Women is...: March 2008

Love is in the Air, Weddings are Everywhere. Send Wedding ecards Their Way on the Special Day!

It is the season of weddings. In the last two weeks alone, I have recieved 3 wedding invitations in the mail for September and October. I can see why. Fall is the month when I would like to plan a wedding, that being if I ever find the perfect man. The weather is cool, the leaves are changing, and the atmosphere is full of excitement. Maybe I am bias since fall is my favorite season, but I think it is the perfect time for a wedding celebration. And apparently, many others agree!
Whether you or someone you know is getting hitched, sending wedding ecards is a new and unique way to celebrate the special day. These romantic wedding ecards come in a wide vareity of themes- engagement ecards, wedding announcements, wedding thank you cards, and more. Each one expresses the beginning of a new life thats about to begin for the special couple. These are especially convenient if you are unable to attend the wedding/reception in person.

If you are more traditional and would also like to arrive to the reception with a card in tow, try printable wedding cards. These wedding cards are easy to personalize and print right at home. So if you were too busy finding that perfect dress for the reception and forgot a card- americangreetings.com has you covered with a printable wedding card!

Weddings are truly one of the most precious moments in a person’s life. It’s the time when two people make a vow to share their lives together and join their souls. With all the chaos and divorce in society today, when two people vow to love eachother and make it for the long haul- its a great reason to celebrate right along with them!

Predmenstrual'nyy Syndrome (PMS)

Predmenstrual'nyy syndrome (PMS) - one of the oldest and most general calamities, known to the women and, in the second turn, to the men. "When my wife has PMS, it not - unique, who suffers!" For most women, symptoms are usually soft -- fatigue, crabbiness, anxiety and blowing. But for something, PMS is not soft, it weakens -- generation of strict depression, panicky attacks, and even strong conduct.

Advice in the past was less than usefully from the large row of symptoms of nonspecific nature. Doctors prescribed progesteron, to facilitate symptoms, but the double-blind studies of NIH show that hormone - nothing is better, than medicine for calming of patient. The retailed drugs are also little value.

So, that does make work?

A to mean which seems, helps, is exercise. When women do moderate exercise five times per a week at least during 30 minutes session, their symptoms are considerably diminished. As long, steady exercise causes the release of endorfinov, it makes sense, to hold a level, "pumped" up, so to say, during the last two weeks of cycle. Seems, the continuous production of endorfinov diminishes the symptoms of PMS.

Eat an a bit frequent meal:
It shown, that casual little saccharine snacks are effective in diminishing of milder symptoms. To avoid vibrations in the levels of sugar of blood, does not skip a meal. Eat an a bit frequent meal in place of. Eat the same amount of food which you owe normally, but diffuse it. Have three little meal and middling-morning and middling-temporal after dinner snacks.

Limit stand sugar and include a fibre:
It is better to limit stand sugar, what to try to avoid them. It - it is good to have some sugar, but does not have it on an empty stomach, for this purpose could start a binge. Instead, have a dessert with your meal. It sounds strange, but it is better to eat a dessert during the middle of meal, than in the end. Having anything, a candy at the end of meal, possibly, brings you over, to want more sugar. If you eat a sweet middle meal, traction is satisfied. Not forget, to include a fibre and protein with every meal, to slow digestion and absorption of sugar.

Caffeine of limit and alcohol:
Some women test a spirit intolerance during the last two weeks of their cycle; they show the signatures of intoxication only with two drinks, when it is ordinary beret five or six, to make the same effects.

You will shorten sodium:
Finally, sodium such not large result, because it as soon as it was, but if you are disturbed by liquid inhibition and breast blowing or tenderness, limit their sodium and avoid addition salt.

Young Women Need Folievaya Acid Every day

If are you a woman, and am child's bearing age, what is a tot vitamin, that you must reach daily? Any suppositions? Hint of Hereгs: you must get about 400 micrograms for a day. Yet canгt supposition? This vitamin was shown, considerably to shorten nervous tubulating defects in new-born children.

Does have, you heard of folievoy acid?

In spite of his visibility of increase in medical / health literature, too much young women still donгt know about the dangers of presence too little folievuyu acid in their diet. In a recent review, carried out jointly March Bases of Defects of Births of Dimes and Centers for Control of Illness and Prevention, only about 13% from defendants knew that folievaya acid is effective in prevention of defects of births. Even more an anxiety was a search what only about 7% from conducted knew voting of women, that folievuyu acid needs to be taken before pregnancy will begin.

General Defects of Births, Prevented the Proper Folievym Acid Consumption Before Pregnancy:
# Spina bifida, most general nervous tubulating defects (NTD), - one of most destructive all of defects of births. It takes a place, when a spine is unable to close properly during the first month of pregnancy.
# Results of Anencephaly from the refusal of the nervous giving tubular to close forms properly in an overhead end, causing a fatal condition which majority from a brain is absent in.

Romantic Fantasies

Ljubov of coupleEvery person has their own romantic fantasies. Every fantasy has the own unique sense, tone, and theme.
Some people have simple fantasies, yet other elaborate their romantic dreams with many experienced details. There is one thing in common with all of romantic fantasies, nevertheless. It wishes anything, that you already do not have in the life and it can be only carried out with a romantic partner.

Fantasies provide the world of mind and escape from the real world, and romantic fantasies in particluar serve as a transport vehicle to sexual life more of satisfaction. Fantasies place men in touch with the sensuality, while also, allowing them to become more comfortable from itself and their interrelation.

Women aim to be more perceptible and romantic, depending softly on illumination, smelled candles and slow music, to set a mood. When most women dream up about making loves, it is often with a center on their current Location of partner (however sometimes anybody is unattainable, famous,, etc., possibly, the eye of mind sneaks.) and settlement of game important roles also, and emotional connection is critical in most cases.

For some women, the last fantasy only squanders time with tem, they love. Because one woman exposed, "I had casual disobedient fantasies, but more than anything, I think about tom, to be twisted up in one's arms."

Sharing of Your Fantasy

Very often, both partners in interrelation have fantasies which they would like to divide with their partners, but they do not expose them. Fantasies are caused by strong emotions and exposure can do them you vulnerable. Therefore, fantasies usually stick to in a secret. To give your secret ideas for consideration of anybody can be brave.

It easily comfortably, to suppose that, exposing, your partner will not value your fantasies. In spite of the fact that nobody can unriddle the idea of other persons, most people think that their partner will not be able to want to live fantasy with them.

Say Your Partner, That you Want

How to tell your partner about your romantic fantasies?

All, that you will have to do, am to be clear about tom, that you want and then tell your partner. Yes, does it, possibly, sound easier, to do, what is it, but that you will have to lose? If you have anybody, who loves you, that a person, possibly, is eager more to do you happy, what you think.

Try It:
Write down the fantasy in one suggestion. Have your partner write down him or its fantasy also.
Now that you wrote it downward, you must be clear about tom, that you want.
Next step - to divide fantasy with your partner. Walk ahead, you will be surprised, who easily fantasies can become reality!

Sexual Pantaloons

Color & Style: That Your Pantaloons Talk about you.... (Or FOR you!)

ì. of Catherine. D'Imperio ©2006

So ladies, what ideas do circulate through your mind, because you choose the undergarments for a day at work, lazy afternoon at home, night, that you will outlay with the inamorata?

Coloured or style, major?

We all know certainly, that boys dig straps fully. Clear, as can be or, bragging all of bells and sings of the buttons, bends and beads are indeed questions it is not. While they are sexual, in covering and barely there, you are an entrance of boot with the mate. Although they - not always the most comfortable maids in the world, straps are saved by our tails, when it arrives to elimination of panty lines.

“Grandmother pantaloons", term, popularized some movie burning, sure, seems, takes a lot of heat from men, who reaches too deteriorates the selection of their friends of sexual unmentionables. If I do not feel good, if I only loaf round a house, even if I am only too darn lazy, to do washing, “normal” pantaloons which it is. I refuse to name them grandmothers. Not get me wrong, I have a complete draftsman, complete undies, – mostly straps, bikini and bras, but I value the comfort of not carrying them, similarly.

So we were carried out through the sequence of style ... But that does do your choice of the coloured opinion of you?

Black: Sex appeal, Seduction, Secretive or only clear "I want to get some tonight, kid!"

Red color: Passionate, Romantic, Erotic... "I want to be fictitious tonight...take my breath far, lover..."

Carnation: Delicate, Flirty, Young... "you, possibly, would get something, you did not could... but I am your tonight!"

Whiteness: Baby, Virginal, Clean... "Be kind with me, and I, possibly, have some fun with you!"

Blue: Bold, Strong, Mischievous. “ I is in control tonight, sexual” *wink*

Purple: Mysterious... "I like to hold you supposition.I will jump you, when you expect it least!”

Orange: Playful... "Let we are had some fun tonight!"

Greenery: Anything Goes... "No location is too risky for me!"

Seal of Leopard: "Rwar, I am an animal, kid. Let us reach wild!"

Nothing: ANYBODY GETTIN' A FEW Tonight!!!!!

RENUNCIATION: These descriptions were created on a passing whim - they are implied, to do you a chortle or discuss their values, nothing further ... only book full of meat, for the clean aims of pleasures! Please consult by the Specialist Victoria’s Secret, if you apply for veritable advice.

Secrets to Smooth, Sexy Legs

A lot of men can not offer resistance smooth and sexual set of feet. From short and cheeky mini-skirts, bragging miles of magnificent feet long, silky skirts thinly, showing to the best advantage beautiful feet through tasteful cuts – a fashion is your friend, when it arrives to underlining of your wheels.

To emphasize your feet with very insignificant adaptations to your normal cleaning and routines of beauties, to read, that a few rapid tips took away and supported a sexual look for your feet.

Not given up, when you shave. Nothing is destroyed by the super-near shaving like notches from the hurried shaving. Rashly shaving of your feet, possibly, compels a razor to snag your skin and step very little pieces at a heat, especially round your knees, ankles and thin areas of flesh on your shins. To contest with notches from shaving too quickly, a rinse is distant blood before an exit from a shower, spot with fabric or toilet paper and apply the very little corner of fabric to your wound. Allow it to dry blood and decide, whether does necessary a cut bandage.

You will moisten! Radiance adds unit, new dimension to the smooth feet. A fragrant wash creates mildness and recently applied a wash creates good incandescence which comes into a notice your silky feet. you will look: Moistening Plums For Types of Skins

Utillize a loofah pillow, to exfoliate and polish imperfections. Sometimes the very little corrupts the caused growing in hair or insignificant terms of skins render feet which are not so smooth, because they as soon as were. Gently by stratification at least once or twice week, your feet can be healthy, soft and nedostatok-svobodny with very little effort. If you are not sure that a loofah pillow reminds, will visit the passage-way of beauty of your local pharmacy, supermarket or supermarket. They usually have the surface on one side and surface of terrycloth type coloured for a beige on other. These elements usually only cost a dollar or two, and they are a good cost investment!

Try the rich for a vitamin underwood of body. While stratification with a loofah pillow provides large scrubbing motion, conniving in the luxurious underwood of body is such good for senses and spirit, because it - for a body. Nutritives, contained in undersized mixture, feed a skin and desirable more healthy cells, to replace the dead cells of skins, lost through removing a layer by a layer. Not only will brush old cells clean far – move forward new!

Exercise! While aesthetic elements, mentioned above, truly will lend itself to the complete condition of your feet, this products and methods will not be done by a thing for your muscle tone and mass of body. To repose on your feet in a swimming suit form weigh year long, examine participating in regular exercise once or twice week. Reach in good habit at run, walking or hurrying a jog-trot, bicycle, riding, step, climbing or doing simple exercises like the lifts of leg. Even the littlest amount of exercise can be advantageous your body, because you build the way up to more long routines.

Sometimes, feet, possibly, are not fat, but only look heavy, from a bad rotation. Your feet and feet are placed.
Also, avoid support of the protracted periods of time, to shorten appearance of varicose veins.

Women's Extra Nutritional Needs

A woman's
reproductive life - encompassing menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and
menopause - means that her nutritional needs differ greatly from those
of a man. The popularity of crash dieting has meant that nutritional
deficiencies are especially common amongst younger women. Good
nutrition means eating a wide variety of foods every day, which isn't
possible on a restrictive diet.

Food and predmenstrual'nyy syndrome (PMS)
Co-operation of hormones everywhere in the menstrual collisions of cycles of women on its body and state of mind. Consumptions of energies in general higher in a predmenstrual'noy phase, what after menstruation. Some women test nourishing tractions, as pertained to a certain period approaches also. Eating high foods of proteins, each a little bit of hours can often moderate tractions or stop them on the whole. It does not need to be done due to other nourishing groups, especially carbohydrates which must form basis of diet.

Liquid inhibition is ordinary for days, leading up to a period, because certain hormones encourage, that a body held salt, or sodium. Sodium held more, more liquid, stored in fabrics. Some research specifies that, multiplying the consumption of rich for a calcium foods, as for example suckling products and sheet green vegetables, can facilitate liquid inhibition. Other general symptoms of predmenstrual'nogo syndrome (PMS) are included by despondency, fatigue and constipation.
Foods, which, possibly, help to deliver symptoms from PMS, include:
# Garden-stuffs and vegetables
# Bread foods (preferably wholegrain)
# Bobs
# Fish.

Limitation refined sugar, salt, red meat, adipose, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, possibly, also helps to facilitate symptoms. There is some certificate which taking of B of vitamins of groups during this time can help to, especially vitamin of B6. Easily to moderate exercise, as for example 30 minutes the animated walk every day, was also shown, notedly to shorten the symptoms of PMS.

Iron and anaemia
Iron is a mineral which works in an union with other substances, to create haemoglobin, mixture which brings in oxygen blood. Women and men metabolise iron from food rudely in the same norm. However, while men need around a 7mg gland in their daily diet, women need up to 16mg. It must make for the amount of iron which they lose in the menstrual period, what averages around 1mg or so lost bleeding during every day.

A ferrous deficit is the most general nourishing deficit which affects women. Insufficient iron can result in anaemia, with general symptoms, including a fatigue and запыхавшийсяness. A ferrous deficit in expectant mothers multiplies the risk of prematurity, or, delivering the low kid of weight of birth, which can have a negative collision on the short and long-term health of kid. The good sources of iron are included by a liver, red meat, egg yolks, bobs, nuts and sheet green vegetables. The ever-higher diets of fibres, alcohol and tannic acid, can loosen ferrous absorption in tea.

Vitamins, minerals and pregnancy
Extraordinary requirements to the womanish body during pregnancy can result in food deficits, if a mother does not change its diet. Expectant mothers only need 300 kilo-calories (kilo-calorie) more than not expectant mothers which a consumption can attain only one, especially serving from each of five nourishing groups daily. The most general deficits include in expectant mothers:
# A calcium is absorption of calcium more than twins during pregnancy, and a mother is memorized by majority from it in its bones. A calcium, memorized in bones materey early in pregnancy, is taken away, to provide a calcium to the uterine fruit in more last pregnancy. Multiplying the consumption of calcium during pregnancy helps to save mass kosti mothers, corresponding the necessities of uterine fruit. Good sources include suckling products (milk, yoghurt is raw).
# Folievaya acid is the recommended daily consumption (RDI) for folievykh acid twins during pregnancy. It, because folievaya acid is needed for development and growth of new cells. Research testifies that insufficient folievaya acid in conception and in the first trimester of pregnancy can multiply the risk of the nervous tubulating defects in a future kid. The good sources of folievoy acid include sheet green vegetables, poultry, eggs and cereals.
# Iron - although ferrous absorptive increases during pregnancy, multiplying the volumes of blood also. Iron is involved in the process of oxygen transport. In a gland Enouth pulls a developing uterine fruit to self-control through the first five or in six months after birth, when him only food is ferrous-poor breast milk. Ferrous additions are often ordered for expectant mothers, especially during the third trimester. Rich on iron foods are included by a liver, red meat, egg yolks and sheet green vegetables.
# Zinc - it is needed it was to support the health of cells. Taking of ferrous additions, possibly, mixes absorptions of zinc, so that to the women, to taking ferrous additions, possibly, zinc additions are also needed. Foods highly in zinc include meat, exterminating a liver, eggs and gifts. The leavened wholegrain products can also be useful (the help of yeasts is produced by zinc of border).

Deficits during a lactation
Nourishing requirements in general increase during a lactation (500kcal), what in pregnancy (300kcal). Nutritives which are especially important during this time are protein, calcium, vitamin of C, folate, zinc, magnesium, liquids vitamin of B6 and. Women which are rearing a breast can develop a calcium and ferrous deficits. To it can appeal multiplying the amounts of calcium and ferrous rich food, eaten every day or, if necessary, taking additions.

Calcium and osteoporosis
Osteoporosis disorder is characterized by thinning of bones, while they are not weak and easily broke or it is broken. Women are in the greater risk of development of osteoporosis, what men, especially after menopause, because oestrogen levels are diminished. A lot of factors is involved, for example:
# The low consumption of calcium during growings years multiplies receptivity to osteoporosis later in life. The poor consumption of calcium early in life also contacts with deficits vitamin of D, calcium and possibly ftorid. Scientists co-ordinate, that force kosti in more last life depends on development of bones before in life, and that adequate consumption of calcium during youth substantially, to attain mass of bone of spades.
# A diet and exercise is also important. Sexual hormones (in particular oestrogen), exercise, smoking, and that we eat and drink can wholly to affect absorption of calcium and selection. Salt, caffeine and alcohol, interfere with balance of calcium through urinary losses and must be consumed economy.
# The failure dieting was related to development of osteoporosis due to a tendency, to cut out sucklings foods.
# Animal protein, eaten in great numbers, also multiplies the urinary loss of calcium is a main helper to balance of calcium. It does not take a place with protein of factory.

Vitamin of D and calcium
Absorption of Vitamin D calcium of increases and required for normal metabolism kosti. There are a few nourishing sources vitamin of D; they include: fish, eggs and liver. The good sources of calcium are included by sucklings foods, fixed the calcium of soymilk and seed of sesame. However, for women, which can not consume these foods, additions of calcium, possibly, desirable.

Things, to remember
# Iron and deficits of calcium is ordinary in women.
# The vitamin of B6 can help facilitate the symptoms of predmenstrual'nogo syndrome.
# Like expect foods, can an alcohol, caffeine and salt interfere with absorption and selection of important minerals.

Boost Your Breasts

You’ve noticed that your breasts are sagging a little ... Simple
strength training may give you the lift you long for. The alternative
is breast implants

There is no avoiding it - gravity, that is. As you age, parts of your body seem to sag, and no place do women see it more than their breasts. All hope is not lost.

According to personal trainer Kim Albano from New York City’s
Equinox fitness club, there are some easy exercises you can do to give
your breasts the appearance of lift. "Breasts are fat, so you can’t
firm the fatty tissue but underneath is muscle", she says. The pectoral
muscles, to be specific, and they can be built up in a way that gives
your breasts a higher, firmer look.

You can strengthen your pecs with four suggested exercises
from Albano (see below). Choose three of the four and do them at least
twice a week or three times to see results sooner. Albano stresses that
these are just a start and encourages women
to try different ones. “Everyone will respond differently to various
exercises, so you have to find what is right for you,” she says. “And
mix up your workout so your muscles don’t get bored, because then they
stop developing.”

Start out with 1 set of 10 to 15 repetitions eventually
building up to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions using weights that make
your muscles feel fatigued when you get to the end of each set. When
the exercise becomes too easy, add more weight or another set.

Flat Chest Press

Lie faceup on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, your wrists
should be in a neutral position, palms facing forward, elbows bent 90
degrees and held out to the sides parallel with shoulders. Exhale as
you extend your arms toward the ceiling with knuckles facing up, being
careful not to touch the weights together, and squeezing your pectoral
(chest) muscles at the top of the movement. Inhale as you return to
starting position.


Lie facedown on the floor with your hands under you shoulders.
Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, with your toes tucked
under so that you are balancing on the balls of your feet. Contract
your abdominals so your back is parallel to the floor. Keep your head
and neck in line with your spine. Inhale as you lower your chest as
close to the floor as possible. Exhale as you return to starting

Incline Chest Press

This exercise is similar to the flat chest press, but you do it
on a 45-degree incline, which will recruit different muscle fibers. Lie
faceup on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing
forward, elbows bent 90 degrees and held out to the sides parallel with
shoulders. Exhale as you extend your arms toward the ceiling with
knuckles facing up, being careful not to touch the weights together,
and squeezing your pectoral (chest) muscles at the top of the movement.
Inhale as you return to starting position.

Cable Crossover

Stand in the center of a cable tower, feet hip-width apart, one
foot slightly in front of the other. Grab the horseshoe handle of a
cable at the top of each end of the machine in each hand, palms facing
down and slightly forward, arms at shoulder level. Contract your
abdominals, lean slightly forward from your hips, and relax your knees.
Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, exhale as you pull the handles
down in front of you until your hands come together, hold briefly.
Inhale as you slowly return to starting position.

Pregnancy and Exercise

Starting Program

Most women know that exercise is ordinary advantageously. But once pregnant, a lot of women is surprised about safety of exercise to it and to it kid. It is an especially important result for women, that harbour some time regularly practiced before beremeneet. This article is implied, to be only by a directive and, to encourage, that expectant mothers pursued the program of exercise, while pregnant. Certainly, pregnant or not, everybody must consult by their doctor before start of the program of exercise.

Benefits from Exercise to Embryo
A judge is still on direct benefits to the kid. The best guide is, that exercise is advantageous a mother and, therefore, probably, to be advantageous an embryo for the presence of healthy mother.Are there, however, a few studies which showed some direct benefits an embryo:
# Higher great Numbers of Apgar - Some studies specify that little people are immediately next birth stronger, when a mother practiced regularly.
# Large more Healthy little People - One study found that the testing programs delivered little people, who weighed near 5% (and higher sometimes), what little people, borne to the sidyachim mothers.

Benefits from Exercise to Mother
Benefits from exercise to healthy, to pregnant women very documented. These include:
# Better, managing additional weight pregnant with the megascopic aerobic conditioning and self-control.
# Confession of labour force better both emotionally and physically.
# Megascopic muscular force and patience (for those who participates in moderate force on-line tutorial)
# Diminished possibilities of unhealthy benefit of weight
# More rapid update from a birth-rate and more rapid return to weight of preliminary pregnancy
# The diminished falling of hemmoroids, varicose veins, pain is in small of the back, and fatigue

Subjects the risk of Exercise to Embryo
# Connection and connecting damage of fabric.
# During pregnancy, hormones are loosened by connections and connections, to allow more easy delivery. Also, additional weight or breast and uterus throw down the centre of gravity and balance.Therefore, women are discouraged from participating in any actions which especially irritating or having, subject the risk of falling. Some it needs to be avoided built-in rolling on skates, bicycle, riding, ski sport, astride riding.
# Dive of akvalanga for the detail of reasons to this sport it is needed also wholly to avoid, while pregnant.

Special Considerations
Even with all of benefits, there are sometimes times, when exercise is not recommended. The following is three lists, to conduct you through a decision-making, which it is developed, possibly, not correct for you.

Women with the followings terms must consult by a doctor before realization:
# Hypertension (high blood pressure)
# Anaemia or other disturbances of blood
# Nourishing disturbances
# Diabetes
# Palpitations or irregular cardiac rhythm
# Presentation of the back is in the last trimester
# Excessive obesity
# Extraordinarily weighing below than norm
# Other medical complications or illness
# History of steep labour force, (less than 3 hours), âíóòðèìàòî÷íàÿ delay of growth, bleeding during the real pregnancy or extraordinarily sidyachego lifestyle.

Women with the followings terms must not participate in exercise, while pregnant:
# Cardiac illness
# Torn membranes
# Premature labour force
# Weakness or dizziness
# Bleeding or dignosis placenta of previa
# Rapid cardiac norm or palpitations
# Walking of difficulty

Directives for Realization, while Pregnant
You are here. you are decisive to practice, your doctor agrees, and you want to carry conviction, you do it it is correct. Follow by these rules and you are punishment of very healthy life for you and your kid.
# Women which were beforehand foremost sidyachiy must begin in very low intensity and advance gradually.
# Realization at least three times for a week (separately for a week) better, than irregular activity.
# Ballistic (tryaskiy springless crew, cheerful) motions and deep bend or continuation of connections it is needed wholly to avoid.
# Clothes are favourable bras and shoe, to compensate for additional weight.
# Water of drink is everywhere in exercise. Strong exercise needs to be not also executed in hot or moist weather or while you have a fever.
# For strong exercise it is needed to be always cleared way ten minutes of warm of serdechno-sosudistogo exercise (like walking).
# A maternal cardiac norm must not never exceed 140 shots for a minute. A cardiac norm must be weighed in the nosedive of activity.
# Energetic exercise must last no longer, what 15 minutes.
# Exercise is needed follows for 5-10 minutes cool downward. An anxiety must be undertaken, gradually to rise from a floor, to avoid blood, pooling in members.
# Exercise does not need to be executed, disposing on reverse since the fourth month of pregnancy is completed.
# Exercises, utillizings the manoeuvre (harbouring of breathing) of Valsava, it is needed to avoid.
# Not forget, to eat it is enough, to correspond the additional necessities of pregnancy and additional necessities of exercise.

If you are started to practice, or decide to begin, discuss it with your doctor, and you will be good there is a lot of more healthy lifestyle on the way.

Exercise is important in maintenance of good health, especially during pregnancy for women. Verification of the latest medical information will tell you anymore, but it - good sense only, to know that exercise is important. Check up the best medical web sites on-line for even more modern information and tips for the residence of more healthy life.

I am

"The Imagining Ourselves project has been one of the most empowering experiences of my life. Diagnosed with MS in 1994, I cannot stand on my own two feet. Holding someone’s hand makes all the difference. I remember when this project was a simple Call for Submissions. I watched it transpire. I am amazed at what it has become—a global conglomerate of women holding hands. It’s beautiful and I am blessed to be a part of it."

I am

I remember it well—the black hole that was my life. I was too young to know that I needed to climb out of it. I was too naïve to know that I could. It swallowed me whole in a moment, in a sentence. The diagnosis was clinically definite. My doctor said it like it was nothing. I had never heard of it, so how bad could it be? My mother was beside me crying… what was she crying about? I remember it all so well.

The words pierced me as I read what it could do to me, how it could rob me of the ability to think, to speak, to walk, to move. I didn’t understand. How could one thing take so much away? This couldn’t be happening! My life was just beginning… and now it was ending. I had to know, so I kept reading… but it hurt and the words, they pierced me.

My eyes welled with tears as I turned the page. There, alone in my room, they poured out of me. I could not stop them. I was supposed to get married. I was going to have children—two boys and two girls. I was going to be a good mother. My husband would love me so much. I would be the perfect wife. Who would want me now? I turned another page, but I could barely see through the tears.

I let them all go… the dreams, the hopes. I was foolish to think they were mine, foolish to think I deserved them. Surely, this was my penalty. I just wish it didn’t hurt so much to let them all go.

Is this it? The brochure said the heat would make everything worse, but I was fine last summer. It’s getting so hot now, and the colours are all bleeding together. I could see everything a few minutes ago. It doesn’t make sense. I can’t get up either. What's going on? What am I going to do? Is this it?

They're staring at me. Can they see it? I don’t want them to. I’ll stare back. What are they looking at? Why are they staring at me?

I want to die. My doctor wants me to start using a cane. I’m 21 years old. I don’t want a cane. I want to die.

I haven’t been out in days. It’s too hard. I get dirty looks for taking the handicapped spot. They're right—I shouldn't be here. I can’t climb the stairs. The slopes of the ramps mock me. Someone's changing in the accessible stall and the automatic door is disabled. Maybe I’ll get that cane. I don’t want to, but this is ridiculous. I haven’t been out in days.

I should smile a little more. I don't have to be so rude. They only stare because they don’t understand what’s happened to me. Perhaps they haven’t heard of it either. Perhaps I’ll smile a little more.

It’s addictive. People are smiling back. They see the cane. They ask about it. They tell me I’m beautiful. They say I’m inspiring. They say they’ll pray for me and they hope I get better. They tell me to keep smiling. I think I will. It’s so much fun… and so addictive!

I’m speechless. Did he just say what I think he said? Did I hear him right? “I’m sorry to see you that way.” Did he just say that to me? But he’s homeless... why would he care about me? I don’t know what to say. I am utterly speechless.

These four walls, they alone have seen my tears. They closed in on me once. The darkness was never black enough to conceal my pain. It glowed from within me, burning me, constantly reminding me of what I was and what I could never be. I thought I would die here—here, within these four walls.

I lifted the curtains today. I want the sun to shine in on me. I want to see its light, to feel its love. I am so happy! Strangers seem to care. They want to help and they’re not afraid of me. They look past my disease and see me! I am in awe. I was so mistaken about everything and it all looks so different now, now that I have lifted the curtains.

He’s a good man and he loves me… but I had to turn him down. I just have to do this without him. I have to find my place in this world. It’s waiting for me. It needs me. I will find it and I will fill it with my love, my hope, my sincerity… the sincerity of a homeless man. I will bring it to life and lift the curtains that darken it. He’s a good man, but I...

Before the Hockey Game

"It is important to talk about violence without taking for the hood of victim. To be strong, without the denial of our rights which are weak. Majority from experiments which we (women and men) run into, are grey areas which - |, why they are such difficult, to describe, and why they are such difficult, to find support and cicatrization."

Before the Hockey Game

There was the hockey game. We had to leave for the hockey game, or we were going to be late. I cannot remember how you were on top of me, only that we were vertical then horizontal, as though played like marionettes. I recall a glimmer of fear—that falling would hurt, my head would slam backwards into the floor, perfect hair would come undone. But in my mind we fell with control, precision. I've patched it up so that the history becomes soft as the sleeping sounds my lover makes when I wake from this nightmare and stare at his body there in the morning light.

In my memory I am wearing a rust-orange dress, with my hair all up in a bun. I had told you that I didn't want to that morning; I guess it was something like the fact of having pulled on my pantyhose. How long that takes, you know, to make sure your thumbnail doesn't snag the nylon. But I wouldn’t have worn that dress for the hockey game. The times you forced yourself on me and the reasons for no and the clothes that I wore and the expressions on my face have all run together.

It was okay lying on your living room floor, because it was covered with a plush brown wall-to-wall seventies carpeting. I was comfortable, more or less. It was okay to lie there and negotiate.

I was lying on the carpet but I wouldn't really call it negotiation; there was too much fear involved. I don't know where it came from, but it was thick. It was like the fear of dying, the idea of losing you was.And your interrogation was an ultimatum. It was either with you or without you; it was either yes or a resounding no.

So it was understood that I would act as the machine. I was making no sacrifices because, as you put it, all couples go through this kind of negotiation. This is how couples are. This is what they do. I would understand this.

You cannot imagine my ceaseless rationalizations. You cannot imagine how I have tried to place my woman's body back in the physical reality that is past, how I've empowered the resignation to mean, fine you can take me, but you haven't taken me. Maybe there was power in that divorce—the body from the mind. Maybe there was domination in my resignation. Maybe letting you have my body was a smirk. Maybe it was a beautiful dancer, bowing out.

But none of that came just then to the seventeen-year-old, to the inexperienced, to the fear acting as machine. Indeed, you did have my mind. The idea of losing you placed so much fear in me, so real and arresting, that I went to grab onto something and I felt there was nothing to take. -

That was the grayest moment. That is the moment when the jury leaves the courtroom with concerned wrinkles on their foreheads and we wonder at the muddiness of truth and reality, experience, choice.

It was easy as pie, and then it was over. You know what I did afterwards you? I broke just like a little girl. But when you asked me why I was crying, I betrayed myself.

“I’m not mad at you,” I said, serious, sincere and sweet as ever, “I’m mad at myself, for not listening to my heart.”

How badly I wanted to let you off the hook. How scary it would have been to hold you accountable. Isn't it funny, the kind of power, poverty, desperation my love had?

“I raped you,” you have written me, years later, “I’m sorry.”


(reflections on HIV/AIDS in Uganda)

am In the dream of dream. Somewhere into the rough melody of breathing, there is a woman. In the dream of dream, somewhere, a woman cries. Cotton wool of it
busuti|| is with folds in knees through the clock of standing on knees by a place at a bed. It holds tea in one hand, and in the dusk of day it drinks it. Lighting kerosene is lighted by motion of hand to the cup to breathing of lips.

In a dream of a dream. Somewhere.

Three men lean against the bar, focused on the cool froth of their afternoon drinks. A Kenyan beer, Tusker. Their suits are freshly pressed and their talk is pungent like the smell of overripe mangoes. They speak like ageing roosters about the news of the past weeks, and between the gossiping they mourn. Grace’s daughter is sick and she has gone home to the village in Ankole. The rains are heavy and the men hope that the bus will reach the village by nightfall. The road must have been churned to mud by now.

An old woman murmurs short prayers as she watches her daughters pounding groundnuts. It is nearing five o’clock and she is wearing a dress of ochre and green that seems at peace with the red clay of the hillsides. Her son Joseph will be marrying on Sunday and the community will be expecting a grand feast. The millet has been ground and is ready to cook but ten kilos of matoke still need to be cut and prepared by the day. Her oldest daughter turns to look at her abruptly and she remembers her husband who passed only last year. She grows weary remembering the hours of cooking, washing, digging she did to support her family- yet her husband still sought satisfaction outside of the house. Her prayers resume as the pounding begins again.

In a dream of a dream. Somewhere between heartbeat and the coarse melody of breathing, there is a woman. In a dream of a dream, somewhere, there is a woman telling stories. The days grow long in each syllable she offers. Sometimes she speaks in bullets that recall the days of armies that swarmed the country like locusts, destroying what they could. Other times she speaks in Nile waters that brought wazungu so far from their homes. They say she can speak in injections and pills that bring the fever down, and bring life back for another day. Today she is speaking in reams of colourful cotton. Bodies are being cleansed for burial and she will clothe them in the hues of mountain flowers.

In a dream of a dream, somewhere. There is a woman.


sometimes act of taking time, to create a poem--and, to read one--- contradiction of the world, which, possibly, would prefer, that we were turned away our attention from a language. With all of potential for connection us with more deep silence, greater history, internal landscape, no surprise writes it and read, possibly, would seem like threatenings gestures. I want, that limning invited anybody slowly downward, to value beauty, and promisingly, to find sense of surprise in reserve.

The first line is the camera’s aperture.
If you find beauty it will rise
from the half-moon petals
strewn on the nightstand
or the shirt tossed
over the radiator.
The shirt
reminds you of spring in a country
with galvanized tubs
and spider web clotheslines
turning in the breeze*
the wrong subtitled film.
What I speak has nothing
to do with love. There is no
galaxy. A star is not plural.
The couple smokes
at the foot of the bed.
Outside, a car runs out of gas
but coasts another mile
on ghostly fumes. The heart
keeps traveling past fenceposts,
pushing luck after goodbye.

The Rainbow Generation

It was the first question, my mother asked me, when I told it, that I’d|| the met man in Dubayi which I wanted to marry.

“How black is he?”

I felt like I’d been hit in the solar plexus – that area of your stomach that, when hit, feels like the wind has been punched right out of you. I felt myself mentally stumble, pole axed by the irrelevancy of the question.

But instead of saying “What the hell do you mean ‘How black is he?’ What does it matter what colour he is?”

Instead of saying, “What matters is that he loves me, that I love him, that he’s a good man and we’ll be happy.”

Instead of saying any of these good things in answer to my mother’s question, “How black is he?” I said, “No darker than Simon (my brother). Not dark at all, a fair olive skin in fact” – to which I received a huge, relieved sigh – far more telling of her relief than anything she could have said.

Why did I back down? Why did I justify myself/justify Amjad instead of indignantly telling my mother that the colour of Amjad’s skin didn’t matter? Why did I cave in and say that Amjad wasn’t dark skinned at all? Why didn’t I say the powerful words, “So what if he is black?”

In part because I realized that if I’d said, “Who cares how black he is, what matters is that we’ll be happy” my mother would have said that the colour question was an important part of the ‘would be happy’ question.

She would be right if you look at the world as it was – the world as it was when she married.

So what defines our generation of women?

We love and hate based not on race or nationality but on issues. This is a huge change compared to my mother’s generation and I think that it’s something that defines our generation – a generation that sees itself increasingly as one which is comprised of international citizens, proud of their ancestry but feeling it is only a very small part of how we define ourselves.

I got married to my Palestinian husband in a South Indian dress with an exotic flower behind my ear – very Hawaiian! I completely confused our guests about ‘What I was trying to say’. In the world I’d like to create, that I think is coming, our guests wouldn’t be confused but rather amused or unfazed because they would all doing the same! So, we’d have a black guest who’d wear a sari and a Muslim headscarf or an Asian man who’d wear a dishdasha but who spoke Norwegian. What a wonderful world that would be!

The Bride's Tears

Amina||, beautiful and elegant, going to marry Lamine||. It at first caught one's eyes with it good taste in clothes and in course of time, Lamine|| arrived to discover and love its unprejudice. More than it, it has a body of dream, that it knows how to cherish. Lamine’s|| a body never complains, when it sets to the hands of Amina||. Certainly, they do not sleep together but a few caress and good massage from time to time never hurt somebody.

Lamine sent his best friend, his uncles and his aunts to Amina’s parent’s home to officially request their daughter’s hand. Neither Lamine nor Amina were present at the meeting. Their relatives spoke in their place. Amina visited with neighbors as the two families agreed upon the sum to be paid and the date of the marriage.

After Lamine’s representatives left, Amina returned home. It was one of her uncles who was granted responsibility for giving her hand.

The marriage is set for the beginning of next month. There is only one month to do all the preparations. Lamine and Amina each get their friends together for a meeting. Neither Amina nor Lamine attend. They have no choice but to trust their friends. The friends get to know each other. The girls, representatives of Amina – Lamine is represented by men – brought a list of everything they need.

The girls and the men each meet separately. Three days before the wedding, Amina is forbidden to go out. Her friends are there to spend the day with her. The traditional ceremony begins tonight.

Since morning, the female relatives and friends of her mother have been moving about the house. A little while before sunset, other women come as a group. The house is full of noises and laughter. It is just a little taste of what the next day will bring.

Two aunts have come to grab Amina. Hands tied well at her biceps, they bring her into her room. There is scarcely room to put their feet but, in the middle there is no one, just a mat and two cups. In each of the cups there is henna – dried leaves, ground and used as a paste to color the hair, hands, or feet. The two mixtures are different: one pasty, the other more powdery. Amina was obliged to undress down to her slip in front of sixty pairs of eyes all focused on her. An old aunt applied henna on her head, and then all over her body while muttering verses from the Koran.

--Why aren’t you crying?
--Why should I cry, who died?
--Keep quiet, said an angry aunt.
--I have never seen a bride like this, eyes as dry as fire.
--It just goes to show, you have much still to see cousin.

Once the aunt had finished, she took the second cup, and then three aunts came forward. This second step is meant to be a scrub but, the way these women do it, you’d think they were trying to peel her. Amina understands now why young brides cry. The henna is well perfumed, it has a nice odor. She has henna everywhere on her body, in her ears, eyes, and mouth. Wishing to rub her eyes, the aunts immediately block her hands on her thighs, believing that she is trying to struggle and remove everything.

--Let go of me, I have henna in my eyes.

The old aunt tightens her clothes, then covers her with a new clean sheet.

--Do not wash before tomorrow morning, we know you. Let the henna penetrate into your skin.

Starting now you will stay in your room with your friends and your cousins and you will keep the sheet on you, whatever you do.

--Remember, Amina, you cannot let people see your face. You cannot watch your marriage ceremony through the window. You cannot dance. You cannot watch your guests having fun. You cannot live your wedding. You do not have the right to be happy on your wedding day. Cry Amina, cry, empty yourself of all the sobs in your body, believe that you are unhappy, that you are sad and everyone will be proud of you. Cry and your name will serve as a shining example.

It is almost seven o’clock in the evening. A cousin has come to take Amina to her bath. She is carrying her on her back, covered by a sheet. A young bride does not walk during the wedding.

The bathroom is improvised. The real one is not big enough to hold all of the women. In the rear courtyard, the women formed a circle of at least twenty people. Once Amina was in the center, those who were in front made a wall with woven mats. Amina is completely undressed by the aunt who had applied the henna. She is seated on a stool. Next to her there is a large gourd filled with water, floating henna leaves, dates, white kola nuts. There is also a pail of clean water and a container of soap. She is washed by her aunt like a baby. She is well soaped, then rinsed. The aunt handed her the soap so that she could do her “intimate” washing but the women protested, it’s for the aunt to do, so she did it. After the “intimate” washing in front of twenty people, the grandmother recited verses from the Koran over the water in the gourd. The aunt poured the water over her head and then all over her body while reciting suras and offering advice.

-- Now you will kneel before your parents and ask their forgiveness. After that, all of your sins will be erased and you will have only those committed at your husband’s house. I hope you will have the fewest possible. Go, my daughter, and listen well to the advice your parents give to you, above all keep them always in your head, for you will need them.

Before leaving the room, her friends advise her to cry, to at least pretend, just while asking forgiveness from her parents. Tradition asks that the young bride cry from this moment up until her arrival at her husband’s home out of the sadness of leaving her family. Of course, the desire to respect this tradition brings some young brides to put on an act.

-- Be strong, you are not losing your parents. It is the destiny of each woman to one day leave her family to go and live with a man.
Upon arriving at the husband’s home, the old women removed the bride’s covering.

-- You are home now, you can remove this covering and moreover stop crying, or you risk scaring your husband with your red eyes.

Imagine their surprise, and moreover their anger, upon discovering that the young woman had dry cheeks and completely white eyes

At Lamine’s house, an old woman makes the bed, mumbling something between her teeth and her receding gums. She puts a white cloth on the bed. It is sewn to the four corners of the bed so that it won’t slip and so that the newlyweds do not end up on the sheet. This cloth will be recovered tomorrow morning by the old woman who made the bed, and it will serve as proof. If it is stained with blood, it will mean that Amina has escaped shame.

If the cloth is stained with blood, the mother will give a party. She will send roasted guinea fowl to her son-in-law, she will be congratulated, and the women will dance.

If the cloth comes back as white as it was before, the mother will spend the day crying. Friends and relatives will help her. Women will come to take the news of the bride or rather some of the cloth so they will be able to gossip, and they will parade into Amina’s room to insult her and to remind her that she has shamed her mother and dishonored her family. There will be no guinea fowl, no party, no jewelry, and no fifty-thousand francs and the husband will be free to either keep his wife or renounce her. Lamine’s family will come to make a scandal.

In the end, the women were left unsatisfied: the day after the wedding, the old woman came to wake Amina. Lamine did not hand over the cloth; he kept their wedding night a secret.

Positively Romantic

I married, when I am 20, complete grandiose hopes for the future. It is brought to family of Chistian, I was ready to undertake my marriage journey, as faithful and submissive wife and enthusiastic mother.

But just three years later, I found out that my husband had been cheating on me. I decided to call it quits and demanded a divorce. We were living in Kisumu at the time and since it had the highest prevalence of HIV infection in Kenya, I was aware of HIV/AIDS. But never for one minute, did I think I was going to be infected because, like many people, I believed that only promiscuous people caught the disease.

A year after splitting with my husband, I found love again. After a while, the relationship took a serious turn and we began to discuss the possibility of having children together. That was in 1994, when we decided to check our HIV status by getting tested. To my utter shock and horror, I tested positive while my boyfriend tested negative. I did not expect this because I was faithful throughout my marriage. I was healthy and had not fallen sick or shown any signs of being infected.

Not surprisingly, I lost all hope in life. I thought I was going to die and so I stopped living. I stopped making plans for my future and no longer had any interest in my job. I even declined a scholarship I had won to study abroad as I didn't see the point. My one constant worry was for my two-year-old son. I didn't know what would happen to him once I died.

Fortunately, my boyfriend remained supportive. He didn't desert me, but gave me the emotional support I so desperately needed at the time. From that experience, I learned that it is very important whom you choose to disclose your HIV status to the first time. That person can either build or destroy you, so it's crucial that they have a positive perspective towards life. Being a lawyer, my boyfriend constantly coached me on my human rights and urged me to move on with my life. We eventually parted and he went his own way, he is now married and has a family. But we remain good friends to this day and I will be forever grateful for his support. He gave me the strength to realize that it was not the end of the world and that my life should go on.

For the next four years after I was tested, we kept my HIV status private. I did not want to tell anyone because of the stigma associated with the virus. In 1998, my older sister, Terry, died of AIDS-related complications and my entire family supported her throughout her illness. Still, I continued to keep my status a secret.

Then while working with Safari Park Hotel, I decided to change my career to suit my needs as a woman living with HIV. HIV has a way of changing one's perspective completely. So I began to network with organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS - in order to learn more about it. For me, knowledge is power.

In order to share my status with others, I first had to learn how to deal with my stigma against myself. People will view and treat you how you view and treat yourself. If you don't appreciate or respect yourself, then others won't. It is very important, therefore, that people living with HIV first take responsibility for their own lives so they can then be responsible for the lives of others.

I was glad to discover that some organizations had risen above the social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and hired people who were infected. A job turned up at the Holiday Inn, and part of the interviewing process included a medical pre-employment test. When the doctor gave me my results, I told him I was already aware and did not want it hidden from my records. Holiday Inn hired me to be their conference manager in spite of my HIV status.

It took a while longer but I eventually told my family that I was HIV-positive. They were very supportive though surprised that I had known for so long without telling them. They were even more surprised when they found out that my boyfriend knew and was still with me. It gave my brothers a different perspective on how to treat women, especially those infected with HIV. My friends, too, were surprised, learning that I had lived with the virus for so long without telling them and that we had kept hanging out and partying without any of them having a clue.

My life became as normal as I could make it. I continued hanging out with my friends, but I was cautious and knew my limit.

Because I so wanted to work in the HIV field, I took courses in public health from South Africa and in capacity building in sexual reproductive health from the Centre for African Family Studies. In 2000, I won a scholarship to London to study for a post-graduate degree in sociology. And it was here that I met JP, my current partner. Because I was heavily involved with an organization working with HIV, I was quite open about my status. JP knew I was HIV positive when he approached me, and he informed me that he was as well. We have been together now for four years, and I love the special companionship and support that this relationship affords me.

One is Not the Loneliest Number

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
Virginia Woolf

There are several life skills my mother taught me before I set off into the world: how to properly separate my laundry; how to balance my checkbook; how to prepare red meat in an assortment of quick-and-easy ways. Other skills I picked up as a sink-or-swim necessity: how to negotiate rent; how to negotiate salary increases; how to negotiate failed relationships, hopeless heartache, the metaphysical realization that we die; and how to negotiate reasonable rates with the psychotherapist.

There are certain skills, however, that are often left out of public discourse, usually owing to our general squeamishness about anxiety-arousing issues such as mental illness, poverty, sexual dysfunction, and — what I would like to expound upon in this essay — being single. Or more specifically, being a single diner.

To walk into a restaurant by yourself on a Friday night, request a table for one, savor a full course meal complete with wine, and linger over your espresso while surrounded by tables of raucous friends or (even worse) affectionate lovers spooning gelato into each other’s mouths — to dine alone in supreme grace and dignity is a life skill akin to high art. Your mother never taught you this. Probably because she never spelled it out for you that at certain points of your life, you will be alone. If you are not or have not already been alone, you will be one day. And if you already are, welcome. The purpose of this essay is to reclaim the state of dining alone and to overthrow cultural assumptions that cow us into spending another desolate evening eating microwaved burritos while watching The Jeffersons on TV.

I admit, there are few things I enjoy more than sharing a meal with friends, either at home or at a restaurant; the conversation and laughter flow, we reminisce about old times, the palates are soothed and happy. Dining with a lover is usually a notch higher on the Richter scale of pleasant evenings, adding the element of being pampered and serviced by the wait staff, leaving us to concentrate on l’affaire d’amour in between bites of mu shu pork. But there are times in my life when I find myself far away from friends and even further away from having a lover. At these moments, I stubbornly refuse to give up the one epicurean pleasure I can truly satisfy by myself: eating. Why not go to a restaurant by myself? I don’t remember the first time I did, but I have many times since, and my experiences lead me to believe that the lone diner strikes an assortment of anxious emotions within people’s hearts. Whether it is fear (“Will I be her one day?”) or pity (“That poor girl!”) or relief (“Thank God I’m engaged to Bobby!”), most people would rather the single young woman dine alone in the privacy of her home, and not in public. However, I refuse to compromise my life to soothe the anxieties of others. In order to subvert the subtle discrimination against solo diners, we must first learn to identify it.

To begin, there are certain recurring reactions that happen whenever I dine alone, designed, I’m sure, to discourage the act. Most of these reactions fall under what I term single-phobia, or the irrational fear of independent people doing social activities by themselves. A dining experience in which I am harassed by singlephobia usually unfolds in the following manner:

Host: Table for…?

Me: One, please.

Host: (Arching a skeptical eyebrow) Okaaay . . . this way, please.

(The host then leads me past bright empty booths at the front of the restaurant to a shaky miniscule table in a dark corner next to the kitchen.)

Me: Couldn’t I have one of those front tables? I’d rather not sit in the dark.

Host: I’m sorry, but those tables are reserved for parties of two or more.

(What he really means to say is that the front tables are reserved for people with friends and social lives, and that people dine at restaurants to have a good time in the company of others. To maintain the festive atmosphere, they relegate me to the dark corner.)

Me: Fine.

(I am seated. The waiter takes my order nearly twenty minutes later. He only returns twice more, to bring food and to bring my check. He easily ignores my frantic hand gestures for more water, my polite yet assertive yelps of “Excuse me!” and focuses on any other place in the room when hustling past my table in and out of the kitchen. I know what he’s thinking, having been in the restaurant business myself: single diner equals small tip.)

Why does single-phobia permeate our culture? Perhaps we can blame the usual suspects: magazines, MTV, Top 40 boy-bands crooning their everlasting love to pubescent girls, urban bar culture (straight and gay), romantic comedies with trite endings, advertisements with ludicrous claims. But whatever the reasons, the object of the game is to not be alone. People spend lots of cash to be in a couple. Couples spend lots of cash being in couples. Call it a capitalist theory of modern love or just call me bitter, but whatever the explanation, this cultural phenomenon of anti-aloneness prevails wherever I attempt to enjoy a meal in a restaurant by myself.

For example, once when I was in New York City, I spent one homeless week in the Lucky Wagon, a pit passing for a hotel on the Chinatown–Little Italy border. At that point, I had only a hulking backpack of possessions, a pseudoglamorous magazine job paying subsistence wages, and a crazed determinism to keep me from ending up in the East River. My five-by-ten whitewashed room had no TV set to quell the voices in my head demanding of me, “How did you end up at this all-time low?” I tried to soothe my worries with dinner on Mulberry Street, the vivacious tourist trap of Italian eateries, where I chose a noisy, crowded little trattoria because it served my favorite dish, penne all’arrabiata — “angry pasta” for an angry girl.

The waiter sat me at a corner table, of course, me being the only single diner in a room full of birthday parties and groups of Japanese tourists. He was a handsome, young Italian American, his name may have been Anthony, and he laughed and joked with me for a bit. Then, broadcasting over the entire room in a booming voice, he asked me, “What are you doing eating alone?” Flushed from embarrassment and the wine, I shrugged my shoulders. “It’s Saturday night and you’re alone? What’s the matter, your boyfriend doesn’t take you out???” I started to explain that I didn’t have a boyfriend to take me out, that I didn’t even have any friends in New York, that I really was alone, but I realized he wouldn’t believe me. That’s when I began to understand how deeply entrenched in American culture the fear of the single diner is. It didn’t even cross Anthony’s mind that I was an independent, free being, eating dinner by myself.

Don’t be mistaken, I’m not some kind of gourmand misanthrope advocating antisocial behavior. I recognize the basic human need to feel love and affection. But I also believe that a young woman would do well for herself to recognize her relationship to the world and the conditions in the world that cause her to experience what our modernist friends the Existentialists called angst, or the feeling of despair and anguish. Night after night of frozen burritos and TV sitcom reruns is this citydwelling gal’s version of despair and anguish. But then an epiphany: the realization that in any life of substance during which risks and leaps of faith are taken, there are inevitably moments when there is only me, and that is a good thing, and I will celebrate by taking myself out as my favorite guest to a lovely dinner.

With all self-affirmations out of the way, I’d like to proceed with tips and techniques for interested parties on how to dine alone gracefully and enjoyably.

• First of all, the meal you are eating determines whether or not you may bring reading material to entertain yourself. I’m of the opinion that any brunch or lunch is a good time to bring the paper, a good book, a magazine, et cetera. If you forget to bring something, under no circumstances should you begin to shuffle through your Day Runner organizer, pretending to write notes in the mini-calendar section; it is a telltale sign that you are extremely uncomfortable dining alone and are desperate to look busy. Instead, calmly finish your meal and preoccupy yourself by staring blankly at people and eavesdropping blatantly on conversations. It’s entertaining, and you’ll seem intriguing, I guarantee.

• If you are eating at a more stylish restaurant, you might consider more sophisticated modes of self-entertainment, like drinking copiously. In restaurants with outdoor seating, I like to smoke. Be careful, though, not to drink or smoke too much before your meal is served, as you may make yourself ill, and that can get messy.

• One game I like to play every now and then when I’m dining at a finer eating establishment is “Food Critic.” Dress to the nines for your meal. At several key points during the meal (after swirling the first taste of wine around in your glass and after the first bite of each dish), pull out a notebook and pen and jot down notes. Make several calls on your cell phone to your answering machine at home, pretending you are making after-dinner plans, and drop the names of chic bars and media personalities whenever possible. If I do a good job, I can usually weasel a free dessert and free alcohol. It’s fun!

Before I conclude, I’d like to point out one very important thing to remember at all times: you are not really alone. Sure, the setting is for one and there is only a fake floral arrangement in a vase to greet you across the table. But who says you can’t converse with the floral arrangement? People talk to their plants and pets all the time — why is it so strange to speak with inanimate objects? A short conversation I had with my dinner last night went something like this:

Me: Hello, Mr. Pizza! I must eat you now!

A rather flat conversation, I admit, but thoroughly spontaneous and enjoyable nonetheless. Or if you like, solo dinners are good opportunities to resurrect imaginary childhood friends and catch up on old times with them. During my solo meals, I like to replay past arguments I’ve lost to friends or ex-lovers, perfecting the flawless retort I wish I had thought of at the time. However, I have to be careful not to argue out loud, as I tend to get carried away and alarm people at nearby tables. My point is, when dining alone, never underestimate the pleasure of your own company, and enjoy it with pride. And when all else fails, there are always the voices in your head. . . .

Morning After

When Desiree|| woke, it found it itself only one, its nakedness, taking shelter in the cocoon of sweaty white leaves on the bed of the greatest Size of plush. Slivers of light, looking at oneself squinting through an unsolved blind, bringing in thick gold bars over through the walls of light-blue bedrooms. Desiree||, turning to other end of bed, and squinted in an alarm clock: 11:53 a.m, it blinked.
Still morning, she thought drowsily, and sprawled back onto the bed. She nodded off for another half an hour, drifting in and out of a hazy dream about beating her best friend Bethany at tennis. Eventually the rumble in her stomach grew too much to bear and Desiree forced herself to sit up with a sigh.

She made a mental note to delete Shaun's number from her phone if he didn’t ask her out on a decent dinner date before the end of the week. A girl needs to maintain high standards, she reasoned, even if the guy does drive a Lexus and live alone in a semi-detached house in District 11. At least when you went home with an ang moh expatriate – and she had only gone for white guys after getting out of junior college – you didn’t have to worry about sneaking past the master bedroom where the parents were sleeping, or having awkward moments with poker-faced mothers the morning after. Instead you could sleep in on a gorgeous king-sized bed, and take a long, leisurely bath with organic bath salts flown in from Down Under. Sublime.

After drying off and shimmying back into her shiny purple Mango party dress, which fortunately had not gotten torn or stained this time, Desiree decided to be sweet and make the bed. Poking about in the study table, she found a pen and a piece of paper. Hey Gorgeous, she wrote, Sweet dreams, Desiree. She propped the note up against the pillows and admired her handiwork. For a moment she regretted not having taken English literature at upper secondary level, so she might actually be able to quote some love poetry off the top of her head. In junior college some boy in the arts stream sent her beautiful love poems that left her breathless, until Bethany told her that she had seen him copying them out of a book by a poet named Pablo Neruda in the library after school. After that Desiree told him that he was just not her type, which was the truth. Puppy love, with its silly love notes and useless little trinkets, smacked too much of secondary school. By junior college Desiree had moved on to men who drove flash cars and had wallets thick enough to take her out on shopping sprees. She made a note to re-read those letters for inspiration, if she could still find them.

With her Prada purse tucked firmly under arm (a farewell gift from the American guy she had been seeing on and off until he returned to his wife and two kids in Michigan a month ago), Desiree took a final, wistful look around the stylish bedroom. Then she turned the air-conditioning off and closed the door firmly behind her, her silver Nine West heels clicking loudly as she tottered down the marble stairs. In the living room a Filipina maid was mopping the floor. When she saw Desiree she put her mop aside and wiped her hands on her oversized t-shirt.

“Miss leaving now?” the maid smiled politely. “I open the gate for you.”

It seemed to Desiree that the maid was well accustomed to dealing with Shaun’s female visitors.

“Yah, is there any place to eat around here?” asked Desiree, speaking louder and more slowly than usual. “I’m very hungry.”

“Sorry Miss,” replied the maid, “You must to take the bus one or two stops to go to the hawker center.”

“Never mind then.”

The maid smiled again, led her to the main gate of the house and unlocked it. She closed it after Desiree without so much as a goodbye, and headed back into the house to finish the mopping.

Outside the heat was stifling. Desiree’s stomach rumbled and she looked at the time –already 1:40 p.m. Her mother was under the impression that she was at Bethany’s place, where she usually stayed over after a night out as Bethany lived much closer to the club district. Desiree couldn’t wait to move into the NTU hostel when her degree in accountancy started in June, even if it was located all the way in Boon Lay.*

The sound of a bicycle bell rang behind her and Desiree quickly stepped to one side of the pavement. A young Chinese woman cycled past with a baby in a basket. I wonder if she’s a single mother, thought Desiree, most women don’t have kids when they’re that young nowadays. She remembered how surprised she was to see the clips of Maia Lin on Singapore idol, completely unabashed about being a single mother at the age of 21. Desiree imagined herself with a blonde-haired blue-eyed baby in three years’ time, which made her screw her face up in amusement. The whole point of dating ang moh men, she reminded herself, was so she didn’t have to deal with the idealized endpoint of marriage and babies so well ingrained in the middle-class Singaporean constitution, which made it so difficult for everyone to just have fun sleeping with each other. At some point, someone would have to bring up the subject of “where this was going” and “the future.” When she caught herself doing that, even if it was just in her head, she made sure she got out the door, fast.

As the road rounded a bend, she saw a Malay man clambering through the trees beside an imposing house that stood on its own and had a large wrought iron gate adorned with curlicues. The man stumbled onto the pavement and looked rather sheepish when he saw Desiree. Glancing over her shoulder at the house, Desiree saw a young, dark-skinned girl in a pink tank top and white shorts standing at the gate. Their eyes met for a moment, and the girl scampered back indoors. When she turned back to face the road, the man had already disappeared from sight. Tsk, tsk, thought Desiree. She remembered that the neighbors who lived a floor below them had sent their maid of two years home when they discovered that she was pregnant. She had cried and begged loud enough for the entire block to hear. She had a husband, two children and a sick mother back in Java, she wept. Her husband would beat her to death. Desiree wondered what had become of the maid now. Some people, she thought, just have no self-control. But can you blame a young woman for feeling lonely far away from home? If expats can do it, why not maids? She gave herself a little pat on the back for contributing to the nation’s progress by helping foreign talent alleviate their homesickness.

At the junction of the main road she caught up with the Malay man, and they waited together for the pedestrian light to turn green. He pretended not to notice her at all. An old Indian woman bent over to half her height shuffled past them, dragging a bag full of empty aluminum cans that made a melancholy noise as it scraped against the concrete. Wow, mused Desiree, feels like racial harmony day. It occurred to her that she didn’t have any good friends from the other races, even though she had had Malay and Indian classmates in secondary school and junior college. Do white men above the age of 35 count? She laughed at her own cleverness as the light turned green and she crossed the road.

The bus stop was surrounded by trees and absolutely deserted. Desiree plopped herself down on the shiny metal bench and started going through the messages on her cell phone. There was one from Bethany, that said, “Hey babe wanna go for manicure? Dennis stuck in camp tonight. Call me when u get ur lazy ass up.” That’s what you get for dating boys our age, thought Desiree. She wondered if their relationship would survive the long-distance. The next message was from a number that wasn’t saved in her phone. “Hello this is Alex,” it said.,“We met at Rouge last Wednesday. Would you like to have dinner sometime this week?” Alex, Alex, Alex… Desiree scrolled through her mind and tried to remember what he looked like.

Suddenly, Desiree realized that there was someone sitting beside her on the bench. She looked up from her phone and saw a little Chinese girl in a white uniform carrying a Power Puff Girls school bag. Where had she come from? Desiree didn’t remember seeing her get off the buses that had passed. The girl turned and gave Desiree a bright smile. Desiree realized that the girl was from the same primary school she had gone to. Staring at the girl’s delicate face framed by a neat bob, Desiree had the uncanny feeling that she was looking at herself from ten years ago. The girl stretched her arms out towards Desiree, her palms upturned.

“What do you want to do with your life?” she asked.

Desiree sat speechless, bowled over by the vastness of the question from a complete stranger. Then she burst out laughing, wildly.

“I don’t know. Get a rich husband and become a tai-tai.”

The girl looked down at her scruffy canvas shoes. Then she announced, “I think I want to become a counselor. So I can help other people.” She said the word “counselor” slowly and clumsily, as if it were a word she had just learnt and wanted to cherish.

Desiree turned away from the girl and stared intently at the cars whizzing by. They sat in silence until Desiree finally saw her bus. Then she picked herself up, waved at the girl with a smile, and boarded the bus without looking back.

Lighting a Candle

I arrived to the small town in Michigan in cold the winter, to visit comrades, meeting. Like a season, I was in the stage in my life, when much things closed.

For years before, my days and nights were consumed with work to end military rule in my country Nigeria. That had ended suddenly in 1999 and I found myself struggling to re-learn neglected roles and possibly to develop a new one – me as a partner in a wonderful relationship.

For some reason, returning to a cycle of clubbing and partying as I sought to meet and be met by a potential boyfriend didn’t appeal to me. So I delved deep into my life’s experiences for something that I could do to call my soul mate to me. I had been raised to believe that one’s intentions in themselves were powerful and made all the difference, so the clearer a person was in setting an intention, the more likely she would be in achieving her aims. Also, a key part of my fellowship program emphasized the need to use ritual to mark points in our lives. Bringing the two ideas together, I decided to do a ritual to express my readiness to meet my Mr. Right.

So it was that one winter’s night in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I lit a candle, closed my eyes and set as clear an intention as I knew how to give, expressing my desire to welcome someone wonderful into my life. The very act was empowering and liberating, because it felt like I sent out a radio signal that would be received by Mr. Right and I no longer needed to go searching. Instead of hours spent worrying if a certain guy was interested or not, my hours were now spent turning a searchlight into the dark tunnels of my soul. I gained a serenity that allowed me to hear myself think, to sink deeply into my heart’s deepest yearnings. Beneath all the conditioning, what mattered to me?

A year passed, and then in the next, a friend became more. In so many ways, my special friend was all wrong – he was of a different race, a different faith, and a different nationality. The old me would probably not have recognized him but the new me knew that in all the ways that mattered, he was everything I had ever hoped for. I can’t know if my candle ritual helped any in bringing my special person to me but I’ve always felt that somehow it helped me get clear about what I needed, which made arriving at my destination possible.

Excerpt from Lovesong

Difference, clinging to me like a fuzz, to cover a thick felt. From young age all of squeals of children round me were the world of Sunlight and I, very sharply, was not

I'm not even sure I was ever a little girl: a young person, yes, but not a girl. I just didn't have all creamy in me those charming, dependable qualities like giving and serving and flirting and quiet for I was much too selfish for that. I was spiky, prickly, defensive, shut. An obsessive collector, not of best-friend lists and pony names, but of leaves and bike chains and cicada shells, of spiders in ice-cream cartons and rocks. And I was perfectly happy with my own company, willfully, dangerously so, and no one in Sunshine trusted that.

...A mother's comment from long ago was etched deeply into me and it coloured a lot of my teenage life. The woman had visited mum in a barely disguised gloat a week after the school fire and I'd hidden on a step and trapped scraps of their conversation in my journal.

"if she was pretty, like that Cathie Cliffer, she'd never be so willful."

The words were faithfully written down through the barb of the hurt, as was my mother's misspelled reply.

"Yeah, it's the gorgeous ones who are always the conservatives, isn't it? They've got no need to be rebels. I just wish she was sweet, and dependable, and quiet. Even her feet are ugly. And clumsy! She can't even open a bottle of milk without spilling it."

I'll never forget the sting of the words, I don't need them recorded in my journal for they're in my head too much. Eight years later a quote was centre-stage on my bedroom wall: My life is founded on the rock of change. It came from an elderly, milky-skinned actress known for her character and not her looks. I ached for that life of change and yet all around me another eagle slammed into the dirt and another lamb died and yet again my father cursed and I hated the very smell of home now, felt tombed in that wide, empty space.

...I'm Bolted awake by a scuffle of sounds on the stairs and the blood is booming in my ears and I'm straining with the listening. There's my father's "what the" - and a thud and a muffled melee of feet and it recedes and the front door slams and there's a settling quiet and I leap from the bed and run to the window and catch, just, three figures running from the land and then one slows, and stops, and lingers a looking back. I crane my head, can't make the figure out, slam up the window for a better look. Tallness is all I can get. My thrumming heart.

My arm lifts in salute, I don't know why and the figure raises a high hand in return , it hovers for a second or two and then the figure runs on, catching up with the others and then all three are claimed by the black, the night drinks their skin and they're gone. I lean on the window sill and cup my face in my palms and breathe in the still sky and no one comes to my room, no one explains. They aren't coming back and the familiar knot of sullenness seeps again into my chest but then the lightning begins flickering in the rainless night, far away behind a cloud like a mosquito trapped in a net and there's God in that sky and I feel flooded with hope. For someone's got so far, three people, who care enough.

But look at me now. Riding air like men, the travelers of old. Flying to so many places on my father's nest egg and ending up one day in that city called New York, a place so crammed that car bumpers chat to bumpers and all around them is an architecture of noise and I can't, anywhere, find a quiet. And the light, God, the glare of it, it stops the stars. But I love it, of course, I hold my head high to it and gulp it all in.

And in that canyoned place, on my last day in it, there's a sudden, drenching late summer downpour and I push into the Jackie-O cathedral to escape it and a lunchtime mass is in progress and the priest is saying something about that question at the end of our lives - how well we have loved - and Dan, of course, comes hurtling back.

There I am, sitting by myself in a pew at the back and willing him to me, trying to arrow his thoughts. For he drenches all my days, no matter how much I try to travel him out.

Being True to the Most Important Partnership in A Our Life – Ourselves

As women, we are air-conditioned, to look outside itself for answers, for connection. We are air-conditioned, to think of other at first. We are air-conditioned, to do alternatives which do not serve the our highest well, it is not honoured beauty to our to individual essence. We are air-conditioned, to make decisions from sense there not sufficiently, from a lie social faiths, supported for generations and from sense, that we can not have everything, what we wish truly.

We bring all of this to the relationships we choose in our lives. In the marriages that we say yes to and to the divorces we later face. To the marriages we say yes to and to the loneliness we later feel. To the long term relationships and marriages that serve to contain our brightest light instead of helping us shine brighter. To relationships that become more important than the most important one we have – the one we have with ourselves.

And it is time that we realize that to have the partnerships, the marriages we desire in life, we can’t start with the other, we must start with ourselves. The simple and often ignored fact is that a relationship should enhance our life, otherwise, we are better off without it. Enhancing does not mean better financial means, more security, reduction of past pain or more or less of anything else – that is our job and our job alone. A relationship that enhances our lives enables us to be an even better person because of the support, love, compassion and understanding it brings. It is full of absolute admiration of our soul and our partner’s gratitude that they can share in our soul’s journey.

If we truly want a relationship that supports our growth, honors our essence and breeds unconditional love then we have to create the space for it in our lives. We must believe it’s possible, we must take responsibility for healing ourselves and we must be willing to be truthful with ourselves.

Unfortunately, many women do not end up in a relationship that honors her soul – not because it’s not possible, but because we settle for less or because we don’t ask the right questions of ourselves or our partners – or if we ask the right questions, we don’t answer truthfully. We must understand that if our partner can’t see our soul, then they will never enhance our lives to the levels that we deserve.

Settling is a word that we should all remove from our vocabulary. Somewhere the words settling, compromise and collaboration got mixed up. A relationship always takes collaboration – two people working together to solution where both are satisfied. However, a relationship should not involve settling for less than we want in a partnership or in our life overall. A relationship should not require compromise of our happiness for anything or anyone. It should not require being less than who we are or giving up things we desire. Somewhere women got the notion that sacrifice was required, that relationships must have sacrifice. The truth is that contrary to popular mindset, they don’t and they shouldn’t. There is no glory in sacrifice, no matter what the martyrs say.

Truth is a word we should all bring into our lives – everyday. Truth is hard and being the creative souls we are, we are well equipped to avoid it. However, the only way to the joy we seek is through truth. We have to be willing to face deep, authentic and real truth. Not what we think is right. Not what others tell us is right. But our own truth. Truth that leads to true joy, even if it stings to get there. To find truth, we must strip away fallacies we build to shelter us from things we don’t want to look at or that we create to give ourselves a sense of security. If we are willing to be 100% truthful, what we desire is possible.

There are many myths to dispel and many questions to ask to find the truth in ourselves and in our relationships to create a partnership that honors our essence. For now, I would like to invite you on a short journey into two questions that can get us to the heart of the matter very quickly. All that is required of you is a willingness to set aside your perceptions and beliefs for a few minutes and a commitment to complete truth (remember only you can hear you). With these two things in hand, we can take the journey into these questions – two questions that most of us will be quick to answer “yes” to but two questions that many, if truthful, would have to answer “no” to.

The questions are these:

Do I fully, without question, love myself and believe in the core of my soul that I deserve nothing but that same type of love back?

Am I committed above all else to my happiness, at all times?

These two questions are the anchor to everything. If you don’t believe that you deserve love or if you aren’t 100% committed to your own happiness, you will settle, you will bend, you will create illusion so that you don’t have to be alone. And you will do so without even knowing it. It is those of us who are not willing to answer with absolute honesty that create the biggest illusions in our lives.

It is easy to ask these questions and simply say “yes”, almost in reflex. Who wouldn’t want to say yes – you’d have to be crazy, right? Wrong. You see, the answer is not the point of the questions. The point is to give yourself permission and time to sit in the question and feel, see and hear the answers inside you. Inside the places you normally don’t let yourself look. The places where absolute truth lives. The power of question is in the question itself, not the ability to answer it. So, if you answered “yes” to these questions in less than 10 seconds, your real answer is probably “no”. Real answers don’t come that quickly.

So let’s take a closer look at this idea of loving yourself completely. There are many people that would say they love themselves completely but then act in conflict to that, especially in what they tolerate and create in their relationships. Why? Not being truthful.

I can speak from experience here. In the past, I thought I loved myself. I had a high self-opinion and I rather liked myself. I was successful in my job and had many friends, so of course, I thought I completely loved myself. That was until I ended a 15-year relationship, which was made up of all kinds of things that indicated in fact, I really didn’t understand what loving myself was. I settled, put up with, looked the other way, made excuses. I put up with things then that I never would today. Not because I am stubborn now or because I think that I am better than anyone else, but simply because I finally made the journey into myself, into truth to discover what true self love was and to come to own that I had not really been living from that place.

When I went inside, I learned what it means to love oneself, to honor oneself in the highest regard. I learned to be my own best friend. Once you hold yourself in that place, you demand nothing less. I expect the same level of love and respect I have for myself from the person I call significant other, partner, spouse, etc. If that person cannot exist on, give on, or be on that level, then I choose to be alone rather than with someone that can’t give the level of love and respect I deserve. There is no settling. Half is not enough. Half time is not enough. I love myself everyday and I expect the same from those I am in relationship with.

The second question deals with happiness and our absolute commitment to our own. The two questions go hand in hand for how can we find happiness if we don’t love ourselves and vice versa. Can’t. Period.

When going into the question “Am I committed above all else to my happiness, at all times?”, the important thing to focus on is ‘at all times’. Let me explain. If you answer this question with a “yes”, congratulations! I don’t know anyone that would first off answer the question with a “no”. The real test - and this is where digging deep into our souls comes in - is being 100% committed. Every day, every minute, in every situation, are you committed to your happiness? Sadly, for many, upon examining decisions in life, upon examining relationships in life, most people couldn’t answer “yes” because most haven’t made the conscious commitment to own their happiness 100% of the time.

The good news is that this is a very practical question, one that you can use every day to measure the decisions you make. If you are 100% committed to your happiness you will always choose that which reinforces love and respect for yourself and in turn others. Because happiness here is not about material satisfaction or short-term gratification, happiness here is about true, sustainable, authentic joy. Don’t be confused.

An example. You are in a relationship and your partner has done something that you dislike more than once, you get mad, you fight, you make up and then all is well until it happens again… and again… and again. You ask yourself “Do I love myself completely?” Your answer “yes”. You have done your work and you really do love yourself.

Now, let’s use the practical question “Am I committed to my happiness 100%” and apply it to the situation at hand. Does the situation make you happy? “No”. Do you keep putting up with it? “Yes”. May it give you short-term gratification? “Yes”. Does it bring you true joy? “No”. Does that seem congruent with someone that says she loves herself? “No”. The happiness question doesn’t let you hide. You have to face the truth of unhappiness and then decide what to do about it. If you ignore it and settle, you are not 100% committed to your happiness. If you do something to change the situation, whatever that looks like (setting a boundary, saying what you need, ending the relationship, taking a break, etc.), you can ensure that you are acting to support your commitment to happiness.

And to be clear, let me dispel any thoughts that being committed to your happiness 100% is selfish. That is a load of bull. And it’s what has gotten women into trouble for centuries - always giving, giving, compromising, compromising – putting others first. The notion that we must put others first is a big line of guilt and a setup for failure. I am not saying that we shouldn’t give to others – giving to others is a critical part of having a fulfilling and happy life. And I strongly believe that if you want to give to others you have to give to yourself first. You must make sure you are whole and full first so that you have something to give to others. There is no guilt in that.

Happiness and love are two things that we crave most in this world. And they are two things that we force out of our lives all of the time, everyday. It is part of the irony of the human existence. However, I do believe that simply by being aware that love and happiness is a choice we can make in our lives, we take the first step in creating it into our reality. You deserve happiness and love – don’t ever let any one, even yourself, tell you differently. Honor the essence of you. Namaste.