Monday, June 30, 2008

Eve Triumphant

So much to be thankful for.

Eve has triumphed over evil. She faced her foe and shot him down.
Bonus - it sounds like she's going to have a job offer any day now.
Things are looking very good for her. Awesome, in fact.
I am so happy. She deserves every bit of it.

She is a very special woman. I am proud of her. I love her.
Did I mention how beautiful she is?

Mission Statement

"Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Triple to center

She's been having a tough week. (For the last several weeks, really.) I've been able to listen, to really "be there" for her. And I am proud of myself for learning the importance of validating and reaffirming her feelings.

She has remarked at how helpful it has been for her. She has thanked me several times; heartfelt thanks. I am glad that I was able to give that gift to her. (
During a time when she really needed it.)

It makes me feel good about myself. Which gives me more energy. (That I can use to support her). Because she really does need support right now, whether she asks for it or not.

Peace within

No more hurt, no more tears, no more anger, no more sadness, no more blame.
I have completely let go of all of the crap that I started with my insecurity/jealousy.

I made the conscious decision to forgive all.
I ask for forgiveness in return.
(knowing that whether it comes or not, is out of my hands.)

I understand that things will never be the same as they were before.
But maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe they can be even better.

In any case, I am thankful for what I/we already have, what is real right now.
What is real, is friendship and honesty, caring and support, acceptance and love.

I really appreciate the fact that we have maintained those things throughout.
And I believe that we will continue those things regardless.

I am prepared for whatever the future brings - I will accept any outcome.
I will support her and nourish her, without condition, regardless of myself.

I think the truest form of love is just wanting the other person to be happy.
I want you to be happy. <---- This means YOU.

Observations (life, pt. 3)

My dream became my hope
My hope became my love
My love became my refuge
My refuge became my shelter
My shelter became my safety
My safety became my concern
My concern became my fear
My fear became my doubt
My doubt became my suspicion
My suspicion became my jealousy
My jealousy became my weakness
My weakness became my shame
My shame became my distance
My distance became my absence
My absence became my panic
My panic became my undoing
My undoing became my loss
My loss became my grief
My grief became my survival
My survival became my purpose
My purpose became my clarity
My clarity became my understanding
My understanding became my compassion
My compassion became my forgiveness
My forgiveness became my release
My release became my tranquility
My tranquility became my comfort
My comfort became my strength
My strength became my courage
My courage became my hope
My hope awaits...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Had a great discussion with Eve earlier tonight.
She made a powerful observation about my life.
That I am surrounded by projects that were started, but never finished.
In fact, that seems to be a central theme to my life right now - unfinished work.

I've got a lot to ponder on this one. She's right.
But I'm so tired tonight. So tired.
I'll have to ponder in my dreams and finish this entry tomorrow.


And now, a message to all of the people who so cheerfully intervened in our relationship:

Hello, my name is Doug. When I shook your hand, I was offering you my friendship.
I actually meant that, whether you meant it or not. (Just letting you know...) 

Maybe one day, you might find out a little more about the person that you were trying to tear down, or about the relationship that you were so eager to dismantle.

You might actually learn that I am not the monster you make me out to be. Yeah, turns out that I'm actually more like a decent, honorable man, (and for the most part, pretty damn selfless). In spite of your horror stories and fear-mongering, I have always done right by her, and I always will do right by her, because that's kinda how I am. In fact, I'm kinda that way with all people. It's just my nature.

On the other hand, you were quick to judge, and quick to condemn, and you don't seem to place a whole lot of value on other people's relationships. So, I guess that must be your nature.

I like to believe that the truth will always reveal itself, and I trust that she will be able to tell what's right from what's wrong; what's real from what's made-up. That being said, I've got nothing to hide, and nothing fear. I am a good man. I've done no wrong.

Best wishes, friends.
I forgive you for judging me.
I forgive you for slandering me.
I forgive you for everything.

That's just how I roll.
Now let's have some fun.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Self Verdict

Not being able to eat.
Crying so hard my guts ache.

Treated unfairly, treated unkind.
Cut down by people who said they were my friend.

Hoping for a day that may never come.
Hearing how I'm really good - just not quite good enough.

It mixes you up, it crushes your spine. It makes you weak.
It takes everything you've got, and it always wants a little more.
It's the hardest thing I've ever been through.

Q: Was it worth it?
A: Damn right it was. It was worth every minute.

Because I've learned that I can experience real love. I can give it and get it. I can attract someone into my life who loves me. I can love without condition, and even if I lose that love, the good parts will ALWAYS outweigh the bad.

That's knowledge I didn't have a year ago.
That kind of wisdom will change my life forever.

So you ask, was it really worth it?
I'll tell you the truth - I'd do it all over again.

I am so thankful for having someone say those words and have me feeling it.
I have beautiful memories to fill my dreams long after the tears have dried up.
Nothing and nobody can take those memories away from me.

I am a better person from all of this.
And though I have some regrets, I don't regret falling in love in the first place.
When I started this, I couldn't even feel my heart, and now it's the biggest part of me.

As long as I live, I will continue to love.
I will take risks, and I will get hurt, and it might feel sometimes like I'm dying.
But I will not stop giving love.

Being in love means that you're going to get hurt sometimes.
But being in love is being alive.
Living people get hurt; dead people don't.
I am hurt, but I am very much alive.

Letter to Eve

Introduction: We both had a great time Saturday at the "Can't Stop the Serenity" event. It is a wonderful event, and supports a really great cause (check it out). Anyway, afterwards, most of the Browncoats that attended the event, went to a party (called a shindig), including the two of us, more or less together. Good news is that everything went very well, it was a good evening.

The following text is extracted from a letter I sent to her afterward. I don't normally do that sort of thing (mix personal letters with blogs), but there are really a lot of good sentiments in that letter, and it kinda sums up a lot of the events over the last couple of months that have appeared in this blog, so - here goes.


I love you and I had a great time with you Saturday at the Browncoat screening and shindig.

The little things you did throughout the night (hugs, glances, cheering, support) made me feel really loved and appreciated. Hopefully, the little things I did throughout the night (hugs, glances, cheering, support) made you feel loved and appreciated too. It was nice to sit together during dinner. (Well, during those rare moments when we were both "actually" sitting down, that is).

I think we have that part worked out pretty well, now - - "how we interact at social events". I know it probably wouldn't work for anyone else, but it feels right - it feels appropriate - for you and me. We need space at social events, space to be individuals, space to freely interact with other people. We need it. But on a deeper level, we also want to stay connected to our partners (we don't want to feel cut-off from each other). We've both experienced being neglected or left-out. We understand the absolutely devastating feelings that can bring. We also understand that it's too easy to accidentally cause that sort of pain, so it's important that we watch out for each other.

The beauty is, I think we actually got there. We've figured out a way to keep the heart-strings intact, and yet be free to express ourselves as individuals. (It took several tries, and many, many hurt feelings in the process, but we've been doing it for the last several events - yaay us!)

I want to acknowledge our mutual achievement. I've always enjoyed one-on-one time with you, but the "social butterfly" part was sometimes painful for me. Now, I experience joy in both situations. Thank you for working through that with me.

No amount of "revisionist history" can change the basic facts. We've had fun, without losing connection, at the last several events (Browncoats and Stargate fans included). The solution we've created might not (probably would not) work for other people, but it works for us. That is a major accomplishment, and it took both of us to do it.

And I appreciate that you did/we did.
Thank you.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

List of good things

Despite some bumps here and there, we have had some incredibly wonderful times together. The purpose of this entry is to list those beautiful, magical moments. Moments that can never be erased. (This list is not complete - it will grow much larger as I have time to add things to it).*

The List of Good Things:
Me to her - conversation in elevator - "you notice me, you really notice me"
Her to me - "I'm glad you saved that seat, because I wanted to sit beside you"
Both - YOU like Joe versus the Volcano too??  (A: Yes, especially with pauses!!)
All four of us squeezing into that tiny little booth (cutting up one photo for each of us)
Me tying her shoelaces together. Making paper frogs, and boxes, and snakes, and ...
Her to me - text message - "Those hugs are dangerous, young man"
Me singing Harry Connick Jr. on her birthday (plus that little birthday kiss)
Her text messages from the boat (missing you like crazy, can't wait to see you, etc)
Me being there when she was very sick (a fat-lipped green duck and a prescription)
Her bringing me chicken soup and flowers and kisses when I was very sick
Both - my son's observation: "you know you're watching reality TV together?"
Me helping the kids pick out blue flowers and a red vase for Mother's Day
Both sitting on a wooden swing, talking as the sun went down. Perfection
Her buying me a big green road sign that says "exit zero" - believing in the dream
Me to her - text message - "I think we've invented a new acronym ..."
Her to me - text message - "I would marry you. I think you are worthy."
Unexpected dinner proposal (and a special dedication from the guitar player)
Her weeding the bush in my front yard (the day before the inspector came back)
Me getting the grass trimmed in the back yard (night before her parents came back)
Surprise dinner plans (the creepy banker, the waitress, and two stacks of bills)
Her as Starbuck, and Kaylee, and Zoe, and Inara (mmmmmmm - love em all)
Me being her cheerleader during the scavenger hunt (her buying the pom-poms)
Me picking her up when she was lonely. (Wine and crackers, and the damned geese).
Both taking turns holding each other when we fell apart (several times now)
Her whispering: "don't ... let ... me ... go" // Me saying "i will never stop loving you"
Listening to Opie Gone Bad in the middle of a soccer stadium (best blanket ever).
Texting each other while OC Times was winning the international barbershop finals.
Massaging her feet and hands at night when they were painful and swollen.
Eating the best damned meatball sandwiches, ever. (at eleven o'clock pm)
Walking twenty three miles to honor her couage for being a cancer survivor.
Being given my very own garage door opener (and closet, and sink).
The ceiling fan, the vole, the wasps, the light in the car, and the dead hamster.
Sharpening pencils on the last day before school started (eating lemon crepes).
Buying a puppy together with her daughter.
Spending a day together, walking and holding hands. Laughing again.
Buffalo burgers. Damned good buffalo burgers.
Sir Edmund Hillary and his unfortunate discoveries.

*NOTE: There will be no list of bad things. That list has been erased forever.

No more hurt; no more fear

We've both been so abused in the past.
It's easy to understand why we started to fear certain situations.

I am ashamed when I look back at my behavior over the last couple of months.
When we first met, I was so confident and carefree (and - gasp! even fun?!)
And then, I started to doubt my own worth; my place in the relationship.
I became paranoid and suspicious.

When something happened to hurt my feelings, I believed that it was done on purpose.
Instead of believing in the best possible outcome, I focused on my worst fears.
My fears overpowered me, and so, I turned some good times into miserable times.

Last weekend taught me an extremely valuable lesson.
I realize now that nearly ALL of the hurt that I experienced over the last couple of months was not due to her being selfish or uncaring. It was simply her getting caught up in the moment - just having a good time - that's all.

And so, I find myself wishing that I could un-do (or better yet, re-do) these last months.

There is no reason to have bruised feelings - - and there never was.
There is no reason to question her fidelity - - and there never was.
There is no reason to feel mistreated - - and there never was.

So, I go back mentally, and look at my behavior, and it makes me sick.
My lack of trust, my lack of confidence - it started a whole series of painful episodes.
And I can't help but think that we missed out on some really good times together.

I couldn't fault her if she gave up on me.
Lord knows I'm not an easy person to love.
But as long as I'm still breathing, as long as I can,
I'm going to try to make it right.

I've learned so much over the last few weeks.
About filling myself up with love, so I won't end up draining love from her.
About listening - really listening - and how doing that makes her feel appreciated.
About telling her all of the things I appreciate about her, and letting go of past issues.

There is no more hurt or fear in here anymore.
There is only an empty space.
She stood there once.
Beside me.

Fear came between us.
And I let it
(hell, I fed it).
Time for the fear to end.

I love you, Eve.
I am not afraid of you anymore.
I don't want you to fear me either.
Can we get there from here?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Trading Places

We went to a party. An old friend of mine showed up unexpectedly.
I got carried away in conversation. I failed to introduce Eve.
More than thirty minutes later, I realized that I had forgotten her.
It was too late. She was very (VERY) hurt and upset.
She thought - and perhaps still thinks - that I made that happen to "get payback".

This was an unfortunate sleight - not intentional at all - a brief moment of "carried away".
When this happened to me, I was derided by her friends, basically told to "deal with it".
I dealt with it. Sometimes I couldn't take it, and so I had to leave. It hurt.
I didn't hold a grudge. I took responsibility. I worked on myself. I forgave her.

When I learned to function on my own, things were great.
We went to some parties as 'equals' (separate but equal), and nobody got hurt.
She did her thing, and I did my thing, and we both had a good time.

Then, without warning, out of nowhere, the "reverse" situation happened to her.
And she was hurt. I know. I could see it. She wasn't faking. She was hit very hard.
I could have been smug, I could have been a butthead, I could have rubbed it in.
But I didn't. I know it really hurts, and I offered only compassion and apologies.
I'm not here to prove a point. It's not about who "wins" (especially when we are HURT).
I'm here because I want to love her and I want to be loved by her.

Life has an interesting way of teaching us.
I think we really understand each other much better now.
She apologized. I apologized. It was heartfelt, cathartic, beautiful.

I am at peace now. There is nothing to be angry about - nothing to forgive.
We're just two frakked-up people, trying to make some sense of this world.

I pray this brings us closer instead of driving us apart.
But at this point, everything is on hold. Time has stopped.
It's just so sad that it got to this point.

Wow. Just wow. A whole lotta wow.
I'll have a side of pain, please.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I'll be the first to admit that I have some issues.
I've been through some hard stuff - it changed me.
Often, I have a hard time just letting go and having fun.
But I have never hurt anyone physically or emotionally.
I am a good man, I have dedicated my life to helping others.
My only crime is that I have poor self-esteem.
I think I came out pretty good, considering.

With her friends, I am viewed as a stiff corporate type. (I know, I hear the comments.)
But that's not it - - if you thank that's all there is, you don't know me at all.
I choose to play a supporting role in life. I help the people that I love to become stars.
It makes me feel really good to see them having fun and enjoying themselves.
I take care of people. Even people that hate me. I try to always do good and be better.

Lately, it feels like I am being tried and convicted in the court of personal opinion.
People who don't know me (and haven't really taken the time to try) are judging me.
They don't have the moral courage to say anything to me; instead, they're telling Eve.
According to her, they say I am bad for her, dangerous, downer, voodoo, whatever.

She tells me that other people's opinions do not affect her, but it clearly bothers her.
If the goal was to divide the two of us, it seems to be having the desired effect.
She is so fearful about making the wrong choice, that she needs the opinions of others.
I am so worried about making a good impression, that I can't even relax around her friends.

What are these people trying to accomplish? Why can't they just be supportive?
If ANY two people find each other in this frakkin' world, we should ALL celebrate!

I have never experienced this sort of ostracism and prejudice before.
Condemned by people standing on the sidelines, in the shadows.
These people smile to my face and then stab me in the back. Cowards.

I will not return the favor. I have my honor.
I will not stoop to that level.

My fear, in this scenario, is that she will trust their opinions (about me),
more than she trusts her own experience, her own observation, her own intuition.

And that thought makes me very sad, because I'm nottrying to win a popular vote,
and I probably have no chance to do so (especially with this group of people).

I'm just a real person (with flaws) in love with another real person.

If I am going to be judged - - if that is how it has to be,
then I want it to be from her.
She has the right. Only her.
At least she took the time to get to know me first.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Random thoughts banging around in my head tonight:

First appointment 7am, last one 7pm = busy day tomorrow. It takes a while to really come together again, but we're getting a little closer each time. I bought two books today; and I'm actually going to read one of them. My honey got a solid job interview (yaaaay!). She is / I am / we are blessed. If the past couple of weeks has taught me anything, it is the importance of friends in my life. I really like making new friends. I think I'm going to start doing a lot more of that. Money is only a conduit to something else that you want; focus on the end result, and the money will come. What's wrong with wanting to run a jet ski rental shop? I never thought I'd live to be this old. Down to 225 lbs and still losing weight. nothing fits anymore, everything is baggy. Almost time to buy some new clothes. How would I look with blonde streaks? I look around at the things that I have collected, and I don't want any of them. I want to get rid of everything and start over. I wish I had more money sometimes. Once, when I was in the Army, a girl wrote me a song. I don't care whether you're good or bad; I love the person underneath. Why do I feel so lonely sometimes? I have absolutely no talent at all for picking out gifts; this is a new phenomenon; I used to be pretty good at it. No matter what people say, I am actually pretty happy with my job, and I'm good at it. Magic is all around us; magic is inside us; all we have to do is believe, and "blink", it becomes reality. (Powerful stuff). I can't make you like me any more than you already do. Is she wonderful simply because she is changing, or is she changing into something simply wonderful? I do love her; she is the living combination of all events in my life up to now. Better to create or better to exist? Hmmm. My son is almost grown. Sleep is the antidote for sad. <goodnight>

She's always a woman

Click here to watch music-video on YouTube

She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child
But she's always a woman to me

She can lead you to love
She can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth
But she'll never believe you
And she'll take what you'll give her as long as it's free
Yeah, she steals like a thief
But she's always a woman to me

Oh, she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She's ahead of her time
Oh, and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

She will promise you more
Than the Garden of Eden
Then she'll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you're bleedin'
But she'll bring out the best
And the worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself
Cause she's always a woman to me



She is frequently kind
And she's suddenly cruel
She can do as she pleases
She's nobody's fool
But she can't be convicted
She's earned her degree
And the most she will do
Is throw shadows at you
But she's always a woman to me


(Song and Lyrics by Billy Joel, 1977 from "The Stranger")

Monday, June 9, 2008

Marco (Polo?)

The party was a tremendous success. We both had a lot of fun.

Clearly, each of us is capable of functioning (quite well) as individuals.
We have successfully proven that we don't really NEED each other.
We can do things separately, and we won't self-destruct or fall apart.
This relationship has survived multiple tests over a short period of time.
I should be thrilled that everything turned out so well.

Q: "So why am I feeling this way - - what more could I possibly want"?
A: "I'm still wanting a friend and partner to do things with."

Saturday, June 7, 2008


We all went to a big party last night.
In the past I've been so afraid of offending her (or her friends).
That I've ended up panicked and "clingy" and needy.
And therefore, ended up offending both her and her friends.

This time I came with a friend of my own (thank you, Keith)
I asked for and got some terrific hugs (thank you, Jen, Mary, Moon and Kat)
And I did okay. I didn't obsess about her. I had fun. (She did too; she told me).
I got to know a little more about her friends, and showed them a little more of me.

It felt nice to be supportive. It felt nice to be part of a wonderful day for her.
It also felt nice to be appreciated for my good quaities. (I do have one or two).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Giving Up Gracefully

The constant stress has taken it's toll.
I need to lighten my load before I fall apart.
Finally got a relief shift to take care of my boys.
Maybe there is a little bit of mercy left in God.

Don't want to screw up things with Eve.
Don't want to lose my awesome job either.
Need to step back and take care of myself.
Otherwise, there won't be anything worth saving.

Don't need a life-raft; I can make my way to the shore.
Just want to come out of the water.
Just need some rest before I go back.
So tired.

Monday, June 2, 2008

How Givers Become Takers

To: All Men Who Have Feelings and Emotions
Re: Extremely Important Message

Some of you may have already discovered the things I am about to tell you, but many have not. I didn't figure it out until very recently, and my ignorance could very well mean that I have ruined my relationship. The love that I waited for all my life is slipping away, and it might be too late.

Men: Learn from my mistake. Read This Message. Apply it to Yourselves.

Question 1 - Do any of these sentences apply to you?
- I take better care of other people than I do myself.
- I do not love myself. In fact, I'm not even sure if I really even like myself.
- I'm tough on myself. I don't spend much time on myself. Sometimes I mistreat myself.
- I do not believe in myself. I'm a lot more insecure than people might know.
- If there is a God, I don't believe that God really loves me.

Question 2 - Do you consider yourself to be a "giver"?
Question 3 - Are you in a loving relationship?

Ready for the twist?
(Spin this page counter-clockwise 180 degrees)

From HER perspective, I am (and you are) "emotionally needy".
In other words, my current partner sees me as a "taker" and NOT a "giver".

Right now, you're saying to yourself "That's not me - I don't take anything for myself - I give it ALL away to other people. In fact, I take nothing for myself. I give and give and give. I am a giver, not a taker." 

Hmmm - if you're at all like me, you probably are a generous and giving person. In fact, you probably give it ALL away. Every last ounce. All of your love, your energy, your time, your money, everything - you give it all away, until there's nothing left. No doubt, your partner receives the majority of that "giving", so you probably feel confident that she will view you as a "giver" instead of a "taker".

** WRONG! ** Read that last paragraph again. Who did you leave out? (Hint: did you save enough for yourself?)

"That's selfish. I don't really need anything for me. I give until there's no more to give."

Let me spell it out for you, Einstein. If you give it ALL away, and you aren't leaving anything for yourself, then you are a "taker" from HER perspective.

That's right. You can't survive without love, so where is it going to come from? Well, if you are like a lot of men, you are receiving it from someone else. If that other person is your partner, then they are going to consider you a "taker". They may not tell you that, but they definitely think it, and let me tell you, they do not like it. Some of them will put up with it for a while, but they will inevitably learn to resent the situation, and little by little, they will learn to resent you.

Hey - try this on for size:

The two of you go to a social event, you find yourself feeling left out, abandoned, forgotten. You become clingy and whiney and needy. She seems to be having a lot of fun, but you are absolutely miserable. What do you do? Maybe you sulk in a corner. Maybe you drown it in alcohol. You're hurting, and you can't understand why it hurts so much. Maybe you're like me; you think you're being an emotionally responsible person by "talking about" the things that make you feel bad or hurt.

** WRONG! ** Do not do this !!!

First of all, stop thinking of yourself as a giver in the relationship. At this point, you are not a giver at all. If you don't have enough love to sustain yourself, then you are totally dependent on HER. When you are totally dependent on her, you are seen as a "taker".

Here's the "why" of why it hurts so much - from my own experience.

All of the answers in question #1 are TRUE for me. In other words, I have created a situation where my only source of love, and significance, and tenderness comes from other human beings (not even God gives me comfort. My fault, not his).

Just like a child, I am entirely dependent on on other people's generosity when it comes to love. I try to earn their love, by being cute, or clever, or hard-working: whatever it takes to get love the love I need; the love I crave. Yes, as strange as it seems, "I", a man who considers himself to be a very selfless "giver" - am totally and entirely dependent on other people for the single most important thing in life -- love. Without other people, I have no love. And without love, I die.

When I'm in a relationship, I look to my partner as being my sole "provider of love". I no longer worry about having to rely on other people's generosity. After all, since we're in a relationship, we give to each other, right? And it works out that way, too. As long as we're alone together, giving freely to each other, everything is wonderful.

Wonderful, right up to the point, where she turns her attention to other people, and then I start to feel left out. When my only source of love is missing, even for a little while, I panic. The fear of losing her - paranoia, really - takes over my brain. I turn into a whiney, needy, clingy, spineless dope - I rush to be by her side, at every function, in every conversation - I fall apart - at the worst possible moment - right in front of all her friends. So, what happens? Her friends think of me as a no-good taker. They don't see any of the good times. They see me at my weakest, at my worst. They rush in to protect her. They pull her away from me. I am left alone again. A victim of my own frailty.

Is this you too?
Well hang on - there is hope - keep reading.

Here is a recap of the problem:

Go back and look at your answers to question #1.

What is the common theme? Well, men like us don't love ourselves. Sure, we've all heard that if you don't love yourself, you can't love anyone else, but we dismissed those sayings because we didn't believe them. (Those words weren't directed toward people like us, right? Just a bunch of psychological mumbo-jumbo for people who want to cry about their childhood) - - So, we don't love ourselves, which means that we aren't generating a whole lot of extra love, but we give away whatever we have, and we don't save anything for ourselves, and we aren't budgeting enough for our own survival, so we become takers, from the people that we love most, because everyone needs love to survive, and when we are in survival mode, we panic.

Hitting close to home?

Here is the solution:

(1) Start loving yourself. You are giving love away to other people, but you are not giving any to yourself. C'mon. It's really not too hard to start loving yourself. First of all, stop trying to kill yourself with cigarettes and alcohol. Start eating better. Stop breaking your back at work all the time. Give yourself time to sleep. Start working out. Maybe (gasp!) even buy yourself something - something nice - something that isn't really intended for someone else. {I'll buy this screwdriver, so I can fix the basement doors. I'll buy this shirt, because she would like the way it looks on me. = "Not Just For You"}.

(2) If you really start to love yourself, then you won't be terrified of being without love. In fact, you will ALWAYS have love. Then, if you feel like your partner isn't paying attention to you, you won't go into a "panic", You'll know deep in your heart that no matter what happens, you will never run out of love, so you will not die for lack of love. What's that? Yes, you can actually survive on your own! You are no longer dependent on "doing things" to get love. You are no longer begging other people to fill a void that you created. You want to talk about self-reliance and how liberating that can be? That's the ultimate freedom, pal. Imagine it. You have an endless supply of love, forever. You can never run out.

(3) If you love yourself, then you'll actually be a much better partner. Why? Well, first, you'll stop being so frakkin' needy. When you become emotionally self-sufficient, you will no longer be completely dependent on her, and she won't feel like you're always draining her. In fact, you will both be liberated from the deadly effects of "lack of love syndrome". Plus, when you spend a little bit of that love on yourself, you'll actually start generating MORE love to share with other people, including - ta-da - your partner! Imagine having that much love. Wow.

Like I said, this has been a hard lesson for me - probably the hardest yet.
I just figured it out, and I'm already starting to work on it.

It took a while to put all the pieces together.
Smoking, lack of sleep, overworking myself, poor food choices, etc. etc.
Since I obviously don't love myself, I have no reserve capacity (for ME).
No reserve means I can't survive (even for a day) without her love.
And that makes me needy. And that makes me a taker. That pushes her away.
But in everything else in life, I am a giver. The taker part doesn't fit.
So it's time for me to change. Time to fix this.

Honestly, it may be too late for me to salvage my relationship, to redeem myself.
But if I ever hope to find a real and lasting love, someone that will stay by my side.
I have to learn to love myself  FIRST.

Wow - that sounds kinda fruity and cliche', huh?
But it's absolutely true, I swear.

Look out - Doug's going to change again!
I can't change anyone else. I can only change myself.
I always strive to be better. It's hard sometimes.
But - this change is going to be spectacular!
I will finally have the love I need - the love I deserve.
I will no longer be a "taker". I will be self-sufficient, a "giver" in all things!
I will finally be able to fly. Hey - maybe we'll both have wings!

Last one in the Cocoon is a rotten egg!!