Expectation vs. Reality vs. Real Reality

This year is about to come to an end and the last twelve months have been incredible. So many cool things have happened and so many blessings have come my way. I quit a job that was making me miserable and found one that I love. I have been able to not worry so much about money thanks to that job and my ability to drive my nice, new-ish car for Uber on the weekends. I have some amazing new friends thanks to my new job. I have also been able to go on some pretty cool adventures with my kids because of it. We have been to San Diego twice, Portland twice, Seattle and we have driven to Salt Lake City a couple of times. We have plans for many more adventures and my kids are my favorite travel buddies. I have found that not only do I love my kids, but I truly like the people they are.

So with all this great stuff happening in my life, I am struggling at the moment. This time of year has been a bit difficult for me my whole adult life, but it seems especially so right now and I think it is due to a number of factors and that another year is ending and so many of my plans did not see fruition. And so the reasons for my struggle:

  1. I have been working too much and I am so tired. I love both of my jobs for the same reason–people. I love helping people, even cranky ones. I have had some amazing and life changing conversations due to these jobs. I have been able to help people dealing with some tough stuff breathe a little easier. The problem is, I work  a full time day job and anywhere between 12 and 20 hours per week driving. I also have an online store that, for the most part, I ignore but occasionally get orders that require time to complete. I want so much to have and do things that I often over-schedule myself to the point of exhaustion
  2. People sometimes suck. The past few weeks have been especially difficult for me with regard to people. I love my job and people being pissed off doesn’t generally bother me. Maybe it is the holiday travel and holiday stress, but I have found my limit of bullshit, laziness and entitlement acceptance or tolerance. This goes beyond just work related stuff. Being in customer service means dealing with a lot of crap from people who feel like they should always have what they want, how they want it, when they want it or they threaten to take their business elsewhere. They think rudeness and assholery will get them them what they want faster. I have been in customer service in a number of businesses–banking, retail, food service and airline reservations. I see it all the time as a customer too. I have dealt with a lot of entitlement silliness. What normally does not phase me is eating me up.
  3. I don’t get nearly enough sleep and it is wearing on me. Part of it is stress I am sure and part of it is just environment, but I am feeling lately that my thyroid might be the primary culprit is this. Weight gain and gluten accidents are not helping. Staying up til 3 and 4 in the morning driving for Uber is not helping either. I have messed up my sleep cycle big time. Going to the gym and being more active would probably help but that is another point of failure.
  4. My birthday. I just turned 49  a couple days ago. I have no idea how time flew by so quickly, but it has and that scares me. I worry that I have missed out on so much. I am now trying to make up for it and I feel like time is running out.
  5. I don’t take care of my self. This is my biggest point of personal failure that seems to plague me each new year. I always have the best of intentions, but trying to make time for myself and my health always falls by the wayside.  My very sedentary jobs have made me gain 30 pounds. My thyroid is feeling sluggish. Lack of sleep leaves me exhausted. Not making the gym my priority creates a lot of guilt. I need to make changes, and I try but then I go back to old habits and let the fatigues rule the day.
  6. Ended and changed friendships. People I thought were for real turned out not to be. I think there are lot of people that are really good at faking and really good at bullshit. Both for themselves and others. This one really weighs on me. People I thought I could count on and trust have proven otherwise and their self-absorbtion, narcissism, selfishness, etc have caused me to end things or distance myself. The sad thing is, I saw these things early on multiple times but dismissed them as I always do until the cloud of optimism (or foolishness) covered their multitude of sins. I hate giving up on people. I want to give people every chance to be who I feel like they are or can be. I feel guilty when I give up or walk away.
  7. I feel like a failure. This in several ways, the most important the aspect being motherhood. I don’t spend enough time with my kids. I don’t do enough with my kids. I don’t have enough money to give my kids the things they want. I work hours that keep me from checking on them doing homework, my 13 year old cooks dinner most nights and I feel like they are growing up so fast and I am missing it.
  8. I am still single. Constant reminders abound that I am not partnered with anyone. I see everyone else around me dating and in relationships and I am alone. I always feel like it is because I am overweight and I am weird and I am not feminine enough. Men don’t look at me as having relationship potential or I am not “eye candy” enough for them. The reminders that I am not good enough are everywhere and constant. Another point of “failure”.

All of these things have been dragging me down, but if I really look at things, I do put so much pressure on myself to be and do and have everything–perfectly. Yes I do fail and struggle at things, but with a mountain of things I want to accomplish staring at me, it is easy to get overwhelmed, anxious and depressed.

So, if I break things down a bit, I can see that there is a lot to be encouraged by, proud of and happy about. For example, I got a job I love with amazing benefits. I can’t afford everything I want for my kids and we sometimes struggle and I don’t have near enough time with them, but every time we travel, it is great bonding time and we all contribute and plan. My boys try to find ways to save money and they research places that serve gluten free food and they find fun things to see on a budget. They are getting my undivided attention and day of my time that is completely theirs. I couldn’t do that before this  job. I couldn’t see the potential for adventure with my kids in the simplest of trips and events. My job opened my eyes.

I may be single, but I am strong and can do things for myself and I am not afraid of going places and doing things on my own. When I am “with” someone, it won’t be because I am incapable of handling life on my own, it will be because they add something no one else does.  I love going places with friends, but I am equally comfortable to go by myself. And speaking of friends, I have made a few good ones this year that I would not know now if it weren’t for the choices I have made, even the less than wise or comfortable ones.

My birthday wasn’t so scary and I am actually looking forward to 50. I had plans to go out and have adult beverages, but everyone is broke after Christmas so I postponed my night out. I ended up driving for Uber but lack of rides had me ending my drive time early and going to see a movie. Alone. And that was okay with me.

My biggest thing going into 2019 is going to be focus on my health. My eating habits have to improve. That is a given. I need to establish a routine at the gym. Sleep and rest have to be a priority as well. There are ton of things I want to do, but I am thinking that if I can keep my focus on my health, everything will begin to fall into place and I will be happier, healthier and more alert and less fatigued.

So life is not as much of a struggle as I make it sometimes. I am really good at making things more difficult by amassing an unrealistic list of things to accomplish and beating myself when said list isn’t finished. I am not going to focus on those things. I am going to let up on expectation and just enjoy life more this coming year. There is a lot of fun in my future. If I can just keep that damn cloud of expectation in my rear view mirror by outpacing it with all the fun I am going to have.

Friends, Family and Faux Pas.

Friendships at any age are sometimes difficult and precarious. When you are young, things change at lightning speed. Hormones, fights, gossip, changing of interests–any number of factors–alter feelings, cause rifts and obliterate friendships.  When you become an adult, you would think that maturity and time would change that, but often it gets worse and pettiness amplifies.

In school, once we stopped moving around so much, my friend group pretty much stayed the same. I mostly got along with everyone, at least until high school where things started getting weird and I kind of wonder if my need to be kind to others and my inability to speak up for myself with any sort of volume or assertiveness sometimes put me in painful situations. Case in point–I was friends with “E” all throughout junior high. I always knew he was different, but it never bothered me. “E” was gay and I adored the crap out of him anyway (I was brought up attending a VERY conservative Baptist church so you can do the math here). When we transitioned from junior high into high school, “E” and I sort of drifted in different directions. No animosity as far as I could tell, until Julie came along. I had known her for a while and that year, for some unknown reason, she developed a cruel streak and she had it out for me. Julie decided to write a letter to “E” that was absolutely horrid and she blamed it on me. I knew it was her because I knew her handwriting. It used gay slurs I had never even heard of before that letter and never would have used even if I had known them. “E” never questioned her assigning blame to me and the two of them decided to take that letter around to as many students as they could, let them read it and on a piece of paper, they could write what they thought of me after reading that letter. I tried to protest, but my voice wasn’t loud enough. I was absolutely mortified that someone would do something so awful to one of my friends and blame me. Needless to say, both friendships were irreparably damaged, and over for good.

Fast forward a few years–okay a few decades–not a lot has changed. Tactics have changed but grown adults are just as cowardly and just as cruel. Second case in point is Deb. I met her when we were both in college raising kids as single mothers. We lived in the same apartment complex and when her boys met my son, they became friends and one night she invited us to the drive-in with them and we were inseparable after that. For 13 years, I considered her my sister. We made and ate meals together, we took our kids hiking together, we had grown up sleep overs and just hung out together all the time. Almost 6 years ago (or 5? I can’t remember exactly), she called me and asked if I was okay with my husband driving to Yakima with her to pick up one of her sons. I think It was either Thanksgiving or Christmas break and there was a great deal of snowfall with no signs of stopping. She didn’t want to go by herself and I trusted both of them. My then-husband went and shortly after that she stopped speaking to me. I don’t know if something happened or something was said, but it wasn’t until the last year or so that I realized the time/event correlation. It could be that I was dealing with a horrible marriage and some serious depression. I asked if I had done something wrong or if she was upset with me and “no” was the reply to both questions. She never did elaborate and said we should talk. That talk never happened and eventually I unfriended her on facebook because I could no longer stand the real life silence between us while she posted pictures and such of all the things she and her other friends were doing. It was unbearable. I felt like I had lost not only my best friend but also my sister. My then-husband watched me cry over the loss of that friendship for what seemed like forever. I found out a couple years ago that Deb and my now ex-husband have remained friends this whole time. He never said a word, just watched me suffer and cry. It was such an act of cruelty and cowardice on both their parts. I still ache when I think about it. Not sure that loss will ever be completely unfelt.

My third case in point is “B”. My husband and I went to church with him and his wife a number of years ago. When I started driving for Uber, he contacted me to get information and eventually confided in me that he and his wife were divorcing. We started hanging out a lot and would sometimes meet for dinner while we were out Ubering. We talked a lot. And often. If you have been divorced, you know how hard it can be even if it is the best possible option for you. You need a support system. Our shared experiences gave us something to bond over and we became close friends. Until “M” entered the picture. “M” was his not-a-girlfriend. They started spending every waking moment together and very quickly I became disposable. Until they broke up. Then I became important again and we talked and hung out all the time again. Then “B” happened and I once again became disposable. After he and “B” broke up, back to friends. We spent all the time we could together, including a trip to Portland courtesy of my employer. And then, yep, you guessed it…..another woman entered the picture and I became disposable again. He once told me that it was his job to show me how a man should treat a woman (if you have read any other posts on this blog, you will understand why). I am slightly dense when it comes to the opposite sex, but I am guessing extracting what you can from someone you call friend and then disposing of them is not it.

While these are three examples of some of the friendship F***-ups (there are a lot more), there are some truly amazing people that have been blessed to call friend.  Some of them I see all the time, some of them I wish I saw more, but all of them have a very special place somewhere in my life.

Aaron is my best friend. He is half my age, geeky and a bit of a gamer or he was.  I met him at my former employer and our friendship started because he was supposed to teach me how to play first person shooter games so that I could surprise my kids and play with them. He kept coming over to my house to play games, but somehow that turned into conversation and a shared love of The Walking Dead, which we watched. A lot. After a while, he just became a fixture in my life. I never learned to play first person shooter games.  We hardly ever see each other (he works 12-16 hour days as a correctional officer), but when we do it is like starting up just where we left off. He has been one of my biggest supporters and biggest cheerleaders when I was struggling and my life was falling apart.

Dianna is one of the best humans I know. We don’t see each other nearly enough. She is one of those people that shows up at just the right time and has me in stitches when I am having the worst shit day. When I am with her laughing is nearly non-stop and I can always count on her to help me find crazy shoes. I feel like I can trust her no matter what. We also met at my former employer and we started bonding over work frustrations and things grew from there.

Jennifer J is someone I served with in the army. While we both studied language at the Defense Language Institute, we didn’t actually meet until we served in Germany. She might be one of the sweetest, most genuinely nice people I know. I liked her way back then, but It wasn’t until we reconnected on facebook that I really started to appreciate her. We have a lot in common–a love of all things tie dye and colorful, Monterey is our favorite place on the planet and our silly personalities just to name a few. She is like my long lost twin and I absolutely love the woman. I so wish we lived closer to each other.  We would be hanging out all the time. Whether she liked it or not. HA!

Shawna, another former co-worker is just an all around cool badass. She doesn’t put up with crap from anyone and would step in front of a bus before she would let it hit you. She is fiercely protective and takes care of those she cares about. On several occasions she has taken up for me when no one else would and was ready to take out a couple of different people for me and when I hit a particular rough spot, she offered help and support. I know she has done that for others as well.

I met Allison through a former artist friend I met on facebook. We bonded over similar interests and similar past trauma.  She is someone I can tell anything to and I trust her completely. She has put up with a lot of my personal drama, stuff I don’t tell anyone else. She doesn’t judge me and is straight up honest with me even if it is something I don’t want to hear. We finally met in person a few months ago and I adore her even more than I did via our facebook friendship. She is a talented, funny, empathetic, kind and sweet human being. I wish we lived closer to each other too.

Theresa is a former coworker. She goes out of her way to invite me and my kids to her house for dinner or to go somewhere nature-centered and fun. She is always checking on me and concerned for my well-being. She invests her time and energy into trying out new gluten free recipes she can share with me and she used to bring meals she made at home to share with me and others at work. She is very much the motherly type who spends her time taking care of others

There are so many others–Ann, Kerry, Denise, Dorrie, Melissa.  So many people that are so many things to me. Cheerleaders, supporters, partners in crime. I don’t know what I would do without them.

The not-so-good ones definitely left strong impressions and did some difficult to undo damage, but because of their shitty behavior and less than stellar treatment of me, I have learned a bit about how I DON’T want to treat people.  The best ones? Well, they are people I want to emulate, people I strive to be like. I feel like I always fall horribly short, but I am working on it. And I have some very good role models. Yes, even at the ripe old age of 48, I still have role models. And a lot to learn.

Of Wimps and Warriors, Can I Please Have the Latter?

Maybe it is just me, but I keep finding that the men available nowadays are not exactly warrior types. And by warrior, I don’t mean that they have to be strong enough to pull a train engine with their teeth and a rope, run a marathon in combat boots and a loin cloth, take on a horde of battling Englishmen like William Wallace or even wrestle a bear.

I just want them to be actual men. The masculine kind. I miss masculinity.  Some say it is toxic, but I find masculinity intoxicating. I will take masculinity over a wimp with a “mangina” any day of the week.

And please don’t misunderstand what I mean. I am plenty badass on my own. I can make my own decisions, earn my own money, order my own food, fight for myself when I have to and stand up for others who might otherwise be unable to do so for themselves. For what I don’t already know, there is YouTube and Google and the Library.  I have survived a lot and done it on my own. I am a fighter and a bit of a smartypants—-although my choices in men might say otherwise.

What I seek is man who can see all the flaws and scars and still be more than okay with me. Someone who sees ME and finds beauty in my old wounds and will gently bandage them when life  (or someone in mine) opens them up and tries to bleed me out. Someone who sees me at my most vulnerable and doesn’t try to capitalize on it or use it as a way to inflict pain. Someone, who at his most vulnerable, will let me respond in kind.

I want someone wild at heart. Someone full of adventure who isn’t afraid of trying new things, seeing new places and meeting new people. A tame, colorless life that finds me in the safety of my own home does not interest me. I have no intention of staying in one place, stagnating like still water in a bird bath. I want to be on a plane or in a car or on a train bound for somewhere beautiful or amazing or full of old friends and potential new ones. I need someone who needs movement like I do.

He should be assertive enough to stand up to me and argue when necessary, not just roll over and curl up in fetal position, too afraid to say something. I would expect him to engage in conversation when issues come up or when we disagree and he should be strong in his viewpoint, but open to understanding and respecting mine. Even if it means we still disagree.

I want someone larger than life, quick to laugh, a bit of a dirty mind and a healthy appetite for life, food and *ahem* grown up time. I don’t want to spend my life watching documentaries on Netflix complaining about the weather. I need to be swept off my feet, dragged off to bed and made to feel like I am the most important thing in the world to someone. I will enthusiastically reciprocate all of it. For the right man. My warrior.

But where do they reside? What I find are men who let their pain dictate their behavior. They are cruel and selfish and self-centered and arrogant. They think only of themselves and what you can do or be for them without any investment on their part. They run and hide when things get uncomfortable, leaving damage and hurt in their wake and they have no concept of give and take in a relationship (or, let’s face it, friendship). They draw you in and then keep you at a safe distance so that you feel, but they don’t have to deal with it or feel anything themselves because feelings are bad.

I know that somewhere these beautiful, masculine, virile warriors exist, however rare they are. I know because I have seen them with a very few of my friends. They exist, but how does one find them? Do you mine them like a precious gemstone in a cave or quarry? Do you find them on some sort of special safari, like some rare animal on the endangered list? Or maybe they are built in some secret factory, the location of which, few are privy to. I don’t know, but would someone please clue me in? I would love to find one of my own. I am quite done with wimps, wussies, crybabies, whiners and selfish a-holes. I need my warrior.

Finding my Joy & Bringing Back Yes

As I have said before, for the last 2 decades I was sleepwalking my way through my life. I was a non-participant in some of the most important years of my oldest son’s life and now I am regretting it,  but I have turned things around and my two younger kiddos are reaping the benefits of a completely transformed mindset.

A number of contributing factors shackled my mind into the mindset of “I can’t”, “I don’t feel like it” and “I don’t have time”, etc. It doesn’t matter the exact circumstances–some of which I covered in previous posts–but how I handled them, or rather how I let them handle me. I fell into this rut that perpetuated negativity that fed itself until I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.

As a kid, I was full of adventure and imagination. I was pretty happy despite my circumstances, which were not always good or fun. I drew and painted and read stories that took me on adventures. I made adventures of my own and dealt with pain of life and growing up the way kids usually do–I adapted and got creative.  As I got older and dealt with more and more adult issues, that adventure was allowed to dwindle until it went away almost completely.

Single parenthood and being solely responsible for another human being chiseled away at who I was at heart. My marriage was something that, instead of bringing out my best, caused me to retreat and diminish, even more, who I was. Most of my relationships have been like that, each one sucking a little bit of life and heart out of me, until the adventure I sought out when I was younger, was avoided at all costs, leaving me unfulfilled and kind of miserable.  I let life do that to me.

When I left my husband, parts of who I used to be, that had been dormant for decades, began to reemerge. I started to wear color and laugh and smile more. At my job I was “accused” of being the happiest and most positive person in the store. That lasted about a year until I let it too beat me down and diminish me. It took my new job to realign everything and put me back on that path to adventure again.

My job gave me the opportunity to dream again. To plan adventures again. To share all of this with my kids. I began to see all the things I missed because I was too tired, had no money and no energy to do. I began to see possibility again. And our adventures don’t always include getting on a plane. Sometimes it is a 20 minute drive to a local landmark or a picnic in the park or driving to another state. Those trips give me joy–joy I get to share with my kids.

“YES!” and “Let’s go!” are now important parts of my vocabulary and thinking. Am I tired? Yes. Do I lack funds? Yes. Do I have time? Not much. Do I let any of this stop me anymore? HELL NO! I find creative ways to make things happen. I find reasons to say yes. I create an environment of excitement and fun. Is it easy? God no. Is it worth it to put in the extra work? Absolutely.

I love watching my kids faces light up as we plan trips and explore new places and experience new things. My happiest times these days are when I am with my kids doing something I would have said “No” or “I can’t” to a few years ago.

So life can keep bringing those challenges. I will keep finding new ways to make “YES” work. I never, ever want to go back to where I was 20 years ago, 10 years ago or even 1 year ago. I like this new arrangement. I like this new way of thinking. The best part of all this? The memories I am giving my kids. That and helping my kids to understand the idea of finding ways to make things work when they seem too hard or even impossible. I want my kids to say “YES!” and “Let’s go”. I want to keep going with that attitude even if it kills me. At least I would be dying with a smile on my face. And with each new adventure, that smile gets bigger and way more difficult to remove.

 

Friendship, Feelings and a Fool

I have started this blog post 3 other times, but I can’t seem to find a way to come from the right place. I have written angry, I have written frustrated and I have written hurt and none of them seem to include much objectivity. I have had about 2 weeks (longer if you count the last several months of insecurity, uncertainty and frustration) to replay events over and over and wonder if I was wrong or acting irrationally or just being plain stupid or selfish. I always find a way to make things my fault no matter who is actually at fault or if the fault is shared. I think that as a woman, I have become very good at that.

So here is the thing, I did something a couple weeks ago that I have been second guessing like crazy. In previous blog posts I have touched on the subject matter and my own difficulty dealing with it.  So, being frustrated, disappointed, a little angry, and a lot hurt, I pulled the plug on a friendship. I didn’t want to, but I felt that I needed some distance and perspective and dealt with it the only way I could.

The friend in question is the former object of my affection. I say former, but I am truly full of shit.  Those feelings I have for him never really went away and I was trying to convince myself that they had. Therein lies the problem. Feelings.  When I first became friends with “M”, I just thought he was awesome–he is an artist and he has his shit together (mostly) and we had some things in common and he was so easy to talk to. He is also smart and funny and has some amazing wisdom and perspective I don’t always see in people.  All of those very attractive qualities in one package are rare, but then you add the fact that he is good looking as hell and compassionate. I guess it was inevitable for me, but not so much for him. He does not see me the same way I see him.

When it became apparent that my feelings had evolved, he very firmly put me in the friend zone. He had absolutely no interest in any kind of relationship with me and after seeing his “type” that he gushes over, I can see why. I am nowhere near looking or acting like them. (it seems I am not nearly vapid, duck-lipped, pretty or thin enough). That is beside the point, but whatever.  He did tell me that he valued my friendship and our conversations and didn’t want this new development to change our friendship.  That is what he said.  I wasn’t sure how to act or what to think at that point. I wanted to be friends and hoped it could be more, but if friendship was all I got, then I would just live with that and appreciate his presence in my life.  While things weren’t supposed to change, they did.

I began to notice that he never texted me unless I texted him first. That went on for a couple of months. On very rare occasions, maybe 2 or 3, he texted me first and one of those was him lecturing me on my word selection in a response to one of his posts on facebook.  I am beginning to wonder if this is just a guy thing or what, because I have noticed a few men do this. Well, maybe more than just a few.  I think they view friendships and their place in them differently than those of us on the female side of things. If we value someone or consider them to be in our small circle of friends, there is generally a reciprocal, give and take type of situation that occurs. Sometimes I start the conversation, sometimes you start the conversation, sometimes we hang out and there is no need for conversation. But in this case, that is not the way it was.

I began to feel like I wasn’t such a welcome presence in his life, like maybe he was just placating me with words until he could move on to something or someone else, much more important than me. The conversations were great and I thoroughly enjoyed them, which really didn’t help the feelings issue, but when someone takes 3 or 4 days to bother themselves to read your message, chances are, you aren’t really high on their list or anywhere inside that small circle of friends they keep close. My insecurities got the best of me and I let them decide my value.

I attempted to include him in my life by inviting him and his son to meet me and my boys in Twin Falls for lunch and a visit to Shoshone Falls and he told me he would get back to me closer to the weekend. He completely blew me off and never bothered to let me know that he wasn’t coming. This is another thing I think guys view differently or maybe he was married so long that it didn’t occur to him that a simple text to let me know he couldn’t come would have sufficed. The second time that happened it was kind of a test, I guess.  I wanted to think I was important enough for him to take 30 seconds out of his day to text me and let me know that he was or wasn’t going to join our other friend and me for drinks and once again—not a word.

I tried to imagine what he would say, what advice he would give, to one of the anonymous  posters on a divorce support page we both follow, if they were in the same position I am.  With all of his insight and wisdom, he would probably tell me something I wouldn’t like. Something that I feared was true–that he really wasn’t interested in being in my life despite the words he said. Time to move on, he would say. Find someone who values you. I had invested so much of myself into my friendship with him and I didn’t really want to give that up.

But I was tired of investing so much into a situation that was so one-sided. I felt like I was investing and he was pulling away. Just to see if what I suspected was true, I decided to stop texting. Twenty-three days went by and he didn’t even notice I was gone. Not a word. I know he is a very busy person. He has a LOT on his plate, but, 23 days? I did finally text him when my boys and I were in Seattle. Then I texted him a couple weeks later to invite him to go out with my friend “A” and I. That was the test. I wanted to know I mattered and if he would make some effort to be there or at least let me know he wouldn’t be able to make it. I got my answer.

That was the moment I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I care about him so much, but I needed to care about me more. So I unfriended him on Facebook and stopped texting him. Things were great until I caught feelings and it seems he just couldn’t deal with a person like me having feelings for him. I feel like such a fool for so much. Why don’t things get easier as you get older? The insecurities of a plain, nerdy 16-year-old girl should go away by the time you are in your forties, but there they are glaring at me and beating me into submission. Men are so good at making that happen. They don’t even have to try.

After I unfriended him, he posted something on facebook about it (there were 3 of us that week) and knowing how much I care about him, it didn’t occur to him that something he did might have actually pushed me to make that choice. He went on to say how something like that would have mattered a couple years ago and he might have asked “what did I do?”, but that question didn’t even come into play this time. Perhaps it should have. He then said I didn’t value HIS friendship and dismissed the situation with nothing more than “meh”. Our friendship, our conversations, my feelings all came down to one single dismissive “meh”. The comment stream that followed was so self righteous and hurtful. What the hell happened?

I don’t know if what he said is really how he feels or felt or if what I did actually hurt him. If I hurt him, I certainly didn’t mean to. The last thing I would ever want to do  is hurt someone, especially someone I care about so much. What started out as a really cool friendship devolved into I don’t even know what, all because I was foolish enough to catch feelings. Feelings ruin everything. I thought that unfriending him would be better for me, but it does not seem so. It was a struggle to have feelings and be friends (for both of us it seems), especially when you look at how it changed after my feelings became apparent. It’s not any better now. I feel like I lost one of my best friends and I am heartbroken. I miss him and our conversations so much.  I told him everything, things I don’t tell just anyone. He told me things that most men don’t tell just anyone as well. Just a fool for thinking that mattered I guess. A fool in so many ways.

Now I am feeling a bit lost. And broken. And so hurt. How did feelings become such a bad thing. Feelings for another human are supposed to be a good thing. They are for most people, just not me it seems. That lobotomy I joke about looks better every day.  Not feeling anything would definitely be better than feeling so much. Too bad it isn’t really an option.

Decency isn’t really all that complicated

I drive for Uber and Lyft a couple nights a week. I love it. I have a great time meeting new people and bonding over a variety of subjects–things I am familiar with and things I am interested in and things I had no clue about but the rider is passionate about. I have had a ton of great conversations with strangers, that, under other circumstances, could very easily be my friends.

On occasion, someone gets in my car that I bond with over shared experiences. Last night it was one of those instances.  My last rider was a gay man and his friend (friend only, straight if I am not mistaken) needing a ride after participating in a local Pride event. Unlike me, he was railing on about the guy he thought he would be taking home or going home with that night. I don’t go home with random strangers nor do I want to but that is beside the point. That ranting got us on the subject of dating and single men and all the bullshit that seems to go with it. We commiserated over the pitfalls and  problems that come with dating, single men and feelings. Talk about opening a can of worms!

“What about …………..?”

“OMG. Yes!”

“How about………….?”

“And……………?! And…………?!”

“And then………….?”

“YAASSSSSSSSS!!!!”

It kind of became a bitch fest of two “sisters” clucking about the fallibility and suckishness of men. Not a good path to go down, but when you are bonding………….

So, after last night’s discussion, I got to thinking about  how men think that we women are such complicated creatures when complication is equal on both sides of the gender fence. We are all complicated, being human and all, and chances are that each one of us has baggage associated with the bad things that have happened in our lives and every bad thing that people have done to us.  We are not so complicated as much as we desire and need certain things in our lives with regard to dating, relationships and friendships. In my experience the excuse of  “too complicated” espoused by men is really code for him being too lazy to put in any work with regard to a relationship or friendship. Relationships and friendships require work. The ones that matter do.  So, in contemplating what it is we really want, I came up with a small and very basic list.

  1. If you need something, say something. As much as men want to complain about women expecting them to be mind readers as to what they want or need, men are just as guilty.  Say something. Just say something. Speak up or we will never know.
  2. You want something from me? tell me. Be clear about it. Don’t dance around it, side step it or jump over it. Don’t hint and expect me to know.  If you do any of those things, don’t get pissed when I miss your intentions and then stop speaking to me. Recently, a man I have crushed on off and on for the last 3 years and I have been talking. He will occasionally text or call me and we have met up and talked till the wee hours of the morning. I got the impression there might be a little bit of interest on his part in doing more than just talking. Nothing serious, just physical. He is in a position where he is around beautiful, svelte, horny drunk girls throwing themselves at him all the time. What possible interest could he have in me? I am not beautiful, thin or young (I am more than 10 years older than him). While I don’t want the physical without the emotional, it would have been nice to know his exact intentions. Now whether or not his intention was to be physical, I don’t know and he has since stopped responding to texts and has not communicated in any way with me. WTF?!
  3. Actions speak louder than words so act accordingly. I am a huge believer in watching actions rather than listening to words. Thirteen years of marriage where words were used, but never backed up with corresponding actions, has made me adamant about the importance of said actions. I cannot stand empty words and recently I got caught up in a situation where the actions said the exact opposite of the words, but my feelings made me stupid. You see, the former (yes former–my brain reactivated) object of my affection, while SAYING he valued our friendship and conversations and how he did not see my interest as changing our friendship, changed his actions. Or maybe I just noticed that the actions never did match up.  I last texted him on May 30th. I have yet to hear anything back from him. At present, it has been 17 days since last communication.  Friendship was never was clearly never appreciated or reciprocated. It would seem that he was merely communicating with me to placate me. I hate that. If someone does not want to be in my life, I will be fine. Just walk. But don’t say things because you are afraid of being the bad guy. Bullshitting me only makes you look even worse and will likely incur my wrath. Or indifference. Either one is not good.
  4.  Be faithful.  I cannot stress enough the importance of this. It’s simple–don’t go dipping your wick into anyone else’s pot. Period. I don’t think one single man I have been involved with has ever been faithful. I am not sure a faithful man exists, but I would like to hope he does. I haven’t seen much evidence of it but I am a fool and I will continue to hope. Just as I hope for the existence of unicorns.

In my estrogen fueled rant session I did gain some insight as to men and how they deal with break ups and pain. In my experience and observations, when men experience pain, they seem to feel like theirs is the only pain in existence. And it is worse than any pain that may have come before. The gentleman that shared in my rant pretty much said that same thing. When men, gay or straight, deal with a break up, it destroys them. Not even figuratively.  What men don’t seem to understand is that it pretty much does the same thing to us, but thankfully we can pick up the pieces and put them back together as we move along our daily lives. We rant, we cry, we move on. Now, don’t get me wrong, we don’t always cope in healthy ways. We aren’t super human. We sometimes engage in destructive behavior as a means of coping. We certainly aren’t perfect. However, I am not sure any man wants to compare scars, bruises, bumps and boo-boos with a woman. Chances are that as well as dealing with the ouchies associated with heart break and broken relationships, most women are also coping with the scars associated with sexual assault, rape and/or sexual harassment. Men have pain. We get it. But don’t ever assume we don’t have our own or that it isn’t every bit as bad as yours. Just because you may not see it does not mean that it’s not there.

The short list of wants and/or needs for a woman is probably very similar to a man’s. I think that it would be helpful if we could all figure out a way to communicate openly and honestly with each other and stop assuming things about the other (something I am horribly guilty of. I always assume the worst–relationships have taught me that).  Human nature and fear of rejection and any number of other things keeps us from doing so. We really need to stop using each other, stop hurting each other, start talking to each other and start taking care of each other. Just think of how much better relationships, in whatever form they take, would be if we could just figure those things out.

 

Impulsivity and Irrational Responses

Even with 48 years under my belt, I find that I still make some of my decisions out of an emotional place rather than anything remotely resembling a rational, well thought out place. You might think that with all this life experience, all this relationship experience and some decent level of intelligence, I might think twice or even three times before making a choice, but somehow, there are some choices that are simply responses to being hurt.

Very recently, the object of my affection made it very clear that I am firmly cemented in the friend zone behind what feels like a steel wall  and bound in barbed wire. I am not moving any time soon. He was very honest with me but very kind in what he said. However, rejection is rejection and it’s nearly always painful. So while he made clear it wasn’t me, it was him, that somehow does not keep my brain and heart from telling me otherwise.  Having faced a lifetime of rejection after rejection, I have been conditioned to believe that it IS me. Every single time.  My internal dialogue goes over every flaw, every shortcoming, every single possible reason it could be me. My looks, my weight, my laugh, my eccentric personality, my crazy pink hair and my unfiltered mouth. I convince myself that there is something so wrong with me that it makes me unlovable and unwanted.

So, in response to that, I did something I swore I would never do again–I stepped back into the world of online dating by getting an account on Match.com. After the breakup with the last boyfriend, I wasn’t interested in meeting anyone, but then I met him, caught feelings and realized I really missed having a companion or love interest. His rejection caused me to make an irrational choice, one that I immediately regretted. But, since I had already made the stupid decision and paid for said account,  I thought I would just go with it and see what happened. Can I just insert a huge eyeroll here? OMG. I am not sure what I was thinking, or if I was even thinking at all. I had decided a while back that if I was to date again, it would be an organic process not something forced or fished. Dating sites are not organic, but I am finding that letting things happen naturally isn’t any easier because there is a rather pronounced shortage of good men, unicorns, if you will, anywhere in my vicinity.

So, I started browsing the site and the profiles and guess what—It kind of sucked. Big surprise, right? Yeah–I don’t think so either. Not one single unicorn so far, but I am really not interested so I am not seeing the potential if, in fact, there is any. I wish I had a switch that turned any potential for feelings off. I have found that my feelings always end up getting me hurt.  I have often joked that I would prefer a lobotomy to feelings, but let’s be honest, those feelings are intoxicating and I think we are all looking for that and looking to have them reciprocated.

So after going through the business of being hurt, angry, frustrated and whatever emotion happened to be mixed into the seething pot of feelings, I picked myself up and decided to do what I should have done in the first place. I prayed about it.  I was on my way to a Christian seminar today and told God I was simply looking for someone to go on adventures with.  My children won’t be in my charge for too much longer and I would love to see the world and go on a million adventures with someone.  I told no one about this prayer for someone to adventure with, so no one would have any reason to know.  When the seminar progressed into prophetic prayer, I began praying for God to give me some little sign that there was something to be hopeful for, some way to know he heard me.  Then the pastor looked and me and said that God wanted me to know that he had many adventures planned for me in my future, but that I had to wait on His timing.  He specifically used the word “adventures” so how could anyone know that if it wasn’t His doing? Now, the last time there was a prophetic prayer answer for me, the pastor told me that God wanted me to know that what He had in store for me was more wonderful than anything I had ever known. It took a while and a considerable amount of discomfort and pain, but I am seeing that promised “wonderful” happening every day of my life. It just keeps getting better. The only thing missing at this point is love, but there are now promises of that too. I don’t know where I will find it, but it will come.

So, while I wait for God’s timing, I will continue to work on me. I will take better care of myself and establish a workout routine because my goal for June of next year is to run the Spartan race and finish it. Right now, my boys and I are planning adventures of our own, both local and outside the state of Idaho.  I will relax, have fun, play and just enjoy the present and try not to think so much about the future and what I don’t have right this minute.