Life Has Been Grand

I can’t believe it’s been six months since I last blogged! I guess life just got away from me these past few months and I didn’t make it a point to slow down and update it.

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For the most part, life has been good. There have been several changes and additions to my life that I feel very comfortable with.

Home Sweet Home

Living with The Teacher, has been amazing so far and we’ve managed to compromise and create routines to keep us both happy and engaged in the experience of sharing a home. For example, we make it a point to have dinner together every night unless one of us is out of town. Regardless of how busy or tired we are, we always sit down over dinner to spend time together. We also make a point to have at least one formal date night (in the sense that we’re specifically going out or staying in with the purpose of spending dedicated and uninterrupted time together)

We have also done well with tending to our “alone time” for hobbies and decompression. With The Teacher, his “alone time” is usually spent playing video/computer games, reading and grading, while mine has been binge watching shows that I know he has no interest in, taking walks and on very rare occasions, writing.

We’ve definitely grown a lot as a couple over the past six months and I look forward to growth continuing.

New Ride

After months…well, YEARS of living in fear of being stranded during my long-ish commutes, I finally bought a new (to me) suv It’s a Candy Apple Red 2017 RAV4 SE with black leather seats and a sunroof. It’s been a pretty fun suv so far and I’ve wanted one for a few years now. I purchased the RAV4 on somewhat of an impulse on a random Monday I took off from work for rest and relaxation. I had been casually researching suvs online and came across the RAV4 in my search. It was reasonably priced and had all the features I was looking for, so I drove 45 minutes out of town to test drive it and ended up buying it. I initially told no one that I bought it until I pulled into the driveway to surprise The Teacher with the news later that afternoon. He was quite surprised, especially since he had been nagging me to buy a new car over the past year.

Mental/Sexual Health

I’ve had some ups and downs over the last few months mental health wise, but I’ve started to pay more attention to my triggers and have found healthier ways to distress (like reading, writing, walking, resting). For instance, I’ve made it a point to take at least 2-3 days off per calendar month and so far, I’ve done well with that promise to myself, which has given me some much needed mental breaks from the chaos that is my job. I try to make it a point to have at least one of the 2-3 days spent doing very little planned activities. I’ve primarily tried to make it a point to stay at home and relax when I can.

My sexual health has been a tad bit better lately as I think my hormones night be trying to settle down (fingers crossed). I still find myself spotting more than I’d like (which is annoying), having the occasional and unexplained mood swings, cramps and occasional breakouts, but I’ve learned to live with them and have adjusted some of my self care routines to address some of the side effects. The peace of mind knowing that the probability of an unplanned pregnancy is highly unlikely, seems to set me straight whenever I get discouraged by the side effects (especially because we weren’t being careful early on). I will say that it worries me a bit that when it comes time to remove the implant (in a little over two years), will I struggle to conceive (should I want to), because I’ll have hit the age of being considered a “geriatric pregnancy” and complications will ensue.

Bonding and Family Acceptance

Over the past six months, I’ve been able to spend more time with getting to know the Teacher’s family. I’ve grown to really like them and from what I can tell, they seem to enjoy my company as well, which is a relief. About a year ago, I was nervously on my way to meet his father for the first time and now we’re on a first name basis. About two weeks ago, we spent the weekend with his mom and I really got to spend a lot of one on one time with her, which was lovely.

The Teacher has also spent more time with my parents and even came with me to a mini family reunion on my mom’s side of the family around The 4th of July. My family was very welcoming to him and he seemed to genuinely have a great time. I know meeting someone’s extended family can be particularly scary, because you really have no way of knowing (or controlling) how they’ll feel about you.

The Future

Lately, we’ve been invited to or involved with numerous milestones from friends. Weddings, Bachelor/Bachelorette Showers, Baby Showers, Engagement Parties, etc. For each milestone, it sort of makes me wonder what reaching those milestones might be like or if it’s too soon for me to even consider thinking about them. There was a time where I couldn’t realistically envision any of those things happening to me, but now they seem somewhat attainable.

Recently, The Teacher has shown a heightened interest in a ring that I wear infrequently on my right ring finger. The ring is silver and a bit on the plain side. Each time I wear it, he’ll comment on it, remove it from my hand and examine it closely. Sometimes he’ll playfully toss it around, which has made me warn him not to lose it. His response, “Well, I’ll buy you (another) one”. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but he rarely shows interest in the other jewelry I wear–even pieces that he’s given me. This also isn’t the first time I’ve worn rings, I’ve worn them here and there since we’ve been together.

Update : My speculations were true! Last night, The Teacher told me that he plans to give me “another kind of ring” around our anniversary (in four months). His reasoning? He says the two year mark seems like the perfect time. He also said he wasn’t really going to keep his plans a surprise much longer because he needs my help on selecting the right ring 💍 .

Welp, hopefully I do a little better about blogging and less time stuck in la-la land.

 

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).

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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”.

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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.

 

Thankful.

Well, I’m happy to report that I made it through all of the anxiety ridden Thanksgiving festivities this year. When I last wrote, I was gearing up to spend the holiday with the Teacher’s family (I previously met his father and step mother, but would be meeting several other extended family members and his actual MOM). To say I was a wee bit nervous was a bit of an understatement!

Let’s start from the beginning…

Before even heading out-of-town to visit his family, we (well I) made dinner plans with two of my best friends from high school. The Teacher had previously met one of my best friends (that lives locally) the same weekend he met my parents, but hadn’t yet met the other BFF, who lives out-of-state. When I found out this friend of mine would be in town, I jumped on the opportunity to introduce him to the Teacher. It’s been important to me lately to introduce The Teacher to every important person in my life so that he gets an even better idea of who I am and what the people who matter to me the most are like. Of course, by this point, anyone who I’m relatively in consistent contact with has either met the Teacher or at least knows who he is (and that he exists).

Dinner went over well as I thought it would. He seemed to get along effortlessly with two of my OTHER favorite people, which made my heart smile. I remember sitting back quietly observing the three of them (all guys) having a conversation like they’d known each other for years and it just made me warm and fuzzy inside. They all genuinely seemed to have a good time and it was great (later) to hear (from them) that they liked the Teacher and it was great to also hear that the Teacher genuinely like them as well.

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The following day we were off to his childhood home for Thanksgiving. While I wasn’t entirely nervous to see his father and step mother (since I just met them last month), I was a bit nervous to meet his mom. Throughout the entire time we’ve dated, the Teacher hasn’t said a great deal about his mom, outside of the fact that she was significantly younger than his dad and at times seemed to struggle with being “independent”. It was hard to visualize this woman who gave birth to this wonderful man. Was she a good person?? Would she accept me? What all did she know about me?

I remember at one point semi early on in dating one another (I think when we were more casually dating–but still seeing each other frequently enough for things to be “going somewhere”), having a conversation where he admitted to alluding to his family that he was “dating someone”, but failed to really provide a great deal of specifics outside of that (I’m starting to notice a pattern with the Teacher’s lack of details/substance in his description of the people in his life lol). That’s fair and I remember not being offended by his comment. I was actually relieved that he hadn’t said much about me. At the time, I doubt I had said much about him (if anything) specifically either. I guess we’re both guarded in that way and choose to keep our “love life” private until we feel it’s serious and stable enough to include the other people in our life. Of course now we’re in the “free fall” stage of literally meeting every friend, family member/loved one, neighbor, co-worker, pet, etc in the other person’s life….yeah, that’s been uh…eventful to say the least, but mostly great.

Anyway, on the ride down to meet mom, he explained to me that his mom was a “good person” and was “very nice”, but paused and frowned a bit when describing her now fiancée. Let’s call him Bill.

I have to be transparent in saying this though…Bill seems to be a nice guy, but he’s very…how to do I put it? Conservative? Southern…old? A little set in his ways…possibly a Trump supporter? He *may* say something stupid in those regards…

So…indirectly what he was trying to say is that Bill possibly had some “deep-rooted” backwoods racism brewing and the idea of his step son–who he probably already doesn’t quite ‘understand’ bringing home his black girlfriend would probably be enough to send him to glory on this fine holiday?!

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Check. My heart sank a bit when he said this, even after he told me his mom was absolutely not that way (even went as far to say that his mom was very liberal–how that even works, I’m not sure). My nervousness swiftly changed to internal rage coupled with activated defensiveness on justifying who I was as a person.

The plan was to meet the mom at the movie theater and then dinner after, because apparently that’s what the Teacher and his mom do whenever they get together. How was I supposed to make a good impression in the dark? When we walked into the lobby, I nervously trailed behind him as he strolled up to who I assumed was his mom and Bill and the introductions began. His mom seemed genuinely happy to meet me, but perhaps also nervous?  Bill didn’t say much, but smiled and shook my hand (probably thinking in his mind, “I don’t like black people, but I’m trying to be on my best behavior for my soon to be wife”).  Shortly after the introductions we took our seats in the theater. We were there to see: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which in my personal opinion was all over the fucking place plot wise, but then again I wasn’t the BIGGEST fan of the first one, so who am I to really comment?

Dinner followed the confusion of the movie and by this point my nervousness (and defensiveness) had semi worn off and my hunger kicked into high gear. It was going on 8 o clock and the Teacher and I hadn’t even had anything to eat that day! WTF?! His mom opted for a Thai restaurant where we dined on spring rolls, Pad Thai and plum wine. Speaking of wine, I gifted his mom with a bottle of her favorite wine after The Teacher let it slip out that his mom recently had a birthday AND what her favorite wine was. Brownie points!

Throughout the dinner, his mom seemed to keep a steady conversation. She didn’t grill me on anything and naturally let me elaborate on things in my life as I felt up to it. Of course, she did the mom thing and told embarrassing stories about him and how she “owed” me “naked baby photos” of him the next time I was in town, since The Teacher told his mom how my mom the previous weekend (while having him over for dinner) showed him all of MY baby photos! There was one moment where the Teacher got up to use the bathroom and his mom shared with me how much he had spoken about me (to her) for months and how she was very eager to meet this “lovely lady” in his life.

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After dinner we ventured back to his dad’s house for the evening to retire to bed before having to be up bright and early to great the rest of his extended family for Thanksgiving. In my mind, I felt like things would be ok meeting wise, but for some reason after laying down for bed I started to get fairly anxious and had a full-blown anxiety attack while laying in bed. I haven’t had an actual full-blown “I feel like I’m having a heart attack,” anxiety attack in several months. My body temperature climbed quickly, my heart was racing–almost beating out of my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Luckily, The Teacher (who was laying beside me during all of this) managed to help me through it and assure me that things would be fine with his family the following day. He stayed calm, held me in his arms and kept speaking in a really calm and empathetic voice. He stayed up with me for a good two hours before I relaxed enough to attempt to go to sleep. While I was partially embarrassed for him to see me in such a vulnerable state, it was good to have him there as comfort as well.

The following day went better than expected. His grandfather, aunt and cousin all arrived promptly at noon and we had a few hours of wine and cheese nibbling before dinner. I had a chance to casually speak to his aunt, grandfather and cousin, which was nice. I especially enjoyed speaking to his grandfather, who seemed to share a similar sense of humor with The Teacher’s father and The Teacher! Now I see where his goofy nature comes from.

Dinner-food wise was interesting, and here’s where our cultural differences stood out, big time. Thanksgiving for my family has traditionally been: Turkey (maybe also a ham depending upon who decides to host), BAKED mac and cheese (the baked part is important), green bean casserole and/or greens, sweet potato casserole, HOME MADE cranberry relish (NOT the stuff out of the can), stuffing, some sort of roll and an assortment of pies (maybe cakes if someone brings one).

The Teacher’s family had the following: Turkey w/ gravy, mashed potatoes (also with gravy), I can’t remember the green veggie (maybe green beans?), carrots, mashed rutabaga?, cornbread pudding? something else that was tan/neutral color?, cranberry sauce in the SHAPE of the can And two pies: pumpkin and pecan. It wasn’t bad, just an adjustment from what my family usually has. I didn’t ask for seconds.

After dinner, The Teacher got a call from his sister, who lives across the country on the west coast. From my understanding, she isn’t necessarily “estranged” from the family, just never makes it out to visit (though she does keep in touch). Somewhere along the conversation he told her how he brought along his “girl pal” to “meet the fam” and then went into some ten minute ramble about how great things had been and how happy he was (d’aww). Of course, he probably knew I could HEAR him (since I was sitting right beside of him during all of this) and eventually told me his sister said, “hello”. Like his mom, he hasn’t said a great deal about his sister (aside from what I’ve said before), though his mom did share that they were relatively close (as siblings) growing up and even shared some of the same friends (as they’re about a year and a few months apart in age).

Later on that evening after the extended family left and his dad and step mom retired to bed, we spent a few moments to ourselves goofing around and watching netflix before bed. It felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I had done it. I managed not to completely fuck up meeting his family and to celebrate, we managed to have relatively quiet love-making much later on that night. Now, the first time this happened, it caught me by surprise because I just assumed none of that would go down out of respect for his parents, but to be honest, there’s something wildly intoxicating about it (and to his credit, he did ASK if I felt comfortable considering the environment we were in this time before proceeding). Maybe it’s the fact that we could potentially be caught with our pants down (literally) or who knows, maybe his parents know and because we’re in our 30s, they don’t care? I’m not sure if I’d be so willing to try that in my parent’s house though. Not that they’re super strict or anything, but they’re both very light sleepers.

We left to head back home the following afternoon, but not before The Teacher took me on a nice romantic walk around the water front across the street from his dad’s place.

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Lake 2 11.23.18

On our walk, he told me more about growing up in the area and even pointed to a few houses where friends of his in the neighborhood used to live.

I have to admit that when I agreed to join the Teacher for Thanksgiving, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, but to my surprise, everything seemed to be fine, or at least as fine has they could have been considering. His family seems mostly accepting of me, which put some of my anxiety to rest. This Thanksgiving was definitely better than last year’s.

Next on the agenda is figuring out Christmas. The Teacher has already started to coordinate when/how we plan on linking up all while attempting to spend an appropriate amount of time with our own families. Luckily, my grandfather lives about twenty minutes away from his dad’s place and that’s where my family typically spends Christmas day, so maybe something with work out with that. We’ll see.

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.”

will smith

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? 

crazycrazy

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.

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.

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: