Eco Friendly Products for Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… goal setting season. I love a good New Year’s Resolution, and I also love shopping consciously. This blog post will outline a few products you can feel better about using compared to their traditional high-waste counterparts.

Personal Care

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Akamai Basics offers a refreshing alternative to personal care products made with parabens, plastic beads, and other not-so-great ingredients. I’ve used their soap, toothpaste, hair/face oil, and tongue scraper, but they’ve added many more great products like mineral drops for healthy hair and nails, mouthwash, skin balm, and refillable floss. They focus on recyclable or biodegradable packaging and simple, natural ingredients.

Use code MINIMALIST20 for 20% off a one-time order or a subscription over $35 (now through Jan 5, 2020!)

Contact Lenses

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It can be frustrating to deal with bulky contact lens packaging if you’re trying to reduce plastic consumption. Scout from Warby Parker is a new contact lens made with a super-moist material that reduces dryness and a smooth edge design for comfort. As a bonus, they come in flat pack packaging using about 80% less packaging material than traditional contact lenses.

You can try a six day trial of Scout for just five bucks, and then get a 3 month supply for $110 if you love them.

Reusable Menstrual Care Items

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Periods suck, but they suck a little bit less when your pads are cute. At least this is what I tell myself when I buy pads with sharks on them. Reusable menstrual items significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste produced by a person’s period. Tampons and pads come with a ~$3k lifetime cost for standard brands, produce a ton of waste, are full of toxic stuff you don’t want near your genitals, and mess with your natural pH and vaginal flora.

Check out Party in my Pants or search Etsy for cloth pads to find some in any and all fabric patterns, colors, shapes, and styles. If you want something custom, work with an Etsy seller on your idea!

If you’re interested in a menstrual cup, check out Put A Cup In It to take a quit that will help you select the right brand and size for your particular needs.

Do you have a resolution to reduce waste in 2020? Tell me about it!

 

3 Printable Mindfulness Exercises to Reduce Stress

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Photo provided from A Place for Mom

Life can be stressful. From careers to family and everything in between, just getting from day to day sometimes feels like chaos. 

Luckily, there are ways you can manage your stress levels. It’s important to take a critical look at the commitments and tasks on your to-do list and evaluate how these things can improve your life. Decluttering your life can be a great way to reduce stress. Decluttering your mind, however, is a simple activity you can do every day to promote a sense of calmness in your world. 

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the current moment, noticing and appreciating the environment around you, being thankful to just be, and most importantly, letting go of any judgement you hold over yourself. 

There are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness, but to help you get started, A Place for Mom has created three printable activities you can do every day to lead a more mindful life. Included in the printables are a monthly mood tracker, a morning journal prompt, and a mind map template to lay out your thoughts in a way that helps you make sense of the clutter. 

Author Bio

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Marielle is a passionate writer who is always looking for new things to learn about and explore. She loves to travel in her free time and enjoys spending time with her family, fiancé, and three cats.

 

A Minimalist Approach to Handling Credit Like a Boss

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

What? A blog about credit? It’s true. I am no longer the die-hard “never ever ever ever ever use credit ever ever” person I once was. Partly due to reading Broke Millennial and partly due to just realizing that perfection is impossible and sometimes it really is okay to do what you can and do your best to work within the system we’re currently operating.

When it comes to handling your credit, it’s important to view it as a slow and steady process. Focusing on the context of maximizing the return on your credit score with small and safe steps can decrease your tendency of falling into a pool of debt. 

Managing your credit successfully must come after an in-depth overview of your financial status. Gaining knowledge on how much you’re spending every month, building a budget that gives you an overview of your payment strategy, and determining what you need to buy and how much to save instead can help to establish a trend of confidence and uniformity surrounding your credit. With a focus on living life through simple routines and self-care, you should begin to manage your money through non-extensive, yet necessary steps to achieve a minimalist lifestyle.

Choosing the right credit card can impact the way you build and maintain a great credit score. With all of the credit card options out there, it can be quite confusing when comparing their offerings, and factoring which one is the best based off of your way of life. A credit card is more of a tool than people think, and it comes down to how often you use it, how much credit you’ve built up to this point, and making the pay-off process a priority. With that in mind, here are some easy steps for handling credit like a boss:

Open a Bank Account

Opening a bank account is the first step in building credit history. It’s imperative to generate a high enough credit score so that eventually, you are able to get approved for the card you choose to apply for. Through an account that benefits the growth of your savings and minimalistic approach to life, you’ll be better prepared for the responsibilities that come with using a credit card. 

Here are some important questions to consider when choosing a bank account that is right for you:

 

  • Which option is the most convenient? (Within walking/driving distance of your home and workplace, etc.)
  • Can I trust this bank to keep my money secure?
  • Are there a lot of additional fees that come along with regulating my account?
  • Will this bank account benefit my current financial situation and help my build my credit effectively?

 

Pay Off Credit Early

Designating your credit card to specific payments (and choosing them strategically) instead of using the card whimsically for unnecessary purchases can contribute to bettering your credit score and make paying off your balance easier. Remember: this card is a tool, not “free money.” If you think of it as free money, stop, read Broke Millennial, and come back. (I know, Amazon, sigh.)

During the beginning stages of establishing credit, it’s important to follow the deadline to avoid late fees. The more late fees you have, the more it will hurt your credit score in the long run. Try paying off your balance early and in full, before you even receive your statement. As a minimalist, don’t be afraid to set notifications on your phone as a simple reminder to submit your payments every month. A good rule of thumb is to pay your bills as soon as you get paid, which will help you avoid only being able to make the minimum payment at the end of the month. This can limit your chances of falling into a financial bind.

Charge What You Can Afford

As an owner of a credit card, it’s imperative to choose wisely what you’re using it for. The more consistent you are with what you’re paying off, the less likely you are to fall behind on payments and max out its usage. When you first start making transactions with your credit card, choose to use it with payments you know you can afford, like gas or groceries. Other purchases, such as hotel expenses, plane tickets or car rentals may not be the smartest expenses to charge when you’re first learning how to manage your credit because you can quickly fall behind on payments if you overextend yourself. Again, think of handling credit as a steady process without sudden impulse purchases or misuse.

Take Advantage of Credit Card Perks

Depending on the credit card you have or choose, certain perks may come along with making transactions and building your credit. No annual fees, accumulating airline miles and flight upgrades, automatic payment benefits, or credit monitoring services are all advantages you could receive. There are also cards that give you cashback rewards if you qualify for them. But remember: These perks are a bonus for behavior you already have, not a reason to buy more stuff just to get more perks. 

To obtain the credit card that is right for you, determine strong budgeting goals and analyze your spending habits. Learn as much as you can about what each credit has to offer and how it can help you, not work against you.

A Surprising Number of Things Elton John and I Have in Common 

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0 of them are playing the piano.

When I saw the trailer for Rocketman, I instantly knew I’d see the movie when it hit theaters. In the mid nineties, my mother and I would trek from our small village of Seville, Ohio into the “big city” of Medina to do grocery shopping. Our soundtrack, more often than not, was Elton John’s Greatest Hits, a 1992 CD with Elton’s top songs from 1970 to 1974. This early start meant that I have loved Elton John from the time I was very small and have continued being a fan throughout my life. So I was extremely excited to see his story on the big screen, especially considering that I hadn’t put much time into getting to know the man behind the music. 

Here is the list of things I knew about Elton John before I saw Rocketman: 

  1. Elton John is gay 
  2. Elton John plays the piano 
  3. Elton John wears costumes and big glasses and rhinestones 
  4. Elton John is the MVP of Disney soundtracks, save for Phil Collins because Tarzan was 100% a gift 

Spoilers Ahead! 

The opening scene of Rocketman follows Elton walking down a long hallway in full costume dressed as a sequin-adorned devil. He bursts through the door… into a group meeting at a rehab center. After some questions about his childhood, which he insists was very happy, we see flashbacks to Young Elton who was emotionally abused by both of his parents.

The first interaction between Elton and his mother was her chastising him, saying “You’re late and I’ve had to throw your dinner in the bin” (I’m paraphrasing). This smacks of the time my mother told my sister that if she wasn’t home by 5 she couldn’t come on a car ride to drop me off at dad’s for the weekend — we passed her walking home at 5:01 and she was running for the car and crying. Mom didn’t stop. Or the time my sister and I ate popsicles while putting away groceries only to have our mother deny us a promised trip to the movies because we hadn’t finished our chores before eating them. 

Denied affection and love altogether by his father, and only conditionally loved by his mother, Elton John wanted nothing but to be loved as a child. Through the grace of one blood relative who cared, his grandmother, he was encouraged to take piano lessons and cultivate his love of music. Even as an adult, Elton was still searching for his father’s approval and his mother’s love. 

Now’s where it starts getting a little freaky. Well, it’s not so freaky. But I, too, was emotionally abused as a child and adult by my parents. Conditional love and constant striving for attention and validation was the name of my childhood and young adult game. I only cut my parents out of my life at age 30. So right away, Rocketman had me hooked because of this parallel between my own story and that of an artist I had adored my whole life. 

Saturday Night

Elton ages on screen through a choreographed sequence of “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” and this was the sequence in the film that first made me actually cry instead of just tear up. This song was my favorite to sing along with my mom in the car, and the juxtaposition of the upbeat song, the happy memories, and the truth of my emotionally abusive upbringing was overwhelming. Those memories of my mother are happy, and warm, and comforting. I loved listening to Elton John in the car with my mom. But my mother didn’t love me. And the grief of that was tangible while I watched this sequence in Rocketman. 

Elton’s mother was watching him perform. But did she care? Was she proud? My mother came to my choir concerts. But did she care? Was she proud? 

A Name Change 

Born Reginald Dwight, Elton desired a bit of a name change for his musical career. He borrowed both names, Elton and John, from bandmates. While in Rocketman, he appears to take inspiration from a photo of John Lennon, a fact check indicates that was more of a cinematic liberty than true historical fact. Which is a bummer, because if Elton John had selected his surname based on a favorite celebrity, that would be one more thing we have in common. 

As I left an abusive marriage (a nearly seven year relationship) and came to terms with my own abusive upbringing in childhood, I opted to select a completely new name rather than keep my married name or revert to my birth name. I chose Fisher, because without Carrie Fisher’s advocacy for mental health and medication, I likely would not have gone on the antidepressants that helped me see the abuse for what it was. Lexapro got me out of an abusive marriage. And Carrie got me on Lexapro. 

Serendipitous Encounters 

I was so happy to fact check and find out that Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin actually did meet through complete serendipity. Elton said he couldn’t write lyrics, so a studio exec handed him a sealed envelope from a stack of songwriting applications. Inside were Bernie’s words. The duo hit it off and have been working together ever since. 

Here’s where this completely rocks my world: I have imposter syndrome. I feel like my writing career is a fluke. That my published book is a fluke. That an agent reaching out to me and a publishing company picking me up as an author are flukes. I’ve made jokes time and time again that Twitter got me a book deal and it was all a complete accident. 

But I’d never say that Elton John was an accident. And this guy happened to get a random pile of lyrics from someone whose words were perfect. 

You could say that it was by chance that Elton and Bernie met up and made music together. But the fact that Bernie writes good lyrics and Elton plays mad piano and can sing with such talent and conviction… that is not by chance. 

Just like my writing is not by chance. I may have had some good luck, some good things happen, some serendipity in the modern age. But I’m not an accident. 

Abusive Relationships 

Speaking of careers and the people who help them along, let’s talk about Elton’s manager and first boyfriend, John Reid. Doing a bit of research about the couple, it didn’t happen exactly as portrayed in Rocketman. In the biopic, Reid seems much more cunning and out for power from the get-go, when in reality, the two were lovers who lived together before becoming professionally entwined. Additionally, Reid has even said that he wasn’t particularly enthused about being Elton John’s manager at first. 

Over time, the couple broke up but Reid continued to manage Elton’s career and accounts until a falling out and a court case over financial issues. Reid also reportedly had a terrible temper and had a string of assaults, punching and slapping people when he was angry. 

Across several moments in the movie, Reid’s obsessive control of Elton’s career was extremely triggering for me. My abuser took credit for my writing career, because he introduced me to my first freelance client. But just as it’s no accident or fluke that I ended up published, it was no fluke that my writing was good enough to pay for. If I was a shit writer, that connection would have done no good. My abuser spent years undermining my confidence in my own work because he so often took credit for turning me into the writer I was. 

Queer As Hell 

Elton John came out as bisexual in 1976 and married his wife Renate Blauel in 1984. The couple divorced in 1988 as Elton came to terms with his identity as a gay man, and he is happily married to David Furnish since becoming a couple in 2005.

In the movie, when Elton comes out to his mother, she responds, “You’ll never be loved properly.” I do not doubt that his mother said these words to him at some point, if not when he came out. The words of my parents in our final conversations are as clear in my mind as they were on the days they happened. And they hurt. “You’re a sweet girl. Fucked up in the head, but sweet,” were some of the words my dad said to me in our second to last meeting. “You’ll have to explain what you mean by abuse, because that’s a strong word and can tarnish a man’s reputation” were some of his words the last time I saw him in person. 

The end credits roll in Rocketman with a photo of Elton and David and a caption that Elton is finally being loved properly. I will admit that I got a little teary-eyed.

I honestly don’t even know if my parents know I’m queer or not. I do know that they’ve both taught me about conditional love. My mom raised me telling me I’d never get a boyfriend if I ate like a pig, and she shamed my body at every opportunity. She had me on a diet by age 12 and is a huge factor in my decades-long battle with disordered eating. And I no longer care what she thinks of me, just like I hope Elton has long given up caring what his mother thought of him. 

Healing the Inner Child 

In an emotional and, yes, pretty cheesy finale, Elton hugs his inner child as a symbol of his healing now that he is in rehab. Earlier in the film, Young Elton asks his father, “When are you going to hug me?” but his father does not hug, touch, or hold Elton. In fact, Elton visits his father later in his life and sees his father holding and being physically affectionate with his new and improved sons in his new and improved family, which is such a moment of pure emotional pain from the film that it still affects me when I think about it. So at the movie’s close, the inner child appears in Elton’s mind and asks, “When are you going to hug me?” Cue me, crying like a baby, because Elton drops to his knees and grabs the child version of himself in an embrace that is nothing but unconditional love. (Pause, I need a moment). 

Healing my inner child, as hokey as it sounds, has been a huge part of my trauma healing. In EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), I target specific traumatic thoughts, such as “I am not allowed to rest,” and the therapy process allows me to associate memories with the thought. Memories attached to this target thought include my mother saying we were worthless for not cleaning, being punished with excessive chores, and generally not being allowed to sleep in or take a sick day from school when we didn’t feel well. If you had time to lean, you had time to clean. Removing the belief that I can only rest when everything productive has been finished has been a game changer for my mental and physical health. 

Long Story Short 

I bought some rhinestone-studded eyeglasses because we all deserve to be fabulous. Do something awesome today, and do something amazing for the child version of yourself. 

 

The meaning of $5

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Image from Pixabay via Pexels

Want to hear the most ridiculous way I spend five dollars a month? I signed up for a professional G Suite account so I’d have an official email address for a brand I was developing over two years ago. And then in mid 2018, I put a pause on that brand so I could write my book without distraction.

In the meantime, I also streamlined my budget. I canceled my MLM direct sales account that cost $17 and change a month in membership fees. I canceled one gym when I started at a new one after I moved. The usual stuff.  My goal was to have as few line items to deal with as possible.

Except for this G Suite account. I kept going in and messing around with the settings, and I thought I had it taken care of. But the next month I checked my bank account one fateful payday and saw another five bucks gone for something I wasn’t using.

Finally, I’d had enough. I wrote it down on my monthly to-do list: CANCEL G SUITE ACCOUNT. And I promptly forgot about it. Until the charge hit my bank AGAIN. And I managed to remember the email address (on the third try) and password and looked up how to cancel the account. Once I found it, I canceled, and I should never spend five bucks on that particular waste of money again.

This is all well and good for me, as a privileged person with a random five to spare at any given time. I keep a buffer of $50-$100 in my checking account for unforeseen expenses so they won’t affect my budget lines. But not everyone can do that.

Over 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Now, I’m sure some of them can afford a random five dollar mix-up now and then, but not everyone can.

Then start thinking about overdraft fees (punishing people who don’t have money by charging them more money they don’t have) and service fees for paying bills over the phone (which precludes people who don’t have internet access or reliable transportation from paying their bills effectively). Think about people in food deserts with high markups on healthier, fresh food options. How much is $5 in grapes, vs. fruit cups? How much is $5 in whole grain brown rice, vs. ramen noodles?

My challenge to you: Do something good with $5 today. It can be for yourself or for someone else. Just don’t spend it on a G Suite account you’re never going to use. Google doesn’t need your money.

Consider some of the privileges you have, and find a way to get five bucks to someone who doesn’t have them. If you’re white, send five bucks to a person of color. If you’re straight, donate to that queer crowd fund thread you see going around Facebook. If you’re cis, set up a recurring Patreon donation to a trans creator.

Here are some Patreons and other links you can donate to (and please leave yours in the comments or shoot me an email so I can add you to this list).

 

 

How to Love Yourself in the Age of Social Media

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Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

This is a guest post. If you are interested in guest posting for Born Again Minimalist, please use the contact form to send me an email. 

Social media has become ingrained in our everyday lives. It’s a powerful tool that enables us to connect with friends and family, voice our opinions, expand our knowledge, and network with individuals around the world.

While it’s true that social media plays an integral role in keeping us connected with society, too much of it can have a negative impact on your body image, self-esteem, and overall well-being.

Fortunately, there are ways to combat the adverse physical and mental effects linked to excessive social media use. Here are a few ways to love yourself in the digital age:

Prioritize Your Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Well-Being

Remembering to regularly practice self-love is hard enough, and adding social media to the mix can further inhibit your ability to see yourself for who you truly are. That is, only if you let it.

Loving yourself involves setting aside time to care for your mind, body, and spirit, both on and offline. When you incorporate self-love into your day-to-day routine, you can create a positive self-image and feel comfortable in your own skin, without needing to rely on others for validation.

Instead of focusing on the number of likes, comments, and retweets you receive, try one of these more productive ways to boost your confidence:

Tidy Up Your Newsfeed

Follow body-positive accounts that motivate and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Conversely, unfollow any accounts that encourage self-comparison or make you feel discouraged or insecure.

Take More Selfies

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Research shows that taking selfies can lead to higher self-esteem, so grab your phone and smile for the camera. Then, share your selfies with your network, or keep them to yourself to look back on and admire.

List What You Love About Yourself

Take time to jot down a list of all the things you love about yourself, such as your talents, accomplishments, or physical attributes. Keep your list to refer back to on the days when you need a self-esteem boost.

Nourish Your Body

Provide your body with care and attention, whether it be through eating healthily (which does not mean dieting), exercising in a way you enjoy, sleeping, or meditating. A healthier body makes for a happier you, which is why you should tend to your physical needs. Taking a multivitamin rich in biotin will help keep your hair and nails strong and can even improve your skin over time. Keeping up on your daily wellness routine will ensure you always look and feel your best.

Temporarily Disconnect

We often get so caught up in the online world that we forget what it means to truly live our lives. Going on a digital detox can be difficult, especially in a society that places such a high value on social media, but taking a hiatus may help you discover new ways to feel validated and worthy. You’ll find that, once you put your device down, you’ll also sleep better at night and have more time to do things that genuinely make you happy.

Limiting screen time allows you to separate from your virtual identity, relieve yourself of social pressures, and evaluate your social media habits from a new perspective. To begin shifting your focus from social media to yourself, try the following tips:

Start Small and Build Up

You might feel uneasy in the first few hours of a detox, and if you’re someone who is dependent on your device, taking a break may seem near impossible. However, you don’t need to jump into it immediately. An effective way to ease into a detox is by first limiting your screentime during set hours of the day and then gradually work your way up to full days or even weeks.

Set Personal Ground Rules

Separating yourself from social media could entail a variety of things. Plan out your detox by establishing which social media platforms you want to avoid and for how long. Then, share your plan with friends and family so they can help hold you accountable.

Leave Your Devices At Home

A great way to ensure you stay off social media altogether is by leaving your devices at home. By doing so, you’ll eliminate distractions, give your full attention to the present moment, and connect with others on a more personal level.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Think about the last time you scrolled through your Instagram feed. Did you feel envious? Did you feel inspired? Self-comparison is inevitableespecially when it appears as though everyone else is living a picture-perfect life.

However, it’s important to remember that social media is a highlight reel where people showcase themselves in the best possible light. It’s not an accurate representation of reality, but rather a collection of the most idealized aspects of our lives. Though it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap on social media, holding yourself to unrealistic standards can be debilitating to your self-esteem and sense of worth.

Instead of sizing yourself up against those you see online, take time to recognize and embrace your own worth by implementing the following techniques:

Practice Positive Self-Talk

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Photo by Binti Malu from Pexels

Give yourself support and affirmation by repeating positive and encouraging messages, such as “I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to” and “with grit and determination, I can achieve my goals.” Keep in mind that, rather than being deceptive, positive self-talk is a way to acknowledge and celebrate your abilities, strengths, and worth.

Dismiss Negative Thoughts

Look inward to identify the root cause of your negative thoughts, and work toward transforming those thoughts into a more positive outlook. If you need help combating negative thinking, refer to a self-help book for guidance. Also, keep in mind that what you see online does not make you any less worthy or important. Remember: You, and only you, define your self-worth.

Loving yourself in the age of social media can be difficult, as it requires you to make a conscious effort to focus on loving yourself and filtering out the negative noise online. However, with the right mindset and drive, you can utilize social media to boost your confidence and self-esteem.

Sometimes people don’t like peaches

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“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” – Dita Von Teese

Unfortunately, sometimes somebody can develop a latent allergy to peaches. They liked peaches at first, but peaches are no longer on the menu.

I recently went through the weirdest breakup of my entire life. It was mutual, which was surprising, and we continued cohabitating while I find a place to move to, which was… awkward.

I am logically aware of the fact that we simply grew apart and are no longer what the other needs or wants in a partner, but the inherent feelings of rejection involved in a breakup, even a mutually agreed upon one, sucks.

I think my partner developed this “peach allergy” around February. If you recall, that was when the conversation about my weight happened, after he had enough to drink that he had eroded the filter that had prevented him from saying anything for the three weeks I’d been in recovery. I stood my ground and refused to go back to diet culture, and soon afterward I received and read “The F*ck It Diet” by Caroline Dooner, which changed my whole world. My partner got the audiobook and listened to most of it until he gained a modicum of compassion and context around my situation regarding diet culture. He hadn’t realized how much women hear terrible messages about their bodies from childhood and subsequently get trapped in disordered cycles of yo-yo dieting and over-exercise.

I honestly gave him a pass on that one, because he apologized, saw how his words had harmed me, learned more, and worked on his own body image issues to stop projecting them onto me and our sex life.

After this happened, his substance abuse continued and escalated. We had gotten into the habit of buying a bottle of wine each on a Friday or Saturday night from the local grocery store within walking distance, but my partner eventually started making a couple cocktails on top of his bottle of wine. This led to sexual dysfunction issues (colloquially referred to as whiskey dick) and the eventual alienation of my other partner who no longer felt safe coming to our home after his drunken behavior violated her boundaries. We both told him how his behavior had been harmful, and he said it wouldn’t happen again.

When I said, hey, your drinking is kinda freaking me out, please let me know if you plan to get drunk so I can make arrangements to sleep elsewhere on those nights, he stopped drinking at home. And instead began to get high every day. First it was cartridge vapes, then a dry herb vape, then smoking two bowls in two hours between dinner and bed. The final straw for me on the cannabis usage was when I was having a major pain flare and was unable to take my muscle relaxers for any relief because he had asked me to drive later so he could wake and bake, and then he got high without me actually signing off on the plan. He found me crying from pain and apologized for not thinking, and assured me it would not happen again. An honest mistake.

Looking back, I have a hunch that he realized he wasn’t really satisfied with the relationship anymore once I stopped being the workout buddy girlfriend, but he was numbing himself to avoid talking about it. And I get that — because it feels really crappy to tell your partner you’re not into things anymore.

For the first ten months of our relationship, we had such a level of open and honest communication that it was one of the most fulfilling relationships of my life. It was a really important relationship for me as I processed my first year out of an abusive marriage. This partner was kind, and loving, and just what I needed as I found myself.

The breakup happened in tandem with the launch of my book. It was a very stressful week for me and I was planning a Saturday launch party. Thursday night, my partner asked if he could have a free copy for a friend at work. I said she could buy it, and he seemed a little taken aback. He said she was surprised it was on Amazon, and I asked why. His response: I’m not sure, but I told her it was really easy to self-publish on Amazon and you can get anything on there.

I have all the respect in the world for self published authors, and I would have self published Gaslighting if I hadn’t gotten a deal from a publisher, but I am not self-published, and this was not a case of “anybody just self publishing their stuff on Amazon.” I am hugely proud of my book, and it is extremely vulnerable to publish your thoughts for the world’s consumption, and this conversation was extremely jarring for me, and I told him so.

He apologized profusely and said he didn’t mean to undervalue my work. When I didn’t immediately forgive him, he said he felt hurt I was discounting all the support and encouragement he gave me while I worked on the manuscript. I slept on it, and in the morning I asked him if he’d expect a free copy of anything his friends did, and he said no. When I asked why he expected a free copy of mine, he said “I just need to ask for an honest flub.”

At this point, looking back at the last three months of honest flubs and boundary violations, I realized this partner just… didn’t like peaches.

In the three weeks between the breakup and my move to a new place, we had a lot of heart to hearts and I left the house feeling a modicum of closure. We reassured the other that when it was good, it was great. He confessed that he realized he didn’t like cohabitating with a partner. While I wish he had handled that realization sooner and in a more healthy way, I know that’s just how he’s wired and it’s not a reflection on me as a partner. He assured me over and over that I was a wonderful girlfriend and a great partner, we just drifted apart.

Of course, in the aftermath of any loss of relationship, there are a lot of emotions. I’m hurt, I’m angry, and I’m still confused about how you can go from loving someone to just tapping out of the relationship. But I know that the grief of a breakup is normal, and it will not last forever. It’s already fading as I move onto new things in life.

Plus, there are plenty of people out there who do, in fact, like peaches.