wrong, good versus evil, and how it’s important to seek out those wiser than myself to help me navigate the world. I learned about redemption and how a villain still may have a spark of goodness in them. I learned that sometimes you have to take chances and put everything on the line. And how, if everyone works together toward a common goal, anything is possible.

I learned that the battles we wage are sometimes within ourselves, that you should never leave a true friend behind, and that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

There are those that point out that the themes and archetypes in the Star Wars films were not new or particularly visionary. But that doesn’t really matter. The original trilogy was a brilliant delivery system. It brought these ideas to me and so many others.

This is one of the reasons that I think the new movie, to be released on December 18th, 2015, is so important. And in my opinion, at this time in our culture, this time of extreme corporate greed, corrupt politicians, and a shocking disregard for the welfare of our fellow human beings, this may be the only place that some young ones learn about honor, compassion, and justice.

And I hope that J.J. Abrams’ film can live up to that. I know it’s a lot to ask.

But in any case, it’s really fun right now to join in the hype of the new picture, to clamor over trailers, and watch the interviews with the cast. It sort of feels like coming home.

Welcome back to the big screen, Star Wars.

I’ve missed you.

Dealing With People Who Let Me Down

Today, I wish I had more middle fingers.

And a cake made of Xanax and optimism.

Because lately I seem to be managing one crisis after another. And also being let down by people that I really thought I could depend on.

And people do let us down, don’t they? They change the rules, change their minds, or change the nature of relationships with zero regard for anyone else’s wellbeing.

They break promises, and deals, and sometimes expect us to just be okay with it.


It’s a fifty gallon bucket full of suck, shock, and heartache.

And I think it feels worse when the person who lets me down is a friend and a business partner. Because not only do their actions and decisions impact me emotionally, but financially as well.

And that’s the tricky part. Am I not supposed to go into business with friends? Am I not supposed to become friends with someone I’m working with? Is that the thing?

I don’t know.

Sometimes I find it helpful to think an offending person acted out of ignorance rather than malice.

Then at least I don’t hate them.

Because let’s face it, there’s plenty of sleepwalking, selfish, maladjusted people in this world. There’s plenty of people living a life of suffering, making decisions and interacting from a place of extreme pain. And to think of them as walking around in the trance of their own importance helps me keep my own behavior in check and not make matters worse.

Because it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to fantasize about them being kidnapped by a dragon and flown off to a far away land so I don’t have to deal with them.

That’s fine. It’s just not okay to pay the dragon to kidnap them.

It’s okay to want to grab them and shake them and say, “What the hell is the matter with you?!?! When did you become such a villain!?!?

It’s just not okay to do it.

Because I can’t control what happens to me, not really. I can’t control how people treat me. And some people will treat me just plain awful.

The one place where I have some control is in how I respond to them.

Maybe I wait 24 hours before answering an email, just to give things some space. Maybe I don’t pick the phone until I’m good and ready and feeling centered. Maybe I practice kindness toward them, as I would a sick dog that bites me out of fear.

Maybe I have to just suffer through our last necessary or contractually obligated interactions with grace, knowing that at least I’ll get to move on soon. And then this person will no longer have such an impact on my life.

Sometimes, that’s all I get.

Why I Practice Kindness

Trying to change someone’s mind might just makes things worse.

So I’m really trying to practice pausing during difficult interactions. This way, I can respond instead of react. And more than that, I get to decide HOW I want to respond.

In the moments where I remember this practice, I have greater choice in what I say or do. I also get the opportunity to say or do nothing at all if that’s what I feel is appropriate.

It’s not always easy, especially when I believe that I’m right and the other person is so very, clearly wrong.

It’s 1 million times more difficult when it feels like a person is intentionally disregarding my feelings to pursue their own agenda.

In those situations, it can be helpful to assume ignorance instead of maliciousness. This helps create the space that I’m taking about, the space to respond without losing my temper and acting like a jerk face.

Because some people really are just ignorant, misguided, inexperienced, or uninformed.

And I know what you’re thinking. Some people are malicious, and mean, and interested only in their own gains. But pausing and practicing kindness gives me the opportunity to evaluate the situation and eventually distance myself from a person if that’s what makes sense.

And of course, there have been times when I’ve paused, that I find out that I was wrong and the other person was right.

Imagine that!


Sometimes the best I can do is practice kindness and ride this shit out.