I’m Under Doctor’s Orders




I charted it up to stress. God knows, when we’re in big transitions in our lives, it’s unavoidable. And for me, “follow your gut” is more than a phrase. I’ve been following it to one small room for several months now, and when I was about to walk, unannounced into my doctor’s office ready to say, “Do ANYTHING!”, that gut did take me to the diagnosis. I’ve got that bacteria that causes ulcers and getting rid of it is like pulling up a 300-year old redwood tree by the roots. So, off to the pharmacy to pick up the dreaded drugs, a nuclear bomb of a combination that “sometimes” kills the bacteria, if if doesn’t kill me first.


The brown paper bag from the pharmacy was not only full of pills, but sheet after sheet of instructions, warnings short of skulls and crossbones, and of course Common Side Effects. Being the neurotic I am, I began scouring each page, becoming more anxious as I flipped them over to see yet more reasons NOT to take these drugs! And then I saw it. The statement that brought me back to my senses and gave me the perspective I needed to open that adult-proof cap:


“Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.” 


Right out loud, I said, smiling…”kind of like trying to find someone to love”. Dating is hard. It’s just hard. We hang out in the wind all the time. If we’re online, it’s like another thing on the Drug info sheets:


This is a summary and does NOT have all the possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you.” 


What can we possibly know about someone not only when we see their profile online, but honestly, even when we meet them for coffee or “more naturally” at an event? There are no assurances that who they appear to be actually is who they truly are. And, I’m sure we often don’t give each other a chance to get past the jitters, and show each other our best stuff. Only time will reveal more information and give us what we need to make a decision to stay or leave this one behind (again?).   But here’s the deal via the Drug Information Sheet:


“Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished…stopping too early may mean you do not get the desired results.” 


At the advice of my Dr. and the wisdom of my gut, I’m taking a break from dating until I heal what’s ailing me. If you find yourself not enjoying the experience at least some of the time, maybe you’re thinking thoughts like, “All women are_______”, or “Everybody out there is damaged goods”, or you’re still thinking and dreaming about the one that broke your heart, it may be time to take a break, put your feet up and do a bit of healing yourself. Then, after you’ve binged on Netflix long enough, pick yourself back up and begin again.

Those Drug Information sheets must know what they’re talking about, right?

If you’re tired of being alone and looking for someone fabulous to share this chapter of your amazing life, I can show you how to stay out of the weeds of discouragement, keep that hopeless romantic in YOU alive while you find them.

Call me at 510-817-4242 for a Complimentary Intake Session to talk about how we might work together to help you find love before another holiday season arrives! 

Donna Bailey, MS

 Coach, Speaker and Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

510-817-4242   donna@donnasbigredchair.love






Why I Don’t Want to be “Special” Ever Again



When I was barely walking, my Daddy chose me to be his special little girl. Any three year old is the center of the universe because that’s what 3’s are about. And, when parents are doing their job, they love them through it and teach them that though they are precious, there are others who share the world.

As they grow, the child feels her uniqueness and how she fits into a shared universe.


My “specialness “was different. Sadly, Daddy never felt special, loved or accepted for the wonderful child he was. He married a beautiful woman who needed the kind of love her parents couldn’t show her either.  Their marriage was rife with trouble from the beginning. It included my father’s alcoholism, and my mother’s lifetime of battling depression.  Two people desperately looking for someone to save them, give them what they longed for. Someone to fill the holes in their sweet souls.


My Daddy took me everywhere, even to the bars where I sat on high bar stools being fed pickled eggs while he gambled. Every night when he’d come home from work, I’d look forward to sitting out on the back stoop with him while he told me about his day…more than any 4 year-old should know. And, not a day passed that he didn’t tell me he wouldn’t want to live without me. Imagine that little girl feeling so important and “loved”.


Like many things in my life, I didn’t realize how a seemingly good feeling of being special was setting my relationships with men up to fail. There were many factors in why I struggled in those relationships, but I now know that I continued to seek that feeling I had as a little girl with each man I met. It was a set up for them, and for me. The good news is that over time, I did learn the difference between the need to feel “terminally special”, and real love.


Do you find yourself saying, “I’m looking for someone special”. Perhaps you feel, “He makes me feel special.” It feels wonderful and in healthy balance, it’s nice to get those flowers, have him pick up the check, or get a text asking how that meeting went you were worried about. That kind of special is fabulous. But there’s another kind that is deadly to relationships.


“You complete me”…a line from the movie, “Jerry Maguire” got into our souls and there’s no lack of reinforcement every day in our music, romantic comedies, books and magazines. But, here’s what happens when you need someone to complete you…


When we single someone out as the source of our happiness, it comes from the belief that we’re not enough, empty or that our own life is dull, meaningless or perhaps painful. Then, we give that person the responsibility or power to save us from our sense of wanting and lack and we then turn over our sense of happiness to them.  When they do anything that doesn’t make us happy, it’s their fault. Do we know we’re doing this?  No. It feels normal to most of us, but the pressure on our partners to make and keep us happy is a burden nobody should have to bear.  The fatal flaw in “you complete me” thinking and feeling is that if someone has that much power to make you happy, you have also given them the power to render you incomplete and unhappy when they leave or don’t do things that make you happy every time you feel you deserve it.


I have been in relationships with men in which that pattern with my Daddy was the operating system. They made me very happy, I did feel special until their behavior turned cold and genuinely emotionally abusive. Even though that was painful, I often stayed in the relationships too long, put up with things no woman should…all because I loved the intensity I felt when they made me feel special. They knew how to do that really well. My little girl self remembered how wonderful it felt but I had to learn that the price I paid was too high. Specialness is rather like a drug. I had to learn one day at a time that I was special with or without a man in my life. I am enough whether alone or in relationship. And, that though I miss being in relationship, I remain complete while I open myself to love that I’ve yet to discover.


Real love happens when two people bring whole selves to each other. And yes, they do special things for each other. They also make mistakes, can hurt each other and are highly imperfect much of the time. And, they don’t assign the role of “Happiness Creator” or “Savior” to one another. Both have responsibility for their own happiness, and are always mindful of how their behavior affects their beloved. When things create unhappiness…they talk about it.


Don’t allow yourself to reside on a pedestal and be aware if you’ve put someone else up there. Pedestals topple and someone gets hurt every time. Keep your feet on the ground except when you tango or feel the wind in your hair when he surprises you with a weekend getaway. That’s really special!


If you’re tired of watching sunsets alone and want to find a completely wonderful person to share this next amazing chapter of your life, I can show you how!

Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me today at donna@donnasbigredchair.love

We’ll plan a Complimentary Session to talk about how to bring a wonderful love into your life!


Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair

510-817-4242    donna@donnasbigredchair.love


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Have You Got Your Priorities Straight??




I spent yesterday afternoon in a beautiful park that overlooked the San Francisco Bay. My dear friend always celebrates her birthday in that park because she’s happiest there.


The parking is sparse up in those hills and though she never asks us to bring anything, everyone takes the time to make something special, or perhaps because they feel a bit guilty for not making a homemade dish, spend a fortune on some fabulous cheeses and wines. I bring my famous homemade apple pie because I love baking them, but honestly, I love that people who’ve been willing to ax the cholesterol mania look forward to letting it all go and enjoying something quite sinful by California standards. I gotta admit, I love doing the “wrong” things in life. It’s where the joy lives.


My friend is an immigrant from Eastern Europe, and many of her friends are too. It’s always beautiful to see that sea of beautiful blue eyed people so full of life and joy gathered in one place.


The cake was beautiful. Soft clouds of whipped cream, fresh strawberries covered angelic yellow cake. When the time came to celebrate, she said “I am going to do the toast this year.” She toasted her friends, told us how of all the things in her life, her daughters and her friends were the most important. “Life is so busy.” she said. “And I don’t spend enough time with all of you. I’m sorry about that and this year, I’m going to change that because I love you so much. It’s what I want to do with my precious time.”


I felt the tears welling up from a deep place in my soul. That morning I’d spent two hours on the phone with a forever friend from Maine. We talked about our health, our homes and children, grandchildren and the fears we have about ageing and friends who were sick and struggling. When we hung up, I wondered what I would do without her, without friends. I can’t imagine it because they are like my heartbeat.


Today, I hope you will think about what your life would be like without your friends. Then, ask yourself if the time you are giving to them is in proportion to the importance they have in your life. If the answer is “No”, perhaps it’s time to consider your priorities. We spend our precious currency of time on what we perceive is most important, so look at where you’re investing yours. That cake was wonderful, but a temporary delight. My friend…she’s forever.


If you think others might enjoy this blog, please post it on your Facebook page or email it to your friends with a note telling them how much you love them.

Tired of watching those sunsets alone and ready for a friend and new love of your life? It’s lovely to be in love again. Ready to find them? I can be your guide to finding love again.

Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me at donna@donnasbigredchair.love for a

Complimentary Session

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

510-817-4242   donna@donnasbigredchair.love


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