I had a blog post queued up for today that I’m really excited about, but I couldn’t send out the regularly scheduled message. I will publish it tomorrow. Today anything else seems trivial to me.
I live in Oakland, which some people say is the up-and-coming Brooklyn of the West Coast, and many people think is scary, and I think my neighborhood is marvelous because it is friendly and racially diverse in a way that no other place in the United States is that I have ever lived in or visited.
Last night I got an email from about the Ferguson ruling and then I heard the whirring helicopters overhead. The police were out to monitor the hundreds of people who started streaming by my building. Hundreds of people shut down the freeway for hours. I did not join the protests. I went to dance tango. But something in me ached. My heart.
How can we just go on with everyday life when it has become so commonplace for young people (black young people) to be killed by the police?
This morning on the radio I heard about a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland (such a cute face) who was killed by police recently at a playground because he had a toy gun. According to this Cleveland report, the shooting came “after officers responded to a 911 call about someone waving what the caller described as a ‘probably fake’ gun.”
“The case resonated across the country — in New York City, Chicago and Oakland — because the killing of young black men by police is a common feature of African-American life and a source of dread for black parents from coast to coast. This point was underscored last month in a grim report by ProPublica, showing that young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk — 21 times greater — of being shot dead by police than young white men. These statistics reflect the fact that many police officers see black men as expendable figures on the urban landscape, not quite human beings.”
I ran into an acquaintance at a cafe today. Jonathan Bender helps people with self-expression and personal transformation through reclaiming their voices. We talked about Michael Brown and Ferguson. Jonathan stayed up late making a video blog about speaking up about what matters most to us, whether that’s in conversation, on social media, in speaking, on a blog, or anywhere at all.
Jonathan’s message is: “What you say matters. What you don’t say equally matters. We can only create our world when we take responsibility for speaking up to say what we believe.”
This is true. I want to speak up more.
The way you speak up will be unique to you. What you say will be unique to you. I don’t know that you feel about this case but I assume you have deeply help beliefs about the world.
Whatever matters most to you, speaking up matters. Your voice will ripple in ways that you cannot imagine.
Cab drivers often ask me what I’m doing here in Argentina and whether I came alone. This time I decided to lie and created an imaginary husband in New York and two children who are here with me, ages 5 and 8. My cab driver was very concerned that we were not really in love because how could I be so far from my husband for a month at a time. No, love does not work that way, he said. He thought we had love in quotation marks and not real love. He thought I had an open mind but not an open heart. I could not really say a word. I was so astonished by his outpouring in reaction to my trickster story. I wanted to amuse myself with a lie.
He told me of his long-distance loves, and how he is single now and wants to come home and cook with someone. We said we would meet again if it is our destiny. I shut the door to the cab and opened the door to my apartment in Buenos Aires with takeout food, wondering what it would be like to have that imaginary husband in New York and two kids with me here, and also happy to go home in quiet and peace. In between fiction and truth, imagining other lives.
You are never alone on Quirkyalone Day. Even as you celebrate your solitude, you dance wildly alone through your bedroom in your underwear, as you wander your neighborhood, or organize a party with your best friends or significant quirkyother, you are part of a larger celebration in the quirkynation. I wish you a very happy Quirkyalone Day. I send you much love to celebrate all kinds of love, including love for yourself.
Here is a super spontaneous Quirkyalone Day poem.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I love to be
In this wild crazy life with you
TODAY, here’s how we’re celebrating . . .
We’re wishing each other a Happy Quirkyalone Day at noon–wherever you are in the world.
Back in 2011, Sara wrote a popular Modern Love column in the New York Times Sometimes, It’s Not You where she told the story of the many ways she tried to improve herself in her search for love. She felt ashamed about her lack of relationship experience in her 30s. When she finally met her husband at 39, he didn’t care. He thought he was the lucky one. She was available!
Sara got such a huge response to her essay (kind of like the huge response I got to my original quirkyalone essay) that she too developed her ideas into a book. It’s Not You is so smart, comforting, logical, readable, wise, and true.
The book is structured as a series of 27 short, delightful chapters. In each chapter, she directly addresses the negative explanations that women are told about why they are still single. (The book is aimed at women who do want a partner.) She quite handily deconstructs them and provides sane, Buddhist-inspired advice about having compassion for yourself, wherever you are.
Check out 12 of the chapters. Do these sound familiar?
You’re Too Intimidating
You’re Too Desperate
You’re Too Sad
You Need Practice
You’re Too Fabulous to Settle Down
You’re Too Picky
You Need to Be Happy Alone
You Are the Constant
You Don’t Really Want A Relationship
You Have Low Self-Esteem
You’re Too Available
You Have Issues
My story is in Chapter 23 “You’re Too Old.” I share the fear that almost stopped me from going traveling in South America when I was 36. I was afraid I would be screened out of the online dating pool when I came back and was 37. The truth has turned out to be the opposite. Doing what turns me on in life has made MANY more men ask me out on online dating sites and IRL (in real life). When I think back about all the time I wasted believing this lie “you’ll be too old,” I think, what a waste of energy! I hope Sara’s book will help millions of women learn how to tune out these fear-based messages about what’s wrong with us, so we can focus on what’s right and what we really want for our lives.
Sara Eckel and I will be collaborating to bring our shared wisdom in the future in some form yet to be determined–so stay tuned. I’m so excited to create with her. For now, I so recommend you read her book, it’s so clear and comforting, you’ll feel like you’ve met a new, wise best friend.
As a side note, later this year, I’m thinking about the idea of organizing an online monthly quirkyalone book club. If this sparks your interest to read and discuss books with other quirky souls, let me know a) if you are interested and b) what you’d like to read and discuss with others. Leave a comment on this page.
What are you doing Thursday? Wanna grab coffee at 11 am PT? You’re invited to join me and the wonderful Sue Vittner Thursday at for a Free LIVE Coffee Chat call about our growing Quirkytogether movement!
Many experts tell you the “rules” of relationships. How to be a “bitch” or the “cool girl” in order to get a guy, or how to be a manipulative “pick-up artist” to get the girl. Our idea is different. We believe that showing up as your quirky self, and letting someone get to know you as you are, is the best way to date. It’s the most vulnerable. And also the most sexy. And this is the essence of quirkytogether.
Here are four questions to explore in advance of the Thursday coffee chat call–we’ll ask these questions of ourselves and you.
–What are your limiting beliefs about dating and relationships?
–When and if you date, how do you nurture yourself through the ups and downs of dating?
–How can you show up to be your truly quirky self when dating?
–How do you not lose yourself in a relationship and stay grounded in your quirky self?
We’ll also tell you about the strategies and tools we teach in our class Quirkytogether 101 to help you stay quirky in dating and relationships.
For me, the first couple of weeks of 2014 have been emotional. I’ve learned once again that there is no way around it: if you are going to put your heart out there, you risk getting hurt. Now, that doesn’t mean that you stop putting your heart out there. To win, you’ve got to play the game.
We need to nurture ourselves. Dating as a quirkyalone (or anyone with a tender heart) requires resilience and lots of self-nurturing. It means staying attached to a vision of the relationship we really want as opposed to getting attached to someone we’re just getting to know. . .and that’s what we do in Quirkytogether 101. We build and create our own personal quirkytogether visions.
Our Quirkytogether 101 class is a weeklong online learning adventure that you can take from anywhere, and it gets started January 25. Quirkytogether 101 will help you get re-energized and passionate about yourself and love.
This class is for you if:
* You’re quirkyalone and you want to explore what being quirkytogether means for YOU
* You’ve felt stuck, or hopeless, and you need tools and inspiration to renew your belief in the possibility of a quirky love
* You want to be in a class where everyone also respects the single experience
* You want to date in an open, authentic way and deepen all of your connections, including your friends, so you have more intimacy, love, and connection in your life
* You’re interested in LAT (living apart together) and other forms of relationship where you might not completely merge or wear matching sweaters 🙂 With quirkytogether, anything is possible. You get to create and define it.
In our class, you learn how to:
* communicate your needs, quirks and desires with potential partners–and attract the right kind of date or partner for you
* let go of negative self-defeating thoughts and replace them with more open, positive ones
* get closer with people, sharing yourself more authentically and openly
In the coffee chat Thursday, we’ll get real about the ups and downs of dating, breakups, and heartbreak, and how staying clear about your quirkytogether vision can help you navigate the choppy waters of love. We hope you will join us!
Here’s a little essay that I whipped up on the plane ride home to visit my family for the holidays for the Huffington Post that I thought I would share with you as a stocking stuffer for you in your email. 🙂 Let me know what you are asking Santa for in the comments.
I write this as I fly home on the plane from California to Rhode Island. It’s one more year at home for the holidays as a fabulous single, child-free lady. Part of me feels confident about my life choices and the fact that I am single, and part of me wishes I were bringing a partner.
A third part of me wonders if I am in a state of arrested development. In my family, we still do some of the same rituals that we did as children. My mother hangs up stockings for the adult children with care. We read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas before bed on Christmas Eve. We sing Christmas carols in the car. We have watched Elf about 30 times.
For years, I felt we should stop all this childishness. We are grown-ups now. Doing these childlike rituals left me with an unsettled feeling that there should be a child listening in to storytime, and not just adult children. But then I decided, who cares?
Ambivalence can be my middle name, but sometimes, it seems best to leave the ambivalence behind and go full-on positive. Especially at the holidays. Especially while being single at the holidays.
The holidays can bring up childhood traumas and emotional angst. They can be a huge trigger for feeling lonely when you are single. I am tired of all that. My new idea is that I am back to embracing the childlike wonder of it all. I am done with the woe-is-me-I’m-single-at-the-holidays thing, and I am going back to childlike wonder.
It’s easy to lose the fun of Christmas in the criticism of commercialism and stress. Why not be silly and believe in magic? As kids, we are full of optimism and hope and lightness about all sorts of things. This is a state of being that single people — and in fact all adults — should experience more. I started to date a man who loves Christmas. He sees childlike as good. He asked me, What are you asking Santa for for Christmas? I liked the idea of asking Santa for a gift.
My friend Sue goes home to spend Christmas with her family. Her oldest sister has a family of her own, but Sue and her little sister still stay with her parents. They don’t have kids there, but Sue told me, “I still like to leave the cookies out for Santa.”
I love Sue’s approach to life. She inspires me to get rid of my ambivalence and leave out my own cookies for Santa this year. And to make my wishes known to Santa too.
P.S. Sue and I are super excited about teaching Quirkytogether 101, our class to help you create the quirkytogether relationship you really want in early 2013. And I will be teaching GetQuirky New Year’s Edition too to help spark you for the new year. Get on the early notification lists for Quirkytogether 101 and GetQuirky to get access to the super-duper early bird discounts, and look forward to getting quirky with you in 2014!
Would you like to get quirkytogether with us? My friend and fellow coach Sue Vittner and I will be teaching our online class Quirkytogether 101 in early 2014.
Our world is flooded with the joined-at-the-hip, 1 + 1 = 1 way of thinking about soul-mates and relationships. But what if there was another way? What if we really could maintain our independence AND be in a healthy intimate relationship? Is this the kind of relationship you want to create in 2014?
Quirkytogether 101 is an online class that prepares you to be in a healthy, connected, intimate relationship while still maintaining your quirky self and your freedom and independence. If you love many aspects of being single and you also yearn for a great relationship where you stay rooted in you AND connect with another, this class is for you.
We are SO excited about offering our Quirkytogether 101 class again–the community that forms in this class is amazing.
But FIRST, we want to get a head count of how many people are interested to determine when and how often we will offer the class.
So if you are interested in expanding your experience of quirkytogetherness in the year to come, let us know.
Sue and I made a video inviting you to get quirky with us and to share our own personal journeys toward quirkytogether. You’ll learn which of us is a womb quirkyalone (came out of the womb that way) and which one is born-again. Can you guess?
If you have any questions, leave a comment or hit reply.
Here’s a new word for you. “Mansplain.” According to Urban Dictionary, “Mainsplain” means “delighting in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation.” (I must thank a man, my friend Matt, for tipping me off to this word. Not all men are mansplainers, of course.)
Matt told me about “mansplaining” after I showed him this video. I was on a panel on sex and dating at Litquake Palo Alto. Usually panel discussions are collegial and tame. This one was filled with sparks of debate. The man doing the mansplaining was sex and family therapist Marty Klein, author of Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want From Sex, And How to Get It, among others. The topic was whether there is a taboo on women expressing their sexual desire, actually talking about enjoying sex.
My new book is about how I found my power through sensuality through my travels in South America and then back in San Francisco, when my eyes were fresh. It’s a “quirkysensual” journey. As I write this book, I find myself feeling how edgy it is to write about sex. I said on the panel, and you can watch in the clip, “There’s a taboo not only about women writing about sex but women having sexual desire. We have this idea in our culture that men like sex, and that women do it to please their men, or that they would rather be on Facebook. There’s something that feels edgy about being a woman and talking about enjoying sex.”
At this point, Marty jumps in to tell me and the almost all female-audience, “I’m sorry, that idea went out about 1957.” (He never explained why 1957, I’m guessing he was referring to Masters and Johnson’s pioneering research on the human sexual response.) He continued by saying, “Some women are still fighting a battle that doesn’t exist out in the real world nearly as it exists inside of them. That’s not to say there’s no discrimination out there or no retro ideals. . .”
“If you look at most porn, most porn shows women with big smiles on their faces.” Hmmmmm. . . As if smiles on women’s faces in porn is evidence that most porn depicts authentic female desire and sexuality?Read More
Note: if you’re reading this via email, be sure to click “display images below” so you can see the pretty pictures of the quirky-spottings. . .
One of my favorite things to do is quirky-spot. I like hunting for little quirky things in life. It gives life a little zest to notice the unusual. And of course there is nothing better than seeing the word “quirky” in print. Now, I am a partisan to this word of course. The essence of quirkiness is being real. Being quirky is not about making a special effort to be different. It’s about being who you are. Everyone on the planet is quirky, but the truly quirky ones say they are.
I give you two of my quirky-spottings from the last week from the physical newspaper. This might sound heretical, since I am a blogger and I teach online classes, but I vastly prefer to read the physical, print newspaper than to read the news online. Serendipitous discoveries are more fun and it’s more peaceful to read on paper:
From a San Francisco Chronicle review of the new biopic “Jobs”: the headline on the jump page is “Apple founder quirky at his core.” Of course. All of us are quirky at our core! With Steve Jobs the quirkyness was just more evident because he followed diverse passions in so many directions and pursued his individual visions in such a singular way.
And here, in an Associated Press story about Downton Abbey: The show is gearing up for its fourth season and they are preparing to release Downton Abbey-brand beauty products and wine, among other merch. They want the products to be classy: “in keeping with the show’s posh-frothy image, the products being rolled out aim to be quirky rather than kitschy!”
In this post, I give you instructions for writing a love letter to yourself. One of the graduates of my GetQuirky class who has done this in our class shared the story on her Facebook wall with this comment: “Everyone should try this. It works wonders. And it’s very fun to do.”
It’s true! Try it out and let me know how it goes in the comments.
I'm the author of the cult hit book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperSF) and To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon&Schuster). My mission in life is to tell stories and help people heal from the feeling "something is wrong with me." A life coach who helps men and women who identify with my quirkyalone concept to let go of the shame of being single and create fulfilling lives on their own terms, I'm at work on a memoir that tells my own journey working through shame to self-love and quirkytogether.
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Sasha Cagen is the author of the cult favorite Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics and To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us. Her work as an author, life coach for women and entrepreneur has been featured everywhere from NPR and the New York Times to CNN and Vogue.
In her well-loved newsletter going to thousands of women and men who identify with "quirkyalone," Sasha is the voice for people who don't want to settle--in any area of life.
In her coaching practice, Sasha helps smart, successful women (and sensitive, self-aware men) get clear on what they really want and then to achieve their goals while always helping her clients focus on core issues such as self-worth.
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