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”.

quotes gif.gif

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.

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Seasons & Reasons

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

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

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

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

 

Bittersweet(ness)

I’ve admittedly been fairly distracted and occupied over the past month or so with work, friends and family obligations. I’ve found that this has started to make dating a tad more difficult as I just don’t have the same amount of free time as I did back over the winter/early spring. Not to mention, my desires and priorities have shifted over the last few months. Nevertheless, I haven’t quite kicked BF into oblivion just yet. I don’t believe me being busy is reason enough to be rude, dismissive or unresponsive to him, because aside from being a shit texter, he hasn’t really done anything wrong. He’s a nice guy. We’re just becoming more and more out of sync and emotionally disconnected.

Through talking, we decided to set aside time for a date for late last week. Work/life has been chaotically busy in both of our worlds (pulling longer hours, training co-workers, working on projects, road trips, etc), so I offered to invite him over for dinner. I’m not a fan of making dinner (and I really didn’t have time to) , but I figured it was a nice gesture and would give us a chance to catch up with minimal distractions. Plus, he pays for everything all the time and I wanted to do him the honor of not having to pay for anything. I wanted to do something nice for him. It makes me feel uncomfortable that he literally pays for everything we do and some of the things we’ve done have not been cheap.

He came over straight after work (around 8–he ended up getting off late) looking really run down and exhausted, but immediately embraced me once he stepped inside. I shamelessly love how I have to stand on my tiptoes each time we kiss, because he’s so tall (I’m 5’6 and some change, so I’m not necessarily short either).

We talked about our days (and well, weeks) as I wrapped up the finishing touches on dinner in my kitchen. I decided to make BBQ sliders as an ode to his southern heritage, since he’s lived here all his life. He seemed to be excited and told me about the “Three types of NC BBQ” there were. Did you know there were three? Because I certainly didn’t…

He graciously allowed me to make my plate of food first (even though as the cook, I’ve always believed that your GUESTS should eat first), asked me to sit down and told me he’d bring me a drink because he knew I had, had a long day and wanted me to relax. This makes the second time he’s borderline hosted me in my own home…

I halfway expected him to speed eat through dinner, initiate sex and abruptly call it a night and check off an obligation (just to say he stopped by), but he actually took his time, engaged in conversation and really spent genuine quality time with me. Of course, between our steady conversations, he made himself a second and third plate of food, but he’s like 6’3, fairly muscular and had actually been overseeing a major renovation project all day, so he was understandably starving.

After we finished eating, he gently cuddled me close and we continued to mindlessly watch tv for at least another two hours. His ability to shed a humorous light on the most mundane and at times ridiculous things is one of my favorite things about him, but is equally concerning, because it’s the only mood he’s ever in…if you were to ask me what motivates him in life or what makes him upset, I could probably make an educated guess (based on conversations we’ve had or the few preferences he has made known) but I wouldn’t be confident that those things are what really makes him tick as a person. Perhaps he’s not even aware of what makes him tick?

BF has the ability to make me laugh, even when I’m so tired or irritable that I want to curl up in a ball and cry. His sense of humor melts away my nervous energy and anxiety. He won major brownie points on our first date by basically turning our walk through the history museum into a comedy special. He was so funny and I really enjoyed myself in his presence. It was easy to shake the first date jitters. I just kind of wish my enthusiasm for getting to know him hadn’t stalled over the last few months, but I think part of that is coming from my assumption that his approach should be cookie cutter.

As we continued to talk, he alluded to realizing he’s been a bit more slower in his responses and that he had been burning the candle at both ends in regards to work because (like me), it’s a busy time of year at work and he (at times) really just wants to shut his phone off so his job will stop calling/texting him after hours. I guess I understand that and I do appreciate that he’s remained in touch (even if there are days where we may exchange one or two messages–which yes, some of that has been on me as well) and has still made time for us to get together. While to me, I may at times find his efforts “lacking”, I sincerely do believe he’s at least sort of attempting to still try…well, most days, but I can tell our communication has at times become obligatory and strained.

He stayed until a quarter til’ midnight before announcing his departure (and needing to get home to feed his dog). When I invited him over for dinner, I halfway expected him to agree to it only because of the benefit of physical intimacy, but to my surprise, he seemed more interested in talking and simply spending time together, which was awesome.

Even with a lovely dinner in, I still know in my gut this whirlwind of a ride is coming to an end. This realization at first caused be a bit of anxiety, but I’ve had some time to settle into reality and realize that while we have a lot of fun together, the casualness of our relationship can’t sustain itself for too much longer and we aren’t necessarily compatible for anything serious/long term. I don’t find myself interested him romantically or at least as romantically as I feel like I should at this point. I like him for really shallow reasons. I’ve come to the realization that I need a bit more stability in my life and perhaps he does too or maybe he prefers to keep everyone at an emotional distance as to not develop an intimate connection and that’s ok, but not something I want to entertain forever and always. Being with someone that doesn’t show vulnerability is difficult. Being physically intimate with someone for 4 or 5 months without even knowing anything deeply personal about them really bothers me.  When I met him, I was hellbent on not getting attached and it was easy for a month or two because I was “broken”. I was essentially, here for a good time, not a long time!, but I’ve healed, grown up and shifted my needs. I need someone that is not afraid of being all spectrum of who they really are, good, bad and otherwise.

We haven’t really spoken now in about a day or so and while that’s not entirely unusual (as of late), I know that’s probably it. Our interaction has run its course. We really don’t have a great deal else to say to one another and we’re both ridiculously busy with work right now (and me, also with my personal life/crises). Part of me feels the need for neat and organized “closure” (because I’m not a fan of dropping communication with someone who I’ve been seeing for 4 or 5 months just like that), but I don’t know if his sentiments are the same in regards to me. Perhaps I could just easily be disregarded? Maybe…

I like to believe that he’s genuinely a better person than that.

I have to decide how I want to proceed and handle this. The kicker is that I’m not even overly upset about it.

I think part of this need for an ending came from an “let’s better our lives” heart to heart I had with some friends this past weekend, but more on that in a separate post…

Here Comes Goodbye…

I took a miniature family vacation this past weekend. Obviously as an adult I don’t vacation with my family too often, but every so often we’ll link together for a short weekend getaway. This weekend’s venture was to an amusement park, which just so happened to be in the same city blast from the past lives in. I’ve admittedly been a bit “distant”  both physically and emotionally in our friendship over the past few months (part of this was due to dealing with heartache), but I figured I’d use the quick weekend trip as a way for us to link over dinner or drinks.

We made plans for dinner Saturday night. The hotel my family and I were staying in was about four blocks from his condo in downtown, so he promised to swing by to pick me up. I opted not to stay with him this trip due the obligations of “family time”. I figured we could always do the hanging out thing another weekend when I visited the city solo, right?

His camaro pulled up about 7 p.m. in front of the hotel, I hoped in (freshly showered and all dolled up) and we were off to dinner. We small talked (as we usually do) on the journey over…about gas prices, the weather, our jobs, etc. Typical chit chat. We arrived at dinner on the other side of the city around 7:30–a classy-ish sports bar decorated with photos of the historic sites of the city. We’d been to this spot a couple of times together, but this time just felt different and I couldn’t put my finger on why.

We immediately dived into conversation shortly after sitting down. He seemed to be a semi chatty mood, which isn’t always the case when we’re together. He updated me on his family: his sister’s pregnancy, his cousin’s (who also lives in town) engagement, his dad’s numerous cross country trips now that he’s retired, etc. All seemed well with them (mostly). Throughout the conversation he kept bringing up Denver and how in visiting his father (who splits his time between Denver/Aspen and Miami), he’s grown to love skiing. Cool story, bro. He must have rambled on about this for nearly fifteen minutes before asking had I ever been to Denver and had I ever been skiing?

We laughed as I painted a picture of me stumbling down a mountain and breaking every bone in my body.

Falling down a mountain.gif

 

Highly amused, he smiled and said:

You should come to Denver sometime.

His words seemed a bit off putting. I wasn’t sure if he meant visiting in general or going there with him when he visits his father. Once upon a time ago when we dated, he constantly brought up bringing me home to meet his family, but of course over the course a year, those plans never quite came together (I did end up meeting his mother when she came to town to visit on his birthday weekend, though). Why would they now as friends? I learned to stop taking guys seriously when they say shit like that.

I don’t know anyone in Denver…but I guess I could visit at some point. Let me know when you go there next and maybe we can coordinate.

I figured that was the end of the Denver conversation, but he kept going on about it. He talked about the economy, the sales tax (or lack thereof?), the weather, the public transportation, the frequency and cost of flights from here to there. He wouldn’t get off of it.

You’re probably wondering why I keep bringing up Denver, huh?

A bit sauced, I chuckled and told him that no, I really WASN’T wondering why he kept bringing up Denver. Like with everything else, I just assumed he was just rambling…but that’s when shit got real serious.

That’s because I’m moving there.

Surprisingly my first reaction was genuine happiness for him.

That’s great, I’m so happy for you! That’s so exciting 🙂

And truth be told, I was happy for him. This was huge for his career! He went on to explain how he had put his condo up for sale, how he was flying out the following weekend to look for houses, how he had already decided what moving company he was going to use and even how he was transporting his precious camaro instead of driving it the 18 hours cross country. His words kind of trailed off as I started to slowly process everything he was saying. I watched his lips move as I tuned him out. I asked how long he knew and he told me the news was relatively new. About two weeks. He explained how he felt that he “owed it to me” to break the news in person, instead of over the phone. Funny thing is, we’ve been in semi frequent communication over the past few weeks…

I start my new job July 1st. You should visit.

I mentally checked out shortly after the news broke. It was all fairly bittersweet. While happy for him, it dawned on me that he was moving. Across the fucking country. This would drastically change the dynamic of our already strained friendship for sure. Granted, we had already been through this song and dance one other time before. Shortly after we broke up–maybe not even a full month, he accepted a job in the city he lives in now (about 2.5 hrs west of here). At the time, I wanted him gone out of anger. Whatever. Good riddance. I didn’t want to run into him and see his face, He cheated and the last thing I wanted to do was be associated with him. I wanted him out of my life for good and what better way to get closure than for him to move away.

We didn’t talk much between our breakup, his new job announcement and actual move. Those weeks leading up to him leaving were all kind of a blur as I was processing the demise of our relationship and attempting to move on. I did do him the favor of helping him pick up his uhaul for the move, but I left my good deeds at that. He moved, I wrote him out of my life and for the better part of 4-5 months he was the one attempting to initiate any sort of contact or friendship. I made very little effort with him. I eventually let go of my anger and slowly (at a safe distance) decided to welcome him in as a friend again. But only as a friend and on my terms. His relationship with the girl he cheated on me with fizzled out not even 2 months after he moved (which is not surprising since it was long distance). He hasn’t dated or been in a relationship since (at least nothing serious). Fastforward five years, a move, several dates/situationships/boyfriends later and we’ve managed to remain friends and through all of that, he’s now moving across the fucking country.

Our ride back to downtown was quiet. I was still brewing on his move and how those last few moments of silence would probably be the last time we saw one another for a while. Sure, I could visit or he could visit, but plane tickets are not cheap. I don’t have $300 just sitting around waiting to be spent. We already barely see one another 4 times a year and we live about 300 hundred miles away in the same damn state. What would cross country look like? Am I ready to accept that, that could be the end of it?

As he pulled up to my hotel I stressed to him the importance of keeping in touch and being fucking responsive. He’s admittedly really shitty at that (probably THE WORST at it), which makes maintaining any sort of normal friendship with him difficult at times, especially long distance. The crazy thing is, he genuinely (in person) seems to want me in his life. Anyway, he promised he would keep in touch, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not counting on it and I refuse to be the only one making an effort.

He gave me a long hug goodbye and that was that. That was it. As he drove off, I became a bit angry as I realized I was robbed out of a proper goodbye. He essentially knew he was moving and failed to tell me this prior to this weekend. I was blindsided. Had I known he was moving, I would have made more of an effort to rearrange my weekend to spend more time with him.

good bye

Instead, we spent our last moments in a sports bar, downing warm beers and making empty promises. What a crock of shit.

This situation (for me) has been emotionally complex. While I no longer feel romantic feelings towards him, we’ve become good friends and I’ve grown used to him being around. It’s taken many years to get to the point where we’ve even been able to be good friends (he’s actually at times referred to me as his “best friend”).  I’ve taken it for granted that I could just shoot down the road three hours for the weekend for a temporary “get away” if I needed it and now even that’ll be gone. In the grand scheme of things whether he’s a 3 hour car ride or a 4 hour plane ride away, he’s still away and has been so for almost five years.

I really hate goodbyes, especially rushed ones. I’m going to have to accept the possibility that we’ll probably lose touch eventually. Life (as it always has a way of doing) will get in the way and soon we’ll shoot each other annual “happy birthday” texts and that’ll be it.

 

“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

I Didn’t Fight.

nightmare

I keep having this reoccurring dream where I’m sitting there across from him on my couch stone faced. My hands are interlocked tightly in my lap with my back stiff and parallel with the back cushions of my couch. My cheeks are flushed, my heart beats have become intermittent and my breaths have started to slow down and become longer. The room is frigid and seems to be closing in around us with each passing second. I can faintly see him sitting just two feet in front of me. All of his vibrant coloration has become faint and a foggy haze surrounds his figure. The once bright and bubbly caricature he so often portrayed himself to be appears to be dwindling away into the darkness, like an old book that’s been left out in the  scorching summer sun for many decades.

He nervously drums his fingers on the tips of his bare knee caps and hunches over as he slowly parts his thin, coral lips. He is inaudible, but I can tell by his body language that he’s just poured out his emotions to me regarding why he feels we need to end things.

I don’t flinch a muscle. I don’t interject. I don’t make a sound…I just sit…lifeless like doll. I’m not even sure if I’m able to blink. He inhales and sits back as if he anticipates my snippy rebuttal. He tenses up as if he’s prepared to go into battle.

My expression is listless and my mind is completely blank. At that moment he seems foreign and unrecognizable to me, almost like an inaccurate duplicate of the man I had come to know. His usual gangling stature has become folded and compacted like startled prey. I can feel a tightness and restriction in my chest as he struggles to find any sort of emotional response from me that for some reason is absent. After a few moments of this cold and somber silence, I stand up as if to indicate that he needs to leave my house. I cut my eyes towards my front door.

He slowly stands up and follows my lead, visibly upset and starts heading towards my the door ahead of me. He turns around to face me and stands just inches away from me at this point. His heart is racing and his face becomes rosy. He darts his eyes at mine and I suddenly feel a dull electric shock throughout my entire body as he opens his mouth…

You. didn’t. even. FIGHT FOR ME, he snarls…his words come crashing into my ear drums like a tsunami wave. Tears well up in his squinted eyes, which have turned a stormy, ominous gray from their usual sparkling, sky blue hue. He continues to stare at me in utter disbelief as my eyes widen with terror. His words (while not exaggeratedly projected) seem to echo throughout the house and eventually in my mind as everything around us fades to black.

I reach out for him…and then he’s gone…

||Get out of my head||

“Fight Club”

Within the last month or so, I’ve slightly entertained dating again. I’m in a good place now and I feel like I’m realistically ready to venture back in. I’ve kept a pretty open mind about it and have made sure to meet people (guys) in a variety of ways (in person, through friends, over shared hobbies, online, etc). I’ve also made it a point to not seriously devote more than a fourth of my life to “actively seek” love or companionship, because I don’t “need it”. I’m happy enough with myself that I’m ok with being by myself. Those things are nice (when they’re meaningful and have substance), but I’ve learned that having someone in your life should only enhance your happiness, not exclusively bring happiness into your life. I also haven’t been super serious about committing to any one guy, because I don’t need to right now. I’m not interested in hopping right back into a relationship. I’m good on that.  I’m ok with being single, doing my own thing and spending time with friends. As I mentioned some time back, dating helps you identify if someone is a good match for you. It’s silly to dive head first into the first person that has a shared interest with you.

Ok, enough of the reflection introduction…

As I mentioned, I’m entertaining multiple avenues of meeting guys. Of course, one of the avenues is online dating. Ha. It seems so taboo to me (even in 2018), but everyone is busy and it’s just another means to put yourself out there. While I’ve spoken to a few guys up there, I haven’t taken it extremely seriously just yet (more on this in a future post)…So imagine my shock when I get a message last night from a guy I know IRL.

So here’s the thing, I’ve seen several guys online that I know IRL (mostly as acquaintances), but my rule of thumb is to not interact with them online. Hell, I even saw a mild crush of mine online, but it’s pointless to communicate there. I mean, if we know each other IRL, and there isn’t enough spark to entertain dating or “getting to know one another”, why interact online? It seems counterproductive, ha.

 

fight club

 

So of course, you can imagine my shock when I login and read the message from a guy I already know.

Hey–how are you doing? Do you remember me? We went to college together and worked together, ha. Small world. How are you doing??

At first, I wasn’t quite sure how to even respond to this because it was awkward. Eventually I wrote back to let him know I was fine and hoped he was doing well too. I didn’t ask any questions as to intentionally dead end the conversation.  I’m not sure what his point in messaging me was, to be honest. Perhaps he was on a Walter Mitty mission?

walter mitty

I’m not going to explain each specific detail, but in a nutshell, Walter discovers his crush has a somewhat active dating profile and wants to date her before someone else does. He realizes in reading her profile, that she’s looking for someone full of adventure and realizes he hasn’t done a lot of adventurous things in his life…so he sets out to change that and goes on a weird self discovery quest of sorts. It’s a cute movie.

Anyway, hopefully that’s the end of our interaction really. I wasn’t his biggest fan when we worked together (and went to college together), so unless he’s done a 180, I’m not interested in entertaining anything with him IRL.

We’ll see.

Wheel O’ Moods

Part of my goals for the new year was to focus on self care and part of that is recognizing my moods and what triggers them. Obviously, I haven’t been myself the past few months, but sometimes taking time to step back and understand the root of why and what triggers these moods is instrumental.

About three weeks ago, I downloaded this app called, “self checkout“. It’s this cool app that allows you to “check in” regarding your mood. If you fail to check in, the app reminds you and also suggests a self care tip.

When I first downloaded the app, my moods were all over the place (so much so that you can barely see them all on the wheel below) . I’m pretty sure I hit every mood on the spectrum .

 

 

I’m starting to notice that my moods are leveling out and as that happens, I’m feeling more like myself again for the first time in months:

 

 

Seeing a visual of this progress is rewarding because not only do I feel better, but I can also see a visual representation of just how much better I’m feeling. It shows that I’m starting to lean more towards being “ok” and “content” and less “down”. This lets me know I’m almost out of the woods and I can see the clearing.

Speaking of my moods stabilizing, I’ve been quite the social butterfly lately (with friends) and I’ve able to entertain dating a little more seriously. I’ve somehow managed to have three dates planned for later on this week with guys that aren’t seamlessly the scum of the earth. Nothing is promised yet, but this is definitely a step in the right direction from where I came from a few months ago.

Waves

waves

I spent the past weekend “off the grid” and out of town with family, taking a break from social media (including blogging), texting, email, etc was MUCH needed. Constantly checking, tweeting, posting, reading, absorbing, replying was starting to trigger my anxiety. It was nice to have a few days to just enjoy family time and live in the moment (which I did).

I still haven’t really spoken to my family about the breakup in specific detail, but I just haven’t felt like I’ve been in the best place emotionally to dive into that yet (until semi recently). I basically left it at, “we decided to take an indefinite break because our expectations no longer align.” I assured them that I was ok and we were on good terms (which is sort of a half truth/half lie or whatever). I never told them how he came over 2-3 days before our cruise to end things or how our fragmented communication/outings since have just further pushed back the healing process, how there are still days (less days now) where getting out of a bed is a struggle, how running into him/seeing him around town is triggering (we essentially live in the same “suburban borough”) or even how he was previously engaged. I’m not sure if telling them any of those personally specific details even matters at this point, because that was my relationship and not theirs. Ensuring them that I am fine is really my only worry at this point. They have surprisingly not asked me a ton of questions about it, so that helps…but I know it’s coming.

Speaking of ol’ dude, I’ve managed to go the whole year so far without intentionally being in communication with him (that’s like 16 days, but that’s still an accomplishment). I don’t even feel anxious about it, nor do I feel like there is anything to “share” with him. No longer do things really “remind” me of him (minus this past Saturday when I went into a store that had an entire Green Bay Packer’s clothing section and last week when I passed by a bridge that overlooks the city where we would frequently go after dinner at our favorite fancy upscale pizza spot—eh, such is life I guess). Occasionally, I’ll log on to fb messenger and see that he’s “active” or I’ll login to IG with the app listing him as a “Friend” to “nudge” about joining IG (I don’t care if he joins IG, I just know I don’t plan on being his “friend” there). I’ve hidden all of his updates on FB (not that either one of us ever used FB like that anyway) and placed him on a list of people that will see very limited and basic updates from me.  I still have his number on “Do not disturb” on my phone, with the last text he sent me unread and unreplied to…. and of course, I’ve removed all photos of him from my phone. I haven’t even read past text messages from him so far in 2018. The only thing I haven’t done is remove photos of him (us) from my IG account. I thought about deleting or archiving them, but then realized those photos were a part of my life at that particular time, so I left them. My IG is my way of capturing aspects of my life through photos. Since he’s not tagged in them (doesn’t have an IG anyway), his real name is not used, I only referenced him as my “boyfriend” in ONE photo (on national boyfriend day), my IG account is PRIVATE and I so rarely shared ANYTHING he and I did on social media anyway, I felt it was ok to just leave them in the past and leave them alone (for now). The people I’ve been super selective about allowing access to view my IG are close friends anyway and I’m sure they understand. I’ll revisit that if I ever find myself in a “serious relationship” again. Besides, anyone that scrolls back that far on my photos has a problem.

Like I stated before, I don’t think we won’t EVER speak again, but right now is delicate state of recovery for me and I’m serious about getting better. To be fair, I did hint to all of this (keeping my distance and not really being in communication) the last time we seriously spoke.

While continuing to move past him, I’ve been a little more open to date again. I’ve really only been on a handful of dates both online and offline (with guys I’ve quickly realized were not for me), but at least I’m making an effort to keep an open mind. I have yet to meet a guy so far that gives me that same jolt of excitement I got in the initial stages of getting to know my ex—before he and I even had our first date actually. I’m not sure if this always needs to happen in this way or if in some situations this jolt comes later? I guess I’ve dated guys or been in relationships where it came over time, so maybe that’s ok too? I have been more particular about who’ll I’ll date and per the suggestion of my old co-worker, I’ve started to treat this as a project or business meetings with specific “goals” and “outcomes”. It sounds silly, but it saves me from wasting a lot of time.  I know mostly what I’m looking for and I’m really serious about “deal breakers”. Here are some of mine:

  • Drug use
  • Financial instability
  • Lack of goals/motivation
  • Inability to carry on an intelligent conversation
  • Lack of a sense of humor
  • Lack of education
  • Lack of transportation
  • Lack of hobbies

So ok, some of these things are kind of “givens”, but you’d be surprised what you find out about people even after talking to them for a little while. Some of these things start to float to the surface.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough in this post. Hopefully things will continue to be on the up and up. I think I’ve had enough downer days to last me for the better part of a year.

(Almost on) The Other Side.

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

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

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

Ryan G - buy you a drank

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

laughing really wide.gif

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

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