Why San Bernardino is Broken— and Amazing

This is what I want you to know about San Bernardino. This is what the media isn’t talking about.


Photo Credit: Micah Escamilla via The Sun Newspaper

San Bernardino was one of the hardest hit cities in the United States during the recession and still has not recovered. I write about the economy for a good portion of my living. I know too well how SB ends up on so many of the worst lists. Here is just one example.

“The recession of 2008 struck the city hard and hasn’t let up; San Bernardino was forced into bankruptcy in 2012, and it still hasn’t recovered. On the law enforcement side, draconian budgets forced most of the city’s police force off the job, with entirely predictable results.”

It’s listed as one of the worst cities to live in the United States in 2015 in the link above, but what is notable in this list is the fact that the police department has been doing the best they can on a shoestring for several years.

San Bernardino is rife with crime and a hard place that a lot of good people are determined to make better. Some of these people head nonprofits. I have interviewed many of them and written about their organizations over the last few years in a weekly column in Press Enterprise. (I know. I write about a lot of things. Girl’s gotta make a living.)

My favorite interview, perhaps was with A Fighting Chance, an organization in SB giving inner city kids a chance to be champions in the ring so they didn’t need to try to be one on the streets. I was a boxer in my youth and I know what that kind of disciplined training requires and what kind of anger and despair it extinguishes. Ian Franklin, the president and CEO of this organization talked to me about these hardscrabble kids:

“Everyone who comes through the door wants to be a champion and we have kids who have realized their dreams, but there is a lot of hard work and dedication that is involved in any dream,” Franklin said. “Whether you want to be a doctor or a boxer, you have to roll up your sleeves and work hard for it.”

This, to me,  is San Bernardino.

And nobody told you this about San Bernardino when you watched the Chief of Police deftly handle this horrible situation, but SBPD is just like these kids. They roll up their sleeves and despite that fact that times are hard and they are short on staff, they fight. They fight for their community, which is rough and dangerous and sometimes seems hopeless. If you want a deeper picture, then read Joe Monzingo’s story in the Los Angeles Times about one of the most broken cities in the United States. San Berdoo can be, often is, heartbreaking.

A yet here in this broken place, the last place you would think an act of terrorism would even be worth the effort, we just found harder times, but we also found heroes.

I hope you watched Lt. Mike Madden in the press conference tonight. He was the first officer on the scene and told a story I’ve never heard the police tell the national public. In charge of dispatch and records, he does mostly paperwork now. I imagine his family is relieved that after years of service he is out of harm’s way these days. But his wife probably shoved him — and then hugged him when he came home last night.

Madden heard the tension and confirmation of a true major casualty situation in his dispatchers’ voices and as a highly trained veteran officer and closest to the scene, he was there first and managed the entry.

It is an unsettling, but true story with excruciatingly difficult details about walking into carnage while remaining determined to save human lives. But stories… true stories… real stories… they can change the world.

San Bernardino PD acted as and were world-class level responders in a poor city that is barely supporting their police department. They did what the best heroes do. They faced the situation they never imagined with fierce determination and called in every partner who was willing and able to back them. And the surrounding city authorities were immediately there to back them.

San Bernardino answered their hero’s “call to action” and never looked back. And considering the odds and the insane situation they were faced with, I can’t believe how efficiently and professionally they made their city and the surrounding cities safe and in such an astoundingly short period of time.

I’m telling you this because it isn’t a fantasy novel, although it’s an outstanding example of a real-life hero’s journey and because that is what hope in the face of the impossible looks like. San Bernardino never believed they were in ashes. They were always rising. Embrace their hope. Let’s all rise with them.

I’ve felt wrung out the last two days. There is so much loss in my community. So much pain that isn’t even mine, but I still can’t look past. And so much broken that will never be made whole. I don’t know how to make this better.

But I do believe in San Bernardino PD and I believe in San Bernardino. I guess it’s a small jump to believe in myself too.

And so, when we are tired of arguing about how we are certain that our way (whatever that way is) is the only way fix this horrible cycle of violence the United States, I hope we can pause and talk calmly and figure out how to be #SBStrong.

I hope we’ll figure out how to fix it together.

When Social Media Doesn’t Help

I learned something yesterday about myself that I’m not proud of. I learned that I have spent far too much time making national tragedy about myself.I have surely let people down who could have used my love.

Yesterday from 11AM until 1AM this morning, I sat with my phone and computer in front of the television. When you live in small places never mentioned nationally, you don’t think anyone would bother with this level of terror in your home.

I spend a lot of time interviewing and writing about Inland Empire nonprofits and first worried about my nonprofit family. When they were shooting in the streets, I worried about my coworkers in the nearby area. I’m an occasional crime reporter and I also worried about friends in law enforcement. When they started the manhunt in Redlands, I worried about my immediate family who lives there. When they discovered the apartment was an IED factory, I worried more. All day there were new things to worry about. New dangers to the people I love.

And through this I discovered what it feels like to be combing your feed for any tiny bit of news that will make you feel your loved ones are safe, that a friend has recently posted and is fine, that it looks like the horror is ending — only to have it all buried in a flood of anger and raging arguments about gun control and terrorism.

You feel alone and invisible.

You even feel guilty that people in your home are causing such vitriol. And you feel like no one actually gives a damn, because there are people in danger, people who are terrified, people who need love and support and compassion NOW. And they are people you know. They are you. But instead everyone is screaming about what went wrong and who is at fault.

In fact, I deleted more than twenty comments on a post about the Inland Regional Center’s work on my own Facebook page. They were all regarding what should and must be done and they were some of the most angry and inflammatory I saw. You can see for yourself how many comments were left that involved compassion and empathy. Maybe a dozen?

How to stop these acts of terrorism is an IMPORTANT DISCUSSION. I won’t stop having them and I don’t think you should either. These discussions are going to need to be had and the anger is merited. —But there were people who during that entire tense day (and honestly now) who needed others to reach out with kindness, empathy, and hope.

I’m probably just too sensitive. But if I am, there were many others like me.

I hope there won’t be a next time, but there will be. And next time when it’s not “us” this is happening to I vow to focus on how to be immediately helpful if only to offer compassion and anything I can think of to actually help to those at the center and periphery.

I promise to save my anger and my justifiable demands for change for at least 24 hours or at the very least until the crisis is over.

I promise that I will start with kindness, empathy, and hope.

I promise that if this is ever you. I will be there for you with my open arms right then.

Far From Fearless


Seventeen years ago, I spent three entire days asleep in a stranger’s tiny and cold flat in Healesville, Australia. I slept because I was jet lagged, I couldn’t get warm, and because I was more scared and homesick than I had ever imagined was possible.

I had flown 13 hours across the ocean, excited to work at a show with birds I had never seen, to be welcomed into a new job and find new friends, only to discover that my host was having some sort of emotional breakdown and had decided she didn’t want me in her house. So, I was reluctantly shuttled into someone else’s home who didn’t want me there just a little less.

They had only agreed to house me if I would split the utilities and take my turn at cooking and cleaning during the four months I was scheduled to stay. (Back home, the keeper I was swapping jobs with was an American and staying at my apartment for free.) This was an unexpected turn, but reasonable. The fact that I was living with a man who had cheated on his wife a few months ago (a soon-to-be-coworker of mine) and now shared this home with that mistress, was rather less reasonable. I had landed in the middle of a foreign land and a horribly familiar drama.

I wanted to go home, desperately. The food tasted wrong, the toilet paper smelled like perfume, and the unfamiliar bird sounds put me on edge, but not as much as the way the mistress of my new house eyed me suspiciously. I had been left with a car, but had no idea how to drive on the left side of the road, or where to get groceries, and what the hell the difference was between petrol and gas. I had no business being there and I knew it.

I called home to my boss who told me to change my flight and come back to Florida if that was what I wanted to do. He understood. I was relieved.

I slept away one more day and dreamed that my grey parrot, Ty, flew across the ocean, through the fern forests and landed on my window sill. I woke in the late afternoon, startled by a riot of sulfur-crested cockatoos outside my window.

My grey wasn’t with me. I was still homesick, still scared, still cold, but as I threw my legs over the side of the bed, I realized that if I went home, I might regret it for the rest of my life. Nothing I had done so far had been as frightening as this, but all of the most wonderful things in my life had started with risk and fear, and were then followed by a determination to do them anyway. Why would this be any different?

The first month was hard, but it got easier and I stayed almost five months. I successfully trained and hunted with a brown goshawk. I ran amok in the bush with her, discovering new things every day. I helped release rehabilitated wedge-tailed eagles, trained wild fairy wrens to take mealworms from my fingers, and spent one dark and spooky midnight with an aboriginal man who performed a grounding ceremony on me. I had adventures I couldn’t have imagined. And I almost went home.

Starting this “newsletter” made me think of this time and so many similar ones. I wonder who the hell I am to think I have inspiration and advice worth sharing. I wonder if I’m getting in way deeper than I should. Will I be able to keep it up? Will no one read? Will everyone hate what I have to say? Am I going to sound like a pompous ass?

Who cares? I’ve failed at a lot of things. Sometimes to disastrous effect, but the journey to get to failure or success was always full of wonder.

All the most wonderful things in my life started with risk and fear.

In fact, whenever the fear spikes in my chest, and I think to myself, man this is risky… you might break your heart, break a bone, end your career… my inner girlfriend replies, “Well, I guess we’re doing it then, aren’t we?” Yes, yes we are.

I hope I can give you some good reasons to start with risk and fear as well. Let’s see where it takes us, shall we?! I’m very grateful that you’re choosing to come with me.


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White Crowned Quote

Happy One Month Anniversary!!


Dear Girlfriend,

I know you’ve never bought yellow flowers. I think you said, “Not ever. Never. Yellow is for chicks, ducklings, and babies of unknown sex.” That made me laugh, so I bought you these yellow Calla lilies. Sometimes, I think you have to try to see things in a different light… and look at how beautiful the yellow flowers are on the patio. Sitting next to the door, they look like an invitation to come in. I think you should keep opening that door.

You’re crying. Please don’t cry. I know you still don’t think you deserve them. But you do. And I also know you’re a little bit worried that deep down you actually adore chicks and ducklings and babies of unknown sex. Breathe. Sometimes lilies are yellow because they are perfect that way. Perfect comes in every color. Even yellow.

I got you this as well…


Shut up. It was only $8 and it was so obviously made for you. We can afford it. We made $37 recycling our cans this weekend. (I told you it would be a lot more than $12 and totally worth the bother. Maybe next time you won’t bother arguing with me.) This little beauty barely put a dent in the can money.

Anyway, you HAD to have this. Remember how much you loved the tillandsias when you lived in Florida? All the bromeliads, the orchids and collecting Spanish moss? Look at this beautiful tillandsia! You should have more bright and living reminders of your adventures.

Right now is hard, I know. It’s okay that you get lost in your regrets and in imaginary bargains. It’s okay that you still think you lost something monumental. I’m still waiting. I’ll keep waiting.

It’s only a moment, you know? A quiet and aching moment in what has been a crazy fun life. The stories you tell me…  You should have white sage, Australian ferns, resurrection lilies, sand verbena, palo verde, and penstemon. This house could be a jungle of memories with plenty of room for new flora.This is just a pause in a long adventure.

Right now though, we can start with a tillandsia, with an air plant to remind you to breathe deeply, that everything you need to nourish yourself is around you. You just have to open your pores and let it all back in.

And now you’re crying again. Don’t cry. I just thought up that metaphor this very moment. Truth is that I bought you an air plant because I’m pretty sure you can’t kill it. I figure the calla lilies are doomed.

Happy Anniversary, Red-headed girl.
You deserve all the love in the world.

To follow all the 158 Days Posts check out the Tumblr Blog.


I’ve lost ten pounds. I’m gotten an amazing amount of work done in the last week. My house is clean. I’m sober and fidgety. When I look in the mirror I’m shocked at how my clear my skin is, how bright my eyes are, how gorgeous I am with red lipstick and eyeliner. And all I can think is… I shouldn’t look like this when I’m so fucking sad. I am so fucking sad. Why am I still so fucking sad?

But I know why. It’s the new realizations. The wondering. The texts from the mother of the ex’s boys… writing to thank me for being a positive influence in their life, telling me that they miss me and although the rest of what I had may have been a lie — their love for me was real…  (Honestly, they loved my dogs… but who could blame them? And really, my two yin and yang Brittanys are extension of me.)

The sadness is the easy part. Staying upright when I want to curl up on the cool tile and wish myself further down and away is easy. It’s easy to pretend you are a shark, to keep moving so that the oxygen stays in your blood. It’s the kindness that is hard.

Why is it so hard to close your eyes against the night and say, “I love you, Rebecca Kate. Sleep well. Dream better”? I don’t know. But it is and I stutter through it every night. Maybe that’s why something is shifting.

I found myself standing in front of an aisle of autumn decorations all 50% off, running a finger across the gold, orange, and red tones I love so much. I never buy myself trinkets anymore. Not since I quit my executive job to write for a living over 2 years ago. Not since I decided I didn’t deserve these things, that I wouldn’t deserve these things until I proved I was a responsible adult again. Weird thing is, I didn’t know I had decided this. I didn’t realize it until my girlfriend said, “Let me buy that for you. It’s so pretty. It’s only $4.”

So there I stood at Rite Aid in front of an aisle of cheap seasonal trinkets arguing with myself for 20 minutes. My girlfriend won though.  And she coaxed me to the cash register, embarrassed to be wiping away tears over a painted glass candle holder. The cashier just smiled at me and said, “Wow. This is really pretty.”


The next day in the grocery store, my girlfriend said, “Stargazer lilies. Really. They’re only $4. You haven’t had them in your house since you lived in Sacramento. They smell so wonderful. Let’s get them.” Again I agonized — they were just going to die. It was wasted money. But I bought them. I brought them home, pulled out my favorite vase, measured them, trimmed the stems under the facet and carefully mixed food in their water. It was a familiar rhythm, a ritual of love.

And in a quite moment, flipping through a Martha Stewart magazine, she whispered, “That’s pretty. Rip that page out. Maybe we could paint something like that in the kitchen. Wouldn’t that be fun some weekend? You should start an inspiration file again. Tear THAT page out too…”


And this all makes me sad as well. Sad, but it’s also making me better.

Here I am trying to get over someone else and I now I realize I shut my girlfriend out two and half years ago. Why the hell did I do that? Although, I know why. I decided she wasn’t worthy of love. That she wouldn’t be worthy of love until she proved herself to me again. The bitch of it is, that she could never be worthy again without my love and support.

No wonder I got myself in this mess. No wonder I believed my boyfriend’s lies. I was so hungry for all the things I had stopped doing for myself. I was starved. My poor sweet, beautiful, sensitive girlfriend. I’m sorry. I’m going to fix this.

To follow all the 158 Days posts go to the Tumblr Bog.

The Power of a Postcard

I’m going to say more here than I think I should. But so be it. Maybe this help someone else…

It’s been two weeks now my little drama and the truth is that it was touch and go for me for a bit. A break up is one thing. The realization that the person you were absolutely certain was “the one” was a complete and total fabrication is a different kind of emotional pain. You have to rethink every word said, every gesture made, every undocumented space of his time, and piece five months of your reality back together into something wholly different.

I’ve been here before. Twenty years ago I had a boyfriend for two years who was a complete fabrication. His family tried to warn me. His sister-in-law wrote me a long letter that I would come to regret dismissing.

For two years I loved and lived with a sociopath. I didn’t know it at the time, but he raced to Northern California where I was going to college to be with me because he had a warrant for evading arrest in Riverside. I just thought he loved me that much. I mean, that’s what he said.

In no time he had a second girlfriend and juggled us both… he told her I was crazy and he was afraid to break up with me. He told me he didn’t love her, it was just a mistake. It on it went.

I borrowed money from my family to get away from him and move out… and he stole it from me so that I couldn’t leave. There were other women, more lies, physical fights, calls to the police and I couldn’t get out. I alienated my family and friends and in the end, he was all I had. I know this was by design now, but I was a kid. I would find a strength in myself I didn’t know I had, but it would take another year.

When we did break up and get back together he would tell his other girlfriend I was a crazy stalker that wouldn’t leave him alone. And after an abortion, two suicide attempts, and hearing him tell her in front of me that I was insane, I finally turned him in on that warrant. (I didn’t know what it was for when I called it in, I just suspected there was one because of the letter from his family.) I prayed his jail time would give me enough time to gather the strength to say “no” to him next time.

It didn’t of course, I took him back one more time. And when I heard the tang of lies in his sweet words again, I looked up the other girlfriend’s phone number in the phone book and called her. We met for beers, compared a nauseating number of stories against our relationship timelines and wondered why women are so fucking stupid.

We confronted him that night, united. And faced with the inability to lie his way out of the situation, he grabbed me by the throat and tried to strangle me. She pulled him off me sobbing.

—She was sobbing because he obviously loved me more. And worse, I felt a little glow of pride when she said this.

I was sick with myself. That night I swore I would never get deeply involved with a man like that again. Although… I spent years terrified that this was my fate. That I WAS crazy and gullible and somehow irreversibly flawed. I didn’t have a name for it then, but years of therapy would teach me who he was… a sociopath, a person with no conscience.

It’s been twenty years. I’ve had brief brushes with others. Sociopaths love games with people. They get off on “getting away with it”. And some make it their life’s work to bring down people who are intelligent and moral. (See. You’re not better than me!)

I’m smart. I’m pretty. I’m great social collateral. Sociopaths love me. And I like them too. They are risk-takers and often live nontraditional lives. At first blush, they seem perfect for me. Still, I’ve gained faith over the last 20 years that I could spot a sociopath before any real damage was done.

Not this time. Definitely not this time.

The night I discovered that every other detail of my perfect relationship and promising future with a wonderful man was all a lie, I lost it. While the truth came crashing down around me in a barrage of texts, damning sexting screenshots with the other girlfriend and phone calls, I was suddenly 21 again. Worse there were two little boys in the equation that I had grown seriously fond of. It was just like last time, only more– more reason to be hurt…more reasons I wouldn’t get out. And like when I was 21, I found myself on the kitchen floor with a razor blade, watching the pooling blood on two experimental cuts on my wrist. “I can do this,” I thought. “I can make sure this never happens to me again.”

Sociopaths love drama though and he burst through my door right about then. I didn’t threaten to kill myself, so I was pissed when he appeared. How wonderful for him that I would love him so much. But that wasn’t it at all. The man I loved didn’t exist. I was distraught, but that wasn’t it. It was that I just didn’t think I had the strength to do this again and the 21 year-old girl in my head was screaming. We will never get out of this. It will never be over. I CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN.Please. Please. Just let me go.

I wasn’t much better the next morning. The horrible wave of wanting nothing kept crashing over me. I honestly didn’t care that I was going to leave animals alone and family and friends devastated. Nothing felt worth going through this again.

…But I’m not 21 anymore and that girl, despite her wailing in my head is not in charge. So I picked up the phone and called the local suicide hotline…

…And they didn’t have a counselor available to talk to me. They told me to call back later.

I laughed. It was half-hearted, but I laughed. There’s a story in this, I thought. Every horrible story needs a tiny moment of humor. There you go, there’s your moment of lightness. So I told my 21 year old to hush for bit and started calling friends and trying to figure out how I could get temporary help (maybe even snag some meds) until the rest of it was over.

I have no insurance. My options were limited, but it seems that my friends are limitless. I was given fantastic information on how to make my way through the county system, but the idea of going into county with cuts on my wrist worried me. I gave myself two days to come up with a plan to help myself and promised myself that if I couldn’t get the horrible wish for a dark nothing to go away that I would go in to County.

So I asked myself what I was afraid of… and what I was afraid of was taking him back. I already wanted to take him back. I wanted to be blissfully unaware of the truth. I was afraid I would decide to ignore the truth and embrace more lies. I was afraid they cycle would never end.

I grabbed the pad of post-its I had used to leave sweet notes in his apartment and starting writing down all of the lies I had discovered. And as my new reality as a dupe set in, I kept discovering. So I kept jotting and sticking. I ended up with 27 large post-its stuck everywhere around my living room.

I read them. When I ached for the person I was still in love with, I read them and reminded myself that this man didn’t exist. In fact, I realized that it was okay that I was in love with that man. He was wonderful, but he was just someone played by a actor through a 158 day run.

The next thing I asked was what *I* needed. And I decided what I needed was to love myself as much as my imaginary man. So I started 158 days and I asked for postcards to represent the notes I had left for him.

At the time, I didn’t realize that these postcards and cards would replace post-its. And really that is what this post is about. I want you all to know how much those postcards have meant to me.

I slowly replaced post-its with postcards. And yesterday, I had two more postcards with love notes than I had post-its with lies. The post-its are tucked away in a drawer now in case I need them, but I doubt I will. I am surrounded by love and encouragement… much of it my own words to myself written in the handwriting of people who obviously care about me.

I wouldn’t take him back. How could I betray an entire chorus of REAL love?

And I’m going to be okay. No. I’m going to be fantastic. I have work to do and need time to heal and feel strong again. But I’ll come out stronger, because you all believe in me so much, because you have given me so much, I’m going to make this 158 days count. Really count.

Never NEVER doubt the difference we can make for each other even from a distance.


If you would like to see the postcards to can check out 158 Days on Tumblr or on Pinterest.

158 Days with the Love of Your Life

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I found myself wondering this morning how we could ever expect the people around us to keep their promises to us when we don’t keep the ones we make to ourselves. I wondered if we let people ruin us with lies about love because we’ve never really taken the time to fall in love with ourselves.

I think maybe we do. 

I was in a serious relationship for five months with a man who I believed (and my family and friends believed) was the love of my life. I was becoming friends with his ex-wife, spending time with his utterly adorable boys, and between the two of us, we were at each other’s places at least four days a week.

I have a long history of entangling myself with sociopaths; a step-father who led a double life with a second family, a live-in boyfriend who hid another girlfriend from me for a year and tried to strangle me when I finally confronted him with her in tow, another who conveniently never told me he went back to his wife…  But it’s been 12 years since I’ve been tripped up by a pathological liar. I thought maybe I had managed to learn to read the signs.

Then I got a Facebook message from the love-of-my-life’s girlfriend on Thursday night, the one he had been seeing the entire time we were in a committed relationship. I honest to God had no clue. He was swapping out her things and mine depending on who was spending the night at his place. He was texting us essentially the same “I love you baby” texts.  (I know because I’ve seen the screenshots as well as the sexting videos) He told me his mother was relentless and called him worried every night if she hadn’t heard from him. Of course, now I know he wasn’t talking to his mother. What a brilliant way to be able to tell another woman you love her while your girlfriend sits there smiling fondly at you… (Oh, and he and his ex-wife didn’t have an open marriage like he explained – at least not her side of it. So all those other girlfriends I heard about were just years of him doing what he does, what he was doing to me.)

Anyway, this isn’t about revenge. I wrote this all down for me to heal, not for me to hate. I’m just explaining what happened because it was quite possibly one of the most destructive things that could have happened to me emotionally. (To anyone perhaps, but my scars here run very very deep and they were gashed open again and now deeper.) The worst of it is the voice in my head that keeps screaming, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Why do these people find you? Why do you let this happen? How can you be SO FUCKING BLIND. You know why everyone always betrays and abandons you? YOU ARE TOO BROKEN TO EVER BE WORTHY OF LOVE.


And I’m not the only woman (or man) to be here in this dark place. I know we all get better. Time heals. Yadda yadda. But that’s not enough this go round. I want to meet that voice head on.  I want it to shut the fuck up.

So I’m taking back every day I gave him. Over the next 158 days, I’m going to date myself and do everything for myself that I did for him… and little bit more. And yes, because I know there’s a joke in there, I do mean sex as well. Girls, feel free to PM me with your sex toy/technique advice. And to anyone who thinks that’s crass or is pondering juvenile jokes, so be it. Love is a full package deal that includes physical touch… even if the only one doing the touching is yourself.

So I’m going to see if I can fall in love with myself. I’m going to see if I can be my own best friend.

I’m not the only one. We are all so many of us broken-hearted. So I challenge you too, my comrades of the torn and bloodied heart— for the next 158 days, let’s love ourselves. Maybe my list will help you make your own.


  1. Make promises to yourself that you mean. Then keep them.
  2. Run. Run until there’s no more hurt. Run until you’re healthy. Run so that you can be completely there for yourself.
  3. Praise yourself for your successes.
  4. Hold yourself when things are bad. Promise yourself you will do everything in your power to make it better.
  5. Remind yourself repeatedly that you are a good person, but no one is perfect. And that you love the imperfect parts too.
  6. Be thoughtful. Put gas in the car before you almost run out. Make coffee the night before a busy morning. Do kind things that make life easier.
  7. Send cards. Leave yourself adoring and funny notes.
  8. Make yourself laugh.
  9. Take yourself out with friends so they can see what an amazing person you’re dating.
  10. Binge watch new television and commentate out loud.
  11. Cook yourself something delicious and sinful for date night every week.
  12. Read stories and poetry to yourself out loud.
  13. Sing to yourself. Loudly.
  14. When you wake say “good morning.”  Ask yourself how you’re feeling. Listen. Say, “I love you.”
  15. Say “I love you” every night before you drift off to sleep.
  16. Smile at yourself with love every time you meet your own eyes in the mirror.
  17. Take snapshots, save mementos of good times with yourself.
  18. Do things that make you feel beautiful, because beauty is an attitude and attitude is damn sexy, even when it’s your own reflection.
  19. Paint your nails, do your hair, put on makeup, wear sexy underwear (hell — corsets, garters, stockings, do it all up) and enjoy the results.
  20. When things get rocky, have a talk with yourself. Forgive yourself. Give yourself another chance to be the partner you deserve.
  21. On day 158 write yourself a long love letter. – the one you wrote him the morning before you found out about the betrayal,—the one where you will be there through the rough patches, the one that lists all the things you love about yourself including the quirks and faults. Write this letter and know that you can be certain that every word you write about you is true. That the five months of romance were real.

Then recommit. And then maybe I can let someone else into the relationship too.

Sadly, I suspect that loving myself is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. But the list starts with a promise and I promise that I am going to commit myself to this relationship. I’m going to start by sending myself postcards. Here I need your help, friends…  If you are willing to help me, please drop me a line. I’ll give you something to write on a postcard and ask that you mail it to me on random day over the next five months. Or… if you are someone who has read my writing, you can pull a few lines from one of my books or posts and send them. This I’m sure, will help me stay on track.

You can send them to:

P.O. Box 862
Banning, CA 92220

And if you want to do 158 days with me… I’d be happy to send you postcards as well.

Now to go change my relationship status on Facebook to “in a relationship…”

You can follow the Tumblr page here: http://rebeccakoconnor.tumblr.com/