I See a Therapist, a Business Coach & a Psychic and I Don’t Think it’s Weird

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(Alternate title for this post: I get by with a little help from my (psychic) friends.) 

Therapist. Business Coach. Psychic. I have one of each that I talk to regularly. That’s this week’s truth bomb. 

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of therapy. I’ve written before about how seeing a therapist after my big breakup a few years ago was nothing short of life-changing. Talking to a professional has been great for sorting through messy emotions and has also helped tremendously when it comes to understanding and managing my anxiety disorder. The fact that I still see a therapist probably isn’t that surprising, but maybe the other two are.

Let’s break this down.

1. Therapist – Like I mentioned above, therapy is where it’s at. I make an appointment whenever I’m feeling stuck emotionally or have uncomfortable feelings that I need help processing. My therapist is great because she’s not afraid to tell me the things I don’t want to hear (but so desperately need to hear.) Therapy has also made me better at solving my own problems. I used to go every week, now I go every six months for a “tune-up.”

2. Business & Accountability Coach – When I started writing my book I hired an accountability coach to help keep me…well, accountable. I knew that if I was going to accomplish a huge goal like this, I needed someone with a no-BS approach to report back to. Over a year and a completed book later, she’s helped me turn my goal into a reality by being the perfect blend of virtual hand-holding and tough love. She’s now my go-to person whenever I need to talk through a creative project or a tricky work problem.

3. Psychic – My “psychic friend,” doesn’t own a crystal ball or a 1-800 number; she’s a normal, 30-something woman who lives in DC and just happens to be an intuitive. We connected through a mutual friend and have been speaking every 6-12 months ever since. I don’t go to her to have my future predicted, but rather, to get reassurance that my intuition is right about whatever is going on in my life. So, I pay her for comfort and peace of mind in times of uncertainty (and who doesn’t need that?)

(I also have a PR team that I just started working with. But, that’s a whole other post!)

Apparently, it takes a village to make me a healthy, productive human being.

It probably sounds like I’m really high maintenance, but here’s the thing: sometimes the healthiest, most productive thing you can do is admit that you need help with something, find that help and accept it. Whether that’s dealing with your feelings or doing PR for your business – we can’t be experts in everything, all the time.

Now enter Angel Morgan, a psychic and animal communicator. Angel connects to guides, guardians, angels, archangels and more. She also has the rare and uncanny ability to speak to animals as easily as she speaks with other spirits.

When Angel offered to give me a free reading, I was both intrigued and nervous. With the exception of the psychic friend from DC that I mentioned above, some of my previous experiences with psychics have been kind of creepy. However, within seconds of hearing Angel’s voice, I instantly felt comfortable and at home, like I was talking to an old friend.

When I asked Angel about her work, she told me what I had suspected all along about my previous experiences with psychics; that what people are usually looking for is confirmation of things they already know to be true. They want someone to tell them that their intuition is right.

I spoke to Angel for about half an hour. Although I won’t share everything she said (because it feels a bit like revealing your birthday wishes after blowing out the candles) here are a few things she was able to tell me during our reading.

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I have a black cat named Matilda and she is very bossy. When Angel started my reading, apparently Matilda’s spirit was the first to come through. In fact, Matilda insisted on speaking first. Angel said my cat runs the house & knows it (which, is kind of funny considering I always joke that Matilda is my “office manager.”) She also said that Matilda is really good for me energy wise. I mean, just look at her. How could she not be?

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I am very focused on my career right now and this is good. This is why I can’t seem to get my act together when it comes to dating. I want to date – sort of. Sometimes I feel like I should be dating. But when it comes down to it, I’d rather focus on my work right now. This explains why I signed up for Tinder months ago, but have yet to open the app and why I’m not using a service like jump4love.com dating site. (the photo above could be me, but isn’t me. It was found via In Honor of Design.)

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She saw me living alone in my own apartment or condo. Take that Mom! I’m not going to live in your basement forever! (I think my Mom was most excited about this revelation.) And yes, this photo from A House in the Hills is pretty much my dream living space – hanging chair & all.

She also mentioned that she sensed a very strong male presence in my home. When she started describing what she saw, I knew exactly who she was talking about.

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She said some pretty interesting things about Joe the Intern. Namely, that I should keep him out of the love sector of my home (the farthest right hand corner) if I don’t want him to negatively affect my romantic relationships. Like Matilda, he has the tendency to take over. Yes, Joe’s reputation as a blocker precedes him.

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That I need to remember to breathe. And have fun. Lately, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been holding my breath a lot. Angel picked up on this. She said if I get more in touch with my breath, my work and creativity will flow more. She said that I could do with a bit more fun in my life (also true) and that taking up biking would be a good move for me (fitting, considering how much I loved my beach rides in LA.) (photo credit)

Overall, speaking to Angel was really great. She was friendly, relatable and upbeat. I felt very much at peace after our conversation, which is exactly what I was hoping to get out of the experience. If you’d like to speak to Angel, you can book an appointment here. She made it clear that she’s a “modern psychic” and does reading over the phone and/or Skype 🙂

Have you ever spoken to a psychic? What was your experience like?

When a Whisper Turns To a Yell

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Whether it’s going to your first music festival or finally writing your first book, one of the things I’ve learned over the past year is that good things happen when you push past your comfort zone. When I started this blog in 2009 I chose the name “Skinny Dip” because I thought “skinny dipping” was a good metaphor for writing about your life online – it’s naked, it’s scary but also a hell of a lot of fun.

While writing about pretty things & sexy goodies is definitely enjoyable, lately I’ve been feeling a little too comfortable around here – and not in a good “hey I’m wearing silk pyjamas” kind of way. It’s more like, “hey, I’ve been sitting around in these silk pyjamas so long that now there’s a bum shaped imprint on the couch.” It’s time for a change.

I want to use this space for it’s original intention: to tell the truth – about dating, about sex, about bodies, about the challenges of being a (now) 30-something woman & writer. I want to talk about it all, in the most honest way possible.

So, in an effort to strip things down, I’ve decided that every week I will write and post one short personal essay about something that is currently ‘true’ in my life. There’s a very good chance I’ll still post things in-between these mini-essays, but in the meantime I’m really looking forward to more writing and real talk. I hope you are too.

Here’s the first of those “truth-bombs” if you will.

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When I was in college, I was an avid “recycler” of relationships (Al Gore would have been proud!) My love life mostly consisted of a rotating cast of 3-4 different guys that I’d keep getting back together with even though all the signs were there that none of these relationships would ever work out, no matter how many times I revisited them.

This has always been one of my favourite quotes from Maya Angelou (she has so many.)

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At the time, I understood on an intellectual level what Angelou was getting at, but I just couldn’t put it into practice – not really. So, I continued to recycle my hookups and date my exes even though we’d “broken up.” I justified my behaviour in two ways:

“If I’m recycling relationships then it means I’m not adding any more notches on my bedpost.” (I was very concerned back then at being perceived as a slut. Now, as a 30-something, I couldn’t care less.)

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“If we keep coming back to each other, it must mean there’s something there.” (What I know now: there’s always something there. That doesn’t mean it needs to be revisited.)

I’d keep up this pattern until something would happen that was so hurtful and ridiculous that it would be impossible for me not to walk away (i.e. discovering the person I was dating had a secret family stashed on the other side of the city.)

The whispers were always there, quietly guiding me towards the knowledge that these people were wrong for me. But, I needed that whisper to turn into a yell before I’d pay attention. I can’t help but wonder how much pain I could have spared myself if only I’d really listened to what the people I dated were telling me.

(For example, “I don’t want a relationship right now” doesn’t translate to “I just need the right woman to change my mind.” Trust me.)

I’m much better now. I’m becoming better at listening to those whispers and I don’t let things linger like I used to. I favour clean breaks and moving forward. Yet, in order for that clean break to happen, I still need definitive answers. I need to know that a situation is unequivocally wrong for me so I can eliminate it once and for all from my psyche – or, as my Mom likes to say, “Simone, you can’t just leave well enough alone.”

Since I broke up with The Secret Agent, I’ve been turning over stones looking for answers. This is how I ended up on a date with someone I hadn’t seen in 14 years.

I fully, 100% blame Adele’s Hello for everything that happens next (only kind of sort of kidding.)

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I met C. in 2001 through a friend. He was everything that the guys I had dated previously weren’t:

Big hearted. Sweet. Cheerful. Devoted. Tall. (Although he’s made it clear that he wants to be played by Idris Elba in the movie of my life, I envision him as more of a approachable, Pooch Hall type.) He’d do nice things like make me tapes with remixes of all of my favourite Prince songs – just because. He was the kind of guy I should have been dating all along – that I’d be super excited to date now. However, unfortunately,  at the time I was still attached to the immature and misguided notion that a relationship needed lots of hot and cold drama to be “real.” I thought C. was “too nice.” So, a month or two into dating I broke things off (something I’ve always felt bad about.)

Now, flash-forward fourteen years. I’m browsing through my OkCupid matches when low and behold, I’m matched with C.

As it turns out, he’d recently moved to the West Coast from Toronto. Messages were exchanged, texts were sent, but it didn’t go anywhere. A few months later, I met & fell in like with The Secret Agent.

Flashforward 8 months and I’m single again. I reached out to C. to say “hello” (cue Adele.) A few weeks later, I found myself sitting across from him at a sushi restaurant in Vancouver, laughing and having a really great time. This lead to a second date, a third date and a four day weekend spent together.

I like myself a whole lot more than I did when I was 21. Consequently, I like the 2015-2016 version of C. better too. He’s the same friendly, affable, cheeky guy that I initially got to know – but better. He also still does sweet things that I like (ie. records the Soul Train Awards and doesn’t “cheat” & watch them until we’re together.)

But, here’s the thing about those whispers. Once you become attune to them, they become impossible to ignore. Although C. and I connected in ways that were new and pleasantly surprising, there were a handful of little things that pointed towards the fact that long term, we’re probably not a good match. I spent years thinking that the reason that we didn’t work out the first time was largely due to my own immaturity, but really, the whispers had been there all along. Once I noticed these things, I couldn’t un-notice them. Before I knew it, the whisper had turned to a yell.

I called things off. Again.

We talked and agreed that neither of us regret reconnecting. And I truly don’t – regret it that is. In this case, I’m glad that I revisited the past but I’m also glad that I listened to my gut.

This is all to say that sometimes we need to turn over those stones. You might not always get the answer you were hoping for, but if you pay attention, you’ll always get the answer you need to move forward.

Guest Post | Lessons for my 20 Year Old Self: Be Careful With Your Money

If you’ve caught any of my recent Instagrams, you might have guessed that I am on vacation this week! While I’m enjoying some down time in the beautiful Okanagan, my friend Sara has stepped in with a guest post. I hope you enjoy Sara’s savvy advice. These are all things I wish I’d had tattoo’ed on my arm when I was a 20-something.  Since writing about how Carrie Bradshaw is the most unrealistic freelance writer, ever, I think most of these tips are still very relevant to those of us who are now 30-somethings (& beyond!) 

There has been a series on Skinny Dip about the things we all wish we could say to our twenty year old selves. We’ve talked about love and loss and today, let’s talk about money. If there’s one thing we can probably all agree on is that we wish we were smarter with our money when we were twenty.

College students are virtually preyed upon by credit card companies. They set up tables on campuses and harass students passing by to fill out applications. They talk up great deals and the importance of building credit. The problem is that very few students understand how to approach credit correctly. Even if they understand, intellectually, that a credit card isn’t “free money,” they often give in to the temptation to simply pay the minimum amounts due. After all, they can make bigger payments later when it’s more convenient, right?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all been tempted by the siren song of credit, especially when we are young and we want to be able to keep up with our more well off friends.

Unfortunately, for most of us, what this does is set us off on a path toward a terrible credit rating—one that will prove problematic when we grow up and want to buy homes, start businesses, etc. When you’re starting up your first business, you’re going to be trying to find investors and will likely need a business credit card.

I wish I had access to a list of the best cash back business credit cards in order for me to earn rewards while funding my purchases. I had to learn about managing money through my own mistakes back then. But now I’m older and wiser.

So here’s what I’d say to my 20 year old self about money

-Get one card. One. That’s it.

-Pay at least $10 more than the minimum amount due on your credit statement

-Pay your bill as soon as it shows up in your email box or in the mail.

-Remember the physical limitations of your dorm room—can you really fit all of the things you want to buy into it?

-You are not a lesser person if you don’t have the most current fashions, accessories, electronic gadgets, etc.

-Share—share music, share movies, share books. Share instead of buying your own. You’ll look like a genius when you help your friends save money too.

-Saving is not stupid. Putting even $5 a week into a savings account is better than nothing.

-Take a course in personal finance and learn about saving, investing, retirement plans and basic economics now. You’ll look like a genius when you already understand all of that stuff your friends probably won’t bother with until they get their first jobs.

-Get a job and pay off the interest on your student loans each month. Yes, it isn’t due until later but you’ll be thousands of dollars ahead of the game come graduation time.

About the Author: Sara is freelance writer who most often writes about personal finance. In her spare time, she enjoys maintaining a healthy lifestyle through swimming and practicing yoga.

What are some of the financial lessons you wish you had learned when you were 20?

Video | Let’s Talk About First Dates

One of the perks of writing a regular sex and dating column for Sun Media is that I get to participate in fun live chats like the one I did for Valentine’s Day.

The other day we did another live dating chat with the lovely Lida Elias of Save My Date where we talked about the etiquette of first dates. I still think I look totally awkward and Muppet like on camera (and I still haven’t mastered how to position myself so my eyes aren’t looking down) but I thought I would share the link anyways. If you tune in you’ll hear me talk about awkward first dates and tell the story of my date with The Big Baby, live. Come on, I know you want to.

Thanks Lida, Victoria and the rest of the Sun Media Team for a great chat!

PS. If you have any questions about dating, sex, or relationships that you’d like me to answer – email me! I’d love to do another Ask Simone post.

How Sexting Can Ruin Your Sex Life

The last time I was single for an extended period of time 7+ years ago, “sexting” wasn’t really a thing yet. Heck, many of us didn’t have smart phones, which meant sending a text that said “R U There Yet?” required that you to press multiple keys, like, 18 bazillion times. Telling someone over text “I want to bend you over the conference room table, pull up your skirt and cover your mouth to muffle your screams of pleasure” was a major time commitment, and something only reserved for people that were worth risking developing Carpal Tunnel syndrome over. However, now it seems like texting and it’s (at times) creepy cousin sexting, is the primary mode of communication in the dating arena. After Small Town Cop asked me over text about my “nether regions” following our first date, I’ve come to the conclusion that  maybe all this technology is actually harming our love lives more than anything. Seriously, what’s the deal with sexting?!

To get to the bottom of this issue, I’ve decided to call on my friend Liz from No Strings Dating to give her take on sexting. Take it away Liz!

Truth be told, I’ve never really been that big a fan of sexting. Maybe a little bit here and there, when stuck at work or in traffic I’d send off a racy text, or more likely when the guy on the receiving end of said sext is in an important meeting or hanging out with the boys. What can I say? It keeps things interesting. Interesting, yes. Sexy? Not so much. I’m actually of the belief that sexting regularly can ruin your real life sex life. Here’s why.

First of all, some people are big talkers. It’s super easy to pick up your phone and type out what you want to do to someone when you see them.  But all too often people simply can’t deliver on the sexts they send. It might seem like a really hot (and sexy!) idea to text your guy and tell him that you are going to rock his world all night long, baby or that you just love giving head more than life itself, but after a long day of work maybe you just want to cuddle-which would have been perfectly ok if you hadn’t promised otherwise. My general life rule-sexual or otherwise-is to manage not just my expectations but the ones of those around me. In my opinion, it is WAY hotter to have my fiance’ walk through the door thinking it’s going to be another boring night of Modern Family on the couch and surprise him with a can of whipped cream and naked twister, than it is to just talk about it all day and then fall short of his expectations.

Sexing also harms your connection as a couple. Technology is great for maintaining a connection with family and friends, but it doesn’t do much for a relationship-granted, if you’re in a long distance romance that is another story. But generally speaking, if you see your partner everyday, you shouldn’t feel the need to text them all that much about things other than asking if they could pleasepleaseplease stop by the store for tampons and a snickers bar-just me? But I mean, why wouldn’t you just talk to them face to face? Or at least call them on your lunch break if you’re horny and have phone sex in the car like a civilized person. (PS while I am a total sexing hater, phone sex is something I can totally get behind). While it might feel otherwise, sexting actually builds a false sense of intimacy. It feels like a “safe” way to express yourself sexually, but hiding behind an iPhone isn’t going to get you a one way ticket to orgasm city.

These days, relationships start via text and end via text. I have friends who get into intense arguments with their boyfriends via text, and it never seems to occur to them to pick up the damn phone and call each other…or even better, suggest meeting somewhere face to face to hash it out. The best sex is the kind that strips you bare and leaves you a bit vulnerable. If you feel like sexting is the easy or safe  way to let your partner know what you like or what you want, try whispering it in his ear instead. Or better yet, showing him exactly what you mean.

It’s not to say that sexting can’t be a fun add-on to an already satisfying sex life, and there is nothing wrong with texting your boyfriend a naughty one liner (just make sure you send it to the right person) as long as you put more, much more, emphasis on your face to face interactions. Think of sexting as the sprinkles on an already delicious cupcake. It’s just a little something something extra…but you really don’t need it, and it’s not what you notice when you take a big bite. Yes, I did just compare sex to a cupcake. In related news, why yes I am pmsing.

Liz is the social media manager at We Love Dates and No Strings Dating. She writes, tweets and thinks about love and sex all the live long day. In her spare time, she watches way too much reality TV and has a slight obsession with chips, salsa and margaritas. 

What do you guys think about sexting?

 

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