Thursday, December 22, 2011

a simple thank you.

"See your relationships, even ones that have ended," she told me, "as having added to you, not as a loss."

So I'm thinking of this and I want to write a gratitude list as this year wraps up.

In random order, to those I have loved and appreciated since my marriage ended:

To the aqua-eyed boy:
The lessons you taught me were difficult but I understand so much more now.

To the artist:
Thank you for trying so hard to love me. You found me at a time when I was particularly vulnerable -- reeling from the loss of my marriage and aqua-eyed boy deporting to a war zone. You made me feel valued when I needed it most. Thank you for believing in me.

To the armchair philosopher:
Thank you for buying me a bed even when you knew we would never lie on it together. I hope you are happy and your new lady treats you well, your gentle heart deserves to be cherished.

To the dark-haired boy whose arms I fell into unexpectedly (aka: mr. epic makeout session):
You reminded me that when it *really* clicks, the joy is palpable. If nothing comes of our brief union but that tiny lesson, it will have been one of my most important reminders this year. Thank you for lifting me (both physically and metaphorically).

I'm also so appreciative of all the great friends that have made me laugh, listened when I was down, checked in when I was silent (even on Twitter!), sang-shouted on city streetcorners, and shared their own achingly intimate stories to help me not feel alone. You make me feel like the richest girl in the world.

To anyone I inadvertently hurt during this awkward time in my life, I am so sorry. Being in a terrible place does strange things to the heart. I appreciated your effort to reach me anyway, even the smallest acts of kindness mattered even when I was not in a place to reciprocate or respond. Thank you.

And to the universe for the many hardships, lessons and beauty impressed upon me over the years: it is such a wonderful life.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

he was my first love

About 12 years ago, my old high school boyfriend called me. "I'm getting married in 3 weeks! It should have been to you. You were the one."

"You're just getting cold feet," I said.

No, he'd said. He wanted to call off the wedding and get back together. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he'd already met with my parents and talked to them, said he had a plan. He would get me a place to live, help me move back home and we could right the wrongs of our long-ago relationship.

He'd been my first love. We dated for 6 years, from 17-23 on & off. Then I found out he was seeing another girl when I thought we were exclusive. I don't remember how I found out. I think signs were there for a while but I didn't see them. The day I found out, I called him crying, scorched by the betrayal. "Me or her?" I asked in tears. "I can't decide!" he implored. "Then I'll decide for you!" I slammed the phone down and within two weeks I was dating the man I would marry. We moved in together within, I dunno, 6 months? I thought "Okay, I'm going to follow my head now because, well, fuck my heart. It doesn't know jack."

My then-new boyfriend (I'll refer to him as the engineer, as that's what he eventually became when he finished school) and I had a really tight friendship. He knew what happened before. He helped me heal.

I was shattered inside over that lost love, more than I allowed myself to acknowledge. He kept calling, wanting to talk, explain, get back together. I wouldn't have any of it. I didn't believe in second chances. I wanted to avoid drama, the kind of life where I couldn't trust my partner. Jesus, if he was cheating on me and we were that young, WTF would happen when we hit mid-life?

As I settled into my new relationship, my ex still called sometimes but I wouldn't let the conversation steer around to the "us" he tried to press. He made crazy excuses to see me. "I have a business idea but I have to tell you in person!" he'd say. "I'm not interested," I'd reply. "I have someone new now." "We need a web designer, will you make our website?" I turned down the job, uncomfortable about the implications of regular contact, plus it made my bf uncomfortable. I always told my new boyfriend about our calls -- being transparent is important to me. My heart still ached but I was healing.

Then six years later, my mom sent me an obituary she'd found in the paper. His father died. His dad, the one who welcomed me to their home so graciously, especially when I'd been so shy meeting my first love's parents. The father who offered me a place to live when my own home was filled with tumult. I didn't ever take them up on it but the gesture stuck. I loved his dad.

I called my ex to express sympathy. We hadn't talked in a long time -- years? I don't even remember -- but when he answered the phone I recognized his voice immediately and choked up, unable to get the words out. He immediately understood it was me, understood what I could not say, understood everything. That was the kind of bond we had.

That was the start of healing. Because for the first time I listened to what he had to say. I did it with respect for my new beau -- I am very good about not crossing lines -- but we had the talk we always needed.

When he called later, with cold feet, I wondered privately about getting back together. A part of me had never gotten over him. But I quickly extinguished the thought. I was very committed to the engineer. I encouraged my ex to either move forward with the wedding, or if he was that unsure, investigate why *without* me being the catalyst.

He married. I married. We stayed in touch briefly and sporadically during the following years, shifting into an almost sibling-like relationship, a closeness without words,  having grown up together.

When I left my husband, I didn't tell this old beau until almost a year later. "I didn't want to tell you right away because I didn't want you to think this was an 'in' to getting back together," I said, since it was something he still alluded to sometimes. But the shift into a deep friendship is a wonderful comfort. We root for each other's happiness. All that old stuff happened so long ago, it doesn't even matter anymore. Things are so easy now. If we don't talk for months, we just pick up where we left off. And sometimes he texts me Chuck Norris jokes.

I bring this up though for two reasons. One, the sense of perspective time has introduced. I need to remember that now. That one of the deepest loves of my life shifted into a place where there's no more pain is a very healing state. It's important to me to have a sense of peace with the past. I don't know that I'll ever get it with my soon-to-be ex-husband, but I hope for it anyway.

The other is that the dark-haired boy I am recently getting to know reminds me of this ex in the tiniest ways.

Monday, December 19, 2011

kidding, and not

Here's what I DON'T recommend: do not drive 450 miles in 24 hours, attend a family dinner in which you are scolded for not petting family member's dog long enough, and then drive to a movie to see a flick about a sex addict (Shame) with a sex addict ex who will shut down because I dunno, maybe the movie makes both of you feel too raw or because he knows you miss him and that feels weird.

Don't do all these things at once because when you feel rejected for the billionth time, it will suck JUST AS MUCH as it did the first million times.

You will still feel alone and shitty and stupid and that piled on top of EVERYTHING ELSE will crumble even your normally strong self.

I dreamt I was writing a novel. I titled it TRUTH. In all capital letters, just like that.

Awake, that seems like a terribly boring title, but in my dream it was shattering. There was some kind of groundbreaking revelation like  I'm not going to lie to myself anymore.

The truth: admit when it's not working.

It's so easy when you feel unloved to stop loving yourself as well. To feel like you don't deserve it. But that's when you need it the most.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

why I will suck as your girlfriend.

So, I went on a date tonight with a guy that was REALLY great but zero chemistry. So, if it comes up, how do I tell him? Rejection SUCKS. I really hate hurting people's feelings. It needs to be a FIT and not a feat. Plus, so much is subjective. Like, the things I think that make me suck as a girlfriend might be fine for someone, and the things that would make me an awesome girlfriend might drive someone else nuts.
For example:

Why I will suck as your girlfriend

  • I have a terrible sense of direction and if you thrust a map at me while we're passing an exit and exclaim "IS THIS THE ONE???" I will refuse to even GLANCE at it unless we pull over and I have enough time to figure it out. 0.03 milliseconds is not enough time.
  • I've got "back." (Pinch it if you don't believe me! Or, uh, actually, please don't.)
  • I like a lot of affection. If you text me "hi beautiful" I will melt inside and be especially lovey when I see you next.
  • I'm really sensitive and don't take criticism well. If you hate something about me, you'll have to be extra-diplomatic about voicing it. I'm not saying you have to LOVE, say, every errant nose hair, just be tactful. "YOU'RE FAT" is not going to be received well, even if true. Likewise with "YOU'RE STUPID" and "YOU SUCK" or even the literary distant relative "RELAX!" -- it's true that it's not what you say but how you say it.
  • That being said, I want honesty above all else whether or not the message is painful. If you're not into me anymore, tell me. If you don't, I will listen to what you don't say and break the fuck up because I'm big into actions speaking louder than words and I don't like passively waiting for the end.
  • I spend a long time getting ready in the morning: I need an hour to tame my mane and feel presentable.
  • I like to get dolled up. Yes, I wear makeup. (How MUCH is subjective: I think I wear a lot but most people don't even realize I have any on at all.)
  • I need to eat every 3 hours. If you can go 12 hours between meals and will look at me while I'm eating a pear like, "THAT'S why you're fat," then it's not going to work. I don't eat much, but I do eat often.
  • I won't really nag you about your food choices but I will notice and be secretly thrilled if you eat healthy. If you eat especially horribly, like nothing but fast food, it probably won't work long-term. I am pretty health-conscious.
  • I may nag you to stay in touch with your family IF you confess you wish you did and then I don't see you acting on it.
  • I might be difficult to read sometimes, usually because I'm not sure how to express what I'm feeling. I will hope you can understand me anyway. If you ask me what I'm thinking, I will try to tell you though it might make me tear up. I won't say everything is fine if it's not.
  • I will never be able to order quickly from a menu.
  • I do not have the kind of fancy red nails that look sexy gripping your cock. Sorry. Plain hands here. I paint them SOMEtimes but not that often because I can't deal with the maintenance.
  • I can be easily distracted.
  • I like time alone.
  • I hate foodshopping.
  • I hate to cook. I WILL, and I can even be good at it (sometimes), it just feels like a waste of time. (See "I hate foodshopping" above.) I'd rather be writing! :)
  • I'll want you to accept the struggles I've gone through and not judge me for them.
  • Strange things turn me off. If you don't take care of yourself that well, I'll notice.
  • I look especially AWFUL in the morning. If you need a trophy girl, I'm not it. I doll up IN SPITE of the hideousness, not to enhance it.
  • I am really busy. I will want to hang out sometimes while we are each doing our own thing. If I don't think we can do that, I will not want to hang out much.
  • I won't do your laundry. And no ironing. Shoot, I don't even iron my OWN clothes.
  • I have a weird family. Get togethers might be trying for you and I will hope you can try really hard to enjoy them anyway. I won't shove them down your throat but it would be so much less stressful for me if you looked like you were rolling with it.
  • I won't know enough pop culture references or enough about history. I was isolated growing up and didn't absorb what I should have. Now today am making up for lost time.

Why I will rock as your girlfriend

  • I will purr affectionately all around you when we're near. I probably won't be able to keep my hands off you.
  • When you're sick, I'll make you chicken soup and rub your back and be extra nurturing and doting.
  • I'll buy you presents sometimes just because I'm thinking about you, like a Newsweek if it has a story I think you'll find interesting or a teeshirt if I think it'll make you laugh.
  • I'll treat you out to dinner sometimes because I will enjoy making you feel special.
  • I am honest and will not lie to you.
  • I am faithful. My general rules: I won't date your friends if we break up, I won't talk bad about you even if I'm hurt, I don't stay mad or hold grudges so friends (once my broken heart heals) is cool. Because if I really care about you, I'm not going to stop just because the relationship is over. I will probably remain your biggest advocate, even if you never know how much I still silently root for you.
  • I will never snoop all up in your grill. I never have and never will read my man's email, look at his facebook while he's logged in, go through his drawers, look in diaries, look in wallets, look at bank statements, access phone, etc. and I expect the same back. I've been lucky to have very open relationships with a lot of trust this way. If I felt like I *wanted* to snoop (I never have), that would be a sign to me that something was going wrong with the trust aspect and thus we need to talk, not that I need to snoop. So yeah, I honor your privacy implicitly..
  • I don't nag about housework. I actually LIKE cleaning so I don't mind pulling more weight here. Maybe you could pull more weight and do more outside yard stuff since I hate that. Compromise is cool. But I will want you to have general neatness skills.
  • I'll be your best friend. Great love is enhanced by an even greater friendship.
  • I'm not a club girl but I am very social. I can talk to almost anyone about anything and have an awesome time.
  • I will probably like your friends and family. I'm easygoing and a people person and find the good in everyone.
  • I will want you to spend time however you enjoy. If it makes you happy, it'll make me happy.
  • I'll like exploring together.
  • I don't watch TV. In almost 17 years with my ex, I almost never touched the remote. You could put on whatever you want.
  • I'll keep your secrets forever and never tell anyone. Shoot, I'm still holding a secret my sis told me when I was NINE. I am open about me but ONLY me.
  • I can be madly silly.

Now see, any of these things might be dealbreakers to someone. See how subjective this is? People fit or they don't. (Or maybe a better way to phrase this is that they might, and so they see.) But so much has to fall together and it's so much less about their worthiness than my own odd makeup. I don't know how to convey this. "It's not you it's me" is so true and yet so cliche. This was only one date and yet I'm wracked with how to communicate this gently. And I have 2 other dates this week and a couple next week -- all these new people, we're all going to have to reject eachother at some point. How does everyone DO this?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

on being terrified of posting

"A lot of people will send me blog posts [where] they think it's really interesting because they're telling this high drama story but the truth is they've already worked all this out in their head. They've gone to therapy. It was interesting 10 years ago when they were IN therapy. Now, they're just like, you know, spitting it out on a page... If you're not like tormented about it, you're lying that you think that's interesting.... it was interesting to you when you were learning it. And if you're feeling scared,  this is a good test. If you're scared to post something that means you are not sure if it's right, That's the best one to post. If I'm not scared, if I'm not a little anxious to post something, then it's probably boring to me and it's going to be boring to everyone else." -- Penelope Trunk

I am *always* scared to post. Every single time. So, yay?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This is home now.

So I'm doing this exercise. You're supposed to go into the place that hurts and rest there.

I close my eyes and go into it. It's easy to do. I still remember what it felt like to wrap my arms around aqua-eyed boy, the sensation. Warm little bursts punctuated by achy little stabs. This is what it means to love someone you shouldn't.

And so I go into the ache and sit. It's like I'm in a windstorm, dust swirling around me, a roaring noise drowning out the sounds of everyday. The cacophony is overwhelming.

I sit inside this place and I put a little quiet bubble around me. Guess what. I'm not the storm, the storm is in me. Instead of running for cover like I normally do, I observe it curiously. There are flashes of memory.

The time he pulled me into his lap and sang "Joey" while tenderly brushing my hair.
Joey, baby, don't get crazy
Detours, fences... I get defensive.
I know you've heard it all before
So I don't say it anymore
I just stand by and let you fight your secret war.
He was the first one I tried to love after 17 years with my ex sank into the ground as if into a giant sinkhole and disappeared. I wandered then like I was on the moon, no oxygen, no water, only a dusty craterscape barren of anything nurturing to a life form. My earth disappeared and banished me in the process. It was like my ex's pain set a curse upon me. You don't deserve to thrive, I felt. There was day and night but little else.

This boy, the one with walls around his heart, was the first one to reach out. A soldier in the war of life with battle scars on his heart, skilled at recognizing the wounded. He was my trauma unit. He wrapped gauze around my heart and tried to stabilize me. I adored him for that.

The wind continued to howl. Some scenes with my ex. The terrible look in his eyes when he realized I was gone before the words were said. But it was too late. It didn't feel right anymore.

A house twists by, Wizard of Oz style, except it 's mine. Lifted and raised and dropped and broken. We let it go. It was no longer home.

I feel safe and protected in my little bubble. The storm can no longer lash at me. Around me it can howl but I'm settling within, cozy and warm. This is home now.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

from up here

Everything is completely different from the air. The world has a different perspective from 20,000 feet.

I'm in Florida now visiting a BFF. I lifted into the air a few days ago, just when my knotted mind was sifting through the insecurities I described in my previous post. I saw the houses and cars shrink away and I thought "look at all the tiny homes and all the drama that can go on inside one of those little rectangles. Goodness, how small everything is from up here."

Like the time I was lying next to the aqua-eyed boy while tiny knives stabbed at my heart, breathing him in and yet knowing I had to let it go or it'd destroy me. That time is so puny from here. Insignificance can be so comforting. This large beautiful world can swallow my worries. It really can.

Maybe this is how many imagine heaven, removed from the pains of lessons taught to our unwilling souls.

From here I can pretend I am looking down at that tiny girl whose arms were wrapped around the guy who couldn't love her and wrap my own around instead. The world is so much larger than you know, I want to say. It will be okay. The earth is big enough to hold a boy who will love you back. Don't punish yourself anymore sweetie. It's okay.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

on the complications of clasping

I didn't know how to explain what I was feeling.

I let him clasp me to his chest and I stood there feeling the warmth of his body as we leaned up against our cars in the parking lot. He pulled back to look at me and said, "The more I look in your eyes, the more I want to keep looking."

But I found myself in the familiar struggling place. "I'm not alone in feeling this way, am I?" he asked.

I tried to explain but I didn't know how. This connection feels awesome, yes. But...

And that was the night I met a longterm penpal visiting from 3,000 miles away. We hugged, and then I pulled away.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It was time to buy PANTS.

The girl is 10 and the boy is 12. They kept cracking me up.
Mom: "You need pants!"
Boy: ::rolls eyes:: 
And that's how we found ourselves in the JC Penney.

Fifteen minutes later, mom handed an armload of jeans to the boy.

"I HATE this place," he said, trudging off to the fitting room.

I ran off with the girl to make fun of obnoxious jewelry.

Pants were eventually purchased and we left the store, much to the boy's relief.

But guys, the JC Penney is right next to a Walmart.


See full post)

Dudes, I'm visiting Vermont.

How can I not stop in Walmart?

It should be a mission: visit a Walmart in each state. Catalogue teh crazy.

Of course I want to contribute to the People of Walmart (POW) blog. I consider it a civic duty, actually.

I explained this serious mission to the kids. (Actually the kids initiated the idea. "There were really strange people last time we were here.")
Me: "Ok kids, now if you see anything um, unusual, and want to point it out, let's have a code. Say 'I'm hungry.'" (Because, you know, kids want to say stuff like "LOOK AT THAT THOUSAND POUND LADY!" which is wholly embarrassing in public.)
(For the next 30 minutes -->) Kids: "I'M HUNGRY!! I'M HUNGRY!!" 

One other thing about Vermont? It's fucking COLD in this mofo. I packed 5 outfits for 5 days and have worn ALL FIVE OUTFITS EVERY DAY. And I was still fucking freezing. It's not even the dead of winter!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I've got terrible hair and an old car. Hollywood is 3,000 miles away.

In the movie version of my life, I am driving down the interstate steeped in thought with tears streaming down my face, that conversation replaying in my head. Smiling though -- these are tears of gratitude and appreciation, not misunderstanding. They're the sweat of healing as it exerts old barbs of hurt from embedded places.

It's hard work, healing.

Some very appropriate song would be playing, perhaps one made specifically for me, right now. But this is no movie and all I've got is the radio streaming Adele, and so I listen to "Someone like you" and discard the bits that don't count. I'm left with:
Nevermind that I'll find someone like you

I wish nothing but the best for you

Don't forget me, I begged, I remember you said

Sometimes it lasts in love, sometimes it hurts instead
Aqua-eyed boy is home. He made it through deployment safely.

We didn't need to catch up because we were already caught up. We needed the inexpressible. To be understood. Not just to understand our ties together, but the kind of understanding that should have come from home delivered to young psyches by healthy parents and happy homes. Not homes struggling with fires and pain and loss and shame.

We sat on a park bench overlooking a small canal and held hearts, not hands. It was our deepest, most honest conversation yet. He reached into the darkest parts of my soul and gently picked out shards of glass. Monkeys pick nits from eachother's bodies, allowing themselves to be vulnerable for their own good. Evolved species we are, modern-day lice infest the cerebrum and can best be reached through the loving gestures of another.

In the movie version of my life, this scene marks a turning point. Scenes of friendship where the characters dance in the kitchen wielding spray cleaner and sponges, nap like kittens,  read quietly from opposite sides of the room, make specialized chai and bristle over the discovery of raucous billing mistakes, and ends with the outpouring on the park bench. Fluidity that speaks of togetherness, where you can simply be because the sense of comfort is so great; how is unimportant. The turning point isn't all this, though. These things were there before. It's the peace with what will be.

If this were a movie, we'd maybe fall in love. But go with what you've got, right? I've got terrible hair, an old car, a long drive down a boring interstate, and Adele on the radio. Absolutely NOT Hollywood material... but it is real life. We fall, yes. But instead into a deeper friendship. We acknowledge that one day there will be others and we will rejoice in each other's happiness. We hug. And we laugh.
I wish nothing but the best for you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This is why I hate chat.

This is why I hate chat. 
Me: brb

Them: what's up?

Me: brb something needs addressing.

Them: yes?

Me: brb = be right back

Them: ?? asplenia?

Them: asplenia?

::immediately emails:: "Asplenia, is everything okay??? Do you need me to take off work and come get you?"
I just developed a nervous tic. DUDE ALL I SAID WAS "brb" -- not "I'M SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTING"! ::headdesk::

Friday, October 28, 2011

is it worth the risk?

HWSNBN (He Who Shall Not Be Named) and I joke easily. A recent topic was "A new hallmark series for those with personality disorders":

There's something special about this guy. I don't know if it's because he makes me howl with laughter or that he can write like nobody's business, or that he just does everything right, but I like him a lot.

How do people do this getting-close-to-others stuff? Knowing I'm very sensitive inside, do I just refrain or is it really actually better to try and lose than never to have tried at all? The last few times I went through endings, it felt like I'd swallowed glass. Is it worth the risk?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dear beloved niece & nephews

My niece and nephews are old enough to fall in love. I hugged them recently, thinking about how fiercely I love them and how much I wanted them to find someone who valued them as much as I do. If I wrote them a letter, if I offered advice, what would I say?

To my beloved niece and nephews,

I feel strange offering you advice as you seek your way. I don't have much input. But I do have unconditional love and support and an happy ear to listen and be there for you. I will share with you what I have learned about love: pay attention to how you feel.

1. Do you have a sense of home when you spend time with this person? Do they bring you warmth and comfort and make you feel calm? Does it feel like they could be your best friend, with your best interests at heart? A sense of joy in their company is huge, notice those with whom you feel replenished and recharged and seek out their company.

2. Do you find yourself laughing and smiling with them? Yay! Another wonderful sign. Listen to yourself -- you know how you feel. I've noticed that people have a tendency to rationalize how they think they should feel, but how you actually feel is most important. Grant your comfort level the space it needs to settle. If you're not sure how you feel, that's okay. You'll be unsure until you're not. It's all okay.

3. Do you find yourself worried if they like you? Pay attention to this too. Each of us are perfect in our imperfection and it's important to feel appreciated. If you find yourself thinking "Maybe they will like me better if I am ___" then this is a sign of possibly conditional love, which can leave you wanting down the road. Try to compare your feelings to the way your best friend makes you feel. Honor your feelings and give them room to breathe. Your gut will be one of the most valuable tools you carry with you throughout life.

4. Experience much and see if these experiences feel positive inside. You have a wise sage living right inside your chest and if you listen quietly, they will tell you how they really feel. If an experience doesn't feel positive, try to think about it with the perspective of learning a lesson. I am always here if you need anything.

5. Kindness is a wonderful attribute in a mate. You want someone who will cover you when you are cold, bring you aspirin when you are sick, empathize with your long hard day. And be sure to give as good as you get. Pick a partner who gives 100% of themselves and you do the same. If you both look out for eachother, the world will feel like a gentler place.

6. It can be hard to support what's best for your partner if it differs from what you think but it will be important to support them anyway (as they should you). As much as you can, put yourself in their shoes. Don't nag. Have fun.

7. It's okay -- indeed, crucial -- to turn off the wrong people. Don't fret if you like someone and they don't like you back. It will be okay in the end.
Love you so very much,
Aunt Asplenia

It's such a beautiful gift, to feel this swelling of heart, to love so completely. Such good kids, I want them to have the world. I want all kids to have the world, they deserve it. ::sniff::

Monday, October 24, 2011

recent times (aka honey badger don't care)

Hi! Wanna be me, the past few weeks? Simple:
  • Catch plague. Move. Listen to hired dude's running commentary on the shittiness of everything you own. Throw neck out. Pay movers. Take massive painkillers. (Bonus: it lowers fever.) Get first meal of the day. Have car break in parking lot. Become agitated at delay in shrimp-eating. Limp to repair shop. Eat with fingers in Meineke waiting room. Think about how much unpacking is not happening. Receive word that car is hopeless. Limp to another shop. Drop off. Lament that enough time has passed to need more painkillers. Walk 2 miles home with high fever.
  • Unpack ibuprofen and bathrobe. Collapse for 24 hours.
  • Walk 2 miles with high fever to pick up car. Pay hundreds of dollars. See doctor, get antibiotics. Zombify rest of week. Rise from crypt, unpack.
  • Fall in love.
  • Get dumped.
  • Actually, don't get dumped, get reassigned. Hello friendzone, you're awesome. I wanted to get to know you anyway.
  • Learn important lesson: when it "clicks" it clicks. Realize you learned this before and forgot. Slap forehead.
  • Realize it doesn't matter if they don't like you back.
  • Listen to Niel Diamond's "Love on the Rocks" just so you can feel extra shitty about losing something you never had. Croon hoarsely to "First they say they want youuuu....." Gchat melancholy videos with like-minded friend.
  • Work 10 hours. Clock off. Spend another 8 hours editing photos. Become annoyed that you have to adjust the levels on every fucking photo. Decide to buy better equipment. Add to huge to-do list. Know it'll never happen.
  • Quit editing photos at 1:45am. Drive home. Play Ani DiFranco's Providence on loops for extra shitty bonus points. Pass through college town, become even more depressed by the ruckus of youth. Slump.
  • See guy attacking girlfriend down street. Drop jaw. Turn into mama bear. Run flailing into traffic. Realize you are the size of a madagascar hissing cockroach and honey badger don't care.
  • Flail more. Attract attention. Girl gets freed, mission accomplished.
  • Consider 3am jog to unwind. Remember stumbling drunken shapes weaving through neighborhood. Write instead.
  • Set alarm. Recall promise of delivering a well-rested self 4 hours north for early family event. Snort bitterly.
  • Awake. Palpitate. Drive 200 miles.
  • Clutch onto parent. Begin sharing. Get shushed. (I believe exact words were "shhh omg don't tell crazy stories!") Sulk. Stuff sulking into inner well of despair.
  • Win family performance award for entertaining while empty husk.
  • Magnificently avoid argument for the next 5 hours.
  • Hour 6: cue PacMan death noise.
  • Drive more. See more people. One comments "you look a little stressed?"
  • Drive home. Decide food is optional and forego supermarket for bed.
  • Work. Return home. Buy Nutter Butters to offer starving roommates, blog and collapse. 
There. You are now me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

he was holding her by the neck.

I'm shaking so hard I can barely type. On my way home just now, I was driving through this local college hangout (which happens to be on my commute home) when I saw a big beefy white guy throw a girl fiercely to the ground. Then he picked up her shaking, crying, crumpled form and started screaming in her face, shaking a fist threateningly the whole time. I saw the scene unfold from down the street and couldn't believe it was even real. People milled about, no one paying attention, adding an extra layer of anesthetic to the surreal, out-of-place scene.

Real-life violence is nothing like the movies where music cues us and slow motion gives us time to process. In real life, fighting is clumsy and confusing and fear fills the air, becoming a thick smog filling your nostrils. The bully is afraid too -- that's precisely why he's so dangerous: he's not thinking. I don't know why it surprised me to instantly recognize the fright mixed with the crazy in his eyes but thinking about it now, aggression is often fueled by fear and desperation.

In a fight, Details get lost. 911 asked, but I hadn't paid attention to whether his shirt was dark gray or light gray when I was doing a panicked threat assessment ("Does he have a weapon?? What's the circumference of the whirling arc of flailing fists should he turn from her to me?") How come in movies all you have to do is scream the street address and cops are there in 4 seconds; why are they asking me questions I can't hear because I am breaking up a fight?

I didn't feel myself flinging open the car door or running but I did hear myself yell, "let go of her!"

The woman saw immediately, in the distraction, a chance to get away, and twisted out of his grasp. I was still running to them, calling at frozen bystanders to help when he grabbed her again. She looked at me gratefully, seeing reinforcement, and yelled more strongly for him to let go and, when he didn't, I pounded him in the back with the heels of my hands, thankful for remembering one small tidbit I'd been taught: fists are weak and a punch can hurt knuckles but a well-placed hit with the base of the hand is less likely to injure its owner. I was terrified he'd whirl and crush me but I didn't see a choice. I was reckless and unwise and mostly ineffective but if we don't attempt to stop bullies, if we don't stand up for eachother, who will? With each unchecked aggression, bullies grow even bolder.

I don't know if it's because I was a girl or if it was simply that someone was acting, or it was that I singled people out and asked, but the frozen bystanders leapt into action. A group of guys put themselves in danger relieving both the girl and I of the bully's attention. He turned to face them and began threatening the growing circle around him.

I was still on the phone. Fucking 911 transferred me and I was repeating "JUST GET A COP OUT HERE PLEASE" with the address when suddenly the guy wheeled around, mid-threat, and took off. It all happened so fast.

I tweeted afterwards that this was the first time I'd ever hit someone but it's not true. I remember now that when I was 11, my dog ran away and I found him in the schoolyard, some guy tormenting him. I yelled first, in a high-pitched bratty voice, "leave my dog alone!" But when he didn't, let loose a stream of completely ineffective girly punches as high as I could reach: his shoulder. He looked at me like I were an annoying insect and swung a good one into the side of my head. Knocked me down. The sound shocked me more than the sensation. Even if I knew how to fight, I don't think an 11-year old girl and a 16-year old boy are a good match but at least I got him away from my dog.

I hate confrontation. I hate fighting. I don't even know how to fight. But injustice lights a fury in me. Even though I was terrified, I couldn't turn my cheek.

As a youngster, I watched a movie on TV about actress Theresa Saldana. She'd been assaulted in broad daylight in Central Park by a deranged fan while scores of witnesses watched. No one helped. Even as a youngster, I grasped the concept of a crowd's power to intercept and never forgot the message. (Indeed, it's what brought flight 93 down in a Pennsylvanian field on 9/11.)

We are taught to read and write and make cookies and weave baskets but not how to defend ourselves, fight or face violence, even though many kids grow up experiencing it in their own homes. Shouldn't people learn conflict management as kids? I don't know how it'd best be introduced, but in a hierarchical society of primates, doesn't this seem like a necessary conversation?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The immeasurable value of kindness

Went out with some married friends recently and watched them playfully pick at eachother. And thought about the thing I read recently about marital success (from Dr. Gottman's marital research on the 4 things that slowly destroy a relationship*) and wondered if they would last.

It bothers me when I see partners pick on eachother, even if seemingly in jest. Because there is usually an undercurrent of embarrassment, shame or hurt on behalf of the pickee. Giggles cover hurt looks but the sting still hangs softly in the air.

I like when I see people being a team, rooting for eachother, in eachother's courts. Not contemptuous & critical. That seems intuitive -- be kind to eachother, right? -- and yet I see so many who disregard their partner's feelings. There is a cost for this and over time, like a leaking faucet, gallons of intimacy wasted. Is this where the saying "familiarity breeds contempt" comes from? The seeming liberty to judge those closest to us?

. . .

*scroll to #9 for the 4 negative behaviors which can detrimentally erode a relationship over time:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

epic fat lip (and totally worth it)

It is 4:24 am and I just got home from his house...
(He Who Shall Not Be Named)

...And I have a fat lip from our epic makeout session.

It looks awful. My face is blotchy and red and chafed and I have sex hair (despite not having sex) and I'm pretty sure no one seeing me like this would ever call back for a second "date" (though it wasn't a date), so I may never see him again. But it's weird. I have this wonderful sense of peace inside anyway.

I don't really understand why. I mean, if you know me in real life or have been following this blog (hi sis!) (<-- my only reader, lol), all I talk about is how I have trouble getting close. Either I worry that I'd be sensitive to feeling used or there's some other perceived obstacle, so, as much as I love affection, I seem to stave off most opportunities.

And this is doubly unusual considering that one of my last posts was inspired by one woman's divorce story and how she gave up the dating game. "Chasing relationships down had not worked; it was time to put down my butterfly net," she wrote. I didn't include the part of that goddamn story which said she found someone the instant she stopped looking because I thought it was stupid, but here I am, 4 days after renouncing the whole process and I am grinning like a madwoman with grape-sized lips.
(Like this, but increase the lower lip by 300%)
One of my girlfriends was in a play recently and wrote about the glorious luxury of kissing her costar and I thought heh, wish that were me, but too bad -- I will NEVER be on stage, ever. Sucks to be me! No kissing for me evar again! But then, tonight? It felt like I was in a fucking movie. Where the guy is all awesome and does everything right and I'm free of the stuff that usually swirls around my head because it's a MOVIE. I can relax. And you know what? That's pretty sweet.

I'm not sure how to reconcile all this with the complicated feelings about my love life in general but for some reason, it doesn't feel like I have to. It can just be. And so it was. And it was awesome.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Desperado... why don't you come to your senses...

I'm in a weird place. I'm in a place where I feel untouchable, unreachable. I want to be here, though, inexplicably, paradoxically. I am sitting from a place watching quality men from afar, unable to respond.

The philospher emailed me today about the "us" that never was.
"I would have thrown my heart and soul into loving you and being the best boyfriend possible if you had wanted me." 
I felt that inevitable sadness at giving up without trying, at missing my chance.

Maybe I would have been really happy, I think.

But I am not ready.

I feel that same sadness with another guy paying me special attention, who wrote me a poem:
i can't slow down she can't catch up
hence my watching the red-head who isn't red
she's caught up
just not caught up
on me yet.
The only thing I can do, it seems, is embrace the line from the Steve Job's vid going around:
"As with all matters of the heart, when it's right, you'll know." 
I listen to Desperado by the Eagles, soothed by the mournful tone, struck by the relevance.
Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it's too late
And then I curl up in bed with a good book, alone.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The pimp lobe is workin' it

While slaving away in school a few years back, I lamented on a message board about how my student loans were going to kill me. I must have written a pretty compelling post because months later, a TV executive stumbled across it and contacted me, saying, "hey, we're doing a show on financial ruin. Will you be on it?"

Me [as the "wtf are you talking about?" part of my brain lit up, then was quickly silenced by the larger frontal pimp lobe]: "Um... hm. Well how much?"

TV executive: "Oh, nothing. But they'll cover your flight. And you get to be on Oprah."

me: "Bitch! You don't call someone on the brink of financial ruin and offer to shame them on national TV for free. Show me the money!"

Um, just kidding. That's what I was thinking.

Really what I said was:

me: "Um, no thank you."

TV executive: "Are you sure? We'd put you up in a hotel in Chicago overnight too."

me: "How many nights? Like a vacation?"

[Shut up! I had to ask. Come on. Wouldn't you?]

TV executive: "Only one night because that's all that's needed for the show."

me: "pssht. That's it? No thanks."

TV executive [trying several more times]: "But you might like the experience. You'd be with others. And Chicago's a really neat town."

Um, yeah.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my videocamera beside the golden couch!"

Yeah. Display us on stage, freaks that we are, for ridicule so we can collectively zombify and attach to eachother for support. A bunch of money mismanaging wrecks careening through life, united by their chosen shames. On stage. That's exactly what I want. Before my high school reunion too, just so anyone who ever tried to kick my ass then could see how much my life rocked right at that moment.

So, um, yeah, that didn't work out. But if they HAD offered to pay off my student loans, I would have signed up. I'm not THAT proud. ;)

**For the record, my loans are under control now. I can afford to eat every third Thursday and even bought a new pair of socks recently!

Friday, September 23, 2011

this isn't really the blog where I pour out rainbows, so...

I am annoyed with myself today. Me and my goddamn self-absorbed blog, like anyone gives a shit about my stupid love life or inner turmoil. I mean, to be fair, I started the blog for *me* because I like having a record of where I've been emotionally, but I look back and it's fucking embarrassing sometimes. It's so obvious that I am lost and confused and struggling. That's human, yes, but also annoying. I mean, get yourself TOGETHER girl, right? Just fucking be normal, right?

This has been a shitty week. But then again, this isn't really the blog where I pour out rainbows, so despite my annoyance with my petty life, I'll continue.

The past two days, my ex (the 17-year relationship one) and I have been writing, for the first time in about a year and a half. I mean, we'd been in curt business-like contact about the house sale, tax stuff and pending divorce this whole time but haven't talked about the breakup. Until now.

Don't do this.

Wait, we're "writing"? More like frothing. It's like one big giant purple Barney song gone terribly wrong. "He hates meeee, I hate himmmm, la la la la la..." Or Spongebob kung fu fighting.

He's still angry, I'm still defensive and the pain is still so great. Could we ever heal enough to have a productive exchange? Actually it feels like we're making some headway but there's so much wrong that I don't know how much could be accomplished.

He used to be my best friend. I mean, I could understand his entire state of being with a single grunt. I haven't seen him in 1.5 years but I have seen pictures on his blog. Even worse then seeing his new beau is being struck by the deep sadness in his eyes. He smiles there but I can see a core of pain in those eyes and it about breaks me.

The timing is awesome too. I've been sick this week with a terrible sore throat that has prevented me from consuming more then 12 calories a day as the only method I've got for food intake is swallowing (no tube yet) and I just haven't perfected my serrated knife slugging skills. Tack on a crying fit and yeah, I feel GREAT.

But here, I'll try a stupid exercise. They say to list the things you're grateful for? Okay:

  • Friends who get me and lend support. <3<3<3
  • That a small line of communication was opened here, maybe it will be healing in some small way.
  • Maybe I'll lose weight because I can't eat!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My general life philosophy: don't be a dick.

So, I don't talk much about work here. But I have a little rant brewing inside.

I pretty much love my job. I've enjoyed almost every job I ever had; I'm good with that whole "be content with what you've got and if not, move on" thing in life, and have been extremely fortunate to land great bosses, be surrounded by good people and gain interesting experiences. I'll say that even about the waitressing jobs I had when I worked my way through college. Working is easy.

I am proud to say I have never willingly participated in office politics but that doesn't mean I don't see when it goes on. It's inherent for groups to assemble themselves into hierarchical structures. It happens in flocks and herds and packs and societies, and the obviousness of it all is not lost to the nature documentary constantly playing in my head. So I notice dynamics and choose to celebrate mostly their positive aspects.

My general life philosophy is don't be a dick. It seems to work.

I am totally doing this the next time someone
parks like a dick during a snow storm.

I can be a bit of an outcast sometimes. Fashion bores me, I hate sports, bad attitudes annoy me and my head is usually wrapped around larger issues then the small world I occupy during business hours. I'm thinking about the things everyone wraps up tightly at work: the coworker whose family member suffers from a worrisome illness, my mom undergoing a nuclear stress test, the possibility of bugs entering the mainstream food supply as an actual food source, how the the moon's striking beauty continually grabs me, the usefulness of animal noises as a human communication medium, how happy my ex looks with his new life and how shitty that makes me feel, why can I never remember trash day, and myriad other goings on around the planet. Articles about people struggling don't leave my mind just because I click away. I pay homage to their experience by dedicating some time to them in my thoughts. It feels important.

Sometimes this can make me a shitty lunch conversationalist. I want to talk about things that matter and everyone else wants to talk about the one person at work they can't stand or some character on a reality show I've never even seen (my LIFE is a reality show, who has time for anything but living?).

Luckily my friends are fellow nerds also dissatisfied with superficialities and so it's rare that this is an issue. But sometimes all this observation makes me feel removed from the human performances compelled by our biology.

People in a  group tightly wear a cloak of professionalism. And the nature documentary in my head narrates: superficiality is armor; animals that reveal their vulnerabilities are the first ones to be picked off. No one will admit they struggle. And so this isolates us in tight boxes of human flesh, released by keys of alcohol or passion.
Pretty sad when THIS is the escape.

In one way, this veneer of professionalism is an escape. No one could live steeped in darkness for an extended time and so it's good to move from the heart to the head to live and work and metabolize and function. But in another way it's a prison. We measure ourselves against each other. The most successful may just be better at cloaking their troubles but we can't tell that. And so the end result is that maybe we all feel isolated.

I fast forward to the series of interviews where some journalist asked people on their death bed what they really regretted. They said feeling alone. The deep connections in life are what matter.

See them connecting? It looks so deep.

So I think of this when people discuss superficialities and I wonder: why do people avoid so many opportunities to deeply connect?


ps. despite the nature documentary in my head and the seriousness of so many posts, I do often carry a light heart and laugh much. It's just that my heart is not shallow.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's a break up because you break the part of you that was created in the relationship.

I wrote to a friend recently detailing how I felt hesitant to jump back into a relationship. I just don't feel ready, I said, but I wasn't sure how to communicate this or even why. His reply was instantaneously soothing:
You need to explain some shit to mother fuckers right now, and I hate to go back to this well, but the metaphor is apt: when you break a bone or have major surgery, you must be allowed time to heal. That's why an end to a relationship is called "BREAKING up," because you are breaking the part of yourself that was created in that relationship. You have to you heal that self next. When someone sees someone fresh out of a cast or with stitches from heart surgery, their first response generally isn't "Let's run a goddamned marathon." People need to understand that they are asking you to run a marathon when they insist on committed relationship. You have healing to do. When a bone is broken, you have to rehabilitate it. The muscles are weakened and atrophied, and have to be taught to bear weight again. I'm not saying tell people "I'll never run again," I'm saying tell them you're not even out of the cast yet.
Most of my crushes understand this, some maybe are even in a similar place themselves, which is wonderful. Someday I'll run again. When it feels right.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I love my job but...

Yesterday at work:

Annoying Coworker (AC): I need those files.

me: what files?

AC: those blog files.

me: what blog files?

AC: the files I said I needed.

me: I'm not sure what you're talking about.

AC: the ones I emailed person A & person B about.

me: ummm, check with person A or person B?

AC: what's their progress on those files?

me: I have no idea, check with them.

AC: do you know if they did them?

me: Um, I really don't know, ask them.

AC: I need them.

me: Yeaaaah, um, they're both sitting at their desk now if you want to ask them.

AC: okaaaay. ::annoyed huff::

 I gotta save this for my screenplay. Seriously!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Can you tell if a relationship will last? What makes them fail? What qualities should we seek in a partner?

I came across Marriage researcher Dr. Gottman during my self-help frenzy, when I wanted to understand what went wrong before and how I could tell if it would happen again. He has put together a huge body of research on what makes relationships work or fail and has detailed his findings in over 190 academic papers and 40 books. He is considered one of the leading voices on successful marital relations.

Dr. Gottman has pinpointed a handful of the most corrosive negative behavior patterns found in partnerships and says that the presence of  any of these are so intertwined with high levels of marital dissatisfaction that they each can singularly all but predict the likelihood of divorce.

What are these terrible traits that can wreck even the most solid-seeming union? There are only four. That's all you need to bring the tower of love crashing down. (Actually, you only need ONE of the four, but I digress.) I'm pasting them here from his site (but you should read the whole page of FAQs later if this topic interests you; I pasted the link below):
  1. Criticism: stating one’s complaints as a defect in one’s partner’s personality, i.e., giving the partner negative trait attributions. Example: “You always talk about yourself. You are so selfish.”

  2. Contempt: statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce and must be eliminated. Example: “You’re an idiot.”

  3. Defensiveness: self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victim-hood. Defensiveness wards off a perceived attack. Example: “It’s not my fault that we’re always late; it’s your fault.”

  4. Stonewalling: emotional withdrawal from interaction. Example: The listener does not give the speaker the usual nonverbal signals that the listener is “tracking” the speaker.
These predict early divorcing – an average of 5.6 years after the wedding. Emotional withdrawal and anger predict later divorcing – an average of 16.2 years after the wedding.

Can physiological data really predict changes in marital satisfaction?

Yes. The more “diffusely physiologically aroused” (in other words, in “fight or flight” mode,) someone is during a conflict conversation, the more his or her marital satisfaction is likely to decline during a period of three years.

If you had to summarize Dr. Gottman’s 35 years of research into two key findings, what would they be? Happily married couples behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways. Happily married couples are able to repair negative interactions during an argument, and they are able to process negative emotions fully.

--From Dr. Gottman's FAQ page
So I'm thinking heavily about this stuff and also the wisdom detailed in "Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart" by Dr. Gordon Livingston -- an excellent text on how to have an awesome life. I bought it based on the zillion positive reviews because they moved me. The reviews haven't disappointed yet either -- I'm only on the third chapter and already have a lot to digest.

Like, the concept of choosing a good partner. What traits are important? Livingston writes:
What is it exactly that we need to know to decide if someone is a suitable candidate for a lifetime commitment? Perhaps one way to approach this screening process is to learn more about who is evidently not suitable. To make this judgment, one needs to know something about personality.

We are accustomed to thinking about character in the most superficial ways. "He has a lot of personality" is usually a statement about how engaging or entertaining someone is. In fact, the formal definition of personality includes our habitual ways of thinking, feeling, and relating to others. Most of us understand that people differ in certain characteristics such as introversion, fondness for detail, tolerance for boredom, willingness to be helpful, determination, and a host of other personal qualities. What most people fail to realize however, is that the qualities we value -- kindness, tolerance, capacity for commitment -- are not randomly distributed. They tend to exist as constellations of "traits" that are recognizable and reasonably stable over time.

Likewise, those attributes of character that are less desirable -- impulsivity, self-centeredness, quickness to anger -- often cluster in discernible ways. Much of our difficulty in developing and sustaining personal relationships resides in our failure to recognize, in ourselves as well as others, those personality characteristics that make someone a poor candidate for a committed relationship.

The psychiatric profession has taken the trouble to categorize personality disorders. I often think that this section of the diagnostic manual ought to be titled "People to avoid." The many labels contained herein -- histrionic, narcissistic, dependent, borderline, and so on -- form a catalogue of unpleasant persons: suspicious, selfish, unpredictable, exploitative. These are the people your mother warned you about. (Unfortunately, sometimes they are your mother.) They seldom exist in the unalloyed form suggested by the statistical manual, but knowing something about how to recognize them would save a lot of heartbreak.

What would be equally useful, I think, would be a manual of virtual character traits that describes qualities to nurture in ourselves and to seek in our friends and lovers. At the top of the list would be kindness, a willingness to give of oneself to another. This most desirable of virtues governs all the others, including a capacity for empathy and love. Like other forms of art, we may find it hard to define, but when we are in its presence, we feel it.

This is the map we wish to construct in our heads: a reliable guide that allows us to avoid those who are not worthy of our time and trust and to embrace those who are. The best indications that our always-tentative maps are faulty include feelings of sadness, anger, betrayal, surprise and disorientation. It is when these feelings surface that we need to think about our mental instrument of navigation and how to correct it, so that we do not fall into the repetitive patters of those who waste the learning that is the only consolation for our painful experience.

Wow. So I'm just going to let this sit with me for a bit. Those times when I feel disoriented, unhappy, sad or upset? Pay attention. Those are indicators that something isn't right. I've been terrible at listening to my gut before. I reason away my feelings. But it's important to heed them. So I am telling myself: Listen to that tiny voice inside. The quiet one that's unfamiliar. It needs to be heard most of all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

what went wrong?

The divorce will be finalized soon. It's been over 1.5 years since I ripped my life in half.

People asked what happened since we looked so happy on the outside but I was unable to articulate it then. But now I'll try.
What went wrong?
First off, I should say that I'm terrible at identifying my own needs and understanding my comfort zone. So when I'm feeling hurt or uncomfortable, I try to ignore the uneasy feeling inside. (It's so much more convenient!) If I were a healthier, stronger and more self-aware person, I would have been able to assert myself better. But he had a stronger personality and I didn't view myself as being worthy enough to have equal regard and those two factors added layers of force to issues.

In the beginning, I willingly retracted my sense of self. He was the important one, he had the important hobbies, he needed the space in the household. I don't think I understood at first how this was starting to become a stressor for me.

Then we unexpectedly undertook huge projects for which we didn't fully have the resources. We moved into a house that we discovered (too late) (don't ask) was saturated with cat piss, infested with insects, and filled with mold and allergens. My life became a reality show. "SEE the spidery crickets popping out of the electrical outlets! SEE how they bounce off contestant A's naked body as she undresses for bed! HEAR her bloodcurdling shriek of doom as the crickets laugh and regroup!!"

For 10 years we struggled with the house and I don't think I realized how much it being in a state of flux contributed to it not feeling like a safe haven for me. Home became a stressful place instead of an oasis for both of us.

He never even wanted a house. It was my dream, not his. He said, as we signed the papers, that he was happy we picked a place that didn't need much work so he could spend his weekends hiking and traveling. [Universe interjects: BWAHAHAHAHA!!]

Take two people, oscillate wildly, insert into mixing bowl and turn on high. Leave on for 10 years or until any semblance of former molecular structure is completely dismantled.

Life felt so difficult from all this struggling. And this was on TOP of the really stressful job he juggled. There was never enough time and things were never "right." We stopped doing as many fun things as we should have, both together and apart. We didn't nurture our relationship enough or nurture our independent selves. And when we did do things together (travel, etc), there was so much stress there too that those things began to feel less fun to me as well.

Stress does funny things to people. It makes them snappy and irritable and unhappy and edgy. You know that whole quality of life thing that people say is key to happiness? And how it involves enough sleep and eating right and having time to recharge? Yeah. Not in our house.

Then sometimes he would be impatient with me and I was too ashamed to say how much that hurt my feelings and I began to feel smaller and smaller and even less-worthy and started to lose my ability to trust or open up. Shutting down is damaging to a relationship. But I retracted into a ball to protect myself from a life that felt very assaulting.

All of these things, coupled with an unhealthy dynamic for conflict, began to make the relationship an unhappy one for me.

Long before either one of us even realized it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's just... a little crush...

Having a sense of hope feels important to me.

As much as I am scared of getting close...

 I want to share my life with someone. 

But I don't want to force it if it doesn't feel right.

And so, armed with nothing but gut feelings,
 I yelled "Take three!" and set up a profile on another dating site after the artist and I broke up.

I had some nice email conversations with several guys but then the philosopher found me and introduced himself.
armchair philosopher, the best kind.
 I'm not quite sure what it was that grabbed me in his first letter -- was it the depth? Warmth? Personality? Something though. We've been writing back and forth a bit and covering many topics but I don't like crushing on people I haven't yet met, so today, while apartment shopping, I pinged him to see if he wanted to meet up for not-a-date. If nothing else, I wanted to at least be friends with the man behind all those words.

Cupid keeps missing.
He called me from the lot. "I'm here! You'll recognize me because I'm the guy who looks like his pix but about 50 pounds heavier."

 ::long pause::

 "Just kidding!!"

We grabbed a cozy booth over a plate of olives.

And this kept happening:
(discussing the perils of online dating)
me: Ha! Here's a pic of me when I woke up. I put this on an earlier profile pic thinking well, if someone still likes me after seeing me at my worse, awesome.
(Basically me in the morning, just add longer hair.)
 him: I love girls in baggy PJs.

me (thinking) really?? Lounging around in fleece is not just tolerated but LIKED? (Pictures cozy movie date over Chinese take-out)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

me: I think it's important to have a sense of connection and also independence in a relationship.

him: me too!

::story sharing happens::
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

me: [Impossible set of ideals]

him: [XACTLY]
So, um, huh. We seem to relate well.

I'm losing some nerve posting my feelings all over the internet because it leaves me open for judgment.

But maybe will try?