11:29 AM, Friday, July 1st, 2011:
Happy 27th Birthday Talya! What a great way to share it with the world... launching your own blog about finding your stength. So happy to help you kick this off!
Rarely does life hand you such a lesson with the subtlest of shifts in attitude. It usually takes massive upheavel and actions that have you questioning yourself every step of the way. This time, it was simply this:
"Sorry, but I don't think this is a big deal."
That sentiment sent into motion a dramatic dialogue that to this day, both Talya and I are amazed at. The request from this person was so obviously off-base, I think we both still thought she'd eventually see that and apologize, but as of two days ago - it flared up again. That type of self-awareness doesn't exist in this person's world. Common sense tells you, if you go onto someone's public website and plaster your name and opinions on it, him responding to the opinion on his other public website (anonymously to boot) is not cause for a meltdown. Most of us would take responsibility knowing we entered into the puiblic domain of our own free will. She however, stamped her feet, and blew up the entire friendship, pissing on Talya's newfound happiness with me all along the way. It's gotta be a record for showing someone's true colors with the tiniest of disagreements.
And it was with that event, that tiny moment of standing up for herself, Talya started re-evaluating things. It made her reflect on her past with this person and events where she didn't stand up to her actions that she found lacked integrity. She didn't want to "rock the boat". It was easier to just not speak up, and she basically became a doormat to her. And holy shit I can see why. Her anger and vitriole at me for simply responding to her critiques speaks volumes to how she would've reacted had Talya called her out for her past indiscretions. This "doormat" feeling permeated in Talya's romantic relationship at the time as well, and imagine that - her now ex-friend never truly pushed her to speak up for herself in every facet of her life and stop that shit. 'Cause had she inspired her to truly shift her attitude and have a voice? Guess who would've been in direct conflict with that personality? When you push those around you to be independent thinkers and stick up for themselves? You lose all control.
I've always been the opposite. I've pushed everyone around me to speak up, say their opinions, say their feelings and stand up for what is right and wrong. And sometimes, I feel like I've inspired them to move on. But it's why I'm almost universally friends with exes. And in cases where they initiated breaking up? I was proud of them for being honest with me. I'm the one who was so adament about that to begin with! My first wife Burgundie came to me and said "Adam, I just don't love you like that. I'm sorry." Once the sting subsided, that was actually exactly the kind of friend I wanted in my life! Honest, integrity! Considerate to both of our feelings! I simply don't see that as a failure. When I mention that ex-wife 1 helped buy me a plane ticket to see the birth of ex-wife 2's baby so I could share that moment with her and her husband? Talya's ex-friend's response is:  "You can't convince me. Stop trying." <throws hands up> Rationale can hit a home run and irrationale can walk off the field.
And that has been Talya's awakening. Seeing how just one tiny act of sticking up for what she believes in (even something as simple as "shushing" someone talking in a movie theater), can end up holding a mirror to a relationship that you never saw before. It has been an extremely painful road for her as she's had to reassess every relationship to see exactly where she's been a doormat and how she can change that, but she's doing it. And she's writing all about her journey. She even put a nod to "The Journey" in the subtitle of her blog. :-)
There's 4 entries up now, and sure to be several more in the coming months/years. I'm most excited because of how many women her blog can speak to! She has separated her entries into 2 categories; "Doormat" and "Doorway" so she can go back and bring up situations from the past that she felt used and compare them to now where she doesn't. "Doorway" implying where she chose whether or not to open or close the door to people or situations. It's where we should all strive to be. It should be inspirational to women who are presently in abusive situations and to women who have been in abusive situations. They'll be able to comment and add to her blog. She has a unique perspective because she's in the transition with a lot of experience to draw from. It has all been extremely difficult, which is why it will be so intriguing to read.
Of course I'm so proud I can barely stand it. I rarely see a direct connection of my influence. Every once and awhile a fellow artist will write me and say The Journey inspired them. Several women in pretty bad situations have also contacted me, but it's rare for me to see such an obvious cause and effect. Actually producing content because I inspired you to. Talya has the same need to be understood that I have and it seems that organizing her thoughts by writing works for her as well. I've watched her write an entry, work on every sentence and detail, and then upload it with a HUGE smile on her face. There's something magical about it. It is absolutely therapy. And for those with the ability to convey their thoughts in words? It is a therapy second to none. If you're open and honest? You can find peace in blogging. And I don't just mean writing, online is the foundation of the therapy. Because you are putting your skeletons out for everyone to see, and never taking them down. Anyone can comment and you have to defend your thoughts. It makes you vulnerable to wicked, wicked attacks from friends and enemies alike but what those that attack don't realize is? Their reactions to your skeletons shows who THEY are... INSTANTLY. All you have to do is stand your ground and watch them self-destruct.
Thankfully, the support system for me and Talya is actually bigger and stronger than any relationship I've ever had. That is stunning considering the sheer amount of baggage our friends and family have to accept. But you know? Maybe that's the blessing here. Those that are accepting of us? Almost unanimously have all been divorced, have all lived with some pretty big issues and are completely open about it. They listen, they comment, they have absolutely pulled me aside with concerns (about me, not Talya) and have done the same with Talya. I always bring up her mom in this situation because no one is more fiercely protective of Talya than her mother. Funny that Talya's ex-friend can't even admit that maybe Talya's MOTHER knows a teeny bit more than she does. Though since she doesn't have children, maybe she isn't capable of understanding that connection.
So congrats Talya. You are intelligent, your thoughts do matter, and I guarantee you that the people you meet from this point on will find it stunning that you were ever meek and quiet. Your heart never was, you just had to open it at the right time.
Floating right along,
PS - HAPPY FREAKING BIRTHDAY!!! (video is from her birthday video along with the first song I wrote for her back in January. Speaks volumes now, doesn't it?)
I'm the luckiest man on the planet.