Lonely

Lately I’ve been feeling a little lonely, sort of wishing I had a partner in crime. Some would assume the feelings of loneliness are being brought on by the fact my one sister is recently married and another is recently engaged. Maybe that is the culprit but maybe it isn’t. Most of my adult life I have gone back and forth between loving my total independence and the single life and being lonely, wanting someone to share my journey with, someone more than my family and amazing girlfriends.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties I definitely wanted a relationship, desperately. Except I would still hold men I was interested in at a comfortable distance. Eventually they would tire of not getting anywhere, me closing them out, and things would fizzle. Go figure. I even went through a phase around the age of 21 or 22 where I had decided I wanted nothing more than to get married, have kids, and be a stay at home mom.

When I was 26 I feel in love for the first (and only) time. I was all in for the first time in my life, probably to a terrifying degree for the guy. To be fair he was the first one to bring up the idea of marriage or kids but I was the one who ran with it. I remember writing him letters when he was in Iraq to discuss parenting styles. Oh Lord, I was hopeless. I figured if that was the track we were on, we needed to communicate and make sure we were on the same page with major issues.

Anyway that train imploded and sometime after that I decided I was good on my own. I had experienced love and I loved it but then I experienced heartbreak and disappointment and that sucked. If I could not go through the disappointment and heartbreak and hurt feelings again I would be quite happy. A slew of horrible dating experiences later and I was definitely content with the idea of single for life.

As time has gone on there’s been a few guys that I’ve left my guard down for. A few different men that I could see myself having a relationship with. Ultimately none of them worked out. There was the teacher with two first names that I really clicked with. We could talk and laugh and joke in person and via text. I was attracted to him. He was an animal lover. Seemed perfect right? Until I found out he was into threesomes. I would rather have an open relationship over group sex any day. Only 2 people in the bedroom please and thank you.

shutterstock_337991192Then there was the older guy that came out of nowhere. He was totally unexpected but somehow he got past all of my walls. We would talk every day on the phone, for hours, about everything. So despite our age difference, despite the fact he had 2 kids from a previous marriage, I was open to seeing where it went. He would say the most amazing things to me. Like rom-com amazing things. Until he said one of the most awful things a man has ever said to me… “I don’t see you being a forever thing, I’m sorry.” Well damn. That hurt!

Next there was what seemed to be an online dating success, MM. We met through OkCupid and we were seeing each other loosely, for 6 months. Yet our dates were spread out to maybe 1 or 2 a month. We never got to the point of defining what we were or whether or not we were exclusive.  Then one day he ghosted.

Why am I writing about the dating failures and hurts? They have been haunting me. My ex, appears in my dreams, snapshots of happier times. I know that what I miss is not reality by far. I miss the idea of who he was or what he represented. I miss the other few guys that I let in as well. I am feeling the sting of being let down or hurt. I’m feeling the pangs of loneliness, and yet, I still celebrate the freedom that my single life affords me. When I imagine my life, my future, there are things I feel like having a relationship would hinder. I never want to be that woman who has to check in with her man before making plans. I don’t want to be that person who puts her man above everyone else in a gross way.  I don’t want a man talking down to me or patronizing me.

Yet… Sometimes… I don’t want to be alone. Sometimes I want that person to share inside jokes with, tender moments, laughter, silliness. I want that person who has my back in tough times, and to celebrate the good times with. I want to experience an actual, healthy relationship.

What’s a gal to do?

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Processing

IMG_1047I’ve been processing a lot lately. I’ve been evaluating myself, my life, my relationships.  I’ve been looking at what brings me stress and what brings me joy. I’ve been focusing on my motivation and gratitude. I’ve made tough choices, I’ve made changes, I’m leaving myself vulnerable in ways I haven’t in a long time. It’s been scary and difficult and painful but I am moving in the right direction.  I couldn’t have done it without my support system, my family, my close friends.

I still have a long ways to go. I’m realizing that this world and all its ugliness is leaving my soul tired. It’s depressing and makes my heart hurt. It makes me want to run away, buy an island (like I have money for that), and never interact with the world at large again. Instead I need to be a force of change. I can’t run, I can’t hide. I can only do what I can to make the world a better place.

I have to let go of what I can’t fix because in truth, I want to fix anything and everything that brings me sorrow. I am accepting my limitations rather than dwelling on what I cannot change. I’m letting go and opening up at the same time. It’s hard, I don’t like to let go, but it’s a process and one I’m committed to.

The Tale of Dishonest Abe aka Another Dating Adventure

Well… I have another dating tale… I recently dipped my toes into the dating pool, as usual, giving only a half-hearted effort because frankly, online dating/dating in general doesn’t seem worth my time and energy. I had a few men contact me from the site and while some were ruled out rather quickly there was one that actually progressed to texting: enter Dishonest Abe.

At first contact Dishonest Abe seemed intelligent and capable of maintaining a reasonable conversational flow. His profile was severely lacking but the messaging aspect seemed decent. The first night we were texting involved all the normal getting to know you questions including my two least favorite questions, “Why are you still single?”   and “Have you dated x race before/do you date outside of your race?” HELLO!!! I’m on a DATING site! I’m talking to you! So clearly I must be ok with dating outside of my race or I wouldn’t respond to your contact.

When Dishonest Abe asked me why I was still single, I gave him the usual answer, “I guess I haven’t met the right man yet,” and then I turned out and asked him why he was still single. He said he’d just been waiting on me… Awwww. *rolls eyes* Since it was such a standard cheesy answer I decided to be sarcastic so I asked him if we were going to jump right into marriage or if he planned on us dating first. He decided we should date first, definitely, and know each other really well before getting married. That was a least a reasonable answer. As the conversation continued I mentioned my younger sister’s upcoming wedding. Dishonest Abe asked me when she was getting married and I told him. He responded with, “That’s cool, you and I are getting married in May 2018.” Strangely enough, commitment- phobe that I am, I found the conversation silly and amusing, so I went along with it.

Dishonest Abe happened to be black and as I mentioned, we had the conversation about one dating outside of their race. With the pivotal questions out of the way, I figured that things would progress as we get to know each other. At this point it was 10:30PM on a Sunday night and Dishonest Abe wanted to meet up. Somehow jumping in my car to meet up with someone I had just started texting didn’t seem like a good plan. I told him I was tired and heading to bed soon.

Throughout the week, we continued texting here and there, joking about our impending nuptials and getting to know one another. We had made plans to go out Saturday evening for our first date. He even told me that he deleted his dating profile which seemed unnecessary since we hadn’t gone on a single date yet. Of course since he put that out there, I had to check, and the only thing he deleted was his pictures from the profile, the profile itself was still there.

Wednesday night, Dishonest Abe and I were texting when he sends me the ominous message, “I have to tell you something,” to which my mind went into overdrive trying to guess what he might have to tell me. I was certainly not prepared for his revelation. “I’m African.” I responded with, “Ok…?” He said, “Well some people don’t like to date outside of their race, so I’m just putting it out there.” I was struck with a sense of déjà vu, hadn’t we already covered this conversation Sunday night? I mentioned to him, “We already discussed this. I have dated black guys before, you’ve dated white girls before.” He responds with, “ I know, just saying. but I wanted u to know that.” We move past that weird conversation that left me scratching my head. I shared the conversation with a couple friends, my mom, and my sister the next day. All of us were laughing over it and we all came to the same two concussions: 1. Either he is talking to multiple women and didn’t remember that he and I already had the race conversation or 2. He was trying to say he was like, straight from Africa (but then, wouldn’t he name the country he was from rather than the entire continent?). Anyway…

Friday was my day off but I knew Dishonest Abe was working so I waited for him to text me. That evening he did contact me, the standard, “Hi how are you,” stuffs but then he makes another confusing proclamation. For one to fully appreciate this conversation I think I need to share it, as it happened:

DA: Hi.. how r u

ME: Good. How are you?

DA: Sick bad

ME: Oh no!!! I’m sorry to hear that

DA: Yes since in the morning


ME: That sucks!

DA: I’m sorry. I could not eat

ME: Huh?

DA: I mean we could not meet today

ME: Well we weren’t meeting today. We were supposed to meet tomorrow…

DA: I know just letting u know

ME: You’re just letting me know that we can’t go out tonight when we never had plans for tonight? It really feels like you’re confusing me at times with someone else…

DA: I know is tomorrow. . I said I’m not feeling good. That way if I’m still sick . tomorrow we may or may not

ME: I see

DA: Yes madame

ME: Yes you said you’re not feeling good but why tell me we can’t meet today? Unless you were meeting someone else today and can’t keep your ladies straight.

DA: I am a one man lady … besides I am too old to play games It doesn’t get u anywhere I’m just telling u out of respect.

At this point, while I was highly entertained I was also over it. Besides, I don’t want to date a ‘one man lady,’ I want to date a one lady man. Saturday came and went without a word from Dishonest Abe but then again, he was ‘sick bad,’ so I wasn’t surprised. Usually at this point I would block a failed dating attempt to prevent further contact but I suspected there may be a little more entertainment value left with this one.

Sure enough, he contacted me Tuesday evening. There was no mention of the date that didn’t happen or the lack of communication from Friday to Tuesday. Being the asshole that I am, I text him, “So I guess Saturday was ‘may not’ huh?” He reiterated that he was ‘sick bad’ and apologized. I told him it was helpful the way he canceled the non-existent Friday plans as a heads up that we wouldn’t go out on Saturday. At that point he text with, ‘how r u my love,’ and as I was know home sick with a stomach bug I didn’t have the energy to play along any more. I told him I wasn’t his anything and wished him luck. Immediate blocking happened right after I hit send.

I think I will stick with my back up plan, which is stay single, adopt about 3 more cats, and drink all the wine while having a great time hanging out with my family and friends. Dating is certainly overrated.online dating.jpeg

Identity Crisis

Labels, identity, sense of self. We all have them, we a5407255785_5362a34d7d_qll use them, sometimes I suspect we all hate them. Wouldn’t it be great to live life undefined? No limits? Every day a blank slate and no preconceived notions of what a person is or can achieve?

Growing up, I was “the happy one,” as I chatted easily with everyone I met. I was bubbly and silly and terribly bossy (oldest child here). I knew my place in the family: the happy, chatty (bossy) one. I also wrote stories as a child and by second or third grade was considering a career in journalism. In my mind, those traits defined me, not only holding my place in the family but also my self-worth.

So… When anxiety and then depression hit around age 17 I didn’t know who I was anymore. I would expend a lot of energy to still be ‘the happy one,’ but it had become a challenge. I was busy fighting a war inside of me that I didn’t understand. The extra effort it took to appear normal was exhausting. I didn’t dare speak of what I was feeling because I thought I was crazy and broken. Talking about it wouldn’t help.

The battle to still try to be who I was when I was no longer that person was a messy one. Sometimes I did a great job at it. Other times, my struggles were taken out on those around me. I was cruel and angry. I’d snap a lot. I’d have mood swings. My mother tried to persuade me to see a therapist or go on medication but I felt nothing could help me so I resisted. I suffered, somewhat in silence, minus the angry outbursts directed at those I loved most.

Inside, I was out of control. I no longer knew where I fit. Family members have roles, people have roles. If I lost my spot then who was I? It was terrifying to me and depressing. What would my new label be? The bitchy one? That didn’t sit well with me.

Fast forward a year or two. I come across a document on my computer, a book report written by my sister. I read it and it was really good. While I took in her beautiful words I felt threatened. Writing was MY thing. My sister had always been great with math and science, in ways that I would never be. She had a natural ability for it while I had to work at it and struggle to make sense out of it. It didn’t seem fair for her to be good at my thing because I certainly wasn’t good at her thing. It felt like something had been stolen from me. I know that sounds completely irrational and dramatic. It was, it is, but that is how I felt at the time. I wasn’t angry at my sister I was deflated.

Where is all of this leading to? Recently my dad quit smoking and his journey reminded me of my own. It turns out that my dad identifies as a smoker. He is not a person who smokes, HE, as a person, is a smoker. So to quit, to let that go, means giving up his identity or at least part of it. I never in a million years considered that perspective. It gives me a new appreciation to the struggle that is quitting smoking. I’m sure not all smokers feel that way but I am also sure that he is not alone in that sentiment.

His recent experience and learning how that unnerved him made me ponder how much labels,identity, and sense of self affect us on a daily basis. I’ve read in parenting articles online how critical it is for parents not to label their children- none of that ‘smart one,’ or ‘pretty one,’ etc. I’m appreciating the why behind it. I can definitely say that I’m trying to remove labels from my daily life. I don’t want to ever use language that could leave someone feeling pigeonholed. Most importantly, I am trying to make sure I don’t limit myself by some notion of who or what I am.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Krisis Magazine

Coming Together/Falling Apart

It has been a very long time since I have sat down to write. For one thing I was pretty busy, between a trip to Vegas, evidently going on a dating spree, and a few other miscellaneous stuffs I have been MIA. There have been words, raw emotions, and stories inside of me that have wanted to come out but I needed time to process. Here goes…

A few months ago now, I started seeing someone. He was kind of amazing (still is) but we are no longer seeing each other. It was one of those out of nowhere things that happened, which is always the best kind, and then out of nowhere it kind of fell apart. 

I was really, truly, hurt. I didn’t realize in our brief time he had gotten in so deep. We still talk now, as friends, and I am grateful for the experience we had. While it sucked to see it fall apart, the situation made me realize that I am not broken. I can care for a man and actually let someone in, and when I do, I actually want to see that person more than once a week. (Yes I am very twisted and a commitment phobe). 

Usually for me, dating feels like work- at least to some degree. Even if I am kind of excited about the guy I have to force myself to make plans because I am a homebody. I prefer my quiet time. Well this guy came along and I found myself wanting to see him. It wasn’t an intrusion or an inconvenience. So all in all, it was a good thing, a reminder to me of what is possible. Granted, had I written about it a month ago I would be singing a different tune, which is why I waited. I had to grieve and be hurt and accept and then I could finally see what good had come forth from it all. 

After that situation, I seem to have fallen into a dating spree. Three dates over the past three weekends, none of which shall lead anywhere. Part of me feels like giving up on dating, or at least taking a break. However, I do have a weakness for attractive men so I know myself enough to know the next attractive male that comes along, I’ll make plans to see. 

On another note, I have been doing a little better at that whole domestic thing. In the evenings I have taken the time to go outside and pull weeds, spray weeds (I HATE chemicals but I have yet to find a good solution to them), cut lawn, clean inside the house, etc. It’s a good feeling when I take on a project and finish it, seeing the results of my work. 

I’ve also been playing with a software that would help me to create an ebook and publish it. So before the end of this year I think I will finally publish my morbid poetry online. All in all, things are coming together even if some days I am falling apart.

The Flyer Part 2: Conclusion

It’s been a few weeks so I think it is time to address what happened with “The Flyer.” If you are not sure what I am talking about you can read the first entry here.

I was struggling for a little bit as to what to do about A. We had an amazing connection, instant chemistry. The communication had been going well during the week he was gone. We were both pretty open with each other about life, likes, dislikes, etc. For the first time in a LONG time I had been very excited about a guy, felt there was some potential. 

The fact that it crashed and burned so hard when we hung out in person, albeit with my sisters and their boyfriends was disappointing. I literally hurt inside, thinking about it all coming to a close. There were, however, a few red flags…

First, when he got to the bar to meet up with us, he was very pushy. He was insistent on going to play pool, goading my sisters’ boyfriends into a game, or rather attempting to. Neither of them would budge on the fact they were not playing pool. Despite everyone at the table saying no, he still went over to secure a pool table. Luckily, they were all taken or things really could have gotten awkward.

Second, while I was in the restroom he decided to confront my sister, the roomie, about not being comfortable to go pick him up because she didn’t know him at all. He decided they needed to get to know each other so he spills all kinds of personal, intimate details about his life. She, in turn, asked a follow up question that really pissed him off (which I had to hear about later that night). 

Third, while the plan had been for my sisters to leave and A would drive me home, they decided to pull the protective sibling bit and not leave. When I tried to tell him, as delicately as possible (but according to my friends I guess I wasn’t so delicate), that they were going to stay and drive me home, he got visibly agitated. 

Fourth, once he learned that my sisters were sticking around he pretty much cashed out on the spot and grabbed his coat in a bit of a huff to leave. I walked him out so that I could have at least two minutes alone with him. Plus, I really wanted a kiss, despite the awful evening. When we were walking to the car he said to me, “You’re kind of an asshole, you know that?” I was stunned. I couldn’t have possibly heard him correctly. I questioned him, if what I thought I heard was actually what he said. It was. He then proceeded to explain why he felt that way and while the name calling is NOT cool, his feelings that he expressed after were totally valid. 

He was upset that after driving to see me (and he doesn’t like to drive) we didn’t even get to spend any time alone together. It was our first time really hanging out and it was not exactly what either of us had bargained for. My sisters were not exactly nice with some of the things they said to him, which I agree with. I am sure he felt like he was being brought before the firing squad. They were pretty brutal.

Him and I talked outside by his car then later that night on the phone. The communication was really good, honest, open. I was still concerned about the asshole comment. His feelings were valid but name calling is not acceptable in my book. As we continued to talk on the phone he went on to tell me how sensitive he is but most people think he is an asshole. Red flag, red flag! If most people think you’re an asshole… Could it be, because you are?  I didn’t ask him that. The night had been bad enough and I still liked him but now had reservations about him. My brain was tired and I didn’t want to go down that road.

A week later, at Sunday dinner, A’s name came up. All the suspects were present (except him of course). My sisters and their boyfriends volleyed one joke/jab/insult after another about him. Not in a particularly cruel way, just the usual sarcasm that abounds in my family.  It was during this conversation that I learned A had confronted the roomie about not picking him up. The details of his life he had willingly spilled to her. Which totally invalidates his anger at her asking him one question in relation to the details he so openly offered. 

All things considered, I knew that A had to go. That there was no future there after all. No possibility. There were way too many red flags. His life is far too complicated for me to get wrapped up in. And he smokes. One of my best friends told me we will never know if he was an asshole because I set him up for failure and chose to cut and run without exploring it further. Well, that is slightly paraphrasing what she said but it is the gist of it. She is right in some ways. Maybe if we had gone out just him and I, maybe if he hadn’t felt so attacked and met my family on the first date, maybe… 

So many maybes but what is done, is done. I did screw up. I was too excited to see him. Haste makes waste. I made a bad call that probably created most of the other bad calls, leading to his mistakes. No matter, I screwed up, he acted out, and it is over. There is no more fork in the road, no more question, I am veering left and seeking out the life I deserve. One that doesn’t involve A.

The Flyer

A couple of weeks ago I came home from work and saw a rather loud looking flyer on my kitchen table. My sister had brought the mail in. Typically all flyers and advertisements get filed immediately, in the recycle bin. For some reason I looked this one over. It had a little scratch off deal like a lottery ticket. I grabbed a coin and went to town. It said I won. Three little piles of cash had been revealed by my efforts. Despite being a “winner” normally I would still file it away but since the dealership was close to my home I thought, I really didn’t have anything to lose. Clearly they already had my name and address so it wouldn’t result in any more junk mail. The smallest prizes were lottery tickets or ten dollars cash. The grand prize was ten thousand dollars, which would have been nice.

My next day off I headed up to the dealership, flyer in hand. A group of car salesmen were loitering outside, probably enjoying temps above freezing. The parking lot was horribly small and made me uncomfortable. As I got out of my car one man stepped forward asking what he could do to help and I held up my flyer saying I was there to collect my prize. He was cute. Really cute. He made a comment about my ripped up jeans, asking if I had bought them that way, if they were my holy jeans that I wore to church. We had a nice banter going and I was thinking, “man, he’s cute, and he is flirting with me.” We went to the board where the prizes were listed. I won… A lottery ticket. He went in the back, got me my ticket, and walked me out. I scratched it off on the way home while I was at a red light. It was a loser. 

When I got home, the cute guy was still on my mind. Something about him had intrigued me. I had recently given up on internet dating and was focusing on self improvement rather than finding a life partner. I debated as to what I should do about this cute guy and ultimately I called up to the dealership and asked him out for coffee. I figured I was never going to visit that dealership again so I had nothing to lose. He gave me his number promptly after my invite and told me lived out of state. I commented what a commute that must be and he told me to call him later and he would tell me all about it. 

Turns out he was leaving the next day for a week, to go to his home state. He is here three weeks of the month but goes home for a week. That week he was away we texted, talked on the phone, even video chat. We communicated every day. There was a definite connection between us, one I had not felt in a long time. I was excited and ready to be vulnerable and let someone in. Was this the ideal situation? A guy on his second divorce, with a kid, and a smoker, plus living out of state? Probably not… But when you meet someone and have that spark, well, it is worth exploring. 

Last Sunday A got back into town. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see him. Being a Sunday, of course, I had dinner with the family. On top of that we finally moved the gas stove from my uncle’s house to mine and replaced his with the electric one from my house. My sisters’ boyfriends were used for their muscles during this endeavor. I wanted to thank them for their kindness so after family dinner my sisters, their boyfriends, and I went out for drinks. I invited A to meet us. There was some back and forth as to whether or not he was going to come up to the bar. Finally he did. 

In case there was any doubt… First dates + meeting the family = disaster. My sisters decided to pull the protective vibe. Questions were asked of A that were not really appropriate for them to ask. While they had been planning on leaving and letting him drive me home, suddenly they were not leaving. Our first date and the only time A and I had just the two of us was when I walked him out to his car. He was mad. I felt horrible. The night had not gone how I had planned at all. We chatted for a few minutes before he took off. I rode home with my sis. 

A and I talked on the phone after I got home. He explained where he was coming from on things and I thought all was ironed out. His next free day was Friday (Valentine’s Day). We agreed we would go out, just him and I. When I went to bed that night I thought that things may be all right despite a horrible first date. The next few days I text A and would get brief responses if any. My gut was telling me this romance was done before it had really had a chance to start. The last I had heard from him was one sentence on Wednesday, replying to a text I sent him Tuesday night. Valentine’s day came and went without so much as a word from him. 

Last night however, he text and called as if nothing was wrong. Which means now I have a choice to make. Do I give him a shot yet? After being ignored all week? After him bailing on our plans or not acknowledging them? Do I let him in still? Or do I walk away? The magic has faded already as I have begun building walls around my heart in an effort of self preservation. There were a few things he said and did that were small red flags. He is a smoker, which is a disgusting habit that I cannot stand. He has a complicated life. Then again, no one is perfect and all relationships come with their challenges. So here I stand, at the fork in the road…