Monday, December 31, 2012


The Ghosts of Next Year

The Ghosts of Next Year

Previously: The Jellyfish 4-Ever.

Natalie Eve Garrett is an artist who likes surprises. Prints of her paintings are for sale here (and some paintings are available, too).

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First off: This is my favorite Animal Surprise painting yet! :)

In other news, can this be an afternoon open thread? Because I have something to discuss...

I just found out a few weeks ago that one of my ex-boyfriends (really, THE ex-boyfriend of all my exes, as in the first love that broke my heart once and then stomped all over it a second time for good measure) got engaged last month... to an old friend, no less.

I am in a LTR and it's been years since I've seen this guy, but... I am still feeling surprisingly stung by it? Not in a I-want-him-back way, but more in a you-don't-deserve-happiness-so-why-do-you-get-any way (this guy cheated on and emotionally abused me, for the record).

I just don't really know what to do with my feelings, I guess. Advice? Words of cheer? I could really use any of your ideas and thoughts.

Lily Rowan

@Blondsak Yes please let's Open Thread!

All of those feeling seem normal and fair to me. I think all you can really do is just have them....They won't last, I bet.



I agree with Lily Rowan. Your feelings will crop up, like a rake in the grass... unexpected and then, crap, ya gotta deal it.

Have you had general knowledge of his life since you two parted ways? Or was this news the first news in a long while?

Hugs and tea and cocoa and all manner of comforting things in mugs!!

Oh, squiggles

@Blondsak My advice? Don't think about it too much. Try to concentrate on the things in your life that you are really happy/excited about. Dwelling on old hurts doesn't do much to help us be happy in the present.


@Blondsak ahhhh, I have so been there, and I know exactly what you mean. It's a bit like, they couldn't be nice to you, so why don't their good-life privileges get revoked? At least until you get yours. And the thing is you can't just casually mention it to anyone because it makes you sound bad (when you are oh so over it, just WHY don't people get that he is Not Nice?! etc).

In my situation I basically had to do some emotional work to be ok. Can you talk to a trusted friend (not part of that circle), a family member, a counsellor?

A written exercise I do is to keep asking myself what I feel and why until it's all out. (Eg I feel angry, because I trusted my friend.) then for each statement you ask yourself if it something you can change or do you have to accept it. If you can take any actions to fix the situation or feel better, write them here.

You don't mention if you are still in contact with either of them. If not, great. If you are, step up kindly, even if you are kind of grinding your teeth. Don't gush, just if you see them out and you feel socially obliged to say hello, say 'hey, I heard something nice/heard you guys got engaged, congratulations' and then let someone else take over asking details as you gracefully exit to the bathroom or to chat to someone else across the room.

Finally the other good thing to do is forgiveness meditations. You can forgive yourself for feeling whatever, you can forgive them for being happy. Ultimately you're a good person learning hard lessons (and while you can send love to all in the universe you can probably feel a teeny bit smug you are not marrying a cheater who will probably find marriage tough?). Also, think of some reasons to be grateful for your own life. It might sting that bit extra if you want to get married yourself, but admitting this helps the sting. (If it's true!)

Sending you big hugs because this is a funny one to navigate. The first time this happened to me (albeit with emotional cheating) was 8 years ago when I was 23 and I remember feeling angry because I thought I was too young to deal with that crap. Almost every single one of my exes since then has married after being with me, so I have a lot of practice being ok with this! The key is to ask yourself what are you truly happy or unhappy about in your own life.


@sevanetta Thanks for the advice, everyone.

I have had general knowledge of the ex and fiancee for a few years now. Not in a daily I-stalk-you-on-fb way (and no, none of us are fb friends), but in a peripheral call-a-mutual-friend-every-few-months-and-their-names-pop-up-sometimes way. It probably also doesn't really help that my LTR is with a guy who I met through the ex (he also doesn't interact with either of them in any meaningful ways, though he hasn't taken it as far as I did by breaking off all contact entirely, not having the history I have). Also, many of my closest friends are all still connected to them somehow and at least two or three will probably be asked to be in the wedding party, so I figure it's inevitable that I will learn wedding details no matter how hard I try to stay away from them (here's hoping the wedding is years away yet!).

As @sevanetta mentioned, there is definitely a lot of resentment and feelings of "I don't want you to be happy until I get mine." I think talking to someone entirely unrelated to the situation would be good, though I'm not sure who that could be at this point (at least who it could be that would not involve payment. I would love to start seeing a therapist but I am a very poor twenty-something who can definitely not afford it). In any case, I will make a list of people and try to figure out who would be best to reach out to.

Thanks again everyone, you all are the best!


@Blondsak Two things that I try to remember:

1: One of our main functions in life is to feel things. When life moves around and we are surprised by it, we have feelings. Having feelings is part of the proof of being alive.

2: If your emotions are functioning normally, most feelings will change, sometimes fairly swiftly. So these icky feelings you have about your ex will shift and change and be replaced by other feelings about other things, in time.

Sometimes it's just a matter of patience.

Lily Rowan

@Blondsak If you live near any universities, there are often cheap sessions to be had with therapist trainees, not to mention other kinds of sliding-scale community resources that might be available. Which is not to say that a good talk with a friend or family member wouldn't also help!

Sella Turcica

@Lily Rowan What Lily said. Talk about it with someone unconnected if you can. Your friends may know too much about it and someone with training (depending on their technique) may give you homework to help you move past it. And be nice to yourself. All that psychobabble about loving yourself is not bull. Do what you need to to feel good about yourself and restore yourself, whether that's church or exercise or nail art.
Sorry this sucks for you now. This too shall pass.


@Blondsak Everyone had such nice thoughts! Two further things I would suggest: 1 that since you said you do hear about them occasionally, don't get drawn into conversation about x or y details of the wedding. Just smile and nod. The second is, maybe you could use a few more friends who are unconnected to this guy? Might be time to take up a dance class or join a hiking group - if you are in your 20s it's still a great time to make some new friends. Check back in to the hairpin as well, you know pinners have always got your back!


@Blondsak Yes to an OT! I came to the Pin looking for an OT and am not seeing one around. Miss you guys

Feelings are not truth, and all you can do is open yourself and let them come and they will go. You don't have to know anything right now, but you will definitely know much more with time. This discomfort is just saying that you need more time, urgency means you need more time. Give yourself space, permission, and any answers to questions or confusions will really reveal themselves, I promise. Maybe you'll want to reach out to him, to open the door for the potential for resolution?

The answers I think you could be looking for is how to take care of you in this situation: what do you need, what are your boundaries, where can you say yes and where can you say no, where can you excuse yourself from the situation. You have choices.

Keep it simple.
Keep the focus on you.
Don't take it personally.

If you are really in a bind for support, I've recommended this before, but I like women's al-anon meetings.

Lila Fowler

Open Thread! The Hairpin is inspiring me to get all crunchy granola about beauty products- ACV in my hurr, coconut oil for my everything. Anything else worth trying? I use brown sugar as an exfoliant and have heard some good things about honey, but I am a wee bit worried that I am slowly turning myself into a giant target for bees...

barefoot cuntessa

@Lila Fowler Not bees. Maybe bears?

But for serious, honey is so good for all the things. I mix it with cinnamon and a little water as my morning wash. It exfoliates, brightens, and wards off breakouts. I also use honey and cinnamon as a mask in the tub, and as an over night zit treatment. Honey has really helped balance my skin in the winter, what with all the cold/hot/cold/wind seasonal BS.


@Lila Fowler I am such a hippie. But I think through it so much that it all just seems practical to me. I would never go back to shampoo. Though I have been spoiling myself with some aveda products recently, yum.

Honey is great added to your acv solution. Softens, and is good for hard water. I bet it's awesome in a bath. Baking soda is the best exfoliant. So gentle but hardcore. Your face will glow. Just add a 1/2 tsp to your cleanser in your hand.


My contribution to end of year open thread: Did anyone else read the short story from October that was tweeted as the fiction long read of the year? The pre-script is so sad, and I found the story really surprisingly engaging.


@vunder I remember reading about Marina Keegan in NPR months before she died, and again when they posted about her untimely death in May. She definitely had a lot left to share with the world. I am hopeful that her parents will release more of her work in a posthumous collection someday. Thanks for linking to this, I am excited to read it.

polka dots vs stripes

@vunder omg yes I read that and wow, it was so good.


That painting is gorgeous!

I am coming to the end of nearly a week with my boyfriend, which has been lovely (three nights at his parents' house - they were away - three nights at his flat. He had also been at mine for Christmas). He dug out his old Age of Empires disc when I reminisced about it, and I had a great deal of fun playing it! We have also been watching lots of DVDs. We went on our annual post-Christmas bookshopping trip in Lodnon today (Foyles and Waterstones Piccadilly), which was nice, but I am very annoyed because Waterstones was, according to the website, open until 10pm, and actually closed at 5pm. We arrived at about 4.45. (The shop assistant who told me they were closing just dismissively said, "Not on New Year's Eve!" when I mentioned the website, as if I was an idiot who didn't understand dates.) My boyfriend and I have each been insufferable and written a letter/email to the manager pointing out the WEBSITE OF LIES. I was extra insufferable and sent it from my Oxford email address, for the extra status. Oh god, I am awful.



Best pun ever.

DIY open thread? Great.

How do you get over HATE-RAGING at a juicebox you dated a year ago who is just always THERE. I shat in my plate (I know, I know), so I have to deal with him every now and then.
But, it's been a year! When do I magically grow up and become a wise lady? I bet by now there is a blood clot in the shape of his face swimming in my veins.


@Best pun ever. Cultivate an awareness of his human frailty.


@Best pun ever. Assuming that it's impossible to avoid him, I'd suggest tuning him out. Wear headphones when he'll be nearby and listen to some calming shit. Think things like "you don't deserve anymore space in my brain" and then actively think about something else that you like. An imaginary dream vacation or something elaborate like that.

I'm also big on letting things go by rituals, so maybe fill a glass with water and then dump it out (which feels goofy, but works for me) and then whenever you think of him remember that you've already moved on and dumped out that glass of water/feelings. If you're angry, it's worth acknowledging that you have good reasons to have been angry, but it's not productive anymore, so it's time to let it go.

barefoot cuntessa

@Best pun ever.

Honestly, most of the time I do the Kids in the Hall "I am crushing your head" skit in my brain. It makes me laugh and its really hard to hate-rage when you're laughing.


@Best pun ever. You can use the stop sign method... Imagine a big stop sign when you recognize you are raging and use it as a cue to think about something you like. Or you can use my version of the stop sign method, which is to imagine the person's face, then your fist ever so gracefully smashing their face into a million bits. Then think about something you like.


I'm caramelizing onions. I've decided they're the secret to happiness.2013.

Lila Fowler

@laurel Yumm. Have you tried making this Onion Marmalade? So goooood


@Lila Fowler Ooo.


@laurel Nigella's Onion Pie. http://giuliageranium.blogspot.com/2008/09/nigellas-supper-onion-pie-for-tough.html. I don't eat onions anymore but I miss this perfect dinner in a fix.

barefoot cuntessa

I just really want to put it in print how grateful I am for my awesome husband. We both had a pretty shitty year. To make a long story short, it looked like we were most likely going to lose his mom to cancer and my dad to alcoholism. Both our parents were very sick and too stubborn to help themselves. He helped keep me calm, gave me the support I needed to take the lead in my family crisis, was so patient, and a clear voice of reason that kept me sane. When I thank him for all this he tells me that this is all my influence on him, that our relationship has given him the tools he needed to deal with his mom's cancer and all the delicate conversations and swift actions that need to be taken in an affective way. He's able to let go of being right and telling you how you could have avoided the problem instead of just working on making the situation better.

This guy is the best guy. I'm so happy he's mine and love him to pieces. I make a point of telling him every day.

barefoot cuntessa

@barefoot cuntessa

Oh, and! We are cautiously optimistic that his mom's tumor has shrunk significantly! And my family enjoyed a very quiet Christmas Eve that was the first sober holiday we've had in 5 years. My sister eloped on doomsday and my brother is proposing to his lovely girlfriend tonight! So good things, too!


Hey, dog-owners...I'm having an inexplicable dog issue. My dog, who is always a little anxious/high-strung, is suddenly afraid of the FLOOR in part of our apartment. Like, he won't walk across it. He will venture slowly over if there is a particularly mouth-watering treat, or if he's distracted by a game of tug, but otherwise, he'll stand there whimpering until someone comes to coax him across. It's both heartbreaking and irritating as all hell.
Anyone else ever experience this? Any ideas re: how to handle it? I've basically been playing fetch a lot, where he needs to cross said piece of floor to get the ball, but otherwise, I'm drawing a blank.


@Ophelia Is it possible the floor smells weird to him? Maybe try cleaning it super thoroughly with a non-ammonia based cleaner? Maybe a 10% bleach solution if that won't hurt your floor?

Or, maybe your floor is haunted.


@laurel Totally possible, although I'm not sure anything about it has changed? It could use a washing anyway.

Do you think baking soda + vinegar gets rid of ghosts?


@Ophelia If they don't then everything The Hairpin has told us about ghosts and how to be less filthy is a lie.


@Ophelia My parents dog is a (lovable) nutcase who has hip issues and refuses to walk on non-carpeted surfaces, but that in fact turns out to be quite handy. They put down little carpet squares and the dog stays contained in certain areas. So maybe an area rug?


@adorable-eggplant Totally possible. I could create a little "bridge"


@Ophelia Definitely a ghost.

barefoot cuntessa

I don't know if this will be helpful with the floor situation, but my folks just got their nervous pup one of those security vests. They're supposed to make them more secure and tend to diminish their neurotic behavior. It really helps with his separation anxiety and the incessant barking. At $25 it might be cheaper than a rug.


@Ophelia I had a dog like that. She never totally got over it, but she had to confront her fears every day to get from point A to point B. I think it was because it felt slippery to her. Linoleum is hard for some dogs to handle! If she ran over it, she tended to slide or fall. Poor thing. I think we just convinced her to come to us while we sat on the floor and petted her and gave her treats.


This is ridiculously beautiful and I love it a lot.


Beautiful painting. Did anyone click on the painting and read the HuffPo article? Really nice.

Angry Panda

@whateverlolawants Thank you! I did not notice the link. That was a lovely and sad read.


The things I want for 2013 are: compassionate discipline, not giving a fuck what others think of my art, serenity, freedom. But I also would really like a man who I can turn to in the middle of the night who would be happy to wake up and talk to me. I think I can talk about that here.

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