Ditch The List

I am notorious for making lists. To-do lists, wish lists, lists of gaps in my wardrobe or decor, client deadline lists, etc. I am to a fault highly organized and punctual.

I also have a repution for living my life with a can-do spirit and abundant optimism. So much so Lori’s “la la land” was where people thought I lived 30+ years before it became a popular musical.

This week a pastor and author friend sent me this kind message: “I was thinking about you yesterday. It’s amazing to me how you have gone through so many trials and tribulations and still come through them on top, optimistic, energetic, beautiful, and looking to the future. Love being around you – which hasn’t happened enough lately!  … Could use a Lori fix.”

His note immediately lifted my spirits, but more than that it caused me to pause and think about how I navigate the world with such resilience, joy, and dare I say grace?!

After all, I am asked this very question (How do you navigate the world with…) quite often as if I know a secret or have discovered an elusive formula.

I have lots of answers: Forgive early and often, follow your bliss, make yourself happy first, only give from your overflow, be grateful, enjoy the present, grieve as long as it takes… the list goes on.

Throw out your list!

A longer list doesn’t make you more productive. In fact, you may find if you ignore your sacred to-do list for two weeks or a month, many of the items are no longer important.

I actually discovered this while living in Mexico for six months last year as when I returned home to six months of mail, I realized only about 5% of it required my attention.

Do you have a list of things you’ve promised to do for other people? Is it so big it causes you anxiety? Are you on this list anywhere?

I am not giving you permission to not keep your word. I believe strongly your word is your bond. I am not ignoring that we all have obligations, which very often are quite challenging. What I am saying is … asking rather, “Why are you signing up for things that you are not passionate about?” Guess what? Other people are likely passionate about some of the very tasks you are slogging through. Stop filling the space and feeling resentful. Get out of their way, for God’s sake.

As a very competent and capable person I know firsthand it is easy to fall into the trap of volunteering for everything. Stop it.

Whenever you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. Too often it is you (or your family), or a longer-term dream.

Do I still make lists? Of course, I do! But more often than not –  unless it is a shopping list – I write it down and never look back.

These days I am too (hmmm, busy is certainly not the right word, though some who do not know me well think I am always busy) enthralled with speaking dreams into the Universe and watching with awe how the Universe conspires to help me achieve it.

I have found that putting me first is the best way for me to be my best self and better to and for others.

Write that down.

~Just L (September 20, 2018, Goddess Wisdom)


Who Me? Yes You (Me, too)

  • If you have come to Just L Poetry to read my usual poems on love and loss, you will find that today I have taken a detour from my regular romantic musings to address current issues.

In The Wake of #MeToo

Reading women’s accounts of sexual harassment and assault, it has brought up experiences I have buried. It is not that I don’t recall them it is that I don’t tend to give them any special level of attention. While I joined in the #MeToo movement on social media to help give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem, I did not share my own experiences with sexual harassment and/or assault.

I am not a particularly private person; however, I was not keen to outline details of my experiences, and/or name names as some of the guilty parties are still in my social sphere though they no longer hold power over me.

Falling Stars

Following the women who came forward about Harvey Weinstein, sexual misconduct and/or assault allegations have been levied against a number of high profile men (in no particular order): Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Steven Seagal, Ed Westwick, Jeremy Piven, Robert Knepper, Matthew Weiner, James Toback, Dustin Hoffman, Charlie Sheen, Ben Affleck, Roy Price, Oliver Stone, John Besh, Leon Wieseltier, Terry Richardson, Mark Halperin, Michael Oreskes, Brett Ratner, Andrew Kreisberg, Jeffrey Tambor, and, as of this writing, Richard Dreyfuss and George Takei. Note that some of these men have admitted fault, while others adamantly deny allegations.

We have witnessed an unprecedented swift fall from grace of at least two Hollywood stars – Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. I wondered where their PR pros were before they published those half-hearted, self-involved apologies?!

With our head spinning, we have practically forgotten about Bill O’Reilly or Bill Cosby. Meanwhile, Roman Polansky has continued to live and work abroad for 40 years.

One male friend posted my exact thoughts on Facebook: “It’s almost as if Hugh Hefner was projecting a force-field that protected creepy famous men, and with his death they were suddenly exposed.”

With the onslaught of accusations, I encouraged another male friend to start a #NotOne campaign, as I suspect that the number of men who have never sexually harassed or assaulted a woman is a rather small club.

Most of the stories in the media are centered around men in Hollywood who have allegedly abused or harassed people in lower positions of power. The Weinstein scandal seemed to open the floodgates. But we all know this is not just about Hollywood.

And with that, I have been compelled to write this short piece.

Who Me? Yes You

I lived in a “Pleasantville” bubble most of my upbringing, but outside of the safety of my family circle, I encountered unwanted assaults on a regular basis. I am fortunate to have never been abused, neglected or molested as a child, and I am in no way comparing my experiences with the horrific crimes perpetrated against children under the cover of darkness or in broad daylight. Reflecting on my personal experiences now at age 54, I realize how often I labeled these assaults as “pathetic” or “sad” believing they were simply part of the reality of life: Something every woman encounters.

I have spent most of my adulthood thinking that many of my experiences are universal. As a reader you may be shocked to read that I believe this. I am just as shocked that your experience is otherwise.

There was the owner of the corner market (where from fourth grade on I often walked to pick up a few grocery items at the request of my mother) who regularly put my hands under his apron to feel his genitals. Sometimes they were in his khakis and sometimes not. When I was about 12-years-old (1975) I began accompanying the younger girls on my street to the market to, well, “cock block” I guess. And he knew it. Many years later after I moved out of my parents’ home, the market’s namesake was convicted and sent to prison. I never told anyone until my mother shared the news with me. At the time this was happening to me, I did not know that reporting him to the authorities was an option. He was just “gross” and someone to avoid.

From the time I was 12 through high school, I regularly encountered men pulling their cars next to me to ask for directions, and when I turned toward them, I saw that they were masturbating. I would turn my head, and pick up my stride. I never felt afraid, and I didn’t feel particularly disgusted. If anything, I felt sorry for them. I do not recall ever telling an adult about this. My attitude was nonchalant like “Oh, so that happens.” My other girlfriends who walked home from school with me regularly encountered the same thing. Later one of the offenders started trolling the parking lot of the elementary school and Jr. High in my neighborhood, and was caught.

Since then I have encountered strange men of every age and social standing masturbating in alley ways, parking lots, offices, parties, parks, and theatres.

The summer of 1976, I had a gig babysitting two children: A boy two years younger than me, and a girl about 7-years-old. I remember the year as this family had an Atari with the home version of Pong released Christmas 1975 exclusively through Sears. One day the boy brought over two friends, dragged me to the bedroom, tied me to a chair, partially took off my clothes, and touched me. They thought it was funny. I struggled but they were too strong. I was humiliated. Not only was I supposed to be the one in authority, I had failed to ensure the younger sister’s safety (she was engrossed in a game of Pong in the living room). I realized then that it was probably not a good idea to be babysitting a boy who was much bigger than me and not that much younger. For two days, I rehearsed how to tell my parents. I didn’t have to. The young girl told hers. Her parents and my parents met with me, and assured me that they did not blame me, and that it was decided that I should not babysit for them. After that the girl was cared for by a family in their neighborhood, while the boy stayed at home as a “latchkey” kid. I saw these boys the next Little League season as they played baseball my brother. It was as if nothing had ever happened.

When I was 20 (1983), I worked as a nursing assistant in a skilled nursing facility right around the corner from my parent’s house. The son of one of the patients was an engineer instructor at the junior college and a well-known photographer. We talked frequently when he came to visit his mother. I was interested in his travels and we often talked about books we were reading. I agreed to be in a series of training films especially designed for men in night school. The idea was if an attractive female was showing them how to use the tools, they would stay awake and pay attention. I completed this job on schedule with no issues. I still have the pink with white polka-dot pumps I wore on the set. After this, he offered to help me with my portfolio. I had seen his photography and was thrilled. My mother dropped me off at his studio. I was ecstatic at the luxury clothes on the rack selected for me. What began as a professional shoot ended with him masturbating over me. He asked if he could, and I refused. It didn’t matter. My back turned to him, I “grayed out” as KATYKatiKate, a Seattle-based blogger called it in her entry pro tip: louis fucking ck. Shortly afterwards, my mother came to pick me up. I didn’t tell her. I didn’t tell anyone.

These are not the sum total of my experiences with sex and power. In my 20’s there were what now would be called date rape; in my 30s there was one man who had tremendous power over my career trajectory who wanted to have sex with me because he had a genuine affection for me, but when I refused he got angry and made clear that he had the sole authority over my position and future promotion (I still refused); and in my 40’s there was a man in a position of power who claimed to (platonically) love me and my family until it came to a matter of taking responsibility for his actions or offering me up as a sacrificial lamb to save his reputation, standing in the community, and his high profile career… Well, you can guess who lost.

Not to mention the countless occasions of warding off unwanted slaps on the butt, grabs at my breasts, creepy come-ons, and all-around thoughtless sexual comments, or the too many men who assume there is an inverse relationship between attractiveness and intelligence.

It’s Complicated

None of this is to be confused with light, playful banter, but geez who can tell where the line is anymore?! I had an occasion where two women went to HR on my behalf. At the time, I reassured HR that I am not easily offended, and if I think a comment or behavior in the workplace is inappropriate I will directly address it myself. I have in fact done so and successfully continued a positive working relationship. In retrospect, I wish these two women would have let me know what made them uncomfortable before going to HR. I do not recall what was said that caused them to be alarmed for me. I do know that I later spoke to them in private about it, and also informed my colleague about the matter. I am also keenly aware that they may have been dancing around the same power imbalance that I have had to negotiate at times.

Noteworthy is that for a great deal of my teens and 20’s I was enamored with the “Cosmo” lifestyle sold in Cosmopolitan magazine. I fantasized about having a powerful job, drinking martinis in a penthouse in New York, wearing the latest designer fashions, and … wait for it… wielding my power and sexual prowess over available handsome men, some who would work for me and many more who wanted to work for me.

Am I sick? Perhaps. Yet, in the 1980’s with all of its over-top decadence and declared post-sexual revolution freedom, this appeared to me what women should want to aspire to!

After a period of promiscuity, I realized that so-called sexual freedom wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The truth is that I freely gave too much of myself away. While I was wafting confidence beneath my Charlie perfume, I was, in fact, whittling away at my own self-worth. I wasn’t taking my power back at all. I was playing out a role as a sex object that was as old as time. It was not modern, it was not glamorous, and it did not get me what I wanted at all. Cosmo and Glamour sold me a bill of goods. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized the full impact of my actions on my heart and soul.

Sexual Assault, Drugs and Rock n Roll

In 2000, I got married. I was 37-years old.

By this time, I felt I was wise when it came to relationships. I had studied them, read about them, and God knows I had enough of them! When I had an elective in college I would study philosophy or humanities. I read every self-help book to raise my self-awareness. I was also fortunate to come from a solid family background with very little trauma. My parents are extraordinary individuals, and still happily married to this day.

I already had two children, ages 10 and 18, when I got married. He had two daughters. With four children with four different sets of parents, I believed that we would be the Brady Bunch on steroids —It would be beautiful, chaotic, and forever. For a while it was all of those things, and more.

March 4, 2001, Lynch Mob, on their Smoke This tour, was scheduled to play at a small, local venue. Armored Saint opened. My husband, a guitar player, was heavily influenced by Jimmy Hendrix and George Lynch (of Dokken). He was so excited to see them, and hoped that he would be able to meet his idol, Lynch. We went to dinner and I drove us to the show in my Jeep Cherokee Country. I had one Long Island Iced Tea at the beginning of the set (The first and only Long Island of my life), and drank lemon water the rest of the night. After the show, my husband asked me to try to get us backstage. I succeeded in having Lynch invite us backstage. We were shoulder to shoulder between people sitting in a few rundown couches and people smoking in the doorway to the alley. After a while I noticed that my husband had not come back inside for some time. I walked outside to look for him, and decided to cross the street to see if he was in the parking lot near the Jeep. As I crossed the street, I stumbled and fell in the street. I don’t know if it was my stiletto knee-high boots or the wet ground, but I crashed hard onto my knees. Just then a van rolled up with Lynch, several Lynch Mob band members, and a few fans aboard. Lynch reached out his hand to pull me into the van saying, “We are going to the hotel to an after party.” I insisted that I needed to find my husband and go home. As he pulled me into the van, Lynch told me that my husband had got on another bus and I would see him at the party. I doubted him but I also knew my husband would follow Lynch anywhere. Once we arrived at the hotel, I was having trouble walking and Lynch held onto me as we entered the elevator. As we spilled out there must have been 50 people walking toward a large room at the end at the end of the hallway. I was diverted into a hotel room along the way, followed by eight men. They sat me on the bed, and lined up against the wall. Lynch was near the door. It was mostly band members, and I quickly learned that I was to be a gift for their manager. Did I scream, run, pound on the walls? No. I had eight full grown men blocking the exit. I took none of the actions I imagined I would in this situation. I was alert, but paralyzed. (Later I suspected that I had been roofied.) What I do recall is wondering why I had been singled out when there were plenty of women who would have gladly gone to a hotel room with any one of them (irrational, I know), and being bent over, having my left hand on the bedside table, thinking over and over again, “Please don’t take my wedding ring.” Seven of the eight sexually assaulted me in different ways. When they urged Lynch to participate, he replied, “I am married,” but he never moved from the door.

Do no harm… do the least amount of harm possible is the best we can do and that would be the most exemplary way to live life and if your life’s work is dedicated to that proposition then you are probably doing the right thing. – George Lynch’s answer to “What is the meaning of life?” (Interview by Mark Rockpit, September 1, 2017)

Someone knocked on the door and said the bus was leaving. Everyone scurried, someone grabbed me, and we entered an empty hallway. Exiting the hotel, the band veered right and got on the tour bus. I stood frozen in the middle of about 30 people milling around the parking lot waiting to get autographs or to catch a last glimpse of the band. A girlfriend saw me and asked if I needed a ride. I got into her car and told her what happened to me. She told me that she had hung out with one of the band members and he was very nice. She took me to her house, which was nearby, for the night. The next morning she drove me to my Jeep. It looked like it had been beaten with a baseball bat or golf club. It was bashed in on every side, including the hood and roof, and the passenger window was broken. I was able to open the driver’s door and told my friend it was okay to leave. I got in and sobbed for an hour before starting the Jeep and driving home.

When I arrived home, my husband was not there. Our children were gone for the weekend. I called my husband to see where he was. It was evident that he thought that I had purposely left him to party with the band and he believed that I had cheated on him. He was angry. He told me he had looked for me everywhere and because he did not have keys to the Jeep, he caught a ride with a friend. He was still at this friend’s house. I told him what happened to me but he did not believe me. I asked him if he had vandalized my Jeep. He denied doing so saying it was in perfect condition when he last saw it. (Two years later he admitted vandalizing it.) He told me he did not want to see me. I was bewildered and alone.

I drove over to the house where my husband was staying. I knew the location as it was his band’s practice pad and studio. I knocked on the door and asked to see him. He and two bandmates came out to the lawn. I asked him to please come home. He refused. I fell to the ground crying, and pleaded that I needed him. He not only refused, but had a few choice names for me. I returned to my Jeep deeply humiliated, confused, and defeated.

I returned home. I slumped by the bed staring into space. After a couple of hours, I gathered myself and drove to the Emergency Room.

I relayed my story, and underwent a physical exam complete with rape kit. I handed over my semen stained shirt and skirt. A kind woman from SASS (Sexual Assault Support Services) was there to support me, and I welcomed her. She offered me a change of clothes, but as I recall a girlfriend brought me my own clothes. For the life of me, I don’t recall who that was now. A little while later, the District Attorney visited me. He indicated that this would be a very difficult case to prove. He informed me that the band had a reputation for doing this in every city they play in. Then he added, “Do you really want to go against their team of high powered attorneys and drag your name through the headlines?” Well, I thought, with that rousing support, I guess not. The matter was dropped.

In the weeks that followed, SASS was my saving grace. They were a phone call away when I needed to check my sanity. My husband did not return home right away. I went back to work the very next day (A year later I reviewed the work I had submitted in the month that followed, I had no business being in the office). My husband and I eventually reconciled and started couple’s therapy. He still didn’t believe me. Eighteen months later I learned that my husband had been doing meth every day since the day after the assault. This did not come out in therapy. It came out after I kicked him out of the house I had just purchased. He called to ask me if he was still on my health insurance, and admitted he needed treatment. I was a deer caught in headlights. He went to a 21-day inpatient program, and when he was released we started attending church. Many of my closest friends today came from that church community.

While we had glimpses of healing, in the six years that followed he relapsed often, couldn’t keep a job, and when he did have a job, he disappeared after payday — sometimes up to a month. I tried very hard to sustain some type of normalcy in our house. I worked a full-time professional job and operated a consulting business to make ends meet. Whether or not my husband was “at home” I continued to pick up his girls for their parenting time, and provided them with what they needed. Once our oldest daughters graduated from high school in 2008, I filed for separation, and then divorce.

The final straw came for me when my husband who had finally told me he believed me (a watershed moment) later told me that he never really believed me and just told me that to keep me from kicking him out again. He also tried to strangle me, so there’s that. I sought out the professional support I needed to help me to heal.

The purpose of giving so much detail of the years following this sexual assault is to highlight a sliver of the impact it had on my life. I notice most articles are passing over this with a sentence like, “She decided not to pursue that career path…” as if it was her choice.

Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault Because We Don’t Get Justice

When this assault happened in 2001 there was no social media, and HPV was the only thing going viral. When the District Attorney told me Lynch Mob assaulted women in every city they played, I looked for web forums to post on to “out” them or to warn others, but threads were not formatted in a way that allowed the public to easily access the information and share it.

Today, I can look up the band members who played on that tour, the cities they played in, and a hundred other details and statistics. I haven’t researched this, because besides Lynch and his manager, I no longer trust my memory as to who else was in the room.

For all intents and purposes, the members of Lynch Mob are celebrities much like the stars who are falling today. However, it seems that rock stars are exempt from being tried in the court of public opinion. Women raped by rock stars who band together face the added burden of a he he he said/she said battle.

Lynch Mob released a new album The Brotherhood in September of 2017, and is currently on tour.

~Just L (November 12, 2017)

UPDATE (November 13, 2017):  Individual readers have asked who were the members of Lynch Mob in 2001. According to Wikipedia, the band was not together 2000-2002; however, we know by their tour schedule that this is not the case. The line up on the night I recount was likely:

Lynch Mob
George Lynch (Guitar/Vocals)
Jimmy D’Anda (Drummer)
Oni Logan (Lead Vocals)
Sean McNabb (Bass//Vocals)

Armored Saint
John Bush (Lead Vocals)
Phil Sandoval (Lead Guitar)
Jeff Duncan (Rhythm Guitar)
Gonzo Sandoval (Drums/Vocals)
Joey Vera (Bass/Vocals)

As I state, I could no longer tell you who was in the hotel room that night.

There are no pictures of the March 4, 2001, concert at the since closed Hollywood Taxi in Springfield, Oregon (listed as Eugene, Oregon on most tour schedules.)

Concert photos of Lynch Mob and Armored Saint playing March 2, 2001, at the Roseland Theatre, Portland, Oregon. Sean McNabb is not pictured playing this show.

Lynch Mob Live, San Juan Capistrano (April 7, 2001)

Lynch Mob Live, Atlanta GA (May 30, 2001)

Thoughts from a chair in France

Seeing all of the #grateful posts (on Facebook and other social media) and my own grateful posts of years’ past, I am simply grateful that I am in another season. I know my life looks extraordinary and too often extraordinarily easy. To those who know and love me, they know this isn’t necessarily so. Some days are quite a bit more difficult than they have ever been. Still, I am blessed to have an extraordinary life interrupted by a few ordinary days. Today, as I am wrapped in a comforter in the sitting room of a sweet flat in France, I am embracing both the ordinary and the extraordinary. Anywhere you are all this requires is your attention to it. Alas, I have grown in wisdom and grace. My heart bursts with an abundance of love. I have learned to be gentle with myself. This is not the opposite of being hard on oneself. Being kind to yourself is a necessity. Some days I feel anxious but I am not afraid. I live boldly in spite of many limitations. On the days I feel soul-weary or dead tired, I continue to create beautiful thoughts and shine light in dark places. I am honored to inspire others to live more authentically. Still, some of my own dark places I shut away. When the pain pops up every now and then, I count my blessings and I try very hard not to compare what others gained by my loss. Grateful I only have to live with my own conscience. Occasionally when met with another’s desperation, I will share a treasure from this vault. After all, all of this has formed me. I used to think of seasons as set points in time (fall, spring, raising young children, my 30’s, etc.). Now I understand that seasons can be arduously long or pass in an instant. For example, I not so long ago experienced the deepest heartbreak, and it seemed to last forever. I felt as if I was falling backwards, and losing ground. Upon reflection, I wonder if it was that relationship which ended so cruelly that had me reeling, or something left buried from every betrayal finally breaking open? That season lasted for more than a year. But, it also brought me into a season of bountiful living, where one decision changed my entire world. Oh, and of course, seasons also cross over each other. One only has to look at our current weather patterns that no longer align with the months I knew as a child. Yet, I am not so concerned with the storms swirling around me when I have peace on the inside. Not just a spiritual peace, but the peace that comes from knowing myself well. Even if no one else ever does understand me. I am grateful that I have loved, nourished, taken time to not just learn about – but be fascinated by – everything that makes me smile, cry, have stars in my eyes, recoil, try harder, jump for joy, and just plain tick, and ticks me off. May your life be as rich as mine.

~Just L (Thoughts from a chair in France, November 5, 2017)

Feeling très French.           (American woman in Nyons)


Don’t tell me what he’s like when he’s smitten with you…

Don’t tell me what he’s like when he’s smitten with you, tell me how he treats you when he’s angry – or bored with you.

How does he treat his family and friends? Does he have close relationships or are they simply work / hobby acquaintances? Do all of his best friends coincidentally live far away? How does he deal with challenges? Is he selectively compassionate and kind? Have you heard him make fun of people? Has he walked away from responsibilities? Is it always someone else’s fault? Have you witnessed him lying to another? Does he communicate well with others under stress? Have you heard him speak harshly on the phone to others? Does he keep score in other relationships? How does he treat any exes? How does he speak about them? Is he non-confrontational, but holds information for future bargaining? The truth is that a man’s character doesn’t change with his friends or with a woman. Don’t think that a man will treat you differently than he does his family and friends.

Go ahead , tell yourself, “He wouldn’t do that to me because of our relationship.” Don’t ignore the warning signs about his character and convince yourself that he will act differently with you.

He may be different in the beginning but I promise that given enough time, he’ll treat you the same as everyone else. Keep that in mind.

~Just L (Goddess Wisdom, August 22, 2017)


Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and someone special asked me to make plans to go to the coast. I welcome the forethought as last Valentine’s Day was disastrous. After being exclusive with someone for 15 months I was ghosted (on Valentine’s Day which I spent in urgent care). We fell madly in love with each other rather quickly. We were surprisingly in sync, and seemingly shared an appreciation for each other as well as the season in our lives. Unfortunately, it ended as abruptly as it began. It was not the love story that I envisioned in spite of inspiring a plethora of love poems. Ultimately, I found he was not a man of quality or a keeper.

Really the only way things would have turned out differently according to his script, is if I never disagreed or was unhappy with him, if I was perfectly in alignment with his thoughts and what he “wants” in a partner (Note sarcasm). I have learned that if a guy leaves when things get a little rocky, it means he is lacking in the most important quality that you need in a partner – a man who is committed not only to you, but to making it work. He simply wasn’t ready to settle down, no matter how great of a potential partner I was, he didn’t want to make it work. He did not have the desire to overcome our differences, to get to a better place of understanding. He has an immature grasp of what it takes to work on a relationship in order to hit the amazing place of understanding and become more than simply in sync, but intimate and vulnerable with another. Instead when things get difficult, I predict he will ditch out over and over. There is no reason to blame myself or go through a long list of “should haves”… It doesn’t matter if he is not committed to making it work. A relationship is not about finding the perfect match it is about finding someone who you can form a meaningful, lasting partnership with. It is an active process. It is about working together. Something I have come to recognize that this man I loved deeply is incapable of. Should he continue this pattern, he will always believe in magical thinking – that there is someone better suited for him somewhere else.

Feeling bad about your latest break up?

  • Zayn Malik broke off his four year relationship and two year engagement to Perrie Edwards with a simple text message in 2015.
  • Russel Brand told Katy Perry he was divorcing her via a text on December 31, 2011.
  • In 2000, Laura Dern left the home she shared with Billy Bob Thornton to work on a movie, and while she was away, her boyfriend got married to Angelina Jolie, and she never heard from him again.
  • Joe Jonas dumped Taylor Swift in a 27 second phone call in 2008.
  • In 2006, Britney Spears used her Blackberry to indicate her intent to bail on her union to Kevin Federline while he was in the middle of taping an interview.

There are now mobile relationship-ending services. Simply enter your partner’s name and phone number, and choose from a list of reasons, and the application does the break-up calls and texts for you. It’s brutally honest and to the point.

Whether this behavior has become more predominant with the advent of technology is debatable, but perhaps now it stings more, since there are so many ways to see your beloved interacting with other people while ignoring you. Still, breaking up by virtually disappearing is becoming increasingly popular. Ghosting – Going dark (refusing to return a text, DM, Facebook message, Snapchat or, heaven forbid, phone call), seems to be the new power move.

Getting dumped is brutal. While bad break ups can haunt you, being the bad guy/gal by “forgetting to tell the person you’re breaking up with them” is – in the long run – by far more damaging to the person who is unable to have the difficult face-to-face conversation. Long-term relationships, even celebrity ones, require certain standards of decorum. To disappear is to avoid accountability. So, no matter how inseparable you were, how sizzling the sex was, or how sentimental the memories seem to be, you are better off without someone who believes the silent treatment is acceptable behavior.

I can attest to the fact that it leaves you confused, frustrated, and disrespected as you search for clues to explain the disappearance. At the end of the day, it is the other person who is broken.

While communication failures happen all of the time, avoiding confrontation or conflict is a character flaw. The lazy ghost hopes the problem will just go away if they avoid the other person forever. In fact, you probably already observed this behavior (in interactions with their ex, their child’s other parent, in their work or family relationships, etc.), it simply wasn’t directed at you at the time.

Sure, perhaps you did something to contribute to the break up, but bailing out is not acceptable unless there was abuse or you fear for your safety or sanity. It is clearly cowardice. I contend that being a good human, let alone a partner or parent, requires courage and caring. At the very least a civil conversation, the courtesy of closure.

Interestingly in the age of technology where one may have “too many options” with easy access to social media and dating applications, it becomes more difficult to choose and be happy about it. Knowing that these choices exist might make it more difficult for people to commit and stay committed to their partner. If this is the case, you are likely better without that particular person.

After a long period of personal pain and reflection, I have come to embrace that it was not about me at all… And, in this particular case, there is no upgrade after me. My star will rise and his sun will set. Sad but true. After a phase of flirtation and frolicking, I remain happily eligible until someone equally amazing and worthy wins my heart.

“S/he’s just not that into you” humiliation with ghosting, the trend of — poof— disappearing into thin air is unthinkable to me. There is no shame in being hopeful. It is a shame to be dishonorable. Hanging onto false hope may not be the best way to heal your heart; yet, I take consolation in that it is a heck of a lot healthier than not taking the high road in the first place. It is unlikely that the heartless will have a change of heart, so resist hunting or haunting them as it really only hurts you.

Go ahead admit they are an a-hole, accept the disappointment that the fantasy person you fell in love with doesn’t exist, and let the healing begin!

After ghosting me, Allen (Yes, he has a name) once said to me “I don’t want to talk (apparently ever), and… I don’t care what you say to me or about me, but leave my friends and family out of it.” I laugh at this statement now, as I see clearly that the few friendships he is able to maintain are mostly long distance (with good reason) and I am quite certain his family already knows him all too well.

I only wish I would have recognized the red flags sooner, stopped seeking ways to figure him out, and healed my broken heart long before now, nearly a year later.

weak-heartThis Valentine’s Day my hope is that we all commit to truly loving each other outside of our comfort zone.

With affection for the life lessons in loving, Just L (January 15, 2017)

Open Season

Heartbreak has haunted her yet has not dulled her shine —
She is forever hopeful and always kind —
Both determined and blessed —
Selflessly gives more than she’s received —
Offering the keys to her life with generosity —
In her presence you’ll feel at rest —
Possibly at your best —
Often adored but never deceived —
You’ll surely laugh at her silliness —
Wrapped up in a blur of happiness —
Rocker chick to the symphony
Or working in philanthropy —
She embodies pure class; puts everyone at ease —
So if you’re planning to make her your queen —
Know family and transparency are everything —
She is far more badassery than royal —
Appreciates objects of affection and bling —
Intrigued, be certain you’re whole — (no fixer uppers)
She’s so sexy you’ll lose your mind
But never your soul.

~Just L (November 24, 2016)

Your brilliance snags me

Your brilliance snags me but for only a moment. A passing star on a journey which I cannot abide. Here I stand in awe as you fade from my sight only to ponder the journey that lies ahead for those who catch a glimpse of your path…

~Adam (A little note for Just L from the best martini mixologist in Capitola, CA, July 2016)

“Love Letters” are letters to or from Just L periodically pulled from the vault.

Personal Life, Politics, and Pinot Blanc – I Would Die 4 U

I have been pondering my personal life, politics, and Pinot Blanc… After all, aren’t they the same thing? ~ Just L (March 9, 2012)

I believe that every single event in life that happens is an opportunity to choose love over fear.” ~Oprah Winfrey

It was one of those days when I was reminded how precious life is.

Prince died today. 57 years-old… four years older than me.

Of course, those who know me, know I love music, but I am not a super fan of those who rise in the ranks of popular culture per se. I’d much rather quote an obscure author any day.

Still, it is today…

Every time I tell someone how old I am — which for some reason has come up in conversation more often than usual as of late — they say, “I hope I look half as good as you at my age.”

I smile, and say, “thank you.” In my heart, I hope they get to love and be loved half as well as I have been loved at my age. I pray they become better not bitter, and can laugh at themselves no matter how talented, beautiful, inspiring they become on any given day. And — most of all – love themselves, on the most crappy days.

In the last week or so, I have lost some relatives who had lived a long life and a few precious friends whose lives were cut too short. The thing that keeps me from being filled with sadness is that I know, without a doubt, these individuals experienced extraordinary, unconditional love. I won’t say their names out of respect for their wishes — which reflects the elegant ways in which they lived their lives — but, their lives are forever etched in the history of my heart, and will live on as I interact with others each day… Hopefully with half as much grace.

So, Prince: A plethora of talent packed into a pint-sized frame.

Many of his songs were a soundtrack to some stellar times….

“Party like it’s 1999,” which was released in 1982, a couple of years after I left high school, and the year after my son was born… was an anthem for New Year’s Eve 1999/2000, as if I had waited 18 years just to be able to give this track it’s proper moment. Only some will understand this.

The week “Purple Rain” was released, I saw the movie twice with two different “suitors” in the same week. They both brought flowers, and respectfully picked me up from my parent’s home. The very same home my parents still live in and love in, together. To this day, I am friends with both of these men who are now married to the love of their lives. I celebrate their extraordinary strength and resilience. Still, I get to hold a sweet memory and a sweet spot for them both from June 1984.

I had a husband who was careless with my heart. The fact is, as a narcissist, he probably never cared. Yet, whenever I think of him jumping out of the Jeep and breaking out some stellar dance moves, while singing (not lip syncing) “Kiss” — I can”t help but smile. It could be at a stop light, in the middle of a sandy jetty, or on a muddy mountain top. Sipping a cherry Slurpee and taking in that show = priceless.

As I sit here, I am recovering from heartbreak. A year and a half ago, I fell in love with the one I thought was to be the love of the second half of my life. We had that Prince New Year moment. You should have seen the way he looked at me. We shared a deep appreciation for music, and being the same age shared insider secrets that seemed to bond us. Finding him was like spotting your first crush at a crowded concert. I can see him in his purple “Prince” shirt now. We were, by all accounts perfect together, until we were not. He simply ceased to exist in my life after a particularly unexplained, difficult night for me. That was a little over two months ago. I have never been so entirely broken. This will take some time.

As I write it is thundering and lightning outside of my expanse of windows to the west. On the Gram, I posted “Nothing like lightning, thunder and warm April showers to send me running across the street to swing at the park! ‪#‎thunderstorm‬ ‪#‎kidatheartforever‬‪#‎thrills‬ ‪#‎simplepleasures‬

In spite of life’s seeming complicated moments where one realizes that intensity is not truth, and too often sadness takes people far ashore, I relish the simple pleasures: Warm rain, fireworks, roller coasters, kissing, and swings. These are a few of my favorite things.

On a night like this where I was running through the rain barefoot and swinging at the park across from my home, everything important comes into focus.

And, as much as I appreciate sharing these universal adventures with people everywhere, the romantic in me believes these are the very things lovers should share…. Whether you are half my age, 53 (me) or 72 (my mother who still adores my father)… These are the moments meant to be shared….  with family, friends, and especially loves. If you are fortunate — your love, as in your “one and only” — who gets you, ride or die, laughs, cries, and protects your solitude relishes these moments as much as you do.

Tonight, now sopping wet and smiling, I sit alone. And write. This is my life: Today.

p.s. I am planning a visit to see my parents in the coming two months, I have a list of people I wish to connect with: To be silly with, to share life stories, and simply be with, because life is too short to take for granted, and I surely do not want to miss a moment of sharing sweet laughter with the ones I love. I have received a few notes from some, and I hope you will plan to share your stories, and even dare to bare your souls, with me. After all, if not now, when?

“Personal Life, Politics, and Pinot Blanc” is a periodic series of ponderings by Just L.

~Ponderings by Just L (April 21, 2016)

#life #prince ##abouthim #love #lovelost

Traveling Light

The road Girl-with-a-suitcase-on-the-train-tracksI travel will always be bright, because it is and forever completely mine–

Your inability to see me for the beauty and light that I am does not dull my shine–

It simply makes your path darker.

~Just L (April 16, 2016)

The Legend of Antirrhinum

NaPoWriMo Day 5: April is a time for planting things. At any rate, I’ve recently been paging through seed catalogs, many of which feature “heirloom” seeds with fabulous names. Consider the “Old Ivory Egg” tomato, the “Ozark Razorback” or “Fast Lady” cow-pea, “Neal’s Paymaster” dent corn, or the “Tongues of Fire” bush bean. Today, I challenge you to spend some time looking at the names of heirloom plants, and write a poem that takes its inspiration from, or incorporates the name of, one or more of these garden rarities. To help you out, here are links to the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and the Baker Creek Seed Company. Also, here’s a hint – tomatoes seem to be prime territory for elaborate names. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find something to plant in your garden! Happy writing!

She knows all too well this reeling
A witness to the moment they sparked
He doesn’t see that she’s aware
He only feels torn, uncertain

He knows the hand he’s dealing
Every time he goes out into the dark
She doesn’t see him go anywhere
But she’s familiar with this leaving

She knows his attempt at concealing
Avoiding what to her appears stark
He doesn’t see his heart’s lain bare
His Antirrhinum exterior – fascinating

~Just L (April 5, 2016)

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum) is derived from the Greek words “anti,” meaning like, and “rhin,” meaning nose, antirrhinum, the snapdragon’s botanical name, is a fitting description of this snout-shaped flower. It’s said that the common name for this colorful flower comes from the snap it makes when the sides of the “dragon’s mouth” are gently squeezed.

Legend has it that concealing a snapdragon makes a person appear fascinating and cordial, and in the language of flowers, snapdragons are said to represent both deception and presumption (perhaps tied to the notion of concealment). Its positive connotations include graciousness and strength.