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.”

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

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

LEO Screams

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

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

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

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

I don’t cry.

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

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

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

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

VDay Vibe

So it’s no “surprise” that I wasn’t really looking forward to valentine’s day this year. I’ve been doing pretty well emotionally lately, but yesterday my mind was swimming with thoughts of my ex. Not necessarily sad thoughts, but thoughts nonetheless. Luckily, I had an extremely hectic day at work, so I didn’t have a lot of time to sulk or dwell on it. Hopefully he had a good day with whatever it is that he did or didn’t do.

After the craziness of work yesterday (including the departure of a good work friend–it was her last day!), I met up with some friends for dinner. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do anything for valentine’s day, but something told me to stop being a grouch and go out anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? I was having dinner with a group full of people, who like me, were single too. Why not enjoy each other’s company?

A good friend of mine coordinated this dinner of the lonely heart’s club. I didn’t realize until I got there, that he had invited a person or three that I hadn’t met before. While I wasn’t in the mood to “pep up the perk” with the new people, I sucked it up anyway and gave it a go. I sat right next to one friend of his and introduced myself. Turns out that was the best thing I could have done that entire night.

The friend (he was a guy) and I hit it off immediately and started to talk like we had known each other for years. He seemed to be very friendly and genuine. He looked really sharp in his work attire–a navy sport coat, tailored dark gray pants and brown dress shoes (similar to the outfit below):

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I was immediately drawn to him by all of his travel stories. He had recently gotten back from India and told me about all the amazing things he experienced there. He also mentioned having pretty much gone to every Asian and European country over the course of ten years with the goal of traveling as much as he can while he’s “young”.  Some travel was for business and some was for pleasure. While talking about his travels, he happened to mention that he was originally from Milwaukee, WI…which is where my ex is from, ha.

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(In reference to the meme above, Check out the manitowoc minute here)

I pretended to not have been told “everything I’ve ever wanted to know about the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin the state (in general), The Packers and “Da’ Rodgers” ” prior and let him explain his hometown to me in his own words. Luckily, he had a different perspective of Milwaukee, so it was like hearing about it for the first time (no, he does not have a Wisconsin accent and neither did my ex, unless he was frustrated and then he did and it was funny–but that’s irrelevant to this story). He even told me about this “speakeasy” place I should checkout if I ever go there.

After dinner, everyone seemed pretty tired and called it a night. It was pushing closer to 9 and after a long workday, that made sense, but tailored suit guy asked if I wanted to join him to walk a few doors down to a chocolate shop. I had nothing else better to do, so why not?

“After all, it’s valentine’s day…what’s valentine’s day without chocolate?,” so off we went to grab chocolate.

We managed to snag some truffles about ten minutes before the shop closed and we were booted out at which point he asked if I wanted to grab a drink some place. Through conversation, we realized that we lived about ten minutes from each other on the other side of town. He suggested we meet at this cozy dive bar on our side of town to continue the evening, so off we went.

After meeting up at the dive bar, we spoke another two hours or so about traveling, our jobs, our friends, our random adventures, how terrible hitting 30 felt, how difficult it can be to make friends at this age and so on. We even found out we share a birthday week. He told me some funny stories about how he and his friends bought a sailboat one year with the plan to sail around for a week, but none of them knew how to sail and the boat sank within the first six hours they were on it (no one died).

The conversation was so fascinating and the more we spoke, the more I wanted to know about this guy. It was so interesting. He kept me on the edge of my seat the entire night, but just as equally seemed interested in my life stories as well. Not only was he interesting, he was very kind, patient, non-judgemental and down to earth. I felt like I speaking to someone I’ve known all my life.

Our night came to an end around midnight when we both realized that we had “grown up jobs” and needed to get to bed. We exchanged numbers and made our newly cemented friendship, “facebook official”.

I couldn’t help but to smile on the way home because of the social interaction. I haven’t had such a great and engaging social interaction like that in months and I’ve been longing for that level of connection for some time. While I’ve been dating here and there, I’ve realized lately that there’s something missing…and it’s this spark of being engulfed in engaging conversation to the point of losing track of time (and reality). The guys are nice (and some are fun), but just not extremely interesting conversation wise. I haven’t felt this same level of excitement in speaking to someone since I met my ex. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met so many people over the past few months (friends, flings,  otherwise, etc) that have held my attention (and have even been fun), but maybe not to this extent. The funny thing is, I’m not even holding this guy in a romantic light in anyway shape or form. He’s so damn cool that I just want to be his friend. Sometimes it’s just cool to have someone to vibe with platonically and I feel like he’s someone I could hangout with and could always guarantee a good time.

Since last night we’ve spoken back and forth today about how we both had a great night last night. I’m even inviting him to my birthday dinner in two weeks and he’s invited me to his later on the same week.

So no, while I didn’t get to skip around last night , hand in hand with a “bae”, I did make a new friend and that to me was a nice way to end such a potentially shitty day.

 

Brown Eyed Boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gurrrrl. Whet?!

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

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

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