Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fuck sad songs.

To celebrate the amazing kung-fu hip joint save I just exhibited during that 10 foot ice skid down my driveway, I am instituting operation Fuck Sad Songs and Eat Meat.

Here's how crazy I can get.

On line at the supermarket, I came across the horoscopes, which I don't even BELIEVE in, for chrissakes, and read his: "Tonight is the best love night of ALL YEAR!' 

And I fucking got jealous.

I got jealous because of a fucking horoscope. Because he is free tonight and not with me, and VENUS is in his house of true love and he will find it tonight and it won't be with me.


In the 0.0001 milliseconds it takes for a neuron to fire from the logic lobe to the jealousy lobe for a proper ass-kicking, that's what fleeted through my tiny, smooth brain.

 It never developed into a full thought but I grabbed the fledgling nonsense anyway and wrestled it out into the open because really, is this not the most hilarious blog fodder? Who fucking gets jealous from a bullshit horoscope?

This is crazy. I was never the jealous type. I fucking set up my husband to photograph a half-naked lingerie model for a business project and did not feel jealous even when my dad said "Are you NUTS?" Hoo. I needed to knock some sense into myself.

This was me, except add
a huge bag of groceries
I came into the house after almost busting my ass carrying a full bag of groceries (you should have SEEN that skid), sat down with my salad bar selection of quinoi, kale & flank steak and realized I have GOT to stop listening to sad songs like I did the whole way home from the supermarket because it's too much. It killed all my desire for going out. So I canceled my plans and put away the letters I'd been writing, deleted our texts and filed the photos of us laughing together. I will look at these things someday, just not now. He wants space and I can't grant that to him until I get him out of my head.

Thinking of him made me happy. But not if I'm the only one.

At least I have not lost the ability to laugh at my utter ridiculousness!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I am getting good at losing things.

I am getting good at losing things, I think.

I lost all my favorite clothes recently -- I don't have many pants or sweaters actually, and the few that I loved I'd stowed away in an overnight bag which I absentmindedly left on a train last time I left NYC. I filed a claim with NJ Transit's lost & found and immediately headed to the store because I knew I'd never see them again.

Some people like shopping. I don't. It's probably why I have few clothes.

I'm not that sentimental with things either. I don't have much jewelry. No family heirlooms. If someone gives me a tchotchke I think is hideous, I donate it. I know the thrill of nabbing a prized thriftstore find, why not let someone else have a chance at appreciating it?

I have no sentimentality for furniture. I *like* certain pieces but I wouldn't have the dilemma I've seen others face ("This dresser is hideous! But it was my grandmother's; where do we put it?") This may be a side effect of having a parent in the moving business where furniture was free and changed often.

We changed houses often too. I've moved 17-18 times in my life. I am a rock star at packing. Home is a place I feel safe, not a specific location. When I stayed at my dad's last, I made a tiny corner my home for almost a week. I slept on an air mattress on the hard ugly floor of his messy office and used a towel for a pillow but it felt cozy because I crawled into it at night with a good book and soaked up the sounds breathing houses make after midnight.

Material things are replaceable. Those losses are easy.

I lived on a sailing vessel for a week, an old wooden ship whose beams still glistened with the salt crystals 1880s fishermen soaked into their catches for preservation. I loved the gentle creaking of the ship at night. When 15 out of the 20 people on board stood over the sides vomiting in a storm, I ferried crackers and water their way, dodging waves and clutching the rail to avoid being pitched over. The anger of the sea is terrifying, but I lost my fear of confrontation that week when I saw someone else getting picked on and stood up to the bully. The rest of that week people talked about my "boldness" but I hadn't been aware that I'd done anything special, only what was right. Some losses are positive.

The hard losses are the ones that come in the middle of the night and steal a thread of you at a time. Stress and anger and regret and fear and bitterness, these thieves make away with joy and peace and time and freedom until you look inside and realize the fabric of your being is a tattered mess and won't even hold a shape anymore; you've no choice but to gather the ruined cloth and start over. That's how I lost my marriage. That's both positive and negative: negative for the obvious reasons, but positive because look at the human spirit, the desire to repair.

The worst loss is that of hope. When we are faced with that which is larger than our wills: death, disease... and human frailty. This means we must learn the impossible: attaining peace and closure where there is none.

I have this crazy exercise I just started doing to help me with some of this heavy stuff. I do it before I go to sleep.

I lie in bed and pretend my soul must now hand off the day's reporting to the manager. My body sits quiet and still and my self, the team lead of this mishmashed assembly of body parts, offers a performance review:
"Yes, today was quite intense, she was really upset over this thing with this guy, but it's because she's raw and sensitive and doesn't realize all the lessons that are to be imparted from all these experiences yet. But she was a rock star because she made it through the day anyway." 
There are nods of approval at my progress: I am doing okay even when I am stumbling the most.

And in this way, I invite hope back home.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

May the fail be with you.

I'm not totally sure what just happened but it involved a really intense conversation that turned into a fight and then turned into a breakup of a relationship that wasn't quite a relationship.
We were like the little relationship that couldn't.
 And now I am sitting here wondering, is it possible to get a fever from stress? Because I have one right now, and it happened right after the "have a nice life" email.

So, I just mentioned that this occurred over email, which means I had plenty of time to take a shower, come back, dry hair, get dressed, you know -- get ready for the hot date with my shovel to dig my car out from last night's epic snowfall.

Somewhere in the middle of the vexation part, I began a maniacal hair-curling session.

I had been fidgeting for his response when I suddenly noticed the tiny thin rods tucked away in my set of curlers that I'd never used before. Huh, I wonder what that would look like? Girls I know with tight curls always look so cute, lemme try. There was nothing on my agenda that would be affected by a bad hair day so why not.

Well, here's why not:
FAIL. Almost me, except I have dark hair
and the heart shape would be broken & bleeding.
Um. It was a DISASTER. It wasn't even fit for a snow-shoveling appearance down the asphalt runway in front of my tiny unit. I threw my fried locks back in a FAIL ponytail and headed outside to battle with the heavy white stuff.

The last exchange had been approaching a bitter note and so I stepped into his stressed-out shoes and thoughtfully (at least attempted) to cull together a string of "I" statements, hoping to offset the mood.

But it, uh, didn't work so well. 

I find your lack of win disturbing.
May the fail be with you.
This is basically how the rest of the conversation ensued:






Yeah, see? This was awesome. We are so mature.
An Apocalyptical Failure
Seriously Man, Even Homer Facepalmed.

Or, more like FACEPALMED with all caps:

 Jesus may even have been facepalming at this one:

 We ended on a sweet and terrible note. "Talk to you next year!"

The care packages I started to put together and letters I started to write, things I put together to send this boy while deployed, I don't know what to do with any of it now.

He indicated he didn't want to hold me back, be a burden while he was gone. He won't let me stay attached.

I never could really tell if that was man-code for "wahoo, I'm off the hook!" or if he really wanted to "set me free." And now I'll never know.

Friday, January 21, 2011

time and time again

I started my morning off with an anti-rejection rejection letter to someone I hadn't yet met. And hung my head, ashamed that I may be hurting yet another wonderful person who sidled up to my heart and inquired about getting close.

I explained my reasoning for bringing up such a serious note so soon:
In my line of work, we have something called "expectation management." That as long as you detail stuff out for people so they know what to *expect*, they're okay. It's when they expect something else and you don't deliver it that they get disappointed. So I guess I am hoping to offset any potential "delivery failure" scenarios because I don't want you to be disappointed in me. And even worse, take it out on thinking it's because you're not "enough". That's what I do when I'm rejected. Everyone does. Maybe it won't feel like rejection if you understand where I am.
Then I wondered, well, what AM I scared of anyway?

A lot of things, it turns out. But I will just write about the practical ones for now.

I have loose plans this year. This is maybe the first time in my life that I don't WANT to think about next month, I'm really just taking it day by day. But I have goals.

I want to finalize the divorce, sell the house and come to a place of closure. Regain financial stability -- this entire process has slammed into my money tree, hobbling an 8 year record of no debt (feeling like just one in a series of consequences acting as penance).

I want to continue rebuilding my strength and stamina. I want my body back, dammit. And I don't mean "body" as in looking like a ballerina -- I'm not talking about looks. I mean that I want to own myself again. I want to have that sense of sinewy strength I used to feel when I was very physically active and sleeping didn't make me feel creaky and I didn't get winded running up long flights of stairs with a heavy backpack.

I want to keep drawing. I've been learning and I LOVE it. Practice is how we get better at things and I want this to be the year of creative pursuits.

I have a ton of exciting projects I'd like to dive back into. I'm redesigning my website. I'm thinking about starting up the interviews project again. I'm experimenting with photography. I have freelance clients that want work done. I'm freewriting aching memories of love and loss to prepare for weaving into a story someday; assembling the threads has been healing.

I'm overhauling a million things at once. It's REALLY HARD to do this when I come home a hungry husk of a person with only an hour or two to before unwinding for bed. So I've become guarded about these small dreams. I'm scared I won't know how to fit these things into a life that includes a relationship.

But yet, I like wondering about that special connection, and so I tentatively reach out time and time again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

shitty date, and it really IS me. But that's okay.

So I had a date Friday night. Nice guy. Everything on paper says I should like him. Friends vouch for him.

"He's awesome! I've known him forever and he's a REALLY GOOD GUY." He's polite. Funny. Opens doors. SO ready to be into me. Gave me his undivided attention. Intelligent. Worldly. All sorts of things that are important to me.

But I stiffened at his touch.

He tried to put his arm around me and I twisted sideways unconsciously. It was like a graceful dance move practiced for the thousandth time: step and reflexively twist into door.

We got food. He got up to get napkins and leaned over to kiss me on top of my head. I involuntarily shrank under his lips turning the gesture into an awkward air kiss. He never made contact with any actual strands of hair.

Despite the negative reception, he kept trying.

I wrote him an email later. "Listen," I said, "I was uncomfortable with the physical aspects of our date" and said that if we went out again, that I wanted the boundaries of friendship to stay intact. He said "yeah, I figured I was just a more affectionate person than you."

I didn't respond but that really irked me. I can be the warmest fucking person on the planet if I'm comfortable around someone. Just, I dunno, roll with that, okay? Most people take time to warm up. I was also irritated at myself for not "feeling" it but thought okay, don't decide just yet. Give it time.

Good friends AND my counselor pointed out that this guy's lack of perception despite my strong signals was a red flag. Also the callous response was accusatory. "I'm okay, you're not" was the implicit message.

I don't think I'll go out with him again because I just can't seem to want that right now.

This is part of learning though, this giant classroom of the heart. I should stop trying to MAKE myself feel something and just let it flow. Either it's there or it isn't.

I've been mulling over in my head how divorced this whole process is from the other person.

YOU see what's in my head because you follow my blog -- my frailties do not signify this guy's worth. That's so clear, isn't it?

Not to him. He will feel rejected.

When it's me on the other end, being rejected, I will feel the same.

DateMeDC wrote a whole blog post on this: How to Reject Someone Like an Adult.

I agree that people should be straightforward. But I disagree with the notion that it's personal. It's not HIS fault that we just don't have the chemistry/comfort level, I'm the limiting factor.
I don't want to hurt anyone. I would like to know love again someday. I don't know how to reconcile these things, but the hope inspires me to keep on. Even if that means I only fall in love with my sketchpad.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

you're doing it wrong.

So, I recounted this story to friends last night and laughed, thinking "ha! I have to post this on my blog."

When I was still in college, this guy invited me over to watch a movie for our first date. We settled in on the couch and he put his arm around me. About a half hour into the film, the phone rang and he ran into the bedroom to answer it.

Then he emerged a few minutes later completely naked.

Really guy? All your clothes off? I've known you for like 29 minutes, we've never even kissed and you've completely stripped to your birthday suit unannounced and uninvited? This was more than a little weird.

I stood up, threw on my coat and backed towards the door. "Um, I have to go," I said. He started pleading with me, a visual only made more surreal by the shaking of body parts I wouldn't normally see during such earnest gesticulations..

Suddenly the phone rang again. He seemed distracted and cocked one ear towards the bedroom and then looked back at me, awkwardly frozen in a posture of reaching. "Wait, don't go!" he pleaded. His voicemail came on as I reached the door. I put a hand on the doorknob and then heard a hoarse, female voice: "STEVEN! Where are you? It's ME. Pick up, I KNOW YOU ARE THERE. Pick up! Why are you ignoring me?"

Then I slipped out in disgust.

Um, guy? You're doing it wrong....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

the dance of communication

"...Think about it. ... you're holding off [on discussing something that bothers you]. By turning even mildly negative feedback into an interpretive dance of "huge offense" and tearful hyperbole, [you] stifle dissent. [They] will be indulged, or you will be punished. It's a powerful weapon." Carolyn Hax
I saw this in an advice column and it weighed heavily on me. They're talking about the dynamic where you approach your partner with an issue and they explode. And you know, no one wants that and so you back off. Then what? The issue ends up not being discussed. It gets relegated to the "We Will Not Talk About This" table. No one wins.

This is why it's so important to express yourself. This is why it needs to be okay to voice how you feel. And I didn't do it enough.

But I'm learning how to do it now.