Jake’s letter.

Hi Sean

I like your blog and find myself reading it two or three times a week. I really find it interesting that people feel so comfortable being so open with a total stranger, so I am trying it myself.

I think I have an eating disorder or something. I was an overweight kid (my mom bought whatever snack was cheapest-needless to say it was usually twinkies or little debbie) and really didn’t serve healthy meals. Once I started getting made fun of for being overweight, I became self conscious about working out.

So years ago, after a painful breakup, I decided to do something about my weight. I started working out, eating healthy, and watching my portions, and it worked-the ponds slid right off. I looked fantastic. Unfortunately, it’s consumed my life. I am always weighing my food portions to make sure I always eat the right amount, I will drive miles out of the way to get the right foods that I’ve planned to eat, and it’s killed my social life because I don’t drink or eat any restaurant foods, so I feel strange just sitting there with my friends all having a good time. I feel as if they’re just humoring me by having me there, while knowing I can’t eat their food. I am getting depressed.

What do I do? I love how I look, but hate how I feel.

Jake

Jake, have you heard of BDD? Body Dismorphic Disorder is still a rare (but becoming more common) disease in which the person is “hyper critical” of their appearance. People with this disorder are usually already attractive individuals, but feel as if there are parts of their body that are grossly unattractive. The reason I ask if you’ve heard of it, is that you’ve explained some of the symptoms, which are:
1 Anxiety- You drive miles out of the way to pick up foods for your plan? Do you get anxious if you can’t strictly follow this plan? All healthy plans give room for relaxed eating.

2 Obsessive thoughts about appearance- you used the phrase “LOOKED fantastic” as if you no longer look fantastic..

3 Feeling self conscious in social settings- you’d mentioned your friends mocking you for not eating their food.

4 Depression- You said flat out that this behavior was making you depressed.

I’d talk with a therapist to see if they make the same connection. If so, there are treatments available and most include raising the serotonin level in your brain through medication.

This is a dangerous disorder, so take my advice to see a therapist seriously. Good luck.

Sean

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L’s letter

L (didn’t list her full name) wrote:

I read your piece on adopted people in relationships and thought it was brilliant. It was just like you were talking about me. I had spent my whole life in bad relationships and had issues with my self-esteem as a result of being adopted. I just seemed to bring people into my relationships that either take advantage of me, keep me around and only treat me well when they want to, and have had impossible long distance relationships. I just couldn’t get it right. Whenever I’d fall in love, it was filled with drama. After a particularly bad breakup, someone suggested I see a therapist. After some time, I did go to a therapist and got my life back in order. It was a great help and really helped me understand WHY I was doing what I was.

I just wanted to pass that along, since you may have other adopted people reading this blog. Therapy helps more than you can ever imagine. And thank you Sean, for writing such a great piece.

L

You know L, I was just talking with my friend Ann about this the other day and she shared an excerpt from a book with me. It’s by Kasey Hamner and it’s called “Whose Child?” Have you read this book? Here is the excerpt:

“…I always attracted people in my life who in effect “abandoned” me with their behavior. They did this in many ways such as insulting me, using me, and disrespecting me. It disturbed me to know that I let them do this. I realize now I let these things happen. After all, being alone is a much safer place to be, because for me, love ultimately means abandonment of the little girl inside…. I had unconsciously put myself into situations with men that repeated the pain of separation. I entered willingly into unhealthy relationships with emotionally unavailable men…”

I am not adopted, but I know many people that are, and from what I know, many have been in similar situations. I think therapy is a good choice for anyone facing lasting issues in their life.

Thank you for writing.

Sean

Renee’s letter..

Renee wrote:

You’re a single dad and I can appreciate that, but I have to ask, how is the relationship between you and your daughter’s mother? I am a single parent and would like to think I don’t have drama, but the truth is, there is still lots to go around.

Renee

Thanks for writing Renee. My daughter’s mother and I get along just fine. We have our stubborn moments and disagreements, but we both do what we can to be friends with each other as well as parents. We share parenting advice, educational news, praises and punishments. All in all it’s a good situation. She is remarried to a good guy who also has kids so my daughter’s mother’s hands are definitely full and I think she does a great job. So does her husband for that matter.

In my view, if you have kids and have broken up for the benefit of the children, there should be NO drama. That is why you broke up after all, right? If you tried what you could and the relationship didn’t work, then be friends. Don’t do the “friends with benefits” thing, don’t interfere with any relationships, don’t mix feelings, just let it end..and be friends. Your kids deserve nothing but the best, and you owe it to them to give them that.

Sean

Editorial

I have been getting an increasing number of emails stating they are giving up on ever finding love because either they’ve had bad luck or can’t seem to find the person they feel is out there.

My usual questions to them are as follows:
1) Why are you looking so hard?
2) How many people have your turned away?

When someone says they are looking “SO hard” for love, I equate it to waltzing in the middle of I94 during rush hour. It’s a scary thing putting yourself out there. You probably won’t even make it out without being hurt..badly. The same thing is true with love. On the interstate, if you see them and they see you, the cars will swerve to avoid you, but eventually you’ll get hit when you least expect it. The same goes for love. If people see the desperation in wanting love, they’ll steer clear, but if you just live your life, you’ll find love when it hits you.

As I visit different places in this city, I see love everywhere. Sometimes it’s between two people that appear to be polar opposites. They’re what I call the WTF couple-the couple that people look and think “WTF? Why are they together?” It doesn’t matter why. They are so in love that the world seems to spin around them. If you don’t give someone a chance to get to know you, YOU are denying yourself a chance at a meaningful connection.

In every street, every building, every shadow, and every heart there is love. Love comes in every shape and size, every race and every culture. Open your eyes and realize that there are thousands of people, maybe even millions that deserve your love..and that may give you love in return. Get out there and waltz.

(P.s. Don’t waltz in I94 for real. That’s just crazy)

More strange questions..

From time to time, my inbox is filled with strange questions. With some, it only requires a short answer and the others I can’t decide if people are seriously asking them or not, so I save them up and answer them in bulk.
Here is Round 2:

Have you ever worn a dress?

Yes. Once for a photo scavenger hunt, and once for a school program. The second time was when being a twin really sucks.

What is your progress on the workout?

I am still working out on a 3-4 day a week routine, my waist is smaller than it was in high school, and I think I am really beginning to like my progress. My arms have gotten bigger and my whole body has toned up. It’s been a good transformation.

Maybe it’s just me, but is anyone else afraid of women with hairy arms? It seems that more and more stars have them.

Uh, not afraid, but I don’t like a ton of it.. How hairy are we talking? Just a little or like Chewbacca’s sister?

Will you come with me to Europe?

No. The last thing I need is to be drugged and found ass-up in an alley in Brussels.

If I drink nothing but water and eat only lettuce and apples, will I lose weight fast?
Yes! And if you do it, you’ll also probably get sick and you may die! Don’t do it!

I have this raised rash on my inner thigh. What do you think it is?
WOAH! Nope. Not diagnosing physical stuff. Go to the doctor and hope to God it isn’t syphillis or something.

Why don’t you post more pictures of yourself?
If it’s pictures you want, I will send you a facebook link. The blog pictures are more to show where I have gone and what I have done, not to show me in these places. I waste enough time uploading to my facebook and photobucket.

What states have you been to?
I have been to 36 states. I won’t list them all because they know who they are.

My friends think I am crazy but I judge guys by the type of car they drive. The more expensive it is, the better the relationship will be. I like financial security.

I don’t think you’re crazy..I think you’re a superficial idiot.

I was raised Catholic but have found that I’ve developed my own religious views over the years. My mom and dad really make me feel guilty about it. What do you think of religion?

I think religion is not as concrete in it’s beliefs as it was in the past. People out there have taken it to new extremes and others have developed their own views. Relgion, in my opinion, should be just that..your own personal beliefs, not an extremist view that excludes other people or makes others feel bad for believing something different. Your parents are doing what they know. Talk with them and see what you can do about opening their eyes.

I am afraid to wear deodorant. I hear it makes you get cancer. Any tips?

Yes. Wear deodorant. Without it, you’ll stink. Please for the love of God, wear it. The cancer scare is not proven and seems like complete BS.

My boyfriend wants to give me an “Angry Walrus”. Do you know what that is? Is it sexual? Is it good?
Yes, I know what it is. Yes, it is sexual, NO it is NOT good. DON’T do it.

What is your shoe size?

13

Hollie’s letter pt 2

I got the responses after work and have been putting together a response. Sorry for the delay, it’s been a work filled weekend. Here we go..

1. Are you adopted? Yes I am. How did you know?

2. What is your family life like? Parents married, one brother also adopted. Parents do well. We grew up in a small town and have never moved. I now live in a larger city though. I had to branch out.

3. Do you feel you have self esteem issues? No, but I am self conscious about parts of my body. I was anorexic growing up for a few years.

4. What were your former relationships like? They were all okay, I guess. I dated kind of late, first bf was in college. I’ve had three since then. The last one was a long and painful downward spiral. Glad to be out.

5. Why do you feel cheesy using online dating services? I just don’t know anyone that uses it and I think that my friends would think poorly of me if they knew I was meeting people online. I don’t know. You said more and more people are using it? Is it really that common?

Hollie

Statistics show (and there is also little research to argue against this) that adopted children usually have issues with self-esteem. Children’s perceptions of their adoption are usually self-centered and as a result, some adopted children have a negative self-image at their core. It’s almost as if they feel there was something wrong with them. There isn’t! You are a wonderful human being.

Your home life sounds like the typical American family. You say you had to branch out. Were you looking for something? Perhaps to find yourself?

The fact that you were or are self-conscious about parts of your body and (I assume) beat anorexia, also shows that you had some self-esteem issues and were putting too much value in what other people think of you.

Your long and downward spiral lasted for years, I am guessing and you did what you could to get out, but you went back again and again until you finally wised up and ended things for good. If I am right, fine, if not, email me back and we’ll discuss this more. Were you with him for the financial stability he provided? Were you with him because his mood swings and temper issues (I am drawing conclusions from how you’ve “said” what you’ve “said”) gave you some sort of stronger father figure to place yourself with? I am glad you’re out of it.

You really do put too much emphasis on what people think of you. Maybe you feel lost at times, like you haven’t found yourself. Your self-image appears to me to be made up of what your friends think of you, rather than who you want to be. I recommend seeing a therapist for all of these issues. It seems to me that you aren’t able to be honest with yourself about who YOU are. Until that happens, you won’t be happy.

If you keep dating while in therapy, do me a favor. Don’t have anyone lie for you. It’s a hard thing to deal with for both people, but it’s made even harder when the guy you’re dating is busted in a lie. Be honest with them and let them know you’re still getting to understand the world of online dating.

And, finally, yes. TONS of people use it. Millions of us use it. It’s a social norm now. Read my past blogs. I’ve talked about it not too long ago.

Sean

Hollie’s letter pt 1

Earlier today, Hollie wrote:

I have a problem. I am on an internet dating site. Okay, I am on Match. I really love it and it’s brought some amazing people into my life, but as quickly as they’ve entered, they’ve been scared off. I am absolutely terrified of people finding out I am using the internet to date. I am so scared of people finding out that I lie to my friends and family and I make the men lie too. It just makes me feel cheesy if people know that’s how we met. Most take it in stride at first, but get upset and refuse to lie anymore, so I move on..without them.

Help! I don’t want to lose any more good people.

P.S. Your last two advice letters were AWESOME.

Hollie (p.s.s. also not my real name)

Well Hollie, I am glad you thought my advice to them was great because I am about to lay into you the same way. You need to grow up. Internet dating is pretty commonplace in this day and age and the fact that you feel “cheesy” doing it is one thing, but lying and asking others to lie too is a different story. It seems to me that you may place WAY too much value in what people think of you. I have a few questions for you, and I’d like you to respond. I’ll post them and the second half of my response to you.

1. Are you adopted?

2. What is your family life like?

3. Do you feel you have self esteem issues?

4. What were your former relationships like?

5. Why do you feel cheesy using online dating services?

Sean

Album review numero dos

I am a fan of punk music, and have been for my entire listening experience. Yeah, yeah, the Ramones, Pixies, Sex Pistols, and Descendants all come to mind when I mention punk (or they should), but that’s not my style. My punk favorites are bands such as: The Maine, Yellowcard, Dashboard Confessional, Get Up Kids, and many more.

Recently, I’ve been finding punk covers of pop, hip hop and R&B songs, and finally discovered where most of them are coming from. Punk Goes Crunk is the name of the album. It has covers of artists like Akon, Notorious BIG, Dr Dre and Tupac, and Outkast.

The cover of Akon’s “I Wanna Love You” is MUCH better than the original Akon version (mainly because it is in more than three different notes. Akon is a bit limited), while the cover of “California Love” provides a different attitude to the rap classic. Finally the cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” is true to the original, but adds some much needed guitar to the song. Awesome stuff.

A few songs that aren’t on the album that are worth checking out are:

“Love in This Club” covered by Minneapolis’s own Represent!

“Poker Face” covered by Daughtry

“All My Life” covered by Let’s Get It

and another Akon cover..

“Don’t Matter” covered by Phone Calls From Home.

If you aren’t a fan of covers, you’re missing out. These are all awesome.

Album review numero uno.

Fall is my favorite season. It a time when, as Dashboard Confessional said, “another sunsoaked season fades away”. Maybe it’s the fact that so many adventures are ending and new ones are just beginning, but it’s the season that really sets me afire.

Every year, there seems to be an album that is released that becomes the perfect soundtrack for the season. This year it’s from Imogen Heap. Her album Ellipse hits stores August 25th, and is absolutely THE autumn soundtrack.

If you don’t remember the name, you may remember her song “Hide and Seek”. Not only have I referenced it in a past blog, but it’s also been on the O.C and a bunch of other shows.

Ellipse is a step up from the other albums and provides an emotional look into relationships gained and lost, learning from mistakes, and self-realization.

On “First Train Home”, the lyrics tell a story of time lost in a relationship of dead ends and the yearning to get back to the “home” she loves. Not only is the song chock full of meaningful lyrics, but the music and vocals are ripe with emotion.

Anyway, check out her album, Ellipse..and for that matter, check out her old stuff too.

Backlash from Lisa

Lisa wrote:

You were kind of a Dick to Jenny. Not all guys that are nice aren’t hot. My boyfriend is totally not hot, but I like him. Jenny’s just having troubles finding the best of both worlds. What’s wrong with wanting a hot guy who will stick around?

Lisa

Well Lisa, if you meant I was a Dick, as in a man named Richard who likes to go by a shortened version of his name, then I would disagree. However, if you meant I was a dick, as if to mean I was penis-like in my response, I would agree. I am a guy..it’s easy. Jenny can have the best of both worlds, but if looks or money are your first priorities, you will be let down every time. Everyone wants attraction, but it shouldn’t be the sole reason you’re with someone. You said you’re in “like” with your boyfriend and he’s not hot, so why are you with him? Chances are it’s because there is something more.

Looks fade, financial security is always jeopardized, and the only thing we have to fall back on is ourselves. Find a deeper meaning to a relationship. If you’ve ever broken up with someone for not being hot enough or rich enough, you deserve whatever pot of steaming crap you fall in to…BUT learn from it and grow as a person. Get out of that situation and move on.

Again, not all guys with six packs are dickish and vain bastards. I know many that aren’t, but you won’t find them flaunting their body or money. Good guys don’t do that. Good guys are the ones getting a good night’s sleep while the bad guys are out soiling the sheets of women that are looking for the “good guy.”

Sean

P.S. You owe your boyfriend an apology.