Archive of ‘Sentiments’ category

Life: The 8 Types of Friends You Need

The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

I went to the bachelorette party of one of my college-turned-adulthood-friends, Stephanie, in New Orleans this past weekend. I was reunited with old friends and made new friends. We ate too much jambalaya, listened to a lot of jazz, and drank one too many Hurricanes.

The second night of the party was a “Golden Girls” theme, appropriately based on Stephanie’s weekend mantra of “Thank you for being a friend,” and there were a whole lotta laughs to go along with the wigs and grandma outfits.

It was a blast and we were a spectacle.

Stephanie and I met our freshman year of college at the University of Florida. She lived directly across the hall from me in the dorms (Trusler Hall, for all you Gators) and we became insta-friends during sorority rush, as we were placed in the same recruitment group, which was assigned alphabetically.

On the first day of recruitment, I knocked on Stephanie’s door, introduced myself, and asked her to iron my hair.

This wasn’t Helen of Troy or the Chi.

C’mon. It was 2000 and those luxuries weren’t available.

Just an old fashioned iron I brought to college from home, which my mom probably purchased at JCPenney in the mid-1990s.

Stephanie agreed, I got down on the ground, and she literally straightened my hair with an iron.

We bonded over the smell of processed chemicals and burned split ends. We made other friends in the rush group, rolled our eyes at the girls who thought they were better than everyone else, and laughed when we were starving and the recruitment counselor offered each of us one measly piece of Starburst to “hold us over” before dinner. This was after she brought over coffee filters to take the shines off our faces. Again, this was before the days of the “fancy” oil absorbing sheets you could purchase at the drug store.

Some of my favorite, most endearing memories from college involved Stephanie. I could write a book and it would embarrass our families and maybe get us disbarred, but they were cherished nonetheless. Over the next sixteen years, we would go our separate ways geographically, but it wouldn’t let us stop from sharing in each others’ victories, crying over our losses, and listening to each other vent our frustrations.

We still talk on the phone almost every day.

Weekends away with longtime friends are typically followed by airport contemplations, on the way home, about the types of company we keep.

Carrie had Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte. Zack had Slater, Jessie, Kelly, Lisa, and Screech. Rachel had Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross. These characters all knew that sometimes we need more than one friend to fulfill certain roles.

Here are the eight types of friends people need in their lives:

1. The Truth Teller: This is the person who will (lovingly) remind you when it’s time to tweeze  that long, black hair on your chin. The person who will acknowledge when the skirt makes your butt look big or if you did something that was out of line and ya-better-be-careful-or-karma-will-come-to-getcha.

They aren’t sugar-coaters, and sometimes their input is unwelcome and unsolicited, but you need them, Gosh Darnit, to keep yourself in check.

2. The Good-Time-Charlie: This is the person who is always down for a good time. If you want to have a blast on the town or engage in a Sunday-Funday, this person is always available and will always make you return home with awesome memories.

The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

Stephanie in character as Dorothy Zbornak on stage singing to Whitney Houston. For me posting this on the Internet without her permission, Steph falls into the category of “The Forgiving Friend.”

The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

“Ohhhh, I wanna dance with somebody…”

3. The Therapist: This is the person who you can tell, without judgment, your deepest secrets or greatest frustrations. They will stop what they are doing, give you their undivided attention, provide honest feedback, and remind you that how you’re feeling is normal and you aren’t as crazy as you feel. They will tell you that they’ve felt that way too, and you instantly feel better.

4. The Work Buddy: This is the person you can vent to when the jerk in the cubicle repeatedly sneezes too loudly or won’t refill the coffee. The person who will check your big project for typos before you proudly present it to the boss. You generally spend more waking hours with this person than you do your own family, and even though you don’t necessarily hang outside of work, they know your idiosyncrasies and appreciate them anyway.

5. The Ole Faithful: This is the person who is always there for you. This is the first person to text you the morning of your birthday and remembers your wedding anniversary even if you’ve forgotten. This person’s memory is like a steel-trap, and they always remember to acknowledge important events. They are the most thoughtful of the thoughtful.

6. The Oracle. This person is a modern Socrates. They offer wisdom when you need it the most and, dangit, are almost always right.

7. The Former Friend. This is the person who used to be a close friend but, for whatever reason, like the Gotye song, is now “somebody that you used to know.” That’s okay. This person is also one of the most important friends because, without even knowing it, they are also teachers. They taught you about yourself, about the person you should be and want to be, and about the type of friend you perhaps never want to be to other people.

There’s no bad blood. You see them out and about, you politely smile at each other, and you’re grateful for how much they taught you about yourself and how far you’ve come.

8. The Comedian. This person is hilarious and always good for a joke, prank, or a laugh. This person can take it as well as they can dish it out, and for that, you’re appreciative because you need them in your life.

The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

Sometimes you get lucky and have friends who fill more than one, or many, of the categories.

Who are the most important types of friends in your life? Did I leave a type off of this list?


    9 Ways Blogging Makes me a Better Person

    9 Ways Blogging Made me a Better Person | The Champagne Supernova

    When I spearheaded my new blogging venture at The Champagne Supernova back in December of 2014, I freaked out every time I clicked the “publish” button.

    What will people think?

    Should I censor myself out of fear that sharing my truths will cause me to become rejected?

    Will people see me as vain and narcissistic, an occasional stereotype of bloggers? 

    Why would other people care to read about my mundane life or my personal opinions? 

    As a result of freaking out, my first couple posts were pure garbage. I mean, they weren’t terrible, but they also weren’t my authentic voice. They were the watered-down version of someone trying to come across as polished, politically correct, and proper.

    Those qualities are fine, but they’re not always me.

    It’s been a bit of an evolution, like everything else in life, but here are 9 ways blogging is making me a better person:

    Blogging Helps me Prioritize. Like other bloggers, I balance my hobby of writing with a young family, demanding career, and social life. When I started The Champagne Supernova, I had grandiose plans of publishing a blog post twice a week. Then, as I became more realistic and appreciated the amount of work and creativity associated with writing a quality post, those plans were reduced to once a week.

    When I first started blogging I found it incredibly hard at first, I just wasn’t too sure what I had to. My friend luckily recommended that I use something like this best wordpress hosting site to make starting a lot easier. I just had a lot of learning to though and I had a lot of expectations when really I shouldn’t have worried so much.

    Now, I’m lucky if I can pump out one post every week.

    And you know what? That’s okay.

    The world won’t stop spinning if I don’t publish a blog post. And for the Type A control freak in me, this is difficult, but I’ve just gotta let it go. 

    Blogging has helped me to establish a hierarchy of what must be done, what could be done, and what can wait for later.

    And sometimes that’s blogging.

    Blogging Keeps me Accountable. If I write on my blog that I’m going to do something, I pretty much have to do it.

    This is exactly why I haven’t posted about my goal to completely give up coffee.

    I’m just not there yet.

    Blogging Helps me Grow Thick Skin. In the fifteen months I’ve been blogging, I’ve been attacked by internet trolls. One publicly called me a bad mother because I let my three-year-old wear pajamas to daycare. One was another blogger who accused me of hijacking a common phrase from one of her old blog posts (that I never read) and then using it myself.

    The pre-blogger me would have called my friends crying and would have considered shutting down the blog for good. I would have responded to these people and tried to reason with them.

    You’re gonna like me again, Goshdarnit! 

    The post-blogger me shakes it off and doesn’t care.

    At all.

    Blogging has helped me realize that other peoples’ views don’t matter. And there’s definitely a positive correlation between people who are critical (read: haters) and people who don’t have the courage to pursue their own goals. So, generally, I don’t care about other peoples’ opinions unless those people are my immediate family, a handful of close friends, or a person who enables me to pay my mortgage (e.g. The Bossman).

    Blogging Taught me it’s Ok to Make Mistakes. After months of empty submissions to the blog for the Today Show parenting team, you can imagine my elation when one of my posts was finally featured and made its way around the internet. Read it here.

    There’s a typo in the fifth paragraph. And while it was unlikely anyone else noticed, noticed and agonized about it.

    For days.

    Then I realized, like most things, life isn’t over because of a simple mistake. In fact, life just got better because I learned from the mistake. I make an effort to closely read all of my posts before they’re published to avoid other typos in the future.

    You know what? It’s bound to happen again.

    And it’ll be ok.

    Blogging Inspires Creativity. One of my work colleagues, whom I deeply respect, once said that every person has an inherent need to be creative. Whether it’s painting, singing, writing, knitting, drawing, whatever, we all need to act upon our creativity, and we become unhappy when we can’t do that.

    I can relate.

    Creative expression sets my soul on fire. It allows me to be “artistic” in a way that my day job doesn’t.

    And I’m so much happier now that I’ve pursued it.

    Blogging Enhanced my Photography SkillsI bought a DSLR camera in 2012 when my first daughter was born and was painfully intimidated by the lights, buttons, and switches.

    F stop. Aperture. Shutter speed.


    Just keep it in the automatic setting, I thought. It’s so much easier that way. 

    Sure, it was easy. But it often resulted in pictures that were blurry, yellow, or dark.

    If I wanted good pictures on the blog, I would have to learn how to use the camera in manual. And, just like everything else, practice makes perfect. It took about two years, but now I only use it in manual. And check out this sweet shot I captured last year in Italy, which totally would have been ruined if I was shooting in automatic:

    9 Ways Blogging Made me a Better Person - one was it honed in my photography. |The Champagne Supernova Blogging Opens Doors for Connections. I have so many “friends” in the blogosphere who, even though we’ve never met in the flesh, I feel like I know. I read their blogs routinely, celebrate their blogging victories, see pictures of their families, “like” and “comment” on their Instagram photos, and would definitely have a glass of vino with them if given the opportunity.

    These bloggers have inspired me to do better and enabled me to have fresher ideas, take better pictures, grow my subscriber list, and jump start my SEO.

    Dang for those pesky geographic limitations.

    Blogging Makes me be a Better Listener. In the blogging community, it’s all about the conversation. There’s no right or wrong, just a gathering of opinions focused on seeing each other succeed. It’s no longer solely about what I think or what I’m doing, but it’s about reading what other people are doing and understanding whether it is or isn’t working for them.

    Blogging Helps me Help Others. Putting my honest struggles and vulnerabilities onto the world wide web, where it will stay forever, has an impact in ways I never realized. Last year after I published a post about my awful experience with the baby blues, a stranger approached me at Home Depot, sobbing. She was four weeks postpartum and was struggling with depression, discovered my blog, and found comfort knowing she wasn’t alone.


    It felt so good to know I made her feel good without even trying, just by being honest.

    What ways has your preferred creative outlet changed your life for the better? Let’s keep the conversation going.

    If you’re thinking about following in my footsteps by starting a blog, this could motivate you to be on track with tasks at home and in the office as you’ll be uploading content daily for your readers.


      #Sorrynotsorry: Parenting Edition

      Eight things I refuse to apologize about in parenting. | The Champagne Supernova

      As a society, we’re always apologizing for something.

      Apologizing that someone got their feelings hurt about something that wasn’t meant to be taken personally. Apologizing for having an opinion about a topic that isn’t the popularly-accepted view. Apologizing for just being our own imperfect selves.

      Don’t get me wrong. There are times an apology is appropriate and necessary.

      Then there’s times it’s not.

      A couple months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Allison, at the AA blog compiled a list of all the things she was tired of apologizing for. It was genius!

      So- here’s a list of eight parenting things I will never ever apologize for.

      I like to call them the “sorrynotsorry” list.

      Midnight Snuggle Time. I’ve read all the books that say co-sleeping is a cardinal sin. Ok, I’m lying. I haven’t read any of them because I just call my mom when I need parenting advice. However, I’m sure Dr. Benjamin Spock would agree that co-sleeping is a bad idea and blah blah blah. When my three-year-old comes into my room in the middle of the night, says she had a bad dream, and asks if she can snuggle, the answer isn’t just “yes,” it’s “Heck YES!”

      There will eventually come a time when my girls would rather spend the evening at a slumber party chatting about boys over popcorn with their friends than hanging out with little ole’ me. This time with them now is sacred, short, and fleeting. So during the “in-between” time, my kids are free to crawl into bed with me and I’ll protect them from the Boogie Man. #Sorrynotsorry.

      Disciplining my Children in Public. I won’t allow my children to “get away” with bad behavior in public. Permitting them to act like brats by not giving them immediate, age-appropriate, consequences is a loving effort to help them to grow up and be functioning, socially intelligent adults. Usually, this punishment entails hauling off my children to the nearest restroom or private area and putting them in “time out” until they cool it and can return to the group. Or taking away a toy or piece of candy no matter how loudly they protest. Absent certain circumstances, I won’t avoid confrontation for the sake of not making a scene. Because I love them. #Sorrynotsorry. 

      Unreturned Phone Calls. Having kids has somewhat taken a toll on my social life. Before I had children, I’d use every opportunity to catch up with my girlfriends on the phone while I was in the car. Orlando. Miami. Atlanta. Fort Lauderdale. Nashville. D.C. Chicago. Gals in all different area codes. Some of these conversations happened when my kids were in the car with me. However, once my oldest daughter got to the age where she wanted my attention, I decided, once and for all, that I wouldn’t engage in non-essential phone conversations while she was riding with me.

      So instead of jabbering on the phone with a girlfriend regarding what’s going on at work or the best new local restaurant, I’m having a real conversation with my daughters about what they did at school, books they love, what they want for dinner, and how they want to spend the few hours between coming home from daycare and bedtime. And it’s the bomb diggity. #Sorrynotsorry.

      De-Emphasis on Physical Appearance. When I’m around my kids, I make a conscious effort to never comment on another person’s appearance or my own physical insecurities. They don’t need to know about whether so-and-so is beautiful, if so-and-so needs to lose weight, or whether I’m frustrated that my pants don’t fit the way they used to and even my Spanx are getting too tight (darn!) Who really flipping cares about these things?

      Part of growing up is realizing what matters and what doesn’t. And while these things were “important” to me during the immature days of my youth, talking about them now is an unproductive, shallow waste of time. I don’t want my girls to notice whether other women are pretty, have a perfect body, or wear nice clothes.  I want them to notice whether they are kind, interesting, encouraging, funny, talented, engaging, and smart. I want them to be someone’s friend for who they are on the inside and not for what they look like, who they associate with, or what they have. #Sorrynotsorry.

      Saying No. I read somewhere that unless an invite is a resounding “Hell Yes,” then it should be a “no.” I’ve begun using this mantra as a litmus test for deciding whether to accept an invitation. If something isn’t “family friendly” and it doesn’t involve people I love and truly want to hang out with, then the answer is “no.” Plain and simple. (Make no mistake, there are times I do want to say yes, but “life happens” and its not always feasible.)

      Gone are the days of doing things just because I wanted to feel a sense of inclusion and belonging, coupled with a fear that saying no would stop the invitations from coming. Life is too short to be accepting obligations that we aren’t excited to be accepting or purposely hanging out with people who don’t give us the “warm and fuzzies.” #Sorrynotsorry.

      Being Real. I don’t care if wearing mismatched, off-brand workout clothes to the gym isn’t cool. I’m gonna wear them anyway. I don’t care if my jokes are dumb and I think I’m funny when nobody else thinks so. I’m gonna tell them anyway. I certainly don’t care that I’m 34 and still use words like dork and dweeb and Jee Whiz and bomb diggity (see #3 above). I’m gonna say them anyway. I want to set an example to my children to be the people who God made them to be with complete freedom from other people’s opinions. #Sorrynotsorry. 

      Being Obsessed with my Kids. I get it. Other than my husband, family, and close friends, nobody really cares about the funny things my oldest daughter said on the way to school, who their favorite teachers are, or their newest book and movie craze. That said, I’m going to tell the stories anyway and will not feel ashamed about being obsessed with my kids. On that token, I will listen with an open heart to anecdotes other people share about their children and will let them have their turns to be obsessed and will celebrate it. #Sorrynotsorry. 

      Making time for Myself. I can’t take care of my family if I don’t take care of myself. I learned this the hard way when I dealt with the baby blues after my first pregnancy. I refuse to feel guilty about going to the gym, reading a book in a quiet room, of spending time with girlfriends who fill my cup. #Sorrynotsorry. 

      What do you refuse to apologize for?


        After the Fall: Recovering from Humiliation

        How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life. | The Champagne Supernova

        A lot of embarrassing things have happened to me in my life. If I didn’t have witnesses, there’s a chance people would consider my misfortune to be either exaggerated or blatant lies.

        Like the time I got caught huffing oils at work.

        Or the time I cussed out innocent bystanders in an elevator.

        Or the time I got rejected from employment at Red Lobster.

        Well, here’s another doozie that I think we all have a little something to learn from.

        It was October of 2014 and my husband and I attended a destination wedding in the Florida Keys. We were stoked to be staying at a nice hotel and my parents were gracious enough to stay home with the girls, then ages 2 1/2 and 5 months.

        Parents’ weekends away are good for the soul and good for the marriage.

        My husband absolutely loves fishing so we had a few things planned including a trip on one of the amazing FKF Charters.

        How to recover from something humiliating happening to you. | The Champagne Supernova

        Me and Jason on the day of the wedding. Before “the tragedy.”

        The day after the wedding, at the recommendation of our breakfast waitress, we decided to drive 30 miles west from our resort in Duck Key to the No Name Pub on Big Pine Key.

        The waitress said the bar was in the middle of nowhere and was surrounded by key deer, which were native to the area.

        My husband, being the outdoorsman that he is, thought the idea was perfect.

        So we got in the car around eleven and ventured off into the wild blue yonder on a 45 minute ride to head to a restaurant famous for its history, deer, pizza, and cold brewskis.

        When we arrived close to noon, the restaurant was packed and there were people standing in line for a table. It was super casual in what seemed to be a 1200 square foot dining room and dollar bills adorned the ceilings and walls.

        How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

        It was only proper to personalize our own dollar bill to commemorate Parents Weekend 2014.

        How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

        We finally found a spot at the bar next to two highfalutin gentlemen who lived in Key West. The bar stools were exceptionally tall. We enjoyed our conversation with the men regarding property values, land investments, and working from home over a large pepperoni pizza and two Blue Moon beers.

        How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

        The Scene of the Crime.

        Yes, I drank two beers over the course of the entire hour and a half we were at the restaurant.

        The calories and carbohydrates from the pizza effectively cancelled out the beers’ entire alcoholic content, so it was pretty much the equivalent, in my mind, to drinking two glasses of water.

        When it was time to leave, we bid adieu to our new friends and I attempted to step off the bar stool.

        Only it was too high.

        Much higher than I remembered.

        The whole ordeal felt like it was happening in slow motion.

        I fell off the back of the stool and literally crashed into the table behind me, causing the bar stool I was sitting in to topple over. I fell on top of my neighbors’ table, causing their pizza and drinks to splat all over the floor, before I eventually landed on my derriere.

        It was like Wile E. Coyote falling backwards off a cliff.

        When I finally came to, the once-roaring restaurant was completely silent.

        Every single person was staring at me.




        The bartender.

        The yorkie in the corner.

        In a effort to make light of the situation, I stood up, did a gymnast-style pose, and loudly said, “I’m all right, everybody!”

        How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.But nobody laughed.

        So I skedaddled out of the restaurant as quickly as my bruised ego (and hiney) would permit.

        When I got into the parking lot, my husband asked me if I was okay. I said yes. He then convulsively laughed until he was nearly crying and continued laughing the entire ride back to the resort.

        In his defense, it was pretty funny.

        Then I started thinking.

        The event was a metaphor about life.

        Sometimes when you fall, all you can do is get back up and keep on keeping’ on.

        There’s been so many times in my life where I’ve been handed a whopping slice of humble pie and was glad I kept my eyes on the end goal and continued trying.

        Like the time I studied my head off in law school for final exams and still got a dreaded C in criminal law.

        I felt like an idiot. Especially when I heard some of my classmates bragging about “the one B+ that ruined their chances of grading onto Law Review.”

        Or the time I essentially crawled to the finish line of my first marathon after losing steam at the 20th mile. I wanted so badly to give up after getting smoked by a lady who appeared to be 16 months pregnant and a dude who was on crutches.

        Like the fall at the bar, sometimes there’s no point in dwelling on our embarrassments or letting them define us.

        All we can do is laugh, learn from the situation, and keep moving forward.

        The next morning, my husband and I returned to the same restaurant where we had breakfast the day before and was assigned the same waitress who recommended that we eat at the No Name Pub.

        We told her we took her tip and went to the No Name Pub.

        Then she said, and the good Lord (and my husband) is my witness:

        Those bar stools are really high!

        Apparently, patrons stepping off the bar stools and getting hurt is a common thing.

        Attention personal injury attorneys: go sit at this bar one afternoon with a stack of business cards. You’ll make a fortune.





          Inspirational Quotes: Eleven of My Favorites

          Eleven of the most meaningful quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          This week’s been wacky. I’ve been tired and, frankly, have been suffering a major case of writer’s block.

          I’m starting to run out of anecdotes that make my otherwise mundane life seem more exciting than it really is.


          OK, I lied, I have one.

          As background, I’ve been trying to find ways to focus at work while staying relaxed and, to be honest, my prior method of chugging five large cups of coffee a day was thwarting my ability to fall asleep in the evenings. I was in St. Augustine over Martin Luther King weekend visiting family and came across an adorable spa/health/holistic shop called Sphere that sells essential oils.

          (Disclaimer: I don’t sell oils and am not making any type of commission from this story, so bear with me here.)

          (Another disclaimer: I don’t consider myself to be an eccentric hippie. I just like to sniff the oil and keep-a-moving.)

          Eleven of the most meaningful quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Kristen Wiig’s hippie skit on SNL.

          I purchased an oil appropriately called “Clarity” and brought to work with me, where I occasionally sniff it throughout the day.

          Because I want clarity, goshdarnit.

          So it’s Monday afternoon (how appropriate) and I return to my desk after a trip to the kitchen. I sit down, grab the bottle of essential oil, open it, move it up to my nose, take a looooooooooong, dramatic inhale, then an equally loooooooooooong, dramatic exhale, and peacefully open my eyes.

          My boss is standing at the corner of my desk staring at me, confused and disgusted.

          I was mortified.

          I was too busy seeking clarity to hear him walk in.

          Boss: What are you doing?

          Me (humiliated): Just smelling an essential oil, care for a whiff?

          Boss, shaking head: No. 

          He walked out of the office without saying another word.


          Why can’t he walk into my office when I’m busy burning the midnight oil? Or while I’m laying down the law (pun intended) during a telephone conversation with opposing counsel?

          Minted's Limited Edition Art Prints

          And so here I am, a couple days later, seeking inspiration on the internet, in my old journals, and from my friends.

          I think everyone has their favorite sayings or mantras that keep them inspired during life’s uninspiring moments.

          Sure, it’s easy to feel inspired when you accomplish something huge.

          Running a marathon.

          Making a big deal at work.

          Keeping the kids alive all day.

          What about all the in-between, less than exciting moments?

          Here are some of my favorite quotes to help me feel inspired when being inspired seems impossible.

          Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you. Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Eleven of my favorite quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          Eleven of my favorite inspirational and motivational quotes to inspire and motivate you.

          What are your favorite inspirational quotes to get you through the stinky times?



            Crazy People: 5 Ways to Deal with Them

            5 ways to deal with irrational people | The Champagne Supernova

            The famous wire hanger scene in Mommie Dearest.

            Because of the adversarial nature of my career as an attorney, I’ve dealt with my share of irrational people.


            Nut jobs.


            However, one fairly recent event nearly put me over the edge.

            As background, in the true spirit of a procrastinator, I usually wait until my gas tank light is on before I refuel.

            It’s a game of chicken that I like to play with myself.

            I also prefer not to get gas when my children are in the car because they get bored.

            This event happened after a busy day at work. I was bombarded with preparing for hearings, client reporting deadlines, and responding to emails. My husband needed me to pick up the girls from daycare, and I happily obliged because, after a long day at the office, all I wanted to do was to spend quality time with them.

            And drink a glass of wine.

            As my gas light had been on for quite a while and it was “time,” I decided to pull into a gas station before picking up the girls.

            It’s one of the busiest gas stations in town and, during certain times when it’s inundated with dawdlers like myself, the area around the pumps can be so cluttered with people waiting that it’s nearly impossible to pull in and out.

            (Tampanians: it’s the Sunoco on the corner of MacDill and Platt. You know what I’m talking about!)

            I pulled into the station at 5:45 pm (cutting it close to daycare ending at 6 pm) and was on the phone with one of my girlfriends.

            Then I saw it. It was like manna from heaven. An open pump.

            How can this be? I thought to myself.

            I didn’t linger with questions. I pulled directly up to the pump.

            All of a sudden, I saw a girl in front of me get out of her vehicle and start screaming.

            She looked like a possessed demon. Red faced. Foamy spit coming out of her mouth.

            Uh, I have to get off the phone, I told my friend, I think someone is yelling at me.

            Apparently the girl was attempting to back her vehicle up to the gas pump when I arrived and, unknowingly, “stole” it from her.

            Visibly upset, she was screaming, yelling obscenities, and giving me the middle finger.

            Her reaction was crazy.

            Under any ordinary situation, I would have profusely apologized, gotten back into my car, moved my vehicle, and waited for a different pump. That’s how I would want someone to treat me.

            After all, this was an honest mistake.

            However, this chick’s reaction set me internally on fire.

            She must not have real problems if she’s going to get this worked up over a gas pump.

            So I said nothing and, instead, judged her. She was wearing workout clothes, appeared to be in her early 20s, had her hair in a ponytail under a baseball cap, and was driving an early 2000s model Volkswagen Jetta.

            I decided the likelihood of her packing heat was low.

            So I completely ignored her, got out of my vehicle, and began pumping my gas. 

            She became spastic.

            I didn’t even look her in the eye or acknowledge in any way that she was losing her mind and making a scene in front of every bystander at the gas station.

            I didn’t care. I kept pumping gas. I didn’t acknowledge her and pretended she didn’t exist.

            And it made her come undone.

            She was screaming. Pulled up to the back of my car and loudly called me a Fruity Banana.

            Only it wasn’t a Fruity Banana.

            The first word began with an F and the second word began with a B.

            I continued ignoring her and stared at the digital numbers on the pump.




            Hurry up! I thought.

            Then, the worst thing that could have possibly happen happened.

            The spot on the direct opposite side of my pump became available.

            The girl pulled up next to me, got out of her car, and began pumping gas.

            How can I avoid making eye contact?

            She continued screaming and calling me names. Then, she got on her cellular phone and started talking about me to whoever was on the other end.

            This ordeal was the longest three minutes of my life.

            When my tank was full, I got into my car and moved onto more important things. My kids.

            I don’t know who this girl is and wouldn’t recognize her in a line up. Maybe she was already having a bad day. Maybe she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her. Maybe she discovered she flunked college algebra. Maybe she learned her fitness class was over booked and so she got the boot.

            Who knows?

            Whoever this girl is, I just hope her proverbial tank has since been replenished with love, peace, and validation.

            Because isn’t that what we all want?

            To be loved? To be acknowledged? To feel like we matter, instead of being ignored?

            I don’t regret how I handled the situation. Sometimes it’s better to do nothing. On my end, it was nearly impossible for me to bite my tongue. But I’m glad I did.

            Unlike gas station girl, some irrational people cannot be avoided. Business associates. Members of churches and volunteer organizations. Relatives. People who run in your social circle. People who aren’t “going away.”

            I often wonder the ideal way to handle these types of people.

            I enlisted the help of some colleagues who are in the mental health profession, and they provided input on the five best ways to deal with the crazy people in your life.

            Ignore. Don’t respond to someone who doesn’t deserve a response. You received a rude text? Ignore it. Someone sent you a rude email or asked you a rude question? Don’t acknowledge it. Do you routinely have to see someone who bugs you? Other than exchanging casual formalities (because you’re polite and that’s just what you do), ignore them.

            Raise the White Flag. If someone acts crazy because you legitimately did something to them and you are genuinely sorry, then recognize your wrongdoing, address it with a sincere apology, and move on.

            It takes guts to eat crow.

            Most sane people will appreciate the apology and will provide a clean slate. Ideally, it will no longer be awkward to be around that person.

            Set Boundaries. If you are constantly around someone who pushes your buttons, then recognize it and stay aware of your own emotions. As irrational people are often predictable and the pattern starts showing itself, determine ahead of time how you will deal with this person, and stick to your plan.

            Don’t Take on Their Issues. I once worked with a guy who said he never let other people control the way he feels.

            It stuck with me.

            Sometimes it’s so easy to take on another person’s crappy attitude.

            Guilty over here.

            However, make up your mind that you are going to do your thing regardless of how they are doing theirs. Stick with it. If you feel their bad attitude wearing off on you, then start limiting the time you spend with them.

            Offer Compassion. This one, my friends, is the hardest of the options. You never know what other people are going through, and, like the saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people.”

            I went through four years of college detesting a girl we’ll call Ashley. She never “did” anything specifically to me, per se, but she was an overall nasty person. Hateful just to be hateful. She didn’t try to cultivate female friendships and had a reputation for being stuck up. Fast forward ten years later, Ashley and I reconnected professionally and, at a work conference, she confided to me that her mother was verbally and physically abusive when she was growing up, which caused her to project anger and toward others.

            That explained everything.

            And there you have it, my friends, five good ways to deal with crazy people. Do you have any pointers that I left off the list?





              The Red Lobster Reject: Served Me Right

              Dealing with workplace rejection: The Champagne Supernova |

              It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college at the University of Florida.

              I accidentally wrecked the truck of a guy I was dating, causing $1,200 worth of damage. And in 2002, that was a lot of money. Especially for a college student with no income.

              After calling my parents and hysterically reporting the news, I did what any logical 20 year-old would do. I opened the local newspaper and looked for part time employment.

              The Red Lobster posted an ad in the classified section for servers.

              Perfect, I thought.

              I didn’t have any waitressing experience, but who cared? I could wing it. At the time, the average entree at Red Lobster was around $12, which meant I would earn good tips and ultimately be able to help pay for the damage to the vehicle while putting some money in my pocket for the school year.

              My boyfriend drove me to the Red Lobster so I could apply for the position in person. He agreed to wait for me in the parking lot while I went inside. (Because, back in “the day”, I didn’t have a cell phone to easily contact him when the application process was over. Read about other modern conveniences that didn’t exist when I was in college here.)

              When I arrived, the manager on duty, a middle aged woman named Barb, advised me that I had perfect timing, because they were about to start interviews, and she invited me to participate. Barb started working at Red Lobster as a busser when she was 15, had leathery skin, a tattoo on her left ring finger, and a gold front tooth.

              I got this, I thought.

              The interview process had two parts. The first was a timed, written exam that was graded electronically. Those who passed the written portion engaged in one-on-one interviews with the management, who made the final hiring decision.

              There were roughly 15 other people in the Red Lobster entrance area who were applying for serving positions along with me.

              They varied in age and gender, but there was one common denominator. They all smelled like a bowling alley: cigarettes and onion rings. Some of them looked like they hadn’t bathed in a couple days. One lady was wearing a Food Lion uniform. There also was a Hispanic man who handed Barb a piece of paper stating that he couldn’t speak English. She directed him to the kitchen.

              I was certain I was the only person in the room with any type of higher education. I was also certain I was the only person who showered in the last 24 hours.

              Being a stuck up, self-absorbed twenysomething, I thought to myself: I’ve got this interview in the bag! 

              Barb corralled us into a room where were given an exam packet, a Scantron-style grading sheet, and a Number 2 pencil. She advised she’d return in ten minutes, and we had to answer as many questions as we could.

              The clock started ticking.

              I felt like Rocky in the Final Countdown. I slicked my hair into a pony tail, grabbed a Tic Tac from my purse, and put on my game face.

              Question One: What animal do baby back ribs come from?

              A. Pigs. B. Cows C. Fish D. Chickens

              Me: Jeez. I don’t really eat baby back ribs and I don’t remember the cook ever serving them at the sorority house. Shoot, I thought this was a seafood place, not a meat place. I guess they’re from cows. Yeah, must be cows. 

              I bubbled in the B.

              Question Two: How many quarts of coleslaw would it take to make a gallon?

              A. Two. B. Four. C. Six D. Eight

              Me: Why is this relevant? Wouldn’t it be easier to just scoop a bunch of coleslaw into a milk jug until it’s full? I don’t flipping know. Eight sounds about right. Moving on.

              I bubbled in the D.

              Question Three: Sally’s meal is $14.99 and Justin’s meal is $12.99. They both order sodas, which are each $.99. Sally orders a brownie sundae, which is $3.99, and Justin follows her lead by ordering cheesecake, which is also $3.99. When it’s time to pay the bill, Justin gives his server a $50.00 bill and tells him to keep 20% as a tip. How much change should the server give Justin? Round the numbers up and don’t account for sales tax.

              A. $3.51 B. $2.99 C. $3.99 D. $4.47

              Me: What? I need a calculator. If I was good at math, I’d be pre-med instead of pre-law. I scribbled some numbers on the side of the examination packet and started getting nervous it was taking too much time. None of my “answers” matched the choice options. I looked at the numbers. Two of the choices end in $.99. All of Sally and Justin’s food and beverage selections ended in $.99. So, clearly, either B or C were correct. I’ve always heard if you’re uncertain of the answer on a multiple choice test, go with C. So that’s what I did.

              I bubbled in the C.

              The questions continued. Some were difficult and others were easy. Eventually, a buzzer went off and Barb entered the room and collected our bubble sheets. She advised us to gather back into the lobby while the computer tabulated the results.

              While we were waiting, nobody else seemed nervous. I saw the Hispanic man leave the kitchen area and give one of my fellow server applicants a high-five, so I assumed he secured some type of position as a cook or dish washer.

              Did he have to take an exam?

              I overheard one of the applicants ask another applicant for a ride home after the interview because she and her baby daddy were in an argument and she didn’t want to take the bus back to her apartment.

              She literally said “baby daddy.”

              After a couple minutes, Barb returned to the lobby.

              Jennifer Daku? she said, eyeballing the room.

              I raised my hand.

              Yes yes yes yes yes! I thought. I must have received the highest score on the exam! That’s why Barb’s specifically calling my name and nobody else’s! She’s probably going to suggest bypassing the serving position and directly promoting me to management without the need for an interview! 

              You didn’t pass the exam. But everyone else can come back to the offices with me for interviews. 

              To say I was shocked was an understatement. I thought Ashton Kutcher was going to swing the front door open and tell me I just got Punk’d. I thought Barb was going to confess that my boyfriend gave her $10 to mess with me and the entire thing was a practical joke. I thought I would eventually wake up from this Cheddar Bay biscuit and Shrimp Scampi nightmare.

              Defeated, I walked to the parking lot, got into my boyfriend’s truck, told him what happened, and eventually started crying.

              The experience was humbling and humiliating.

              Served me right for thinking I was too good for Red Lobster. Served me right for thinking I was better than the other applicants. Served me right for mentally jeering Barb, the Hispanic guy, the Food Lion lady, and the woman with the baby daddy.

              I went in seeking a server position but, instead, got served a dose of reality and it served me right.

              Thirteen years later, I tell the story and laugh.

              It’s pretty hilarious.

              For anyone wondering, baby back ribs come from pigs, it takes four quarts of coleslaw to make a gallon, and the hypothetical server should have given Justin $4.47 in change.


                Snowball and the Instagram Snafu: Why Supportive Friendships are Essential

                Why Being a Supportive Friend is Important:

                I got the call a couple weeks ago.

                Jen, you won’t believe this. Kelly UNFOLLOWED Snowball on Instagram.

                Anna, one of my longtime childhood friends, lives in Atlanta and has been trying for eight years to conceive a child. Eight flipping years. She recently started an Instagram account for her Siamese cat, Snowball, and posts an adorable picture of him once a day. Anna doesn’t have a child, so Snowball is her equivalent. She wants as many people to see and interact with her account as possible. With this in mind, the idea of looking into sites similar to is the way she wants to grow her follow count. In all fairness, companies such as Buzzoid are there for that specific reason, so good on her for doing what’s important to her. If she finds herself too busy to engage with her followers she could use something similar to an Instagram tool to help her keep up with them. Seeing as everyone is pretty much on social media these days, why not use this as an advantage?

                He’s always doing something cute in the pictures.

                Wearing a tutu.

                Doing a trick.

                Licking his paw.

                Anna downloaded an app on her phone that shows users who unfollowed their social media profiles. Using this app, Anna learned that one of our mutual friends, Kelly, stopped following Snowball’s Instagram account. Hence the phone call. But who cares, Anna can just take a look at Upleap to gain more followers, losing one person over gaining twenty more means nothing.

                In case you’re not familiar, unfollowing is to Instagram what unfriending is to Facebook.


                I’m sure Kelly had no idea Anna would ever know she unfollowed Snowball’s account. I’m also sure Kelly’s unfollowing wasn’t personal, she just wasn’t interested in seeing pictures of Snowball wearing a sombrero.

                What’s noteworthy is that Kelly is a travel writer who routinely posts pictures on social media of tropical and exotic places she’s visiting. Kelly recently opened her own online travel agency and has spent considerable time promoting it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

                And here’s the thing. Anna follows Kelly’s social media accounts and “likes,” “pins,” and “re-tweets” almost every single one of Kelly’s posts and promotions for her travel agency.

                She promotes Kelly’s endeavors because she’s Kelly’s friend and she wants to be supportive.

                Anna likely doesn’t give a crap that Kelly is eating tempura in Taiwan (like) or hiking near Dudhsagar Falls in Goa (like, comment, share!).

                For Anna, sharing Kelly’s posts, or clicking the “like” button on one of Kelly’s pictures is her way of saying, “I acknowledge this and I support you.”

                Sometimes being a good friend is supporting other peoples’ pursuits and passions, even if they genuinely don’t make a difference in our own lives. Even if we don’t “care.”

                People can be pretty judgmental about what others post on social media. I say this because I’ve been judgy as well.

                For instance, I generally get annoyed when people upload pictures of themselves working out or, specially, bragging about the number of calories they’ve burned.

                The root of my irritation is jealousy.

                Jane Doe finished hiking the Appalachian Trial while I’m sitting on my couch with a red wine mustache after I’ve downed an entire box of Cheez-Its.

                And they weren’t even the “Reduced Fat” kind. They were the whole shebang.

                Jane, I hope you take your Lululemon pants and fall into a ravine. By the way, I burned 13 calories on my rotation from the sofa, refrigerator, and bathroom. So take that!

                People can find all sorts of reasons to be annoyed by other peoples’ social media posts. Job promotions. Selfies. Political rants. Dinner. A million pictures in a row of their children. Creative endeavors. Paintings and pottery. Family deaths. Monogrammed cups and towels for sale. Pictures of “success” stories from someone’s MLM business. (FYI, if someone finds a “stomach wrap” that’s totally legit, I’ll be all over it.) Philanthropic events and fundraisers. Pregnancy announcements. Newborn announcements. Engagement pictures. A new car or home purchase. Mushy gushy love sonnets to significant others.

                Nobody is immune from judgment.

                Why Being a Supportive Friend is Important:

                You know what? People can post pretty much whatever they want on their own social media accounts and nobody really has the right to judge. And further, if someone is posting something that is a milestone or special to them, then as their friends (Read: true friends, not acquaintances we sat next to in middle school biology twenty years ago), it wouldn’t kill us to be supportive and acknowledge it.

                I’m not saying someone should feel validated by the number of likes or comments they receive on the Fakebook Facebook. I’m also not saying that clicking “like” on a social media post is the litmus test for true friendship. However, I’m saying that, when looking at the “big picture,” true friends should support their friends’ endeavors.

                This isn’t limited to social media. This is real life.

                Being a true, supportive friend, is being a friend who routinely shows up.

                As we get older and have more personal, family, and career obligations, “showing up” for good friends takes different forms. It means asking about a friend’s new job. It means making an effort to see their new house or their newborn baby, even if it’s “out of the way” and inconvenient. It means attending weddings (even the second and third), baby showers, and milestone birthdays. It means making a phone call or sending a text message or e-mail to congratulate them about a “big deal” accomplishment.

                And sometimes, even sometimes, showing up means liking the living bejesus out of Snowball’s Instagram pictures.

                Because, come on, seeing pictures of him snoozing on a windowsill are the cat’s meow. (I hate me.)

                True friends say, “this is important to me because it’s important to you. So I’ll ask you about it and show an interest.”

                What if we all supported people the way we wanted others to support us? Even if we didn’t necessarily “care”? What if we all showed an interest in things that were going on in other peoples’ lives, even if it doesn’t truly matter to us? What if we all showed our friends that something they’re doing is important to us just because it’s important to them?

                What would happen?

                I can tell you what will happen… a whole lot of love and good feelings would happen.


                  9 Things that Stink About Getting Older

                  9 Things that Stink About Getting Older:

                  Comfort over fashion, people! It’s comfort over fashion!

                  One of my favorite games I play when I go out on the town with my girlfriends (ok, going “out on the town” usually happens once a year and involves going to one “bar,” getting tired, and heading home) is seeing whether we can “pass.” What this entails is faking that we are super young and hip and seeing if we can still “pass” for twentysomethings. My cover usually gets blown when I’m observed yanking diaper rash cream out of my purse to get to my lipstick, giggling when the bouncer asks for my ID, or grimacing when I see a legitimate twentysomething dressed in one of those “in” bandage-style dresses and her breast is coming out of the top. (Or substituting the word “breast” for boob, for another matter.)

                  Does her mother know she looks like that?

                  I remember high school like it was yesterday. I also vividly remember graduating from college, moving into my first apartment, and starting law school. All of those things happened between the ages of 18 and 23 and they don’t seem like long ago.

                  I get it. I’m 33 and realize there are people older than me who are reading this post and rolling their eyes.

                  Stay with me here.

                  Aren’t we all going through stages of our lives where our bodies want to slap us and say “Snap out of it, you’re no spring chicken anymore”?

                  Here, in no particular order, are the 9 worst things about getting older:

                  Being Called Ma’am. There are two types of people guaranteed to call me Ma’am. The first is the fourteen-year-old supermarket bag boy who mutters this word (two syllables if you live in the South) while placing groceries in my trunk. The second is usually a receptionist at the clerk of court’s office.

                  And it usually involves her copping a ‘tude about not wanting to give me records in a reasonable timeframe. She also pronounces Ma’am with two syllables and it comes with a side of sourpuss and sass.

                  I hate it.

                  I’d much rather be called Miss than Ma’am.

                  Call me Ma’am when I’m in a nursing home, have false teeth, and need to use Depends. Not when I’m in my thirties.

                  Matured Taste in Reading Material. Growing up, my parents subscribed to Reader’s Digest and I thought they were so lame.

                  “How come they don’t exclusively read Entertainment Weekly and The National Enquirer?” I thought.

                  Because they don’t want their brains to shrivel up like raisins.

                  Don’t get me wrong, I still read US Weekly and was shocked, appalled, and disgusted when I opened my mailbox on Monday and saw the headline: Khloe Kardashian is giving Lamar Odom a SECOND CHANCE.

                  What an idiot?!?!

                  I just don’t want to read trashy magazines all the time.

                  Crow’s Feet and Other Fine Lines. I’m bearing the consequences of my undergraduate days when I would tan on the sorority sun deck using either 1. pure baby oil, or, when I was feeling particularly health conscious, 2. tanning lotion with an SPF of 4.

                  Whoop dee do.

                  Now, I bathe in wrinkle creams. I practice smiling and squinting in front of mirrors to determine which pose shows the least amount of wrinkles.

                  In the early 2000s, it was no secret that excessive sunbathing carried a risk of skin cancer or, at the very least, premature aging. If we were able to check out these sunbathing tips back then, I know a lot of people that could have benefitted from them. I didn’t care because the time when sunbathing actually impacted me seemed so far away.

                  And here we are.

                  Dancing Like a Mom. Oh Wait… I am the world’s worst dancer. I have no rhythm and it’s pathetic. Elaine Benes has nothing on me.

                  I mean nothing.

                  In high school, I quit the freshman cheerleading squad (which was completely unselective, as every person who attended “try-outs” made the team) because I was sick of seeing the audience’s mortified reaction every time I took the field and attempted to cartwheel.

                  A for effort?

                  My dance moves have gotten even worse as I’ve gotten older because my body has a hard time keeping up with the beat of the music.

                  As if that really makes a difference.

                  9 Things that Stink About Getting Older:

                  “You are the dancing queen… young and sweet, only seventeen…” Wait. Nevermind.

                  Not Knowing the Words to Songs Because My Hearing Has Failed. I’m a former marathon runner (as in, my last marathon was ten years ago and I don’t think my bunions could currently sustain another 26.2 mile haul). To keep my mind busy during the tedious training runs, I would use headphones and jam out on my iPod.

                  You know, those huge iPods that are today’s musical equivalent of the Zack Morris cell phone? Just strapping it to my arm was a workout because it weighed around 3 pounds. I had to rotate arms in order to avoid looking like Popeye on my dominant arm.

                  I would listen to the music on the loudest setting possible. I think dead people could hear it because it was so loud.

                  Ten years later, I can’t hear a dang thing. Which also means that when I like a song, I usually misunderstand the lyrics.

                  For instance, I spent six months thinking Taylor Swift was singing about “Starbucks Lovers” in her song Blank Space.

                  You know, the ones who tell her she’s insane?

                  This was until my girlfriend broke it to me that ole’ Tay Tay was really singing about her long list of ex lovers.


                  Having to Watch what I Eat. Getting older and having kids has negatively impacted my metabolism.

                  It moves at a snail’s pace.

                  Gone are the days of eating donuts, french fries, pizza, ice cream, and sugary cocktails without repercussions. Now I have to choke down salmon and gag on spinach. Muffins now equate to a muffin top.

                  While one small bag of Cheez-Its formerly carried no ramifications, it now means a hundred sit ups and three miles on the treadmill.

                  Shut up, Jen, you’re thin.

                  On any given day, I’m wearing Spanx that are so tight, I’m afraid my eyeballs will pop out.

                  Bills, bills, bills. Getting older means making adult decisions, like putting food on the table and paying the mortgage or prancing up to Hermes and buying the Kelly bag I’ve always wanted.


                  Choice of Weekend Activities. The weekends of my twenties were planned months in advance.

                  Flying to [a faraway city] with girlfriends. Trying a new restaurant with my husband. Adult birthday party ragers. Dancing the night away and going home at 3 a.m.

                  Now, I’d rather drink wine and watch Netflix in bed.

                  You can guarantee the only time I’m up at 3 a.m. is when my toddler is screaming because her pacifier fell out of her mouth or if I’m lying awake with insomnia.

                  Oh, insomnia… another “treat” about getting older!

                  Lengthened Drinking Recovery Time. [Mom, Dad, and Grandma: if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I only know it’s true from that one time I drank that one glass of wine.]

                  In my twenties, I went out 6 nights a week (keeping the Sabbath Holy, of course!). After a late night, I could wake up at 8 am, go to class, run a 5k, volunteer with Ritalin-infused kindergarteners, pump out a ten thousand word essay, and do it all over again.

                  Nowadays, I think if I had three glasses of wine, someone would need to call 911.

                  Something else I’ve learned (the hard way): Nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever worth having to take care of kids after a night of consuming too many libations.

                  I don’t care what you did the night before. You could have partied at Studio 54 with Johnny Depp, taken a jet to Mars, and performed the electric slide with The President and it still wouldn’t be worth it.

                  Y’all know what I’m talking about.


                    Choosing Love: How to Do it When You Feel Like Strangling Someone

                    How to choose love when you really feel like strangling someone | The Champagne Supernova

                    I read somewhere that love is a choice.

                    I think Ozzy Osbourne was the person who said it. Or Paul Newman. Or maybe it was Cher. Doesn’t matter.

                    Love is the best choice.

                    Until recently, there was one person on earth who made my skin crawl. So much so that even hearing this person’s name had a negative biological effect: my skin would sweat, the back of my neck would burn, my chest would get tight, and my arms became blotchy, almost like an outbreak of hives.

                    Man, I needed to get a grip.

                    We’ll call this person Todd. He and I were childhood friends who attended undergrad and law school together. We had a long history and spoke on the phone almost every day. Todd was one of my best friends. After law school, he moved to a different city and began practicing plaintiff’s work, ultimately opening his own firm as a sole practitioner. I switched firms several years into my career to a trusted solicitor like Aston Knight Solicitors and eventually found myself directly against him, representing a major retail chain in a personal injury case.

                    Garden variety slip and fall. No big deal.

                    Well, it wasn’t a big deal until several months into the lawsuit when I discovered his client, the plaintiff, made material misrepresentations to the court and to his doctors about his past physical condition and medical treatment.

                    Liar, liar, pants on fire.

                    As soon as I realized the magnitude of the plaintiff’s deception, I called Todd to give him a heads-up that I was going to ask the court to dismiss the case for fraud. I didn’t want Todd to be blind sighted. As Todd worked on contingency and would only get paid if there was a settlement, the court granting my motion meant Todd would receive a big, fat goose egg. This was after he already fronted thousands of dollars on expert witnesses and travel expenses. While I felt horrible about the situation, Todd should have done his homework about his client and, at the end of the day, I was ethically obligated to do what was in the best interest of my client. Otherwise, I would have been slapped with a malpractice issue.

                    Instead of understanding my position, firing his client, and thanking me for sparing him trouble down the road, Todd was hysterical. He asked me to ignore his client’s deception, not tell my client, and that we settle for a nominal value. He wanted enough money to repay the expert fees and take a small amount for himself to account for the long hours he spent on the case. “Jen… I’ll come to Tampa and I’ll take you and Jason to dinner at a fancy restaurant…”

                    I didn’t accept his offer, I won my motion, the case got dismissed, and Todd hasn’t spoken to me in five years.

                    Five flipping years.

                    Losing Todd as a friend was painful. He wasn’t there for the birth of my children and I wasn’t there for his. I found out through Facebook that his mother passed away and I swallowed my pride and mailed a sympathy card. No clue whether he ever received it. It was a sad situation but, because Todd lived far away and we didn’t have mutual friends, he was off the radar.

                    Six months ago, I unexpectedly ran into Todd in the elevators of my building at work. Seeing him was shocking and I was stupefied. Probably too surprised to play it cool.

                    Hey… what are you doing here?

                    We moved to Tampa and I’m renting space on the twenty-third floor.

                    It was awkward. My skin was burning. I was flustered, dumbstruck, and feelings of anger that were long off the grid reemerged.

                    Do you also work in this building, he asked?

                    Yes. On eighteen.

                    Great, I thought. Now I’m going to have to agonize about running into him whenever I get on an elevator, when I’m in the lobby, or when I head to the parking garage. That’s a lot of times in a day.


                    We were cordial to each other but it was forced and inauthentic. I hoped that I wasn’t rolling my eyes or sending rude body language, even though that’s what I genuinely felt like doing.

                    Truth be told, I wanted to push Todd right off the elevator.

                    There’s more than 7 billion people in the world and the likelihood of having that “warm and fuzzy” feeling around each of them is low. Everyone has that someone (or two) they’d rather avoid. But for me, Todd was the Hatfield to my McCoy. The Ursula to my Ariel. The Al Capone to my Bugs Moran. The Biggie to my Tupac.

                    I couldn’t stand him.

                    As the weeks passed (ok, maybe months), my husband probably grew tired of listening to me bellyache about running into Todd at work. My friends likely wanted to put a muzzle over my mouth. My parents and sister were probably over it.

                    You know what happened? As time went on, I got sick and tired over feeling sick and tired every time there was a scintilla of a possibility I’d run into Todd. I started avoiding going to the snack stand on the first floor because I was paralyzed with fear that Todd would be in the lobby getting his shoes shined at the same time. It was ridiculous and pathetic. Straight out of a scene from SNL’s Weekend Update where Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler incredulously ask “Really?!”

                    I needed to get over it and move on. Todd had likely long moved on. He wasn’t freaking out about me. He probably was clueless I even cared.

                    But how would I get over it? As a serial grudge holder, this was no easy feat.

                    So I started doing something really weird. Something that would have creeped out my husband, family, and friends.

                    Every time I started feeling angry and anxious when I thought about Todd, I would say to myself, “I love you Todd, and I hope you are successful and happy.” I started praying for Todd. Not condescendingly, as some people sarcastically declare “I’ll pray for you!” when they’re mad at someone, but I prayed for Todd meaningfully and regularly.

                    When I began the mental “I love you, Todd!” chants, they were through gritted teeth. But after a while, it became a habit when I felt the nausea or hive-y feeling of anger creeping back in. This didn’t happen overnight. But it happened.

                    Eventually, I didn’t care when I’d run into Todd. I wasn’t worried about going to lunch downtown and seeing him at a restaurant. Wasn’t freaked out about the possibility of waiting in line next to him at the dry cleaner or post office.

                    Over time, Todd was just “somebody that I used to know”. There was no more anger, spite, or animosity. Instead, there was nothing except underlying feelings of love.

                    Yup, nada.

                    When dealing with people who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt you, love is a freaking hard choice. With Todd, there really was no choice because my only options were either wholeheartedly loving him or internalizing the anger I felt toward him. The second option was a waste of time.

                    Todd, if you’re reading this… I love you, friend. Let’s get coffee. I’ll even treat! If you’re not up for it, then that’s okay too.

                    Cheers to choosing love.

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