Does the flu shot cause insomina? and other middle-of-the-night musings

I googled the life span of a mosquito and the intarwebs said ten days, but I swear that little blood sucker has been plaguing me weeks. I finally lured it out of the bedroom, at least. Thursday night, I ate dinner in my bedroom ’cause it flew by my ear when I was sitting on the sofa.

I’ve already been its dinner for a while, as evidenced by the bites running up and down my legs.

How long do the side effects of a flu shot last, anyway? She told me my upper arm would be sore. “How sore?” I asked. “Like you got punched in the arm.”

“I can handle that,” I said.

She didn’t mention it would also be itchy and burning and that my armpit glands would swell up and be tender. She didn’t mention that at all. I was all but ready to go to urgent care this morning when I thought to look up common side effects of the flu shot and the swollen armpit gland was one of them.

Now I want to know how long that’s going to last, but the hypochondriac in me is afraid to look it up, because the google results for “swollen armpit glands” were not pretty.

I had an amazing scene last night and I keep wanting to express all the many ways that it felt amazing. There was some catharsis involved, since yesterday was officially my last day at an 11-year job that I’ve spent the past 5 weeks wrapping up. All day today I keep pressing that spot where he bit me on the shoulder so hard and remembering how amazing and strange it was that I wasn’t registering anything as pain last night.

But there was this moment at the beginning of our scene where the whole world got quiet. Now, mind you – this scene was happening in the privacy of my bedroom, and there was no “world” to speak of, but I can’t explain it any other way. At once I was standing in front of him in my bedroom and I was transported back in time to our second-ever scene, which happened 3 years ago at our local dungeon. That was the night I experienced my first clothespin zipper.

So simultaneously I was there and here and there was everybody watching and nobody at all and all of a sudden the two realities combined and the memory of that night three years ago lost all sound. It was just him and me and this connection and nothing else.

The feeling felt brand new and familiar all at once, and it was exquisitely overwhelming to the point where I think I may have been in a state of constant orgasm for about five minutes while I was just standing there getting clothespins put on.

I want to do it again. I want to understand why last night my tolerance for pain was so high I couldn’t feel any of it; where other nights the sting of a slap on the ass makes the walls turn white.

Was it because I was rolling on the high of breaking free of my job (plus that bit of cannabis we smoked?) or….I don’t know, is this another weird side effect of the flu shot?

Started watching Wanderlust on Netflix tonight. For those not in the know, it’s a British television series starring Toni Colette about a couple who open up their 20 year+ relationship for the first time. It has exceeded my expectations (which were that it was going to be a comedy that poked fun at the concept of ethical nonmonogamy). It’s not so much comedy, though it has its lighthearted moments – but some of the scenes (especially the most recent episode I saw with a long scene involving Collette’s character and her therapist) are really poignant.

The show isn’t in a hurry to tell its story. There are long moments of silence that I’d normally be annoyed by – but in this context, they feel very, very real. And they’re acknowledged.

I’m hopeful for this series to show the growth of this couple over time if they continue with their open marriage. It’s definitely addressing a lot of the rookie mistakes that newly opening up couples tend to make (though, thankfully, Unicorn Hunting does not appear to be one of them).

I’ve decided to sell the guest bed in my 2nd bedroom to turn it into a proper home office. I’ve spent the last four days looking for inspiration on wayfair and pinterest and other websites. I like the idea of a living wall in the room I would be working in. I want it to be cozy and inviting. I want white and warm wood colors and blue/turquoise accents. I want big, bold art that speaks to me hanging on the walls, inspiring me every day.

And then I remember that I’m unemployed and all of that costs money, so I am going to start with selling the existing bedroom set and some of the furniture I have in my garage and buying a desk, a chair, and a new desktop computer. The rest will have to grow as my business grows.

Speaking of my business growing, I am still kind of feeling like I need an actual break between the career I’ve had for 20 years and the start of this new adventure, but as hard as I tried to schedule said break, I feel like I have a ton to do! I need to figure out DBAs and invoicing and client agreements and two websites (I need something vanilla facing so I can also consult for nonprofit organizations). In the middle of it all I still have all the coursework toward my credential as a Professional Life Coach, and I really want to review everything I’ve learned so far in an organized way – which means I need to organize it first.

Also, I tried to set up a Patreon to launch when I start writing my book next month and it glitched, which just feels like another thing left unfinished that’s probably keeping me up at 2am instead of sleeping soundly.

I suppose I can’t blame it all on the flu shot.


Coaching Files: Answering the intention and not the question

There’s a thing my family does that kind of drives me bananas. It’s the thing where they ask you why you’re leaving [an event you barely wanted to go to in the first place] after you’ve been there the requisite number of hours +1.

I hate lying. If you know me, you know that I always prefer to just answer with the truth, albeit diplomatically when appropriate.

So when, for example, I’m at a baby shower for 5 hours and I say “Hey, it’s time for me to get going” the last thing I want to be asked is “Leaving so soon? WHY?”


That’s my answer. That’s THE answer. But I know my family, and I know that this is not an answer they deem “good enough” to warrant my departure.

The question always lands on my ears like a judgement. I’m not living up to their standards of socialization. I’m not placing a high enough value on family time, or babies, or socially influenced personal milestones.

And I don’t want to have to make up plans that I don’t have.

I’ve learned that in most [healthy, unenmeshed, nontoxic] families, this is not a question that would be asked. People that hail from families like these are the type of people that will look puzzled and suggest that I don’t owe anybody an excuse for why I won’t be attending or want to leave something. I can just say “Decline” and not have to tell them why.

First time I heard that I was like “Wait, what???”

So… I worked with my peer coach today. We decided to try out some of the tools we learned last weekend during the second module of the class, and I brought up this topic to work on, since the holidays are coming (and a couple family weddings) and I feel like I need to have a plan for how to deal with this without defaulting to blatant rudeness.

And, you know what? The tool worked.

I decided at the end that when someone asks me “why” I am leaving, or “why” I won’t attend something, I will just pretend that what they did say was what they probably meant to convey, which is: “I really enjoy your company, and am sorry to see you go.”

See…with that, I can respond “Thank you. It was lovely to spend time with you. I’ll see you next time!”

I will respond to the statement they should have been making, which is kind and fuzzy, instead of the question they are asking, which is rude and intrusive.

Can’t wait to start using these tools on my own clients and see what incredible ideas they come up with to get out of some of life’s pickles!


Interested in learning more about my new coaching practice?  Click Here

Bye, Felicia

Last month I attended my first in-person training session for my coaching certification. During the course of those three days, I (rather quickly) identified the biggest block I have to achieving any of my goals.


Throughout the three days in that session I worked with other members of my cohort on learning some skills to successfully coach clients to move past their blocks to achieve their goals. At the end of the three days, we symbolically broke through the biggest block that we’d identified at the beginning.

I felt really, really good.

I came home with every intention of doing the things I had planned to do. I was going to go back to weight watchers. I was going to start meditating daily. I was going to get myself organized and finish the final touches of putting together my workout area.

Apparently, symbolically counts about as much as reddit karma, ’cause I did none of those things.

In fact, when I got the email last week that alerted us that our three weeks of respite was about to end and the coursework and deliverables were about to be assigned, I became overwhelmed! The next thing I knew, I looked at my calendar and anything remotely resembling free time was GONE!

I was feeling overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed.

Tonight I spent an hour with my peer coach – another member of my cohort that is also earning her certification as a professional coach. She asked me what I wanted to work on and I said “I’d really like to work on getting healthier.”

Thus began about 20 minutes of back and forth about why my health was important to me, and how it has nothing to do with my self-esteem (which is super high) or a need to be validated by society or men or anything like that.

She seemed confused about what my block was. She finally asked me to name the thing that’s blocking me and I said “laziness.”

That’s when she suggested one of our coaching tools. What if I gave this block a name? Personified it?

I was stunned that I hadn’t thought of doing this myself. For a decade I’ve been talking about naming the depression or the anxiety or the other mental blocks that have plagued my lovers and friends. As a way of naming the thing and not internalizing it….”Jake is here right now and he’s taking up all my energy,” would be a way of saying “My anxiety is acting up and I can’t really be here for you right now.”

“OK,” I responded, feeling very open to trying it out. I walked by my bookcase and I was scrambling to try to come up with a name for my laziness. “I’ll come up with a name later, but yeah…let’s say….Uhh…..”

And then I just picked a name: Felicia.

I think it’s because it’s the name of a vendor I’m working with for an event I’m putting together, and she was the last person I spoke with before I left work today.

I figured I’d pick a better name later.

Now, to be completely honest – it took my coach and I a bit of time to get to the point where she started to listen to me and stop advising me (which is what coaches are supposed to do), but when she eventually got there, I did have quite a breakthrough.

“Felicia would say that she’ll unpack the suitcase that’s been sitting for a week in the basement tomorrow, but I am going to go downstairs and unpack it as soon as we hang up the phone.”

See, ’cause Felicia LOVES to say she’ll start things tomorrow and then find an excuse not to.

“Felicia would agree to doing 20 minutes of exercise three times a week, but I am committing to ten minutes of exercise every day for the next two weeks.”

Too many times, Felicia has committed to 3 days a week, and it’s amazing how easily three becomes two and two becomes one, and one becomes a string of excuses.

“Before I moved, I used to spend two hours a day in traffic commuting to and from work. Felicia has replaced those two hours in traffic with two extra hours of sleep in the morning, but I am going to utilize those two hours to give myself the free time that I’m saying I don’t have to exercise, meditate, or work on my blog.”

“You know what,” I said as we wrapped up our session, “the name Felicia is growing on me. I’m going to keep calling her ‘Felicia.'”

It wasn’t until my peer coach asked me what I wanted to say to Felicia that I realized what an appropriate name I’d picked for her after all.

From Urban Dictionary (modified for grammar and spelling)

Bye, Felicia

A goodbye given to any unwanted, irritating, or disliked person. Start[ed] as a [reference] to the character Felicia in the movie Friday.

Interested in coaching/mentoring?

In January, I will graduate from an IFC certified course in professional coaching.  As a Certified Professional Coach, I’ll have been trained to coach people on any subject about any issue, but the niche and specialty I’m most interested in hanging up my shingle for are helping people succeed in non-traditional relationships, including mono + poly relationships.

As a mentor and a coach, I can help guide people through the process of self-discovery, and understand how to overcome some of the emotional and mental blocks that keep us from truly loving and accepting ourselves and our loved ones.

Though I am graduating in January, I am able to begin coaching and mentoring clients  prior to receiving my certification.  In fact, I will need to complete a certain number of coaching hours prior to receiving my final certification – so if you’re interested, here’s where you let me know.

I created a short 3-question survey for those who would like to be contacted when my coaching/mentoring services become available starting December 2018 / January 2019.

If you’d like to get started sooner, drop me a message through your social medium of choice.  I will have some limited slots available for select clients starting mid-November.

Here’s the survey link!  

This is Forty

I turned forty about an hour ago.

Minutes before that, I completed the last act of my 30th year – I turned in all the assignments for the advanced standing section of my coaching certification.

The process was more self-reflective than I imagined it would be. Much of the work I’ve already done. In fact, I went through my blog archives as part of the process of examining many of the “life review” questions I was asked about my childhood and relationships.

I can’t think of a better way to set the tone for the next ten years of my life. I spent the entirety of my 30s working at my current job. It was simultaneously a time of significant change and personal growth in some areas, and a time of stagnation and demoralization in others.

As part of the process, I was asked to idealize what my life as a coach would look like in one year, at three years, at five years, and at ten years.

It amazed me how achievable each one of those dreams is. How within my grasp it all is.

I can do this. I really can do this.

I keep thinking of where I was ten years ago. I wanted a big party for my 30th, and I always loved themed parties. My partner at the time (not yet husband) organized a 60s cocktail themed party at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. It was during the time that Mad Men was all the rage. I bought a pink cocktail dress, got my hair swept up into a beehive up-do, and perfected my cat-eyeliner by tediously studying youtube videos for techniques.

It was the night that the old-school bartender gave me a sampling of all the classic cocktails and I discovered that I love bourbon the most. To this day, a Blanton’s Old Fashioned is my jam.

I was anxious and hopeful that Tony would propose to me that night. Everybody was. He made a speech. We all waited for it. I think he knew that and intentionally decided to wait, just to fuck with us.

It happened a few months later, while he and I were alone on vacation in London.

That night of my 30th birthday party, my brother had just arrived home from his first trip to China. He and his wife had been trying to conceive. My niece will turn ten in nine months.

My brother reminded me that I was ten years off from his prediction – “One day, you’ll turn 40 and decide to write a book. It’ll be a bestseller and you’ll be set for life.”

My future husband laughed. He’d written a best seller. Before he died, he would have written two best sellers.

We were not set for life.

A year later I was married.

Three years later I was widowed.

A year after that, I was here…writing. I found you all, or you found me. I’m not sure which of us is the chicken or the egg.

I spent the second half my thirties undergoing the most challenging and rewarding personal growth spurt I may ever experience. I was confronted with the consequences of 35 years of unhealthy relationship habits and addictions to external validation, codependency, and labels.

Three years ago, the work paid off. I successfully established a relationship with myself that I had previously taken for granted. I have spent the past three years loving myself unconditionally – and in the process, I’ve learned to love and be loved without fear.

These past three years have been, without a doubt, the best of my life. And I know there’s even better to come.

At this point, an hour and 22 minutes into my 4th decade of existence. I’ve successfully completed the first big milestone of the next big step in my ongoing journey. I’m engaged and enthusiastic to continue with the in-person training for the coaching certification next week.

On Monday, I’ll be featured on one of my favorite podcasts – multiamory – as a guest interview on the topic of poly + mono relationships. I’ve had my first paying client (though as I am not yet certified, I asked instead that he donate to a fundraiser I was running for my metamour).

I’m creating a business plan. I’m setting goals. I’m meeting deadlines. I’m networking. I’m investing my time into this dream, and I haven’t felt that excited about anything (other than sex and star trek) in a really long time.

Every time I have a fear, or a doubt, or that little voice of risk aversion in my head that asks me if this is the right thing…. if I should be moving away from a steady career I’ve put 20 years into to start something risky and new…

I think about the woman who had a Mad Men themed birthday party, hoping her boyfriend would propose, who had no idea that less than four years later – every expectation, every plan, and every dream she’d ever had would get thrown out the window.

It’s time for my new dreams to come true.

This is forty. This is when it happens.

I can’t fucking wait to see where this decade takes me.