Running on Social Fumes

I’ve always been a naturally introverted person. I get the most peace and satisfaction out of doing quiet “smaller group” activities/hobbies with close friends/loved ones (or even by myself) than I do in mass crowds of people I don’t know very well in loud/chaotic environments that I’m not quite familiar with.

This is not to say that I am not an open-minded person and that I do not try new things/experiences or enjoy meeting new people, I just approach it all a little differently than I think I should. Somewhat cautiously at times.

For instance, I truly believe that I’ve learned in my 30+ years of life that there are two very prominent versions of me (with subcategories of course). I touch on those subcategories here, but in a nutshell, there is the true introverted me and then there is the “pretending to be extroverted” me. I’ve taken the “test” and while I’m fairly close to the center (having both introverted and extroverted qualities), I feel more natural as an introvert and I’m reminded of this in extended situations where I am unable to “recharge” appropriately.

For example, last week I was on a business trip for the entire week attending a conference. Typically when I travel for work I usually build in one “solo day” (usually the day before business or day after business has ended) where I explore whatever city I’m in and gather myself prior to (or after) dealing with an extremely long duration of social interaction. I love this alone time. Doing this usually helps to reprogram my mind so that I appear “put together” and “well rested”. Granted, most of the people who attend the conference I went to last week are colleagues of mine (scattered across the country) in the field that “I know”, but it’s still draining to spend all day networking, collaborating and doing dinner/drinks to chit-chat about our lives outside of the office. I can lay on the charm decently enough I believe, as I’ve spent nearly a decade working on this “skill”.  I laugh and smile constantly, compliment those in my presence, act genuinely concerned or interested in news (both good and bad) they care to share and I always wish them the best with all of their endeavors (and I mostly mean it). On business trips though–unlike an actual 8 hour work day, there is very little “off time”. From sun up to sun down there is consistent interaction and it’s draining. I can usually keep the energized extroverted version of me going for a good little while until I abruptly hit a wall and run out of gas.  I can recall feeling somewhat “energized” earlier in the week and even earlier parts of each day, but towards the end of the week I had very little drive or motivation to be overly friendly and talkative and really just wanted to be alone. It was like the social side of my brain had gone on a hiatus. I remember attempting to have a quiet breakfast in the hotel on my last day of the trip, only to be met one after the other with an eventual table FULL of my colleagues who didn’t want me to have breakfast alone.

But that was the point.

It took me nearly a day after returning home to gather myself enough to jump back into my routine and even in making plans with my boyfriend, I opted for the day after my return and for a quiet evening “in” (as opposed to us “going out”). Luckily my very sweet boyfriend (mostly) understands this and “gets me” as he is also an introverted-at-times-pretending-to-be-extroverted, as well. Having my solo time the day I arrived home and then our lax 1-on-1 time “in” really helped me recharge socially in order to take on my week. It’s like I gained an extra boost of energy…that will later be depleted.

Speaking of the boyfriend and being social, I’m in this continuous cycle of basically meeting everyone in his life (which is very flattering, but at times overwhelming). I’ve met his best friends, his friend-friends, his co-workers, his boss, neighbors, S.O.s of his friends, old friends, new friends, acquaintances… and so on and soon to be his family (this weekend). As I mentioned a few weeks back, we’re heading to his best friend’s wedding (that he’s in) this weekend and because the wedding is in the town he “sort of” grew up in, we’re staying with his family.

nervous

While in the back of my mind I’ve sort of seen this as kinda being a “big deal”, the idea of it all really hit home while at his best friend’s soon-to-be-bride’s impromptu bachelorette gathering (I won’t go into detail about how last-minute and highly unorganized this was and how it almost interfered with our planned night in time). I sat there nursing a beer and chatting with the ladies (you know, “making nice”) because I want to be a good girlfriend and genuinely be warm and friendly to the people in his life. They are all either married, engaged or in longish-term relationships with friends of his.

They talked about the wedding and all of the activities in between and how much fun it will be! And how as a group, we were going to do all of these *really* fun things! All I could think of how the constant “togetherness” of being around all of his friends (and then family during times where we’re NOT doing wedding activities) was going to be exhausting. Like really exhausting. Fun, but the kind of exhaustion that may require some down time when I return home. I thought about how the only “down time” I’d have to really “recharge” would be the drive there and back where we’d have a few hours of just “us” time..but NOPE! Apparently as of today an out-of-town college buddy of his (who I have not met yet)  will be joining us on this journey to the wedding so now even the car ride over and back will involve, “putting on the extroverted charm so that I don’t appear cold or distant”, social interaction.

Jesus lord.

This week I can’t even mentally prepare for all of that togetherness (for this weekend) because he wants me to meet old high school buddies of his that are in town this evening and more co-workers on Wednesday (I feel like when we started dating he didn’t even regularly hangout with THIS many people–wtf) And I can’t say no…what kind of girlfriend would I be (maybe a more socially energized one)?

Through all of this potentially social, stressful and draining hoo-ha, the one silver lining here is something his best friend’s wife told me on Saturday during our “girls afternoon out” that sort of put all of this into perspective:

I’ve never seen — so happy before and I’ve known him and my husband since college. Whenever I’m around you two, you have this really strong connection and I can tell you are both genuinely crazy about each other. It’s sweet. I remember watching the two of you interact a few weeks ago at dinner and it was THE sweetest thing. You guys just “get” each other and it seems like you’ve been together years.

He’s also very protective of his family and even — has only met his dad ONCE (in passing) and they’ve been best friends for like a decade! The fact that he’s intentionally taking you to MEET his family and stay with them is a big deal (to him).

We think the absolute world of you and we’re so happy that you two are together!

No pressure, right?

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I hope this weekend doesn’t turn out like Crazy Rich Asians.

 

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Issa Whole A$$ Hurricane

Quite possibly the strongest hurricane to ever hit my state is on its way here in a few days (actually, it’s probably slightly weakened since I started writing this 3 days ago–but it’s moving slowly, which is not a good thing).

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I’ll admit, when I first heard about this storm (at the time it was barely a tropical storm), I figured it would fizzle out before getting here or the prediction path would shift and we’d be out of harms way.

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Nope, not so lucky folks. Looks like we’re doing this damn thing. I can’t even begin to describe the mass chaos going here. Stores are out of bread, milk, water, generators, batteries, flashlights, pretty much any essential thing you MIGHT need in case you plan to spend several days in a flooded home without power or water.

no water

a sign indicating that the grocery store ran out of water.

On my way in this morning, I stopped by a gas station to top off my gas to be met with a line that wrapped around the station two times! I managed to GET the $10 worth of gas needed to “top off” my truck, but I’ve heard reports of stations already running out of gas and landfall for this bad boy (or girl) isn’t really due until Thursday night-ish/Friday morning. My area hasn’t been evacuated yet, but areas as close as 1.5-2 hours east of us are under mandatory evacuations already, including some of my family who are on their way to my parent’s house (my parents live about 40 minutes west of me in the neighboring city).

I’ve managed to gather a few things, but with it being about a week until payday, but budget is a bit tight and I didn’t anticipate having to hunker down in preparations for “the storm of the century”.

Work has been insane and we’ve already got word that we’ll be closed Thursday and Friday due the storm. The five days that we’d normally have to wrap up projects and meetings has now been condensed into three and it’s been a madhouse here. Not to mention the fact that I work at a hospital (on the administrative side), which is already insane on a normal day.

All of this insanity takes me back nearly twenty years (actually 22 years and 1 week ago to be exact) with Hurricane Fran. I was a child when Fran hit, but I remember the entire experience vividly. I remember the days leading up to it (the same chaos, my parents running around frantically), the night it hit and hearing trees and misc debris fly around and hit our house and such. I remember being too afraid to go to sleep as we huddled in the attic for fear of flooding. I remember when the eye passed and how quiet and eerily calm everything got, until round two kicked up and we prayed our house would stand strong.

Most of my memory stems from the aftermath of Fran. The damage it left behind was out of a movie. The entire city was without power and most of the city was without water.

To add insult to injury, temperatures skyrocketed to 90+ degrees and with no electricity, we didn’t even have fans to stay cool. We were without power easily for about ten days, but some people were without power for much longer. We mostly passed the time by listening to the radio, playing board games and sleeping (at night when it was cooler). I can’t remember if phones were working because cellphones weren’t a thing (yet) and my family was never one to occupy themselves obsessively with their landline, but I can guarantee that was out. ATMs, gas stations and stores in general were out of commission for days. I remember our neighborhood having a block party of sorts to grill out meats before they expired from lack of refrigeration.

I rambled on about that fairly traumatic experience to point out that this isn’t my first rodeo. I wasn’t quite old enough at the time to fully understand what was going on, but I remember my parents doing a pretty good job of keeping me safe.

My goal with this storm is to OVER anticipate potential incidents (like lost power FOR DAYS, flooding, no water) so that I am prepared. Luckily, with hurricanes you usually know about them semi far in advance, so it gives people time to “prepare” (or fill themselves with extreme anxiety). Over the course of this week, I’ve pretty much managed to get my hands on many of the items on my “list”…slowly, and I’ve mostly had to get these items by getting up at the ass crack of dawn and sneaking out into the darkness to go to stores that have odd ball hours or going to stores that many people wouldn’t think to go to (like today when I went to Ross to grab candles).

All in all, I think I’m ready for this damn thing. I’m ready for it to come and go so I can get back to my routine. In the meantime, all I have to do is sit back and wait for it to begin. Hopefully everyone around me prepared enough and stays safe. Hopefully there aren’t any casualties.

driving in storm

storm clouds rolling in

Persona(s)*

I keep clicking the “write” button in hopes that I’ll have some extravagant and wildly colorful blog post to share, but nope! Life is good, but I can’t quite organize my thoughts enough elaborate on any one thing at the moment.

I will say that aside from my writer’s block, I’m coming to terms with truly being vulnerable in my relationship. Initially (in a new-ish relationship), it’s the most uncomfortable feeling in the world to me to truly trust someone enough to be unapologetically naked (emotionally) around them . By nature, I’m an extremely private person. Like, really private. I share very little about myself with co-workers, acquaintances, family and even friends of mine that I don’t consider “close”. I’m the kind of person that will make you THINK you know a great deal about my life, but I’m very savvy in just giving you enough to think you do. Tip of the iceberg type shit. I’ve also mastered the art of redirecting attention or conversations off of my personal life. It’s not that I’m hiding any deep, dark secrets, I just don’t trust easily and I don’t want to be judged for who I truly am. I like to be in control of the persona others perceive me to be. It’s important for me to maintain a “certain image”.

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At work I’m the “I work HARD. I have all of my shit together personally/professionally and I ‘work well under pressure’. I also work and play well with others. I’m probably the nicest most team orientated person you know and I always get things done. I’m your girl, but lack of work life balance is non-negotiable. ”

It's handled

With my family it’s the, “I’m wildly imaginative (almost to a fault), but I’m kind, loving and a “good girl”. I would never say or do anything (purposely) mean spirited. I’m resourceful. I am intelligent and can take care of myself. I’m trustworthy.”

flower child

With friends I’m, “silly and fun, always up for an adventure. I’m very sweet and a good listener and always have a (mostly) positive outlook on life. I’d give you the shirt off of my back if I could. I’d help you move all of your stuff sans uhaul in the pouring rain. While I don’t think as highly of myself as humanly possible, I’m well aware of what I’m capable of and I’ve grown into who I am as a person and I’m confident-ish. I’m loyal, patient, creative, nurturing and loving. I am fearless.”

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My relationship persona is the one I feel least comfortable in. It’s the persona where I’m THE MOST vulnerable and the one where (at times) I am the most afraid.

LEO Screams

When I’m in a relationship and I truly care deeply about my partner and start to really let my walls down I become a not so polished version of the personas above. I wonder if my partner can handle the unpolished, unedited, raw version of me. I may not always appear to have my shit together, a lot of things scare me, I don’t work particularly well under pressure (though I’ll roll with the punches and I’m flexible),  sometimes I allow anxiety to get the best of me, I’m sweet (but at times to a fault where it inconveniences me), I’m not as much of a “good girl” (I often take risks and consider the consequences later. I also tend to do really stupid and extremely self destructive things–I’m going to get to that in an entirely separate post), I’m fiercely independent and at times like to do things on my own (and will need to be alone), but I just as frequently want to do and experience things with my S.O. by my side, even if it’s just a netflix night. I’m stubborn, absurd and I daydream a lot. A lot. A lot. Sometimes I’ll get defensive if I feel like casual conversation is turning into an interrogation, when really my S.O. might genuinely want to know things about me or my past that I’ve failed to elaborate on previously. Each move I make is calculated and it might take me longer to feel “comfortable” to do seemingly insignificant things (like “sleep overs”, meeting friends/family, physical intimacy, etc) for fear of things not panning out and getting hurt. I have to feel an overwhelming amount of safety/security with someone to exhale in that way and it’s hard. It’s hard to put that much energy into something–someone, to not really know *IF* it will work out down the line. You invest a lot of yourself (time, emotions, etc) into it. While I won’t openly verbalize this, I’ll need the occasional reassurance that everything is ok.

Revealing my inner most mess(es) to my S.O. is starting to stress me out a tad because I wonder what he makes of it all. He’s easy going and doesn’t seem particularly phased, but my anxiety of course says otherwise. Not that I’ve revealed anything particularly earth shattering or have anything particularly earth shattering to share? Aside from my relationship fears, I’ve pretty much at least touched on other pivotal parts of my life thus far (and he’s done the same). He knows enough about me at this point to form his own opinion of me. But is that enough?

I don’t know, but so far he seems: Supportive. Kind. Patient.

A few weeks ago, he saw me in a very unexpected and vulnerable state of extreme frustration. An unexpected expense concerning my car really caught me off guard and the building stress and frustration of it all practically left me in tears. Up to that point, I had been (at times) robotic in my emotions and had really only shown him a relaxed mood, a nurturing mood, a happy mood, a silly mood and an adventurous mood with very little deviation from that heavy rotation. In that moment, I forgot he was there and panicked when I snapped back to reality. I apologized all over myself for the slip of “professionalism” in those moments.

I don’t cry.

Well, I rarely cry and when I do, I don’t cry in front of people, so to have him witness me in a very emotionally raw state where I temporarily lost control was uncomfortable at first. Would he find me to be annoying or a big baby? Would he be dismissive? What if he thinks that I’m crazy? 

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Actually, I know I’m crazy and I’m learning to accept that in my 30s!

I don’t know if he felt any of those things in that moment, but he did the best thing he could do in that situation when your girlfriend is in a panicked state: he hugged me, told me it would be ok and offered his support if I needed anything from him. He later drove me to pick up a rental car (since I was also going to be without my car for a week). Just those little things were HUGE to me.

Wow! I didn’t mean to ramble on that much. I guess I wrote all of that to say that this “L” stuff (like, love , yes, like), is scary. I really like this guy and I don’t want to fuck this up. I’m going to try not to fuck this up. In order to do that, I’m going to eventually have to suck it up and fully let down my walls.

Seasons & Reasons

I had a bit of a pep talk with my ex this morning. The conversation originated with me simply wishing him a, “Happy Birthday”, but he asked how life was and what was new with me, which moved into catching up on one another’s lives (we haven’t spoken since April?). I admitted to feeling a bit overwhelmed with work, (the early stages of) home buying and I omitted specific details of everything else (because it’s not really his business—but more on this later). He said:

(My nickname), I am sincerely sorry to hear that, but you’re resilient and you’ll beast all of this, you just watch…and you’ll come out even STRONGER than before. Just hang on a bit longer, it WILL get better. You’re a good person and GREAT things are going to happen for you, I know it.”

Maybe I already knew these things, but have become a bit blinded by the stupid little petty things fogging up my focus right now. Anyway, his empathy was helpful and gave me a bit of a pickup to push through my stress. Sometimes in having anxiety, I think we (we as in people who live with anxiety) often try to take on everything at once and end up feeling defeated and overwhelmed. Having someone show you empathy in those moments is monumental. While I can confidently say that I no longer have romantic feelings for him, I think very highly of him and respect him as a person. He’s a genuinely kindhearted person and I wish more people in the world could be that way. I haven’t met many people that genuine–at least not yet, but the ones I have met, have really added value to my life over the years. They’re somewhat far and few between. I feel blessed that we’re able to exist in our own worlds and still genuinely be supportive of one another and I personally feel thankful that I can now look at him and genuinely wish him well without any sadness, regret or bitter feelings.

It sounds sappy and stupid, but I believe in life you meet everyone for a specific purpose/(s). Maybe their purpose is to teach you a lesson, show what you what personality traits you shouldn’t tolerate in your life, introduce you to a new hobby/skill or to help you become more open minded\rounded. Even if that person isn’t in your life forever and always sometimes it’s good to know you took something away from your interaction with them. I will say my interaction with my ex (both past and present) has truly taught me to practice (more) kindness and general open mindedness with every aspect of my life. I really make an effort now to be as kind and compassionate as humanly possible, without being a total doormat (of course, I’ve always been nice, but I’m still working on it). Maybe his entire purpose of appearing in my life was to teach me that lesson and I’m ok with that.

 

Ready, Set, Reset.

My mind has been racing lately. Simply glossing over some of the posts I’ve written over the past month alone lends itself to showing how unsettled I’ve become as a person. Part of this I blame on simply being overwhelmed with how busy I am professionally (that I don’t reserve any additional energy into processing things in my personal life) and the other part I blame (though I *really* hate to) on anxiety.

While I never forget that anxiety is something I struggle deal with on a daily basis, it’s often something I neglect to show myself compassion over. I’m always kicking myself for not “growing a pair” and effortlessly maneuvering through life like everyone else seems to. Everything in life (in my mind) should be easier than this. I shouldn’t feel bothered by this. I shouldn’t feel exhausted for simply moving from day to day, week to week, month to month…I should be happy, appreciative, energized, inspired, etc…

But fun fact: I don’t.

Flashback to last Saturday night. I was out with a group of friends of mine that I’ve spent a fairly consistent amount of time with over the past year. I feel comfortable with this group of friends in a way that I don’t with other people in my life. I’m usually fully relaxed around them. After pre-gaming and roller skating (yes–we went drunken roller skating), we decided to end the evening in a local bar belting out 80s pop classics. What fun, right? What better way to spend a summer night? Easy breezy. While I found myself full of life and excitement early into the evening, towards the end of the evening (while at the bar) I felt this hefty weight of sadness consume me. It felt heavy and saturated like a wet wool blanket. My mind and heart started to race about all of the what ifs in my life and it was all I could do but to fake a smile in hopes that no one (in my friend circle or at the bar in general) would notice this mini internal crisis I was silently going suffering through. Maybe it was a combination of the one or two drinks I had and exhaustion…or perhaps I was having a mini anxiety attack, looking back on that night…I think this all came from realizing that I’m not happy with many aspects of my life right now and that I want better for myself.

The following day, I met up with two other friends of mine (separate from the friend group above) for a day trip to the beach, which was much needed. Something about sitting on the beach and listening to the waves crash is truly relaxing.

Beach - June 3rd

 

I remember doing this back around the holidays when I needed to clear my mind. I felt slightly more at ease Sunday, but still more on edge than usual, even with the waves. While with that pair of friends on Sunday, the theme of our day trip seemed to be Betterment. We all disclosed things we wanted to work on. Finances. Career Paths. Organization. Health. Relationships. Love. Patience. Acceptance. Hobbies.

I clearly need to work on all of those things and my mind started spinning as I made lists and goals as to just how I was going to manage doing all of those things better, but realistically, approaching self-improvement in that way is detrimental and in no way helping my anxiety.

I decided to narrow the broad range of things to “fix” in my life from the lengthy list that we collectively came up with down to two. Accomplishing bettering myself in those areas (or at least be well on my way) before diving into the other areas is reasonable. The two that I decided to address first were:

  • Relationships
  • Health

I selected those two areas first because there are short-term goals/issues that I’d like to accomplish/resolve that will move me into more long-term goals down the road.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve come to the conclusion that while things may naturally be fizzling out with BF anyway, I need to formally end it so that I can devote my energy into other aspects of my life. Without getting into all of the details, I’m not getting what I’d like to get out of our interactions and it’s become more of a hassle than an enjoyment to date him at this point. I act ridiculously reckless around him at times to an extent that I don’t even recognize who I am as a person. I like him as a person and find him to be a lovely (at times deeply troubled) guy, but I just can’t devote energy into this any longer. I’m depleted. Breaking up with someone (regardless of how formal or informal) just plain sucks. It’s awkward and you just feel like an asshole, even if it’s painfully obvious that it needs to happen. For what it’s worth, I think the situation served it’s purpose for the two of us for the time period that it needed to. It was (mostly) fun. Post “breakup”, I plan to start a dating detox. More on this later…

Health wise, I’ve kicked off this week by starting the keto diet. I’ve been stress eating (and drinking) for the past few weeks and needed to hit the reset button in order to make better choices. So far, so good. It’s been fairly manageable, especially since I’ve limited my social engagements to truly commit to sticking to the plan. I already feel like a boost in my energy levels and have noticed more restful sleep five days in. I plan to do this for at least another week or so before incorporating a regular exercise routine back into my day…days?

So that’s all that I’ve got for now. All of the other things I’d love to work on are on the back burner for now until I work through the first two areas or my anxiety levels itself off. Whichever comes first.

Baby steps.

I’m A Mess.

I’ve had my head in the clouds lately. Sometimes it’s just easier to live my life in this alternative fantasy world where MOST things make sense than to trudge through my actual reality which at times has become strenuous, confusing and an overall mess. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching my life unfold as as a spectator and all I can do is just look on in total disbelief.

Dr. strange

I do this a lot when I don’t want to face the hard truth of things, like how what I want romantically isn’t actually syncing up with what I’m saying and actually doing at the moment.

I had dinner the other night with some of my female friends that I’ve grown fairly fond of in the past few months. I don’t have a great deal of “good” female friends, but these chicks get me. There was no special occasion, just simply getting together to catch up without the guys (mutual friends and baes).

The appearance of one of my friends in the group has been a bit more sparse lately due to her recently getting in a relationship. We’ve all met her guy a time or two and we all “approve” of him for now. He treats her well and she seems happy. While she didn’t occupy a great deal of time talking about him at our dinner, the times she did (briefly) mention him, she looked so happy and that made my entire evening. While I found myself genuinely being happy for my friend, I couldn’t help but to wonder what exactly am I doing with my life? My friend has been seeing her now boyfriend for about the same amount of time that I’ve been dating BF, which definitely hit me like a ton of bricks the other night as I thought about that…

Should I be at that stage? Do I want that? Do I even want that with BF specifically? Eh…

Tune in on next week’s episode of Issa situation…to find out!

For a few weeks now, I’ve definitely come to the conclusion that I want something more out of these interactions I’ve been having. Sure, several months ago (freshly off of heartbreak), I wasn’t interested in anything of substance or long term. My last relationship (I feel) moved entirely too fast in that general direction without allowing me a lot of time to truly assess or even process how I felt or what I even wanted. The period of time between our initial stages of getting to know each other and full blown relationship was super condensed and blurred. It felt like I was watching a car accident in slow motion the entire time and I kept waiting to feel the impact, but was powerless to stop it.

 

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I distinctly remember very early in approaching the entire thing logically and keeping my distance emotionally, but eventually the pool of absurdness and infatuation creeped up on me. It was mostly about how my ex felt, what he wanted and I just joined him along on the whirlwind of a ride because I genuinely liked spending time with him as a person. I found myself mostly doing things he wanted to do or doing things for him instead of for myself, but I wanted to because he was kind and  nurturing. It was like someone took all of the things I strive to be to others and threw it into this guy. He’s probably the nicest and most genuine person I’ve met, but he’s just not “my person”. I felt uneasy during 95% of the relationship because I felt out of control. He was the driver and I could see we were heading full speed ahead towards a cliff, but I felt I needed to balls up and push through because I had, “made a commitment” to be in the relationship (even though it felt slightly forced and rushed). He was the kind of boyfriend that wanted to show off our relationship to the world and told everyone in his life about me in explicit detail very shorty after we met and started dating. Meanwhile, I was more quiet and kept him and the details of our affairs on a “need to know basis” until I felt I was ready to disclose it (my mother found out we were in a relationship by stalking him on FB, since I gave very little details about the “guy I was dating”). The entire thing gave me emotional whiplash (and left me black and blue) after plummeting down that cliff, so after dusting myself off, I decided I wanted to ease back into the “dating pool” in a very casual, non-commitment kind of way and I wanted to take total control over that. Never again did I want to go through that whirlwind BS. I wanted to approach dating from more of an, “maybe I need to date around to figure out what I want”, or “I just want to have fun getting to know someone without the expectation or assumption that we’ll get married someday” perspective.

Simple, right?

On paper, yes…but IRL, dating can be a bit more complex than that at least as time moves on. You fall into habits. Your interests intertwines. You experience things together, but feelings aren’t necessarily stagnant and nothing is promised. Initially things sort of went my way and all was right with the world. I was having my cake and eating it too. I was dating, but not formally feeling required to commit. It was all fun. It was freeing. I had the benefit of doing all of these quasi-relationship things, but on my own terms and with very little responsibility. It was exhilarating. It was liberating…

Now I’m just a bit bored, jaded and cranky. Mostly cranky, haha. What started out as being a lot of lighthearted fun has now become a bit of chore and at times an annoyance and a huge time suck. I don’t particularly find myself being overly excited about any of it anymore, at least not for the reasons I should be. It just interferes with other things that I’d prefer to be doing. It’s become a task that I feel like I need to check off of my “to-do list”. I also find myself being legitimately exasperated if we’re not physically intimate each time we’re together ESPECIALLY if we’re over my place. I’ve never been this person before. Yikes.

This isn’t to say that I don’t like BF or he’s not a great guy (at times a bit silly and a bit reckless, but means well), but any time I try to place him in the role of someone I could see myself actually working towards something more with, the image doesn’t really translate in the way that it should and I get agitated. I’m not sure if he’d jive well with my friends (maybe he would), I’m not sure what my parents would think about him (my dad hates every guy I date–). I don’t know how he’d take knowing that I have anxiety and bouts of depression, I don’t even know if he’d have the patience to understand that sometimes I just need my space and that it’s not personal. It’s like he has the potential to be all of these things, but I would need to trust that he’d take it seriously and trust that I won’t go through the trying experience I went through before. I’m on the defense, like a wounded animal at times, but I hide it all under the facade of being carefree, sweet, charming and “content”. I don’t need anyone, I tell myself, because I don’t. I’m fine on my own, but the idea of having someone there, isn’t necessarily off putting.

I’m that cool chick that doesn’t nag to you about trivial shit. I’m agreeable. I’m easy. I’m not “emotional” (HA), I get it.  I’m like one of the guys…but…you see where this is going, haha. He has no idea any of this is going on in my head, but then again, he’s a smart guy, I’m sure he’s aware that something’s brewing in there. I’m just not sure I feel the level of (emotional) intimacy with him (or anyone right now) to reveal my vulnerability in that way, without appearing weak or needy. Essentially, I’m using our physical intimacy as a replacement for all of that, because who has time for emotions? Who has time to have a soul? No one wants to talk about that uncomfortable shit. It drowns out the conversations we should be having. Our silences, grins, embraces and sounds of satisfaction fill in those gaps. I seek out reasons to be “annoyed” with his actions (some are justified though), to lessen my lukewarm admiration for him, so that I have the upper hand, so that I can back out of this at any time without remorse or regret or too many losses…so that I’m in control.

Jesus. I just psychoanalyzed myself. I’m a mess.

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Other friends of mine (without fully understanding the finer details of our interactions because I intentionally gloss over talking about BF in a lot of detail–some of them have just now learned his first name) have decided that he’s “practically” my boyfriend based off of “time in”. No, no, no, it doesn’t work that way. Like, at. all. That’s not how any of this works.

I thought about this yesterday evening as we linked up. We had been making plans to see Infinity War for the better part of a week and decided to meet after work (midway between our jobs) to check it out. Even though this would make my third time seeing it, I really wanted to see it with him because he had been excited about it for some time. He paid for our tickets, held my hand, asked about my day, made little jokes to make me laugh….all of those cute little date effects. While, I’m not crazy about movie dates and I’m even less crazy about formalized WEEK night dates, it was good to see him. It’s been about a week and a half since we’ve seen each other due to work, traveling and other obligations and part of dating I guess, is maintaining that momentum of…well…seeing each other? I guess at least we’ve been in touch daily? But is that necessary? If I suddenly decided not to respond to his messages today, would he notice? Would this trigger alarm for him? Would he care to know that I was “ok”?

Obviously, since we were seeing a movie, we were’t able to talk much (outside of before and after), so none of my ridiculous thoughts came up. We small talked mostly (about our work days, the weather, the themes of the movie, being tired…) I just attributed my serious composure to being tired (I was actually very tired). He walked me to my car and  embraced me for a while, before calling it a night to head back to his place to get ready for bed.

Wow. This was much longer than I anticipated…

All in all what it boils down to is that I was burned and while I’ve licked most of my wounds and moved on from it, I’m hell bent on never repeating that situation again. How stupid could I have been? The idea of a genuine relationship seems appealing, but scares me all at the same time. It’s a lot to risk. There are all the what ifs. While I’d eventually like to work towards a relationship, I’m definitely not ready for one now. The trouble is, I’m not sure if the guy I’m dating is “my person” or even the person that I want to work with in moving towards a relationship. I need to figure out what’s more important to me in this moment: Doing casual, quasi-relationship things with someone fun and carefree without responsibility for my actions (or responsibility for his) or starting over again and seeking out a more embedded and complex connection with someone new with the specific intentions of long term, but with the understanding (for them) that it won’t happen overnight.

Hmm…

Taking on Everyone’s Issues.

The past week has been chaotic both personally and professionally. I am super exhausted and I never even got around to sitting down on my couch until yesterday around 8 p.m. (which resulted in me dosing off like an old cat lady–cat also dosed off).

Work has been a little more stressful than usual and I’ve found myself (again) trying to stretch myself thinly across social/other personal obligations (which has resulted in very little restful sleep). I’ve also been everyone’s person to “vent” their issues to/resolve said issues (lately) and it’s starting to wear heavily on my soul. Imagine my surprise when my anxiety levels have skyrocketed!

For example, last week, three of my friends decided to vent to me about their pending separations/divorces with their spouses/SO.s. Breakups in general are difficult, but divorces, especially those involving property and/or children/pets can become quite messy. I have zero experience in the world of, “divorce” and listening to all of the drama those friends of mine were going through was emotionally draining. I’m not sure if they expected me to “resolve their issues” or just simply listen, so I chose to mostly just listen and wish them well with the outcome. Listening to them ramble has made me seriously never want to get married. It sounds both emotionally draining and expensive from jump AND if things don’t work out.

In addition to the divorce rambles, my ex has been having some difficulties in buying a house and I’ve found myself sucked in to listening (well, reading) his vents about it (and they’ve been super long and descriptive). While I haven’t bought my first home yet (I’m hoping to do that later on this year), I’ve heard from many other friends/family members about how stressful the process can be. He’s told me about how he’s been so stressed out about it that he’s not even sleeping or eating properly. Because I don’t hate him (he’s a good guy and we’re on “good terms”), I’m attempting to be somewhat supportive and at least listen and provide words of encouragement (like my favorite blanket statement of , “I’m sorry all of this has happened, but I truly believe things will work out, just stay positive”). I don’t know what else to say to him really because I don’t know how to “fix” this for him and to be honest, it’s not really my place TO fix this for him either. I’m starting to take on his stress though and it’s causing me to have some weird sleeping habits and also a bit of anxiety about my own future home buying plans. I feel like I’m being kind of a shitty person for not checking in more often to see if he’s ok (he’s mostly volunteering this information and initiating this conversations) especially since he was in a particularly downer mood last Friday, but I don’t know what advice I can really provide him because I have no experience in home buying. Plus, I don’t know IF everything will be ok for him, though I hope that things get better.

I’ve also become everyone’s “go to” to vent about work stress in the office and I don’t know how to fix everyone’s problems/unhappiness. I feel like I’ve been unfairly put in the position to be “little miss sunshine” and spread joy across the office when everyone is “overwhelmed”. I barely have time to knock out everything with my own job, let alone figure someone else’s out…but how do you even say that to someone without coming across cold, unapproachable or inappropriate?  What am I supposed to do when I’m stressed and overwhelmed? I’ve discussed taking a “personal day” with my manager, but I know deep down I’ll most likely be inundated with work issues anyway on my day off no matter how much I legitimately try to relax and decompress.

I think by far though, one of the issues triggering my anxiety the most is having another friend of mine really going through a tough time with his own anxiety/mental illness. I try to be hyper supportive with anyone that struggles with mental illness, but half of the things I find myself saying to him aren’t even things I’m doing regularly myself…like regularly taking (appropriately) prescribed medication, remembering to breathe, taking things one day at a time, not abusing substances as an outlet, etc. I find myself taking it personally when he’s still having a rough/off day, even though I know (a someone who deals with anxiety a well), sometimes  you just have rough days and simply having a support system/friend is what you might need in a specific moment to assure you that things will be ok. He says he feels like a burden (which I can relate, because anxiety basically makes you think you’re insane for “feeling” the way that you feel and it further triggers your anxiety to even talk about it in detail) and he’s not, but again, I can’t “fix it” for him, so I feel like I’m failing at being a supportive friend, even though I know that’s absurd.

I’ve basically decided to turn my phone off today to mostly focus a little better at work, but also to give myself a break from taking on everyone’s issues. I just need a brief break to gather myself.

Anyway, in terms of the anxiety roller coaster, I am on that long uphill journey where you know you’re inching closer and closer to “the drop”.

up hill rollercoaster

 

You feel each metal “clank” as you continue up this path and your chest tightens in anticipation. You know the “drop” is going to be intense, but shortly afterward, you’ll go through some loops and sharp turns, but things will resume back to normal eventually.

It’s a Situation.

Well hey there. It’s been quite a busy week and time has really gotten away from me. Work has been chaotic and being maybe 1 of 3 people in the office that’s been there longer than a year, management has been relying on me heavily to essentially “hold the fort down”, “boost morale”, “hike mt. Everest all while balancing a glass jar on my head”. I’m beat down already and this is only week one of several chaotic weeks ahead leading into our “busy season”. My sleep has already been severely effected, but hey, there’s always coffee, right?

I don’t think I even like coffee, I just drink it because I’m an “adult“.

Maybe it’s the additional stress at work or my fragmented sleeping patterns, but I’ve been thinking a lot (assessing) things with Babyface. As I wrote previously, we have a pretty decent thing going. We get together weekly (usually based on my schedule–because he’ll just suggest “whatever day” works best for me), we go on semi entertaining dates, we laugh/goof around, there’s an appropriate amount of affection and then there’s mind-blowing, back-breaking, can’t-walk-straight-the-next-morning-or-two sex. Ah, yes…but I’m really quick to shut anyone down who gets this situation twisted with assumptions of a relationship. He is not my “man”. He’s a guy I’m “seeing”.

Seems like a pretty sweet deal, right?

Seems like it or so I thought (or at least convinced myself of that). Truth of the matter is, it’s all starting to become a little bit routine. I guess routine isn’t bad, but is this being set up to “go somewhere” or just “coast” in the valley of convenience? Does it matter? Could i take him seriously enough to see him as more ? Part of me feels like he’s been deeply hurt (repeatedly) as well and is probably also extremely hesitant to commit to anything outside of going to work everyday. Understandable. Pulling something like this off isn’t usually my style, but hell, apparently neither is being in a relationship with someone who understands how to communicate their needs when it matters the most (this wasn’t necessarily a jab at Babyface).

Tangent. Sorry.

I’m having fun with Babyface and at times that’s all that I want, but other times, I do miss being in a relationship. I’ve moved beyond missing my ex (most recent or any of them for that matter). I can see clearly and see that things ended for a reason in all of those situations. I just miss the comfort and security of it all, I don’t know. Sometimes it’s nice to “come home to” or “go out with” someone who sees you as their whole world. It’s like I don’t need someone, but it would be nice to have someone in my life like that (again).

Part of me doesn’t legitimately feel like lightning strikes twice…or well, couple two, three, four or five times…like maybe I had the experience and that’s it. I can die knowing what love feels like. How does the saying go, “better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” Check.

Ha. That’s so pessimistic and I’m not even torn up about it 🤷🏾‍♀️. It’s just hard to see clearly about love at this point. The future looks a bit hazy and bleak. Love is wonderful, but also scary. I’m not sure if I’m really deserving of love right now, because I’m choosing not to really take a lot of things incredibly seriously. I’m also an asshole (almost entirely in my head) and i get weirded out if someone wants to spend every waking moment with me every single day. I’m not a therapist, but I’ve been to therapy enough to know that I’m deflecting how I truly feel if for no other reason to trick myself into thinking i don’t care.

I care…

I want to find that happiness again, I do. And with time, I (am going to think optimistically) will. Maybe and if I don’t, I know what it feels like. In the meantime, I’ve learned a lot about myself over these past few months and just how strong and resilient I truly am. I didn’t know I had it in me, tbh…but I’m here and standing tall.

Babyface and I have a date this evening. He’s taking me to play laser tag/arcade games because I’ve had a stressful week and he thinks that might help me relax. That’s thoughtful. I’m sure he’s sick of me bitching about the chaos of my job though…🙃 being that we’re not in a relationship, he’s technically not even obligated to care.

 

K is for Kindess

I had a chit chat the other day with the ex concerning a potential health scare (that I think I have) that I know he’s been dealing living with for more than 20 years of his life . If you knew him, you’d forget he has this issue because he doesn’t allow it to define him.

Conversation wise, he could have very well ignored me, told me to fuck off or simply dismissed my concerns as being “ridiculous”…but he didn’t. He treated me with genuine respect and kindness. He listened to what I had to say, comforted me through my anxious thoughts (because, anxiety!), shared his perspective on how he deals lives with this health issue and sent loads and loads of information on the matter as well as his specialist’s contact information.

That was super nice of him to do any of that, especially since it required him to do some some googles. After thanking him for the advice and apologizing for the interruption in his day, he said:

Don’t be :). You deserve compassion and kindness, you really do. Keep your head up, (name retracted). Please keep me updated on what you find out.

The kid’s alright in my books. I wish more people would practice kindness in this way. Hell, I wish I was able to be this kind more often. Maybe I should try working on that.

“We Don’t Talk Anymore”

I’m just getting back in from a surprisingly wonderful weekend that I spent with an old ex (not the most recent one). Long story very short, we’ve been “friends” since we stopped being romantically involved several years ago…but not without some strange gray areas, false starts and backslides here and there. We’ve managed to remain as good of friends as much as humanly possible given the circumstances of our untimely demise, (though it took us a good six months to a year to even BEGIN to reestablish a friendship in the aftermath). That side tangent is for another day and time though. Just know it involved some lowkey infidelity and broken trust (and not on my end either).

For the past year and some change we’ve been “strictly platonic”, but mostly out of touch as I found myself in a relationship (then heartache) and he’s been occupied by work travel and whatever else. We saw each other very briefly (for lunch) a few weeks before Christmas (while he was passing through town for a few hours), in the midst of me going through a breakup (so I was mentally and emotionally checked out), but we’ve otherwise not been in touch until my birthday a few weeks ago, where he’s repeatedly invited me down to his place for a weekend for about three weeks straight (I’ve declined each time minus the last time he asked).

we don't talk anymore

I finally took him up on the offer this past weekend. I hadn’t been out of town in a while, so what better excuse than to visit him to make travel moves? Fun fact here, I haven’t been to his city since October of last year when I visited with my ex, without informing him that I was in town or even in a relationship.

whoops

When I arrived Friday night, I was taken back by how much he had changed. I knew he had been eating a little healthier for the past few months, but he looked like a completely different person. He was toned…he looked healthy…he looked happy…he looked REALLY good. He almost resembled what he looked like when first started dating in our mid-20s. He was so adorable back then. I was really caught off guard, but in a good way. Not only had he physically changed, he wasted no time showing off his new ride. He’s always been a muscle car guy though and has shamelessly been PART of the reason we started dating in the first place (because I talked “car talk” with him for hours and he found that to be “impressive”). He even taught me how to drive stick. He previously had a mustang before swapping it out for the Camaro. He definitely knows how to give me lady boners with his choice in cars. The SS is a fucking beast though. Black on black, V-8, 405 horsepower, 20 inch rims, GPS, Sunroof, Spoiler, Backup camera, Wifi, Leather seats, dual climate control, push button start, real time traffic alerts, just to name a FEW features.

Anyway, the entire weekend he seemed different, maybe more present in the moment?Unlike visits in the past, he mostly stayed away from dicking around on his phone and gave me his undivided attention. He even treated for dinner and drinks every place that we went, fixed my laptop (he also works in IT like my most recent ex–apparently I have a “type”) and gave/bought me a new laptop bag because mine was “subpar”. I got the vibe from him that he actually wanted me there and I have to say that it felt nice. It also felt nice to be pampered. One thing that he kept doing that was sort of weird was how he kept gazing at me with this half mooned goofy smile. Sometimes he would do this for several minutes as if he was daydreaming while listening to me talk, watching me eat/drink or just glancing over at me while stopping at traffic lights and walking around. I know that “look” all too well and it’s something I haven’t seen in a good little while. Oh boy…

charlie puth hearts

When I loaded my truck to leave Sunday after brunch, he gave me this long speech about how good it was to have me around, how much fun he had and how he was hoping there wouldn’t be such a long gap between our visits the next time we get together…because “we don’t [seem to] talk anymore”. He also emphasized all of those “feels” via text while I was driving home.

He doesn’t really “text” like that….so that also caught me off guard.

The entire way back I kept thinking about the weekend and how I was absolutely under no circumstances going to go BACK down the dark and desolate road of playing, “TAG, I have a crush on you” with him as we’ve done back and forth (and at times at the same time) over the past few years. It actually took getting in my last relationship to kill off any “lingering” romantic feelings I had left for him and I’ll be damned if any of those are about to resurface over ONE weekend. While on paper we’re a great match, IRL we’re not good for each other in that way. Not to mention, we’ve both changed significantly since then. I’m not even the same person I was when I met him, especially not now. Being romantically him for a year really triggered my anxiety and depression so bad that I had to seek therapy for the first time in my adult life and I’m just getting to a point where I feel better about managing it.

To make the events of the past weekend even more awkward, my mom actually seemed ecstatic that we reconnected and told me she “missed” him visiting because he’d always help with fixing things around the house because he likes to tinker. Um, no ma’am.

No charlie

In other news, I have a pretty crazy week at work, with an equally busy (but fun) weekend ahead, including date plans with Babyface, helping a friend move, a game night and some crazy antics out on the town with friends. I better rest up while I can.

Also, since I stole the title of this blog post from the Charlie Puth song, “we don’t talk anymore”, I might as well link a performance of the song. I think it’s fitting for the contents of this post: