How You Know It Is Time to Let Go of Your Ex

Letting go can be difficult. You know it’s time to let your ex go and allow yourself to live your life without looking back. This realization is the first step to the healing process. It can be difficult to accept that she is not coming back, especially if you are stubborn like myself and refuse to admit that you made a mistake. However, doing difficult things strengthens us to be able to deal with adversity in all aspects of our life. You know in your heart that there is no repairing or starting over, so why not allow yourself to begin living again right now?

Forgive yourself

One of the biggest difficulties I have faced in my own life is that I simply forget many of the things that I say and don’t even remember saying something hurtful in the first place. Maybe you blame yourself for the failed relationship, too. It’s perfectly normal to believe that we were the main issue, just as it’s also perfectly understandable to blame your ex for a breakup. In almost every case, there was fault on both sides. Learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made instead of spending hours each day replaying things in your mind and wondering what you could have done differently. It really doesn’t matter what went wrong because that part of your life is now over.

You have many more chapters to write in your life, so if you keep reading the last chapter over and over, your book will never continue and you find yourself in…

Should I try to be friends with my ex?

Having children with your ex is probably the only reason to remain friends with them. Maybe down the road, you can try to have a friendship. Since you are wondering if it is time to let of them, then being friends with them will not help you let go at all. You will only have unnecessary contact with them and relive past pain again and again as you will invariably ask for another chance or sleep together. All this does is move you back to the chapter that you just finished. Focus on your other friends or making new ones. Better yet — become your own best friend and do the things that you enjoy doing the most.

Creature comfort with an ex is only a temporary fix

Treat it like a Band-aid

Don’t bother trying to slowly release the grip that your past has on you. Rip that Band-aid off right now and start living for yourself again. It’s better to have a quick sharp pain than living the agony over an extended period of time, right? Each day you spend dwelling on your ex is one more day you have wasted. I have been as guilty of this as anyone. I used to take pride in the fact that my Facebook was full of exes and that I was able to be mature and cordial with them. However, once I realized how much time I spent talking to them, I knew it was time to rip those Band-aids off of my body. It has definitely created a feeling of emptiness in my life (and a very quiet inbox), but now I am free to meet someone new who will give me the time and attention that the exes would not. It’s all about allowing yourself to move on with your life and not looking back.

How do you usually cope with a breakup?

  • Move on cold turkey with no calls, texts, or contact whatsoever
  • Try to stay friends as best as you can
  • Be distant but keep in contact somewhat just in case you decide to try again down the road
  • Quickly find someone else to distract yourself from the pain

Don’t Romanticize the Past

One of the biggest pitfalls we have after a breakup is romanticizing the past. We remember all of those wonderful things our ex did for us and how great it felt to spend time with them. Keep in mind that your relationship is now over and everything was not always so great after all. We have all heard the cliche that “Love is Stronger than Hate”. That is possibly true and I am not telling you to hate your ex at all. However, take a moment to write down all of the reasons that your relationship failed. Don’t make excuses for either of you. Be honest and focus only on the negative aspects of being in your relationship. Read those to yourself anytime you feel the need to text your ex or find a tear building up in your eye. Focus on the reasons why it is over instead of how great it used to be.

What If I Never Find Anyone Like Them Again?

I am sure that most of us have asked this question at least once in our lives. When you think about it, the answer should bring a smile to your face and maybe even a chuckle. Your relationship ended, remember? You don’t want someone like them anyway. Demand someone BETTER. A close friend of mine once told me to “Know your own value, then add tax !”. I remember those words every single time that I am feeling sorry for myself and wondering what is wrong with me.

Final Words

The wisest thing I have learned after 30 years of dating is that the best time to let go of your ex is right at this moment. Not tomorrow, not after an apology text, and not after some long goodbye message on Facebook. Let go right now.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

5 Relationship Green Lights You Should Be Looking For

When you first start dating someone, you might be on the lookout for signs that this might not be a great fit. It makes sense — we’ve all been hurt before, and we want to cut our losses before getting too invested. But often we’re so busy focusing on these red flags and putting our emotional guard up that we fail to pay attention to the good signs to keep an eye out for — other than a shared interest in “Game of Thrones,” that is.

“When you focus on all the bad things, you lose sight of what you actually want,” says Lucy Rowett, a certified intimacy and relationship coach, and clinical sexologist.

That’s not to say that you should gloss over negative actions or traits, because if you do, you will likely end up brokenhearted or in a relationship that isn’t healthy for you. Still, there are also what I like to call green lights that we should look out for when finding and evaluating a potential partner. This is deeper than simply determining that “they’re nice” or “they’re great at picking restaurants.” It’s about emotional compatibility and the ways in which a person might be right for you, specifically.

“Reflect on what makes you feel special and cared for, both in your past relationships and friendships. Is it the way someone listens to you? The way they always know just what you need after a long day?” asks Pam Shaffer, MFT. “It’s also a good idea to tune into the ways that you show love to others, as that often provides good clues to how you like to be loved.” By answering these questions, you pinpoint exactly what you are looking for and become better equipped to choose a good partner. For many people, these five things signal it’s time to hit the gas.

1. They’re an open communicator.

If you’re going to spend a significant amount of time with someone, they need to be willing to tell you how they’re feeling and help you process your emotions, too.

“My ex was a closed book. I never knew what she was thinking,” says Mark, 28. “She’d get upset with me and ignore my texts for hours or days without ever telling me what I did or why it hurt her. It was a mess.”

Dating is hard enough without wondering what the heck is happening in someone’s head. A good indicator that someone is worth pursuing is that they can respectfully share their opinions or feelings about something and you, in turn, can offer the same back to them.

With poor or closed communicators, you often wind up feeling crappy and confused. “A good communicator will leave you walking away from an interaction feeling better about the situation or argument, not worse,” says Kristine D’Angelo, CSC. “This builds emotional intimacy, which is the backbone of all healthy and happy relationships.”

“Since [my relationship] ended, I’ve been really transparent with people I date about the need for communication. If you don’t want to talk about how you’re feeling with me, it’s a deal-breaker,” Mark says

2. They encourage your other relationships.

Friends and family are a huge part of your life, and anyone you’re dating should see that. “While you may be [in a love haze with] someone [new], it’s important to maintain your other relationships, too,” Rowett says. “One of the first signs of abuse is a partner trying to isolate you from your friends and family.”

If you tell your new boo that you’re going to have a night with the gang, they should be happy for you. It shows that they’re secure in your relationship and are invested in building trust with you. “My boyfriend is always jazzed about my girls’ nights,” says Gabby, 23. “He loves my friends and is happy that I have a support network.” Girl, he sounds like a winner.

3. They’re supportive of your career and goals.

“A big problem with my ex was that he was incredibly threatened by my career. He didn’t feel like he was making enough of himself, so he’d try to drag me down to make himself feel better,” says Katia, 29. “My new partner makes me feel amazing. They come to all of my work events and constantly tell me how incredible I am. It’s such a game-changer.”

Someone being generally supportive of you is a bright green light. They encourage your dreams, help you make plans for the future, and are genuinely happy for you when you succeed. “This is usually a sign of a secure partner [as opposed to] someone who is going to ‘compete’ with other people and things in your life,” Shaffer says. “It shows that you can be in a relationship with this person and keep thriving in other parts of your life, too.”

4. Your core beliefs are complementary.

When we say “core beliefs,” we mean the things you’re most passionate about, the guiding principles by which you live and believe in your bones. This can range from religious beliefs to a preference for monogamy (or non-monogamy) to a desire to have a long-term relationship (or a causal relationship) to whether or not you want children someday.

We often make concessions for people, hoping they’ll come around to our way of thinking. But, in most cases, this won’t happen. So when your core beliefs align with those of the person you’re dating, it’s a major positive.

“I was in an open relationship with my ex-boyfriend because he wanted to be open,” says Michael, 25. “I thought I’d lose him if I didn’t agree to it. It totally tore us apart. I’m a monogamous person, and I shouldn’t have been with someone who didn’t believe in monogamy. I guess I somehow hoped he’d get over it or something. Never happened.”

“[Having] core essential beliefs is really important, because without sharing key values, the relationship may be unsustainable,” says CORST-accredited psychosexual therapist Cate Mackenzie.

5. They learn your love language.

Most of us give love the way we want to receive it. It’s just a natural thing. If being touched and snuggled makes you feel loved, you’ll likely want to touch and snuggle someone to show your love. The problem is that the people we date don’t always welcome love in the same ways we do. This is why love languages are so important.

The top five love languages are gift-giving, quality time, physical touch, acts of service (devotion), and words of affirmation. (You can take the test to determine your love language here.) If someone either shares or is willing to learn your love language, it makes things simpler.

Perhaps more than anything else, you should feel good when you spend time with someone you’re dating. They should make you feel excited, happy, and positive about yourself. You don’t want to go into a relationship thinking that it might fall apart. We got 99 problems, but self-sabotage shouldn’t be one.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

The Most Unattractive Online Dating Mistakes Women Make To Cause Men To Swipe Left

Avoid these as much as possible.

Online dating and dating apps are all the rage these days. You no longer need to write long-winded paragraphs about yourself and your dream fantasy person.

Nowadays, if you want to go on a date, all you need to do is go to Bumble, Hinge, Tinder, and the countless other dating sites and just write a few sentences about yourself, do four or five photos, and off to swiping we go.

Brilliant.

You don’t have to read anything.

But — and here’s the big ‘but’ — those few sentences could also be enough to turn off the majority of men. I’ve seen it happen so many times.

What you say in those few sentences on a dating site can determine whether a man swipes right or swipes left. It can determine whether or not he wants to get together with you at all.

Women often make these 3 fatal mistakes in online dating — and they’re usually all in the same profile.

1. Saying you’re career-driven

As a man, I don’t need to know that. Do you know what the phrase “career-driven” triggers in a man?

He thinks, “She’s going to take charge of the relationship. She’s career-driven. She’s forgotten how to be feminine.”

Or, “She’s not a nurturing type of woman. She’s going to work late all the time and not really be feminine in a relationship.”

Career-driven — writing that alone triggers those kinds of thoughts in a man.

Most women desire a king. The king doesn’t care what you do, he cares about how you treat him.

Career-driven triggers the wrong things. How you formulated your career or how you make your money — men don’t need to know that. It doesn’t matter.

This is dating, not an interview. When women say career-driven, it shows me that you’re still in the interview process. You’re treating dates like interviews instead of romance.

2. Saying you don’t need a man

Usually, this comes after career-driven — “I don’t need a man in my life, but I would like one.”

Men like to feel needed and desired.

Nobody needs a man. And I don’t need a woman.

But, what I need and desire in a partner.

When someone says they don’t need a man, what that says is that you’re bitter. You’ve had bad relationships so you don’t need a man.

You had a dominating mother who castrated your father right in front of you and told you that men suck and you can’t rely on them.

So that one statement tells us that you’re not going to be feminine in a relationship. You don’t need us so you’re not going to fall for us. We’re not going to be able to romance you.

3. Saying, “My life is full of adventures. I live life to the fullest”

You’re telling us right then and there that you have no idea how to be vulnerable.

Living life to the fullest means that you have filled your life with other things besides romance and intimacy.

You have filled your life with toys and games and trips and everything else.

You’re telling us you really don’t need a man, you’re career-driven, and you live life to the fullest. It tells men — plain and simple — that you don’t get what being vulnerable and intimacy are all about.

Just three statements but they’re fatal.

They are so simple but women say them consistently.

Are you looking for love? Create a profile that attracts quality men that are desperate to date you by using language that triggers men in a positive way.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

10 Ways You Are Unintentionally Ruining Your Relationship

It is easier to ruin a relationship than to keep it. Sometimes, even without intending to, we are already ruining the relationship we worked so hard to keep. Not that it is really a great deal of hard work—because if you are working too hard then there must be something wrong—but keeping a healthy relationship requires time, emotional availability, sufficient privacy and individual space, and a great deal of maturity from the couple or anyone involved. Whatever relationship we have, be it friendship or life partnership, our habits and tendencies can ruin the good thing we have if we fail to notice the red flags. Sometimes, even with good intentions, we still end up pushing our partners away instead of luring them in and keeping them.

If you want to keep the relationship going, stop doing these things and you will surely have a lasting and healthy relationship.

1. Always Playing the Victim Card

Some people have a tendency to use “guilt trip” against their partner. For example, you have to do something you’ve never done before in the name of the relationship, like leave your comfort zone and meet people, or leave your family and go abroad and work a menial job that you wouldn’t normally do because, in your country, you are someone cut out for a corporate job or a job with higher pay-grade; Or you have to sacrifice your girl’s night out because you have to take care of the kids or when you have to decide to forego that beautiful dress because you still have unpaid bills. More often than not, we are guilty of playing the victim card just because things did not go our way. You blame your partner because if not for him/her, you wouldn’t have to do such a thing.

Playing the victim card just to make your partner/friend give in to what you want is not good. It is stressful. When you make your partner the bad guy and you the victim by blaming everything on them, you just push them away. Instead of pointing fingers, why don’t you appreciate what they are doing for you and stop complaining too much about your life because clearly your partner also had to forego some things in their life just for you. That is called compromise and instead of whining all the time, be grateful instead and try to work things out together by doing your part wholeheartedly. You are in that relationship because you are together and it means that you share both the good times and bad times. Both of you have your own responsibilities so do yours and don’t just rely on your partner to do everything for the both of you. If you have to clean your house and do the dishes and you never have to do that before because someone else was doing that for you (house help or sibling), you need to realize that you now have a different life and so you shouldn’t live the way you used to.

2. Walking Out of an Argument or Not Saying Anything at All

Arguments are normal. You are different people after all so normally you have different opinions and beliefs about some things. However, some people tend to avoid arguments for various reasons like they never win anyway, or the topic is nonsense, to begin with, or there’s just no way for the couple to agree. If that’s the case, instead of walking out or not saying anything at all, it is better to agree to disagree. You both have your points to make and so you hear each other out. DO not dismiss what the other has to say especially if it is about their emotion. Never ever argue with someone’s emotion especially if it is your partner. When you dismiss their feelings, you make them feel unloved or unimportant. If you are upset, say it. If you are mad, say it. Do not just leave or ignore your partner.

There are times, however, when it is easy to pretend we are busy so we don’t have to deal with the arguments but that is just wrong. If you know that you are incapable of talking it out at that time because you are upset, tell your partner that you are upset and that he/she should give you time to cool down, and then you can discuss afterward. Know when to walk away. When things get heated or words become too abusive or hurtful, then it is better to walk away than make matters worse. But in healthy relationships, a person doesn’t just slam the door in your face or leave you screaming on your own. They communicate. That is how mature couples do it and it works every time often ending up with make-up intimacy.

3. Sleeping Without Resolving Issues

Do not let it become a habit to sleep with unresolved issues. First, because it feels so constricting to sleep beside your partner without talking, second, it starts your next day on a negative light and it basically just ruins your whole day and the days after until you resolve the issue. The most important reason of all is that, one of you might not wake up the next day and the last thing you said to each other was hurtful or a painful silence. I know, it seemed too negative to even think about it and call me paranoid or what not but it is what it is. We live in a world where people die in their sleep and imagine how devastating it would be for someone left behind with nothing but that painful memory of their last moments together. It is utterly regrettable, right? So make sure to even things out before sleeping. It is extremely beneficial for both of you to have a peaceful sleep and a fresh new start the next day. If you start the day right, you will be more productive at work and just generally in life.

Conflicts are normal and sometimes we cannot help but sleep on unresolved issues because we are so tired or it is just too much for us at the moment, in this case, you need to tell your partner that you will talk about it in the morning and don’t forget to say “I am upset but I love you. Let’s talk in the morning”. There, it is not bad at all to sleep on that…because you both know you are willing to work on it and you still love each other despite the issue.

4. Being Emotionally Unavailable

When you are in a relationship, you need to be constantly emotionally available. You need to be involved emotionally because that is how you can connect with your partner. If you are always indifferent to what he/she says or feels, you make your partner feel unimportant. This pushes your partner away from you and don’t be surprised if one day, you discover they have moved on with someone else because you weren’t there all the time or you were there physically but you were unavailable emotionally. Sometimes, we become emotionally unavailable when we have a lot of things going on in our life. Work becomes a priority and we start to miss “family or couple traditions”. Or we are going through some difficult stuff and we don’t know how to cope and so we push others away because we don’t want to be vulnerable. Or you somehow lost the spark and stopped caring altogether. Whatever the case is, emotional unavailability is a recipe for disaster.

Source
5. Not Listening to Your Partner

When your partner requests you to do something like throwing the trash or fixing the toilet or buying something at the store on your way home, and you said yes without really hearing what they said and so you ended up not doing any of those, it gets annoying over time if you keep doing it. Another example of not listening is when you argue and you always cut your partner off insisting that you are right and what they have to say doesn’t matter. We are all guilty of not listening at times but if you constantly dismiss your partner, you are on the path to ruining your relationship. When your partner has to say something, listen. When you learn how to listen, communication between you are your partner becomes more fluid and you understand each other better. If you want to be in tune together, you need to listen to each other.

6. Constant Nagging

For the record, women aren’t the only ones capable of nagging. Men can also be naggers especially men who want to be in control of everything. If you have the tendency to nag and find faults in your partner, stop it. There are other ways to make your partner do what you asked of them and nagging is not one of them. For one, positive reinforcement is effective. Even if it seemed easier to confront your partner about coming home late or always forgetting to put the toilet seat down, don’t. Instead, use positive scripting and tell him how much you missed the times you share dinner together or how much you appreciate it whenever he remembers to put the toilet seat down (even if it only happened once in a blue moon). Positive reinforcement emphasizes love and not anger. This way you have a higher chance of making your partner change their bad habits slowly (by being more conscious of what they do and how it affects you) instead of them getting defensive and temperamental because of your nagging.

Source
7. Acting Suspicious and Being Jealous

You probably have read a ton of articles about relationship red flags and signs that your partner may be cheating on you, it is no surprise, after all you are a suspicious person. Whenever you see your partner being busy with his/her phone, you immediately suspect that he/she is cheating. When you see a nice comment from a girl in his social media account, you immediately get jealous and asks your partner to un-friend that person or you block the girl if you have access to your partner’s social media account. I’ve met this kind of people before and they are exhausting, really. They want to know their partner’s passwords and if their partner refuses, they will start to think that they are hiding something. This attitude is not healthy. It shows how insecure you are in yourself and in your relationship.

It is okay to be jealous sometimes because you are afraid to lose the person and a bit of jealousy is acceptable. What is not normal is demanding to know everything like passwords, the names of people your partner interacts with, having someone spy on your partner and sneaking in your partner’s belongings to find something and not allowing your partner to go to social gatherings without you with him. Being extremely possessive and unreasonably jealous and suspicious is incredibly annoying and before you know it, your relationship has ended. Give your partner space and respect his/her privacy. Trust in your partner. I get it, once you have been cheated on, it becomes difficult to trust fully again. But unless you really have strong evidence of him cheating on you, give yourself and your partner a break and breathe.

8. Bringing Up Past Mistakes Over and Over Again

Whenever an argument comes up, you like to keep enumerating the past mistakes your partner did to prove a point. Not only is it exhausting, it is also very unhealthy. If you resolve your issues, you need to realize that you start with a clean slate. You have to forgive and forget. It is not always easy to forget what they did in the past but if you keep bringing that up, you will never get anywhere. Even if your partner is trying hard to do better, if you keep bringing up the past mistakes on their face, they will eventually stop trying and just go back to their old ways since you do not see them trying anyway. Another reason why you should avoid bringing up past mistakes is it actually evokes resentment. People make mistakes and it is a fact we can never run from. If you keep reliving the past, you can’t move on and you can’t forgive. If you can’t forgive then there is no point for you to keep being in that relationship. It will only be toxic for you and your partner and the relationship will go nowhere. Finally, bringing up the past deviate both of you from discussing what the real problem is. You may think it may be connected with what happened in the past, but more often than not, the issue you should be dealing with is something right in front of you, at present. If you fail to address the real issue right now, then you will not get the issue resolved. Don’t dwell in the past. Instead, deal with what you have at present.

Source
9. Foregoing Intimacy and Compliments

Sometimes, being together for so long becomes a little bit too boring for others that they lose their intimacy eventually. Once intimacy is gone, the couple will start to drift apart. No matter how busy your life gets, always find time to cuddle, be alone and share an intimate dinner or go out on a date. You should hold on to your intimate moments, that way you never lose the “spark”.

Compliment each other and work on your romance regularly. It can be in a form of getting her flowers for no reason at all, or cooking something nice or his/her favorite meal, or giving your partner a massage. Even simple things like that can keep the intimacy going. Don’t forget to say, “I love you”, “thank you”, and “I’m sorry”. These words go a long way…

10. Forgetting to Take Care of Yourself

When you are in a long relationship, somehow your looks become insignificant to your partner, heck, you’ve seen each other’s worst look in the morning when you wake up and smelled each other’s fart. It is so easy to understand why a lot of people stop caring about their looks when they are happily in a relationship. However, this should not be a reason for you to stop taking care of yourself. You still need to go out there and work out so you keep fit. You shouldn’t always lie on the couch eating junk foods while enjoying movie marathon nights. You shouldn’t go out with your jogging pants and messy hair. DO not take yourself for granted just because you believe your partner will love you even if you gain weight or even if you stopped looking good. Keep yourself fit, dress appropriately whenever you go somewhere, eat and drink in moderation, treat yourself to a good pampering massage or hair treatment, wear something nice and style your hair. It may seem difficult when you have kids to take care of, but it is important to look and feel good about yourself. Try not to neglect yourself while taking care of your partner and kids. Not only does it keep the romantic flame going, but it also makes you feel good inside out.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

A Great Adventure

Philadelphia, PA – 1977 – Spring

In 9th grade, I was a total loser. But even back then one of the few things I had going for me was my artistic ability. I found a friend at Fels Junior High named Robert Weichert. He was a quiet thoughtful boy. Good looking with amazing blonde curly hair like a young Robert Plant.

We were of like mind. We liked rock music and comic books. He would come over to my house and we would hang out in my room and listen to records and read comics together. I remember my times with Robert were amazing. He was one of the few people I had made a connection with. I remember laughing so hard with him that my stomach would hurt. Normally my stomach only hurt if I was having anxiety, some reaction to food, or I was being punched by some bully in school.

We both hated school and all of the animals we had to deal with in that zoo. Even the teachers.

Robert had a talent for writing and I had a talent for drawing. We would make up our own line of superheroes. He would write the little stories, and I would draw the comics. It was a perfect union of creativity that belonged only to us in our little teenage world.

I think his family was breaking up. He said he was going to take the name of the man who was now with his mother. I don’t remember many details but it must have been a rough time for him. The man’s last name was Ketterer and I noticed that Robert would write the name “Ket” on his record albums to identify them as his when he went to summer camp.

Boys didn’t really talk about feelings or family back then. We simply lived in the moment. If we were together laughing, reading comics, and listening to rock we were happy. It was these little moments of repose that were the only solace we had in the hellish existence in junior high school.

When I think about how my daily life was back then in 9th grade, I displayed all of the symptoms of someone who was profoundly depressed. A terrible student, and the thing my father always told me not to become… A victim. I was a victim every day. More like a target. Deal with the animals at school, and then come home and face the king of them all at home, when his car would pull up the driveway each night.

I was growing weary of being picked on and humiliated at school on a daily basis and also by some of the boys that hung up the corner from our house.

I remember gathering a couple of small empty green 7up bottles that I had taken out of our trash. I rinsed them out and filled them with paint thinner or some other accelerant we had in our basement. I tore up some rags and tied them around the necks of the bottles and capped them. I hid them under the sinks in the front of our basement. I was thinking if things got to a breaking point with this one specific kid that had it in for me, I would go to his house and throw those Molotov cocktails through his front windows.

It was a dark time. But I never acted on any of my ideas. But at least I felt a moment of comfort knowing that I could do something to end it once and for all. Instead of lashing out with words and hands, my depression was simply my rage turned inward on myself.

I think I eventually dumped them out, thinking if my mom found out that I was building firebombs in the basement she’d have me committed.

I remember going to my guidance counselor about this other kid that was torturing me for his own pleasure at school. The counselor knew this boy and his advice to me was to hit him back. The kid was a coward, and I should hit him back and he’d stop. That’s wonderful advice, sir. More violence. I am not a violent person. But back then I had a seething temper I later learned to control. When you’re 14 you’re at your absolute purest as a young killer. The hormones and chemicals firing in your brain make you act out. But I never did. But I knew if I ever did anything, it wouldn’t be a scuffle in the schoolyard where I could get my glasses broken and my teeth knocked out. I would simply end it with my attacker.

I knew I had to control that animal that lived inside my mind. I knew him very well and he was worse than any punk at school or the beast who lived down the hall. But I knew if I ever let him out, he’d do something that he could never take back.

You’d think I would have simply walked back to the lot at the end of our street and laid on the railroad tracks and wait for the train to take me.

But I’ve never had thoughts of suicide. Never. No matter how bad things ever got in my life I never wanted to do that. Nobody asks to come here. You should be able to leave when you want to. It’s your life. It’s really all you own. But you don’t really own it. Your soul inhabits a vessel that you rent until it expires and you’re gone.

I used to say that 9th grade was the worst year of my life. It was then, but I would have worse times in the future. But they all happened by my own device. My own bad decisions. Mostly on the people, I chose to have in my life.

But that’s not what this story is about.

At some point, Robert’s mother said she was going to take Robert out of school for one day to take him to Great Adventure. He wanted me to come with him. I had never been there but I had heard about it on TV. Wildwood had a bunch of amusement rides on the boardwalk, but Great Adventure was a big amusement park in New Jersey. I didn’t like the wild rides in Wildwood. Most of them were things that went up high, spun around, or went too fast. I wasn’t having any of that and preferred the more gentle attractions on the boardwalk like the Pirate Ship, Whacky Shack, or the Keystone Kops on Hunt’s Pier.

I have no idea how we got that trip approved. I was a horrible student basically flunking out of all of my subjects. Please tell me the last time you needed Algebra or Spanish in the last month. I remember my father giving me a small, sharp lecture on how he shouldn’t let me take a day off from school to go play in an amusement park with some friends.  Why should he let me go, or reward my poor performance in school by giving me a special day off to go play in a park?

I have no idea, but my parents let me go. I was having my usual low-level anxiety about getting in a strange car with Robert’s mom and his stepdad, but I sat in the back of their station wagon with Robert, and seeing him kept me calm. He was really sweet like that. He was my comrade. The writer and creator of our little comics. Deneb 6, Cestus, Midnightess, Prince Apollo, Captain Universe, Kid Universe, and the Prowler. I loved the Prowler. I designed a cool costume for that character in the comics we made.

Turns out his mom was a really nice lady and her husband was a good, chill guy. They looked like the type of folksy couple that would run a gift shop in some little village somewhere. I felt at ease with them as the car headed over the Tacony Palmyra Bridge into New Jersey.

We get to the park and Robert’s mom and stepdad are just lovely to be around. Just really cool people. They bought us both little bracelets that were all-day passes to the park. We could go on any ride as many times as we wanted, as long as we wore the bracelets.

Then the incredible happened. They cut us loose. They told us where to meet them and what times to check in, but they walked away.

It was a beautiful sunny day in a new world with my friend. His folks said they were going to probably get some food, and then go check out the wild animal safari. That’s where you drive your car through an animal preserve and look at wild animals. Monkeys jumping on your car, etc. I watched as his parents simply left us alone and we were two 14-year-old boys free to do whatever we wanted in the park. I was stunned and elated.

We walked around and explored the park. It was beautiful. Just me and one of my best friends, free for the afternoon in a wonderland. I don’t remember all of the things we saw and did, but I remember how I felt that one day with Robert. We were both free from school and everything else for a day.

We both loved girls at that point. What teenage boy doesn’t? There was plenty there, which surprised me because I thought they should all be in school. But I suppose most were tourists from somewhere else out with their families.

At some point, Robert asked me if I wanted to go on the log flume with him. I had never been on the log flume on Hunt’s Pier or any rollercoaster, due to my fear of everything.

But Robert gently coaxed me with his words.

“Come on, Chaz. It’ll be fun. Look, there’s a bunch of girls going on it. Maybe we can talk to them.”

“I’m afraid, Rob. I don’t go on rides like that. I’m scared I’ll get sick.”

“You’ll be okay. I’ll be right there next to you. No pressure. But we’ll have fun. It’ll be over before you know it.”

“Okay.”

I was terrified, and probably trembling as we approached the gate. The fear crept in. The worst part was when you committed and got in line. Once you were far enough in on the line there was no turning back. I didn’t want to wreck my friend’s day by running away and being embarrassed.

We finally got to the front of the line. The attendant steadied the log/boat and we got in.

“Just breathe, Chaz. Trust me.”

I did trust Rob. We were close. We shared a lot. I needed to steady myself and survive this scary ordeal. I knew I shouldn’t have done this! I’m probably going to puke!

The boat floated along for short a time and then grabbed the rubber rotating conveyor belt that carried it up the first hill. It was a small one so I held on tightly. I could hear Rob’s voice. He was calming me, but only a little. I was on high alert. I was in danger. But Robe was there. I’ll be okay. I’ll be okay, right? I won’t die. Look at all of these other people. They’re all happy and I’m terrified. They’re all having fun and right now I am living in the opposite. My whole psyche is upside down in this life. Why am I like this? Why can’t I be like everybody else?

We reach the top and the boat slides down the small hill with a splash!

I didn’t die. That was okay, and I’m nervously laughing in relief. That wasn’t so bad.

Then the next climb is a bit higher. Another hill. Again… up and then down. Splash! I somehow have survived again. It’s a miracle. The boat’s cruising along and two girls are sitting right in the seat in front of us. They’re giggling and looking back at us and… smiling.

I must be strong. The boat climbs an even higher hill. But for some reason, I’m not dying. Rob’s smiling and reassuring me. I can’t look like a loser in front of these cute girls. We’re low in the boat and I focus my eyes on the inside of the small craft. We’re pretty high up and I can’t look out, because I’ll die. But the way these little log boats are constructed we’re low in the seats to keep the center of gravity down.

The boat is at the top now.  But it doesn’t go right down a hill. It goes along on a straight line around the top. It’s making a turn now. I glance over. I can see the hill over to my left. That’s the hill we’re going to go down. We’re so high up. I’m scared but I have to hold it together, for Rob and for myself.

We get to the crest of the hill and down we go. I can hear the screams of delight from the girls in front of us, and as we land with an enormous splash I feel a sudden rush of relief wash over me (Along with a lot of water!)

That’s it. I did it. I went on my first thrill ride and I didn’t puke or die. It’s a gosh-darned miracle.

We exit the ride and are pretty wet, along with everybody else. It feels good. I experienced what exhilaration felt like for the very first time. I’m not athletic and don’t do any sports or anything risky, so my fear turned into relief and excitement. It felt good. I didn’t know it back then, but the dopamine was dropping. What a wonderful relief. What a wonderful feeling. The girls even talked to us a little bit after the ride. It was nice. For the first time, I didn’t feel like a leper mutant.

“See, Chaz. You did it. It was great, right?”

“Yea… yea… It was pretty cool. I was panting and feeling joy and relief.

I liked that feeling.

“Do you want to walk around a little bit?”

“No Rob. Let’s get back in line.”

We rode that log flume probably a dozen times that day. I was frightened, but I was with Rob. We did it together. I felt safe with him and liked the high I got from the ride. I had somehow turned my fear into excitement. I learned something about myself that day.

Nothing is ever as bad as you think it is, as long as you don’t let the fear in.

You can take that fear and turn it into something else. I was a long way from conquering my anxiety or my depression, but it was a step, albeit a small one.

But it was a step. The only thing holding me in my prison cell was me holding onto the bars. If I would just let go, the bars would fall away and I could walk right out.

It’s not that simple, but I learned that if you want to conquer something in your life, simply take a step. Any step. Just take the step. Then slowly walk toward the things you fear. Keep doing it over and over, and after a few years or decades in my case, you’ll rewire your mind to carry forth into tomorrow.

My life changed that afternoon in a small way. I thankfully graduated from 9th grade and went to the seashore for the summer. The summer of 1977 was the first great summer of my young life. Everything changed and I was on my way.

I rode every rollercoaster in Wilwood that summer.

The Supersonic on Sportland Pier, The Jumbo Jet on Morey’s Pier, The Flyer on Hunt’s Pier, The Wild Mouse on Marine Pier, and the glorious Queen’s Rollercoaster on Marine Pier West.

One evening I rode every rollercoaster on the island!

Life can be like a rollercoaster. There’s all that anxiety and fear as you climb the hill of your life. You slowly reach the top and you’re terrified. It’s too high. I’m going to die. Then the coaster zooms down the first hill and the fear turns into excitement. Every hill after that is never as thrilling as that first one. That long difficult climb to the top to face your fears is now behind you. Once the ride is over and the coaster roars into the station, you can only think about one thing.

I can’t wait to do that again.

Rob and I lost touch after Junior High because he went to a different high school than me. But I’ll never forget that boy, and that special day we got to play hooky from school and go on a great adventure together.

 

 

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