Thousand First Dates: the origin

For some, meeting 1000 people for a first date is extreme. Well, I’ve dated close to 2000 men from 2007 to present.

How did I do that?

Sometimes I went on 2-3 dates per day. I definitely dated multiple times per week.

Now for some of the men who are listening (and possibly some of the women who are listening) you might be saying, “I bet that bitch went on all those dates to get a free meal.” To which I reply, “No cunts. I went on all those dates to observe human behavior, to practice playing mental chest with narcissists, to hopefully find a man worth spending my time, to entertain myself, and admittedly sometimes to get laid.

So what happened From 2007 to Now?

A lot has happened. In 2006 I had just divorced. I was in my mid-twenties. And I didn’t know a whole lot about life.

I had led a pretty sheltered childhood. I got married early and my marriage lasted 5.5 years. Well, I didn’t want to make that same mistake again. If I were to endeavor upon another relationship, I wanted to make sure that the person I chose was a good fit for my personality, my character, and my values. To be honest, in 2006 (and really into the middle of my 30s) I didn’t know who I was in order to choose a complimentary partner. I didn’t know what I wanted. I had a low self-esteem. For those early years, I had a fractured self-image. A fractured self-identity. Low self-worth And all I really wanted was to be loved. The main focus, the main goal in life was to find love.

So in 2006, I started mental health counseling, because I knew I needed some kind of help. I knew that there was something just not quite right about the way my life was going. There was this empty feeling that I didn’t understand. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. But, in 2006, I knew that if I was going to have a healthy, loving relationship (since that was what I aspired to) that I would need to figure out and fix what was wrong in me before I could be good for anyone else. So that’s why I started mental health counseling, and I learned a lot about myself.

It gave me hope, going to mental health counseling, and working through those empty places within myself, so much that I decided to get a master’s degree in forensic psychology.

So I began studying maladaptive behavior in humans and how to resolve that maladaptive behavior and to find solutions. This endeavor led me to studying my master’s in marriage and family therapy, so that I could understand not just the different ways of maladaptive behavior, but the origin of maladaptive behavior.

All this new knowledge helped center me, helped give me a secure self-identity. I finally understood where the emptiness was coming from and I finally understood how to eradicate that emptiness so that when I finally did eradicate the emptiness, my goal in dating changed. I no longer felt lonely. I no longer felt that love was my main purpose or that finding love was my main purpose in life.

My perspective changed, so that I observed dating as a complement to my life. Now, I knew that if I were to add someone to my life, that the person would not be the center of my world, but that the person would be someone to share experiences with, someone to enjoy life with. It was important within the context of a relationship that I would still be me and I would have my own self-identity and so would my partner (if that partner ever came along). However, once I was into my late 30s and early 40s, I realized that the majority of the men I dated had the same issues I had been struggling with in my early to mid 20s. And so it wasn’t easy for me to date anymore. And the focus wasn’t on me changing myself to fit someone else. Instead, I realized that there aren’t many men who can fit my character, values, or my lifestyle.

So why am I still single? I like being single. I enjoy my time with myself In fact, I once told a date this, “If you want to continue dating me, you will have to demonstrate to me how spending my time with you is more valuable than spending my time with myself.” I haven’t found a man yet who is worthy of achieving that particular goal, and that’s okay. I have met a lot of interesting men along my dating journey. For most dates, I had a lot of good conversations with these men. I’ve learned a lot about them to appreciate their individual humanity.

I’ve also met a few pretty scary individuals and I met a lot of sad individuals who are still trying to figure it all out.

So, this podcast is about all the things I learned along my dating journey in respect to love, relationships, sex, the self, and self-healing.

If you want to hear about my wanton, freewheeling escapades, and what I learned… Stay tuned.

Dating Disasters…AVAILABLE NOW!

Have you ever been on a blind date? Have you ever had a first date where your date was totally obnoxious, rude to the waiter, sexually-harassing, or revealed shocking secrets?
On Wednesday, April 21st, on Thousand First Dates podcast, Heather Blackwell and Krystal Centinello discuss the dirty deeds of dating disasters related to narcissism, codependency, and what they learned in terms of self-worth and self-love.
To learn more about Krystal, check out her Instagram

Shit Adults Never Taught Us

I bought my first five copies of Natasha Sattler’s INSIGHTFUL new book, “Shit Adults Never Taught Us.”

Natasha‘s easy-to-digest chapters are part-memoir and part-guide for how to navigate life. From career, to money, to relationships, to mental health, to life struggles… You name it, Natasha addresses it, with wit and wisdom.

“Shit Adults Never Taught Us” is a must-have for anyone’s coffee table… I’ve already bought my first five copies, but I’m not stopping there, because I want the people that I care about to have their own copy, which means friends/co-workers reading this know what they’re getting for Christmas. 🤔 😬 🎄 🎅 = 👧

Find Natasha Sattler’s Instagram @shitadultsnevertaughtus

Buy “Shit Adults Never Taught Us” either hardcopy or e-book at Amazon, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books.

From Fearful to Fearless: a learned behavior

In order to truly be free from social restrictions, you have to step outside your comfort zone. You must face your fears.

Two ways that I have faced my fear of social rejection is by using two techniques called:

• Fear-attacking

• Shame-attacking (Albert Ellis, 1955)

Attacking Fear

Jumping off a cliff

I didn’t know it, but I began attacking my fear at an early age.

At age 4, my father threw me in the lake and said, “Sink or swim.”

At age eight, my father forced me to jump off a forty foot cliff. I remember hitting the water and it felt like concrete. In hindsight, I’m glad I did it for bragging rights, but other than that I have no desire to do it ever again.

Jumping off something higher than a cliff

In 2011, I met two people who went skydiving. Since I was on a mission to self-improve, I decided I was going to go skydiving, too. I must have been terrified as I waited to board the plane because I was speechless and I am hardly ever at a loss for words. I remember staring down at a lot of empty space between me and planet Earth. Before I knew it the instructor was saying, “One, two…” and on “three” we were plummeting toward the dirt. The air hit me with such force that I couldn’t catch my breath except for intermittent gasps. I thought my ear drums would burst and the only thought I can remember thinking was, “What the hell am I doing!” Finally, the parachute opened. We landed. I was glad. I made up for my previous silence with squeals and hugs and “Thank you, God, I’m alive!” The next three weeks I walked around sounding — to me — like I was talking underwater for the pressure in my ears had done something unexplainable.

All I have to say is… … experiment over.

Something more terrifying than jumping out of a plane

The most important way I attacked my fear was by joining a running group. I am a quiet person. I like to spend large amounts of time reveling in the quiet of my mind; however, I recognized that I was becoming disconnected from people, experiencing emotional atrophy. As a way to become emotionally malleable, I decided to try a technique I learned in a graduate school course called submersion, which is essentially throwing yourself into a situation you dread.

What are two social situations I dread?

• Large-scale social interaction

• Idle chit-chat

There is no better way for me to waste time than standing around saying things like, “So, how’s the weather … and the game last night … and I love your boob job.”

At the time of my first group run, I was 33-years-old, but I felt like I was 5. I said my “hellos” as the other group members arrived and then I tried to be non-exist. At the end of the run, I stretched, while keeping my head down, eyes averted. I fled the scene while other runners stayed behind to socialize and sip lattes. Despite my reservations, I soon became part of the running culture by attending events at least three times a week. My running time improved immensely and I was becoming comfortable with the social atmosphere. I was running half-marathons, attending weekend hiking expeditions, and engaging in frivolous conversation at house parties.

The Silver Lining

It was during this period in my journey of self-exploration that I realized pleasing other people is not my job and alienating myself is not worth the expended energy required to maintain that type of social façade. The experience was an invaluable lesson in learning to control my fear, but even better it was a step toward learning to like myself. The point is I think it is good to step outside your comfort zone. Fear is only an emotion. If you focus, you can separate your thoughts from your emotions and feel them as two separate entities. For example, say I am introduced to someone and reflexively experience the fear of rejection. To overcome my fear, what I would do is: 1.) Pause to find my center, my calm 2.) Literally feel the negative emotion and accept it for what it is … an emotion 3.) Tell myself, “Fear is an emotion. You are not in danger. Emotions cannot hurt you, so think your way through it. It is temporary. It will pass. And no one else can see that you are experiencing anxiety unless you tell them.” Then I would focus on a reasonable rationalization, such as “He is human. He defecates just like me and most likely drools in his sleep or scratches his b#ll$ while watching football. What do I have to be afraid of?”

The conclusion?

I overcame my fear, but I also realized my limitations.

The moral of my story?

Step outside your box. Keep in mind that you are going to fail a few times, but keep practicing until your fear is a passive passenger. If you feel like you are not living up to your full potential try adding something unfamiliar — and emotionally healthy — to your lifestyle; you just might like it.

Attacking Shame

I wish I had met Albert Ellis. The first time I heard about attacking shame was during graduate school. Yet again, Dr. Albert Ellis helped me confront my insecurity. Yes, in a way he improved the quality of my life. If it was anyone’s right to be a debt-collector of kind acts, I would owe him many. As I read through my text book, I was regaled with a tale of how the good doctor went into a pharmacy and asked — quite loudly — if he could get a discount on a gross of condoms since he used them frequently. Albert Ellis developed the shame-attacking technique, because he felt that shame is at the epicenter of all emotional disturbance.

I agree.

Society teaches us to be ashamed of certain behaviors and the expectations change based on the social shift. For example, divorce and homosexuality used to be extreme indiscretions, but society at this time has a “live and let live” mentality. And then there are the socially unacceptable acts that are petty….

A Single Story of Silliness

In 2007, I decided I was done being socially acceptable. I was on a dinner date. As we were leaving the restaurant, I was about to throw my drink in the trash when my date said with disdain, “Aren’t you going to finish the rest of that?” Because I was emotionally insecure with a poor self-esteem, I finished my drink while he stood there watching me and we left. Yes, the memory is embarrassing if you are wondering. That incident and my timidity grated on my nerves. I must have pushed it just to the side of my conscience for the next time we met for lunch, I stopped by the market and picked out three packets of assorted herbal tea. When I got to the restaurant we sat at an outside table. When the server came I asked for a glass of hot water. The server stared at me in disbelief. The outside temperature was over 90 degrees. “Yes, you heard me correctly. I want a glass of hot water,” I smiled, fanning myself to illustrate the ludicrousy. Then I proceeded to order Key Lime pie, a large salad, an appetizer, and an entrée, all for myself. Then when the food came amassed on all sides of the table, I ate hardly any of it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to drink the boiling tea — the heat index was too hot for it. I smiled at my date willing him to say something. He said nothing, but I remember his rigid posture and the way he hid his eyes behind his sunglasses. He was mortified at his socially unacceptable friend.

Two years later in a grad school course, I learned about Albert Ellis’s technique. Thank you, Dr. Ellis, for validating my socially unacceptable individuating experiment.

Since learning from Dr. Ellis’s teachings, I have so wanted to pull another socially unacceptable stunt, but I want the idea to be really good. I’ve thought about picking my nose in a public restaurant or wearing an all-white outfit covered by a scarlet set of panties and bra. I ran the bra idea by one of my supervisors and he said I might get thrown in jail. I think it would be an injustice to throw someone in jail just because they were wearing their clothes in improper order, but I’m still thinking on that one.

End Game

Somewhere between then and now, I decided to enjoy being me, because what’s the worst that could happen?

People may not like me? Gasp!

In what ways have you attacked your shame?

Do you have suggestions for fear or shame-attacking techniques?

Facing Giants

Original post dated 2013 by Analytical Perspective (aka Me)

Throughout the morning as Mary ran errands at the clinic, she’d noticed a lone boy standing in the hall. She noticed he’d been standing in various parts of the halls all morning. Knowing the nature and experience of this person, Mary knew that his standing in the hall could not be good. She spoke encouraging words to him each time she passed him. The last time she passed him, Mary gave him an empathetic smile, put her arm around him, gave him her most sincere and caring expression, and said, “It’s going to be okay.” Once again, Mary walked down the hall and this time she passed a man who whispered to her, “No, it’s not.” Mary, with kindness and understanding, told the man that he was wrong.

End story.

Society tells us that we have to think and react a certain way to certain situations when in fact we do not; for this reason, I am not a fan of society. On a whole, society is irrational. Yes, life is at times unpleasant and it seems that at some point in life trouble finds you no matter where you are and no matter how you try to avoid it. Depending on our value system, some trouble is more emotionally devastating than others; in addition, however slight the difference, everyone has a different value system. For example, for one person, losing their 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe might be more devastating than losing their mother. The point is that whatever the pain or loss “we can endure and find our inner-peace again” if we are focused on doing what is most important.

What is most important? Striving to live at our maximum potential is most important; because this is the point we can most help ourselves and others.

What is maximum potential? It is using your abilities to better yourself and whoever/whatever comes into your personal world; for one person that might look like unstable employment for 30 years, but providing the basic needs for his/her family, while for another person it might be climbing to the top of Mt. Everest or curing cancer.

We all have a purpose. Are you finding yours?

No, you can’t run from trouble, but you can confront it. You can tell it, “Trouble!! You will not defeat me!! Be gone!! I will succeed.”

When you are experiencing trouble, say it! Are you saying it out loud? Say it like you mean it.

Don’t let trouble chase you. We all have our sources of strength to rise again. For me, personally, strength looks like a good helping of stubbornness.

In addition, we may have to fail our goal multiple times and for a time period greater than we had hoped, before we reach our goal. So if you find yourself on your face, get on your knees, and when you get on your knees, get on your feet. If you can’t get on your feet, stand on your head.

And remember … It’s going to be okay, if you let it.

I Know You are Old, but Are You Wise?

According to Webster’s dictionary, experience is “practical contact with and observation of facts or events.”

I don’t like that definition. It’s too sterile for me.

Each time I think the word “experience” I feel an ephemeral warmth and peace, because to me the word is positive. It is spiritual. It is life-altering. It is caught in the sepia-tinged photographs of my memory.

Experience is more than a noun to me. It is so close to a state of mind and a being as it enables me to be.

Experience conjures some of the best moments of my life — my mother picking me up early from elementary school to get ice cream and visit the library, reading me stories, rocking me back to sleep after I had a bad dream; weekends spent with my great-grandmother, Lorene — reading articles from Reader’s Digest, playing scrabble, listening to classical music from her collection of record albums, my head in her lap because the preacher held no interest for a twelve-year-old; the bond and mentorship I shared with my English teachers and church youth leader — holding Ms. Judy in my arms when her father died, being told by Mr. Clark that boys would like me someday, listening to Brother Larry tell biblical stories about men and women who defied the conventions of mankind in order to be right; my time in the United States Marine Corps — fellow Marines who exemplified strength and leadership, overcoming obstacles and absorbing irreplaceable life lessons, validation from my mentors that it is within my power to empower others, feeling the importance of serving a cause greater than myself.

Experience conjures up some of the worst moments of my life — and I’ll leave this passage short; the disappointment of losing, the bitterness of suffering; the fatigue of trying. All my experiences, good and bad, have fostered the sweetness of succeeding. Some of my experiences mock me. Some of them cheer me. All of them lift me, because I choose to be lifted.

Invaluable experience has molded me into the person I am, even more the person I strive every day to become. Experiences, good and bad, are blessings. Our experiences are our sources of strength. These sources are the people we meet, the places we’ve been, and the observations we have made. Experience is touching a life and allowing one’s self to be touched by life. I wouldn’t trade any of my experiences and I would alter only one.

Being aware of each experience as it occurs and learning from it is to live. This is my challenge. It is my challenge to you, dear reader and fellow friend in the journey to achieve personal success. Don’t be passive in your experiences, but instead choose to experience. Share with others your experiences, because they are gifts to be given.

In particular, seek wisdom from those who have walked before you. I enjoy so much wealth through the experiences of my elders as they have regaled me with their personal quests. I find the Wisdom of Solomon in their eyes.

Here I acknowledge what is bittersweet and I sigh. I find the one regretful caveat related to wisdom is age. I say this because with age comes the inevitability of death. Do not misunderstand; I do not find death repellent. Death to me is another experience, an unknown variable. It offers the possibility of a higher form of wisdom and a unique existence. For me, the regrettable association to death is the loss of wisdom, knowledge, and experience from one generation to another.

It is regrettable that so little history is retained through orations, recorded data, and the passing of experience from one generation to the next. I could spend a lifetime attempting to understand all that a single person ‘is’ and I promise you I would fail. Here I lament, because so much of our elders’ experiences pass away unappreciated.

Sometimes I am blessed with the presence of one who is older than me and thankfully I am still with the willingness to learn. I will myself to absorb their energy. I bask in ‘his’ greatness or hold in awe the idea that ‘she’ is ignorant of her worth. At times, I want to embrace tight these people as if to suspend time, defy it, and defy death. I want to say, “Don’t go. I have so much to learn. How can your life be spent when you have so much to teach?” But I remain silent and feel the bittersweet rhythm of that which is inevitable.

I hope at my life’s end I will have something to give. In spite of my faults, I hope at my life’s end I will have earned the right to be a source of positive experience for others to follow. I still have so much to learn. I have yet to fully harness my potential. I am weak in my convictions and I stagger if I do not fall. But I have triumphed in this life, because I persevere and I appreciate each life I meet.

Upon this earth, our birth;Through dark and light we pace.Travailing through the age until we find our place;Triumphant as the weight of war is lifted from the soul,Welcomed by the echoes of those who’ve gone before;Each unique landscape made indelible by life’s lesson,Experience, Wisdom, and Knowledge, all boast a quiet confession.At last, the words are uttered, an awe-inspiring lore,But then the breath expires and learn we can no more.
— Heather Blackwell

The Dating Interview

I have lost count the number of times a man has said to me, “What is this? An interview?” 😆 I think those guys have also watched one too many Disney Princess stories. OF COURSE, it’s an interview!

Dating is an interview designed to assist two people in assessing if they are compatible enough to enjoy life elements together. I say, ‘Life Elements’, because everyone has different requirements and expectations. For example, one person may think his/her date is compatible enough for a one-night stand only, while the other person may be looking at his/her date as ‘long-term commitment’ material. I have been on both sides of that table and if you have been in the dating arena long enough, then so have you. The trick is finding someone who possesses the same expectations. Oftentimes there is a misalignment of expectations, which is okay; however, the discord in dating happens when one or both parties is dishonest about his/her expectations.

As a job candidate, would you go to a job interview and lie to a potential employer about your job skills, about your ability to fulfill your job duties? Maybe you would, but then that would be considered unethical.

As an employer, would you lie to a job candidate regarding expected job duties? Maybe you would, but then that would be considered unethical.

The problem in dating is that most-times there is no long-term punitive incentive to be honest. Sure, your date can fire you, but the most you’ll suffer is a wounded ego, the loss of time spent, and a few dollars…if you are prone to traditional dating proclivities.

Why are humans dishonest in the dating game? Why do humans lie about who they are? It is the element of time-share and emotional vulnerability that makes dating difficult.

At your workplace, which is 8-10 hours of the day, you are on your best behavior, you are focused on your job duties, and your human interactions are centered on your job duties. (For those people who are incapable of being on their best behavior at work, I shudder to think what their family and romantic relationships are like.)

However, in dating, the focus is on your personal well-being, on your self-identity aka ‘vulnerability’, and on all your time not spent at work. All this EXTRA equates to shared intimacy, which is much more complex than your day job (which is why many people in intimate relationships do not want to go home and prefer to stay longer at work).

Oftentimes, fear of rejection is the dominant motivator for dating behavior. Fear of what rejection? It could be fear of not getting laid, or fear of not being perceived as attractive, or fear of being alone on your life journey. If all you are looking for is to get laid, then your obstacles are few, but if you’re looking for a long-term partner to assist in the procurement of your life goals (e.g. financial wealth, children, a caretaker), then you have a never-ending obstacle course of land mines in front of you.

If humans were honest and forthcoming in the dating process, then relationship building would be easy, because having set expectations provides a roadmap for relationship success; however, most humans lack self-confidence, so they become falsely agreeable to get what they think they want, only for you both to find out later in the relationship — as the lies unravel — that what you wanted was what your date is incapable of providing.

Yes, dating is a mutual job interview, but only the cognizant participants will fully benefit from the interactive experience.

To consider dating on a spectrum…At best, dating can enable a mutually beneficial, long-term, intimate partnership. At worst, dating is a parasitic ritual that ends in tragedy. And then there are all the levels and shades in-between.

Self-Worth is Like a See-Saw

Self-worth is like a see-saw.

Like the see-saw is fixed firmly into the ground, your self-worth is firmly fixed/integrated into your psyche; therefore, you can’t lose it.

Like the see-saw can go up and down, your self-worth can go up and down.

Unlike the see-saw, which is made to go up and down, it is ideal for your self-worth to stay balanced in the middle where assertiveness and an egalitarian mindset reside.

How do you maintain balance? Balance is achieved via self-awareness, personal choice, goal-setting, and practice.

Caveat – Narcissists also have a low self-worth; however, they deny their feelings of low self-worth and choose to avoid negative feelings by exaggerating self-importance, which is called ‘arrogance’.

People who are subservient believe they can feel ‘validated self-worth’ by being passive and submissive, while people who are narcissistic believe they can feel ‘validated self-worth’ by being dominate and abusive.

People who are egalitarian-minded don’t worry about getting their self-worth validated, because they are self-validating and assert their wants and desires in an emotionally healthy way. Egalitarian-minded people also don’t feel a loss of self-worth when they are rejected, unlike the narcissists and the subservient-minded.

Balance exists where self-confidence, self-love, self-respect, and self-acceptance are found and when they are acquired.

Mental Health Therapy is a good way to learn how to obtain the elements of well-being that lead to balance.

Check out the April 7th Anchor podcast with Jeff Meltzer and Heather Blackwell to learn how to start your self-healing journey.

Click my Anchor Podcast link here!

CBT Therapy Podcast with Jeff Meltzer and Heather Blackwell

Join Mental Health Experts, Jeff Meltzer and Heather Blackwell, this Wednesday, April 7, 2021 for Empowerment Hour to discuss the following:

1.) Starting the self-help journey

2.) How to choose a therapist

3.) Benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy

4.) How can a person be unconditionally self-accepting?

Once this podcast episode airs, it will be available for the long-term.

Check out my podcast here!

The Child Who Never Had a Chance

…Grew up, and saved her self.

In 2012, my step-mother said to me, “You saved yourself.” That was the first kind, supportive thing I had ever heard her say about me. I guess verbal affirmation was not her love language. So you can imagine that it meant a lot to me, because even as adults, children always want their parents to be proud of them.

Why did she say that to me? She knew the abuse I had incurred. She had watched it happen. Much of the time, she resented me, because my father resented her children, and they were constantly at war with each other. The children always get caught in the middle.

My first abuse memory is when I was three-years-old. I think I was three. My memory is blurry, so my vision was not yet set. I was sleeping in a crib. I remember my father busting down the door. He yelled that I locked the door. I don’t remember. Maybe I did. My mother follows him. He snatches me out of the crib. I feel confused. I feel scared, because he’s yelling at me. He’s telling my mother to hold me down. I am face down in her lap. He’s beating me with his leather belt. He won’t stop. My mother is crying. She is begging him to stop. End of Memory.

The first time I contemplated my mortality was when I was five-years- old. What child thinks about their own death when they are five? At age 6, I remember standing at the bottom of the driveway crying and trying to get the courage to run away. My sisters were constantly bullying me. My mother was very good at making me feel ashamed. I didn’t feel loved. I didn’t have the courage to leave. Where is a six-year-old going to go?

At age 8, I remember writing suicidal poetry. I had diaries back then. My sadistic aunt opened my diary and read its contents. She and my mother shamed me for saying that I wanted to die. After that, I would destroy my diaries after I wrote in them for fear that a family member would find them and use them against me.

I could continue my trauma list, but you get the point.

The real point is that as long as you have childhood traumatic events haunting the corners of your mind, as long as you have these emotional thorns buried in your mind, then you will not be able to have healthy relationships. Because, whether you admit it or not, you will harbor feelings of self-doubt and low self-worth, and you will have a fractured self-identity. You will constantly be emotionally triggered by the events that surround you. You will harm yourself, whether that is by doing drugs, by attempting suicide, by letting yourself be beaten, by letting yourself be raped, or something else not yet named. Or you will harm others. There are abused people who are victims. There are abused people who become abusers. And there are abused people who play both roles. Until you decide to stop it, the abuse is a vicious cycle, and you will attract abusive people. You have to learn how to break the cycle. The creation of trauma events is a process. Abuse is a process. If abusive behaviors are created, then healthy behaviors can be substituted. Anything created, can be re-created.

In future blogs and podcasts, I will be discussing how you can re-create yourself using the same techniques that I used to re-create myself.

Check out my new podcast here!