(Almost on) The Other Side.

With each passing day I feel more and more like myself. For a few months now, I’ve been waiting on that feeling of “waking up one day and feeling better”. While I haven’t hit that day yet, I feel that I’m dangerously close and it feels amazing. I no longer listen to sad songs or songs about love and cry. I can pass by places we went and not be overwhelmed by sadness. I can look at photos of him and not be depressed (though I did delete all of them off of my phone).  I can think back to time we spent together and be reminded of good times instead of being bitter and resentful. All I do now is genuinely wish him well (internally) with each passing day. Breaking up around the holidays is particularly difficult (difficult in general), because the entire world around you seems to be happy and you’re in the pits of hell trying to muster up the ability to pull yourself out of bed and simply exist in a world that seems so cold and dark. Dramatic, I know…but I don’t know how to describe that any better. That shit is depressing.

I can tell I’m starting to feel better because the idea of dating isn’t entirely off putting. As I go out more and more, I feel more confident to possibly entertain it. I find myself looking at/meeting guys that I find attractive or not entirely obnoxious. I also find myself being able to quickly identify guys that I could entertain and guys to stay away from (guys that would potentially stress me out or eat away at my peace–BIG no-no in 2018). And while looking/meeting these guys, I’m not necessarily comparing them to my ex. Not that he’s a bad guy, but comparing every guy to him would be dangerous and destructive. I’m not even sure if I want to date someone exactly like him, even though I don’t hate him as a person (he’s a kindhearted person). What I DO know is that I most definitely, under NO circumstances want to ever RUSH a relationship ever again in the way that I did with him. Nothing good ever comes from that. If you EVER feel rushed through a relationship like I did, SPEAK UP and let your voice be heard before going down that bumpy road. I feel like he was subconsciously destructive and careless with my heart for his need of companionship and cohabitation because I showed him genuine kindness and love and he chased after it like a wild animal. I feel like he was in love with BEING in love and I stupidly went along with it. We’re human, it happens.

Last night, I went out with some friends (as I’ve been consistently doing now for the better part of a month or two) and managed to meet some guys while bar hopping, that bought me drinks. I honestly was trying to save money and cut myself off at $20 worth of drinks, but certainly didn’t turn down the offer for more!

Ryan G - buy you a drank

While this has been a common theme lately (going out), I can’t remember a more vibrant time in my life where I’ve just been able to go out and let the world be my oyster. I mean, even last year this time I was “seeing someone” and dated throughout much of the time between that guy and my most recent ex. I haven’t really had enough time to just fly solo. It’s been fun and has helped me to brush up on my flirtation skills–which reminds me, I’m super doper goofy when it comes to flirting. I mostly just end up being silly and making the guy laugh, which usually ends up breaking up any awkward tension.

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I’m not taking any of these interactions seriously right now, I’m just having fun being single and free. I find all of the interactions as practice and “dusting things off” so to speak. Which by the way, I have “interacted” with guys here and there, but it’s not important enough to disclose on this post…Outside of this guy.

I think I can do this again in time. I’m happy that I’m not entirely broken or defective merchandise. I AM lovable. A month, 3 months, 6 months from now, I look forward to what life might have in store for me, but for now I’m just going to sit back and continue on the journey back to normalcy. This is certainly a change from a time where I couldn’t imagine seeing the sun again.

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Love & Self Care

I’ve been making a huge efforts over the past few months to work on “me”, loving myself (even more) and allowing myself time and space for self care. I’ve always been the kind of person that gives my all into everything and everyone, often leaving me exhausted and at times slightly bitter and resentful that I don’t “recharge” or have time for myself.

Self Care

I even saw aspects of this resentment creep up in my last relationship. I distinctly remember one of our last evenings together and being slightly pissed off because we had spent the entire last three days together (72 hours straight) and my boyfriend (at the time) asked me to “continue to spend time” with him as he zoned out and played a video game. While that was self care for him, self care for me would have probably been to go to my OWN place (to be alone) and unwind with music and not WATCH him play a video game. There were days where I felt like I literally gave all of my time, attention and energy to to him and it was draining. I enjoyed his company and him as a person but, I stopped making time for ME. While this is entirely my fault (on that aspect) and not his, it’s something I’ve been trying to be more mindful about moving forward. Don’t get me wrong, he’s probably the most selfless, nurturing and kindhearted person I know (and always gave the same amount of effort that I did), but lack of tending to myself caused me to suffer and burnout internally.

Before ringing in the New Year, I spoke with several different groups of friends of mine and asked them to give me their perspective on love (forthcoming further below) and self care. How do you take care of you?

Friend “S”: Yoga, essential oils (for mood balancing), hikes!

Friend “J”: journaling & walking

Friend “W”: netflix marathons!

Friend “A”: video games, puzzles and building/fixing computers

Friend: “AB”: camping, kayaking, cooking, woodworking

Friend “G”: Bubble baths

Friend “Y”: biking, walking and traveling

Friend “JU”: meditation, music naps

Friend “M”: anime, photography, board games

Friend “C”: reading, watching movies, spending time with family

Friend “G”: smoking a bowl, alcohol, board games, trying new foods

Needless to say, the things my friends do for self care differ drastically, haha. I’m going to try not to follow Friend “G”‘s methods of self care, but I’m not judging him if that works for his well being. For me, I find that substances only ADD to my inability to tend to self care and end up making me super ranky and sleep deprived.

Things like walking, board games, watching movies, spending time with family, journaling and even bubble baths sound “doable” to me.  I feel like I can incorporate at least one thing each week. The one common theme I found with everyone after I asked this was that they seemed to enter a peaceful state of mind when describing their self care routines. I’d love to get to that point some day and I am working on it. Over the years, I’ve lost myself (and been stressed out) in relationships, work and mental illness, so it’s time to make time for ME.

Love

Learning to love myself (better–I say “better”, because I’ve come along way over the years, but still have miles to go), has also been something I’ve been trying to tackle. Essentially, this would seem like a no-brainer, easy task, but for me, it’s been a challenge on occasion. It’s so easy to fall back into the habits of being extremely submissive just to please someone. I remember speaking to my therapist about this right before Christmas and how if you’re unable to fully love yourself, you may allow/accept seamlessly unacceptable forms of attention, love (lust), affection (again, lust). While speaking to her, I remember thinking back to times in my life where I “settled” and accepted any type of treatment, because I didn’t think I deserved better for myself. I didn’t value myself. This obviously resulted in some shitty relationships (friendship and romantic) and other issues in my social and professional life that I’ve worked hard to repair.

“Loving yourself” to me means that you fully accept yourself for who you are. You can  enjoy your quirks, appreciate your imperfections, entertain spending time with yourself without feeling lonely and most importantly, you can appropriately accept the love of others in a healthy way.

This past weekend really made me think about “loving yourself” while being intertwined in a cloud of drama with a friend and a friend of a friend. In a nutshell, a friend of mine has a crush on their friend (who they know does not share those mutual feelings) and is so angry about it, that my friend got belligerently drunk and said really hateful things to their friend. When asked about this the following morning, my friend basically said they were so used to those that they “loved” not loving them in return that they would just find it easier if those people just “left”. My friend’s way of making them leave was to be an asshole.

My friend rambled on about how they “give everything and more” to people and these same people only meet them about halfway (sometimes). These same people also take them for granted without the least bit of guilt. As I listened to my friend, I couldn’t help but to wonder why they even put up with this in the first place?! My instinct when someone is treating me terribly is to distance myself from them and eventually cut them out of my life for good (and I have done this to several people). I don’t need people like that in my life. I’d rather be alone. Sure, it’s hard if you also “love” them, but it’s necessary.

Anyway, I just felt sad for my friend (not because of the lack of mutual crushing), but because I don’t believe they fully love themselves. No amounts of, “it will be ok, you’ll find someone else,” is going to help if this person keeps falling back into the same endless cycles of despair. You can’t fully participate in a relationship, friendship or otherwise if you can’t or don’t know how to love yourself. How are you going to love someone else? I don’t know how to tell my friend that without coming across harsh, but I really want them to love themselves enough to go after the love they actually deserve and to gracefully ditch those that don’t measure up to expectation.

Self care and learning to love yourself go hand in hand in preserving your mental and emotional stability. Without these things, it can seem like your life is spiraling out of control on a regular basis. By learning to love myself, I’ve had much more fulfilling relationships, jobs, friendships, and an overall better quality of life. I look forward to loving myself even more in the coming year.

 

Brown Eyed Boy.

I made it a point this past week to continue on the path to “normalcy”. With Christmas around the corner, I’ve started to have a lot more social engagements that have kept me busy. Being busy helps me to feel better. Seeing friends, sharing a meal, doing an activity and laughter all help me to (temporarily) feel like myself again.

While I know I’m nowhere near ready to legitimately get back out there and date again (dating is the fucking worst), I’ve decided to start meeting people (just to rebuild my confidence) and boy did a meet a bunch of people this past week. There was the guy I spoke to Tuesday night while watching a basketball game at Ale house. Like me, he was having a beer while waiting for his friends to show up for dinner. There was the guy I met at karaoke night on Thursday, that I talked to about cars for the better part of two hours. And then there was the guy I met on Friday while out (at a bar) with some friends during our weekly game night.

We had just wrapped up our fifth or sixth round of uno (house rules) and downed maybe our second or third round of beers. The bar was jam packed, the place was hoppin and my face hurt from laughing at my friend Greg as he became more and more inebriated as the night progressed and then he appeared.

“Hey, I noticed that you guys were playing a game. Do you mind if I join in? I’m new in town and I literally don’t know anyone here yet”

He was tall and bearded with tussled dark brown hair and brown puppy dog eyes. He appeared slightly nervous and smiled sweetly as we all looked over at him a bit taken a back by his presence. I found it a little bold for him to interrupt our game, but I also found him to have a lot of courage as well. I immediately welcomed him to sit down and we integrated him into our game. We played several more rounds of uno (I had to teach him how to play) and then we moved to “Cards against Humanity”, a game he taught me how to play and a game that I ended up winning. He found my answers to be hilarious.

During our games, I found out he was from Utah, an ex-Mormon, worked in marketing and was actually visiting for the weekend to tour the area and look at possible areas to live. He explained that while he hadn’t found a job in the area yet, he wanted to move to the area for a, “change” from life in Salt Lake (Utah) and decided to visit to check everything out. He was very warmhearted and had very kind eyes. He seemed amused by the silly things I would say while we gamed and seemed intrigued by the brief bits of surface information I shared about myself. As we talked, I couldn’t help but to find myself really attracted to him. He seemed a little goofy, slightly nerdy, but super intelligent and extremely sweet. I found myself getting lost in his big doe-like eyes. The only weird thing about him was that his voice sounded exactly like my ex’s. I could literally close my eyes and picture my ex speaking. That was a little bizarre and unsettling at first.

We spoke for another hour or so after everyone was buzzed and a bit gamed out. He sat closer to me by this point so that we could hear one another over the echos of the people around us.  At this point, only he and I were having a separate conversation from everyone else. He mentioned wanting to explore the city the following day and I offered up some suggestions to him and somehow threw in that I would, “be around” if he needed someone to “explore with”. He took the bate and asked for my number.

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Shortly after we exchanged numbers, he called it a night because he was tired from traveling (had just gotten in town nearly 2-3 hours before game night). I couldn’t help but to feel like I had, “won”, because I saw a guy that I found interesting, spoke to him, HIT ON HIM, GOT HIS NUMBER AND secured an exploration date of sorts. This is so far out of my character. I don’t usually pursue guys so quickly, but I had it in my mind that I liked him, found him attractive and wanted to spend more time with him separately from my friends (who by the way were all guys that evening).

The following morning, he…(let’s just call him, “Jake” – not his actual name, but slightly resembles a darker haired, more average-looking Jake Gyllenhaal with brown eyes) texted me and asked if I still wanted to explore the city with him.

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We agreed to meeting up for brunch and started the day from there. I made it a point to shower, put on makeup and to not put on sweats (Yes, there have been days lately where I have been physically unable to get out of bed–mostly weekend days).

We met at this cute little southern cafe’. He looked even cuter than he did the previous night. It’s like his adorable factor tripled. I guess everyone gets hotter once they get sleep! He wore a button down shirt, jeans and black pea coat (he seemed a little more dressed up than someone just exploring a new city and more dressed up than the night before). He gave me a huge hug as he walked up to me (as if we had known each other for years). He had a smile from ear to ear and seemed even taller than he did the night before. He smelled like sunshine and happiness.

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Over brunch, we spoke more intimately. He went into more detail about himself, his interests, his hobbies, his family, his ex-faith etc. And admitted how nervous he was the night before when he approached my friends and I about joining in on our game night. He said everyone gave him weird looks, minus me. He appreciated that I smiled at him and immediately welcomed him to join us. He said he could tell I was very kind. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him and barely touched my brunch as we continued to chit chat. Everything about him seemed happy, peaceful and kind.

We walked around the city for several hours after brunch and continued talking. He completely allowed me to be his “guide” and trusted everything I said about the city. My tour guide skills are a little raggedy, since I don’t usually have to explain the city to people. He seemed excited and intrigued anyway.

We brushed hands and shoulders a few times while walking and bashfully blushed and smiled at one another like school children. After several hours of walking and rambling on about our lives, I realized that I didn’t have my phone on me!

I frantically dug around in my pockets and purse, but there was nothing there. He could tell I was a bit concerned and suggested that we retrace our steps back towards our brunch spot. Low and behold, my phone was safely tucked away by staff at the cafe. Thank god, because I just got this phone a month ago.

We toured around for a few more hours until it started getting dark and we started getting hungry again. We stepped into a BBQ joint (the staple food of this area) for dinner where we discussed the day’s adventures. He kept saying how much he appreciated me showing him around and how he really enjoyed our time together. The entire day felt like an exaggerated date, but I knew we were just two people meandering around the city, enjoying each other’s company.

We parted ways after dinner as it was starting to get late and we’d literally knocked out 20K steps walking around all day. He thanked me once more for the lovely day, gave me a huge bear hug and told me he’d keep in touch about relocating here. He gave me a kiss on the forehead and wished me a goodnight.

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Gurrrrl. Whet?!

This morning I woke up to a message from him letting me know he was on the way to the airport and thanked me again for such a great time. We agreed to keep in touch and that was it.

While I had such a great time with “Jake”, It’s not realistic to think of a future with him. Who knows when or IF he’ll move here. Even if he DOES move here, it’d probably be months before that even happened. Nobody can promise what life will be like months from now. While I enjoyed his company, it would be foolish for me to wait around for him (which I won’t).

I will say this though, confidently pursuing”Jake” and spending time with him really helped take my mind off of my ex. It also gave me some hope that maybe I’m not doomed in regards to love forever and always. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to find someone that makes my woman bits heart flutter in that school girlish crush way that “Jake” did.  It’s like god dropped him off friday night as a late night treat. He was refreshing. Maybe I’ll be open to dating a bit further on down the road. Maybe I can find a, “Jake”.