Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Male Brain, Explained

By Laura Schaefer
Women have puzzled over it for years—why the heck do men do the things they do? Why do they profess their love for you one minute, then ignore you the next (say, when an Attila the Hun special turns up on TV)? Why can they not remember our birthdays? Let science explain some of these conundrums—and help you rev up your relationships!
Be patient with his memoryThe hippocampus, where initial memories are formed, occupies a smaller percent of the male brain than the female brain. If on your first date he can't remember where you work, even though you told him all about it when you met, just remember that size matters … hippocampus size, that is. Don't take it personally. (Oh, and don't be surprised when, months down the line, he has no clue you've just changed your hair.) Don't expect him to get hintsHave a crush on him? You may have to put it out there, because men aren't as skilled at women at reading subtle emotional cues. As Dr. Larry Cahill of the University of California at Irvine puts it, "We have been assuming that the ways in which emotions are organized in the brain are essentially similar in men and women," but they aren't. Parts of the limbic cortex, which is involved in emotional responses, are smaller in men than in women. Additionally, scientists at McMaster University have found that guys have a smaller density of neurons in areas of the temporal lobe that deal with language processing. That's why it's probably a good idea to tell him straight-up how you're feeling ("I'm kind of hurt that you forgot I hate sushi"). Expecting him to infer from your hints could leave both of you scratching your heads. Don't take conversation lulls personallyFact is, guys in general just aren't as verbally adept as women are. Large parts of the cortex — the brain's outer layer that does a big part of recognizing and using subtle language cues — are thinner in men than they are in women. A study led by Dr. Godfrey Pearlson of Johns Hopkins University has shown that two areas in the frontal and temporal lobes that play an important role in language processing are significantly smaller in men. Using MRIs, the Johns Hopkins scientists measured gray matter volumes in several brain regions in 17 females and 43 males. Women had 23 percent more volume than men in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and 13 percent more volume than men in the superior temporal cortex. "Women," explains Dr. Cahill, "excel in being able to come up with appropriate words, given cues." Men — not so much. Don't expect him to chatter with you on dates with the skill of a girlfriend, and don't assume he's not interested in you if he occasionally lets the conversation lapse. Think of it this way: He's simply basking in moments of quiet companionship. Appreciate his naturally upbeat natureDoes he seem to be "up" most of the time? It's not your imagination: Male brains produce 52 percent more serotonin (the chemical that influences mood) than female brains, according to a study done at McGill University. And studies show that fewer men than women suffer from depression. Guys may also have an easier time rolling with life's big stresses. If he tells you he recently lost his golden lab or suffered a job loss and doesn't get all teary, it doesn't mean he's heartless; rather, he has healthy stores of serotonin. Don't expect his take on your relationship history to match yoursHe may be incapable of seeing your shared past the way you do. Brain images have started to show that men and women use their brains in vastly different ways. For example, women use the left part of the amygdala — the part of the brain that creates emotional reactions to events — to put memories in order by emotional strength, meaning that something emotionally important to them (like a great first date a couple of months ago) will be ordered in front of what they ate for breakfast yesterday. Men, however, use the right part of the amygdala to put memories in order. Traditionally, the right hemisphere of the brain is associated with the central action of an event, while the left hemisphere is associated with finer details. Translation: You'll both remember your first date, but he might not remember the color of your sweater or the light rain that was falling that night. It doesn't mean he was checked out; it just means he's a guy. Remember his brain is his largest sex organIn males of several species including humans, the preoptic area of the hypothalamus is greater in volume, in cross-sectional area and in the number of cells. In men, this area is more than two times larger than in women, and it contains twice as many cells. And what, say you, does this have to do with the horizontal mambo? Plenty. This area of the hypothalamus is in charge of mating behavior.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I've got a whole bright new light

And now that the difficult time is over, stop hanging out on the corner of If Only Boulevard. As my Gilda-Gram says, “Crises push us toward new opportunities.” While challenges are occurring, and you’re up to your neck in muck and mire, the prevailing goal is to just get through the ordeal. But after you emerge from the dark tunnel, you begin to see things in a new light.

It's been good.. still cry, but not for too long it's not worth it

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

been a while

Man I've just been so crazy lately, I've had good intentions on writing something here, but just have been so wrapped-up in life. I'm moved and love it I come and go as I please, I keep things how I want to and I do whatever the f' I want. Though, I can tell that this is going to be quick because a smart friend said I should curb my staying up late by having a strong drink, well I took her advice...hahaha I see what she was getting at I could totally pass out right now. I think that it helps that I don't have to work tomo YES!!! Which is so excellent I was supposed to have a half day, but I thought I need a little sanity break and to have the whole day, so I got it- smart, smart Mary!! Only bad thing is that I'm getting the cortisone shot in my back again tomorrow #2 of 3 it hurts, but hopefully it will all work out in the end. Thusly, I made the executive decision that I needed a massage to rid myself of some of my stress, so I hooked that up for 9am excellent. Ah, off to finish my drink and pass out, here's wishing me dreams of massages and other nice things.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

going to see batman

Thomas Wayne comforts Bruce by asking 'Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up'.

I'm exhaused I've been going through everything I own, working all day getting shots in my back and trying to keep it all together. I'l be happy in a few weeks when I can take a little sigh of relief.

Bruce then buys the hotel and makes his way out with his 'friends'. There he meets Rachel for the first time since he has been back. Although he tries to convince her that the way he is acting isn't really him, she tells him that 'it's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you' and then leaves.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I stopped crying a long time ago, but she's not so far off

Nancy Angiello is a NY-based writer whose features stories have appeared in national publications such as Glamour, Self, Redbook, InStyle, Bon App├ętit, New York, and many others.

I came home from work and saw it: The Ring. With The Note—scrawled on a legal pad. My husband decided the marriage was over by leaving his wedding band (an unusual antique one that we’d excitedly chosen together) and a letter on the kitchen table. A bag of his stuff was gone. Very cinematic, the hand-written note and all. The union had been in trouble for a long time; we’d been in counseling, and were trying (not very successfully) to work it out. So maybe the end was near. But like this? After a few years of marriage, you assume you are going to stay that way, putting in all of the effort to build a life together—even if it’s so rocky you realize it was a mistake. You keep thinking that the love you thought you had will cure all. We had met six years before, when I was in California visiting friends that he also knew. We rode bikes, browsed in used bookstores, bonded over Proust and pralines, pool tables and Pad Thai in the romantic fog of San Francisco. We kissed for the first time in the dusty aisles of a famous Beat poet’s bookstore. But great literature and intellectual sparks couldn’t save the sputtering flame of the marriage. It may have been the right move to separate, but — even though I didn’t know this at the time — I wanted to be the one who made the move first. My ego was so stomped that I couldn’t realize that, no matter who made the first physical move, I would be happier alone. At the time, it was like getting hit by a truck.
How the waterworks began“Omygodomygod!” I wailed when I saw that little tableau on the table, and speed-dialed my brother and my two best girlfriends. They immediately arrived and witnessed the fall-out. The crying started and didn’t end. Seriously. I took to my bed and cried uncontrollably. This lasted for weeks, though I had to get up and go to work and everything else. I couldn’t really eat. I lost 15 pounds, and I was already slim. I felt weak, and that made me emotionally weaker. For almost a year, I could not stop those waterworks: on the subway, behind sunglasses, walking down the street, seeing couples (couples! They were the worst. And they were everywhere—snuggling, dining, laughing). The loaded items still in our apartment always got the gushing started: the dried-up wedding bouquet and ghostly wedding gown looming in the closet; pictures and letters all over the apartment; his empty bookshelves and closet that I refused to fill (they became a deranged sort of shrine to negative space, so that I could pay homage to his lost things)—to memorize what we once had, or to fantasize that he’d fill them again one day? And those remnants of things only my ex used — a jar of salsa, a can of Nestle’s Quik — daily mocked me. Yet I kept them, worshipped them as relics, let them console me as they tortured me. Like that comforter his grandmother made us for our wedding. Did I give it away, as I should have, that symbol of domestic comfort, which we never had? No, I wrapped myself in it every night and cried so hard I soaked it. Getting through the griefBut I had to let myself go through the grieving process. Not everyone wanted me to. My MD insisted on drugs. “Prozac, Prozac for your grief! You’ve lost too much weight! You must not feel this way!” I refused, but took her up on the offer to go and get a milk shake to start putting the weight on me. (I did like the nurse’s advice, though: “Don’t cry over him, dahlink,” she said with her Eastern European accent. “He’s not worth crying over. Keep your good looks—don’t let him ruin your face from crying.”) That became one of my mantras: “He’s not worth crying over, dahlink.” Helpful hint: Hold onto those mantras when you find one that works. Some friends tried to give me self-help books, little talks on love and forgiveness (nah), and quick-fixes to “heal.” When you look back, you can say: “It was all for the best.” But at the time, if someone were to say that, or that classic “When one door closes, another opens,” you want to sock them. Or else you just nod your head vacuously, yesyesyes, as you slowly go mad. You watch their mouths move and the words they speak as if they are coming out of one of those cartoon bubbles. I knew I was young, attractive and had much to look forward to. But at the time, I didn’t believe it. I had to go through the grief cycle first. There was the denial—“Don’t say anything bad about him!” I’d plead to friends who wanted to rake my ex’s memory across the coals, not wanting to recognize that I’d “wasted” all those years with him. Then came my version of mourning: Look at wedding album. Weep over wedding album, then scream at it. Shove in drawer. Slowly get it out again. Next, I moved onto rage: I hate him! That &%$#! After that, I finally realized, through great counseling, that I’d gotten a rare second chance. Relief followed, then glimmers of joy. And finally: real joy. Working my way to joyTo get there took a lot of work; I cannot lie to you. For me, when rage hit, I hit the gym. I’d chosen endorphins over pharmaceuticals, so I needed to get going. For me, exorcising meant exercising. I was lucky. The trainer who I happened to meet at the gym was a serious Zen student; a black belt, and one of those random deep souls who help change your life for the better. It didn’t hurt when he looked at me with his beautiful blue eyes and said, when I complained about how weak I’d become, “We’re going to take care of you.” Ahh, Matthew. After working on me for a few months with weights and everything else, and I started to develop muscle, Matthew got out the boxing gloves. I was hooked. He had me slicing, upper-cutting, left- hooking, right-hooking. I became a pro at the speed bag, the heavy bag and hitting the heck out of the mitts Matthew moved in front of me. My feet danced in the boxer’s stance. (Guilty admission: I sometimes pretended that the mitts were the faces of some people who shall remain nameless…) I discovered a power I’d never experienced. I loved the strength my body had; the concentration my mind had. Matthew showed me the new muscles I’d developed. I was hot! I’m not saying that the gym is the way to end all the trauma of going through a breakup. But when you look so strong, and the exercising makes you mentally fit as well, and time has helped… well, who doesn’t want to look good when you’re going through so much hell? And then good people are drawn to you when you are strong. Taking the big step forwardEnter Walter, cute guy at the gym. I am punching the speed bag, in a skimpy tank top and wrapped hands, happier than I’d been in a long time. Why does it make you so happy to punch? I don’t know. It just does. My arms are working, they are making this beautiful rhythm of the bag against my hands against the backboard. Ba-PAH, ba-PAH, ba-PAH! He walks over to me. “Wow, you are great at that! I’ve always wanted to learn…” Next scene: I am teaching this athletic stud to hit the speed bag. After a few minutes, he asks for my number. I took his instead, so I could be in control. Control is key in the post-breakup process. I looked at his number for a few weeks, thinking about it, twisting up the scrap of paper… until I was ready to dial. We met for breakfast one Saturday. A morning date felt safest. I wasn’t sure about all of this. I was almost happy alone, happy to not take any more risks. I didn’t need anyone. I had my friends, my work, my family, the boxing, and everything else I love. I’d thrown out the damn salsa and chocolate powder and given away the blanket. What more could I need or want? So why was I laughing and having fun chatting with Walter? There was a rare warm sun warming that December morning. We sat on a stoop and my back became so relaxed; I felt like I was thawing. Then Walter touched my shoulders. Aahhh. Later on that night (that date just kept going...), the first kiss with him was one of the best in my life. And that brings me to what the most unexpected lesson was in that crazy, tumultuous year post-divorce.

Yes, I needed my family and friends, I needed to work, and to kick ass in the gym. But what I also needed to remember was that, there were other relationships out there for me… guys who could rock my world, and whose world could be rocked by me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

time

Pain is not fun, but it’s a valuable source of growth. Time heals all wounds, but it also wounds all heels. He’ll eventually self-destruct.

Your honey is willing to be inconvenienced to make you happy.New daters Cathy and Mark developed a quick connection that seemed very tight. They had not yet been intimate. One day, Cathy’s car needed to be repaired. Mark was at home doing yard work when Cathy called to ask him to please drive her to the dealership. On this summer Saturday, Mark was not on any deadline, nor did he have pressing appointments to meet. But he outright said, “No.” He didn’t say, “No, I have to finish doing the lawn by 2 p.m. before my kids arrive,” or, “No, I am too tired,” or even, “No, I don’t want to drive to that part of town today.” He simply said, “No can do, sorry.” Mark did not want to inconvenience himself. She began to notice other instances of his unwillingness to bend in her direction A week later, Cathy wisely ended the romance.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Defeated

That's me in a nutshell. Just dealing with what I'm given. Some days well and others not so well. This isn't what I chose.