Prevention, Precautions and Side Effects

Some months back, I had a failed IUD experience that really traumatized me to the point of avoiding contraceptives in general. I shared my concerns with my boyfriend and he was extremely supportive and understanding of my decision.

Of course, several more weeks flew by and some of the hesitation of it stared to fade and we started discussing being more “careful” in general. In speaking to my Gynecologist, she suggested Nexplanon, which is an form of BC implanted in your arm. I admit I probably didn’t do as “deep of a dive” as I probably should have when considering this method. I just knew it was 99% effective. My main concern was the cost, which at the time of my consideration, would have been $350 after insurance .

what me

Yeah, no.

In speaking back to my Gynecologist via email (I actually go a Gynecology clinic that is housed under the umbrella of the hospital I work for and we have an app where you can communicate with your healthcare provider), she informed me that if I waited until 2019 to get the implant, it would be 100% free due to some coverage changes with my plan regarding contraception. Free.99 is always a win in my books!

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In the meantime, I still felt a bit funny about not being as safe as we needed to be, so I spoke to my Gynecologist once more, who suggested going on a combination BC pill until  I had the procedure done.

I’ll admit, going on “the pill” was absolutely the last thing I wanted to do when I started, but mostly because I had heard of all of the unpleasant side effects. I started taking it in late October (it was suggested I take it the first Sunday of my period–I guess for tracking purposes) and concluded my last pack in early January. During my time on the pill I experienced:

  • Extreme mood swings (even outside of “that time of the month”)
  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Constant fatigue
  • Increased depression and anxiety (I have already been diagnosed and take medication for it, but i felt worse while on the pill)
  • Frequent Agitation
  • Some weight gain (despite not changing my diet or exercise routine).
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Breakouts (in the beginning)
  • Decreased libido

Some more positive side effects that I experienced were:

  • Regulated periods (my periods have always mostly been constant, but the pill made them a bit shorter and easier to count on a calendar–prior to taking any BC at all , I tracked my periods with the app Flo. I still use the app to this day just to log symptoms I’m feeling and to keep track of the length of symptoms).
  • Lighter cramps during my period
  • Forced me to get up at a decent time every single day since the pill strongly suggests taking it at the same time everyday.

All in all, taking the pill wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it was just inconvenient as hell and I felt like I was in a constant state of agitation. Like, constant. There’d be the rare occasions where I would take the pill later than intended and a handful of times where I left the pack at my boyfriend’s place (oops).

covering mouth

When the new year finally rolled around, I was excited to be just days away from getting the implant. Goodbye pill, hello convenient stick it in and go BC!

The appointment for the implant was mostly standard. My vitals were taken, my doctor explained some of the risks with the implant and asked me to sign a consent form to proceed with the procedure. Easy! I laid on the examination table, she gave me a numbing shot in my arm (which stung a bit at first), then she asked me to turn my head and a minute later she was finished inserting the implant in my arm. It couldn’t have gone more smoothly.  I excepted there to be some huge complication like I had with the IUD.

Before I left the room, she explained that there may be some swelling, bruising and minor pain in my arm over the next week or so. She suggested I keep the compression band aid wrapped around the incision spot for at least two days and also suggested that I finish the last week of my BC pills. Again, she mentioned possible side effects, but the only two that really stood out were: irregular periods and spotting. Gross. She closed with the reassuring statement of,  not every woman experiences this.

Several hours later the numbness of my arm wore off and I started feeling throbbing pain. It felt uncomfortable to naturally allow my arm to rest or dangle freely, so I propped a pillow under my arm (my left arm) for support. That and some ibuprofen seemed to help. The pain seemed to continue through the weekend, but faded by the start of the following week.

By mid week, the pain had mostly gone away, but my arm was a bit bruised, tender and felt funny if I moved it around too much or too quickly. I had also finished taking my pills mid week and with completing the “pack” brought on what I thought was my period…but this was not my period, oh no. This was “spotting“. This lasted for about a week and grew a bit heavier each day until my actual period started and came in with terrible cramps.

Now, I’ve always experienced painful cramps, but these were different. No amount of OTC pain medicine seemed to eliminate them (and I was taking the max amount each day) and they lasted the duration of my period (as opposed to the first 1-2 days like they normally do). And speaking of my period, it lasted a whopping 11 days. Granted, the flow wasn’t as heavy as normal, but it was consistent enough to be annoying. It was also annoying because I had no indication of when it would end. Once Ms. Flow made her departure, the spotting returned for another week and a half! Omg.

All throughout the messy red wave, I experienced a tension or cluster headache and sometimes a migraine just about daily. I’d wake up with one, it would linger throughout the day, I’d go to bed with one and start the entire cycle all over again. I was fatigue to the point of barely having energy to do simple household chores or even focus on basic tasks at work, and just didn’t feel “well” in general. While my mood was mostly stable during this time, the severe cramping, frequent bleeding, headaches and extreme exhaustion were kicking my ass. After about three weeks of this, I addressed it with my doctor, who basically told me to pop some ibuprofen and “ride it out” for 3 more months because apparently it takes your body time to “adjust”.

concerns

I read up on the experiences of many women who had gotten the implant and I’d say about 85% of them experienced the same symptoms and they did not go away for whatever duration of time past 3 months that they choose to keep the implant “installed”. Some women who kept the implant in for the entire 3 years claimed that none of this ever went away. That was super encouraging news. Greatttt.

My period and any lingering spotting finally went away (at least temporarily) maybe the last day or so of January and has “stayed away” ever since (according to flo, my period is almost over a week late). I’ve read that, that doesn’t mean those symptoms aren’t coming back and they could come back unexpectedly and for longer periods of time. There is literally no way to know when or if they’re coming back. All I can do is stay prepared. I hope I’m one of those lucky few women that either stop having periods or have them with longer time in between.

I’ve only had the implant now for a month and a half. These are the side effects I’ve experienced so far:

  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Spotting
  • Longer than usual period
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Elevated blood pressure (which I’ve had to now address with my Primary Care Physician)
  • Minor and infrequent arm tenderness (near the implant site)

One positive outcome from the implant has been the freedom of not having to remember to take a pill every, single day at the same damn time. It’s in and to my knowledge, it’s working as directed–I’m 99% sure I am not pregnant dispute my period being “late” since the algorithm of flo has no way of knowing my body is literally in a tailspin right now and my entire cycle has been thrown off.

As the my doctor suggested, I’ll assess how I feel after the 3 month mark. If the symptoms have “settled” or “stabilized” , I’ll continue on and keep it on a bit longer, otherwise, I may consider having it removed and going back to the drawing board.

Into The Future

Life has been relatively great lately. I’m finally getting over the plague I dealt with basically the entire month of January. Slowly, but surely.

Work has been (at times) a bit chaotic, but I’m starting to notice the chaos is basically coming from leadership never being proactive and always being REactive to situations. It drives me insane, because I’ve always prided myself on thinking about all possible outcomes as I navigate any situation (especially work related). Reacting to every little thing dramatically sends bad vibes throughout the office. Lately, it’s been triggering my anxiety a bit, but I’ve tried to do a little better in this new year about setting “boundaries”.

I’ve decided that:

  • I refuse to work OT unless it’s absolutely necessary – this does not make me a bad employee, especially if I manage my time well (which I do)
  • I refuse to volunteer for everything
  • I’m taking more of a leadership role on projects and various other opportunities to showcase my skill set
  • Instead of doing someone’s job for them, I’m instructing them on how to execute a task and wishing them well–this is huge for me, because I’ve spent the last few years almost taking on aspects of everyone else’s job
  • I refuse to be “available around the clock”, especially on PTO days. I am allowed to have a life outside of work and I plan to do just that.
  • Speaking of PTO, I am setting myself a goal of taking 2 days off a month, with at least 1 true “vacation” (The Teacher and I are planning a vacation in April for a few days).

Speaking of the Teacher, things are continuing to go well with us. He still continues to be the sweetest and most loving person ever. It’s been hard for me to truly trust people and let my walls down, but he’s been extremely patient, supportive and loving, so my walls are just about gone. I feel very comfortable talking to him and being myself even if that means I’m dealing with depression or anxiety and he’s a lot more open about his own struggles with depression and anxiety as well. I think sharing those struggles with depression and anxiety has really helped us bond that much more over these last couple of months. Having the emotional support of your significant other is such a wonderful feeling and having them understand what you’re going through on an emotional level is invaluable.

Speaking of months, we’re coming up on our 1 year dating anniversary. In less than a week! Dating anniversary (not relationship anniversary). It’s hard to believe an entire year has flown by so quickly. I’m not entirely happy with myself for being kind of coy and stupid at first with the Teacher, but I think keeping an emotional distance, really thinking about our connection (and maybe what i wanted) and taking our time to get to know one another has really built a strong foundation for our relationship and has actually added true meaning and purpose to it. Anyway, we’ve been talking about celebrating the anniversary, which is the same week of Vday (ours is on Sunday). We’ve decided to do something “big deal” on the day of (he suggested going to the brewery where we had our first date and then going out somewhere “nice” from there) and then having a relaxing night IN for Vday, with takeout/ or making dinner and cuddles. I have a feeling that he’s probably buying a lot of shit for both the anniversary and Vday. I’m not entirely crazy about people spending lots of  money on me. He spent quite a bit of money on me for Christmas. Like, tons (granted, i spent a lot on him too, but that’s different 😉). Not only did he get the 3 reasonably priced items I asked for, he got me tons of other things too. He asked what my work address was today 👀. Either he plans on doing a B&E or maybe sending flowers or something? I’ve never received flowers at work actually, that’d be cool, but absurdly expensive 🤦🏽‍♀️.

Another thing we discussed last week was moving in together. This has vaguely crossed my mind a few times over the past month or so, but he brought it up over dinner last weekend in conversation and suggested we start looking for places since our leases are both up in July.  That’s a huge step in a relationship, but one I think we’re both ready for. I also think it will save both of us money, as we’d be splitting rent as opposed to paying two separate rents and commuting back and forth to each other’s places (we live about 15 minutes worth of a highway trip away from one another).

Speaking of relationship stages, I spoke to my ex briefly this afternoon. Our conversation started with him updating  me on how his family (who lives up north where the temps have been -48 or some shit  this week) was doing. The conversation somehow then went left and he spent an hour talking about all of these failed relationships and dating experiences he’s had since we broke up.

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Part of me felt sorry for him (because he is a good person), but in speaking to him, I see a pattern of him crashing and burning when it comes to love. His idea of love doesn’t involve a great deal of logic. He acts mostly on infatuation. It’s like he’s not patient enough to let something grow organically, which is important in building something. It’s like he’s in love with the idea of love. Love doesn’t always happen at “first sight”. It’s not like the movies. It’s not always perfect and just because it isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel so soon. I’ve definitely learned my lesson after going through a whirlwind romance with him. I hope to never do that shit ever again. It’s not healthy. And it took a lot for me to move past it and fully heal.

He told me about dating some girl a month after we broke up only for her to break his heart and dump him two days before his birthday and how he had to go to therapy to deal with “feeling lost”. He told me he “loved” this girl 🙄. I admitted to him I also had a similar experience when he and I broke up (which he’s long been aware of–except, I didn’t “love” him). He apologized for causing me pain, I accepted it and reminded him that I have no resentment towards him (which I don’t). Life lesson learned. He also admitted to regretting the way he ended things between us. TBH, I don’t care anymore. I’ve healed. I’m over it. I’m happy. When he asked how I was doing, I wrestled with being transparent about my own love life, but decided to be honest and let him know that I’ve been in a long-term relationship with a guy that makes me truly happy. He seemed genuinely happy for me, which is mature of him, because I guess that might have been a dick move of mine to tell him that, especially after he spent twenty minutes complaining about his own love life.

Oh well. Such is life.

Outside of that, I’m just coasting and trying to remind myself to practice more self-care this year. I’ve done just ok so far, but I can do better.

 

A Year Later…

It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year since the split that (at the time) seemed to rock my entire world and I feel blessed to be able to look back on that experience today and be at peace with it.

Looking back on it, the relationship was probably doomed from the start. My ex (while still a very kindhearted and lovely guy), wasn’t entirely ready or even patient enough to build a new relationship with someone from the foundation up. At the time, I didn’t realize he had dealt with a broken engagement several months prior to us dating, which explains many of his (at the time) questionable and irrational actions and mannerisms. I can’t even begin to imagine or understand the pain of losing someone you thought you were supposed to spend the rest of your life with. I felt the entire relationship from our first date or our breakup was super rushed and colorfully chaotic. While fun and romantic, it lacked a great deal of crucial foundation. Milestone after milestone after milestone, when in reality being formally engaged, he probably missed many of those relationship comforts and longed to experience love again with someone new, but quickly to maybe fill a void. This is not to say our relationship wasn’t real or that he didn’t genuinely care about me, though, because I know that he did (as did I).

Unfortunately, I am not a replacement for an ex-fiancee and I’ve never claimed to be (nor do I ever want to be) and if I could have done anything in my power to take that hurt away from him or heal his heart, I would have done so in an instant. He was a good guy and treated me extremely well, but his heart wasn’t ready to be legitimately open during our time. I don’t think his intentions were to ever hurt me and I’ve forgiven him for the hurt I had to endure as a result. While I wouldn’t call us friends (though he’s referred to me as such), we are currently on good terms and occasionally catch up with one another from time to time. Knowing that he’s doing well in life genuinely makes me happy, he deserves it.

Building a relationship with someone is hard work and not something that I think should be rushed. Corners should not be cut. There are not shortcuts, back roads or detours. You have to be all in and committed to it. It takes time to build that trust and grow the relationship into something beautiful (and strong). To force a relationship forward past all of the initial building phases is emotionally reckless and almost never ends well. I think it’s natural in the earlier stages to have some infatuation over your S.O., but the entire relationship shouldn’t solely exist off of that feeling.

I spent yesterday reflecting on some of the night it happened and just how hurt I was. How could this happen? What did I do wrong? Will I ever open my heart like that again? But then I thought beyond that night and how much I’ve grown (emotionally) as a person over the past year since. I am so proud of what I’ve become. I am a much stronger person. It’s definitely been an interesting ride, but I couldn’t be happier with how life turned out.

I’m in a happy, long term, committed relationship with this amazing guy and I probably would have never met him had I not gone through heartache before (and maybe some other stumbles along the way).

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.

 

Car accident gif

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…

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.

 

Make Nice (and mean it)

So part of my goals for 2018 was to leave any of the hateful, bitter and downright ugly emotions I experienced at the very end of 2017 behind. What time to start new, start fresh and look towards the future, right? Of course, this was way easier said than done, especially a couple of days into the new year, but I’m happy to report that it’s gotten easier and I feel like a much more normalized version of myself (still working on it though).

Of course a HUGE part of this attitude adjustment was to finish the healing process, forgive my ex (and think of the experience as a life lesson) and to genuinely wish him well. The last part took the longest by far, haha. As sweet as he is, for a few months I really wasn’t in the right mental or emotional space to wish him well and that’s ok. I’m HUMAN and I needed to get through it (all the feels) and get to the other side of feeling better. What’s important is that I didn’t act on or verbalize much of my (lack of) well wishes.

So fast forward to present day and things are much better. We’ve actually spoken a few times over the past couple of weeks and we actually chatted via text for a little while after work yesterday. He updated me on his house hunt and told me he had put an offer on a place. Fun fact, his house (should he get it) is less than a mile down the street from my parent’s house. Ha, I’m not sure how I feel about that, but good for him regardless.

The house he has his eyes on is an older house in need of significant repairs and he has it in his heart to completely renovate it “on his own” as much as humanly possible. He’s been talking about this since I’ve known him actually. I remember walking around IKEA with him one night and watching his eyes light up with excitement over all of the possibilities. It’s like his thing. That’s quite a task to take on, but I believe in him and believe he’s motivated enough to make it happen. He’s got a really creative mind and I just know something fabulous will come out of it.

All in all he seems to be a in good place too. I remember him not doing so well right around Thanksgiving, so I’m glad that he at least seems to be better too. Neither one of us went into any specific detail about our dating lives, but then again, I don’t find that to be a topic I feel that I owe him an elaborate narrative on or do I feel the need to know an elaborate explanation on his either.

I’m very proud of myself, because several months ago I would have approached all of this in an emotionally reckless and self-destructive fashion. I’m happy I can find genuine happiness for someone without any ill will or petty motives brewing AND without any lingering ROMANTIC feelings on top of all of that. I can talk to him in a completely platonic way and feel nothing there (outside of maybe acquaintanceship–I wouldn’t say that we’re “friends” just yet) . I get joy out of knowing those things are happening for him. It feels great to no longer have a heart saturated in sadness and hate.

Actual Factual Advice

I’m still riding that wave of being (mostly) at peace. After all, I’m not perfect by any means and there is still a itty bitty part of me dusting off emotionally, but I’m so much better than I was, omg! It feels amazing to want to get up, to want to be social, to be able to focus on other aspects of my life that I had been neglecting for months. Most importantly, it feels nice to have the courage to “get back out there” and KNOW that this person nor that situation “ended” me. While I’ve been hurt or a little sad about ended relationships before, this was my first substantial heartbreak because I was so emotionally invested.

I don’t think being “emotionally invested” is a bad thing. It means that you believe in that person and your connection with them. It means you’re putting faith in things and giving it a go and you’re being vulnerable. A lot of risk comes with that and before this relationship; I realized I had never really been that vulnerable with anyone, even with guys that I *thought* I “loved”. I was always overly cautious, which led me not to be emotionally connected or invested in any past exes. Even one I was with for about a year. I deserved so much better than that.

Not to sound “cheesy”, but this whole situation reminds of a scene in the Black Panther movie where T’Challa (Black Panther) is laying in a bed of snow (he is near death and feeling defeated. While in this coma like state he is speaking to his ancestors who are inviting him to join them in the afterlife) and one moment he’s clinging to life and is powerless and then the next moment he realizes he has unfinished business to tend to, regains the “Black Panther” strength and emerges more powerful than before. I wish I could find that image online, but I’ve searched for about ten minutes and I have other things to do…

Anyway, it’s amazing how when you’re “heartbroken” the world seems like it is ending and the advice everyone gives you goes a little something like this:

“It will get better”

“You’re better off”

“He was a/an [insert insult here] anyway”

“Everything happens for a reason”

“You’ll find someone new/better”

“Smile. It will hurt less.”

Just don’t *think* about them”

“Go out and rebound”

“Maybe you’ll get back together”

 

Let’s be honest, none (well, most) of these things aren’t sinking in to your brain, which is diluted with negative energy and sadness by this point. You are exhausted and you can barely think about tomorrow, let alone “the future”. I really wish when I went through this painful experience I was told:

“It’s going to really HURT and for a while. Like physical pain level of hurt.”

“It’s going to suck and there are going to be days where you feel like you can’t function, but over time you will feel better.”

It’s ok to cry and to feel sad. You’re in mourning. Actually go through the stages of these emotions. Allow yourself to feel this raw emotion.”

“Don’t hold things in. Talk to loved ones or professionals if you can.”

“Blog it out.”

“You’ll go through a roller coaster of emotions. Some days you’ll feel a little better and then several days later you’ll feel sad again (sometimes without reason), but as time moves on you’ll have more good days than bad days until eventually the majority of your days are good again.”

“You’ll long for your ex and even act on seeing them. That’s normal. While reuniting (even on a friendly basis) sounds like a good idea, it’s not (shortly after a breakup) and will set both of you off course emotionally. Wait six or more months and if you’re able to have a genuine platonic friendship, go for it, but keep your boundaries in check.”

“Cut communication as much as possible. Even if you’re cordial to one another, it’s just not necessary to be “in touch” right after.”

“Go out and find new hobbies, experience new things, travel, make new friends. These eventual distractions will prove to be pivotal in your recovery.”

“If going to a certain place reminds you of them, don’t go to that place if it is at all humanly possible. Protect your peace.”

“Stop re-reading their text messages, emails, listening to their voicemails, making googly eyes at photos of them (you both as a couple counts too), in fact,  remove the photos from your phone, or at the very least place them in a “hidden” folder or store them on a hard drive. Social media wise, hide their updates and hide yours from them too. If absolutely necessary (wasn’t for me), delete them from your social media pages. At least for now. Protect. your. peace.”

“When you do dust off and get back out there again, try not to date someone just like them. Try to date someone different from your ex. They might surprise you (in a good way). You will naturally compare your new bae to your ex, but don’t be too critical.”

“Take things slow in your next romantic encounter. Consider the reasons why you and your ex didn’t work and strive to not repeat those things moving forward. Be logical and tell your heart to pace itself.”

“Take your time and only get back out there when you feel as though you’re all better. Don’t date with a revengeful heart or even for the purposes of rebounding or making your ex jealous. Those situations will never end well and might potentially hurt the other person in the crossfire of your selfish behavior.”

“You’re probably going to date a lot of cornballs [see guy #1] and fuck boys post break-up. Go out, have fun, keep an open mind and know your worth. Eventually, your “prince charming” will come around.”

“You may have days where you are not your ex’s biggest fan [2]….EVEN if you guys ended things mutually or in a very peaceful way and they treated you like gold while you were together. That is OK. It’s natural to have a bit a resentment, try not to act on it though.”

“There will be times where you’ll be worried about them. Wondering if they’re ok, if they’re lonely, if they feel guilt, if they have second thoughts, etc. Yes, they probably do indeed have these thoughts and go through these things, but it’s not your job to “protect” them anymore.”

***

I could easily go on and on with this, but what is most important is that I made it through the worst of it and I am on the other side now with a renewed sense of self. I don’t regret meeting my ex or even being in a relationship with him, not for one second. I’m glad I let my guard down and took the chance to let him into my world. Imagine had I not let my guard down, I would have potentially missed out on having someone really amazing in my life. I would have missed out on truly understanding what it feels like to have someone love me unconditionally and to meet my effort 110%. I cherish those moments that we shared and I feel honored that of all people, he chose to share those moments with me. I wish him all of the success and happiness in the world, I really do.

One of the best gifts he gave me was learning how to truly love and trust and ALLOWING someone to love and trust you in return. I just hope that moving forward I can approach love in that way with someone new, which I’m sure I will in time. And if I never do, at least I can say I did have the pleasure of experiencing it.

Protecting My Peace.

I’ve had a really busy couple of days (socially) in the past week and as I sat down to write this blog entry, I realized just how tired I really am. I think I have officially depleted my social energy for a good 24-48 hrs. I think part of my exhaustion is coming from trying to be everyone’s best and most loyal friend, which has come at the price of often splitting my time across numerous social events that overlap, foregoing regular sleep schedules and contemplating just when I’m going to get around to taking care of the basic chores around my house.

Since the breakup (that I felt at the time was “devastating“), I’ve been blessed to welcome (and re-welcome) so many wonderful people and new experiences into my life, that I probably would have never met/known/experienced/crossed paths with had I not gone through that enormous heartache. I’ve been assessing it lately, but not in a, “woe is me, I’m still butt hurt behind this, fuck this guy,” but more of a very peaceful, “everything happens for a reason and I’m a better person because of it and I hope he is too”. All in all, I learned a lot from it and was able to have this extraordinarily fascinating person in my life that I’m excited to see (from a distance) continue to blossom as he swan dives into his 30s this year. He has a good head on his shoulders and a heart and gold and I know he’ll go far in life. He kept me on my toes, showed me what it was like to love unconditionally and helped me realize that I definitely deserve all of the love and positive energy that I am putting out into the universe in return and that I should never settle for anything less from anyone. I just feel blessed that I was fortune enough to cross paths with him on this journey we call life. Hopefully he took something away from me too and I hope he’s treated just as well as he deserves to be treated or I might possibly have to cut a bitch .

money mike.gif

Ha. No, I’m not high or anything like that, I’ve just been mostly at peace with it. Maybe I just needed to get past valentine’s day before I could officially “let go” of whatever remnants of “hurt” that were still lingering.

It’s funny, because just as I’m finding more peace with the situation, I’ve been able to make room for someone new. Well, I shouldn’t say, “new”, more like the notion of someone new. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am actively dating again, but slowly and a little more on the casual side. I’m not looking to dive head first into a relationship for a while. As my friend Greg put it (in reference to himself in terms of dating), “I’m a little rusty and need the practice.” It’s been interesting so far, but lately, I’ve been spending a little more time with one guy in particular (I believe I reference him here).

I haven’t really thought about this guy in an extremely serious sense and I don’t get butterflies really, but he’s been a lot of fun to be around with and reminds me of what it’s like to just go out, have fun and chill. He’s really kind and makes me laugh. We’re just about able to make an adventure out of pretty much anything that we do together. While on the goofy side, I like that he’s a very chivalrous guy. He still opens doors, uses his manners, dresses up for dates and all of that classy shit. He’s also very intelligent and doesn’t spend an ungodly amount of time consumed with technology or social media like most people. I like that I don’t feel pressured or rushed into “labels” like I was in my last relationship. I like that we make goofy faces at each other sometimes just to be silly and I also like that I’m just able to have fun with him and still maintain having my own life and identity outside of it. In my last relationship, I felt like I was almost instantly sucked into the black hole of my ex’s gravitational pull.While he was very sweet and the newness of the relationship was exciting, to was at times, very lonely, because I felt like I wasn’t able to entertain doing the things I loved or wanted to do outside of getting to know him.

Anyway, Friday night babyface and I went out for Thai and drinks by my place. Since our encounter the previous week, I’ve been trying to get him over to my place in more a roundabout way without coming out and saying, “just come over so we can…😉🍆👌🏾😏☺️,” I mean hey, I am a woman and I “respect myself”, but I like to have fun as well and I’m single and can do that. Ha. I’m not sure if he figured out my very calculated plan (yes, I calculated out just how everything was going to work in my head before the night got started), but he’s fairly “go with the flow” and went along with it.

After a fancy Thai dinner (which by the way, was at the same place I’ve been to with my ex numerous times and the hostess set us at the table that my ex and I would always sit at–can we say weird), we went out for drinks at a tavern not far from my house, but not before I suggested he leave his truck parked there so we could go to the tavern in one car (because ultimately, I wanted him to come back to my place after).

Drinks were fun and I offered to pay since he’s been paying for all of our dates these past few weeks. I don’t mind picking up the tab if I feel like the guy legitimately enjoys my company and isn’t just trying to fuck, play games or be a mooch. Drink wise, we both went hard and had a few rounds of bourbon before closing out. I sort of think we were trying to out do one another to see who could stand the manliest drink. I’m pretty sure he won, being that he’s a smooth 8 inches taller than me and athletically toned.

Before heading back to my place, he suggested we swing by the grocery store to pick up some beer to have while we watched netflix (and chillllled). After he became a bit indecisive about the beer, he suggested I choose. I was already well on my way to being intoxicated, so I didn’t really see myself drinking beer once we got back, but I opted for a smooth seasonal cider and we were on our way.

Once back at my place, he went into this super sweet mode of pulling me close and cuddling with me. He’d gently rub my back and softly kiss my forehead as the alcohol really started to settle in and caused me to feel sleepy (or maybe I was just sleepy and those two energy drinks I smashed hours earlier at work both wore off at the same damn time). I could barely finish the one beer I did open, while he easily drank another two, before I told him I was tired and asked if could move our netflix and chill session upstairs to my bedroom so I could lay down. He agreed and off we went. By this point, we were both exhausted (mostly from work), but the stars all aligned we went for it.

As I mentioned before, this has been my first true (and full) intimate encounter since my ex, so while it felt a tad bit strange for a few seconds, I eventually got over it and focused appropriately on babyface.

sensational

After all was said and done, I offered the invitation for him to stay the night, which he had no issue taking and we passed out. My sleep was fragmented at best, but it was nice to wake up warm and being cuddled. I remember waking up as the sun rose to study his bare chest as I laid comfortably on it. His pecks and arms are really muscular, but not in a crazy body builder sense. They appropriately fit his physique and was pleasant to study while he woke up. Talk about a work of art. Yas. We small talked and cuddled for about an hour or two before eventually getting out of bed. No, I didn’t make him brekafast, because I didn’t really have any food in my house (I know, what a shitty host I am). We kissed each other goodbye and he left to go start his day and went into starting mine, which was fully loaded (starting with lunch, a showing of the black panther, game night, dinner and impromptu concert outing with vday vibe guy and bar hopping with friends).

And now that leaves today. I had another jam packed day full of social events, but I woke up and cancelled them all if for no other reason than peace of mind. I really hate to be a flake like that (because I am usually very loyal and do what I say I’m going to do), but I over committed myself (again) and needed to take a step back. As the weekend approached earlier this week, I realized I had built in very little time to rest and relax and I just wanted a day to meander do things on my own time without any set schedule. I went for a run on one of my favorite trails, took some nature photos, binged some netflix and took a nap. Best day in a long time!

To wrap up, what I essentially thought was going to be a shitty week turned out to be fairly decent and stress free one. I’m starting to feel alive again and back tobetter than my old self. I’m really hoping my positive outlook on a recently ended relationship and my future moving forward will continue. It’s so much easier to go through life this way!

“Hold on to Hope If You Got It”

While working this morning, I decided to listen to Paramore’s latest album (After Laughter) and stumbled upon the song “26”. While, I’ve had this album downloaded for months, I’ve never *really* listened to it from start to finish. I’ve skipped around here and there. Anyway, I finally listened to this entire song today and it’s beautiful, but also a little sad. It kind of reminds of being in a hopeless place after being heartbroken and trying to talk myself into “not giving up all hope”. That’s a difficult place to be in and one I don’t wish on my worst enemy. Everything seems dark and desolate.

I’m thankful to be in a much better place today than several months ago. Life just keeps getting better as time goes on and I’m eager to see where the journey takes me next.

Here are the lyrics. The portion in red was particularly touching to me.

 

Man, you really know how to get someone down
Everything was fine until you came around
I’ve been chasing after dreamers in the clouds
After all wasn’t I the one who said
To keep your feet on the ground?
Man, you really brought me back down

Hold on to hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody
They say that dreaming is free
But I wouldn’t care what it cost me

You got me tied up but I stay close to the window
And I talk to myself about the places that I used to go
I’m hoping someday maybe I’ll just float away
And I’ll forget every cynical thing you say
When you gonna hear me out
Man, you really bring me down

Hold on to hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody
They say that dreaming is free
But I wouldn’t care what it cost me

Reality will break your heart
Survival will not be the hardest part
It’s keeping all your hopes alive
When all the rest of you has died
So let it break your heart 

And hold on to hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody

Hold on to hope if you got it
Don’t let it go for nobody
They say that dreaming is free
I wouldn’t care what it cost me